Her former husband often went out with friends in the evenings to the nearest pub, came in after midnight, fell on the bed, and began to harass her. At the time, it had seemed like proof that he didn't have a lover, but now the memory only made her want to clean herself. The unexpected analogy with the situation in the dream raised a storm of indignation and protest in her soul.
Who does he think he is?!
"Well, I see you slept well. Do you want breakfast? There's a bakery next door, so I brought some fresh pastries.
"How do you know how I slept?" it sounded hostile. When she saw Leonid's grimace, she immediately added. "Master."
"Is something wrong?"
"Everything is wrong! You...you..." she paused, unable to find the words.
What would she really say to him? I had a dream about you? Maybe all this really didn't happen!
"Let me guess," the demon dragon chuckled, "I've been making you read all night?"
Arda, surprised by his answer, mumbled something unintelligible.
"How do I know?" the man laughed. "I was the first person Lisandra tested her crystals on. They take the worst memories as a basis. I saw a scene from my childhood all night then..."
He paused and then shuddered.
"I, of course, learned to perfection the Kragien language, only to never again repeat this experience. I warned you right away that the procedure wasn't the most pleasant. And when you came in and looked at me like I'd grown a second head, I put two and two together. I guess I should be flattered that of all the horrors in your life - I'm the scariest."
"I'm sorry..." she stammered, not knowing whether to be happy or upset at the conclusions that Leonid had reached. "Master."
The man smiled sourly and handed her the newspaper.
"Try to read something here."
As she picked up the sheets, she twitched nervously, cutting her index finger on the edge.
"Ouch!" she put her finger in her mouth and sucked it lightly. "I'm healing fast, don't mind me."
"I wasn't going to."
Picking up the paper, Arda bit her lip excitedly and looked at the text. She focused on the first letter of the word, and the right association immediately appeared in her head. As well, with the following ones.
"T-h-e m-e-e-t-i-n-g," she said, sound after sound, "The meeting...of the inte-rim go-vern-ment took place..."
With each passing second, it became easier to conjure up the right images and associations. By the end of the sentence, she was reading almost fluently.
"...Held in a truncated format. The introduction of a tax on the sale of female individuals in care, as well as children under the age of majority, was discussed."
Arda emotionally tossed the newspaper to the side, unable to contain her disgust. Why are they even discussing this? Why not prohibit slavery? It is essentially unnatural! One man or magick shouldn't be higher than the other! At least not enough to relegate someone to the level of items.
And again, she remembered the day when her husband informed her of his decision. Her hands involuntarily curled into fists. The insanely nice pictures of how the thugs who took her to the slave market instead beaten and taken away in the cage of Matt appeared before Arda's eyes. Not that she continued to have feelings for him – perhaps there wasn't even any hatred – but imagining the accomplishment of universal justice was nice.
"You didn't like the news?" The demon dragon chuckled, seeing her reaction. "Here it is - the downside of your new skills. Happiness is in ignorance, isn't it?"
"No. It's not true," Arda said hoarsely, trying to suppress her outburst. "Happiness is to have a goal and follow the path of its fulfillment...master."
"How deep and thoughtful," Leonid got up from his seat and leaned on the table, standing across from her. His eyes danced with laughter, and his voice dropped to a seductive whisper. "So, what’s your goal?"
"Follow all your instructions, so that in a year to obtain freedom," she was a little embarrassed under the hot gaze of the man.
"Even though I'm so intimidating?" Keelesk took a step forward, mesmerizing her with his inhuman gaze.
Arda involuntarily licked her lips, feeling that the nearness of the demon dragon sharpens her senses. The images of the dream came back to her.
'Do you know what punishment awaits the negligent students?'
Her breath came in short gasps, and her mouth was dry. Just a little more, and she would simply run away from the kitchen - to get rid of this obsession.
"I wonder what you've dreamed tonight," he chuckled, standing close to her.
She stared at the pale strip of skin under the open shirt - his lithe, strong body beckoned to touch him.
"You know that all I have to do is give you an order, and you can't lie to me, right?" he asked earnestly, and Arda realized with horror that it was true.