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“You, um, the chick?”

Merrie looked up. Her body was in agony, Dornen’s abuse had painted her with bruises and cuts. Her pussy was the worse, it was on fire every time she twitched. She decided to remain curled up in the corner, her tail wrapped protectively against the agonized opening. Even then, the shift of the traveling wagon caused the hairs to scrap and tickle her.

It was dark but not pitch. She could see the five men staring at her with various emotions. She thought it was curiosity but it was harder without using her emphatic powers. Once again, she was tempted to reach out and read them but didn’t. She could wait.

The man speaking was the mountain of the man. “Hey, there. You okay?”

Merrie nodded slowly, unsure if she should talk.

“What’s your name?”

She wanted to reach out with her mind, to talk telepathically, but didn’t. Acting like a dog didn’t seem right either, not with a week. She settled on talking, though her throat still hurt from her trial. “Mer… Bitch.”

“Merry Bitch?” The man chuckled. “You don’t seem very merry.”

Her ears flattened for a moment.

The slender man leaned forward, his face only centimeters from the cage.

Merrie looked him nervously. “B-Bitch is okay. They call me that a lot.”

“I’m Monte. Don’t need a last name here, I guess. We’re all fucked.”

The slender man cocked his head.

Merrie watched him curiously but spoke to Monte. “I don’t have a last name anymore. Not for many years.”

“Boyfriend?”

“Master. A long time ago. He… died.” There was only a moment hesitation when she remembered Kine’s death.

“Is that why you are here? Kill the bastard?”

The sudden question struck her. She sniffed and shook her head. “No, paladins did.”

One of the other prisoners whistled. “You fucked around with paladins?”

She chuckled. “Only a few. And a fallen one. He was the sweetest.”

Another whistle. “Damn, paladins suck. There was one when I got caught. Bastard beat the living crap out of me.”

“Yeah, right.”

“No, they did. It was a shit demon or something. But that didn’t matter to the courts, I still got life at the Key.”

Another prisoner groaned. “Horrible story, Shit.”

“No! Do not call me Shit. I will cut—”

Monte interrupted. “What is your name?”

“Razor. I was a knife man for Caldora.”

“You worked for the family?” asked the other prisoner. He was a slightly portly man with only a fringe of hair and bright eyes.

“Until the assholes threw a bone to the guards. They set me up.”

“Should have ratted on them.”

“Yeah, I probably should have something to rat on. I was just a grunt, didn’t know anything. As soon as they could, I got life and a quick trip to the staging cells. What about you? What’s your name since we’re being chatty.”

“Ston Grainer.”

“What you do?”

“Accountant, mostly.”

“An accountant got life? What did you do, kill someone for numbers?”

“Cut the throats of the employees who didn’t pull their weight. Those assholes were just working for me to get insurance and pay. Wasting my time and ruining the bottom line.” Ston’s voice grew tense and low as he spoke.

There was an uncomfortable silence.

Suddenly, the slender man spoke. “You’re an alpha.”

Merrie jumped and looked at him. He had large, shimmering eyes.

“What?” asked Monte.

“The woman. She’s an alpha from Blood County. They have the puppy farms there, that’s why she doesn’t have hands or feet. She’s a… a… twenty-two, right?”

It had been a long time since she heard the numbers. They identified the puppies at the auction by the number of limbs they had. In her case, she had two joints so she was a 2-2. Sable, was an 1-1 because one segment before her limbs were cropped.

She gulped. “Y-Yes,” she said with a whisper.

Monte gasped. “They cut off her hands?”

“And feet,” said the slender man. Usually they do more, like a 1-2 or a 1-1. It’s part of the selling point, some buyers want just a little bit of limbs to make them helpless while others like a bit more mobility."

“That’s horrific,” said one of the other prisoners.

Merrie looked closely at the slender man. He was the only one who seemed to see her as a cropped puppy girl. “How did you know?”

“I grew up in Blood County. One of my sisters was a 0-0, a pillow girl, and the other ended up going to Maddy’s.”

Maddy’s Dairy Farm. When Merrie was kidnapped off the streets, the victims were handed over to either the Puppy Mill or Maddy’s. The large breasted women were ideal for producing milk. “She’s a cowgirl?”

The slender man smiled. “Yeah, really happy for a long time.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. Slaughtered?”

The slender man nodded and leaned back. “Yeah, it was a good meal. It was the way she wanted to go, spitted and roasted.”

Ston made a sick noise. “You… you’re talking about eating your sister?”

The slender man nodded. Then he said, “Yes.” His voice was soft and gentle, not humiliated or scared. He seemed at ease being shackled in a wagon.

“Oh, Madock. That’s disgusting.”

Merrie tensed at the god’s name. She suspected that the god’s presence or attention would be drawn on her. She wasn’t sure if she wanted the God of Deals to know where she was.

“Only the butchering,” said the slender man. “You get used to the scent after a while. Plus there are nice benefits,” he looked at Merrie, “right?”

She thought about the massive bull men who fucked the cowgirls endlessly. Her pussy grew wetter and pulsed with agony and pleasure. “Yes,” she whispered.

Monte cleared his throat. “Since we’re going to be here a while, what’s your name?”

“Slender. I’m a butcher.”

Ston almost threw up. “Of women?”

“Yes,” came the amused reply. “Franome City has more than its share of spit muffins.”

Merrie’s ears perked up. “Borias said that.”

Slender focused on her again. “I like him, he was fun to talk to. He’s the one who set me up with the groups here. Couldn’t come himself but he gave me enough contacts to get my way into the societies.”

“How long were you butchering?” asked Razor.

“Seven years, give or take.”

“You’ve been killing women for seven years?”

“Consensual, of course. It is what they wanted. They came to me, asking for it.”

Merrie remembered Borias talking about that. She guessed that Slender was caught like Borias when he killed the wrong rich woman who had parents with a vendetta about losing their girl.

“Oh, Madock,” Ston said as he turned to the side. “Please, stop talking about this. I’m going to throw up.”

“Yes, please,” Monte said.

“You think so,” snapped Razor, “I’m across from him. He’s going to throw up on me.”

“As you wish,” said Slender. He crossed his long arms and appeared to close his eyes.

Monte turned to the last prisoner. “What about you?”

The man grunted.

“Please, it’s going to be a long trip. What I heard about Key is that we can all use friends to watch our back. It’s brutal there.”

“They don’t stick us in cells?” asked Ston.

“Not what I heard. It’s a free-ranged prison. They keep prisoners from escaping and send in guards when they have to, but otherwise you are free to move around. The big boys piss on the little ones, that sort of thing.”

“Oh, Madock. I’m going to die.”

The fifth prisoner grinned and sat up. He reached over and patted Ston on the shoulder. “Don’t worry, you can be my bitch, I’ll protect you.”

Ston looked like he would faint.

Monte sighed. “Why did you do that?”

“Why not?” said the prisoner with a shrug. “I had a family once, they screwed me over. I killed them.”

Razor said, “Family? What type of family?”

“Chitori.”

“Chitori? They were all killed a few months ago. Life has been better since those elves weren’t running the numbers, but still, it was brutal.”

“Yeah, good for them. Bunch of tree-fucking assholes who won’t even take care of their kin.” The man leaned back with a snarl.

“What’s your name?”

“Why does it matter? I know how they treat murderers here. I’m better off on my own.”

“Don’t you want to talk?”

“About what, Monte? My feelings? I hate those fucking elves and I’m glad I maced every single one of them into a bloody smear. So, if you want to make me human, then fuck off. If you want to shut up and leave me alone, then fuck off anyways.”

Razor grinned. “Let’s call him Shit.”

The unnamed prisoner jerked forward. “Try it, asshole.”

“How about we call you Mace?” asked Monte.

“Yeah, sure, whatever. I’m Mace. I kill people. I got life for it. Big deal. Except for pretty boy and the naked bitch here, I’m sure we’re all bad asses but I’m the worst of all of you. So stay out of my way and I won’t kill any of you.”

There was an uncomfortable silence in the wagon. It continued to sway back and forth as it continued to bring them closer to Abbinkey.

“Um, Bitch? What did you do?” It was Monte, he was curious.

She wasn’t sure how to answer. Then she glanced at Mace and saw smugness on his face. She wanted to wipe it off. Sitting up, she sat back. “Do you remember when that entire district turned into a shadow land and killed all those people?”

“Yeah, the Shadowed District.”

“That was me. I did it again a week ago but this time I opened up a portal to the darkness in Blood County.” Tears burned in her eyes. “I doomed a hundred thousand people to a slow, withering death because I wanted to save a handful of friends from an army of paladins.”

It sounded far worse when she said it that way.

The room grew tense.

“Then, when I was convicted of treason yesterday, I accidentally blew up the court building and killed almost everyone inside. Oh, and I killed me guild master and one of my best friends because I couldn’t stop it from killing every single living person in this city.”

Tears ran down her cheeks. She slumped down and let out a soft sob.

“Yeah, Mace,” said Razor, “I’m going with Bitch being the scariest person in this wagon.”