Ghalib’s Welcome, Part 2

Wherein Ghalib should be comforted but isn’t sure yet what to make of Cyrus.

Surprised by being directly addressed, Ghalib blushed and stuttered. “N-no, Your, uh, Teman, I don’t think so, either.” At the near-slip, Teman rolled his eyes. Ghalib smiled, though it was weaker than he would have liked. Either the other two didn’t notice or they ignored it.

“Where is Nadir?” Teman asked.

“Oh, he is preparing the last of the slaves for the evening. Every one of them has been requested because of the storm and we even had to turn a few people down when we ran out of slaves to request.”

Teman laughed. “I had a feeling you’d be busy tonight. Is… is it a bad time to bring Ghalib?”

Cyrus shook his head. “No, no. Once the slaves are sent on their way, we’ll be quite alone.” He sighed. “I suspect very few of them will be returned any time soon. I have sent word to Safiya to have the servants keep an eye out and make sure they are being fed—or let us know so we can make sure of it. It is the only thing that bothers me about this storm. With most of the slaves in private chambers, I can’t watch over them.” Cyrus glowered.

Teman smiled and leaned toward Ghalib. “See? He cares about the slaves a lot. He’ll take care of you.”

Cyrus’s smile replaced the glower. “Indeed, Ghalib. Besides, it will be quite some time before you will be available to be requested. First, let me show you around while Nadir finishes up with the last few.”

“I think I’ll go say hi and offer my help,” Teman said.

“I was about to go back. I wanted to send that message to Safiya and make sure I had recorded where everyone had been sent. So, I am sure he will welcome the help.”

Teman nodded, then turned to Ghalib, surprising him with a kiss to the cheek. “You will do very well here, I’m sure of it.”

“Thank you.” Ghalib managed a somewhat believable smile.

Teman turned to Cyrus, they shared a long kiss and Ghalib looked away to give them a little bit of privacy. Despite whispering, he still heard the exchange of words of love before the door opened, pulling his gaze back to Cyrus.

“So, let me give you that tour.” He held his hand toward the hallway and Ghalib stepped out of the office. They turned away from the stairwell and started walking down the hallway. “That,” he said, pointing at the door immediately past the office, “is the training room.” He opened the door and Ghalib peeked in to see… a relatively normal, unassuming room. It had cushions on the floor, one armchair off to the side, a large fireplace, currently dark, a wide window, covered for the storm and cabinets along the wall by the door. The only slightly-odd thing Ghalib saw was the hooks and pegs set into one wall. “You’ll have plenty of time to get acquainted with it over the next few weeks.”

As Cyrus closed the door and they continued along the hall, Ghalib frowned. “Does the… training… take long then?”

Cyrus pursed his lips as they paused outside the next door. “It’s actually not easy to predict. Teman didn’t take long at all. He struggled with the training at first, but then settled into it and he had plenty of experience before he came to the palace. Others, who hadn’t done much at all before coming here, took longer. And still others were even faster than Teman at it.” He shrugged. “There are some that insist on fighting every step of the way. I should also point out that the word ‘training’ is a bit…misleading. You will be trained—trained to please, trained in how to give pleasure to both men and women, trained to accept pain. But the early part of it is simply conditioning. The slaves are conditioned to arousal at all times, always ready for the master or mistress who requests them.” He paused and smiled. “It’s not quite as scary as it sounds.”

Ghalib looked up into Cyrus’s dark eyes. “I… I’m sure it’s not.”

Cyrus laughed then opened the door next to him. “This used to be called the ‘recovery’ room and was kept for use when the slaves had been mistreated. His Highness doesn’t tolerate that kind of abuse anymore. So this room is mostly for anyone who gets sick or injured in another way. It still happens occasionally, but it is much more rare these days and usually cloaked in accidents. As most of the nobility doesn’t want to lose the opportunity to request slaves, they tend to behave.”

Ghalib chuckled. “I believe that.”

* * *

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