Porcelain 28

Her lips drew on the tip of the pipe, it’s translucent coils winding around her arm and extending into the hookah on her lap. Just the briefest of pressure was exerted, but it drew forth the glowing water, the pipe coils turning red as it surged towards her mouth. A brief explosion of taste on the tip of her tongue, some exotic spice that left her tantalized with the faintest of buzzed pleasure.

Madame Elianza lived for pleasure, hers and the people lucky enough to be able to afford her high prices. Her wares were the fantastical kind, bringing to life the sinful desires of the noble elite. If there was pleasure to be found in enacting out a fantasy, then it was to her the spoiled rich turned to. And business was booming, granting her a never ending flow of gold that allowed Elianza to live in the style she was accustomed to.

It was the nobles’ gold that allowed her access to the finest food, the richest wine, the most expensive clothes. She would settle for nothing but the best, which is why she was currently frowning, seated on cushions that were a bit too firm for her liking. It wasn’t the only complaint Elianza had, she could file over a dozen alone about the back seat of the cruiser she had been given.

It wasn’t the most run down of vehicles, but to Elianza it might as well have been a tractor, the cruiser plowing along the narrow streets of the city. The ride wasn’t smooth, jostling her to the point she was certain her porcelain pale skin would be bruised. The thought displeased her, almost as much as the state of the city she was in. Zabatos had seen better times, the planet devastated by the war the two Empires, Doom and Demos, had waged over it.

Scarring was on most of the buildings, marks from stray lasers that had bounced into the towers. Many buildings had the windows on their upper floors blown out, and rubble was strew on the sidewalks and streets, remnants of ships having crashed into the city. It was no longer a war zone, but for all the repairs that had yet to be done, it must as well have been.

She drew more spice into her mouth, trying to calm her mood. She didn’t like venturing this far out into the galaxy, didn’t like leaving her preferred network of planets. But she had been lured here with the promise of something special, and not even the desperation she had sensed in the man’s voice had kept her away. Elianza just hoped it would be worth all this time and effort on her part, the woman staring out the tinted windows of the cruiser.

It pulled up before a building, it’s ramshackle state making her suppress a shudder. Elianza could remember her less than humble beginnings, recall a building much like this one on a planet far, far away. She didn’t appreciate the reminder, drawing another taste of the spice before disentangling her arm from the hookah’s coils.

Her driver hurried around to the right side of the cruiser, lifting open the door for her. She ignored the hand he offered, allowing her spiked heels to crunch down on the gravel that made up the path leading towards the buildings stairs. She inhaled deeply, the wind chasing away some of her high, but not all of it, the woman staring at the staircase with a frown.

They led up to a wood landing, and there was two soldiers, Drule by the looks of them, the men standing to attention at the sight of her. She adjusted her form fitting top, making sure the necklace she wore was noticeable, the card carrying her credentials hanging off of it’s chain. It announced her status as a free woman, an enviable position for any human or human hybrid on Zabatos. The Drules had wasted no time in enslaving the populace, every adult be they man or woman now nothing more than property.

With a click of her heels, and a swing of her hips, she began climbing the staircase. The guards eyes were on her, more interested in the way her outfit clung to her curves, than the oddity of seeing a human walk with such confidence. She almost smirked, Elianza sauntering up onto the landing where the guards moved to stop her. A toss of her black hair accompanied her thrusting out her chest, the card dangling just above her generous cleavage.

The Drules eyes were immediately draw to her breasts, the men giving a cursory look over of her card, more interested in using it as an excuse to ogle her assets. They couldn’t be rushed, if she tried they would make things difficult for her, and she didn’t want of need that kind of problem. So Elianza stood under their intense scrutiny, actually striking a pose with her hand on her hip.

As she waited, she thought back to the events that had brought her here to this building on Zabatos. The late night phone call that had roused her from her slumber, a tired but familiar face appearing on her holo unit’s screen. Elianza had been annoyed by Gullimer’s call, the woman all but growling at him as she reprimanded him for this breech of etiquette.

“This better be good Gullimer.” Elianza had said, not bothering to pull her chemise close over her rumpled sheer nightgown. It distracted the Drule, the man leering, letting his eyes do a sweep of her body from head to toe. “Gullimer…” She had hissed a warning, folding her arms over her chest. That had seemed to break the spell her body had over him, Gullimer blinking rapidly as he returned his attention to her face.

“The battle between Doom and Demos over the planet Zabatos has ended.” Gullimer had announced, and she frowned harder.

“Yes, I know.” She had replied, well aware of the current state of affairs between the two Empires. It was all over the news, to the point it grew tiresome, these interruptions of more entertaining programs. “Surely you didn’t call me here to tell me that little tidbit.” She let her eyes warn him that if he had there would be a stiff price to pay, the Drule quickly shaking his head no.

“Then you know Doom won.” She had nodded her head, impatient for him to get to the point. “Even now Doom soldiers are moving through the cities, taking every adult, be they man or woman, to the be processed.”

“And this concerns me how?” Elianza had asked, knowing that those who were old, or too sick and feeble would be killed on the spot.

“I’ve had the fortune of being assigned to take care of the brats at an orphanage.” Gullimer had looked disgusted, and it left her wondering what he had done to earn such an unenviable post.

“My condolences.” He had nodded his thanks, then shifted, glancing over his shoulder as though he did not want to be heard.

“There’s not much here save for several dozen bawling brats. But I did find something of interest.”

“Don’t you mean someone?” Elianza had smiled, knowing they were finally getting to the heart of the matter. Gullimer and she had an arrangement, the man keeping an eye out for exotic looking specimens that would be perfect for Elianza’s business. “All right, tell me about him.”

“It’s a she.” Gullimer has said, and she had raised an eyebrow at that. Gullimer was known for his sexual preferences, and he almost never noticed a female, always calling her about men that might do well in her sort of work.

“A woman? My my my.” Elianza smirked. “She must be quite the beauty if she caught your eye.” She’d have caught other Drules eyes as well, and most likely the woman would be damaged goods before she could get her hands on her. A damaged slave, no matter how beautiful she was, would hardly be worth Elianza’s time and effort.

“Not a woman. A girl.” Gullimer had corrected her. “Maybe ten or eleven…She’s got the brightest blue eyes I have ever seen, and a cherub face. And her hair, it shines like gold…Anyone can see the child will grow up to be a beauty, one of exceptional loveliness.”

Those words had gotten her attention more thoroughly than anything Gullimer had said on this call. “I’ll have to see her first…”

“Hurry.” Gullimer had told her, tone urgent. “I can only keep her hidden for so long before the others get suspicious. Her beauty is such that even at her young age, certain Drules with less scrupulous morals would vie to add her to their harems.”

“A bold claim.”

“Bold but true.” Gullimer had boasted. “Make the arrangements Madame. Use your connections among the demon’s court to be granted permission to set foot on Zabatos. You won’t be disappointed.”

The call had ended there, but she hadn’t gone back to sleep. Instead Elianza had moved into action, calling for her servants to help pack her bags, the woman busy with calling in favors and scheduling flights. And now she was here, on the threshold of the orphanage, about to meet this exceptionally beautiful child. She just hoped she wouldn’t be disappointed.

The two solider finally finished with their stares, one stepping away to enter her credentials code sequence in his data pad. While he waited for confirmation of her credentials, the other attempted to strike up a conversation with her.

“Odd place to be coming to adopt a child.” The Drule said.

It was, but she wouldn’t tell him that, Elianza instead inventing a cover story she had repeated countless times since arriving on Zabatos. “I got word that my cousin and her family had been vacationing on this planet when the war started. They died.” She gave an unconcerned laugh, her chest jiggling from the force of her amusement. “Cousin Jeranda always did have the worse sense of timing.”

The soldier laughed with her, surely assuming Elianza and the invented Jeranda had not been close. “But…that doesn’t explain why you’re here.”

“Her daughter somehow survived. Supposedly she is here in this orphanage. I’ve come to bring her back with me.”

“How lucky for her.” Answered the Drule, with a shake of his head. “Not many kids have a chance of being adopted in these circumstances. Your niece will be one less mouth to feed.”

Elianza knew there was really zero chance of any of these children being adopted into a Drule family. Not as beloved son and daughters at any rate. The children would be kept until old enough to be made into slaves, sent off to do hard labor for the rest of their miserably short lives. She told herself not to think about it, knowing she could do nothing to help all of the orphans on Zabatos.

“Okay, you’re clear to go in.” The other soldier had returned, his data pad in hand. She nodded and stepped through the doors, her ears being greeted with the sound of quiet sobbing. She inhaled and could practically taste the fear and misery that coalesced inside the building, Elianza walking forward, wondering where Gullimer was.

She didn’t have to wait long, word of her arrival had reached him, one of his lesser subordinates guiding her to an office. Gullimer hurried out to greet her, the man holding out his hand to her for a shake. She took it, acting as though this was the first time they had met, well aware of the other Drules watching them.

“This better be worth it.” She said, smiling through gritted teeth.

“It is, it is! SHE is.” Gullimer assured her, then led her into the office. “I’ve sent someone to get her. Allura should be here within a few moments.”

“Allura? Is that the child’s name?” Elianza asked, looking around the dirty office with disdain in her eyes. Gullimer noticed the look, hurrying to wipe off a seat for her to perch her shapely rear upon. She crossed her legs, and sat up straight, studying the room, and the various pictures that were hanging. A sea of children’s faces gazed back at her, various boys and girls who had been adopted.

“Yes.” Gullimer pushed a mug of some hot beverage before her, Elianza ignoring it. “The child is quite well behaved. And very quiet…”

“That’s not saying much.” Elianza replied, thinking of how scared all the children currently were. “In this sort of circumstances, anything less than good behavior will get you beaten or even killed.” Gullimer did not try to deny that, knowing what his people were like. “I don’t suppose you’ve looked up the girl’s records? They would be useful in telling me a bit about her and her personality.”

The personality was key, not everyone could take to a life in Elianza’s line of work. She had made mistakes in the past, taking those who were too willful, too stubborn, bringing shame and dishonor to her and her business. She had learned the hard way that it was best to cut your losses, and free those who would cause trouble for her and her own.

“I couldn’t make heads or tail out of the filing system they have here.” Gullimer told her. “You’ll just have to take a gamble that the girl will prove docile once out of the orphanage.”

Elianza frowned at him, having no taste for the vice of gambling. But before she could do more than issue a few words of complaint, a knock was sounding on the door, Gullimer grinning. “And here she is…”

Elianza was standing, smoothing her hands down her dress before turning to the door. She barely managed to hold in her pleased gasp, having spied the child. She was everything Gullimer had said she was, and more, the woman spying the potential the girl’s beauty held.

“Hello Allura.” Elianza smiled at her, seeing the girl blink those great big blue eyes of her.

“She speaks more than one language.” Gullimer whispered in her ear. “One of them happens to be Drule.”

Elianza’s eyes lit up, this was too perfect. Many of her clients were nobles of the demon king’s court, and they would appreciate a girl whose tongue was able to speak in their preferred language. Elianza herself was more than proficient in Drule, the woman switching to that tongue now. “Come closer child, I won’t bite.”

Allura looked nervously between Elianza and Gullimer, her arms clutching a small stuffed toy to her chest. But she came as asked, Elianza reaching out to cup the side of her face. Allura flinched at the touch, but Elianza could find no bruise marks on her. Gullimer had indeed been careful to keep this beauty away from the other Drules.

She stroked fingers down the side of Allura’s face, her thumb caressing over the child’s bottom lip. It had already filled out nicely, and was a pleasant shade of pink that no lipstick could capture. She then took hold of Allura’s chin, lifting her head up and turning it towards the light. She studied her carefully, noting no blemishes on the girls’ face.

“Do you approve?” Gullimer asked, and his voice betrayed his anxiety. “Will you take her?”

Elianza continued to study Allura, hands sifting through her hair. It was soft, but she could make it softer yet with shampoos and expensive oils. She then took hold of Allura’s hands, studying her nails, pleased to note the girl did not chew them up. One less bad habit to worry about, Elianza smiling again. “I’ll give you fifty thousands credits for her.”

It was their usual fee, but Gullimer frowned and shook his head. “She’s worth one hundred.” Elianza turned from Allura, feigning confusion. He did not buy it, Gullimer growling out a point. “You’ll make more than that off of her, nine times or ten!”

“Much of it will go to her upbringing.” Elianza argued. “I will have to feed and clothe her, pay for her education.”

“One hundred credits and a night with a slave of my choosing.” Gullimer insisted.

“You know better than that.” Elianza said sharply. “No one in my business is a slave. They are all free men and women.”

“Free after they pay off their debts to you.” Pointed out Gullimer with a smirk. “My offer stands.”

She fixed him with an angry glare, but they both knew she wouldn’t leave without Allura. “Fine, damn you, fine!”

He had the grace not to gloat, Gullimer walking over to the desk, and lifting a data pad off it’s surface. He began typing into it, accessing his personal account information. “My account is ready for the transfer of credits.” He handed the data pad to her, and Elianza began entering her own information into it, having her bank transfer the funds into Gullimer’s account.

“It’s a pleasure doing business with you.” He smirked, and snatched the data pad out of her hand. “I’ll continue to keep a look out for more specimens of this quality.”

“You won’t find them.” Elianza answered, looking at the confused Allura. “This girl is a rare jewel, even among the beauties in my care.” She cast a smirk over her shoulder Gullimer, seeing how his face tightened with his anger at her words. “I would have paid double your asking amount for her.”

“You bitch.” Gullimer said, and Elianza faked a gasped.

“Watch your language. There is a child present.”

“I don’t give a damn about hurting her delicate ears. She’ll learn worse in your care.” Elianza tsked at him, shaking her head no.

“She’ll retain her innocence. And even once she starts her true education, I’ll be careful to school her in avoiding such foul language.” Another smirk. “Cursing is so unbecoming of a lady, wouldn’t you say?”

“I dunno, some of the Drules like it when their bed partners talk dirty to them.” Gullimer said.

“That will be up to the individual’s discretion. Now…is the girl’s credentials in order? Her things packed?” Elianza asked.

“She doesn’t have much. Just that toy and a few outfits.” Elianza looked at the green jumper Alluira was wearing, wrinkling her nose in distaste. The first thing she would do when they got off of Zabatos was take Allura on a shopping spree to outfit her with a whole new wardrobe. One that suited her new life and status.

“You can keep the clothing.” Elianza said, thinking of the unfortunates who would remain in the orphanage. “I’ll take Allura as is.”

“Fine with me.” Gullimer pulled out a plain chain from out of his pocket, a credential card dangling from it’s center. “Give this to her, and no one should stop you.”

“They better not.” Elianza warned, and approached Allura. The girl watched her, not moving as Elianza put the necklace on her. She then held out her hand to Allura, the girl staring at it for a moment. Another smile encouraged her to grasp hold of it, Elianza feeling how Allura’s hand trembled in hers. “It’s all right.” She crooned softly to the girl. “I won’t hurt you.”

“Who are you?” Allura whispered, and Elianza realized she had yet to introduce herself.

“My name is Elianza, Madame Elizana.” She smiled, watching the girl process the name. She didn’t expect her to recognize it, the girl was too young to have much exposure to the circles Elianza traveled in.

“Where are we going?” Allura asked as Elianza began to lead her out of the office, passing by a trio of soldiers.

“Away from here.” One of the Drules did a double take, pausing to stare at the child, open admiration and lust in his eyes.

“Away…” repeated Allura, shivering, surely having noticed the look the man was giving her. “Away to where?”

“To my home Allura. Far, far away from the orphanage and Zabatos.”

“Will I like it there?” Allura wanted to know.

“Oh yes.” Elianza was quick to reassure her. “My home is nice, and there will be other children about your age there. You’ll want for nothing, your every need and desire taken care of.”

“Hmmm….” Allura fell quiet, Elianza leading her out of the orphanage. The two soldiers that guarded the door paused to study Allura’s credential card, but eventually let them pass. Allura kept her grip on Elianza’s hand the entire time, right up until she ushered her inside the cruiser. Allura pressed against the tinted window, staring until the orphanage was out of sight.

Elianza sucked on her hookah thoughtfully, watching Allura out of the corner of her eye. She was pleased the girl hadn’t started crying, and more than a little surprised by her lack of resistance at coming away with her. That must mean she truly was an orphan, and not a child dumped when her parents had been enslaved. That was good, it meant the girl would have no familial ties to cling to. Elianza would become her world, her mother, her savior, her best friend. The girl would become grateful to her, Elianza would be sure to let her know the fates she had escaped by being adopted by the Madame.

It was a contented smile Elianza allowed to cross her painted lips, the black haired woman leaning back in her seat. The trip to Zabatos had proved worthwhile after all, and she could not wait to begin reshaping Allura’s life. She felt confidant that with her guidance, Allura would become a woman whose beauty brought even Doom to it’s knees.

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