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Crack!Arya’s eyes shot open as the pain begin to register. Dax stood before her and from what she could tell she was in a cell. She’d been here before. Every time Malich sought to punish her she’d end up in this cell.
Crack!Another blow struck her in the face. Dax enjoyed this part of his work. She supposed it’s why Malich picked him for it. He isn’t so different than Arya. A lot of what Dax did, he did to gain the approval of the man who was a father figure to him as well. She often felt he resented her for succeeding where he failed. Everyone knew how much Arya meant to Malich. If she were anyone else he’d have killed her a long time ago for all she’s done.
Gripping the hair in back of her head, Dax yanks her head back and smiles, “Don’t quit on me now. I’m not done with you yet.”
Arya smiles. She knows it gets underneath his skin. “What’s wrong? Is being his lapdog starting to wear on you?” She laughed.
Dax buries his fist in her stomach, knocking the air from her lungs. She coughs until she empties her stomach onto the floor. “Keep talking,” he seethed, “give me a reason to rearrange that pretty little face of yours.”
Arya tried catching her breath, but Dax leveled her with a fury of jabs to her ribs, stomach and face. Unable to endure, Arya succumbed to her beating.
For two moons Arya suffered at Dax’s hands before being taken to the Magus for healing. She could only imagine the pain and suffering Eli had been subjected to. She hadn’t seen him or Lila since the day Malich had them all dragged back here.
Once healed, Arya was brought to Malich’s chambers. He dismissed everyone from the room and waited until they were gone before he spoke. “I dislike punishing you,” Malich sighs, “but I dislike your disobedience even more.”
Feeling like a child scolded by a parent she explains, “You’re holding me back. I thought maybe if you saw I could take care of myself you’d trust me more and let me join the Alumni.”
“And you barely lasted two moons out there on your own.”
“You have people all over the place and-”
“So do our enemies!” Malich slammed his fist down on the table between them. “No more excuses Arya! No more running away, no more tantrums, and no more of this temper of yours! You want to know what it’s like to be an alumni, well here’s your chance.”
Malich calls for Dax and when he walks in, preceptor Mekhi is with him. Her heart drops and for a moment she loses the ability to speak. She quickly stands, places her right fist over her heart and then kneels before Mekhi. “Please, Red Daughter, there’s no need for that. The pleasure is all mine,” he helps her back up to her feet. “The Majii speaks very highly of you and your skill. I am pleased to have you join us.”
“Is this really happening?” Arya turns to Malich. He smiles and she collides into him, tears in her eyes, squeezing him tightly. “Thank you.”
“I am not your enemy Arya. I only want what’s best for you.”
“I’m sorry,” she apologized to him, even though she knew he spoke partial truth.
“Don’t be. Take this opportunity and make the best of it. Train hard, learn quickly, and strengthen your resolve. You’re going to need it. Gather your things and I’ll see you to your new home.”
Arya wasted no time. After inclining her head to all in attendance she hurried to her chambers to gather her things. Lumi, Rayu, and the alumni awaited her at her new home. She’d waited for this moment for as long as she could remember, and after Malich gave Anwar the last of the four spots available she thought her dream was dead.ns 188.8.131.52da2