“How is Daphne?” I asked quietly as Alleya and Elizabeth left her room.
I had allowed the girls to finish with their customers, and then I had closed up early for the day. Daphne hadn’t moved from her spot on the bed, staring blankly at a wall. I had called the other girls to come and escort her to her room and put her in her bed. She had seemed somewhat shaken as she was guided out of the room.
“Do you care?” Alleya demanded angrily.
“Alleya!” Elizabeth warned.
“Should I?” I raised an eyebrow. “You’re prostitutes. It comes with the territory. The only thing I care about is when she’ll be ready to work again.”
“You pig!” Her face turned red as she shot me an angry look.
“That’s enough!” Elizabeth’s face turned angry for the first time I had seen, causing Alleya some shock. “Go to your room, now!”
Alleya looked at her for a moment, and then turned and fled into her room, slamming the door as she went.
“So much for loyalty. My minion skill appears to be broken.” I declared.
“She’s just worked up. Master shouldn’t let her offend you.”
“Isn’t it your job to keep them calm?” I asked.
Her mouth tightened. “I can only do so much. The event today unsettled her greatly.”
“She’s given more for less. So, a demon tried to sexually assault her. Is this so surprising?”
“You don’t understand, Master. When we’re in there with a demon, they are much stronger than us. We are in an extremely vulnerable situation. We must perform sexually, but we also must remain guarded at all times. Being pushed down and attacked like that is an extremely terrifying thing, especially when you’re not mentally prepared for it.”
“I’ve done worse to her. I don’t see what the big deal is.”
Her eyes flashed. “You’re not the same thing as them. You should understand that as much as anyone.”
“She didn’t hesitate to spread her legs for Charak. Plus, she used to manipulate other demons all of the time. I don’t see any reason she should be upset. On top of that, she’s just a masochist. She’s probably just faking it. She wants to get out of work so she’s pretending this mattered to her. On second thought, she probably liked it and-”
My eyes widened in shock as I felt a slap across my face. It wasn’t so strong that it had hurt, but the suddenness of it left me jarred. Elizabeth had slapped me, and the furious look on the face of the normally content woman was even more alarming. I looked down at her, but she stared up at me just as furiously.
“Sometimes, I almost forget that you can be a real-”
“Demon?” I smirked.
“A bastard!” She shot back, her voice trembling and tears in her eyes. “Every girl here is working for you. Don’t forget that. This is all because of you.”
She turned around and returned to her room. When she opened the door, Diana was there trying to peek into the hallway. Her mom ushered her back into the room and closed the door in a rush, leaving me to myself.
“So much for being loyal minions,” I muttered again.
I reached up and rubbed my cheek before hearing a rustling sound. I turned to see Luna watching me. As soon as our eyes met, she made a yelp and hid back in her room. I gave a small sigh and then headed out into the lobby room, taking a seat at the bar.
I didn’t even know why I had said what I had said. Deep inside, I felt a fit of growing anger. I knew that it wasn’t Daphne’s fault, or Alleya, or Elizabeth. Yet, the frustration and anger didn’t lessen.
I reached out over the bar and grabbed a glass and a drink. Leaning back, I popped off the cork and then poured the contents into the glass. Lifting the drink, I took the drink and threw it back.
I nearly jumped as I heard the voice. I glanced up to see Charak still sitting in his corner, moving so little I hadn’t even noticed he was there.
“You’re still here?” I asked.
“I didn’t receive my payment yet.” He responded.
“Right… the… none of the girls are available right now,” I responded. “For either of us.”
“I figured as much.” He shrugged. “I’ll just get a double tomorrow, right?”
I slowly nodded, looking into my drink. “Charak, do you understand wom- ah… I guess you wouldn’t.”
I just managed to catch myself asking a demon for women’s advice. That was a complete joke. Everything demons knew about women had been taught in this very building.
“Women?” He still managed to catch what I was going to ask. “You mean like the misses here? I’d say they smell nice, and their bodies feel good.”
“I’ll drink to that.” I poured another drink into his glass and then one into my own and raised it. “To women!”
Charak stared blankly, so I had to show him clicking our glasses together before taking a drink. He insisted on trying again. I filled up both of our glasses and then we clinked them and took another drink.
“To pretty women!”
“To the ugly ones too!” I added.
“To… toooo dick cleaning!” He struggled before toasting to the first thing in his mind.
“To boob jobs!” I toasted on the next shot.
“To pussy!” He declared, but my hand stopped just before he clicked it.
He still brought his hand out and clicked before taking a drink, but I remained holding it without moving.
“This business of mine… my girls. We’re going to have to evolve with the times or risk falling behind.” I grumbled drunkenly. “I should have gone into the porn business.”
“I’m not sure what you’re saying, but if you’re talking about using their lower mouth, such ideas have overtaken the city. I kept my mouth shut like you wanted, but every demon is now starting to talk more and more about enjoying human women. That guy isn’t the first one to be a little forceful.”
“Sal’s…” I grumbled.
“Sal’s does encourage this kind of behavior, but it’s not just Sal anymore. The word is out on the street. Women are in supply, and demons have started attacking them at random to obtain pleasure. Many demons are no longer satisfied just continuing to live. They want to indulge. The women have to hide in fear or run. Your customers tend to be those that don’t enjoy getting bitten and scratched. More willing participants are better.”
“You sound like you know this from personal experience?” I asked suspiciously.
“I’ve never been with a woman who wasn’t willing!” Charak raised his hands defensively.
“Geh! I was naturally curious…” He responded awkwardly.
“Your girls are better! Even I can admit that! His girls all have this glassy-eyed look, and barely even move. It’s better here!”
I looked up at him, but the will to yell at him just deflated like a balloon. It wasn’t his fault. I lowered my head and sighed.
“Can you take me there?” I asked instead.
“There? You mean Sal’s?”
“I need to scope out the enemy. I had just thought that I could buckle up and ride things out, but I don’t think such a thing is an option anymore.”
“I can take you there, but it’s expensive,” Charak responded uncertainly. “Wouldn’t you be recognized there? I mean, I’ve never met the man himself, but there are higher ranked demons there and someone might recognize you.”
“I’ll think of something,” I responded, getting off the stool. “Sal’s is open all night? Right?”
“Yes! It’s most lively at night.”
“Good.” I nodded. “Come back here in a few hours. Tonight, we’re going clubbing.”