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We road on for a long time. The pace the Lord General put his army through was astonishing to me. However, no one seemed to complain. Whether this was the stamina of a demon army or Typhon’s particular blend of training… I didn’t know. What I did know is that my ass was incredibly sore by the time we finally slowed to camp, and at that point, he only ordered a stop because the trail had become too dark to navigate safely.

I was taken off of General Typhon’s steed and he stepped down and walked away as if I wasn’t even there. This left me standing awkwardly to the side as the horse was led away by a soldier. Other soldiers continued to set up the camp, building tents. The General himself walked around, surveying the job, occasionally taking a soldier aside and speaking with him quietly. The men were trained, and there were no disputes or disturbances.

The slave traders I had traveled with before were much less reserved. They would argue over who had to cook and who had to do the chores. They’d occasionally bicker and get into fights. These kinds of activities didn’t seem to be tolerated in General Typhon’s army. A single look was enough to stop any soldier from acting inappropriate. Soon, campfires were started and food was brought out. It seemed like some kind of broth soup was being made with meat and a few vegetables.

My stomach started to growl as I saw the meals being prepared before me, but every time I tried to approach any of the campfires, I immediately received cold looks. At one point, I looked off into the dark forest, thinking that I could bolt and finally obtain my freedom. Even the General likely didn’t know how much freedom my collar afforded me. It no longer had the ability to force me to do anything, but as soon as I revealed that to be true, I’d give up my trump card.

In the end, I didn’t bolt for the forest and hope for the best. It wasn’t because I had no clue where were and was just as likely to starve or be raped to death in the forest as successfully find a town. It wasn’t because I had the collar on, and even if I was found again, as long as the collar was stuck on my neck, I might as well have a Scarlet letter, as I would forever be recognized as a slave. No, the reason I remained in the camp is that no matter which direction I looked, I found a tent with a man place conspicuously in a spot where I’d be seen. A glare caught my eyes, and a glance at a nearby tree found an archer up on a branch, carefully watching. The camp was tightly protected, and even though they were defending from outside threats, I saw no way I could escape.

“You, lass, you better be getting in the Lord’s tent before he’s done or you’ll be getting the lashes.” A gruff voice came to my side.

I turned to see an ugly squashed man with a nose that had looked to have been broken a dozen times. He was gnarled and hunched over, and I had to wonder why he was even here in an army. Given his looks, he didn’t seem like the type that could keep up the pace. Well, at the moment, I could barely keep up the pace myself, and I rode a horse. Had I been forced to march, I could only imagine giving out within an hour and being dragged the rest of the way. I probably wouldn’t have lived.

“Thank you.” I gave him a gentle smile, trying to gain at least one ally in the army, and figuring an ugly man might be more amenable to a girl’s charm.

“Hmm… if you weren’t the lords, that smile would like to get you raped in this army.” The man snorted while shaking his head.

“Can you rape the willing?” I said back while touching my lip. “I wouldn’t mind it if I was in the arms of a strong man like you.”

Rather than blushing or growing flustered, the man gave a wry look. “You remind me of the honeyed tongue of the girls in the Night District in the Capital. I always pay twice as much as I planned and get half as much as I was promised. Even if I was tempted, touching the Generals slave is death in this camp. You get on, the tent is over there, the big one.”

I nodded and gave him another sweet smile before turning away and leaving. Of course, I noticed his mood had improved and he was walking with a bit of a straighter back. No man could resist his mood improving by having a beautiful girl flirt with him. Even knowing she wants something out of him, it’s simply human nature to crave the attention of a beauty. I was merely capitalizing on this to improve the camp’s view of me.

{Manipulation has increased to Level 18.}

This… I’m on the right path. To see my status start to increase at this point? I had spent so much time manipulating my way into the good graces of the Cambions, that I had felt that my Manipulation should have been increasing drastically from the get-go. However, I had remained stagnated for way too long. Was it because my time with the Cambions was more akin to giving up? I was trying to submit to the Cambion culture, integrate myself into their lives. Was it something like that? Now, that I tried to take some control, I was rewarded?

I still didn’t understand this world and how it worked. I supposed if it was an easy world to understand, then everyone would be OP. Since skills feel so subjective and randomized, my only real advantage could be taken by my skill points and access to randomized skills. Should I consider stocking points and using them to max out standard skills? Well, the next time I level, I want to experiment on seeing if I can evolve special skills.

As I considered these thoughts, I ended up in a large tent. It was nothing like the semi-permanent lavish tent that Nova once inhabited. It was minimalistic, with a rollout of a futon-like bed, and a hastily set up table, which was either for eating meals or strategizing troop movements. Either way, there wasn’t much else to the tent, which was only about twice the size of the tents that were shared between 2-3 men for everyone else in the camp.

I had barely managed to settle myself down when the flap opened and General Typhon himself walked in. He took a single glance at me and then moved over to a packing leaning against one of the support beings. It included his saddlebags as well as a pack full of other stuff, likely brought over by one of his servants, although I hadn’t seen any of them working. Perhaps that was the role of the servant, to remain unseen.

“You didn’t prepare dinner for me.” The man said as he rummaged through his back before standing and giving me a glare.

His eyes scared me slightly, even though they didn’t seem to be angry. It was simply that they were intense, and gave me a feel once again like he knew everything about me from a simple glance. I could only shake my head and look down with a feigned guilty look.

“No matter, it looks like you didn’t get yourself a meal either. You are untrained, so I don’t expect much at the moment. You will be starved tonight as punishment. Please make sure you are fed and a hot meal is prepared for me before daybreak.” He spoke without any emotion as if he was merely relaying orders.

Any feelings of being put off by his abrupt attitude were forced down. In this world, I was nothing but a slave. I could only force down any kind of resistance.

“Understood, my lord,” I stated in a meek and repentant voice.

Typhon nodded as if this was the expected response, and then began pulling off his clothing. He didn’t hesitate to rip off his shirt and soon he was standing before me naked. I could only raise an eyebrow as I appraised his body. He was fit and muscular, with strong muscles and a toned body with hair only in the right places. His skin was dark and chiseled, but perhaps the most noticeable thing was the extreme number of scars that marred his body. It was the only thing that kept him from looking like an Adonis.

Typhon walked passed me without saying a word, falling on the bed face first. “Start with the shoulders.”

I snapped out of it, realizing that Typhon wanted me to massage him. As surprising as it was, I had never actually massaged anyone before. To me, it always felt like a prelude to sex. If you were going to be intimately touching someone, you might as well be having sex with them. It was no surprise to me that so many massage parlors were secretly brothels. Using your body to pleasure someone else’s body.

However, since I was a slave, I had no choice but to summon up everything I’d seen and heard of involving massaging people. My hands began to work his neck, and I quickly found myself surprised at how hard he was. I didn’t know if this was a demonic trait, or something belonging to muscular and fit men. Nova was strong, but he was still a man who enjoyed in leisure. The same could be said about Devon and the other princes. The closest thing to Nova that I had ever seen is probably the Minotaur.

“Mm… harder!” Typhon snapped, causing me to jump a little from my thoughts.

I started putting my back into it harder and harder. It ended up being quite exhausting. It wasn’t considered sex, so my stamina didn’t seem to kick in to save me. Instead, I just had to use my body weight to apply enough pressure to push against his muscles. As I worked, I began to take notice of the contours of his body. Muscles had a logic to them. I wasn’t big into biology, but I knew enough to know that certain muscles grew in certain ways and resulted in certain mechanical movements. As I considered this concept, a notice rung in my head.

{You have increase Massage to Level 1.}

“Ah!” I let out a surprised cry as both my hands were grabbed at the wrist.

Typhon had turned and grabbed me and was now looking at me intensely. I gave a startled expression and desperately thought back to if I had done anything to make him angry. I actually thought I was doing an okay job so far, so I was little taken aback that he had stopped me.

“Now, take off your clothes.” He commanded, rolling over.

As he rolled over, his dick, which was considerably above average, sprung up, zigzagging back and forth before standing straight with vitality. The man himself let go of my wrists and lied back, clearly expecting me to take it from there. I could barely fight back a grin as I look down at his erect penis and began ripping off my clothing.

Finally, I had reached something that sat within my comfort zone!

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