He frowned at her. “Pardon?”
It was the twenty-first day. Twenty one days since she had entered into agreement with the man, twenty one days of unsuccessful attempts at assassinating the Champion Standing.
While relating a religious story of her people, it occurred to her that he knew her name. The last week he had been addressing her by her name, instead of girl, or slave. She had wanted to confront him about it since the first time he called her by her name, but there was always something to distract her.
“How do I know your name?” he asked, regarding her, suspicious of her motivation.
“Yes.” She turned her back to him. “I do not recall telling you or your thugs my name.”
He shrugged his shoulders, he chose to indulge her in her line of questions. “A warrior has many needs,” he smiled. “I know the name of every woman in my harem.”
Nala’s face darkened. His harem? she thought with a morose scowl. He considers me a part of his harem? She mentally counted to ten before replying. “I am not a part of your harem.”
He seemed surprised at her tone. “Why are you angry with me?”
“Because I am not,” she emphasized the word by stamping her foot, “a part of your harem. I am merely…” She waved her hand, grasping for the word.
“My assassin?” he supplied, trying to be helpful, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth.
“Righteous vengeance,” she declared, “and I will strike you down as Seth destroys the unworthy.” She glared at him. “I am your murderer, Death incarnate. I shall be your punishment, your damnation.”
He smirked. A twinkle in his eye reminded her of a sky full of stars that at one time infuriated her, but as of late, she found endearing. “If this is damnation,” he replied, “then I do not wish for salvation.”
Nala ignored his flippant response and started to resume her story. “So a mound of dirt and rock rose from the ocean, and Atum, the first God on Earth, was born.”
She looked at him, face lacking comprehension.
“My name,” he clarified, “you have never asked.” He shook his head. “Not that anyone ever does.”
She blinked, but then realized his name didn’t matter to her. “How does that help me? I am privileged,” she spat and indicated the contrary, “to call you Mi’Lord.”
“No,” he responded quickly, “you do not. Please call me Shui.”
I am not going to call you that, she wanted to say, but held back the retort. “Shui,” she mumbled, the word tasted foreign on her tongue.
In that precise moment, she felt something between them change. He did not die by a thousand injuries, but her contempt had.
“If I am inclined, I will call you so,” she declared with confidence in response to his pained expression. “Otherwise, I shall call you Mi’Lord.”
He nodded acquiescence, and began to lose control of his fledging smile.
It frightened her.
It terrified her to admit that she started to see the human aspect of a man that craved to belong.