10. The Queen
Danielle and some classmates were having lunch in the campus, enjoying the fresh September air. Each girl was sitting on her slave's back, including Monica... who was 16 now!
Monica's new slave was devoted and well trained, but small and weak compared to Steven and other first-choice 'products'. Her mother had chosen the minimum build allowed for Monica's weight (who was about 120 lbs, just like Danielle), because overprotective and afraid about rickshaw speed. But Monica had become really demanding, after using Steven and Marjorie's slave during the holidays, so now she was unhappy about her new slave and really angry with her mother.
"He's not strong enough for my needs!" she was just saying, careless about the nasty looks of some classmates (whose slaves were at the same level). "I can't accept to be afraid about what he can tolerate. I want to feel free to use him as I like, with no limits! You know what, girls? This has to be over. I'm going to purchase nastier spurs and whips this week-end... so he'll progress to a better performance or die... and in this second case I'll be justified in claiming a new one."
Danielle felt sad for her best friend's bad mood, but also a bit worried: Monica was becoming more and more sadistic. Their journey back from the holidays had been a bright example, but the worst was happening now with the new slave! Monica used to lend him to the fattest and heaviest girl of the school, required no-stop galloping when riding on his shoulders, always found new ways to humiliate him. She still got to school with Danielle every morning, because Steven was faster even with a fully loaded rickshaw (and also because that time spent together had become a lovely tradition for the girls), while Monica's slave followed them, his collar fastened to the rickshaw with a short rope. One day, she asked Danielle to let her drive, then launched Steven to a crazy gallop with hard whipping, until her slave fell down and was dragged on the ground!
On the other side, Danielle was so happy with Steven! They were living a true love, with tender moments and wonderful sex, but it was absolutely secret now. Of course Danielle always had the full power to switch Steven from slave to lover and back. She was still a demanding, cruel owner. And the worries expressed by Monica during their journey were totally unfounded: Steven was still a perfect slave, perhaps even more devoted than before.
"Do you remember, girls? Next month we'll have the Queen visiting our city!" Monica said. "I heard that she owns an entire harem of slaves. How I'd love to donate mine to her... perhaps she would accept an exchange!"
"Royal slaves follow the Queen during journeys, carrying large palanquins with her ancillas. But tradition wants the Queen's personal palanquin to be carried by the best four slaves of the region she's visiting, borrowed from their owners. It's a big honor for a woman to have her own slave serving the Queen for a while" replied Audrey, one of the best students of the girls' class.
"I respect the Queen, of course: she descends from the progeny that founded our matriarcal society. But I prefer keeping my slave right here, under my ass... He's so comfortable!" said Danielle, smiling to her friends.
The letter arrived a few days later. Based on a report from the local slavery school, the selection made by the Queen's committee included Steven in the group of host slaves, meant to transport the Queen during the days spent there. Danielle's mother was enthusiastic!
"You know, Danielle, Steven is the youngest slave ever selected by the committee! They were impressed by the victories his instructor achieved during his training years. All the city will speak about our family!"
"Why are you so happy?!? I'll have to stay without him for days!"
"Come on, honey. He's just a slave! And you might go to school with Monica, using her new one."
"Please... Mum! We'd be faster by bus!"
"Ok, we'll find a solution. Of course we can't refuse to lend Steven! Oh... by the way, we're supposed to bring him to the slavery school tomorrow morning. He'll attend a special palanquin carrying course for 10 days, before spending about 1 week in the Queen's service."
"Tomorrow?!? No, please Mum! You can't do this to us!"
"Did you say 'us'? I understand you dislike to stay unserved, but about Steven... he's just a man! He's meant to be used by the female gender. Do you care about him?"
"Oh, no Mum, don't worry. I just meant that he's a very good slave, and I'm gonna miss having him in my service."
The risk to reveal her real feelings persuaded Danielle to end that conversation.
That night, after making love, Danielle whispered "I love you" into Steven's ear...
Twelve days later, the royal cavalcade was passing through the city. It was opened by dozens of armoured female soldiers, responsible for the Queen's security, who rode their tall and muscular slaves on shoulders. Then the Queen's ancillas followed: they traveled in groups on light open palanquins, each carried by eight royal slaves, and were all young beautiful women. Then the Queen. She sat on a golden throne, mounted on a huge wooden decorated platform carried by four slaves. Steven was the one in front, on the right hand side.
Danielle saw his face and understood the great effort he was performing, but she felt proud: that beautiful muscular man, chosen by the Queen in person, did belong to her! She was in shaky balance, but had a good view despite the crowd: Monica's slave was on hands and knees, and the two girls stood on his back with their high heels. "The Queen is amazing" the girls had to admit "even if not so young anymore..."
Queen Zenobia was 48, but still one of the most beautiful women on Earth. She was blonde, with deep blue eyes and prominent cheekbones: a feline face on the body of a Goddess. Everybody felt inferior and submissive in front of her, women included. And she was actually the only person in the entire Kingdom to own female slaves: her ancillas, who often became close friends of her. Their role was to spoil and serve the Queen in every way. The Queen's male slaves had to support the ancillas and were supposed to comply with all their orders.
The ancillas wore white gowns and threw flowers to the crowd, smiling and chatting. Meanwhile the Queen sat on her throne with a proud expression, greeting her people with a hand.
Once the itinerary through the city was over, the Queen asked for her travel palanquin: closed by curtains, equipped with pillows and everything for her comfort, it was considerably lighter and allowed the slaves to keep a faster pace. Of course the Queen couldn't put her sacred feet on the floor... So the four local slaves put down the heavy platform, then sprawled on the ground creating a human carpet up to the travel palanquin. Promptly the ancillas dried their sweaty bodies and covered them with flower petals. The Queen stood up from the throne and walked over them, while two ancillas kept her hands to give her balance and comfort.
The travel palanquin was much lighter: Steven and the other three slaves could efficiently carry the Queen for hours during inter-city journeys, while the empty throne platform had to be carried by eight royal slaves to keep their pace.
That day, they had to face the longest transfer: seven hours through a desertic region, before reaching the last scheduled city and being given back to their owners. After spending the morning alone with a good book, the Queen had some matters to solve, orders to give... so a series of ancillas and soldiers was called for audition on her palanquin. Open palanquins were put side by side with the royal one to let the women step into the royal one. Ancillas usually spent a longer time with the Queen, because they were considered as her main advisors. On the contrary, soldiers used to transfer directly from their slaves' shoulders to the royal palanquin and remained a few minutes, before jumping back on their human horses and gallop away to deliver dispatches.
This made Steven's afternoon much harder: the palanquin was always occupied by an average of three women at a time, while the slaves carried it under a shiny sun. Riding soldiers didn't hesitate to approach the palanquin and whip them, if they slowed down a bit. Steven's partner, the slave positioned on the front-left side, fell under one of those whippings and risked to make the palanquin overturn. Elizabeth, one of the senior ancillas, ordered the soldiers to replace him. He was chained and left in the middle of the desert, waiting for sunstroke and death.
The attack took place just minutes later.
A small group of rebellious men, heirs of the few who never subjected to the Female Kingdom, caught the cavalcade in an ambush. The Royal Army thought they were almost extinct, but those wild men must have stolen and unchained many slaves, since almost one hundred men were now desperately charging against the royal cavalcade. They were on foot, badly dressed and equipped, but ferocious.
The knights promptly spurred their slaves and went to face them, engaging a hard fight: the scene of women riding saddled men and fighting against pedestrian men was surreal. At the same time, four soldiers rode their slaves to the sides of the royal palanquin and launched Steven and the other slaves to a desperate gallop, with merciless continuous whipping. Their purpose was to move the Queen away from the battle, but the slaves couldn't be too fast because she was sharing the palanquin with two ancillas: the faithful and beloved Elizabeth, and the younger and cute Amanda. A group of men chased them and soon managed to kill three of the soldiers, their human horses and one of the palanquin carriers. So the fourth knight quickly dismounted, made her slave replace the dead one and jumped on the palanquin to update the Queen about the situation. Then the four women heard a scream and the palanquin took a dangerous angle again: one more slave had been killed by an arrow. Incredibly, the soldier jumped down and took his place: three men and one woman were now carrying the palanquin at the fastest possible pace, transporting the Queen and two of her ancillas to safety, away from the battlefield...