"I'm sure you will, when you get back from the bandits. Or sooner, if you want an aeriko to carry the message. But I don't think you'll run back there right away, and you may realize later how necessary this was." Sophos wrapped his hands around my wrists and jerked me toward him.
Even barefoot, drugged, and dressed in see-through gauze, I was not a helpless ten-year-old kitchen maid like Tamar. I slammed my forehead into Sophos's nose, which promptly started streaming blood.
When he let go of my wrists, I punched him in the stomach. Swearing in Greek, Sophos made another grab for me; I dodged aside, but stumbled clumsily, and Sophos punched me in the stomach, twice. The first punch knocked me back against the wall; the second knocked the breath out of me. In the moment when I was struggling to gasp, he picked me up and threw me onto the bed.
"I'm going to kill you," I screamed as soon as I had air, no longer caring who heard. " This is not what I agreed to, you b.a.s.t.a.r.d! You pig!" I brought my knee up, aiming for his t.e.s.t.i.c.l.es, but he had seen it coming, and caught my knee in his hand, slamming it down against the bed. He yanked a knife out of his sleeve and held it to my throat.
"Hold still," he hissed. "It'll be over a lot sooner."
"You're going to cut my throat? How are you going to explain that to Kyros?" I had frozen momentarily under the cold blade; I was starting to sob- like Alibek, I thought-even as I couldn't really believe this wasn't all some sort of joke. This is a Greek officer. Kyros's friend. Kyros sent me here.
"I'll just tell him you escaped and must have died in the desert. That's where I'll dump your body, if I have to kill you," Sophos said. Keeping the knife at my throat, he ripped open my s.h.i.+ft with his free hand.
"Now spread your legs."
I had clenched my knees together when he'd grabbed his knife. When I hesitated, he cut me with the knife-not my throat, not enough to make me bleed to death, but a small, deep slice over my collarbone.
" Spread your legs," he said again.
I wanted to stare dry-eyed at the ceiling, unflinching and unmoving, but I wept, and when Sophos thrust his clammy fingers inside me, my stomach twisted and I vomited. He pushed my face to the side and let me dirty the bedclothes. "Slept with Myron. Heh. You're as pure a virgin as I've ever seen, for all that you're older than most I've met." His voice was calm and conversational. "It's actually a little surprising, given all the time you've spent on horseback."
I had no idea what he meant. "Please," I whispered. "Don't do this."
He had slipped the knife back into his sleeve while I retched; now he untied his dressing gown and pushed it back out of his way. Then he lowered himself down and thrust inside me with a grunt.
" Stop!" I screamed. "It hurts. Stop,
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