I got the idea for this from a short story I read back in high school (college if you are from Europe) I no longer have my tenth grade lit book, so I could not tell you the author or the name of the story. I will give you a line to Google. "I am Cossack." I do not know if Google can find it, but it is worth a shot. This is a standalone within the Marshe series set a few hundred years after the start of the series. I will not go that far. Shaking, Loren knocked on the giant oak door. A slave girl wearing a less than modest corset opened the door. "Can I help you, Miss?" "I-I have an interview with a Miss Cthrn at 13:00." Loren answered nervously. "Please follow me, Miss. Mistress is expecting you." The slave led Loren to the main receiving area. It was luxurious and tastefully decorated. Cthrn was an decorated porn star, and, no stranger to exhibitionism, her awards decorated the receiving room. Cthrn was sitting an overstuffed armchair having her feet worshiped by a completely naked girl. "Welcome. Welcome. You must be Loren." Cthrn rose and danced to greet Loren. Cthrn extended her hand. Loren curtsied gracefully and kissed Cthrn's outstretched hand. "It is an honor to meet you, Miss Cthrn." Cthrn took her seat and gestured for Loren to do the same. Cthrn addressed her slaves. "You two are dismissed." The slaves left. "Loren, I will be frank with you. You were the only decent applicant for the job." Loren just beamed. "Thank you, Milady. I can start whenever you wish. It beats just laying around in my apartment all day scanning the holos waiting and wishing the crooked cop would show up so I could do some work." Cthrn shook her sadly. "Your enthusiasm is welcoming, but unfortunately, now that I see you, I want to eat you." Loren almost lost her head and forgot she was now third class. "Forgive me, Miss Cthrn, but the job offer was to be your slave." Cthrn sighed heavily. "It is, but you are just too tempting to pass up. As a third class citizen, no one will miss you either way." "I guess." Loren replied disheartened. "The supermarket meat department said you are grade A." Cthrn replied, trying to cheer Loren up. It worked, a little. After a moment of awkward silence, Cthrn clapped her hands once. "I have an idea. Would you agree to play a game with me?" "What kind of game?" Loren asked suspiciously. "If you win, you are my slave, but if you lose, you know the rest." Cthrn answered. "What are the other rules?" Loren pressed. "My top three slaves and I will hunt you. I cannot be killed, only taken prisoner." Cthrn replied. "You know what happens if a second class citizen or less kills a first class citizen. You can, however, kill my slaves. For me to win, you have to die." "Very well. Where will you hunt me? I assume it would be to obvious here." Loren said. "Yes, it would. Fortunately, I have a private island I use for these games." Cthrn returned. "That does not seem very fair to me." Loren countered. "It may be a small island, but it is still a lot for four people to cover, especially being tropical and almost completely jungle, other than a small lodge and landing strip." Cthrn placated Loren. "Why do I get the feeling you are not telling me something." Loren said distrustingly. "I am withholding information. You will be unarmed while my slaves and I will be carrying firearms." Cthrn told the whole story. "When do we start?" Loren asked, her mood brightening. "I see no sense in waiting around." Cthrn pushed a com button. "Rachel, Clio, Quirelle, I need you in the den. Bring the guns girls: we have a live one." To Loren's great surprise, two of the girls she had already seen: the one who opened the door and the one worshiping Cthrn's feet. The third, Loren thought bore a strange resemblance to Cthrn. "Milady, forgive me, but the third girl, why do you look so much alike?" "There is no harm in the question. Quirelle is my daughter. She volunteered to be a slave when the company I started with fell on hard times, and I could not afford the rent on my apartment." Cthrn answered. "We leave immediately." The girls hooted and hollered like a horde of savages. "How far is it to the island?" Loren asked. "We will take the hover jet and arrive in less than ten minutes." Cthrn replied, leading the way. The hover jet was decorated just as luxuriously as the receiving area, without the porn credits. "Loren, once we land the game will begin. You will get a ten minute head start, so use it wisely and get as far away from the lodge as possible." "Why are you telling me this? I thought you wanted to eat me." Loren returned. "I do not want our little game to end in the first twenty minutes. The lodge is the first place we check." Cthrn said. "Oh, right. A fully furnished house would make a great place to stock up on weapons and supplies." Loren thought out loud. "You are correct. I have had too many girls try to fight me in there, only to be shot too easily." Cthrn continued. Quirelle set the jet down, and the game was on. Loren tore off into the jungle while Cthrn, Rachel, Clio, and Quirelle set up camp in the lodge. The requisite ten minutes passed, and Cthrn issued orders. "Clio, watch the house. Rachel, Quirelle, one of you go the north, the other south. If she makes the cliffs by nightfall, we will not catch her until morning." Loren saw the mountains from above and thought they were the worst place to make her stand. The four huntresses would have had the advantage of boxing her in and starving her out. Instead, Loren had stealthed her way back to the lodge, gathering flint and granite, and climbed a tree. Giggling to herself, Loren put flint to granite, making a flint spearpoint and a granite knife. Once done, she cut a vine and tied the flint spearhead to a decent sized stick. Once she was sure she was alone with Cthrn, then the fun would begin. Clio was the last to leave, finally heading into the house. Once Clio had the radio blasting, Loren knew she was safe to jump Cthrn. Loren waited for Cthrn to walk under the tree. Loren dropped to the ground and landed silently, sneaking up on Cthrn from behind. Loren brought the butt of the spear into the back of Cthrn's knees and sent her sprawling. In her fall Cthrn dropped her gun, and Loren walked over to it and kicked it aside as Cthrn picked herself up. "You sacrificed an efficient kill." Cthrn chided, charging Loren. Loren expected this and danced out of the way. Cthrn then took a more tactical approach and threw dirt at Loren eyes to blind her. She hit the ground and rolled forward, under the dirt cloud. Loren stood up and unleashed a flurry of kicks and punches at Cthrn, most of which missed or just barely connected. Cthrn's warrior instinct bubbled to the surface and returned Loren's attacks attack for attack, driving Loren back. Loren brought the spear in play again and used it as a staff, blocking attacks and delivering some of her own. The spear butt connected with Cthrn's stomach, knocking the wind out of her. Loren then knocked Cthrn to her back with the knife at her throat. By now, the sounds of combat and screaming over the racket of the radio had drawn Rachel and Quirelle back to the lodge to find Loren holding a knife to Cthrn's throat. Rachel and Quirelle leveled their guns on Loren, who issued an ultimatum of sorts. "Lay down your weapons. If you shoot, she dies." Cthrn issued the same order from the ground. "Hold your fire, girls. If you shoot Loren, she will twitch and slit my throat." Rachel and Quirelle slowly placed their guns on the ground, and Loren got of Cthryn and threw aside the knife. "I hate using those damn things in combat. It is completely barbaric." "You are no third class citizen." Cthrn said, sitting up and rubbing her throat where the knife had been. "Mistress, I was first class but framed, convicted, and stripped of my rank for a fraud scheme I did not commit." Loren replied. "I am sorry to hear that." Cthrn returned. "If you know who framed you and can prove it, I can restore your rank." "It is impossible, Mistress." Loren countered sadly. "She is a high ranking government official. It would take an act of Rachelle to bring her down." "Then, it is a damn good thing *I am* Rachelle." Cthrn said. "However, we can talk about this on the flight home." Cthrn turned to Rachel and Quirelle. "Rachel get that slacker Clio and tell her she is the inflight entertainment on the flight home. Quirelle ready the jet. We leave here as soon as you are ready." "Yes, Mistress." The girls said in unison before hurrying to complete their tasks. "What are my orders, Mistress?" Loren asked. "Your orders are to relax. This your time." Cthrn answered. "It is rare that I lose to a potential prospect. I lost to Rachel three years ago, and until you today, she was last." "Mistress, what strategy did Rachel use?" Loren asked as they walked back to the lodge, Loren following two steps behind. "Rachel chose an aggressive defensive strategy and set traps around the mouth of the cave by the river. The traps were designed to be lethal and killed a former slave and almost killed Quirelle. She was laid up for a month. I actually tripped a noose and hanged from a tree by my leg until Rachel cut me down." Cthrn explained. "I saw the mountain but assumed the subterranean caves had more than one exit and you could box me in." Loren said. "It is a system of caves with more than one exit, but the others are already blocked from cave-ins. The river exit is the only way in or out." Cthrn replied, standing there waiting for Loren to open the lodge door. "After you, Mistress." Loren joked, opening the door. "Never say that again." Cthrn said darkly. "Forgive me, Mistress. I was wrong to joke. After years of having someone do it for me, I finally get to see how it feels to do it for someone else. I could get used to this life: do things for other people, worrying about doing it right the first time rather than having multiple attempts to get it right, being the chair, the bookend, the table, and doing anything that needed doing." Loren replied. "You are not the first first-class citizen turned third class and then enslaved to say that." Cthrn returned. "I am not?" Loren asked. "You are not, nor will you be the last." Cthrn answered. "As I said, this is your time. Use it as you please." Cthrn reinforced. "Thank you, Mistress." Loren curtsied before grabbing some food. Loren went to the den to eat at Cthrn's feet. "Mistress, if I were to remain your slave, would you eventually kill me?" Cthrn sighed heavily. "I have killed slaves before. Whether you live or die depends on how hard and well you work." "Mistress, I was only asking because during the fight, I noticed you had a body count." Loren replied. "I do have a high body count." Cthrn returned. "I prefer executing slaves, but I have rewarded some slaves with death. Quirelle made herself a candidate for that, but I am not certain I can go through with it." "Mistress, I feel I have strayed too far and am looking at the gallows." Loren said. "You are, but I am fielding your questions anyway." Cthrn thought for a second. "Come up here for a moment." "Yes, Mistress." Loren climbed up onto the sofa. "Does the feel good?" Cthrn asked, brushing her fingertips along the back of Loren's neck. "Yes, Mistress." Loren moaned. "I could go from brushing the back of your neck to crushing the vertebrae in a second and would enjoy it." Cthrn replied. "I know, Mistress, but those last few seconds you crushed my neck would be heaven on earth." Loren moaned, louder still. Cthrn removed her hand, staring at her fingers while flexing them. "Get back on the floor before I do crush your neck." "Yes, Mistress." Loren replied downcast, climbing down off the sofa. "Who do you think framed you for your crime?" Cthrn asked. "I *know* it was Kimi Chong, but like I said in the jungle, only a miracle would bring her down." Loren answered. Cthrn grabbed the lodge phone off the end table and dialed a number. "This is Cthrn. Uh-huh. Holding." Cthrn reached down and began stroking Loren's neck reflexively. Loren moaned in pleasure, louder still when the caresses got rougher. "This Cthrn, Your Majesty. Kimi Chong framed Loren Cailen. I understand the lack of evidence makes this less than believable. However, go back through Loren's financial records again. I feel there are some bullshit credit card charges that go back to Chong's company." Loren started screaming as Cthrn started digging in with her fingernails. "Did you find them? Yes, Your Majesty, I will release her immediately." Cthrn returned the phone to the cradle. "The queen found those bullshit credit card charges going back to Chong's company. She will be dealt with, and you are free to go." "Thank you, Milady." Loren replied. "You no longer need to call me that. You have been reinstated, and I would like you to be my wife." Cthrn replied. Loren threw herself into Cthrn's arms, and they made out passionately, in the lodge living room, on the jet, in their mansion, and finally having rough sex in their kitchen, resulting in them braking multiple bones.