Just take the punishment! Neomee knew the entire dining hall was watching the spectacle. She was trying with all her will to coax herself into being submissive but was so angry that it was a losing battle.
Slowly rising to her feet to stand between the towering Cat and the menacing Slave Master, she licked at the trickle of blood that was seeping from the corner of her mouth. She knew she should have stayed cowering on the ground, but it wasn’t in her.
“I apologized. It was an accident.” She finally lowered her eyes and fought to keep them locked on the floor.
The Slave Master barked, “It was an accident? Is this how you address me?”
Leaving her chin low, Neomee raised her eyes to scowl up at the Slave Master. Seconds passed and she refused to supply the term ‘master’ that he sought.
“I’ll show you who’s in charge.” Angrily, the Slave Master lifted his hand to slap Neomee a third time, but just as his hand was about to collide with her cheek it was halted.
The Cat standing behind her caught the Slave Master’s hand before it could connect.
“Prince!” As if just now recognizing the Cat behind her, the Slave Master’s tone grew apologetic. “Please forgive me. I only seek to punish this impudent slave for her great disrespect to you.” The Slave Master was bowing repeatedly in a disgusting display of submission. “Please Prince. If you permit I shall take her to the quarters where I promise you Prince, her punishment will be severe for having interrupted your evening meal.”
Prince? Great! Of course he’s a Prince. I wouldn’t spill wine on just any old Cat now would I? Neomee’s frame was taut with tension as she wondered if the Cat was in fact a Prince or if that was the title given to all Cats.
“Leave it.” The Cat’s growled command left the Slave Master confused.
The Cat dropped the Slave Master’s arm and crossed to stand directly in front of her as if to shield her from the Slave Master’s view. Neomee couldn’t see the Slave Master over the Cat’s massive frame. She eyed the three black stripes painted down the expanse of the Prince Cat’s impressive back. She knew the stripes accompanied by the speckles painted on his broad shoulders were distinctly similar to the pelt pattern of the king cheetah.
The Slave Master reached around the Prince and grabbed Neomee roughly by the arm, “Yes Prince! As you wish.”
The Prince Cat locked strong fingers around the Slave Master’s wrist. “Leave her!”
“Prince, yes! Yes, my Prince.” The Slave Master backed away from the Cat and exited the room.
Neomee was actually trembling when the Cat turned to face her. Startled by his quick movement, she sucked in a breath before she realized she was staring. Quickly, she dropped her head and focused on the floor. She didn’t raise her eyes as the Cat lifted a large hand to her cheek and slid it down. Strong fingers lifted her chin, forcing her eyes to meet his. Then his index finger swiped across her chin to wipe the blood that trickled there. Neomee slowly backed away as the Prince lifted the bloody finger to his mouth and sucked the blood from the tip.