Minestra's sword clashed with the pirate captain's blade, matching his blows with equal force. Their blades rang loudly throughout the den of jeering pirates. Aggressively, she advanced on the swarthy bandit who had attacked her squad, forcing him backward. She was heavily outnumbered, and knew it. Success in killing the captain would not result in freedom, perhaps a swifter death, possibly a worse one, but submission?
"My lady," the captain addressed her, respect in his voice, "you are out numbered, and your fight is useless, surrender."
"After the way you murdered my squad?"
"You, milady, were our target. Aye, to hold you for ransom." He laughed devilishly.
"I know what you do with women prisoners. I have no wish to lose my innocence to a man as brutal as you." Minestra retorted
With their swords locked at the hilt in an overhead parry, the captain stopped, holding their weapons in mid-air, a test of strength. Their faces were only inches apart. "You lie madam, a woman of your beauty and age could not possibly be ... innocent."
"You murdered my squad by outnumbering them, then dare question my word and honor sir?" She pushed him away. Their swords clashed a few more times.
"If you are, as you say, a virgin, I swear a pirate's oath you'll not be touched by myself, nor my men. Lay down your sword, your life and honor are safe." Minestra's blazing brown eyes judged him. Knowing she faced no other option, she watched him closely and drew a hard breath, "Very well, Captain, I surrender, though perhaps death would be preferable."
Before she could drop her weapon, Minestra's sword was brutally jerked from her hand. Her arms were grabbed from behind and held tight to keep her from further resistance. Now she wished she had fought to the death. Her brown eyes turned redder, doubting the pirate's honor.
"Hold! Release the lady, I have given my oath." His men reluctantly obeyed and stepped away from her
He sauntered up to her and addressed her by a nickname she hated. "Now, Mistress Blaze, I gave you my oath. Not one of us will touch you if you are truly a virgin. However, I require proof." He glanced about the deck, an evil grin on his face.
"Proof?" Minestra questioned incredulously. A fearless warrior, she was known to be aloof where men were concerned. Few realized she was really shy.
"If you are truly innocent of a man, your worth is far greater to us on the block at Casino Star Shine's virgin auction than to the general who paid us to abduct you." The outrageous pirate laughed at her gullibility. With his nod she was again grabbed from behind, held tightly and her uniform pants quickly jerked down around her ankles revealing long slender white legs. Her face flushed red as her hair in humiliation. She was laid flat on the ship's deck, held by several of his men. Jeers and horrid remarks rumbled from the crew, discussing what her fate would be if she weren't a virgin.
The captain himself knelt and forced her knees apart as an outraged scream burst from her throat. She squeezed her eyes shut to force the terror from her mind. Minestra's stomach roiled in revulsion. Her eyes flew open when the Captain's hand caressed her bright red mound of pubic hair. "Oh my lady," his black eyes, on fire with desire, stared into hers. "I only hope you have not played me false, for if you have, I will be the first to sample this beautiful body," he laughed at her outrage, "but not the last."
To her further revulsion and humiliation, he opened her nether lips and looked at her sex. His face changed from a devilish grin to a more somber one. "The lady tells the truth, she is as innocent as a babe. I dare to say I am the first man to see her cunny since her father when she was born." He had the audacity to kiss her mound. "Sweet you smell, my lady." He winked at her. "Help the lady up and let her dress," he ordered. "She is worth far more to us at the auction as she is than any pleasure she could bring plus the money from the general. Put her in restraints and place her in the cell aboard my ship."
Fighting back tears of embarrassment, anger and frustration Minestra jerked her pants back up over her hips. Electronic restrains locked her hands the minute she fastened her pants. In a fit of rage she kicked the man who attempted to force her from her ship. Suddenly the captain's rough hands lifted her from her feet and tossed her over his shoulder. Her long hair almost touching the floor, he carried her to a small but clean cell on his ship and with little effort, tossed her on the bunk.
"Here's where you'll stay little Blaze!" he laughed. "And from now on that's what I'll call you--Blaze."
"You bastard!" Minestra raged at him.
"Actually--I am," he walked away chuckling at his own humor.
Minestra listened carefully for any tidbit of information to help her cause. Moments later she heard the pirate speaking with a woman general named Tra'vyn, from the Corlinian world.
"In my men's interests," she heard him tell the general, "I'll be selln' the lady to Casino Star Shine for their annual virgin auction."
"How dare you double-cross me!" The woman was angry, her loud protests clear. Minestra could hear them even in her tiny cell.
"Aw, General, bid for her like everyone else, you've the purse for it. You'll just have to get your king to clear it. Maybe you'll get her for a good price." He laughed and abruptly broke communications. Defeated, for now, Minestra sat on the small bunk in the cell. She drew herself into a tight knot trying to think of a way to escape. Having lost the six fighters she commanded, then to be captured, was bad enough. To be put through such public humiliation before leering creatures that called themselves men, was torture. She had a feeling the worst was yet ahead.
General Tra'vyn would want her for only one reason. The mineral Y-437 was recently discovered in abundance on her father's land on Kyross, her home world. If the general thought she could ransom her in exchange for the mineral, Minestra smirked, pacing the small cell, it would do the General little good. Their greedy, ruthless king would never allow her father to exchange even a small portion of that valuable mineral to save her life. Minestra knew too, her chance of escape was poor, either from the pirates or the casino.