“And that is how babies are made.” Tally said to Jaxan with a self-satisfied smile.
I’m still not sure how things ended up like this. Our bed is currently occupied by three people, but there were only two participants in tonight’s activities, being my wife and I. Jaxan was here, and according to Tally with good reason. This is this world’s version of sexual education class.
According to Tally, she learned about the bird and the bees in the same manner, and that it was her duty as part of the Oath that made up the slave contract to teach her these things. The others are to feed her at least one meal a day, and to provide shelter. Rather than make it an obligation by that trash Goddess, when we go to Zedron’s tomorrow, I’m ordering a bed. That’s something my wife at least didn’t fight me on. We’ll all also be in the market for some new clothes for everyone.
“Is it normal that my entire body feels hot right now, Mistress?”
“It’s perfectly normal, Jaxan. I also felt the same way you must be feeling right now when I observed it for the first time.”
“H-how does it feel afterwards? You aren’t in pain?”
“Mm… Fulfilling, I’d say. And it’s only for a few moments the first time you do it that you will feel the pain. When you take a husband, your body will naturally adjust to suit receiving him, and it won’t be painful again, barring some rough activity.”
“Rough activity? You mean that wasn’t rough, Mistress!?”
My wife giggled.
“Not at all, it was quite tame.”
Jaxan pulled the covers right up to her neck.
“A-and I would have to do that every night for my husband!?”
“Not every night, and not during your moon. When did you have it last?”
“It passed six days before I arrived here.”
So… about sixteen days until her next one? Wait, why am I calculating the ovulation cycle of a child!? The only eggs which I need to be concerned about right now belong to Tally! It was this sneaky business right here that’s putting the next nine months at risk.
“As you live here, you will find your moon aligning with mine over the next few months, so do be aware of that. As I’ve just had my own, it won’t be for another twenty days or so.”
I sighed hearing her call my wife that.
“Jaxan… from now on call me by my name.” My wife quickly caught my discontent.
“You mean I should call you Mrs. Ashford?”
“Un. Gardavan is from a noble family, isn’t he? That’s why the Goddess didn’t omit his second name when they talked. She called him Gardavan Ashford, and as the Mistress’s husband, you would also take his name… so you would be Mrs. Ashford, right?”
Thalica rolled over to look me right in the eyes.
“Gar? Is this the truth?”
“How could I possibly be a noble? There aren’t any nobles in my homeland, just wealthy bastards that cause problems for the impoverished. That trashy scammer was the one who called me that, and you were the one to give me the name I’m using in the first place!”
“Hmm… Tally Ashford… Thalica Ashford… which one sounds better to you, Gar?”
“Thalica Ashford sounds a bit intimidating, but suitable for a noble’s name I guess. Tally Ashford sounds a lot more like this cute woman who makes delicious bread and lets me make love to her. But I will say that Mrs. Ashford also has a nice ring to it.”
“So then, that would make you Mister Ashford.”
“Mister Ashford, huh? Now I feel like some crotchety old man. Mrs. Ashford, won’t you fetch me my cane? These old bones of mine are stiff.”
Her hand reached down.
“Mmhmm… definitely stiff.”
“How indecently forward of you, Mrs. Ashford.”
She pinched my nipple.
She giggled and then rolled me over, with her on top.
“Now, we’ll continue the lesson on how to make sure your future husband knows that just because you are his woman, doesn’t mean you will always be beneath him.”
I’m pretty sure at some point, Jaxan pulled the covers the rest of the way up over her eyes.
I was sitting at the table in my room. It was late at night and since the store would be closed tomorrow, I wanted to check my work on the card game. There was good moonlight coming in through the window which made it easy to see, so I didn’t have to use a candle. The person who had called out my name was Jaxan, having gotten out of bed and approached me.
“Unable to sleep?” I asked her.
“Are you hungry?”
She held her stomach.
“Let’s go downstairs, I’ll make us both a late night snack.”
She nodded, following me out of the room and down the stairs to the bakery’s kitchen. Putting a few pieces of wood in the stove, I then ignited some kindling and waited for the wood to catch. I filled a pot with some water, and put a number of eggs and a pinch of salt inside of it.
As far as help in the kitchen goes, she’s capable enough. I had asked her if she would slice the bread, as the snack I was planning on making was none other than egg salad sandwiches. They sit heavy and will definitely put a person back to sleep.
“We’ll be going to see the Master Merchant Zedron tomorrow, and I’d like you to come along and play an exhibition match with Trev in front of him.”
“Wouldn’t that be a task better suited to the young mistress?” She asked.
“She’ll be playing too. I’ll actually be explaining the game to him in full during their match, but to see how the game can get heated… I’ll need someone who can play at a higher level than Nefe can, currently. And don’t pull any punches, I want you to aim to win against him from the start.”
“I will try my best, Mas–Gardavan.”
I put my hand on her head and ruffled her hair. Even if my wife claims that she’s a woman now, to me she’s just a fifteen year old brat.
“May… I ask a question?”
“Go ahead, nothing’s stopping you.”
“If you wanted nothing to do with me as a household slave, and care nothing of the Oath, then why are you abiding by it?”
“What do you mean?”
“You have made it a point of seeing that I’m fed, going as far as picking me up and putting me at the table with the rest of your family, when a slave is only supposed to eat afterwards. You’ve asked the mistress to give me clothes, and now instead of the ceremonial dressing, I was made to wear the Mistress’ fineries. And thanks to the paper game, I have been taught to read letters and some words now. If you despise me as a slave, why do these things?”
“Because you’re still a human, Jax. I’m not going to treat you cruelly, even if what I said that day may have sounded like such a threat. I love my wife, and I love the children, and I would hate, hate, for one of them to be in the situation you are in, believing it was the best, or perhaps only, option. You don’t have to explain your side of it, I’m not interested in attacking your beliefs. I just want to return to my peaceful life again, one that you are now a fixture in.”
“So it is because I am here then?”
“Jax, the common sense of this place is backwards to me. Do you understand that?”
“T-the Mistress… has said something similar.”
“In the lands I come from, a young girl such as yourself would be taken care of by the governing body of the land. You’d be placed in a home similar to an orphanage, or if you could prove you had a job and income as well as the ability to pursue education on your own, you’d be something called an emancipated minor. You could live freely on your own and not be bound as a slave. Maybe for you this is the easy way, and you see it as such because you’re still young, but will you be able to say the same without regret come even a year hence? That is why an apprenticeship would have been the better option. You would have been given all the things you needed as part of your oath, and more. And should you work hard, if the time comes sooner that a great opportunity presented itself, you could reach out and grab hold of it. As it is now, you are here for however long remains of your contract. You are given food, shelter, and a trade skill guaranteed by it, and I have no doubts my wife will fulfill that obligation, but what of money? What of the choice to pursue further education? What of the many opportunities a clever girl such as yourself will have to watch pass by, unable to reach out and take for herself? Opportunities and Time are two things that once lost cannot be regained.”
“But I have no skill to speak of, Gardavan. How would I be suitable for an apprenticeship?”
“The kind of apprenticeship I speak of is from the foundations upwards. It’s actually better that you would have no prior skills, because they can be developed the right way the first time without errors or bad habits forming, and from there you would have unlimited potential in where you could go. As an apprentice, all you would be required to do is come in and work from open to close a few days a week while learning the trade freely. You would be paid a wage in coin, and have the freedom to use the rest of your time for yourself. To pursue thing things in life you want, and not be beholden to anyone. As far as I know, your contract doesn’t specify such things as free time, the right to pursue the things you wish, and a wage, does it?”
She shook her head.
“That is why I am angry. You got fleeced out of your life for half of the value of your time in my opinion. That is the common sense of my homeland which saw this kind of system as exploitive and chose to make a better one. Time and creativity leads to innovation. Innovation pushes forward the advancement of society as a whole.”
With the eggs boiled, peeled and chopped, a quick batch of mayonnaise was made, and there were soon a few sandwiches for each of to eat. Scrawny as she might be, she had a good appetite, and with the meal out of the way, I left everything on the table and returned upstairs to get the rest of my precious sleep, something I had been missing quite a bit of over the last week.
Jaxan also rejoined the bed, safely on the other side of my wife.
For the first time in a while, when I woke up, the sun was already risen, rays of light pouring into the bedroom, stirring me up. In my arms was a warm body.
The only problem now, was that it didn’t belong to my wife.
The only thing stopping me from having a mental breakdown immediately was the sole fact that she remained in her brown dress, and my pants were firmly cinched tight around my waist.
Jaxan was nestled into my body and rather than any immoral feelings, what was there was one of sympathy. I wanted her to have a better chance at life. So, I thought about it long an hard, if there was not some way to invalidate this oath, so that rather than be a household slave, she could instead be an apprentice to me some days, and a personal assistant to my wife on others. Baking bread isn’t an all-consuming trade. Once you learn how to mix the dough, and fire the oven, it’s pretty much the same thing day in and day out. Innovating things like what to make with the dough instead of just brown bread…
I felt my stomach gurgle.
How is it, that since I’ve been here I’ve failed to realize that I can have my cake, and eat it too? One of my favorite morning foods is a nice warm bagel. And since bagels are but a cousin to a doughnut, I decided that breakfast today, was going to be fun.
Carefully extracting myself from Jaxan, and not seeing my wife anywhere in the room, I got dressed the rest of the way and headed downstairs. She was nowhere to be seen there either, so I went upstairs just to peek if she was in the children’s room, and that wasn’t the case either.
Did she go out somewhere?
Even if she did, I would have no idea where to look for her, so instead of worrying, I got to work reheating the water I used for the eggs last night, and began mixing a simple dough for bagels. As it’s essentially the same type of dough for doughnuts, I also added a bit more sugar to the second mix and put a small amount of oil into another pot on the stove. I’d make them after setting the bagels in the oven to bake after their quick boiling.
After all, bagels that aren’t boiled are merely a roll with a hole.
I was just making basic doughnuts, though if I could create some kind of injection contraption, the possibilities of jam-filled doughnuts were certainly possible. Starting the fire in just one of the two ovens we had, I got to work quickly on making breakfast.
It was when the bagels came out of the oven about a half hour later, that Tally had returned. The face she wore was a bit sad.
“Something wrong, Tally?”
“No, not me anyway. I was visiting Mrs. Windie this morning.”
“She was thinking about letting her husband take a second wife.”
“Polygamy?” I asked, rather shocked.
“It’s not uncommon. Her husband is well off, but a second wife is always a sore point to a woman.”
“That’s one thing you don’t have to worry about with me, Tally. I’m a one-woman kind of guy. You’re stuck with me, and there’s not a damn thing you can do to pawn me off on someone else.”
Her stomach growled.