The carriage ride was unbearably long for Mykel. He kept thinking of his ever-approaching demise, Astarte’s eyes a constant reminder.

They skidded to a halt in front of a large, gothic mansion. Mykel was unchained and shoved from his seat onto the ground. Worms grabbed him and hauled him in through the front doors. Pushed to the ground yet again, they disappeared. And then he was in the arms of two very pretty women who smiled kindly at him. He was jerked to a white marble room, in the center of which was a bath. They scrubbed away seventeen years of grime in less than two minutes. They primped and pampered for what felt like forever before he was placed in front of a mirror.

All in all, he had to say he wasn’t bad on the eyes. They’d cut his light brown hair to a manageable shagginess. His face was clear of blemishes, resembling the pure marble he stood on. They’d even given him new clothes.

“My, what a transformation,” Astarte drawled from the door. “Are you ready for dinner, Mykel?”

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