Chapter 238Sixteen Scents

Hitori just put his head on my shoulder while Nuru snuggled closer against me on my lap. She really enjoyed this it seemed. She closed her eyes for a moment as if to remember something. Then she started talking in a far-away voice, reliving her dream.

The dream started in a plaza, there were people walking around in togas and it was really sunny, hot even. Buildings looked nice and bright, walls painted white reflecting the sun with lush ivy providing some shadow and contrast.

I was like a ghost, no one appeared to notice me while I walked around. There were a few other dark-skinned people around but most of them appeared busy carrying scrolls or paintings around to somewhere else.

Like only a few women present, I was naked, my dark skin almost in disarray with the light. But everything felt safe. There was a gentle breeze going through the city, bringing a warm, gentle smell of the sea with it and tickling my skin.

There were many other smells though, the sharper smell from ink, the soft smell of parchment was all around. Food and spicy wares filled the air as well. If I closed my eyes I could almost see all the smells like a brilliant painting of the city.

Someone grabbed my hand.

"Come on! You're going to be late."

To be honest, I wasn't sure if it was being spoken in English as such, my ears told me it wasn't the same language. But I guess my dream translated it for me.

"You know the master doesn't like it if you walk alone through the city. There's enough men that would gladly take you."

I blushed.

Somehow time shifted. I wasn't sure if we'd walked all the way to a mansion in the city for hours. The sun had gone but the warmth still remained, stored by the ground and the walls, felt with every footstep.

The house was different.

Inside the tiles were cold, they'd been in the shadow all day, but not unpleasantly so. The smells here were very different as well, a mix of incense and spices. Strangely enough they didn't make me feel hungry at all. Had I eaten in between?

I was still without clothes, walking around the house where boys looked up at me with blushing faces. Most of them were very young, no older than perhaps eight or nine, all of them drawing or painting something. As I walked further I saw paintings with beautiful colors and sketches of fine detail done by a master. It was obviously meant to inspire those who worked on their simpler tasks.

Then the master came...

Hitori and I were fascinated and almost pulled from the dream when she interrupted, her voice heard closer instead of so far away.

"Am I doing this right, Miss Amy?"

I giggled softly. "Yes, please continue."

She nodded and closed her eyes again, her voice once again soft...

The master came, I felt a strong blush as his deep eyes rested on my body. He smiled warmly as he walked closer, past all the beautiful paintings that must be his work. He looked at the woman who'd brought me in, she didn't look at him directly but bowed her head slightly.

"She wandered off again?"

The woman nodded.

"She really is curious." He turned to me. "Please do not wander off without company. You are free to wander the city, but some will try and take you away to places you do not wish to see."

I hung my head as well. "I'm sorry, Master."

He lifted my chin with his finger and smiled. "Well, just learn from your mistakes. Come, I want to show you something."

He walked in front of me, leading me to one of the closed off rooms in the mansion. There was a wall-painting all along the left wall, reaching to the ceiling. It was a beautiful garden of Eden, painted in such detail that it almost looked like you could step right in from the room. Like a window into another world.

The master looked at me. "I want you to be in this painting."

I blushed, proud he would choose me for this image. "Should I get dressed, Master?"

He shook his head. "Of course not, what purpose would shame fulfill in a painting like this? Just stand over there."

For some reason I knew what he was looking for. He wanted a girl walking in the garden, her hair lightly played with by the wind, careless and free. I picked up a red piece of cloth from the low table and folded it in my hands as if I was holding a flower, looking at it in wonder. The master was pleased, a smile on his face as he picked up his brushes and a palet, walking to the wall and starting to paint.

Time went by like a breath.

He had painted a perfect picture of me in the garden, the sunlight playing on my hair like it did the leaves, the flower in my hand a beautiful flower I could not place. The smells of the garden almost reached me through the wall, sounds of the water it the distance almost reached my ears.

As I stared at the wondrous image, the Master put his hand on my shoulder and gently caressed my arm. I shuddered lightly as I felt his kiss on my neck and the feeling of lightness as he took from me.

I was thankful for this master.

Thankful I was allowed to be here, thankful for the love he showed me in his paintings and his simple actions.

The dream faded away...

Something nagged at me. "Nuru, did you know the Master?"

She shook my head. "No... Well... maybe. There were no names in the dream."

"But?"

"I think it was Afentis."