That night, Master took out his frustration and anger at Rosalind on my body.

To preserve the honour of my husband, I will not record the details of the acts that were committed upon my frame. Suffice to say, it was not the first instance of such violation, nor was it to be the last.

When at long last Master had sated his thirst for violence, he stood up, leaving me shivering on the floor of his hidden office.

He strode towards his desk and removed a small box from a drawer, placing it on the desk. As my shaking subsided, I regained my strength, but I remained on the floor, seeing as I had not been given the order to stand.

“Get up.”

I obeyed. Waiting on the desk in front of me was an open box with a ring inside. The ring was a simple silver band with a dark purple crystal in the middle. I knew the ring well. I wore an identical one on my hand. It was the tool of my enslavement.

The rings had probably been created by some sorceror centuries ago. Master had uncovered them in the ruins of a tower filled with numerous traps and golems. After an expedition that had cost dozens of lives, Master had finally reached the top of the tower and found the skeleton of a man, along with two rings and a stack of research notes.

The rings were a powerful item that bound their wearer to whoever had given the ring to them. Although they only worked on women, the rings bore immense power. When the target slipped on the ring for the first time, they would slip into a trance-like state for 10 minutes. During that time, any instructions given by the person who had given them the ring would become engraved in the person’s very soul, making the person unable to disobey them. A sinister item, indeed.

Once the trance had faded, the ring would lose its power and become an ordinary piece of jewellery. However, any commands or instructions given while under the ring’s trance would remain ingrained in the wearer. The ring on my hand had become nothing more than a decoration, but Master desired that I wear it at all times, to prove that I belonged to him.

Master pointed to the ring.

“So she has decided to stand against me. Despite all I did to help her gain her current position. Very well. If that woman will not cooperate of her free will, then I have no need of that will. I was hoping not to waste as valuable treasure as this on her, but securing her loyalty will mean my victory. It is a sacrifice I am willing to make.”

I looked at the ring wordlessly, waiting for Master’s orders.

“Take this ring and make Rosalind wear it, by force if necessary. Then read this to her.”

Master placed a small card with various things written on it next to the ring.

9 years prior to that day, as I lay crying in an alley, I had been approached by Master, who had offered to give me the ring. The words he said back then had completely changed my life.

“Become my obedient puppet.”

That was the day I had ceased to be human and became simply a doll for Master to use as he wished. I moved as he wished and said what he instructed me to say. Nothing more, nothing less. No emotions, no will, no thoughts. A perfect doll. It seems that I was a test case, to see how powerful the ring’s effect was. Master often talked about how I should feel honoured that he had seen fit to use me as a test for such a powerful, rare item. Of course, I had no actual ability to feel the emotion of pride, so I had simply displayed the outward signs of such to obey my Master’s directive.

Now he was ordering me to do the same to another.

Naturally, I accepted the mission. A puppet does not question her puppeteer. My only purpose was to move as my Master desired.

The next day, when Glint had left the mansion to handle some business regarding the management of the Ezov, I approached Rosalind at her table, tray of tea in hand, ring hidden in the pocket of my apron. As I entered, Rosalind looked up and narrowed her eyes.

“Ah, Alpha. I was just hoping for some tea. Come on in.”

I placed the tea tray on her table and poured out a cup. The thought of putting her to sleep with poison in her tea had crossed my mind, but the ring required its target to be conscious, so that was not an option. As I served the tea to her, Rosalind suddenly spoke.

“Do you really have to do this?”

Had she somehow noticed what I was intending? It was impossible. I had no expressions nor emotions. There should have been nothing to give me away. I decided to ask for clarification, in accordance with Master’s instructions to avoid suspicion.

“What do you mean, Your Majesty?”

Rosalind smiled and sipped her tea.

“I can feel it, you know. That immense, evil magic leaking from your apron. You’ve got one amazing item in there, don’t you?”

The mission had been compromised. I decided to abort plan A of having Rosalind wear the ring under the pretense of matching it with her dress, and moved on to plan B.

Tendrils burst out from Rosalind’s shadow, binding her to her chair. She continued to smile at me.

“I guess that’s a yes?”

I did not answer and instead locked the door, then rapidly approached her, reaching inside my apron for the ring. For some reason, despite being bound by shadows, Rosalind was not resisting or showing any sort of fear. She simply closed her eyes, completely relaxed, waiting for me to slip the ring on her finger.

She said only one more thing as the shadow covering her hand dissipated, leaving it free.

“Come then, Alpha. Let me feel your pain.”

I did not respond and slipped the ring on her finger. The stone on the ring shone with a deep purple light, then Rosalind’s body slumped in the chair, her eyes open and unfocused. I retrieved the card from my apron pocket and read the instructions to her. They were far longer and more detailed than what Master had said when he had enslaved me.

“From this day forth, you are Julio Kronschild’s loyal servant. You will serve him with every fiber of your being. You will not refuse him anything. You will not disobey him in any matter. Your highest priority is to serve Julio Kronschild. You will conceal your loyalty and servitude in public, but when none are present besides you, Alpha and Julio Kronschild, you will accord him the respect and devotion you owe to your Master. Repeat these lines.”

Rosalind’s jaw slackened, and she began to speak in monotone.

“From this day forth, I am Julio Kronschild’s loyal servant. I will serve him with every fiber of my being. I will not refuse him anything. I will not disobey him in any matter. My highest priority is to serve Julio Kronschild. I will conceal my loyalty and servitude in public, but when none are present besides me, Alpha and Julio Kronschild, I will accord him the respect and devotion I owe to my Master.”

With this, my task was complete. I waited the full ten minutes for the light of the ring to fade away, then undid the bindings of Rosalind, whose eyes were filled with purpose. I asked the confirming question.

“Rosalind Kronschild. Whom do you serve?”

She turned to me and blinked, her face bearing an expression of rapture as she came to recognise her new purpose. Then she replied with fresh conviction in her voice.

“Master Julio Kronschild is the only Master I serve.”