The Shrinemaiden (The Maidens)

The Shrinemaiden (The Maidens) by Annie Eppa

Book: The Shrinemaiden (The Maidens) by Annie Eppa Read Free Book Online
Authors: Annie Eppa
it made her feel sad, to acknowledge that their lives would change soon enough.
    It was only five days afterward, when she was the only senior shrinemaiden in the rooms, did the high priestess finally summon her back into the office, to be assigned her new residence for the next month. As was her habit, the old woman made no explanation as to why there was a delay, and Adelai was wise enough not to press the issue further, though the headmistress must have known about her mounting frustration during the last few days.
    “Sandera here will bring you to your room.” She said, barely even looking up, and that was the extent of the conversation. There was no further explanation of what she was to expect, and there were no other details forthcoming. Gone was the mild sympathy she had displayed for Adelai back at the Sarcopian palace, and the girl was back to being treated like a non-entity. It was hard for Adelai to swallow her mounting vexation when the high priestess was being this impossible.
    No one had ever told her about what went on in the chambers underneath the temple, or even where they were located. The novices had never been allowed inside the inner sanctum, and it was even larger than she had expected. A small stairway leading up, found behind a simple-looking door, was the only indication that there was more to the temple than its main chambers. It, in turn, led toward a long corridor on the second floor that only had four doors despite the length of the hallway, and then toward another staircase.
    Adelai followed the matron, Sandera, down that new corridor, and then another set of stairs leading into the fourth and final floor. Here there was only one room at the furthest end, and the closer they neared it, the faster Adelai’s heart beat, wondering what could possibly lie beyond this door. She knew from the whispers of the shrinemaidens that had gone before her that their time here had been a pleasurable experience, but that was all they were willing to divulge. The trainers, they had said, had been handsome and strong, selected based on the girl’s own preferences. But again, that was the extent of her knowledge.
    Each shrinemaiden had been taught to prepare special tea to enhance their pleasures if needed. Adelai had consumed two kinds of tea - one that would prevent pregnancies and other complications, as she had done on the night of the bidding, and a tea proven to be an effective aphrodisiac. In her nervousness, she felt like she would need it.
    The room they entered was surprisingly large, certainly larger than she had thought it would be. There was a comfortable-looking bed in its center, and there were rows of tables lined up neatly on one end. With a gasp, Adelai recognized many of them as sexual toys of various sizes and shapes, and she was horrified to realize that she only recognized very few of these, and what they were for.
    Sliding screens formed one area of the wall. A pair of metal cuffs were attached to a sturdy piece of rope hanging down from the ceiling beside the bed, and she felt her knees go weak, partly from astonishment and fear, partly from barely repressed desire, at the possibilities. There was a faint scent in the air, an odd mix of eucalyptus, incense, and rose petals. The room had no windows, but the air felt fresh, as if being funneled in through some other unseen source. There was a small connecting door that led into another smaller room, which she presumed was allotted for bathing.
    There was no one else in the room, however. As little as they were told about the training that was to take place, she at least had known that some sort of trainer was to be present to offer their ‘assistance’. Adelai turned around, wanting to ask the matron this puzzling question, but the woman simply bowed and was already turning away, and she found herself throwing her questions at the now-closed door.
    “Finally,” a voice said from behind her, “I was beginning to think she would never

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