Her consciousness returned, and she knew that someone had pulled her out of the water. She could still hear the sounds of a scuffle and she opened her eyes and looked in its direction.
It was a Hellenic boy dressed in commoner's dirty linen clothes, and he was soaked from head to toe. He was wrestling the assassin the best he could, but the assassin was gaining. The boy's back was arched back, while the assassin was pushing him back against his shoulders and his hips simultaneously, in an attempt to break his spine through the application of sheer strength. The boy was well aware of his predicament, and was no warrior. Terror danced on his face, as rivulets of sweat threaded down his cheeks.
The princess leaped up, in all her naked glory, and ran behind the assassin, who tried whirling while maintaining her grip on the boy. The princess used both her hands' index fingers and stabbed the eyes of the assassin in one sharp, very improbable jab. The assassin reeled, and dropped her hold on the boy, and fell back screaming in a strange tongue. She turned and ran into the dark corridor that led to the secret passages of the palace.
There was no point in giving her pursuit personally. The princess knew she'd have to call her guards. The princess whirled around from the direction of the assassin's flight, and faced the boy, who had fallen to his knees, and was panting. He flashed her a grateful look. She nodded. He had saved her life, so he owed her nothing. Then he looked down at her body, and she glared at him, willing him to look away, while she covered her breasts with one hand and her nether region with another, while looking for her clothes. He pretended to look away.
General Mohal looked very worried. After his secret meeting, he returned to his quarters and slept for several hours. He didn't even have the stomach for his usual sexual games. He was told by someone that one of his young slave girls had died. Somehow he didn't remember that, but it didn't matter. Slaves died every day; such was their lot.
All he could picture in his mind's eye was the gigantic abyss that he had been facing, and the sheer monstrous power of the entity that he had sought the aid of. He was very worried. The presence of this entity was something else, and there was absolutely no question of denying this entity anything.
The entity's demand was terrifying. The general knew that denying it wasn't an option. If he acceded to it, however, he wasn't sure that he would retain any shred of himself. The entity may consume him as part of the process.
He slapped the slave girl who had lived through his nocturnal sadism, venting his frustration. He was surprised. She looked a lot more resilient today, and seemed to have healed more than humanly possible. He grinned to himself. He was surprised for a second. He thought he saw the girl smiling. She wasn't now. She was looking down.