“Look at him.”
Tiradates growled like a mad dog at the woman. She visibly jerked, terrified.
Tiradates was pointing at Maciste. On his knees before him, hands manacled behind his head to the slave collar.
“Know who your brave rescuer is?”
Why would she, Maciste thought? A simple village woman .. never seen her prince.
“Be grateful, bitch. He stepped in and saved your stinking hide.”
The poor woman was beside herself with fear. Picked on, dragged here. Now she stood near-naked, in the grip of lewd enemy soldiers, threatened, exposed. Trembling with fear, dying of shame. Maciste doubted she heard a word that Tiradates had said.
“Come on, you stupid cow. Think. Who is this fucker?”
Maciste was feeling for her. But also .. when she was told who he was .. or he pretended to be .. their hope, their salvation was gone. Their hero-prince captured .. trapped in a slave collar like this. The word would go round like wildfire. Their hope of freedom …. wiped out. Demoralised. Their last remaining hope, their prince .. captive, abused .. enslaved .. looking like this.
Maciste heard Tiradates’ mockery.
“You know. Thought of like a god? The goat-shaggers’ HERO! The one fucker you all thought could save your stinking skins?”
Maciste somehow had to show that “Prince Menander” was not done-for. Show the woman that there was still fight in him. So the word got out. So she could tell the others .. hope was not lost. He could not allow for her to see her “prince” broken like this.
“THINK! Stupid bitch.”
Tiradates’ shout made her cry out, hands clutched to her mouth, sobbing. What she had gone through these days! Cruelly mishandled in these soldiers’ hands. And now this …
“Got it yet? Your HERO. Gonna save you. Gonna send these barbarian invaders packing.”
Tiradates was having his fun. He was getting off on terrifying the poor woman. She was sobbing, hysterical. Stood near-naked, surrounded by leering men. This enemy general bawling at her. Maciste’s blood was rising. That an innocent village woman was being tormented like this! This act done as much to torment him as to frighten the poor woman. Anger twisted in his gut. Busting a gut to help. But what could he do? Stuck down on his knees. His arms disabled.
“No god ….,” Tiradates mocked. “Look at him. What a fucking-hero!”
Tiradates had grabbed her by the hair. She screamed. He forced her to look at Maciste.
“Once you thought him your saviour .. this thing.”
He yanked on her hair. She yelled out.
Tiradates wasn’t doing this for her. His eyes were on Maciste .. clearly boiling with rage. Frustrated at his impotence.
Tiradates yanked her down by the hair.
“Give your prince a bow.”
His eyes laughed into the seething glare on Maciste’s face.
“Show your fucking-prince some respect!”