“What the hell were you thinking?”
Maciste hissed through gritted teeth. In anger at Menander but also keeping his voice down. The driver’s whip hissed out whenever they caught them talking. “Slacking” they called it. Not putting their full effort into hauling the cart along. And it was always Menander’s back that caught the sting of the lash.
“What the hell were YOU thinking?” Menander hissed back.
The driver was attentive. The whip cracked. Menander’s head lifted under the bite of leather taking a snap out of his straining shoulders.
“Gobs shut there! Work, cocksuckers! No slacking.”
The Parthian army had moved out. Maciste had been forced into this role of replacing oxen .. the Parthians humiliating their “prince-slave” by making him a beast of burden .. hauling a cart.
Things had not been going to plan. Maciste’s trick of making out he was the rebel prince Menander had worked. They were convinced. True, they’d turned all their hatred for the rebellion on him. Brutally beaten. Severely tortured. But Maciste had still been keeping up his dogged defiance. He was not making this easy for the enemy.
That was when Menander had turned up. The true prince. Caught .. probably planning to rescue Maciste. But the Parthians were sure they had snatched some fuck-head of goat-shagger trying to steal food.
Just at the wrong moment. The Parthians were moving out. Taking their “enemy prince” back to face the music. Back to the emperor. For Maciste to face execution. And assuredly a messy death. But Maciste had kept on playing defiant. Refusing to haul the cart. Not what was expected of a prince.
He couldn’t believe his eyes when the Parthian general hauled out “that peasant thief.” Menander. His friend. Maciste’s whole aim had been to keep Menander’s muscled hide safe. HE had put himself out as the rebel prince. Taking the risk. So that Menander could carry on the fight-back. And here he was.
No choice. Forced to capitulate. That Tiradates, the Parthian general was so excited about having the rebel prince in his grip .. Tiradates was getting off on shoving his captive around .. forcing him to do what he was refusing. Blackmailing him with the women hostages .. forcing the captive against his will.
Tiradates tried his luck. Ordering the prince-slave to start hauling that cart. Or this thief lost his head. Just some goat-shagger. But was this weakling prince going to stand by and watch his head chopped off? After all, the prick had risked his life to save a bunch of goat-shagger whores.
Maciste knew Tiradates was trying it on. He’d ordered “the thief” decapitated. Daring Maciste not to recant. Unbeknown to Tiradates, unless Maciste caved-in .. the true prince was going to lose his head. Unless Maciste stuck himself into those manacles and started hauling arse. If only that damned general had known ….. Tiradates was successfully using the true prince as a bargaining chip. Forcing Maciste into acting the slave.
Maciste caved-in. That general was about to decapitate the real prince. No choice. All that Maciste had worked for these past hours … the beatings, that torture over the burning stone .. all for nothing, thrown away, wasted.
Seething, Maciste had given in. As much furious with Menander for backing Maciste into this corner as with that Parthian general who seemed to read Maciste like a book.
Reluctantly Maciste let the Parthian think his prince-slave had swallowed his pride. He’d eaten shit. He got a hard-on from his triumph .. lording it over his prize .. sneering as Maciste stuck his own wrists in the manacles on the cart. And starting hauling shit.
“What you think you’re playing at?”
And since, the pair of them had been roped into hauling the cart .. bound into hard labour .. doing servitude together. Hauling this overloaded cart through the sweat and the heat. The “goat-shagger” paying for his thieving crime. The “rebel prince” inescapably manacled to the cart.
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