So, as I rarely have time to write at work now updates are a lot slower but I am getting them to you as soon as I can. Next chapter is well on the way. Any questions drop me a review or message and I will get back to you.

Enjoy, LD

xxxxx

When Emma had finished serving the queen's guests she padded over to the table and returned the pitcher, now empty, to its original position. A glance to her mistress received a slight nod of the brunette's head and the slave returned to her position by the queen's side where she sank gracefully to her knees.

Regina lifted the goblet full of cider to her lips, pausing in her conversation with her guests, they were joking at the expense of one of the soldiers that had been unfortunate to be thrown from his mount into the dung heap. Her left hand idly reached out to tangle in blonde tresses and her pet leaned into the touch. The hand didn't linger long, to show undue affection for a slave demonstrated weakness. Affection? Regina scowled, internally, her face remained passive as she picked a small piece of meat of her plate and casually offered it to the blonde. She liked the slave, as in she was proving very talented in certain areas and she was pleasant to look at. That was as far as it went.

Regina admitted feeling a proud sense of ownership for Red. The wolf was priceless to her, for both sexual and diplomatic reasons and also because of her various other skills. Her new pet had yet to earn that place but given time she may achieve a similar status. Her breath hitched as sharp teeth caught the tip of her finger as the next morsel of food was taken.

Emma hadn't meant to catch the queen's fingers but her mistress was distracted, her movements slightly erratic and the blonde had not been able to fully anticipate this one. Dark eyes swiftly found green and held them, a slight frown on perfect features. The slave never saw it coming, a harsh slap connecting viciously with her left cheek, the force enough to unbalance her, head snapping to the side and blood filling her mouth from where her teeth caught the soft flesh between them.

She didn't make a sound, the reflex cry of shock caught before it could escape. All she did was swallow the blood and right herself, balance regained, eyes down.

Red watched the drama play out and once again admired Emma's stoic acceptance of the queen's temper. The wolf had been on the receiving end countless times but it had taken her a while to adapt, at first she had felt both the physical and emotional pain, her attachment to the queen making it harder for her to bear punishment or displeasure. It took time to realise that she was nothing but a possession to her mistress, a very valuable and prized one but nothing more. That may not be so true now that Red had been in service so long, she knew the queen enjoyed her company and did shower her with attention when in the mood, attention not affection. Red had come to differentiate between the two, the second emotion one she rarely saw the queen exhibit, that was more likely to be received by her horse than any human.

The exceptions to the rule were the rare times she had been sick or injured, the queen always tended to the wolf herself, just like the first time she had been bought to the palace. Capable hands soothing her and the feeling of magic as it trickled through her body. Regina felt Red's gaze and looked to her wolf, her pet's expression probably more open than she intended it to be. The queen knew how Red felt about her, she loved her mistress but love was weakness.

The queen ignored her slave for the rest of the meal, no more food being passed across and Emma made peace with the fact that she was unlikely to have a full belly tonight, but thankful that Red had fed her so well earlier in the day, she would survive. Emma held her position, motionless except the slight rise and fall as she drew breath, awaiting the next instruction from her mistress. When it came it was a simple click of the queen's fingers, not even a verbal command, the slave stood and followed her mistress from the room as the queen left before the other guests as was the custom, to leave before the queen would be seen as a gross display of disrespect. Emma kept her head down as she walked behind her mistress, mindful not to tread on the serpent like train of her robe as the black silk slithered before her, an oil slick on the thick red carpets.

Dinner had not lasted more than two hours so it was still relatively early but Regina had a lot of tension she needed to relieve and the slave found herself led towards the queen's chambers. Once inside she dropped to her knees, her face stung and the inside of her mouth had swollen and was sore but Emma cold sense that the queen was tightly wound and that usually only meant one thing for her.

Therefore it was of little surprise when her mistress spoke.

"You vex me, slave." Emma did not reply as she had not been asked a direct question. "You perform your duties well the majority of the time but I just feel the need -," Regina narrowed her eyes, seeing only the top of the blonde's head. "Look at me!" Emma snapped her eyes up and met those of the queen. "You perform well, beyond expectations." A sigh and she stopped speaking.

"Follow me."

"Yes, Mistress," Emma dutifully followed the queen out of her chambers but they did not take the usual route back into the depths of the palace. Instead, the queen proceeded to the end of the corridor to where a large mirror was fastened to the wall. A touch and it swung back to reveal a spiral staircase which the brunette began to climb, her pet only a step behind.

The staircase appeared to be in the tower that Emma had mapped out to stand on the corner of the palace, it was what she found at the top of the stairs that unnerved her. The room they had entered was circular, the walls hung with black velvet drapes giving no indication if there were windows of not, the floor was stone but smooth and dark, black marble.

Two large, ornate wooden dressers framed the doorway but in the centre of the space was a wooden table like structure, a solid top approximately four by six feet supported by thick legs. What Emma wasn't keen on were the metal rings attached at various locations to the wood.

"Strip!" The queen commanded and Emma efficiently but not ungracefully removed her clothes, taking her time to peel back each layer, knowing the queen appreciated such touches.

"Up, on your stomach." Regina rapped her knuckles on the waist high wood and watched her slave cross the room, she was wary, that much was obvious.

Emma eyed the wooden surface for a second before doing as she was bid, climbing onto the piece of furniture and resting in it's centre on her hands and knees, unsure what was required of her.

"Down!" A sharp slap to her ass had her dropping immediately into a prone position, a second later she let out a small cry as she was forced into a spread eagled position, ankles cuffed to the corners, arms secured at right angles to her body and her cheek pressed against the slightly rough grain of the wood.

Regina stepped back and admired her handiwork.

"You look delectable, dear," she purred as she observed her pet. Once the initial shock wore off the slave relaxed, not even testing her bonds, knowing they would be secure, inescapable unless the queen chose to release her.

It was that surrender that pleased Regina the most, the total submission. Oh, it would have been fun to play with a more unwilling toy and watch them buck and fight and scream to be released as she broke them but today would be something different.

"Interesting," cool fingers trailed over the slave's back as her mistress examined her tattoo. Emma had not been able to see it properly so had no idea if it had begun to change, like Red's had. The queen was not forthcoming, Emma knew better than to ask but was curious as to what the queen had seen.

Sharp teeth pierced plump lip when the first blow hit, a hard blow of an open hand right onto the slave's sex. The next was even harder but came from a cane, brought down across the blonde's ass, another and another and another, so fast, so hard, so excruciatingly painful.

Regina admired the raised red welts on the pale skin, there was a shiver and a whimper when a soft touch of a finger traced the marks, the pressure light but sensations heightened. Emma was really struggling to keep it together. She had no warning, no time to get into her zone or expectation of the cane, a thing she disliked being used on her, it could be extremely brutal and the damage long lasting.

But, her mistresses touch felt so good in contrast, even better when a hot tongue laved over each stripe and Emma's sex clenched in response. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad? Maybe she had misinterpreted her mistresses mood?

"Ah!" Distracted by her thoughts she was unable to withhold the cry as she was hit again, tears coming to her eyes. She fucking hated the cane.

"Oh my pet, you disappoint me," Regina purred, once again touching the wounds and eliciting another whimper. It surprised her how -, uncomposed her slave was despite them having only just begun.

"This bothers you? After everything you've taken so far a little caning bothers you?" Regina enquired, fingers finding their way into golden tresses as she massaged her pet's scalp, taking note of the already laboured breaths.

"Yes mistress," Emma admitted her weakness, there was no point in lying and the way the queen's hand felt in her hair was soothing.

"Why?" Regina asked, keeping up the movement of her fingers. She frowned when her pet did not elaborate. "Tell me why." Emma sucked on her split lip, probing it with her tongue as she debated her answer.

"My thighs," she murmured and Regina frowned, glancing down towards the area in question, she hadn't noticed anything amiss in that area, all that she could see were the two cuts she had caused, still healing. She watched as her pet twisted her legs to reveal as much of the inside of her thighs as she could given her bonds. Regina kept her hand in the blonde's hair and moved so she could see more clearly and her brows raised at the sight before. More scarring, more scarring than undamaged skin in fact but it was very feint, the lines thin and pale.

"Who did this?" Regina felt the rage rise, more blemishes on her property! "Your mistress?" She growled, the woman must have been completely incompetent.

"No," the slave denied.

"Who?" It was practically a snarl and Emma jerked as the previously soothing fingers tightened abruptly in her hair.

"I was loaned out, he was an imbecile with no skill and a heavy hand," it was Emma's turn to growl. She took pride in what she did and sadistic bastards like that gave the whole community a bad name.

"So, he brutalised you like a piece of meat?" Regina summarised. "And left you with a permanent reminder of his incompetence?"

"Yes, Mistress," Emma relaxed as the touch became gentle once more and she found herself unconsciously pushing her head up against the queen's hand. Things were different here but in Emma's world, despite the dominant being the one to punish the slave or submissive in theory those submitting had the power of veto via a safe word. Unless that was taken away from them or ignored.

Here, the queen had ultimate power, safe words did not exist but she took pride in what she did and that was where Emma found a connection. Yes, she was brutal, verging on cruel but she had skill. The slave had no idea how she treated the others she 'played' with or fucked but from a professional point of view she admired the queen.

Regina absorbed everything her pet had told her and she could see the problem. Whilst she did enjoy causing others pain she saw no challenge in simply using brute strength, it was an art and one she had perfected. In situations such as these, with her slaves or other less or more willing bodies, the art was in manipulating them into accepting the pain and binding it to their pleasure until their psyche came to see it as one and the same. However, her newest acquisition was already of that mind-set when she arrived which allowed Regina to play much more elaborate games, ones requiring real stamina. To have her plaything less than perfect because of a heavy handed oaf made her very unhappy.

"Well, we need to rectify that don't we?" Regina murmured as she scratched at her pet's scalp. Emma relaxed. The words did not fill her with panic, instead she felt a sense of calm spread through her body and she went limp.

"Good girl," Regina sensed the submission and it pleased her, the slave was so in tune to her. Manipulation was one of her strengths and she would put that to good use tonight.

Xxxx

"Emma," Red's voice cut through the slave's slumber. "Emma?" Now a touch of concern as the wolf observed the slave. Stepping forward she placed a gentle hand on the blonde's shoulder so as not to startle her, waiting for a sign of recognition from bleary eyes before hastening to undo the leather straps that held her in place.

Emma awoke to a sense of loss, when the comforting pressure disappeared she was left feeling exposed and vulnerable until Red, was it Red? Yes, it was the wolf who threw a blanket over her .

"Easy," Red murmured as she examined the slave's wrists, holding them carefully in both hands, thumbs gently massaging over the pulse points to help the blood flow and relieve any pain she may experience as the blood rushed back into her hands. Emma was fully awake now but allowed the wolf to touch her and didn't move even as Red switched her attention to the blonde's ankles and feet, stiff as the weight not taken by the table had been resting on the balls of her feet all night.

"Ready?" Brown eyes surveyed the blonde as she lifted herself up onto her arms. Just a nod.

Emma was a little unsteady on her feet but after taking a moment to flex her muscles she was able to dress and follow the wolf out of the room, the ache between her legs still unquenched. Red observed the blonde with sympathy, the physical marks a vivid record of the queen's games but it did not explain Emma's mood. She was calmer and more withdrawn than usual, introspective.

"You will bathe in the Queens pool," Emma nodded, she really needed to get clean. "Then we will eat." The slave followed Red in silence down the stairs and she watched the wolf press a brick with which the mirror swung open. "I have spent many days here," the brunette turned and smiled in sympathy. Emma didn't reply, just kept her head down and when they reached the doors to the queen's rooms she ducked inside and began loosening her clothing, as she did not have any underwear it only took moments before she was shedding the garments and walking into the warm water.

Red watched, her observations were not sexual, just borne out of concern for her friend. The wolf could tell by the stilted movements that the slave was experiencing some, probably a lot of pain. The marks looked like they came from a cane and littered her pale flesh with narrow but deep bruises.

Emma fought through the discomfort and although washing her hair was a challenge she managed to lather and rinse it clean before taking a moment to herself, eyes closing and head resting back against the small indent in the pool wall that was for just that purpose.

The wolf gave the slave a few minutes privacy, she had earned it. Noises of the blonde climbing out of the pool reassured her that Emma had not fallen asleep, sure enough she appeared a few moments later, exiting from her own room in a clean set of clothes. Not a word was spoken until they reached Red's rooms.

"So, what's the plan for today?" Emma asked as she made short work of the eggs, bacon and bread that Red had procured for them. "And thanks, for this," she gestured at her plate.

"Well, I know you didn't get much to eat last night and the mood the Queen was in -," the wolf tailed off and shook her head. "It was unexpected," was all she followed up with. "Did she hurt you badly?" Red looked up from her food to ask the slave.

"Um, no. It was -," Emma tried to grasp the words, any words that she could use to describe the experience.

"It's alright, I think I understand,"Red saved her friend the trouble. "She likes you, a lot." Emma was slightly startled by the revelation. "You challenge her in a way no-one else had. Not even me," Red admitted ruefully. "I am guessing that last night she found some way to get into your head?" Emma didn't reply, simply nodded and they continued to eat in companionable silence. Their friendship was built on common ground and Red was proving a valuable asset to the blonde and a sounding board regarding her relationship with the queen.

"What's wrong, you're nervous," Emma commented as she watched the wolf's knee bounce for a moment, that was the third time since they had sat down at the table to eat. Red caught the motion and stopped it, frowning down at her plate as she picked at her food. "Is Greta visiting today?

"Done?" Red eyed the slave's empty plate and contented expression but ignored the blonde's question.

"Yup!" the blonde sat back and patted her stomach.

"Then we will pass through the kitchen on our way to the gates. And yes, I am to meet Greta," Emma stood and helped gather the dirty dishes, listening intently but concerned for her friend. "I requested leave from our mistress for the day and of course was obliged to explain what it was for."

"She wants to meet her?" Emma deduced.

"Indeed she does," the wolf sighed. "I have the morning to show her around, then after court -." Another heavy sigh and Emma sympathised with her friend but had no idea what to say, it seemed inevitable

"Am I to stay with you?" The blonde queried as they made their way down to the kitchens.

"No, I am to leave you with the Queen now we are done. She has some business to attend to before court," she was informed as they made their way to the kitchen.

Emma was a little tense as the entered the large room, voices softened and curious looks were thrown her way.

"I'm not imagining this am I?" She whispered to Red who frowned and shook her head.

"No," she focused, trying to discern the whispered conversations. "They all know who you are now," a pause. "They seem to admire you." Emma looked up, shocked by the revelation.

"They do?" She murmured softly, eyes glancing round the room to see only hastily averted gazes.

"Yes, it seems word has spread after the meal yesterday. You impressed those that were there. The wolves too," she added with a sly smile.

"Why the wolves?" Emma frowned, not understanding.

"She marked you," Emma was still clueless. "She rutted on you, thus marking you as hers in an extremely public way. Well, for us wolves. I had to warn a few off for paying a little too much attention," Red grumbled.

"Oh!" So that was why Red was on edge at dinner. Well, it explained the growling and exchange with the queen.

"Yes, I mean the collar marks you too but scent's more a wolf thing and she thinks like us so -," a shrug followed as they dumped their dishes with the others then slipped out one of the side doors, receiving a salute form the guard stationed there. A salute and a nod which Emma returned briskly, a raised brow and smile from Red confirming her suspicions.

"What? Do I still smell?" Emma hissed. "I bathed!" The blonde scowled and took a cursory sniff at which Red threw back her head and laughed.

"You stink," she chuckled. "All I can smell is blood and sex," she confirmed with a wink.

"Really?" Emma squeaked, taking a quick look around but there was nobody in close proximity.

"Yes, next time use the lemon scented wash, it masks the smell, somewhat." Another burst of laughter. "Ooof! What was that for?" Red was slightly winded from being backhanded in the stomach.

"You're a bitch," Emma growled, screwing up her nose as she scowled at her friend.

"You know it! But I don't think you are one to talk," Red flashed the blonde a toothy grin as she poked her in the chest with an elegant finger. "I don't recall you being top dog around here much. And if I'm not mistaken, who passed out last -."

Red didn't get a chance to finish the sentence as the slave surged forward and grabbed the lapels of her coat and pushed her against the back of the school house.

"Shut the fuck up!" Emma snarled into the wolf's face. Red was too shocked to do anything but stand there.

"Emma?" The wolf spoke softly, so as not to enrage the blonde further. "Emma?" This time the words sank through the tangled mire of her consciousness, her hands relaxed their hold and came to rest a moment on the wolf's clavicle before making a fumbled attempt to straighten the now crumpled cloth.

"I'm sorry," the slave murmured before turning away. "Take me to the Queen."

"No, what is wrong with you?" Red pushed off the wall with her shoulders and cautiously approached the blonde. "What's wrong? What did she do?" The wolf's words were quiet, she understood, or she thought she did.

"This is not me!" Emma cried as she threw her hands up, the ran them rather frantically through her hair. "This is not me!" The anguished words touched Red and she reached out a tentative hand to comfort her friend, a brief touch of reassurance before it was dislodged as the slave pulled back, green eyes narrowed, distrustful.

"Relax!" Red resorted to words to cut through her friend's distress. "Emma, calm down!" Finally the wolf was able to grab the slave's shoulders and give her a little shake. "Talk to me." They locked eyes and Emma realised she had been completely freaking out and took a deep breath, immediately centering herself a throwing up her walls.

"Nothing, it doesn't matter." The slave shook herself free and began to walk off, stride purposeful as she focused on the queen and allowed her pendant to guide her.

Xxxx

Next on The Collar

"Yes, I know what happens to pretty wolves who the Queen takes a fancy to," the words were light but the tone serious. "I would not have insisted on coming otherwise, if I was scared." Red frowned at the confession but it reassured her, a little, that the girl knew what she was getting into.