The radiant city lights obscured the stars on the autumn night. In the unremarkable-looking small bar, the discreet yet splendid three-level venue was brightly lit. The central area where the piano was originally placed was surrounded by curtains, forming a small white stage illuminated by focused lights. Club members dressed in lavish attire scattered around the venue, either sipping wine or engaged in conversations. If not for the kneeling slaves, one might mistake it for a live scene of a new season’s clothing launch.

       Xu Ye followed Chu Yu step by step with his head down. Before entering the venue, a 1,3-meter long black leash was fastened around his collar.

       As the owner of the club, every of the Earl’s appearances was closely watched, and naturally, his slave became the centre of attention. Despite his many traction exercises, this was the first time Xu Ye had formally appeared at the club as the ‘Earl’s slave’, and he was almost swallowed up by overwhelming shyness and tension. He anxiously followed the man in front of him, lowering his head to avoid the curious gazes that gathered. Unable to concentrate fully due to the combined effects of external distractions and internal pressure, he inadvertently collided with Chu Yu’s back when he halted to greet someone. The man’s glass of red wine shook, causing a few drops to splash onto the dress of a nearby lady.

       “I’m sorry, I…” Xu Ye instinctively apologized, but his words slipped out before he realized he was adding another mistake to his mistakes.

       In public places, a slave was not allowed to converse with others without the master’s permission. This wasn’t just considered disrespectful towards the owner, but it also carried the suspicion of seducing others.

       It was a major taboo.

       Xu Ye, who had hastily closed his mouth, looked at his master with fear and anxiety in his eyes.

       “Apologies for dirtying your dress. Tomorrow, I will have someone deliver a new one to you as compensation,” Chu Yu spoke with a courteous demeanour in his words and actions.

       “No thanks. Besides, it’s red anyway, so no one can tell.” The woman’s bright red lips curled into a playful smile, “It’s been a long time since I saw you, Mr. Earl. Your taste had changed, bringing along such a fresh and green fruit.”

       “I hope my mistake didn’t affect your mood tonight.”

       The woman smiled charmingly, “You’re being too serious, Earl. I have a performance later; I’ll go prepare.”

       “Okay.” Chu Yu watched her depart and walked towards the window.

       Xu Ye dared not speak and simply followed quietly. When the man made a gesture for him to stop, he obediently knelt down and bit onto one end of the traction rope handed to him.

       “Stay here until I return.” The man said only one sentence before turning away.

       Xu Ye knelt alone by the window, watching the excitement in the room that had nothing to do with him, and a wave of regret welled up in his heart.

       He shouldn’t have come here. If he hadn’t come, the incident just now wouldn’t have happened. His master wouldn’t have to apologize, and he wouldn’t have ended up being abandoned in this corner because of a mistake…

       The more he thought about it, the more despondent he felt. He sighed and looked down at the floor in dejection.

       “Interesting.” A male voice sounded beside him, “You’re the first among the slaves brought by the Earl to be left aside.”

       This mocking tone made Xu Ye even more depressed. He looked up at the other party, and it was a man wearing a V-neck long-sleeved T-shirt and ripped jeans. His hair was a light shade of brown, and beneath his swept bangs was a slightly sinister face. He sized up Xu Ye shamelessly and said to himself, “That’s right, instead of embarrassing himself with an untrained slave, it’s safer to leave the slave here. Being disliked by your master, your existence is meaningless to him. If I were you, I wouldn’t be so shameless as to stay by his side.”

       This person was clearly trying to provoke him. 

       Although he understood that the other party’s motives were impure, each of these almost venomous words pierced Xu Ye’s heart. He bit the leash and knelt silently, his hands hanging on both sides of his body tightly clenched into fists.

       “Have you heard how everyone describes you? Just one word—unworthy.” The man shook the cup in his hand and looked at him contemptuously, “Every slave that the Earl brought to the club in the past was the centre of attention, well-mannered, respectful, and courteous. But look at you, cowering and not even daring to lift your head, like a filthy thief caught in the act. It’s laughable.”

       His fingernails dug so hard that they were about to pierce the palm, Xu Ye tensed his body and forced himself not to care about those words but found that it was impossible to do so. He suddenly lifted his head, glaring at the man.

       “Don’t you understand? The Earl just took you as a slave to pass the time. He would never really like someone like you.” He leaned close to Xu Ye’s ear, and the man lowered his voice and sneered, “I heard he hasn’t even touched you yet. How pathetic.”

       Xu Ye was shocked and couldn’t hold it any longer. He tore off the leash from his mouth with his hands and said angrily, “Go away!”

       The man curled his lips into a smile, let go of his hand and let the cup fall to the ground with a crisp sound of fragments.

       The gazes of the people around them all turned towards them. Even Lion and Pharaoh, who were engaged in conversation nearby, looked over. Xu Ye’s gaze bypassed the crowd and met his master’s eyes. His eyes trembled, carrying a sense of grievance and helplessness.

       “An Xia.” Dressed in a black military uniform, Chu Yu walked over slowly, glanced at the broken cup on the ground and the traction rope that fell at Xu Ye’s feet, and said calmly, “What’s wrong?”

       “Sir, I just wanted to come to the window to look at the moonlight,” the man who had been so aggressive just moments ago now appeared innocent, stumbling over his words, “I don’t know how I provoked your slave. He yelled at me to get lost, and I was startled and accidentally dropped the glass.”

       “You’re the one who’s been provoking me!” Xu Ye was infuriated by the man’s blatant lies, his teeth gritted as he retorted. He turned to look at the man standing in front of him, and his body stiffened. Chu Yu’s eyes seemed to emanate a cold mist that chilled the room to a freezing point. And the person being stared at by those eyes was him. The silent oppressive force engulfed everything, making it difficult for Xu Ye to even breathe. He lowered his head, his clenched hand trembling slightly.

       “Sir, I admit that I approached him out of curiosity about your new slave, but I haven’t done anything to provoke him. He’s lying to you. Disregarding decorum, defying orders—someone like him is utterly unworthy of staying by your side.” The man called An Xia knelt down and looked up at Chu Yu, “Master, I’ve been missing you all this time, yearning for the days when you allowed me to accompany you. As long as you agree, I can be an even better replacement for him…”

       Xu Ye looked at the man in disbelief; he now understood the man’s intentions. He realized how easily he had been provoked, stepping into the trap set by the man’s words—it was foolish and laughable. He knelt quietly and looked at his master. The obsidian-like eyes shimmered with a faint, delicate glimmer akin to the shattered glass that held a fragile and transparent sadness.

       He silently pleaded for trust.

       I did not lie. Please trust me.

       At some point, this had ceased to be just a game. He began to be insecure, dependent and began to be afraid of losing. At this moment, Xu Ye felt that he was standing on the edge of the world, swaying in the strong wind. And the man standing in front of him became his only support. As if, when that man let go, he would plummet straight down from a towering cliff, broken to pieces.

       Silence spread, and the waiting turned into torment.

       When the man’s deep voice sounded in Xu Ye’s ears, Xu Ye couldn’t help but tremble slightly.

       “Mr. An, since the contract was terminated, there is no longer a master-slave relationship between us, so you don’t need to kneel before me.” Chu Yu’s words made An Xia’s face turn very ugly in an instant. He thought he would succeed with one move, but he didn’t expect that the other party would reject him so straightforwardly, making him lose face. He bit his lip tightly, stood up, and looked at the man in front of him with resentment.

       “According to what you just said, my slave has offended you, is that right?” Second Young Master Chu exuded a certain inherent authority in his words and actions, and the black military uniform added a touch of coldness and sharpness.

       An Xia glared at Xu Ye fiercely and raised his chin, saying, “Yes, Mr. Earl. And I think you should teach him a good lesson.”

       “First of all, I formally apologize to you.” Chu Yu said unhurriedly, “He belongs to me; regardless of what he has done, I will take full responsibility for all consequences. Secondly, giving him guidance and punishment is my responsibility, and there’s no need for others to bother.” He looked at An Xia with eyes as dark as night and smiled faintly, “Because this minor incident has disturbed everyone’s interest, how about I offer compensation?” After he finished speaking, he spread his right hand.

       Xu Ye picked up the leash and handed his hands to him. By now, he had settled down. When his master said the words ‘He belongs to me’, Xu Ye felt as if a certain door was pushed open, and the light that shone from inside made everything bright. He quietly followed Chu Yu onto the small stage in the centre of the arena.

       The man untied the leash from his collar and gave his first command, “Take off your coat and get down on your knees.”

       Xu Ye obediently followed suit, unfastening the leather belt worn on the outside, taking off the white military uniform, and kneeling in place with his hands behind his back.

       “The warm-up program has changed, and next is Earl’s showtime!” Lion took the host’s microphone and announced the scene with enthusiasm. Suddenly, everyone gathered around, staring intently at the two people on the stage. It’s worth noting that the Earl’s personal demonstration of training techniques is a rare occurrence, with very few instances.

       As Chu Yu approached Xu Ye, the previously noisy conversations completely quieted down, and the large venue fell silent to the point where you could hear a pin drop.

       “Tell me who you are.” The man in uniform raised his fingers, raised Xu Ye’s jaw, and said.

       “I am your slave.” Xu Ye, who was wearing a white shirt, looked up at him.

       “Tell me about your rights.”

       “All my rights come from your giving.”

       “Tell me about your obligations.”

       “To make you happy is the sole purpose of my existence.”

       This kind of question and answer was an effective way to strengthen identity recognition and a common way for Dom to train newcomers. Chu Yu looked down from above and said, “Considering that your performance today didn’t please me, I will punish you with a whip next. A total of ten lashes. After each lash, I’ll expect you to state the number and admit your mistake to me. Do you understand?”

       Xu Ye tensed his spine and responded softly, “Yes, Master.”

       The man removed his gloves and took a soft golden whip from the Pharaoh. After testing the toughness and length, he swung the whip towards the standing mannequin placed on the edge of the stage. He struck and broke its neck with ease, causing the white head to roll onto the ground, revealing a section of the wooden bracket.

       Many people let out a gasp of surprise, then hurriedly covered their mouths and quieted down. Being whipped with such force would undoubtedly cause the skin to split and possibly even injure the bones.

       “When using a whip, it’s important to fully understand its material and weight in order to control direction, speed, and force. The whip’s softness, hardness, and length affect the ease of manipulation. Usually, the softer and longer the whip, the harder it is to control. Developing a sense of touch requires extensive practice, and mistakes can have serious consequences. Therefore, caution is essential when using a soft whip.”

       Chu Yu flicked the whip in his hand as he explained. He visually measured the distance between him and Xu Ye, tried again in the air, and continued, “Sometimes the damage caused by whipping can be very astonishing. Thus, a dom who lacks sufficient skill might limit their striking to areas like the buttocks and the back, which are relatively safer. In order to make the punishment more theatrical, tonight, I will demonstrate frontal whipping.”

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