Others, 46

All Work and No Play Makes A Spy Grumpy, So Thank God for Hot Women

My June Patreon poll was tied, and Callie was the other winner!

Ao3 Link

It was always so tempting not to get up in the morning. Callie could just lay here in bed, Eva on her shoulder, playing with her hair and watching the sun rise, then cross the sky, then set, and be happy.

Starving and in desperate need of a privy, but happy.

Eva stirred when the sunlight hit her eyes, then yawned. She opened her big, brown eyes, looked up at Callie, then smiled. “Good morning.”

“Morning,” said Callie, letting Eva sit up. “Did you sleep well?”

“Did you leave during the night?”

“Just to go pee.”

“Then yes, I slept well.”

Callie snorted. Eva was such a romantic. “Me too.”

Eva sighed. “I hate this part, though.”

“Yeah,” Callie agreed. She sat herself, and kissed Eva’s cheek. Eva was a gorgeous woman with good cheekbones and silky, soft hair that was only half-tangled right now thanks to Callie teasing it out. “You could just not kick me out.”

“I could. But then I’d be kicked out.” Eva stood and started to dress, unfortunately starting with an undershirt so Callie couldn’t look at her chest.

“But really,” Callie said, also getting out of bed. “Wouldn’t it be worth your family disowning you to go on the run with a roguish foreigner with no job and no status? Very romantic.”

Eva snorted. “Until we resort to prostitution to buy food and get sold into slavery, yes, very romantic.”

Well, Callie couldn’t well argue with that logic. “Guess we’ll have to end slavery to avoid that.”

“Sure, do you want to destroy society before or after breakfast?” Eva asked.

“Before, I think.” Callie thought about it. “Better just to get it out of the way so we can go back to fucking, don’t you think?”

“I will see you next week, Calliope,” Eva said, voice firm.

“Three days,” Callie sighed dramatically, pulled her clothes on—she did her shirt last, because she was a good girlfriend even if Eva wouldn’t call her that—and gathered the rest of her stuff. She took a bottle of Eva’s perfume. “To remember you by, princeps.”

Eva rolled her eyes, but she came over and gave Callie a kiss. “Like you won’t be with all your other girls until then. But until next time.”

“Until then.” Callie slipped out the window, which was on the ground floor, so it wasn’t even dramatic. She just walked off across the grounds of Eva’s family’s manor, slipped through a servants’ gate, and that was that.

This whole clandestine affair stuff was easy. Why did people write whole books about how hard it was? Callie had been sleeping with Eva for a year and nobody had noticed.

She slipped the bottle of perfume into her pocket and made her way out of the Mercantile Borough, onto Qoilivar’s main streets. Much as it sucked, she did have work to do today. Not to mention breakfast to eat.

She wandered north, in the direction of the palace complex, and found a place called the Nail’s Point. Inside, a naked, enslaved boy with a copper piercing in his dick pointed her at a table, and Callie went to the privy before sitting down. Her breakfast was on the table before she got there. She started eating.

She was joined at the table before she was halfway done. “Good morning, Callie,” said Dominic.

“Morning, Dad,” Callie said, spreading cheese on some flatbread. “You look exhausted.”

“And you appear very well rested.”

Callie smiled, put the food in her mouth. The slaves were bringing Dominic breakfast as well, which he was tolerating stiffly. “That’s because I’m sleeping at night. You’re not.”

“I sleep just fine.”

“The world is round and it’s not night everywhere at the same time,” Callie told him. “It’s morning here and you’ll be here for at least a few hours. It’s sundown in Dolovai, isn’t it? You can’t just keep teleporting between continents and hoping exhaustion doesn’t catch up with you.”

Dominic gave one of his thin smiles that he used to communicate that he wasn’t listening to his children. “Thank you for your concern. I will be spending less time here soon, I hope. In any case, I came to inquire about the negotiations.”

Like he did three times a week. “I’m meeting with Prince Emir later today,” Callie said. “He’s confident he’ll get his mother’s permission to negotiate on behalf of the Empire soon.”

“And he is in agreement with our plan?”

“Yes,” Callie said, for the third time this month. “He’s in agreement with your plan. He is happy to marry Gloria if it means he’ll get to be emperor. Hell, he’d probably marry you if it meant he got to be emperor.”

What the hell The Imperial Sovereign Empress Ekaterina Magna Demna Aergyn, fourth of her name, was doing by not naming an heir from among her three sons, Callie had no fucking idea. She’d met the woman twice and she didn’t seem overly insane, underneath all the ‘I am the queen of the entire world by birthright’ bullshit. But she was practically asking for a succession crisis by letting her three sons impress her to decide who would be the next emperor of Aergyre.

But then, maybe it was working. Emir might end up marrying Dolovin nobility, little Evander was off to rule Enjon, and the middle son Evgeniy was doing a damn good job of taking over the Empire’s underworld. It looked on the surface like a recipe to split Aergyre in three, but if Ekaterina pulled it off, she could end up taking over the fucking world.

Unless her secret daughter showed up and fucked everyone over, of course.

“I am available in an emergency, but let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Dominic said wryly. “I appreciate the good work you’re doing, Callie.”

Callie shrugged, pretending that didn’t affect her. “Someone has to and it sounds like all six of my brothers have decided to be useless.”

“I still have hope for several of them,” Dominic said. “They’re merely in a collective rebellious phase. Roberta remains levelheaded, I believe she will calm them all down.”

“That’s a lot for just her, God,” Callie said, drinking some hibiscus tea. “Can’t Dee at least go help?”

“I’m afraid she’s still very busy in Yassar,” Dominic said.

Callie nodded. That was technically her own fault for helping to suggest the Imperial plan to secretly operate in Yassar rather than trying to openly colonize them. Dee should be making sure everything up there was going smoothly. “Another what, year for that?”

“Not much more than that, I should think. Please don’t worry about your brothers, they are quite all right.”

“Okay,” Callie said. She stood, her breakfast done. “I’m attaching myself to Emir’s retinue so I can see them while I’m in Dolovai.”

“That is quite fine,” said Dominic, who had worked very hard to make sure they didn’t all see each other. Too bad for him they were all old enough to do it anyway now. “I have no doubt the prince will benefit from your counsel during the negotiations.”

Callie nodded, and she kissed Dominic’s cheek on her way by. “Me too. I’m going to go get a bath before meeting the prince. Thanks, Dad.”

“Thank you as well, Callie.”

“You can pay the bill.”

“I own the establishment.”

“Yeah, but that’s no fun. Get some fucking sleep, the rest of us can save the world for eight hours,” Callie said, and she headed for the door.

Outside Callie breathed in the brisk air, looking up at the sky, past all the conical rooves. It was about to snow. So much of the Empire was so hot, but the Imperial capital was pretty far north.

She didn’t linger for long. She only had a few hours to get clean in the bathhouse, and then she had to go meet with Emir, who thought he was the best person in the world just because he was hot and rich and important. It would be at least three days before she got to see Eva again.

In the bathhouse, another naked, enslaved boy with a silver piercing took Callie’s clothes. “Do you require any special services today, mistress?” he asked.

“No, Ivan, just the usual.”

Ivan nodded and went about taking all the coded notes out of Callie’s pockets while she unstrapped all her knives. “Your private bath is ready.”

Callie nodded, patting Ivan on the shoulder. She went through the bathhouse, glancing around the public portion to see who was there before finding her usual room, and slipped inside.

There was a man in there, in the water, having red hair dye massaged into his scalp by another slave boy. “You’re late.”

Callie froze, but only for a second. Of course the slaves hadn’t told her he was in here. She slid into the water opposite him. “My breakfast meeting ran long, Your Grace. And in my defence, you didn’t tell me you’d be here.”

“Now, where would be the fun in that?” Evgeniy Magna Demna Aergyn spread his hands. “Now, why don’t you share with me what you’re going to tell my dear brother today?”

Callie smiled. “And what will you be sharing with me in exchange? And if you say your dick I’ll punch you in it.”

“How about I tell you why my mother is pulling two hundred ships out of Yavhore?”

Callie did want to know that, so she nodded, and they started talking.

Dominic wasn’t the only one who worked too hard. It would be at least three days before Callie got to see Eva again. Until then, even her leisure time was work time.

But such was the effort of destroying society.


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