Prince, 104

Dominic had either been lying or wrong. Gerard’s assassins weren’t coming in a week. They’d come a few hours after he’d left, and now it was too late.

It was too late for Helena Quate and Franz’s uncle Hans, too. All three of them had been killed in the same night and Franz simply didn’t understand why.

“It just doesn’t make any sense,” Dahlia said, shaking her head. “If the Empire wanted to destabilize us, that’s one thing. But am I really to believe that their information network is so shoddy they didn’t realize Hans wasn’t in charge in Kyaine anymore?”

Franz nodded, looking down at his uncle’s body. It was being prepared for transport back to Kyaine so his funeral could be held there. Franz would go, except he couldn’t, because Gerard was dead and that meant his wife was about to be crowned queen of Dolovai.

Franz had known he’d be king someday. He hadn’t thought it would be two weeks after his wedding.

Prince, 100

It was a good day to get married.

The weather was nice, everyone looked perfect, the church was packed, and Franz’s sister had gotten here just an hour ago.

“We can talk more about me later,” Dahlia told Franz, helping him fix his makeup. “It’s literally your wedding day, stop asking how I am.”

Prince, 88

“So are you going to move in with me?” Franz asked Flora, as they waited for Cordelia and her family. “Or are you going to inhabit Cordelia’s apartments like a ghost after she leaves?”

Flora smiled, playing with a slim ring on her finger. Where had that come from? Franz hadn’t bought it. “Can I have my own apartments? I feel like I’m old enough and I had my own at home.”

“Since when?” Franz asked, skeptical of that.

“Since you left and I took yours.”

Prince, 82

Franz’s back was hurting from sitting and reading so much, so he was laying on the bed instead while he read over the pages and pages of tariff rights that Gavin had found for him in the span of one day.

Franz would love to say it wasn’t as complicated as people thought it was, but it was as complicated as people thought it was, and the only reason the papers were spread around him instead of thrown against a wall was that he’d been put through just these kinds of exercises as a child. He was pretty sure, after pouring through it for a few hours, that he’d narrowed down which of the names in these records was Dominic’s alias. He’d have to get Helena to look into it for him to confirm, though.

Franz was very aware that Gavin was using him to do all the hard work here, but that was fine. This way it would get done and Franz wouldn’t have to worry about someone screwing him over. And he’d get a fuckton of money, which would also be useful.

“Hi, Fwanch.”

Prince, 70

Franz stroked a hand down the outside of Boey’s thigh, slowly, feeling his hot skin, his tight muscles. He even imagined he could feel Boey’s pulse, in tune with Boey’s cock throbbing in his mouth. He sucked gently, teasing Boey’s precum, savoring it before swallowing it.

Boey was sucking him in return, also gentle, slow. They’d been at this for nearly an hour now, edging each other. Franz wasn’t going to last much longer, and judging by the sounds Boey was making around his own cock, neither was he.

It was another minute before Franz shuddered, started to spill into Boey’s mouth, whimpering. His orgasm was powerful, and lasted a long time. Franz’s balls contracted, pulling up as he squirted, filling Boey’s mouth. He finished, relaxing a little, but kept sucking at a steady pace.

Prince, 69

“You naked.”

“So? You’re short.”

Donny scowled. “I’s is big.”

“No, you’re not,” said the dragon who’d attacked—or in fact not attacked—the castle. He was dark-haired, a bit funny looking, had green horns, wings and a tail, was butt naked even in the frigid cold, and had a huge dick. Donny seemed impressed. By the horns and wings, mostly. “You’re a baby.”

Prince, 54

“You won’t get away with this!”

Franz sighed, sitting in a chair opposite Horace Fyrhawk. He really wasn’t being very cooperate. “Horace. There’s nothing to get away with. You’re a distant cousin to a deposed king whose allies are all dead. Eventually I’m sure House Fyrhawk will get around to offering ransom for you, but in the meantime, nobody cares that I abducted you.”

Horace looked at him, face slack. “You…you’re horrible.”

“Yes, well, I like to think I wasn’t before you people killed my parents.” Franz smiled. “Now, tell me about that, and about what your plans up here were.”

Apprentice, 11

Ignatius was alone.

He wasn’t, in the strictest sense. There were people around, guards and servants and nobles and lots of people, all going this way or that as if going somewhere would stop the bells from ringing, stop Hans from getting closer to the castle, stop them from being captured.

All the nobility in Kyaine had come to Hawk’s Roost for the banquet. And all of them had come back to the castle for Ulrich Elderbyne’s trial. And now all of them were going to be in the castle when Hans got here and crowned himself king. They were already hostages and Ignatius figured they probably knew it.