Prince, 87

Franz woke up to a hand on his shoulder, gently moving him. “Franz.”

“Tired,” Franz said, recognizing Frederick’s voice after a second. “Let me sleep in.”

“Not today. Wake up.”

“Frederick,” Franz complained, nestling in closer between Boey and Gabrielle. “I’ve had a very hard night and didn’t get much sleep and don’t have any body hair and I’m rich and important and I want to stay in bed.”

“I know. Franz, please, it’s really important.”

Others, 34

“They’re here.”

Frederick shifted in place, not able to contain his grin. “Finally.”

Silas chuckled, standing in front of Frederick, who was sitting on the bed. He kissed Frederick, tilting his head up. “We put Donny to bed two minutes ago, calm down.”

“No,” Frederick said. How could he possibly calm down when he and Silas were going to have a five-way with Ignatius, Gus and Jacob? He’d heard that five people actually made an orgy, and Frederick had never been to an orgy before. He had such high expectations, he’d woken up this morning a tiny bit dizzy from looking forward to it. It was going to be the best night of his life.

“Fine,” Silas said, patiently. He pulled Frederick to his feet. “Go let them in.”

Stowaway, 90

“This should be pretty easy to modify,” said Hyel, the seismologist. Seismology was the study of earthquakes, but among merpeople it was also the most-studied branch of magic, and Hyel was a practitioner of it who worked for the Prime. “Human magic is different, but all I’d need to do is layer a little of my own work on top of this and it should work.”

Should is a very dangerous word when we’re talking about potential suffocation and sudden crushing by immense oceanic pressure,” Pax explained to xer. “I would really prefer a great deal more confidence than should. Like will, for example.”

Hyel flared xer frills in the way that Pax, after a week in Nilmeain Kasar, had learned to associate with a smile. “You’ve learned ‘Vyle far more rapidly than anyone expected you to have done, Pax.”

“It was foolish of them to assume I wouldn’t,” Pax said with a smile of his own. “But so have Denver and Louis, and you should be appreciative of their abilities as well.” Louis had picked up the merpeople’s language after just a day. Pax wasn’t yet fluent, but could hold a conversation. Denver was a little slower, but he was getting there. Sylvester had also learned it very quickly and was teaching John, who wasn’t struggling as much as Pax had anticipated, which was frustrating because it meant he was learning faster than Natalie.

Prince, 80

“Do you think I need more bodyguards?” Franz asked Boey, leaning on his shoulder as they walked.

“Not really. You have thirty bodyguards.”

“I have thirty guards, Franz corrected. “That’s not totally the same thing.”

“It’s close enough to being the same thing, and you don’t need more just because Gavin’s getting more.”

Franz scowled. “That’s not why I’m asking.”

“Yes, it is,” Boey told him, hand in Franz’s. Franz had had a bit too much to drink at dinner and needed Boey to hold his hand because Franz had never fallen when he was touching Boey. “You’re jealous because he got new bodyguards and you didn’t.”

Chosen One, 92

Isaac kissed Peter slowly, not letting up as he went, exploring his mouth with his tongue. He was sitting in Peter’s lap, riding his dick while making out with him. They were on a couch in the dorm’s biggest common room, celebrating Peter’s birthday.

Isaac wasn’t going to let anything else that had happened ruin this for Peter. Klaus and everything else could just wait one day. Garrett had been sick this morning, but he was feeling better, well enough that he was at the party. Almost everyone Isaac cared about was here, and they were having a good time, and Isaac intended to keep it that way.

It wasn’t an orgy—yet—but Isaac and Peter weren’t the only ones having sex, or at least they hadn’t been when they’d started. Peter had been getting birthday blowjobs all day, starting with the one from Isaac that had woken him up and going all the way to just a bit ago when he’d gotten one from Colby right here on this couch. Isaac had climbed into his lap after for his own turn.

It was a good thing Isaac’s second present for Peter had been a nice spell to keep him energetic all day. A while after the party had started, around when people had started to take clothes off, he’d put another one around the room, which nobody had objected to.

Prince, 77

“Is there a way out of this without having my uncle assassinated?” Franz asked.

“It’s not impossible that there could be.” Isabella said. “There’s clearly a strong opposition to his regency.”

“To his coup,” said Boey, tapping his spoon to the table once. They were having dinner together, all of them. “His regency is invalid—Dahlia is old enough not to have needed a regent, which means that she should be serving as the baby’s regent.”

“I’m aware of that,” said Isabella, glancing at Francis, sleeping in a bassinet in the corner. “And we can talk about terms and what they mean, but the fact remains that he’s using regency as his excuse to justify the coup, and now that he has a baby he’s claiming is Felix and Maria’s, that excuse is strengthened.”