Slavery, 94

“You know they’re probably not going to let you in to see him,” said Sir Anthony, as he and Greg walked down to the palace’s dungeons.

Greg wasn’t sure if they really smelled this bad or just reminded him of the basement where he’d used to sleep, but he took a breath, shut his eyes for a step, and kept walking after he’d opened them. “I think they will,” he said quietly.

“Dangerous prisoners aren’t usually allowed to see people,” Anthony told him gently. “And Drew is dangerous.”

Greg knew that. Drew had been arrested for being the secret leader of a mind control cult. But everyone who’d looked at him said he didn’t have mind control powers anymore. Greg didn’t know how long he’d had them or what he’d used them for. But he wanted to make sure Drew would be okay, because his mind had been controlled too and almost everyone seemed mostly worried about the things he’d done and not the things that had been done to him.

Slavery, 88

Greg hadn’t been sure if he’d like gardens, but he was enjoying this one. Owen had really wanted to introduce him and Grey Rain to his cousin Ron, who lived in the forest with his husband James. They were both really nice and Ron had told Greg all about their plants, which had been very fun.

Last night Grey Rain had seen Owen and Gavin talking about Ron and one of them had said that Ron and James had horny plants, which they’d both gotten very excited about. Gavin had been helping Greg get better with reading, enough that he could read on his own, so he and Grey Rain had gone together to the castle library. They hadn’t been able to find anything except for a page about Milkfingers, which could be ground up and smoked as an aphrodisiac, and Greg had gotten frustrated around the same time Grey Rain had gotten bored and so they’d just given each other blowjobs instead, and now Greg would never know if the stuff he’d wanted to know was in the books he hadn’t read.

And he didn’t feel bad about that.

Knighthood, 87

Just as Edwin was pulling on the portal to open it, the door opened on its own and Erik walked through. “Hey,” Edwin said.

“Good morning.” Erik looked exhausted, and he leaned down to kiss Edwin. “You’re leaving really early, aren’t you? I thought you’d have time for breakfast.”

“Yeah,” Edwin said, feeling a bit bad. Erik had been working night shifts the last few days now. “Sorry. I’m going to see Rudy before my shift.” It had been a few days and he wanted to check on him.

“Right. Okay, I’m going to go sleep for a bit, but I should be awake by the time you get back this evening,” Erik told him. Edwin was going to try and convince Elaine to put Erik on fewer night shifts—at least when Edwin wasn’t also working them. “I don’t have the night shift tomorrow, so I’m going to try to get back on a normal sleep schedule.”

Edwin nodded, looking behind him. Sure enough, there was Nigel in the doorway, just in case Edwin needed anything. “Nigel,” he said. “Wake Erik up after three hours, okay?”

Slavery, 84

Greg really wasn’t feeling up to being at a big party with a lot of people and noise and lights, but he’d promised Edwin he would come to see him get knighted, and the idea of breaking that promise felt even worse than Greg already did.

He was…better, he thought, than he had been. Even he could see that, that he wasn’t feeling as bad as he’d felt the day he’d met Black Sky. He wasn’t scared anymore, not like he had been. He wasn’t even upset. Greg wasn’t feeling much of anything, but that was how a thing was supposed to feel, so he wasn’t bothered by that.

Owen and Gavin had been very nice, letting him stay in his room and only making him come out so he could eat, not trying to make him talk after he’d not answered their initial questions about what had happened. They were probably grateful that he wasn’t talking. Greg did nothing but hurt them and bring his problems into their happy lives, and if he just didn’t say anything, they could go on being happy without him like they deserved to be.

Team, 79

“How do you think they got that skeleton in there?” Joey asked, bouncing from foot to foot as they walked back to Gavin’s house. “It’s so fucking big!

“They probably took it apart,” Mick told him. “And rebuilt it inside the museum. Without any flesh on them, there’s nothing to hold bones together anyway, so they would have had to use wires for it.”

“How did they know which bones went where?” Joey asked. “If I had to put together a whole giant monster skeleton I think I’d accidentally put the dick bone in the nose since bones all look the same.”

“You just practice a lot.” Mick was just as excited as Joey, and he’d bought more souvenirs than any of them as they’d left the museum. “And they have all those fossils to use as a model.”

“Also, dicks don’t have bones in them,” Cal reminded Joey.

Dragon, 86

“With me as your steward, sir, you can be assured that your house will be run smoothly, efficiently, and without disruption.”

Gavin was giving his most polite nod, which meant Andrew Murkwind probably couldn’t tell that he was bored to death. “Okay. Thank you for your time. I have a few more people to speak with, and then we’ll inform you of our decision.”

“Of course.” Andrew stood. “I thank you for your time, your Highness.” He was some very minor nobility, a second cousin to House Murkwain on the eastern side of the mountains. That he was in Pelican Bay was minorly hilarious to Owen, since they’d been closer to his family’s territory in Techen’s Stand, but that was teleportation, Owen figured. Everyone they’d talked to about the position of Gavin’s head steward was some kind of minor nobility, and they were all obnoxious.

Most of them, like Andrew here, had spoken exclusively to Gavin without saying a word to Owen. Owen wasn’t going to be the one to tell them that was the way to ensure they didn’t get the job.