Chosen One, 108

Prince Franz’s servant Frederick was a wizard too, and though he was several months behind Isaac since he’d only gotten his powers a few weeks ago, he was a fast learner.

Lessons had gotten more fun since he’d started attending them, and not just because he was cute. Isaac was finding that with two of them here, learning was a little easier. It was a little easier not to dwell on his mistakes when he wasn’t the only one making them, and easier to celebrate doing things well when there was someone to celebrate with. Not to mention have sex with after, once Isaac had secured Frederick’s boyfriend’s permission.

He’d never thought much about it before, but the academy had made a good decision setting up classrooms so they could all learn together. It made a lot of sense, actually. Probably it was the reason he wasn’t finding his witchcraft lessons as easy.

Slavery, 92

“You can’t get pregnant on the first try, right?”

Simon asked that out of nowhere, but somehow Daniel couldn’t feel surprised. Still, it made him and Hugh both look up. Simon was on his belly, fiddling with some cards. Daniel and Hugh looked at each other. “Well, you can’t get pregnant no matter how many times you try,” said Hugh.

“Actually I heard there’s magic that can make that happen,” Daniel said, while Simon scowled. “And I guess if the wizard is doing it right, it probably does work on the first try.”

“Guys,” Simon whinged. “It took me like an hour to decide to bring this up, don’t be assholes.”

Others, 17

Silas’s hand hurt.

Actually his back was kind of sore too. They needed better chairs. Or maybe he just needed one of those tall chairs and writing tables other scribes used. Silas could use one; there were some in the castle library and two in the mail tower, but he didn’t have one here, and this late at night he’d rather work at home than somewhere dark and lonely.

Silas paused in his writing, thinking about that. He really was home. Here in Prince Franz’s apartments. His home. He liked that.

His quill was about to drop ink onto the page, and Silas whipped it away before it could, letting the ink fall on the table instead. He breathed out a quiet sigh. “Okay,” he whispered. He needed to pay attention. He knew that by now; he couldn’t do this job if he was going to let his mind wander. It was why he was doing it right now in the middle of the night.

Prince, 50

“If all goes well, I should be hearing from him again in a few days, my prince,” Ronaldo said, gesticulating grandiosely as he spoke. He had crumbs in his beard. “I shall, of course, keep you notified.”

“Thank you, Ronaldo,” Franz said, smiling. He’d had word from Ignatius, who’d arrived in Hawk’s Roost. Hopefully that meant Flora would be safe soon.

“As soon as you have word that Flora is safe,” Cordelia said.

“We’ll confront Neville,” Franz said.

Cordelia sighed. There’d been a long discussion with her about the amnesty agreement for Stephan that Neville was negotiating, but in the end she’d agreed that he was right to let it happen. They were going to make a show out of confronting him about it so he’d know how very opposed they were to it—and how very powerless they were to stop it.

It was all very theatrical. Ronaldo had told them he thought it was masterful.

Team, 53

“I feel like we’re in the way no matter where we go on this ship,” Wes said, leaning back against a wall.

“We could hide in our cabin,” Cal suggested.

“And have everyone think we’re rude assholes?” Mick shook his head. “Don’t think so. Even Travis and Joey aren’t hiding.”

“That’s because Joey wants to fight people,” Cal muttered. “And they’re not as antisocial as you think.”

Team, 52

Turned out that sea legs were harder to grow than they seemed. Cal had only been ill for the first half of the first day on the Coral Witch, but though he’d been able to eat and not throw up just fine since then, he still after a week hadn’t quite developed the ability to walk without falling over.

So he was doing a lot of mysteriously leaning over the railing and watching the ocean, because it meant he didn’t have to walk anywhere.

If people wanted to talk to him, Cal figured, they could come find him. It wasn’t like he was hiding.

Team, 51

The Coral Witch only had two rooms for Cal’s team. Which presented a bit of an issue because Cal was going to have a lot of sex with Wes and Mick, Joey clearly planned to have a lot of sex with Travis, and Beatrice and Lillian—but mostly Beatrice—had somehow talked Mathilda into having what Cal assumed would be lots of sex with them, and the three ladies had taken one of the rooms before Cal could say anything.

Fine. So Cal went in the other room with Wes and Mick, and with Joey and Travis. Sully was outside somewhere. “There’s only one bed,” Joey muttered.

“You two can have it,” Cal told him, as Wes and Mick tossed their bags in the corner. It wasn’t a big room, but there was enough space. At least they weren’t down below deck in the crew quarters. “We’ll sleep on the floor.”


“It’s not a big enough bed for the three of us anyway,” Wes said, smiling.

“Maybe we should go somewhere else…” Travis muttered.

“It’s fine,” Cal told him.

“No,” Joey said, sighing. “Me and Travis are going to have sex. A lot. And I don’t want to wait anymore, so we’ll just…”

Mick snorted, kicking his boots off. “We’re going to have sex too, guys,” he said. “It’s really okay.”

Dragon, 56

“The way I see it, you can have sex with Edwin whenever you want,” Gavin told Owen as they hiked up a steep slope. “As long as I haven’t told you not to and as long as I know about it.” He smiled. “No sneaking around.”

Owen took his hand. “As if I’m smart enough to sneak around on you, love. You know I’m not standing here waiting until I can do Edwin again.” Not that he didn’t want to—he did. He’d really enjoyed himself, and he knew Gavin and Edwin both had as well. But he loved Gavin and if he had to choose, it wasn’t even a contest.

No failing of Edwin’s, but nobody was going to take Gavin’s place.

“I know. That’s why I don’t mind if you do. You’ll always come back to me in the end.”

Team, 31

“Alright, I think it’s time for bed,” Cal declared, stretching, subtly touching Wes’s foot with his.

“Yeah,” Wes agreed. They’d been sitting around talking for a while, but it was getting late. “Long day ahead tomorrow.”

“Long day of boring-ass walking,” Sully grumbled, watching them.

“Two more days,” Cal promised. “Then we’ll get to the town. And then more walking while we go north. This is what you signed up for.”

“I wasn’t fucking complaining,” Sully grumbled, looking away as Mick put a hand on Cal’s shoulder. “Just saying, it’s not any different from a usual day.”

“Your jobs do seem to be mostly pretty boring,” Joey observed, leaning into Travis a little, arm around him.

Prince, 19

“It’s already starting to get cold again,” Franz complained.

“It’s not really,” Boey told him. “It’s still pretty hot. It’s still summer.”

“Yes, but not for much longer, and it’s not as hot as it was.”

“It was too hot before, you just like to complain.”

“And you just like to disagree with me.”

“Frederick, it was too hot before, wasn’t it?”

“Um…” Frederick looked between the two of them, and he nodded. “Yes, sir.”