Welcome to The Prince’s Boy by Cecilia Tan, a tale of a prince and his whipping boy ensnared in a plot of dark erotic magic. Warning: explores themes of dubious consent and situations of sexual jeopardy. NSFW.
A new chapter appears every Wednesday. This week is Chapter Four: Kenet
I arrived for my audience with my father just after lunch, taking the Snake Ladder from my chambers to his instead of walking through the whole castle as I properly should have done. But I was nearly late, and though I am full grown by every measure, when I am hoping to cheer him up sometimes cannot help but be the playful boy I was. So I hopped and hurried through the clandestine stairways and narrow passages that took me to him, pausing just behind the tapestry that hid the final doorway.
I could hear raised voices.
Sergetten’s first. “When will you get it through your thick skull that Night Magic is no more dangerous than Daylight?”
“You are the one always telling me to heed the danger of the Frangi Night Mages!” my father roared back.
“The Mages, yes, but not the power itself! If anything you should be giving me leave to learn more, to do more, so that if they should attack, we can be better protected! We should not rely on Lord Seroi alone. This won’t be like the last time I brought a boy to the castle—”
“No!” I heard the sound of something falling and breaking, and the pain in my father’s voice. “Sergetten…”
Silence for a few moments. Then I had to strain to hear Sergetten’s quiet answer. “Very well. I shall not sully myself any more than you deem necessary, my king.” I could easily imagine the bitterness on his face. Sergetten and bitterness went together like salt and fish.
I heard another something smash. Probably my father heaving a piece of crockery after him as he took his leave, and hitting the stone archway instead.
And then I heard the bell tolling the hour but I could not go into the room now. It would be far too obvious I had eavesdropped on matters I was supposed to know nothing of. I crept back to the main passage and made my way down in proper fashion, although this made me late, but I knew, too, it would give the servants time to clean up the mess.
I presented myself at his front parlor, then, and was shown into the study, where he was sitting with his back to me, hunched near to the hearth, a mug of something in his hand.
“Here I am, father,” I said, trying to sound chipper and ignorant.
He turned and his eyes burned with anger. “You’re late.”
I drew back in dismay. “I… but…” I could not tell him I’d given him some extra time on purpose, could I? No. “I was reading and lost track of the time,” I stammered, instead.
He rang a bell and one of his guards hurried in from the outer chamber, short, crimson cloak swinging from his shoulders. The guard stood straight and still to receive the command: “Bring Jorin to me. Immediately.”
My mouth fell open in shock. “You’re not serious—”
“You are late and deserve to be punished. My schedule is very pressing, Kenet, and it is time you learned that.” He stood and went to pull an instrument of punishment from the wooden chest in the corner.
I had not yet learned to keep my mouth shut, even after all those years. “But it’s been years since you—”
I broke off as the sound of a short whip cracked the air. “I know. Not since before you came of age,” he said, his voice cold. “But if Jorin is still here in this castle, then by the sky above he will perform his function, or leave.”
Jorin himself spoke then and I looked up in surprise he had come that quickly. “Do you mean that, your highness? That if I will no longer accept lashes on the prince’s behalf, you’ll turn me out?”
But my father was too angry to put up with banter or argument. He seized Jorin by the collar and pushed his face against the wall. “Kenet. Strip him.”
I had never seen my father so angry over so little, and never before had he asked me to assist in such a way. I dared not protest, though. I hurried to untuck Jorin’s shirt, to pull the breeches down to expose the globes of his arse, lines of slightly darker skin than the rest of him showing the evidence of old whippings. My father let go, and Jorin stood still while I removed his vest and shirt, too, neither of us fool enough to do anything but follow every order as literally as we could.
“Hands on the mantelpiece,” my father said, his knuckles white where he gripped the handle of the whip.
Jorin was the picture of placid as he did as he was told. I stood back, not wanting to make it worse, but… “How many?” I blurted, unable to completely contain myself.
My father checked the timepiece above the hearth. “It is now twenty minutes beyond when we should have met…”
“But I was only ten minutes late!”
He went on as if I hadn’t spoken. “So it shall be twenty strokes.”
“Twenty!” I had seen a man die under twenty strokes once, a man accused of spying for the Night Mages. Of course, that had been twenty strokes with the bullwhip, not the mere two feet of leather my father held in his hand now, but the number still struck me as unjustly large and dangerous.
“Hush, Kenet,” Jorin said, closing his eyes and bowing his head.
The first stroke came across the back of his thighs, making him buckle and nearly fall. The next tore squarely across his arsecheeks, leaving an instant welt of painful red. The third slashed down his back, where the skin was sparsely crossed with the marks of old thrashings, some whiter, some darker, and he grunted.
He didn’t start to cry out until after ten lashes, by which time my own cheeks were wet with tears, but I kept silent. Jorin’s knees gave out at fifteen and he received the last five across his back prostrate in front of my father like a supplicant begging for mercy. Maybe he was. I could barely watch, only forcing myself to do so because if I didn’t, any stroke I missed would be applied again.
My father let the whip fall after the last stroke and strode from the room, only my voice stopping him at the doorway.
“Why?” I demanded.
“Be on time for our next audience and perhaps that is a lesson you will learn,” he growled before he left.
I gathered Jorin up and helped him dress, careful not to stick his shirt to the places on his back where the lash had split the welts into bleeding. Once his breeches were back on, I helped him to our rooms.
Bear said nothing when he saw us, just shook his head, handed me a small jar of some kind of salve, and left us alone.
~* Continued next week! Full list of chapters: here. *~
Can’t get enough of Kenet and Jorin? Visit The Prince’s Boy fan art gallery on Cecilia’s website! http://blog.ceciliatan.com/fan-art
About the author: Cecilia Tan is the award-winning author of many erotic books and stories and the founder of Circlet Press.