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 Sixty-Four: Jorin
I could feel my own heart thundering in my chest, hear the rush in my ears, as Sergetten stepped away. I thought for a moment that he went to open the door to the guards who would surely just run me through this time, rather than give me a chance to escape. I tugged on the bonds around my wrists, dangling me from the end of Sergetten’s bedpost, but it was some strong stuff he’d bound me with, neither rope nor leather. I was on tiptoe and could not get much purchase.
The next voice I heard was the Lord High Mage’s. “I know not what plot might have brought you under the thrall of this traitor, Sergetten,” he said. “But if you surrender him now, you shall have every opportunity to explain yourself.”
The next sound was a sharp bang, and the voices were muffled. He had slammed the window shut, though I knew not if he had used magic or merely his hand. His boot scuffed the stone floor near me.
“Sergetten—” I began.
“Silence, you fool!” He punctuated his command with a lash across my shoulders, sharp as the slash of a knife and all the more painful for being unexpected. Another blow followed, and then a third across my buttocks, catching me on the hip with a blazing pain as hot as his anger. Silence, he had said, but I had to bite down hard on a scream to stay silent.
He did not seem to care. “This is your fault, you filthy dirt eater!”
I did scream then, in both indignation and pain. When the King had whipped me, even at his harshest, he had never put every ounce of his strength into every blow. Sergetten was all lean muscle, his arms like a whip themselves, and I screamed again as the lash cracked on the flesh of my back. He had strapped me before more than once, but I had never felt pain like this from his hand. I pulled at my bonds unthinking, trying to escape the punishment, no longer coherent enough to argue beyond gasping out “No!” between cries. There was no moment to try to relax and absorb the blows, no moment when I could calm my thoughts and try to remember why we had gone to the castle to begin with. I had not even the presence of mind to think of Kenet and wish him well as Sergetten drove me to the edge of animal desperation. Had I not been blindfolded, I would have been blind with pain and rage and terror.
I had not known I could lose myself so quickly.
But then, his teeth on my shoulder brought me suddenly back, fighting him, trying to throw him off, the rough cloth of his robe seeming to claw at the welts on my back while he struggled to get his cock between my legs. I snarled as one of my knees was pulled toward the ceiling by yet another strap, bending my leg and spreading my cheeks, and I found my other foot straining to keep my toes on the floor.
“Filthy dirt-eater,” he repeated into my ear, a low, menacing growl. “You’ll lick the dirt from my cock after I’m done with you.”
He pressed into me then, and I thrashed, but could neither prevent his entry nor push him out.
He slid in quickly, sending a shudder all through me, but not the searing pain I had expected from being punished by his cock.
Oh. I froze, suddenly stilled by the realization that he had greased himself well. For his own pleasure? Or mine?
His hand closed around my cock and I jerked in sudden surprise and arousal at how very hard I was, how very close to spilling.
His voice was bitter in my ear. “At least one part of you remembers who your master is, even if the rest of you does not.” He drove into me as he spoke, punctuating his words with deep strikes of his cock into my body and lifting me completely from the ground.
Shame flooded me at what he said, followed by a renewed wave of anger and outrage, even as I surrendered to a situation that was not of my making and not mine to understand. I think he used no magic other than his knowledge of my body to make me scream then, screaming with release. I was still screaming when I came down hard on the flat surface of the bed, as he drove into me again and again, spilling inside me.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I was trying to determine if he had broken the straps or released me somehow or if I had just forgotten the moment when we’d gone from standing up to lying down, me flattened under him. But mostly I was just shaking.
The shaking only increased when I realized what the soft sensations coming to me now were. The edges of his hair brushing over my shoulders, his lips as he pressed one gentle, reverent kiss after another across my shoulder blades, and tears, as he wept silently in the aftermath of what he had done.
What we had done. Part of me realized we were in the castle no longer.
I drew a breath to speak, but he silenced me with a hand on the collar around my neck. “Don’t speak,” he said, voice rough. “I can’t bear it.”
So I lay silent and still while he lifted himself carefully up and undid the blindfold, though I kept my eyes closed. He slipped from the bed then, but only for a moment. I recognized the scent of the salve.
I could not help it. I flinched as his weight made the bed creak when he returned, and then I dared not move in the long silence that followed. Had I angered him again?
But the words that followed, barely above a whisper, showed me how very wrong I could be about him. “If you would prefer someone else, I will ask the serving woman—”
My eyes snapped open and I turned to meet his gaze. “Now which of us is being a slow-witted idiot?” I said. “If there are welts to be healed, I want it done by the hand that put them there.”
His breath came out of him in sudden relief. “I was… I was afraid…”
“That you’d broken me?” The laugh that came out of me was none too sane-sounding, but it felt good nonetheless. “You drove me half-mad with terror and rage, Sergetten. But only half-mad.”
He kissed me rather suddenly then, and I was fairly sure he was half-mad as well. The taste of his mouth and the insistent strength of his tongue was so familiar to me now. When he pulled back, his voice sounded more like himself. “On your stomach, then, and let me do what I can.”
I rolled over gladly then. His salve-coated finger traced one of the hot welts and I hissed as he crossed a place where it had broken the skin. He worked for a while, slow and methodical, spreading a thin coating of the stuff first along each stripe, then working it gently with his fingers, until I was sure he was doing old marks as well as new.
“Was it truly my back that gave me away?” I asked.
“I am not certain,” he murmured, continuing to work as he answered. “There was… one slip in which I used your name.”
Oh. I shivered under his touch then, wondering if in that moment of passion and surrender I had asked for too much.
“I will say this,” he went on. “If it was the saying of your name that gave us away, I do not regret it. However, I doubt that a spy could have overhead us in my private rooms. The defenses are considerable there. And my own defenses are formidable, even with Seroi trying to break them down.”
It sounded like he meant something different from the spells that protected the room. “How do you mean?”
“I can feel him pulling at my mind, but ineffectually,” Sergetten said. “If he could not get through the door to my room in the castle, he cannot get through the door in my mind, either. Unfortunately, that means admitting that Korl was probably speaking the truth, and I was a fool to think you would go unrecognized. There are no happy answers to this question.”
I shrugged but hissed as that pulled the taut skin. “You could not have known he would… inspect me at such close quarters as he did.” When he fucked me, I meant, but did not feel I needed to say so.
I did not. Sergetten understood me perfectly. “Indeed. And I did learn some intriguing things from Seroi himself when we spoke. But our position is considerably weakened now that he knows I am, in fact, a traitor.”
“They wanted to believe you weren’t at fault. You could have given me to them.”
“I could not have,” he said then, and rolled me onto my back, staring into my eyes. “Believe me when I say… Jorin, I could not.”
I let the moment hang between us, looking up into his jet-black eyes, wondering what I could say that could equal such a declaration. There was nothing. I stretched my neck upward instead so that I could kiss him on the mouth.
He settled beside me then, and tucked me into his arms, and held me for a while, but we did not sleep. Instead he said softly, “I can feel you are full of questions.”
“I am,” I admitted. “Now that we are free of them. We are back at the keep, are we not? Was it more difficult to travel here than it was to go to the castle the first time? Did you have to do it that way? Getting angry with me and provoking my outrage? Can we go farther the angrier you get? Will it take more pain each time?”
He chuckled softly. “Did I give you permission to ask your questions?”
I clucked my tongue. “Of course you did. That first day you brought me here.”
His chuckle turned to a laugh. “Why, so I did. So I did. The one question to add to your list, though, is whether having your curiosity satisfied will reduce the effectiveness of our spells in the future.”
“Oh.” I felt my cheeks burn. “Should I not? Is it better if I remain blind and ignorant?”
He sighed and held me somewhat more tightly. “I should not tell you, and yet, I shall.”
“What? If you shouldn’t, then you shouldn’t.”
“Hush and listen. There are many ways to stoke the energy necessary to perform a spell like the one we just did.”
I remembered what he had said, just before the king and his guard had interrupted us. “‘There are many ways to be violated?'”
“And many ways to surrender,” he said. “As I said, some of the most powerful Night Magic is performed upon a truly unwilling victim, but it runs the spectrum from there to the other extreme, to the loving, willing sacrifice. The thing is, I have ever excelled at the form you have experienced, in which anger and hatred feed the fire, as well as your outrage at being violated. But it is as you say, it becomes harder and harder to manufacture such emotions, the better you understand the machinations of my mind and the needs of the spell. Which is why I said I should not tell you.”
“But you just did.”
“Indeed I did. Because perhaps I find the need to apologize for my actions to be a mortifying form of vulnerability.”
I raised my head to look at him. “You needn’t apologize, Sergetten. I understand now you did it to save us.”
“But at the time you felt terribly wronged. Does the ends justify the means? Once I would have said yes. Now, I am not so sure.”
“I’m not damaged,” I insisted, in a familiar refrain.
“No,” he agreed, which surprised me slightly, “but our relationship might have been.”
“Might have been?”
He let out a slow breath and pulled me down to his shoulder again. “I was ready to hate myself at the moment I believed you hated me. You are the strong one in this, Jorin. Not me.”
Now it was my turn to push him flat into the bed and kiss the tears from the corners of his eyes. “I know why I’m stronger than you are in this,” I said, “and it’s no fault of your own.”
“What do you mean?”
“My strength in love comes from Kenet.” I looked into his unflinching eyes. “Your weakness in love comes from our king. I don’t know why he never loved you as he should have, but—”
“Stop.” Now he turned his head, as if he couldn’t bear my gaze or my words.
I nodded in assent and settled again into the crook of his arm. I hadn’t intended to strike at his core, but I knew very well that the truth could hurt more than any blow.
Soon after, he began to drift to sleep. I kissed his cheek and whispered, “It’s no fault of yours. You deserve love.”
“So did Korl,” he whispered sadly, before slipping into a dream and leaving me with my questions. Would I, too, be pushed aside when Kenet took a wife? Would I, too, someday, keep the scars on my back a secret?
* * *
About the author: Cecilia Tan is the award-winning author of many erotic books and stories and the founder of Circlet Press.