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-Six: Jorin
I woke in the late afternoon to find my stomach complaining of hunger but the rest of my body feeling remarkably well. As I sat up and stretched I did not feel the pull of taut cuts across my back. I felt no ache, no soreness anywhere. Had the salve been that powerful? Or was this more of Sergetten’s magic? I was grateful regardless.
I looked around the room for the first time. This was a bedroom I had not visited before and I presumed it was Sergetten’s private room at the keep. His side of the bed was empty, the blanket and pillow already smoothed. As my bare feet touched the floor I was surprised to feel the stone was cold. Summer was ending here, too, and a chill must have stolen in during the night.
I wondered if I should just emerge in nothing from the room, recalling what he had once said to me about the local folk and servants being accustomed to bare-arsed boys wandering here, but then I caught sight of the clothes laid out upon a chest. My own military boots sat atop sturdy riding trousers. A tunic and warm vest. Riding gloves. I picked up the boots and looked at them. What magic could have brought them here? And did Sergetten expect me to dress for a journey?
I had to surmise that he did and yet I wished I were sure of what he wanted. What if he were angered by my presumption? I thought about what I had worn in Maldevar, even at banquet. Would it be improper for me to wear else without his explicit instruction?
What if it’s an excuse to get angry at you? I thought. Could it be he needed a new reason to punish me? We still had to perform the spell to see where Kenet was.
Perhaps the most proper thing to do would be to stop guessing what his wishes were and to merely live on the dagger edge of not knowing?
This is what it is to be a slave, I realized. To be at his whim, whether that be pleasure or pain, attention or deprivation. It was not my lot to strive to please him so much as to be accepting of his moods, whether he was pleased or not. A difficult position, unfair and full of pitfalls. And yet it seemed there was no other choice.
I rubbed the leather at the edge of one boot. Standing here, alone, I had to decide whether to dress or not, whether to interpret the clothes’ arrangement as an unspoken command, or a test. Would he be disappointed if I chose wrong?
His disappointment would sting more than his anger, more than a whip. I did not want to disappoint him.
I stood there another long minute, the cold of the stone floor seeping into the bones of my feet, and finally I decided to dress. He would not have laid the clothes out so if he had intended me to ignore them, and if he was angered by me covering myself, well, there was probably some useful magic to come out of that. When I was finished, I was prepared for a long ride on horseback.
My stomach growled again, and I left the room, determined to face what challenges I might find beyond the door.
Voices. I made my way quickly to the parlor where Sergetten received guests. Through the open doorway I could smell food and see Sergetten seated at one end of the table. He glanced up as I neared the door, and just a glance is all it took for me to know what he wanted.
I hurried the last few steps to him and slid to my knees beside his chair, bowing my head. I had not even caught a glimpse of the guest seated facing him, who now sat in silence… perhaps shocked? I felt the light brush of Sergetten’s fingertips across my hair and relief washed through me. I could tell by that touch he was pleased.
A low oath. “Lightning strike me, I’d have not believed it had I not seen it with my own eyes.”
I looked up in surprise then to see Derget staring at me. I glanced up at Sergetten, who gave me a bare nod—permission to speak. “Believed what?” I asked.
Derget shook his head. “After the wild beast in heat you were in the woods, to see you tamed to heel like this.” The look in his eye said he thought it a shame, too.
But shame was the furthest thing from what I was feeling. I did not address him at all then, but Sergetten. “This explains the mystery of my boots?”
“Indeed.” Sergetten chuckled. “And there is much news.” His hand stroked more firmly over my hair, smoothing it. “Much as I love you at my feet, you must eat and join the conversation as man and Night Rider. Both are better done from a chair.”
“Yes, master,” I answered, but I hesitated to move, awaiting something…
His kiss, and then his gentle command, “Rise then, slave of mine, and eat your fill. Derget, if you would begin again with your news.”
Derget had grown a small beard since last I’d seen him with the Riders, and recounted his tale, while I hungrily devoured what was in front of me. He had been traveling here to bring Sergetten news of the Night Riders, but on the way had heard incredible things. The military had been routed, some said by a wyrm of fire and wind, and many towns that had refused to send their sons to the mustering were saying it was a sign. Derget, of course, said it had to be Seroi, but there were those who believed the Frangi Dark Council to be responsible. The Riders were trying to organize militias to protect the towns against what might come next, while those companies still loyal to the command were regrouping not far from here.
He’d also met some boys on the road who claimed to have been rescued from a Night Mage’s keep. Sergetten pressed Derget for details, but Derget had not asked them many questions about where. Some of them had been imprisoned for years, they said, but that they had been abandoned when the military attacked. Sergetten was very agitated to hear it, and clearly thought there must be much more to the story, but Derget could tell him little more.
Then it was my turn to be agitated, as I could no longer wait another moment to ask if there was any word of Kenet.
“None, brother, and I’m sorry to say,” Derget said, taking a last swig from his mug. “All we know is that the search is continuing.”
“Well, that is something at least,” Sergetten murmured.
“How do you know?” I pressed Derget.
“We have made an ally of a nobleman, Lord Fersson from the west. He took two of us into the castle with him, posing as his footmen. We heard and saw all we could, and he also told us what the king said to him in private. The search continues. Meanwhile, they say Kenet is absent because he has been sent into hiding somewhere safe and secret.”
I snorted. “As if there could be a safer place than a mountaintop in Maldevar? From an army, I mean.”
“Indeed. The king is not safe there at all, with that snake at his side. We believe the mage may be poisoning him slowly.” Derget had adopted the practice Sergetten had trained me to, never saying Seroi’s name aloud.
Sergetten nodded. “We were just there ourselves and have seen evidence of this with our own eyes.” He let out a heavy breath. “This place is no longer safe. The snake will be seeking me now that he knows I oppose him.”
“You must rejoin the Night Riders. We cannot assault the castle without you,” Derget said.
Sergetten snorted. “Is that Kan’s plan? Assault the castle?”
“Argue it with him yourself. I’ll go from here to the border towns to spread the word.” He stood and brushed the crumbs from his lap, then looked expectantly at Sergetten.
Sergetten drummed his fingers on the table top. “My horse is not yet ready for a hard ride,” he said. “But if I let him rest a little, I might be able to catch up with Kan by tomorrow night.”
Derget nodded, giving me a sidelong glance. “Don’t wait too long. There are… others who would like to see you, too.”
Sergetten merely nodded in return, his expression guarded. I wondered if Derget meant Willim, whose leg Sergetten had helped with Night Magic. Derget clapped me on the shoulder with a last, disbelieving chuckle, and then left.
When we were alone, Sergetten regarded me. “Go on. Ask your questions. I can feel them.”
I tried to put them into a reasonable order. “Should we attempt the far-seeing first? Or fly to Kan?”
He toyed with a crust of uneaten bread in his long fingers. “We must away from here in any case. But to do the far-seeing ritual, and then to wait again for you to recover enough to ride… or, rather, be ridden. I fear we would be easily caught. We are too vulnerable here, now that our enemy knows.”
“Then let us flee on horse, and when we have gained some distance…?”
Sergetten shook his head slowly. “We should rejoin the Riders, and then we will have their protection while we use magic to search for Kenet. Remember, the far-seeing will not necessarily lead us directly to him. If he is walking in a wood, or languishing in a dungeon, we may not be able to tell where. But I am hopeful that he did not get far from Maldevar, so perhaps by rejoining the Riders we will bring ourselves nearer to him.”
I merely bowed my head in assent.
He tipped my chin up with one finger so that I looked into his dark eyes. “This plan does not sit well with you.”
I swallowed before answering. “My heart says anything that does not lead me directly to Kenet is a waste of time. I cannot help but feel any other way.”
“Of course.” He stood then and pressed a kiss to my forehead. “I will do all I can to give you your heart’s desire. But not today, sura’an.”
“Yes, master.” I sighed. “I am feeling quite well today, though. Surely I could withstand being ridden to Night Rider camp?”
He tapped me on the cheek, just the suggestion of a slap, and then his thumb brushed my cheekbone and I saw dark thoughts flicker through his eyes. “And if I am the one who is not recovered enough to perform the spell?”
“Oh. Forgive me, sir. I just wondered… I mean, you said there is a spectrum from unwilling to willing. I gather that the most power is to be had at the extremes. Could we… could I not make myself your willing victim instead of… of… of the way we’ve done it so far?”
He slipped back into his chair. “That is not my strength.” He was silent for a moment, contemplating. “But… it may be yours.”
“What is the worst that could happen?” I asked. “I end up with a few more scars upon my skin?”
“I must think about it,” he said.
“You are not all about punishment and violation,” I said, moving to kneel beside his chair. “That is not how you heal Willim’s leg, is it?”
His gaze, which had been faraway on the tabletop, suddenly sharpened on me. “You know nothing of that.”
“Am I wrong? You and he greeted each other with great affection the last time you met.”
He stared at me for a few more long moments, before murmuring, “Do not presume you know the depths of my, or any man’s, heart. Willim harbors a deep well of shame over the pleasure he has accepted from my hand. For a while he only could accept it if tempered with an even amount of pain. To force him to accept purely pleasure, to surrender to the song of need in his own body, that is a violation of a subtle—but no less powerful—kind.”
“Oh.” I leaned my head against the armrest of his chair. “What shall I do next, then?’
He stood. “Come with me. No matter where we go, we shall need to pack supplies. And it takes a stronger spell than before to carry us both and our things.”
We busied ourselves at such mundane tasks for a while, and he told me some of what he had learned from Seroi when they had spoken. His voice shook a little as he admitted that Kan and I had been correct in our surmise that Seroi had used magic to transform Kenet into a willing slave. “I fear,” he said, “that his influence over the prince extends back much farther than that first lesson in the tower.”
“But he barely saw Kenet as we were growing up, except for banquets, and even then he was absent much of the time. They almost never spoke.”
Sergetten nodded. “That only makes me the more suspicious now that I think on it. He wanted us all to believe he had no interest in Kenet at all. But there are things about Kenet that even the Lord High Mage does not know.”
This startled me. “Such as?”
He lifted a pack onto my shoulders. “Perhaps I should let Kan tell you,” he said, tightening the straps.
I hefted the load; it was not terribly much. I was about to return to the question of what Seroi knew not when I felt Sergetten’s hand working down my front.
He freed my cock from my trousers and brought it to full length with playful tugs. My knees wobbled but did not buckle.
“Are you mine, Jorin?”
The question seemed to tumble out of him unexpectedly, as did my answer. “Yes, yes Sergetten.”
“To do with as I please?”
“Yes, of course, pleasure or pain.”
“You will accept either as your due?”
“Yes, from your hand, anything.” His strokes quickened as I said that.
“Decoration or disfigurement? Damage or discipline?”
“Yes, yes sir, yes master…”
He hissed as if in rapturous pleasure himself, whether at my sentiments or at the power he felt us building, I do not know. Both, perhaps.
He pushed me to my knees then, one finger hooked in the collar around my neck. “Well, then.” He looked into my eyes.
His other hand had slipped from my cock, and he lifted it between us where I could see it. Then he balled it into a fist. Quite suddenly my arousal was snuffed like a candle and my eyes went wide with comprehension of what he was going to do. Dread welled up where my lust had been, as I knew the trigger for the spell’s completion was my orgasm. He was going to force me to spill when my loins were cold.
I have never feared pain, have I? I have rarely shied from it. But I found myself grateful then that my hands were free, for it meant I could clutch at the edges of his robe, and force him to see the plea that fell from my lips. “No, please, please not that, please, Sergetten, don’t, please don’t!” My voice by turns was breathlessly urgent and pitiable and I barely sounded like myself, but I was only dimly aware of that. The begging came from pure fear, with no calculation or dissembling on my part. Any blow from his hand I would have gladly withstood, but the tearing internal agony of the magically forced climax I discovered suddenly I feared.
I couldn’t even say anything more coherent than “please don’t, please no.” I was shaking so much, that when a light touch brushed my forehead, I shied momentarily until I realized it was Sergetten kissing me gently.
I still trembled, not knowing then if this was merely a prelude to him wringing an agonizing release from me, or if there was genuine kindness there.
My voice had dropped to a hoarse whisper, repeating my plea to be spared once more, and this time his mouth met mine and silenced me at last.
When he broke away, it was to whisper in my ear. “You see? Being the willing sacrifice is not as easy as you thought.”
I clung to his neck then like a child. “Does that mean you… you won’t?”
His hand squeezed my limp milksacks. “I could do it anyway, now, and ride your suffering to Maldevar four times over, forcing you through so powerful an objection.”
I was not listening with logic, though. All I could hear was fear. “Please don’t.”
And then came one more kiss. “I won’t.” Another kiss on my cheek. And across my eyelids. His voice was as weak as mine. “I won’t, dear one. I won’t.”
He held me until I stopped shaking. Within the hour we were on horse, hurrying west. He said nothing more about it, but as we rode I had much time to think on my weakness.
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About the author: Cecilia Tan is the award-winning author of many erotic books and stories and the founder of Circlet Press.