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 Eighty-Two: Jorin
The three of us landed in the midst of one of the strangest military councils held in the history of Trest. I am one lucky bastard, though, for had we followed Seroi to his lair as I’d intended, he would surely have easily killed us by non-magical means. When we appeared in the tent in their midst, Kenet was unconscious, which was a mercy, I suppose, given the agony I had just put him through, I was choked half to death by Roichal, and Roichal himself was in not very fine shape either. All three of us would have been easy victims for anyone with the will to harm us.
We had arrived in a large tent, large enough for the gathering of half a dozen men and soldiers to leap to their feet at our arrival. Thank goodness Kan was among those there and gleaned immediately what had happened, so no well-meaning soldier of Trest killed me to save Roichal or the prince, either.
They did, however, put me in irons and bid me kneel out of the way while they tended to Kenet’s unconscious form. I looked up at the officer who seemed to be in charge. His black hair was to his shoulders and he wore the blue uniform jacket of the cavalry. I could see the air between him and Roichal glowing bright and understood then what had happened. I had thought the strongest connection Roichal would have in Trest would be to Seroi himself. But apparently I had severed that with his defeat and it was to this man we had returned.
I was not shocked then, when the officer could hold himself back no longer and flew into Roichal’s arms—though many others in the tent were. Roichal’s face was bloody where Kenet had scratched him, he was naked and bruised, and he was covered in cock grease… his cock included.
Our appearance effectively broke up the council, and Roichal dug into a trunk and got into a uniform that fit him. Others carried Kenet away and I could not much protest. Kan stayed by my side but said nothing.
When it was just me, Roichal, Kan, and the black-haired officer left, I finally spoke, and my voice was not that of a master of Night Magic. I sounded like a broken man. “I’m sorry.”
“What under all the wide sky did you do to Kenet!” the officer demanded, his rage and fear buffeting me like a harsh wind.
“Stand down, Marksin,” Roichal said in a quiet voice.
“I said stand down. This is the guard that Kenet so cherished.”
Marksin’s eyes narrowed at me. “You could have fooled me. I thought you’d brought the enemy right into our midst.”
I could not meet his eyes. “I’m sorry,” I said again. “I saw a chance to… to… and I took it. I… I don’t know if I can explain myself fully.”
Roichal sat on the edge of low sleeping pallet. “You needn’t explain yourself to me, Jorin. You saw the enemy had a weakness, and you attacked. I would have done the same. But Marksin, you may have to put me in irons, as well.”
“No,” I said. “No, the mage’s hold on you is… is burned away.” I moved to trace the strands in the air, but my hands were still locked behind my back. I settled for telling them, “The only threads of Night Magic that still bind you, sir, are to your officer here.”
Marksin straightened as if I’d poked him with a pin.
“Yes, I can see it.” I closed my eyes and could still see it, though the strands that burned brightest, that tugged at me most, were to Kenet. Somewhere nearby.
Roichal sighed. “Are you bound to Kenet now?”
“And are all his other ties severed now?”
“Marks, you can release him.”
“Marks, that is twice tonight you have questioned my orders. Have you grown so accustomed to my absence that you prefer it?”
“Then let the poor milksucker go. You and I have other pressing matters to attend to, if the snake’s hold on me is truly gone.”
At that I opened my eyes.
“You see, son, you did some good today.” Roichal took the key from Marksin and undid the irons on me himself. “You have given me back something I never thought to regain. And you have kept our enemy from becoming the most powerful man in the world.”
I got to my feet slowly. “And if I have broken Kenet’s heart? What then?”
He put a hand on my shoulder. “I do not think yours should be the first face he sees when he wakes. Marksin and I know him well. He will not be alone.”
I could not help but feel possessiveness and jealousy flare in me. Was this the way Sergetten had felt about me? I forced myself to relax my fists. Roichal squeezed my shoulder. “Fear not. We shall not forget to whom he belongs.”
“Thank you,” I said, and then went with Kan before I could say anything to make things worse.
Kan, who had been silent through all that, did not make me speak. We walked out of the area where the military had set their tents, and into the woods where the Night Rider camp was. He stoked a fire from embers to give us a little light and to heat me some soup made from military rations. I ate it without tasting it.
Neither of us said anything for another hour, while I watched a bright star cross the gap in the trees overhead.
Finally I said, “And what if I have broken Kenet’s heart?”
He moved closer to me on the fallen log where we sat. “Is he so frail as that?”
“The prince is not frail at all!” I hissed with indignation. “He has withstood innumerable shocks that would have brought a lesser man low!”
“Was being ridden that traumatizing, then?”
“Do you remember when Sergetten bonded me? Did you have a sense of how… painful it was?”
“I do recall it as one of the more excruciating bondings I’ve been a part of, yes.”
“This was ten times worse.” His first time. Our first time. I still could hear his scream. “Perhaps a hundred.”
“Oh.” Kan shifted nervously. “You mean to say when you broke his heart, you broke him.”
My stomach plummeted. “I… yes. That’s what I fear.”
Kan cuffed me on the shoulder then. “You can’t know that. He’s going to be sleeping it off for quite a while, but how much shall we wager that when he wakes he calls for you? He’s going to be all smiles and snuggles. You’ll see.”
I kept the thought to myself that if he was, I would feel even worse. For if he acted like nothing had happened, it would not be Kenet, but the bond spell suppressing his hate. Kenet would be merely a shell. “I wish I could speak to Sergetten about it. At least the snake made it sound like he’s alive.”
Kan stiffened suddenly. “What are you talking about?”
I sighed and recounted for him all that had happened since Sergetten and I had left the Night Riders, including Sergetten’s snatching and all that the snake had said through Roichal’s mouth.
“Thunder’s roll, we had no idea he had Sergetten. That changes our plans considerably.”
“What plans are these?”
“Oh, nothing firm yet of course, but we were going to at least try to rescue Korl before beginning a military assault. The fact that there are other Night Mages missing is another factor we must consider…” He threw a twig into the fire and it flared. “Bah. I hate planning. I much prefer doing. And the military is much more fun to disrupt than to cooperate with.”
“Is the entire army basically a ‘rebel’ force now, then?”
“Yes. Glorious, isn’t it? Even the militias who had held back are being won over.”
We talked for a while longer about the state of the land and so forth. But eventually melancholy overtook me again and I fell silent. Kan eventually pushed me into a tent to sleep, and did not even try to convince me to undertake a little bed-play with him.
By the next night, I could no longer call it melancholy. I had spent much of the day hovering near the tent where Kenet was sleeping, hoping against hope that he would wake and remember it only as a nightmare, or not remember it at all. Eventually hard-eyed soldiers had driven me away, though. I neither ate nor slept.
Kan found me at midnight, sitting in the dark in the middle of the trees, listening to the wind.
He said nothing, merely hung a lantern on a tree and came close enough to hear my voice.
“They say the pillow under his head is soaked with tears,” I said, as if that explained everything. Oh, Kenet…
“Maybe you need to shed some tears, too,” he said.
I had no answer to that.
“Seriously, Weltskin. I know you. You feel you must pay for what you’ve done. Am I wrong?”
I snorted. “You’re not wrong. But I am not a whipping boy anymore. And though I am sure Korl would love to flay me alive for what I’ve done to his son, I’m not sure he’s fit to.”
Kan’s hand came to rest on my shoulder. “Ah. And must it be someone of royal blood who metes out the punishment, or it means nothing? Is that what you think?”
I was confused by this line of questioning. “I suppose.”
There was a moment of silence, when even the trees seemed to hold their breath. Then, “Take off your shirt.”
“Kan!” I looked at him, surprised, but comprehension dawning.
“Take it off.” His voice was as commanding as I had ever heard Korl’s be.
What was it Sergetten had said? Seroi does not know everything about Kan and neither do you? But maybe Kan himself would tell me? I suddenly felt like a fool for not seeing it before. Hadn’t I even mistaken him for Kenet once, while drowsy from tinglebush blossoms?
I pulled my borrowed tunic over my head and then held it balled in my hands. He took it and hung it over the branch below the lantern. Then he unshielded the lantern to make the light brighter.
His fingertips skated over my chest. “I can see the ‘S’ in ‘Sergetten’ here…” he said, tracing the curve of a scar. “Where shall I leave my mark on you, Jorin?”
I bowed my head. “Wherever you like. I deserve no mercy.”
“Strip the rest of the way then.”
I did as he asked, feeling strangely calm rather than apprehensive.
“Grasp that branch there, just above you,” he said. I had to go up on tiptoe to take hold of it, and I held my breath a moment, my stomach taut with anticipation and with stretching upward.
There was no naming of the infraction and no setting of terms. He would whip me until he wanted to stop. I would accept it.
Royalty or no, that lighting-blasted milksucker teased me with the whip, though, wouldn’t you know? He began to lay light strokes of leather tails down my back, criss-crossing in a continuous swirl, until I groaned aloud. Then suddenly I heard the sharp hiss through the air a moment before the divided falls struck me with a sharp crack.
But he went straight back to the light swinging, whisking across my shoulder blades and buttocks, until again—crack!—he put some force into one particular swing. This one swiped across my arsecheeks like the claws of a mountain cat.
Crack! Crack! Crack! He let several blows fall in quick succession, then just as I struggled to maintain my posture and my grip, he backed off again—whisk, whisk, whisk.
“Tell me what happened,” he said.
Crack! “You think you have a choice to obey me or not? You don’t, Jorin. It’s only a matter of whether you surrender while you are still thinking consciously, or if I must reduce you to a blubbering mass of begging for mercy first. And you know, I’m not good at mercy.”
“Yes, sir. Yes… my lord.” I had no idea what the correct title for him was. Was he a bastard of Korl’s? A cousin?
Another sharp blow prompted me back to the question.
“He… Roichal was possessed by the spirit of our enemy. Many years ago, he took Roichal’s prick the way he took Bear’s. He was able to give Roichal back his equipment, but then use it to try to defeat me.”
Crack! “What do you mean, defeat you?”
“Kan, I told you all this bef—argh!”
He struck me to shut me up. “That was then. I’m asking you now.”
“Yes, sir.” Where was I? “It was a fuck fight for dominance. To determine who could bond to Kenet without complications. But our enemy is one of those who had laid a claim. By possessing Roichal, he could have severed my bond with Kenet and cemented his own without ever leaving Maldevar.”
He moved to strike my legs then, his boot tapping at my ankle to urge me to spread my legs, but the branch was too high and I could not. He ended up just whipping me across the backs of my thighs. “But you won the fight.”
“I won the fight. And I pushed Seroi back using Night Magic. I broke his hold on Roichal, and saw I could break his hold on Kenet, too, right then and there! Agh!” I could not hold back a cry then, as he struck me on the side and the handful of tails, like the claws of a cat, wrapped around my hip and bit extra hard into my skin. “I could break his hold on Kenet and cement my own. One way. Take him.”
“Kenet objected, I take it.”
“Strongly,” I admitted. This time I held in a cry as he wrapped it deliberately around my hip, the stinging tails striking my groin very close to my cock. “But Sergetten had taught me, without knowing he was teaching me, how to take a slave’s outrage and resistance and turn it into magic.”
I screamed as the tails wrapped around and caught me on the milksacks. I could not speak then, and he did it again, and again, and then on the other side, again, and again, and then moved up just an inch or two until he was whipping my cock itself.
The traitorous thing was erect, which gave him a large target. I was nearly blind from the pain, and he stopped then to let me catch my breath.
Part of me hoped he would unman me with the whip, as Korl had once threatened to. Instead, he spoke. “Let me see if I have the story right,” Kan said, and it sounded like maybe he was catching his breath, too. “You’d never been the dominant partner in a Night Magic spell before, much less a bonding, but you took it upon yourself to force a virgin. A virgin prince, no less. Who loved and adored you, and trusted you to be his protector.”
“Yes,” I rasped, the truth of his words lashing me with no less force than the whip.
“Did you have any other choice?” he asked.
“Does it matter?” I spat back. “I must pay for the crime either way.”
He shook his head in defeat. “Very well. No mercy, then.”
“No.” The only mercy I expected I might receive would come in death.
But Kan loved me too well for that. He whipped me bloody, leaving my skin littered with welts and scars, not even stopping after my arms could hold on no longer and I fell to the leaf-covered ground. I don’t know how many blows I took while on the ground, but I truly thought, as he continued to whip me, that he would continue until I was dead.
When the pain of my skin and the cracked dryness of my throat woke me just before dawn, I knew he had not been able to finish the job. I crawled from his tent, where he slumbered undisturbed by my movements, and searched out a rope.
I had just slung it over a high branch and was securing the loose end when he caught me across the jaw with his fist. I fell.
“Has power made you stupid? Or is it grief?”
I stayed down, in the dirt, where I belonged. “I don’t deserve to live.”
“This isn’t about you,” he said, resting his boot on my hip, the heel digging into a bruise there. “The prince is bonded to you, now, idiot. He may hate you for what you did, but he cannot live without you. If all you say is true, there can be no other master for him. If you die, your slave will follow.”
Oh. I had forgotten that. “Sergetten was right all along. I am an idiot.”
“If Kenet can’t stand the sight of you, you’ll just have to spill into a silver goblet to feed him.” Kan kicked me then—well, not so much a kick as just rolling me onto my back with his boot. I saw then in the growing predawn light that he was wearing only the boots and nothing else. He must have hastened after me as soon as he realized I was gone; he must have suspected what I would do. “No more of this nonsense.” He pulled the rope free and it slid to the ground. “Whether he hates you now or not, you are my brother’s caretaker and protector for life, Jorin Weltskin. And I will not allow you to shirk that duty.”
Brother. I had a thousand questions, but I knew I could ask none at this moment.
“Get back in the tent,” he said, but his voice had turned gentle. “Some Footsoldier’s Ease will let you sleep.”
I slept a few more hours with the help of the tinglebush tincture, and woke stiff and sore. Kan rubbed a bit of salve into my back and shoulders but it barely made a difference. Kan sniffed at himself. “I make a poor substitute for Sergetten, don’t I? Tcha. I don’t have his finesse with either hurting or healing. If he’d been the one beating you, you’d have felt truly sorry and not felt the need for a stunt like what you tried this morning. He would have beaten you to tears instead of unconsciousness.”
Tears. I could only think of how Kenet was crying, even in his sleep.
Kan did eventually see my tears, though. A few hours later I knew Kenet was awake when Kan came to me and said not a word. I was in the small clearing where he’d whipped me the night before. Kan merely unbuckled my belt with one brusque tugging, and then stepped back and tossed me something disdainfully. In my hands I caught a silver goblet.
I have never had more difficulty spilling in my life. I knelt in the leaves and bracken, the cup between my legs, and tried to bring myself to completion, but with every stroke I thought of how it had felt to push into him, how very good it had felt—to me alone. I could not stay hard. Kan’s patience wore thin after a while and he gripped my hair in frustration, slapping my cheek with the other hand and exhorting me to do my duty. The rough handling triggered something in me, and at last I began to get somewhere, but release still eluded me.
He struck me again and again on the cheek, calling me names and then urging me to let go. Let go! Eventually I did, a collection of white spurts issuing from my cock at the same my tears burst out of me like a summer rain shower.
He kissed me then, and then took the goblet and left me a shivering heap in the forest. At his kiss, I had felt a small measure of peace. Absolution, though, would have to come from another source.
* * *
About the author: Cecilia Tan is the award-winning author of many erotic books and stories and the founder of Circlet Press.