TQ spoilers for drabble three.
"I think you're going to have to take your shirt off."
Ozorne looks at Kalasin – she stifles a smirk, reminding herself that Healers are always professional. "I won't be able to heal it properly with it on," the empress coaxes, crossing her fingers behind her back, "and you do want it to get better, don't you?"
The Emperor Mage feels a sliver of suspicion, but, dismissing it, he pulls his tunic off without comment and seats himself on the bed. "You may begin."
Kalasin takes in the sight, feeling very pleased with herself.
"Oh, right. Massage." Fighting to hide the silly smile that has spread across her face, she kneels behind him, before beginning to knead his tense shoulder blades.
She works in silence for a few moments. "Ozorne?"
"Are your ribs still bruised? Because if they are, I could probably fix them up now, if you could possibly just lie down on your back—"
Kalasin sighs. It had been worth a try.
Princess Kalasin of Conté eyes the bowl of fruits on the side table dubiously. "What are those?"
"They're called…guavas. Imported from Carthak. I hear they're all the rage there."
"Oooh, Faleron, aren't you the educated one," she teases, sinking down onto the sofa. She looks at the fruit again, wrinkling her nose. "It looks so…odd."
"They're not too bad, Kally," Faleron says mildly. "Try some."
Kalasin makes a face, but does so. She takes a bite out of a small slice, and her reaction is immediate.
"Disgusting!" she chokes, and gives him a baleful look. "Not too bad, my foot."
Faleron grins. "I might be able to make you see—ah, taste—it in a different light."
Kalasin leans back on the sofa, eyeing him flirtatiously. "The same way you did with pomegranates?"
"The exact same."
The princess wastes no time in reaching out, her delicate hand wrapping itself in the material of his tunic and pulling him very close. "Why are we wasting our time talking?"
"I have no idea," Faleron replies, before pulling her close, into a passionate and fruit-flavored kiss.
When they break apart, panting, Kalasin smirks. "Guavas? I think I just decided they're not so bad."
Faleron smirks back, and reminds himself to increase the import rate of fruits from Carthak.
"Why, Empress, I absolutely adore your new perfume," Saraiyu Hetnim smiles, fluttering her fan slightly. "I find it strongly reminiscent of my homeland."
"Fitting, as it is an import from the Isles." Kalasin Iliniat snaps her silk fan shut, throwing a covert look at her husband, who is deep in conversation with one of his lords. "I am glad you like it. I find myself cautious about trying new scents."
Sarai laughs, throwing her head back. "Zaimid complains that he spends half of his monthly pay buying new perfumes for me."
Kalasin smiles slightly. "Well, we can't have that, can we?"
Kalasin glides past Sarai, before turning back to look at her friend. There is an all-too-familiar teasing look in those blue eyes, and Sarai feels a shiver of anticipation down her spine. "I use only two scents most of the time, and yet my lord delights in buying me different kinds of perfume every time he goes on a campaign."
Sarai raises an eyebrow, feeling a smile tug at the corners of her mouth.
"Why don't you visit tomorrow afternoon?" Kalasin suggests casually. "We can…sample…some of the new ones together."
"That sounds lovely, Empress."
"Call me Kalasin."
And with that, the Empress continues toward the balcony, pausing every now and then to engage in conversation. Her skin is slightly flushed and her eyes bright.
Across the room, Kaddar glances at his wife, noting the expression on her face. He struggles with himself for a moment, torn between exasperation and amusement.
"Accommodate me," he says quietly, brushing against her, later. "Try to keep it down tomorrow? Or…on second thought, I should probably spend some time with Zaimid."
Kalasin smirks. "I'll accommodate you all you want."
Kaddar raises an eyebrow, and Kalasin shrugs helplessly, backing away. "Forgive me for being giddy, but I think I'm in love."
He fights the urge to roll his eyes. "If you say so."
Giggling, she dashes back and plants a quick kiss on his cheek. Kaddar bats her away. "You may go and romance your lady-love now, my dear."
Kalasin beams, and dissolves back into the crowd within a matter of moments. Through a gap of people, he sees her link arms with Lady Saraiyu and lead her toward a group of others, both of them in deep conversation.
Kaddar smiles a little and turns back, looking for Zaimid.
After all, they do have plans to make for their rare time without their wives. And if Kaddar knows Zaimid as well as he thinks he does, he already has a vague idea of what those plans are going to be.
To tell the truth, he doesn't mind one bit.
"Sorry, Princess," the gray-eyed squire says to her, holding the tissue to his nose. "I know it's not as glorious as a jousting wound, but—"
"Hush," Kalasin says firmly. She approaches him, and her hand is enveloped with a thin sheet of blue fire. Merric flinches back apprehensively, but she places her hand on his shoulder, holding him still.
He has to dig his fingers into the table to keep himself from whimpering as the princess sets her hand on his nose. Her icy touch sends shoots of pain through his entire body, and Merric narrowly avoids biting his tongue.
Look at her hair—pretty hair—look at her skin—pretty skin—look at her face—ohhh. He squeezes his eyes shut, to prevent himself from looking at…other places…he knows he's not supposed to.
"There," she says, after seemingly an eternity of agony. She sounds amused, and when he cracks his eyes open, he sees her smiling at him. "It'll be all better in a little while."
Merric feels a strong temptation to poke his nose, but he contents himself with the knowledge that it is all in one piece again. He gets up and bows deeply, stammering his thanks.
Kalasin waves him off, back to the jousts, blushing slightly.
After he's gone, she sits on the table, fighting the urge to giggle and press her nose to the window in search of the redheaded squire.
Maybe she'll stay here at the capital for a little bit longer. After all, there's still a chance that he might get his nose broken again, or even his ribs. Kalasin's eyebrows rise slightly, as she contemplates healing that.
"You're staying here for the rest of the summer?" Roald asks incredulously, when he finds out. "Why?"
Kalasin gasps, as if the question is a horrible insult. "I want to be here for your Progress, Roald! You're my own beloved elder brother!"
Roald grins. "Whoever it is, try not to break his heart too badly."
Kalasin smiles back. "Oh, I won't."
After a while, Kaddar comes to think that Kalasin's voice is unbearably sexy, especially when she's giving orders.
It makes Council meetings absolute agony.
After a while, Kalasin comes to think that Kaddar's voice is unbearably sexy, especially when she can only hear the barest traces of sarcasm in his voice.
It makes Council meetings absolute agony.
"Truth or dare?"
"What irritates you the most about Council meetings?"
"How much clearer do I have to make myself? Hearing your voice during meetings makes me want to sweep papers onto the floor and push you onto the table, and…well."
Kalasin arches an eyebrow. "And what exactly about my voice makes you want to ravish me on the council table?"
Kaddar arches an eyebrow right back at her. "I'm not sure how to describe it. Maybe we can go into the study and discuss it at length."
Kalasin smirks. "I'll get the drinks."
"Sounds like a good plan to me, my lady."
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