"Well then," Akashiya said. "The matter is now settled."
Tsukune needed only to see the raw fury still on Ria's face to know that was anything but true.
"Let us leave the two of them to get better acquainted."
"Is it okay if Tsukune and I have sex daddy?" Kahlua asked.
"Of course," Issa answered and glanced towards his son. "My bed is very comfortable please feel free to enjoy yourselves."
Tsukune began to make choking sounds.
Ria sent him a last scornful glance but did not say a word as she and Kokoa were exited out of her father's quarters.
So Tsukune found himself alone with Kahlua.
"So Tsukune," Kahlua asked. "Wanna do it?"
The Grand Hall was now empty save for the baron and the members of his party.
Baron Teppes was slowly pacing before the dais. Back and forth, back and forth he shuffled along, quietly brooding. The others were wise enough to keep a safe distance from him. At times like these the last thing the baron wanted was company.
When they heard faint steps approach they all turned their eyes to the main entrance.
The baron stopped his pacing and looked as well.
At last they appeared, crossing the threshold from darkness into light. There was Dmitri and, striding beside him, was a radiant beauty that was the Baron's most coveted possession.
Lithe, tall and graceful, golden curls spilled past her shoulders and down the small of her bare back with glowing, flawless skin as pale as marble. Her gown was simple in its design meant to enhance the natural beauty of it wearer than it was meant to distract from it. Hugging a modest bust, the filmy midnight black fabric contoured around her front to taper lightly over hips that moved and flexed with each dainty step she took. A scarlet slip peeked from under a skirt that flashed her smooth creamy thighs that were exposed high yet concealed from the back, giving the image of a long train of fabric that followed her. Around her necks was a dark leather collar with a gold buckle. Etched into it was the image of a dragon swallowing the moon; the symbol of House Teppes.
Her sapphire eyes glanced about the empty hall with obvious confusion and disappointment. Teppes could understand that. She was his greatest treasure and he rarely allowed her leave his castle. She had pleaded with him to be allowed to attend but he'd refused. He did not want other men looking at her. When Dmitri had brought her she must have expected a grand scene with music playing and couples dancing. Instead she arrived to find nothing at all.
Those eyes finally settled on him and he saw her smile. Just the sight of that made his heart ache. Of all his servants she alone did not fear him. Baron Teppes had never once lifted a hand to her in anger. She was a slave, but he truly loved her. Somehow she'd kept her gentle elven nature despite her surroundings. In Castle Teppes she was the only light that was ever allowed to penetrate the gloom there. He had indulged her in all sorts of ways. She ate only the best foods and he was always showering her with gifts. She had no tasks to perform and was actually given servants of her own to see to her every need. He had even allowed her to have a flower garden in his courtyard! It pleased him to make her happy. The only thing he ever refused her was permission to leave his estates. She was his own special joy.
Issa had met her only once. It was at a party the baron had thrown more than seventy years ago. The baron had meant to keep Helena secluded, but as vampire celebrations would do it dragged on for many weeks with Helena begging him each night to allow him to attend. He always indulged her and did not like to see her unhappy so he had finally given in.
Oh how they had stared at her! Vampires had an eye for beauty and could see that she was truly lovely. A single perfect rose in a field of flowers. Issa's face had been consumed with lust and avarice. His mate Akasha saw it and was not pleased. For a short while Teppes had been happy about that. It was pleasant to know he possessed something the Hades Lord wanted. That pleasure was always tainted by concern though. Issa made it all too clear that he wanted Helena for his own.
Helena hurried to join him. Where the others kept their distance she was unafraid. She was the only one who did not fear him.
"Master? Where have they all gone? I want to dance."
She looked at him with such innocence and trust. He could not help but smile at her.
"Ah, my dear," the baron took her soft hands into his. "I fear the celebration has ended and there is no more dancing." Lifting her hands to his lips he placed gentle kisses upon them. "I am sorry my dear I am so very sorry."
"Master? Please don't be sad." Helena blinked her eyes confused. "I am disappointed but there will be other dances, you will let me go to them won't you? I want to dance with you."
"If that is your wish then let us dance my darling."
"Master?" Now she was really confused. "There is no music."
Smiling Baron Teppes placed one hand on her hip and held out her right hand in his left. "No there is no music but while there is still time let us dance together."
"I do not understand."
"I will explain but first let us dance." He began to lead and she followed willingly enough.
Helena laughed. "As you wish my master."
Dmitri and the others watched as Teppes and Helena danced about the empty floor in silence.
"What?" Tsukune took a step back. "Just like that?"
Kahlua eyed him curiously. "Well of course silly, isn't that what you want?"
"No?" Kahlua repeated with a disappointed look. "So you don't find me attractive Tsukune-kun?"
"Well sure, it's just, well I…"
"Isn't this going way too fast?" Tsukune asked her. "I mean I was just married to your sister and we don't really know each other that well."
Smiling she took a step closer. "Wouldn't this be a good way to get to know each other? We could do it and then be all snuggly."
"How about we try talking first?"
"You want to talk? Usually boys always want to get straight to the good part."
"This isn't about that though. If we're really going to get married don't you want to know about me?"
"I already know about you," Kahlua assured him. "Moka told me about how brave you are and how kind. She told me how you were the one who made her feel safe and let her find peace."
Hearing that did not make Tsukune feel better. "If I was so wonderful then why did she do that to me?" Tsukune asked bitterly.
"Who knows? That is something you would have to ask my sister. I don't think you did anything to deserve it and it was clear my sister still loves you." Kahlua reached out to take his hand but he pulled away. She looked unhappy "Do you not like me Tsukune-kun?"
"It's not that," Tsukune assured her. "It's that I don't know you."
"Are you afraid I'll do the same thing?" Kahlua shook her head vehemently. "I said I'd be faithful to you Tsukune and I meant it."
"Ah, about that, when I brought it up I was trying to make a point to Ria." Tsukune gave an embarrassed laugh. "I wasn't really expecting her to agree to be faithful to me."
"I can understand why. My sister's a whore."
Tsukune stared at her.
"Well technically she doesn't charge money," Kahlua corrected. "So I guess she's not a whore she just has lots and lots and lots and lots and lots of sex."
"I've had sex too and I like it, but if it makes you happy I don't mind only having it with you Tsukune-kun."
"Well you see that's the thing," Tsukune said uncomfortably. "I wasn't seriously asking Ria to be faithful to me I was just making a point. You see, well, I've sort of already promised to have a relationship with at least one other girl."
"Oh," Kahlua said. "So you already had a lover. Did Moka know you were cheating on her?"
"Well maybe she found out and that's why she screwed Gin."
"Wait! You're misunderstanding! I only slept with Kurumu after Moka cheated on me."
"Oh! I see. So as soon as you left you got some revenge sex."
"It wasn't like that," Tsukune muttered.
"What was it like?"
"Well it was, well, comforting. It was done out of love and caring not for revenge."
"I see," Kahlua eyed him intently. "You mentioned the name Kurumu. She's the succubus from Youkai right? The one who was always shoving your face in her breasts? Moka mentioned that. A LOT."
"Well… yes. I needed someone and she was there for me. She loves me and I love her too."
"So you want to be able to see her even after we become mates?"
"Uh, well, yes?"
"Okey dokey," Kahlua said brightly. "I don't mind a bit."
Kahlua giggled and moved close to him. This time he did not move away. "Why are you so surprised Tsukune–kun? I want you to be happy. If being with this Kurumu girl makes you happy then I am glad! You can have others Tsukune."
Surprising him she leaned in and placed a soft kiss on his lips.
"Just please let me make you happy too."
Tsukune felt his heart begin to beat a little faster.
"Okay," he whispered.
He leaned in and returned her kiss.
Teppes enjoyed the bizarre dance with Helena. He danced with her often, though this was the first time without music to accompany them.
"Master is something wrong?"
"Why do you ask that Helena?"
"Usually you are happy when we dance. Now you seem sad. Is it because there is no one else here?"
"No my dear that has nothing to do with it."
"I was very excited when Dmitri came to fetch me. I wanted so much to see all the beautiful couples moving to the lovely music. Whenever you go you always leave me behind master."
"That is because you are too precious to me." Teppes said.
"I hate when we are separated master."
From anyone else that would have been a lie.
"I know." Teppes answered quietly. "You have always been my greatest joy Helena."
A loud clapping brought their mimed dance to a halt. From a side entrance Lord Akashiya emerged with Ria trailing at his heel. Kokoa had begged off and gone to her room. "My dear baron, had I known you wanted a last dance with her I should have kept the musicians here for you." Issa strode forward, his eyes looking Helena over hungrily.
"That is quite all right Lord Akashiya. This was enough for me."
"Master? What is going on? What does he mean last dance?" Helena asked.
"Oh me oh my you haven't told her yet?" Ria said with a laugh. "You really should you know."
"Master?" Helena looked to Teppes lost.
"I am sorry my dear, but you are no longer mine." Reaching out with his gnarled hands he unhooked the buckle and removed the collar about Helena's neck. Symbolizing that she was no longer his slave. "You belong to Lord Akashiya now."
Helena stood there stunned.
She then fell to her knees to clutch at him. "No master! I don't want to belong to anyone else! Don't throw me away master! What have I done?"
"You have done nothing my dear. I love you. I love you more than I have ever loved any of my mates."
"But less than you love your pride," Issa noted. He turned to Helena. "You were the stakes of a bet and Teppes lost. You are mine now."
"No," Helena declared. "Master would never do that! I am his treasure he would never risk losing me!"
"Except that he did," Issa said with relish. Grabbing her by her upper arm he yanked her to her feet and began to drag her along. "I have wanted you since I first laid eyes on your lovely face. Let's go and find a bed."
"No!" Helena fought as hard as she could to break free, but against a vampire's strength her efforts were useless. "Master I only want to be with you! Please!"
"You belong to Issa now," Teppes told her deliberately looking away.
"There's no need to be so scared," Issa told her. "Trust me; you'll enjoy being a part of my harem."
She howled and dug in her feet but was still dragged along. She was a slave and her body belonged to someone else.
Ria remained behind with Baron Teppes as Helena was led away.
"It has been quite a while since I've seen my lord father so enthusiastic. Not since Ageha first came here to offer herself to him. I doubt he'll let her get any rest for at least the next three days."
Teppes sent her a murderous glare. She simply grinned back playfully.
"This is not the end of things Ria, I promise you that."
"Oh me oh my we can play any time, but be careful not to bet more than you are ready to lose."
"I will keep that in mind." He offered her a slight bow. "Good night Ria."
She returned the gesture. "Good night Baron Teppes."