Hint: Hover over a field name if you want to know what it's for.

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:12 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Mone was pouting towards the Xeik. “Fine~ It is our vacation after all.”

Xeik rolled his eyes, “Lewis and Simone Terrowin GET YOUR ASSES BACK IN REALITY.”
“So needy,” Simone waved her hand. “But fine.”
Simone was cuddled up to Lewis as her eyes fluttered awake. Xeik was hovering over them and Rhenakos was panicking. “So… Rhenakos… What the fuck did you give us?” Simone sat up and stared at him. “You had us in my new novel idea.” She took out her notebook and smacked Rhenakos with the rough draft of her new novel. It was thick and made a nice slap noise.
“I THOUGHT I KILLED YOU BOTH!” Rhenakos yelled.
“Nah, you just had us in a very nice dream. At least I don’t write tragedies.” She giggled a bit. “OH MY EMPEROR!!” She flopped herself on Lewis.
“And we’re fucking leaving now,” Xeik rolled his eyes as he dragged Rhenakos out.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:05 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Lewis was quite shocked at Simone’s actions as she paraded Felix’s dead body across the castle. In the end, though, he was even more shocked as she threw him down, and declared him a traitor in the same breath as declaring Lewis as an Emperor. He smirked, though, and as he stood in her shadow as always, whispered so only she could hear.

“I could take you right now,” he said. “I have never been more excited by you…”

That got a smile from Simone as she turned around, kissing Lewis, cementing their relationship for the entire court to see. There was scattered applause, which soon turned into a roaring applause as Lewis swept her off her feet, and carried her to the throne, sitting upon it with her in his lap.

The applause continued, and Lewis looked down upon the court with a smirk, looking at his now fiancé.

“So,” Lewis said as his eyes flickered a familiar azure blue. “When do we want to wake up?”

Simone looked back to Lewis, her own eyes mirroring his. “I don’t know. This has been quite fun, and I don’t think I want it to end just yet.” She gave him a coy look. “Besides…I rather like being called “Empress.” It has a nice ring to it. Empress Auclair.”

“Empress ‘Terrowin’ has a better ring,” Lewis replied. “But I get the idea.”

“Oh hush, you’re just jealous that I got to be the Empress.” Simone giggled. “How did it feel, calling me ‘Your Empress?’ Maybe we should start making that a normal thi-”


“Oh hush. You liked it,” she shot back with a dark grin. “I can tell, you know…”

“I’m not going to respond to that.” Lewis looked away, towards the crowd. “This is really nice though. I wouldn’t mind staying here for-”

A sudden scream shook the halls as a giant, floating head appeared high above them. It was none other than Xeik, who glanced around at the crowd, finally spotting Simone and Lewis upon the throne. “Okay you two, time to wake up!” His voice echoed through the halls.

The royal physician version of Xeik pointed up, “What…the fuck it that…”

Simone pouted, “Oh boo. I was having fun!”

“You’ve been asleep for twenty-eight hours. Everyone is worried!” Xeik yelled. “Now wake your asses up!”

Lewis sighed, “Fine…”

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:47 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

As Felix was put to his death Simone had gone over and slipped on one of her robes. She deftly tied it and looked over to Lewis. “It’s becoming apparent my love that I will have to come forward and fast before other leeches try to overtake me.”

She moved past Lewis almost coldly but she stopped herself. Backing up she kissed him, “Get dressed quickly.” She wasn’t getting dressed though as she grabbed the leg of her cousin and began to drag him behind her. A trail of blood was following her. There were gasps.

“My empress! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” Edwin was in shock.

“Call everyone to my throne room NOW. I will not tolerate tardiness,” Simone was looking at him with the coldest expression he had ever seen. Edwin turned around and ran addressing as many people as he could to gather everyone in the castle.

She paraded the body even down the staircase as there was a sick thud. Her torture had made her at ease with the sound. Everyone was gathered in the throne room and even Jerome had a worried look on his face. “All hail the Empress,” an announcer said aloud as Simone made her way in dragging her cousin’s corpse.

“Simone?” Jerome had a look on his face as he stepped back.

“Is she mad?”

“No, I am not mad. I am pissed.” Simone threw the body in front of the crowd going to her throne. Lewis wasn’t far behind her. “Do you know why I have gathered you here?”

There was silence.

“This weasel of a man storms into my bedroom and tries to arrest my lover claiming that I the empress was not sound of mind. “Marie come here,” she waved her hand. The personal chambermaid came forth. “How long have I been seeing Lewis?” She waved to her assassin.

“For quite a while. We kept it a secret because we knew this would happen. I tried to protest Lord Felix not to storm into your bedroom. He is not your lover nor is he trusted. He had no business barging in.”

“Do you think I am seeing Lewis because I am not sound of mind?”

“No my lady,” the chambermaid shook her head. “I think that Master Lewis and the Empress really love each other which is why I support them.”

“Does anyone here wish to claim something as stupid as my cousin? I am the Empress. I do not need power. I do not need a political marriage. I will marry who I want and see who I want. Edwin, take notes. As of today, Lewis is to be addressed as consort of the Empress. He will be treated as you would the emperor of this kingdom. I will not have others speak down on him. Do we all have an understanding?”

“Yes my lady,” everyone bowed to her and she watched as even Jerome did it. He was biting his lip though and she smirked.

“That’s all I had to say. I will not tolerate traitors in my court. Felix died just as his father did… a traitor.”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:24 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

As Llywellyn made his exit, Lewis’ hand ‘slipped’ and cut one of the vines that the elf prince had been holding, causing him to fall and hit the ground hard. Not enough to permanently hurt him, but it got a laugh from Simone, and the warning was well read by Lly. In the end, though, Lewis helped coax Simone back to sleep, and soon he drifted off too. It was one of the rare times he felt the need to sleep, finally dropping the last of his guard around the woman he had fallen in love with.

This, of course, came with repercussions. When lewis awoke, the guards had already barged into the room, and Felix was demanding his arrest despite what Simone was saying. Rhenakos looked between Lewis, Simone, and Felix with a confused look on who to follow.

Felix pointed, “On the tragic anniversary of her kidnapping, this fiend has taken advantage of her, put her under some sort of spell.” Felix was practically foaming at the mouth. This was his chance, the time that I take over. “It’s obvious that she is compromised…after all, there is no way a woman can lead the Empire. It was foolish to think such an emotional crea-”

Simone stood up, clearly not caring that she was wearing a rather revealing marital gown. She definitely had Rhenakos’ full attention.

“Rhenakos, my dear royal guardsman…”

“Y-yes?” the idiot of a captain replied, his eyes wide.

“Did you know you have vacation days?”

Rhenakos blinked. “Vacation days?” He glanced at Felix, who was shocked into bewilderment. “You mean I can take days off, and not get yelled at?”

“Of course.”

The captain of the guard smirked. “Cool. I’ll see you all in a week.” He waved his hand, and walked past Felix with a smirk. “Sorry boss, but I got a needy wife at home to go take care of. She’ll be thrilled.”

“You IDIOT! I WILL HAVE YOUR HEAD FOR THIS!” Felix yelled, pointing.

Simone crossed her arms, “Royal assassin. My Empire is threatened by this filth masquerading as a man. It would seem there have been plans for a coup…” She raised her hand and pointed. “I demand this threat be eliminated.”

When Felix looked to the bed, Lewis was gone. Before he could react, there was a sharp pain in his back as a dagger pieced his heart from behind.

“As you command, Empress.” Lewis said with a smirk.

“You…vile…dog…” Felix gasped out.

“Woof, woof.” The assassin shoved Felix forward, and started to clean the blood off of his blade.

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 6:11 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone was startled by Lewis as he started to moved. That was how they found themselves in this awkward position. She crawled over to the other side of the bed. “Lly… What the fuck?” She repeated.

Llywellyn looked up at her and his face lit up a bright red, “Mone… That nightgown is a martial gown… Why are you?” He looked at Lewis and then back at her. “Are you two?”

“And if we are?” Mone tilted her head. “Would you run and tell Felix or Jerome?”

“Hell no,” Llywellyn popped up and put his hands up. “Normally you get sad tonight so I wanted to help you. But it looks like you don’t even realize what today is…”

The color left her face for a moment as she flopped back on the bed, “I had forgotten…”

“That’s good that you did… I’m just sad I said anything. I wanted to explain my actions to Lewis though so he doesn’t shank me!” He held up his hands. “I throw in my support for you two though. I’ve never seen Simone interested in someone before.” Llywellyn gave him a grin. “I’ll be going.” He started down the ivy and Simone watched as Lewis did something.

She heard a scream and a fall as she got up and rested on the balcony. “Huh, you finally fell off the castle.” She giggled lightly as she looked towards Lewis but it was clear she was making fun of Llywellyn.

“Point taken Lewis. You win!” He got up and ran away.

“That was funny.” She smiled at him but then frowned as she went back to the bed. “I doubt I can sleep tonight though. I…” She frowned. “Today is the day I was kidnapped… he’s right normally I have nightmares.” They got back in bed and she snuggled up to him. Despite her warning Lewis managed to coax her back to sleep.

In the morning her door slammed open, “SIMONE, you missed breakfast! You never miss it when we have impo-” It was Felix as he stormed in. His eyes were glued on the scene of Lewis in the bed of his cousin. “What the hell do you think you are doing?”

Simone popped an eye open, “Sleeping.”

“Why is he in your bed?”

“Why can’t he be? Do I not have the right to choose for myself?”

“GUARDS!” Felix screamed and soon Rhenakos was running in. “Arrest this man for bedding the empress immediately!”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 16, 2021 5:48 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

The time that Lewis spent with Simone was intoxicating. Simply saying her name in their private time was enough to send a wave of euphoria through him, and for the time being, that was enough. At least, it was enough for a time. Perhaps it was Simone’s insistence on teasing him, or perhaps something more, but Lewis could not exactly keep things as simple as they were. It didn’t help that the blasted chambermaid kept dressing Simone in ways that, to be quite frank, were exhilarating to look at.

Simone constantly phrased her sweet nothings as poetry, and as Lewis carried her to bed, he smiled as she, in so many words, claimed her ownership of his heart. As they fell asleep, Lewis smiled at the thought. A life with the Empress Simone was something that he could be content with. Happy, even.

During the night, though, they had a rather unsuspecting visitor. Lewis was awake as they entered the room, but he felt no hostile intent from them. It was curious, but it dawned on him that it was very possible that Simone had a stalker. One that happened to be a red haired elf. The assassin rolled his eyes, and when the sneaky individual snuck into bed, whispering about the past, Lewis let out a sigh.

“Oh Llywellyn, you dog,” Lewis said in his usual monotone voice. “I had no idea you felt this way about me.” At once, Llywellyn snapped back, rolling off the bed and hitting the ground hard. He was shocked, more than anything, and as the candle lit up the room, there was a smirking Lewis looking down on him, dagger at the ready.

“O-oh…Lewis,” the elf said, his eyes wide with surprise.

“Were you expecting someone else?” the assassin asked, still deadpan.

Author: Simone, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:55 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

After that night they would cuddle in her bed closely. They never did anything past that as they decided to take it slow. They let their relationship bloom knowing the end result would be even better than they had ever thought. It was already like the sweetest nectar, something even sweeter was making their heads spin with anticipation.

So many times did they have to stop themselves from going too far too fast. One particular night three months into their relationship Lewis shoved her into the wall of her room picking her up by her waist. Her legs delicately wrapping around him as they kissed passionately. She could feel everything about him and it didn’t help Lewis with the fact that her personal chambermaid had noticed their relationship. She was sworn to secrecy but the maid still poked fun at Lewis by dressing Simone in short lace or satin night dresses meant for the first martial night. She couldn’t wait for Lewis to break and take the empress as his… Maybe it would get the annoying suitors to disappear.

“We have to stop,” Simone chuckled as she breathlessly pulled herself from Lewis. “We promised to wait just a bit longer…” He already looked almost too appetizing as it was. She had managed to even get his shirt off. Her hand ran down his chest as she sighed, “Not too much longer though or I’m going to break first.” She teased him before kissing him lightly. Wrapping her arms around his shoulders she gave a smirk. “It’s bed time… Carry me to bed and cuddle me until I fall asleep. Maybe I’ll let you go sulk in the corner like you used to.” Her playful tone was only his to hear and it was different than when she poked fun at others.

“You are the moon to my sun~” She spoke to him. “The water to my garden. You are my beloved assassin and no one can ever have you besides myself until the day you decide not to love me anymore.” She snuggled up to him and closed her eyes as she listened to his heartbeat. “Good night my emperor~” She teased once more before she fell asleep.

It was a few hours later when a rustle would alert Lewis from the balcony. They had left it open to get some of the fragrant smells of the lilacs from the gardens to come inside. Lilacs meant first love and it felt like a blessing from the gods towards their new relationship. The dense smell of oak tree tumbled in and that meant only one person as Lewis watched the shadow move in.

Like a sly snake the being lifted the blanket after taking off his shirt and got into the bed. He snuggled up to the first body he found and put his lips to their ear. “Do you remember when we cuddled like this as kids Simone? You always loved it.”

After a commotion, Simone lit a candle and looked with shock on her face as she sat up. “What the fuck is going on?” It was the first time she had swore in front of Lewis since their relationship began.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:38 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

The moment that they were having felt like some dream out of a wild fantasy. It was as if they were a part of some cheeky romance novel, but this was their reality. As Lewis held her, he listened to the way she spoke, her heart of full display. His heart was in synch with hers, their emotions running hot.

“Of course I love you,” Lewis said as he swept her off her feet. “I love you more than anything in this world.” It was strange to him, though, that he felt such an intensity. Was this what real love was like? Was this how the world worked? Such thoughts were too difficult to process as he carried her to the bed.

It was here and now that the next chapter of their relationship would begin. He leaned down to kiss her, his passion running hot. “If that is what my Empress commands…your faithful dog will execute without fail…”

Author: Simone, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:22 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Perhaps she wasn’t expecting it. Maybe she thought he would have rejected her but what she found instead was his arms around her as he held her close. She could feel his heart now and it sounded just as frantic as her own did. His words took her back and it was her turn to be shocked by his own kiss. A blush crossed her face as his warmth left her even though his face was so close to hers. She looked up at him and pondered deeply as their eyes stared. She could see the nervousness in his.

“I believe I do. No one else can ever claim to make me feel the way you do. Ever since we first met… It’s been hard to breathe around you. Like something fit just right. I struggled to realize the why until a few days ago… and Felix upset me enough that I’m ashamed it took me so long to tell you. I was afraid once I told you that you would leave me… And I would rather us silently have the illusion of something than to be rejected by you.” She held a sad look on her face before giving him a smile.

“But I can see now that I… was an idiot. I should have just told you and let you decide what to do.” She pushed herself up this time as she met his lips once more wrapping her arms around his shoulders to hold him close. “Even if… what you want is for it only to be in this room for the time being… or when we are alone… I would like something. Anything with you. Even if it is dangerous to announce it outside this room for the time being. I’ve never met someone I’ve wanted to be with or spend my time with like I do with you. Even if we have to lock the room and put magic up every night… I want you to stay in my bed… To hold me. To kiss me… Other things…” She blushed as she said the last thing almost inaudibly. “Everything with you.”

"The question is… Do you love me back Lewis?"

Author: Dusk, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:13 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

It was curious for the Empress to ask for her door to be locked, but Lewis complied with the request. There was an audible clicking noise, sending a shiver down his spine.

Why? He wondered why such an action was so powerful at this moment. Perhaps, it meant something. Or perhaps it was nothing. Yet, as Simone started to close the curtains and activate a silencing magic, Lewis only grew more curious. What was the Empress doing?

When she took his hands, she made a fairly simple request, one that he wasn’t sure how to take. “Yes, Empre-,” he paused. “Si…mone.” The name felt almost awkward coming from his lips, yet there was a feeling as though his body yearned to say the name. “Simone…”

At that, the Empress, Simone, smiled. Hearing her name come from him was like a breath of fresh air after nearly drowning. She felt as though a weight were lifted, and she even let out a content sigh. But, she wasn’t quite done yet. She reached up, and yanked him towards her, locking her lips with his.

Lewis was shocked at the motion, too stunned to do anything about it. The sensation though, was like lightning. His heart fluttered, almost trying desperately to escape its cage and be set free. She broke away, but stayed close enough that their noses were touching. Lewis felt as though his breath were stolen away, and he realized that he was practically panting.

“Simone…” he breathed as he got lost in her eyes. “You’re anything but…” He leaned in to kiss her, this time of his own accord. Like the first, it was shocking, but this time he pulled her into his arms, holding her. “You’re not broken…you’re not unlovable.” His heart was still threatening to burst from his chest, and for a moment her silence was terrifying. What if he had said something wrong? What if this was all some joke?

“Simone…do you love me?”

Author: Simone, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 8:02 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone was sitting on her bed with the book in her lap. She gave him a sad smile and shook her head. “No, you hardly wasted any time at all. Can you lock the door Lewis? I don’t want visitors or interruptions right now.” She got up and went over to her balcony as she closed it and closed the curtains. For a moment she peeked outside the curtains from the dark room before she went over and lit a few candles so they could have light. Rubbing her finger over a sigil the room’s magic took hard and a magic circle appeared. “No noise can leave or enter now. So I don’t have to worry about Felix screaming at the door or hearing anything distasteful we say.”

Simone paused as she came over to Lewis and took his hands. She was looking over his fingers which were coarse from the years of work compared to hers which were soft. “Will you call me Simone in private? Not Empress or My Lady?” She tilted her head up at him. “Will you talk to me like I’m a regular woman?” Did he know how to do that?

She waited for his answer before grabbing his shirt roughly and pulling him down to her locking their lips for several seconds. When she finally let him go it was only to where their noses touched. “Lewis, I’m tired of playing around with the fact that you make me feel something. I’m tired of ignoring it… and I feel horrible that I finally tell you because I hate how Felix looks at me… and how I just want you to look at me like that instead.” She looked up at him with honest gray eyes.

“I’ve not felt this way in a very long time. I’ve often felt I was unlovable and broken…. But you don’t ever see me like that I can tell…”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 7:23 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Lewis should have expected the Empress to fall asleep on him. It was almost as if she were trying her hardest to get what she wanted, even if it was in the most unusual of ways. Still, her sleeping form against him was unexpectedly pleasant, and despite his initial claims of leaving once she fell asleep, he had little choice but to let her sleep.

Over the next month, though, the Empress’ pushy nature started to grow on Lewis, and he found himself enjoying the time they spent together. What should have been a simple job was evolving into something more. Despite trying his hardest to deny it, Lewis was falling for the Empress, and that would inevitably lead to trouble.

It was on a particularly calm day that Lewis found himself next to the Empress, listening to her read. It was the last few pages on a touching freeform poem, and though his face would never show it, he was excited to hear the conclusion of the lofty tale. However, it wasn’t to be on that day, as Felix barged in, rather angry at the display the Empress was giving.

She, of course, was not happy with the turn of events, letting her displeasure be known to all as she left the greenhouse. Lewis sighed. Felix, in his anger, started to offer up anything and everything to Lewis, as if to try and find a way to deter him from the Empress.

“It is unfortunate,” Lewis said as he took a half bow, “That your lordship assumes that coin or frail companionship is something that I desire.” As he straightened himself, his cold eyes met Felix’s. “I am an assassin who is driven by pride if nothing else. My contract is with the Empress, and it shall not be broken as such…”

The assassin cleared his throat. “If the Empress so wishes to end our agreement, then that is her will. Until then, I follow in her shadow.” With that, the assassin walked out, ignoring the additional pleas from Felix.

It did not take him long to catch up to the Empress. He slipped into her room, and closed the door behind him. “I am sorry, Empress. I did not expect that conversation to take as long as it did. Were you waiting long?”

Author: Simone, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 7:05 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone read to him for hours. She was content there as she sat up and read from the book by candlelight far into the night. It was a few minutes past midnight when she slumped over onto his shoulder asleep. The book gently came loose from her fingers.

Lewis looked down at her and struggled internally. Looks like she really did get whatever she wanted. He sat still the remainder of the night.

This became their nightly routine for over a month before Simone sat down in her greenhouse and patted the seat next to her. “It’s safe today I can tell.” She pulled out the book she had been reading. “We only have a few pages left.” Lewis sighed and sat next to her but watched as Simone decided to cozy up to him. “It’s safer for me to be as close as possible to you~” She had a cheeky smile on her face.

She read to him for the next hour to finish the book off. It was shortly before the poem was done when Felix opened the door with a slam. “What the hell Simone?” He was looking at her with a raised voice.

“What?” Simone looked up innocently. Her skin had bumped up slightly just from Felix showing aggression.

“He is meant to protect you not cozy up to you.”

“He can do whatever he wants as long as I feel it’s fine,” Simone snapped and got up. “We can finish some time else. I’m going back to my room away from trash,” She glared at Felix as she walked away. Slamming the glass doors on her way out it almost seemed to shake the glass panels.

“What’s it going to take?” Felix looked at Lewis. “How much do I have to pay you to make her hate you? I’ll give you anything you want. Even a pretty little look-a-like. I have many in my private collection.” He pulled out a sack of silver. “I could even pay you upfront.”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Wed Sep 8, 2021 6:48 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

The Empress was not joking, and that was far too confusing for Lewis. She had pulled him so close to her, a mere breath away. A myriad of thoughts invaded Lewis’ mind of things that he wanted from the Empress, but none of them were something that he felt worthy of giving. He, a lonely assassin, was nothing in comparison to someone like her. His skills were for taking life, and nothing more. Yet, for the briefest of moments, he felt something. A pull.

Before he could act on this impulse, the door opened as the maid that had been requested earlier entered with a book of poetry and a bowl of soup. Lewis pulled his act together and stood by the bed as the maid came over and doted over her Empress, and once she left, Lewis looked back at her. There was a cute blush across her face.

Her next statement was a surprising one. “I don’t…understand,” Lewis started to say as she asked him to stay next to her. “You can have anyone you want? But then, why not someone else? I’m nothing more than a-”

The Empress held up a finger to her lips, and Lewis quieted down. “Do you like poetry? I’ll read it to you if you sit here with me.”

Lewis started to object, but realized that what Edwin had said rang true. She really did get anything and everything that she wanted.

“Fine,” he said as he sat next to her on the bed. “I’m not staying here, though. Once you fall asleep, I’ll go back to the-”

The Empress smiled, and leaned into Lewis, opening the book. “Let’s see…this one is my favorite…”

Author: Simone, Posted: Sat Sep 4, 2021 6:35 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone sat in the bed and reached up to take his hand after the maid left. “I know what else could make me relax…”

“My Lady, you shouldn’t joke with me.”

“I’m not joking Lewis…” She had a hurt look on her face as she pulled him down to her. She was close to his face and there was hesitation in both of them. The door started to open and Simone blushed as she pulled Lewis to her side.

“Here you go my lady,” the maid gave her some soup and a good book to read. Once they were alone Simone looked up at Lewis with a blush.

“I can have anyone I want… and I like you.” She snuggled up to him and smiled up at him. “Stay right here? No one would think about assassinating me if you are right here with me.”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Sat Sep 4, 2021 1:35 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Lewis picked the Empress up with relative ease. It was astonishing just how light she was, and it surprised him. “Have you been eating enough?” he asked as he ignored her question about the smile and Xeik. “Perhaps I should send for a meal as well once we get to your room…” He paused. “And perhaps a letter to Lord Llywellyn..”

The Empress was silent for a moment at the mention of Llywellyn, and puffed out her cheeks, as if she wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words. After a moment, she looked up at him with a glare. “I don’t love him, you know.”

“It’s not always about love,” Lewis replied as they moved through the hall. “Not from what I have seen of the world…”

She pouted again, “Well, we are not like the rest of the world. I can love who I want to love, and marry who I want to marry. The country of Auclair is not without the power to do so…”

“Why are you acting so…” Lewis said with a slightly shocked face. “So much like a brat when you speak on this subject?”

“Excuse me?” she said, reaching up to rap him on the forehead.

Lewis realized what he had said, and shook his head. “Apologies, my lady. I spoke out of turn…”

The Empress looked down, a little disappointed. “I’d much rather that familiarity and freedom from you…it’s refreshing.” She was quiet again, as if she had been chastised for something. “I prefer the honesty…”

They had finally reached her room, and Lewis carefully placed her down on her bed. “There are many places in the world where such honesty has a steep cost. I would much rather keep my head on my shoulders.” He walked over and summoned a maid, not waiting for the Empress to have a chance to deny a meal.

“And…a book,” Lewis said offhandedly. “I do believe that she deserves some relaxation. You would know better than I what she wants to read…”

Author: Simone, Posted: Sat Sep 4, 2021 1:15 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone was stuck in a bad dream and it showed from her twitching. When she woke up she was calm as she tried to sit up. She felt hands met her shoulders and she found her eyes meeting Lewis’s. There was concern in his eyes. Xeik wasn’t that far from her as well.

“What.. happened?”

“You don’t remember?” Xeik was concerned.

“No, it happened too fast. I just remembered being in the water and passing out.” She laid back down with Lewis’s assistance. Her hand was on his as she squeezed it. It shocked both of them but it calmed her down enough.

“Someone broke into the bathing area and pulled you under the water,” Xeik spoke up.

Simone shivered and smiled up at Lewis, “Thank goodness my protector was with me.”

“I wasn’t fast enough…” Lewis frowned.

“Nonsense. I’m still alive Lewis,” Simone moved her hand to his face and she gave him a smile. “I’m tired Xeik… Am I free to go back to my room?”

“As long as Lewis goes with you into your room I’m fine with it.”

The assassin scoffed, “Like I’m ever letting her out of my sight after this.”

“My legs are still weak can you carry me back Lewis?” She batted her eyes at him and Lewis picked her up easily.

“See, a smile,” Xeik patted his shoulder.

“What is Xeik talking about?” Simone tilted her head at him before nestling her head into his shoulder.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Sat Sep 4, 2021 1:01 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

It did not take Xeik very long to wake up and assess the situation. Thankfully, he worked fast, and due to the efforts of Lewis, the Empress was far from in a dire state. The magicks and tonics that Xeik used were few, and when he finished, the royal physician pulled Lewis to the side into his office.

“You did well, Lewis,” Xeik said as he sat across from the assassin. “Anyone else would have failed. There were strong magics around the baths, ones that we thought impossible to break. And yet…” He sighed, and closed his eyes. “I am sorry that the council was against letting her out of your sight. I understand their desire for her privacy, but after this…”

“I should have been better,” Lewis replied.

“What you did was amazing,” the royal physician responded. He stood up and wandered over to a cabinet, producing a small tea set. He placed it on the table between them, and wandered off, returning momentarily with hot water. “Please…have some tea. It will relax you.”

“No tha-”

“I would wholly recommend it after what was just endured,” Xeik interrupted, giving Lewis a look. “Physician’s orders.”

Lewis begrudgingly took the tea he was given, and nursed it as the two sat in silence for a time. “Those scars…” the assassin said finally. “They were so prominent….that kind of damage would have come from an extensive wound.”

Xeik took a long dreg of his tea, and set the cup down.

“Long before she was Empress, Lady Simone was…kidnapped. It was some power play against the Emperor at the time, a ploy to gain his lands in return for her safety. She was tortured, made to cry out for him. Her voice rang out through the images that were sent to him during the negotiations, and he almost…” He paused. “We lucked out and managed to find her before he gave in to their demands. We never did find out who was responsible, but Lady Simone was…”

The assassin stared calmly at the physician. “She was alive, though.”

“Barely. I was only an apprentice at the time, but my master, Miss Raine, was quite the competent healer. With her help, they were able to remove the physical damage and scarring, though…Lady Simone requested that some of the scars remain. I am…sure that it is a reminder to her at what evil is capable of, and of what lengths they will go to…”

Lewis nodded, “Something I am far too aware of.”

Xeik smirked. “Despite what you say, I think you’re a good person, Lewis.”

“I kill people for a living..”

“Yet, here you are…protecting someone.”

“The pay was good,” Lewis replied with a look of disdain. “Don’t make this out to be something it isn’t.”

“Oh please,” Xeik replied with a grin. “Lady Simone was happy at the ball. I’ve never seen her so glad to dance with someone. Of course…I would rather have not seen that slime Jerome, but…” He sighed. “Oh, I guess I should not be discussing such things in a casual manner like this.” He stood up. “Lady Simone should be awake soon. I would like you there when she opens her eyes. That will bring a smile to her face.”

Lewis scoffed, “I doubt it…”

Author: Simone, Posted: Sat Sep 4, 2021 12:31 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

It hurt that it seemed like he was purposely staying away from her now. Her eyes would linger on him for various moments but mostly she respected his decision.

“You’re fine…” Simone answered him. It couldn’t be helped. Magic existed and there were ways inside the castle. She tilted her head when she asked him about his sleeping. “So you trained yourself?” It wasn’t that she was trying to pry into his life but she was curious all the same.

Her talking while bathing was a safety measure of its own. She could relax and continue to talk. As long as she continued to talk she could give Lewis peace of mind as she gentle bathed herself. IT happened fast as she was pulled under the water. She was held so she couldn’t even struggle.

She passed out soon and Lewis pulled her out not long after. Once he got her awake she curled up to him as he picked her up. Taking her robe he covered her up and carried her quickly to Xeik. Edwin saw him coming out with a panicked look and he joined him.

“What happened?”

“Magic. He tried to drown her,” Lewis only said what he had to as Simone was still trying to clear her lungs. They broke into Xeik’s room startling him awake.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Sat Sep 4, 2021 12:09 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Lewis could barely understand why the Empress was trying so hard to defend herself to him. It didn’t matter to him if Lywellyn and her were together. At least, that was the lie that he told himself. After all, he was of nobility as well. Even if the Empress did not want a relationship with the price of Sulwal, that didn’t mean much. If not him, then it may be someone else…a consolidation of power, a treaty for peace…whatever the reason, the Empress would likely have to marry someone of her own status.

That left little room for an assassin with a crush.

He scoffed internally at the thought. It wasn’t a crush. It was merely a fluke, a mistake. Misinterpretation of feelings. It didn’t matter that she defended herself so wholeheartedly, a s though she were trying to prove something to him. His job was simple; keep her alive. The dances were nothing more than an escape for her. It didn’t matter that it was him…it mattered that she was able to break free. That must have been it…

Lewis closed his eyes, “My apologies for the misunderstanding, Empress.” He did a half bow, and turned around.

The next week seemed to pass by with little cause for alarm. At least, for the Empress and her entourage. In that week alone, Lewis had stopped two assassins without ever letting it be known that an attempt was made. It was his job, after all. Not only to protect, but to create a peace of mind about the palace. Lewis kept his distance from the lady, though, when given the chance.

Especially when her suitors came knocking. There were not many across the week, and Lewis only had to make an idle threat to one as he was far too pushy with his approach, but for the most part these meetings went amicably. Of course, even Lewis could see that none of them seemed to interest Lady Auclair in the slightest. It must have been almost torture for her to put up with them…

One night, as Lewis sat perched on her room’s balcony, he heard a noise. To most, it was nothing, but to him, it was as if someone had shattered glass. He darted into the room and drew his dagger, and with ease rammed the blade through a man’s neck. He had made it to the end of the Empress’ bed, but no farther. As Lewis yanked the knife from his throat, blood spattered across the bed. The royal protector frowned.

“Apologies, my lady,” Lewis said as he wiped the dagger clean. “I did not mean to disturb your rest.” He looked to her, only to notice that she didn’t seem worried about the body at the foot of her bed. Instead, she was asking about his sleeping habits.

“Sleeping is…” Lewis thought how best to explain it. “Difficult for me. I get rest when I need to, and that is all you really need to know.” It seemed as though he were hiding something, though what was difficult to say Still, her reaction to what had just happened spoke volumes to the experiences she must have endured throughout her life.

The Empress was, of course, not going to sleep in such a soiled state. Her ‘request’ was far from unreasonable, and Lewis agreed as they made their way to the royal baths. It took some compromises and a lot of discussions with her advisors, Edwin especially, but an agreement was made that Lewis was to stay in the room, but where he could not see Simone. It was a risk that the royal council was willing to accept for the privacy of their Empress, and one that Lewis agreed to.

So, he found himself behind the changing panel, leaning against the marble walls as the Empress washed herself off from the failed assassination attempt. Their conversations were…superficial at best. Questions about Lewis’ life growing up, on what kind of people he killed, and other mundane questions that one would ask a normal person.

Lewis didn’t mind answering them. It kept her talking, and her voice was pleasant to listen to. This was something that he would never admit, though…

“There was one target,” Lewis said as she asked about a time he had a change of heart. “It was a kid…she had pissed off someone in power. At first, I pursued her relentlessly. At the time, I wasn’t really worried about the why….well, I cornered her…and she ended up being the daughter of my mentor.” He paused. “That made me realize that…I should probably pick my targets a little better. I had the skill to do it…but…” He sighed. Silence. “Empress?” More silence.

Lewis whipped around the changing panel to see dark tendrils seeping out from the water. At the opposite edge of the bath was a shrouded man, deep in concentration as he cast the spell to pull her under. Eliminating him was effortless. A dagger sailed across the room, implanting it in the man’s skull. Immediately the spell dissipated, but Lewis wasn’t taking chances. He splashed into the waters, and pulled the Empress up, pulling her onto the cool, black marble floor.

The Empress was unconscious, which was bad. Lewis wasn’t usually one to save a life, but he did have a small selection of skills that were for first aid. He leaned down and put his lips to hers, tilting her head back to try and force air into her lungs.

“Wake up,” he said as he tried to push more air. “C’mon…” He pulled back as she started to cough and sputter. She was, at least, alive…her naked form underneath him, exposed. It wasn’t hard for him to stare, as scars across her abdomen and thighs drew his gaze. A question for later. For now…he needed to take her to Xeik.

Author: Simone, Posted: Sat Sep 4, 2021 11:26 AM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

“Oh no whatever shall I do,” she rolled her eyes and chuckled a bit at him.

Then he opened his mouth and she blushed. “You think?” She shook her head. “Lewis, I don’t like Llywellyn like that. I’m a virgin I promise you. I’m…” She didn’t understand why she was defending herself with him. “I don’t like Llywellyn and his personality at all times. He’s just a childhood friend.” Why was she telling him this?

After that rather embarrassing rant, she had to explain her relationships to Lewis they carried forward easily enough. For the next week, it was sort of quiet and Simone would startle awake when Lewis killed an assassin at the end of her bed.

Her eyes were wide as she watched the body bleed out but then she thought of something as she tilted her head. “Do you really sleep?” There was a dead body and the empress was more interested in his sleeping habits.

She had blood on her and she sighed. “I need to go bathe while they clean the room… Is that acceptable?” She knew Lewis wouldn’t mind as they made their way to the bathing chambers. Lewis took his spot behind the changing panel for her own privacy. It was the only time they were separated now.

They would idly chat while she was in the bathing room. To fill the awkward silence. Then… Simone went quiet.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Fri Sep 3, 2021 11:25 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

The way that the Empress of Auclair spoke of her people was almost inspiring, even for someone with a lack of emotional depth like Lewis. Her attention to detail, front he fields and her people’s happiness down to the very cake that she was sold was admirable. She truly did care for her people, and the way that the villagers were celebrating reflected that care and admiration.

“What is an Empress without her subjects,” Lewis muttered as they approached a cake stand. Without blinking, she bought another slice, and passed it over to Lewis. Her hand brushed against his, and there was almost lightning as the cake passed hands. Both, though, ignored the sensation.

“I normally don’t…” Lewis started, but the Empress gave him a look. “Fine…” He took a bite, and his mouth was flooded with a wonderful taste. “This is amazing…”

The Empress smiled, proud of her people. The night pressed on, and the Empress locked arms with the assassin as they started towards the edge of the village, back to the castle. She was happy with the way the night had gone, though she very clearly expressed her feelings on how she was forced to break Lewis’ trust.

“While I can understand…why,” Lewis started, “I can’t very well leave that be. It’s hard to protect you when I have no idea where you are…” But, he dropped the conversation. At least, for the time being.

As they approached the castle, The Empress brought him to the side, and showed the assassin just where Llywellyn had been sneaking in. Lewis made a quick mental note, and the two started up the vines.

Of course, Lewis was made to go first…

Once back in her room, Lewis looked around. It seemed as though nothing had moved, and the rest of the castle seemed to be in a state of rest. Good. No one seemed to notice her absence. that was one less thing he had to worry about in the long run.

“My Lady,” Lewis said with a half smirk. “You have long since lost the privilege to be out of my sight. I will not restrict your movements, but from this moment forward, you will find it extremely difficult to escape my gaze.” He rolled his eyes, realizing something. “Of course…I will not intrude upon your more intimate moments should you and Llywellyn request it…” He wasn’t entirely inhuman.

Author: Simone, Posted: Fri Sep 3, 2021 11:12 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone’s heart was beating loud as he dipped her and she looked up at him as he brought her up. The crowd was clapping towards them. “Because I am a plain woman Lewis. No one will recognize me without makeup.” She blushed a bit. “Only you can. And well Lly but he brought this dress to me.” She walked hand and hand with Lewis and smiled at him.

“I… This is very nice. This allows me to make sure the people of Auclair are happy. To see the fields at their worst or best… Everyone always tries to put on good faces for me when I come with guards but right now… They are bearing their all for me.” She looked around and smiled. “I make judgments based on these visits. Like I think the flour tax needs to be reduced because the cake stand is having issues paying for it.”

She put her arm in his and smiled. “This was nice… Thank you. I haven’t enjoyed myself for a very long time. I was mad at Lly for not letting me tell you where I was going.” She blushed a bit. “I don’t want to violate your trust. You told me I could do whatever I wanted as long as you were there. You would have let me go.”

They made their way back to the castle and she avoided the front gate. “Come on.” She showed him how Llywellyn got into the castle grounds unnoticed and started to climb up the side of the castle. “Come on… We can get into my room this way.” Once they got into her room she did a stretch and danced around her room.

“Does this mean you aren’t going to leave my room at night now?” She chuckled.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Fri Sep 3, 2021 11:04 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Lewis was shocked at the sudden push into the Empress, but that wasn’t the worst of it. That dumbass of a prince Llywellyn called him an absurd nickname. As the assassin turned to see the elvish prince fleeing, he reached for a dagger, fully prepared to lob it into his back.

“They won’t miss him, will they?” Lewis asked.

“Oh, but Lewlew, please don’t. Just…come dance with me?” Simone asked as she pulled his arm away from the dagger at his belt. Her hand locked with his as she pulled him hard.

The assassin huffed, and turned his attention to the Empress. “F-fine..” Her face was puffed out from trying to convince Lewis not to kill her friend, and it was…cute. He stared at her for a moment longer, almost lost in her stormy gray eyes. “Oh…dance…” He had almost forgotten that they were still holding hands as he relaxed his iron grip.

Much like before, he took the lead as they started to sway with the music. Unlike before, Simone seemed much happier, excited to have a dance partner. Lewis himself was lost in the motion, his heart stirring in a way that had never happened before. Their dance brought them weaving intricate patterns between them, and several times they found each other mere inches away from one another, their noses practically touching.

The music started to pick up, crescendo-ing towards an explosive end. To match this, Lewis took Simone by the waist and hand, twirling her as the music rose higher and higher. It all seemed so perfectly timed, and Simone found herself being dipped as the music ended on the grand finale.

Her eyes locked with his, and each of their eyes shimmered a beautiful azure as they shared what felt like an intimate moment. Both were panting as he pulled her back up.

“That was…” Lewis’ eyes widened. “…that was…dangerous of you, Empr-…” He looked around, and dropped his voice. “Empress. What if someone recognized you? We should not have made such a scene…”

Author: Simone, Posted: Fri Sep 3, 2021 10:53 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Llywellyn was nearby and he stood near Lewis, “Don’t be mad at her. I made her come out. After the horse’s ass at the dance she needed this.” He put up his hands to Lewis. “She told me you wouldn’t like it and was quite upset she couldn’t tell you. She puffed up her face at me and berated me for the last ten minutes.”

Lewis gave him a dead glare, "Better her berating you than my dagger across your throat. Next time you might not be so lucky…"

Llywellyn chuckled a bit, “That’s what she told me you would say.”

The assassin rolled his eyes. "Then you should listen to her. I don't make idle threats."

“Ohhh. Okay.” Llywellyn had seen the way Simone reacted to Lewis. It was a good thing. “Okay. She’s yours.” He slapped Lewis’s back and pushed him right into Simone.

“Lewis!” Simone’s face was blushing. “Lly!” She puffed up her face uncharacteristically of what Lewis knew her. “YOU KNEW HE WAS HERE!”

“Nonsense… He just showed up. Probably got your little love note you left him.”

“I-… It wasn’– I…” Simone stuttered and blushed.

“Less complaining more dancing. I have to go back to Sulwal. Good night Mone and Lewlew.” Llywellyn disappeared.

“…Lewlew?” Simone started to laugh.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Fri Sep 3, 2021 10:42 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

It was strange seeing things from this angle. It was the power that most people feared or desired when it came to the assassination game, which meant that Lewis had only ever seen his targets as a consolidated power. Now, though, he was seeing the humanity behind it. And, at least for his Empress, he was seeing the loneliness about it.

He wanted to say something to her, anything to make the situation seem better than it was. A lie. Yet, her words came first. She was tired, which was understandable given the position she had been put in. He stood up and escorted her to her room, and as she started to go in, she seemed to hesitate.

“Yes, my Lady?” Lewis asked. She said her good night with a smile, seeming to want to say more, but then disappeared as the door shut softly behind her. Lewis stared at the door for a moment longer, realizing that he had been frozen in place.

These stupid thoughts need to go. She’s under my protection. Nothing more… His thoughts lingered to the dance, though, and her uncomfortable, yet not unwelcoming aura. It was more…as though she wasn’t sure what to do.

And here I am…overanalyzing things… The assassin furrowed his brow, and walked to the other side of the hall, sliding to the floor as he stared at her door. His brown eyes seemed to linger on the handle. Sneaking into her room would be easy, and with his skillset she would never notice. But that would be an invasion of her privacy.

That, and he wasn’t sure how she slept. Lewis was pretty sure that they had beheaded people of his status for seeing their ruler in a compromising position.

Yet…there was a slight excitement to that idea. A high risk situation…much like the dance of death when killing someone.

Lewis found himself standing up and placing his hand on the door handle. No…I respect the Empress more than that…. A sudden thought, though crossed his mind. A memory…

“The enemy is a man who is hellbent on breaking her and using her as a breeding tool. Making her less than human…

The enemy. Lewis could not let his protectee out of sight…regardless of what she wanted. He opened the door, and slipped into the room silently.

It took only a moment for Lewis’ eyes to adjust, but there was already something wrong. It was far too quiet, even for a sleeping woman. At once, he realized she was gone. Her clothes were scattered across the ground, and for a moment Lewis’ panicked. It took him only a moment later to find the note, and he crumpled it up in his hands with a deep breath, trying to keep calm. Tracking her wouldn’t be a problem, but the fact that she was so brazen as to leave without him was…


The flower festival was in full bloom as the town was alight with paper lanterns. It was something stunningly beautiful to most, but it was lost on someone like Lewis. He swiftly weaved in and out the crowds, ignoring the looks he was getting for being rather rude and abrasive. He didn’t much care, so long as he found-

“Lady Auc-” Lewis started as he spotted her finally. He cut himself off, though, realizing that he probably shouldn’t announce her in such a public place. Besides, he was caught off guard…

The Empress was in mere commoner’s clothes, twirling about by herself, dancing to the calming music that radiated the festival. She looked so at ease and happy, but there was something that was missing. She seemed far too lonely, as though she longed for someone to be at her side as she danced the night away.

Lewis was entranced by her movements, though, frozen in the crowd as he stared at her. She was the image of beauty as the night sky behind her filled with paper flowers and lanterns.

Author: Simone, Posted: Fri Sep 3, 2021 10:16 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone looked over to him as he sat next to her. “No, I love dancing. I hate people who are snakes.” She chuckled a bit. “I liked dancing with you.” She took her mask off and put it next to her. “I’m nothing more than an object of power for them. There are a few people who are genuine with me but I feel nothing for them. It’s a giant hole in me… I’m just looking for that spark… That feeling.”

She shivered when the wind came through and looked at Lewis. “We should probably turn in the night. It’s late… I’m tired. Too many assholes.”

Lewis escorted her to her room and she hesitated to go in and watched him softly for a second. “Good night Lewis… and thank you for a good end to my night. Though it was brief.” She wavered on him for a few seconds before she clothes the door.

Llywellyn climbed into the window and she almost screamed but covered her mouth. “What are you doing?” She whispered to him so Lewis couldn’t hear.

“Why are we whispering?”

“I have a bodyguard now he’s outside the door.” She pointed.

“Oh, change into this we’re going to a festival. He won’t even know we’re gone.”

Simone made a face before she took the commoner’s dress and changed. She took off all her makeup and her jewelry. The clothes were all over the ground but before she left she wrote a note. “Lewis, Went to town. I’m sorry I didn’t tell you please don’t be upset. I didn’t have a choice. -Simone”

Llywellyn took her into his arms and brought her down the castle carefully so they could go to the flower festival. The town was light up with lanterns and people were dancing everywhere. She looked like an everyday woman. No one suspected a thing.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 10:38 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

It was a shock to be pulled so forceful onto the dance floor. The assassin was annoyed, and it showed on his face as he started to dance with the Empress. There would be more talk about this, but Lewis barely cared for the idle gossip. No, he was much more annoyed that this would compromise the safety of the Empress. But, as Edwin had said, somehow she always got her way…

Lewis was no slouch when it came to dancing. It wasn’t that he specifically learned how to dance, but rather that he had trained his body rigorously in order to perform his assassin role with ease. As such, he had incredible control over what he wanted to do, and how. This easily translated into dancing, and it was as easy as mirroring what others were doing.

Of course, with more grace.

Of course, Lewis noticed her discomfort to his touch. It was hard to describe, but he was feeling something quite similar. It wasn’t revulsion to her touch, but more that there was something unspoken between them. A bond of sorts. He was closer to her than he had ever been to anyone else…well, anyone else while they were alive.

The dance ended, and it took Lewis a moment to pull away. It was much easier, though, when the blonde haired man, Jerome, came by to steal his dance. Lewis stepped away, his eyes still locked with the Empress’ for a moment longer before he walked over to the balcony.

That’s right. I’m merely a well trained guard dog…

The assassin watched as the two danced, and though it was hard to hear everything, he could read their lips as well as catch fragments of the conversation. It would seem that Jerome was yet another one of the failed suitors.

Lewis wasn’t sure why, but that made him…happy.

The music ended, and there was an applause as Lady Simone bowed to her dance partner. She started towards Lewis and the balcony, but seemed to hesitate. At once, she rushed the opposite direction, disappearing from the crowd.

“Damn it,” Lewis whispered as he started for the crowd himself.

It took little time to guess where the Empress had gone, and without a word he walked outside to see her sitting on the fountain. He silently kept his distance. She probably got overwhelmed with it all. Lewis could almost relate; the ball was a rather grotesque display of noble wealth being put to waste.

“You can come over,” the Empress Simone said as she took notice of Lewis.

“I wou-”

“That wasn’t meant to be a choice,” she said. “Please?”

The assassin sighed, and walked over, sitting next to her. “You should be more careful. At least…warn me next time you bolt. It’s hard to keep up with you in a crowd.” He glanced her way. “For your protection, you know…” He reached up and pulled off the silver-black mask, and placed it on the cool stone.

Lewis was no good at this sort of thing. The fact that she was tired of the ball was technically none of his concern. Yet…

“Did you…hate it? Dancing?” he wondered. “It seemed like you didn’t have a choice.”

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 10:19 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone heard the whispers and her eyes drifted back to Lewis but only for a moment before her eyes landed on her captain. “Lord Rhenakos… Please watch yourself before your wife really hangs you this time from the scaffolding. You know how Lady Osiria’s temper can be~” She teased him.

There was a smile once Xeik showed up, “There’s not a scratch on me right now.” It got her a look from Xeik before the music started. There was a rush of suitors towards the unmarried empress and Simone washed no time grabbing Lewis.

“I choose you.”

“Wha–? No!” Lewis yelled at her hushed.

“My court. My rules,” she gave him a smile as she dragged him off. She wasn’t bad at dancing but she wasn’t the best either. She moved his hands into place after bowing to him and they began to dance. “I’ll let you touch me this once.” Even though her skin was bumping up at the mere touch of him. She was uncomfortable but not in the way that she had been with Felix. Felix who was fuming from a table that wasn’t that far away.

The dance came to an end and a blonde-haired man came over. He was smirking at Simone as if she was a prize. “You owe me a dance my Empress.”

Simone was hesitant. Her skin shivered almost on its own even though she held barely any movement that said so. “I do.” She gave a pained look to Lewis. “You can wait for me by the balcony…” It wasn’t that far away. She hated this.

“You never responded to my marriage proposal,” he smirked at her.

“Jerome, we’ve been over this,” Simone danced with him within ear shot of Lewis as she frowned. “You are the one who broke off our engagement.”

“That was a mistake.”

She frowned deeply and ended the dance early. “I don’t care for men who think they can abandon me whenever I inconvenience them.”

“Mone, that was five years ago… We were stupid kids. Can’t you tell how much I love you?”

“You love me like a moth loves a flame,” she bowed to him and walked calmly away but before there was a look in her eyes as she stopped her advance towards Lewis. Her hands met her skirts and she took off into the sea of people. Towards the back gardens where there was no one else.

She fell onto the fountain sitting on the edge with a panicked look on her face. She detested these things.

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 10:06 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Lewis had barely thought of companionship during his life as an assassin. Sure, there were the occasional nights of debauchery when he felt it was needed, but that was merely the animalistic desire of human nature. It was something that he hated, but it was a necessary evil…but it wasn’t something that he had ever desired. Nothing had ever quite caught his eye before, not like she had.

His breath had caught, and he realized moments later that he had not been breathing. The assassin cleared his throat, focusing on anything but Lady Simone after his initial, devouring gaze. He took a moment to walk around her room, noting the entrances and exits, as well as the possible hiding places. It didn’t take long, though, for the maids to arrive with the masks for the night.

The assassin still had not donned his own, holding it in his hand. If he was to picks her mask out, it would be for the ease of familiarity. The middle mask was made of blue lace, and easily identifiable when it came down to an emergency. He picked it up, and walked over to the Empress as she descended the pedestal. He offered her the mask, and nodded.

“After you, Lady Auclair.” His eyes locked with hers again, and he felt his breath hitch as she walked past him. He shook his head, and ignored the feelings, walking behind her.

When they approached the ballroom, Lewis could hear the sounds of the guests chatting. Lady Simone stopped at the entrance, and took a deep breath. Lewis waited as well, and once she was announced, followed her out into the crowd as her presence was met with applause. Though, the applause seemed to fumble when Lewis made his own appearance. He wasn’t sure if it was the shock of a new royal guardian, or something more.

Of course, the obvious choice went far over Lewis’ head. There were murmurs once they entered the crowd proper.

“So when can we expect the babies?” a rather drunk fellow said as he approached Lewis, acting too friendly. His crimson hair was tied back into an elegant ponytail, his green and red eyes shimmering as he looked Lewis up and down. “And to think, the Captain of the Guard has lost his chance with the beautiful Empress!” He sounded almost too dramatic. “But…as long as she’s happy…” The man was wearing a white suit, which did nothing to match his personality. Not to mention, he had the tackiest demon mask.

“Don’t mind him,” another voice said as another man approached. “He’s just wasted.” The brown haired man was wearing a brown and green vest. His mask was that of a wolf. “Rhenakos isn’t usually like that. Well…he is, but not that bad. You must be the…uh…new help.” He held out his hand. “Xeik. Royal physician. We’ll be seeing a lot of each other…Lady Simone is prone to injury.”

Lewis stared at Xeik’s hand, and then looked back to the Empress. “Who or what you are doesn’t matter to me. Not a part of the job…”

Xeik shrugged, smiling behind his mask. “I can’t say that I appreciate that outlook, but it is true that you’re here for her sake. I just hope you don’t see much action. She deserves a quiet life after everything…”

The assassin raised an eyebrow. “Wha-”

There was a sudden change in the mood of the room as music started. A slower song started to play, and it seemed as though the party goers were now pairing off to dance.

“What a waste,” Lewis said as he watched out for the Empress. “Well…it doesn’t matter. Even if they dance with her, they couldn’t make a move before losing a hand…” He wasn’t worried at all. Whoever she chose would still be a target should they make the wrong move.

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 9:45 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone made a face and looked back at him, “Felix is my only remaining relative. His father was killed for high treason, I put the rope on him myself after I was able to walk. He arranged for my carriage to wreck and I broke many bones in my body… but I refuse to die because my father asked me to live a long life. Felix wasn’t connected to it but we did find out that his father had been pressuring mine to let Felix marry me. This wasn’t originally a matriarchal empire… My father made it one when he handed it to me.” She filled him in on what she thought he needed to know. “Felix desires an incestuous relationship with me and has ever since we were kids. He even went so far as to make an attempt to visit my chambers at night. However, Llywellyn had sneaked into my room and scared him off. He said he had a bad feeling so he showed up. This is still not enough to oust him from my circle.”

The empress looked up shyly to the maid and kept her mouth shut as a blush formed across her lips. She had lost track of time even though she said she wouldn’t. She did, after all, love her sun garden.

In a hurry Simone was stolen away and out of Lewis’s sight. Brought to her chambers they began to try different dresses on her. They settled on something different from her usual modest attire. It was a deep cut, almost too revealing. The bodice was just thick enough to cover her breasts while a silver branch-like belt laid at her waist. The soft silk-like fabric had many, many slits and the shoulders had a drape from one side to the next. Her hair was braided beautiful around a tiara while matching jewelry was adorned on the rest of her body.

She was standing up on the dressing pedestal when Lewis arrived inside the room. Their eyes connected and she shyly looked away. “You should pick one of the masks. That way you’ll be able to memorize it easier and always know which one is me.” She considered herself plain and easily lost but the way he was staring at her… She was feeling devoured almost.

A maid brought a large jeweled box over to him and opened it. “Please pick one for Her Grace to wear.” He wasted no time picking a blue lace mask with beautiful blue and white butterflies on the right side. Diamonds were gracing the top of it making it look very elegant. She pulled up her skirts just enough to step off the pedestal with ease. “Shall we go then?”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 9:29 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

There were several moments between the two that Lewis would have easily cut the cocky man down to size, but that was far from his actual role. He merely watched with interest, though to anyone else, it would have been an emotionless stare. Though, there was a hint of a smirk when Lady Simone insulted his very existence.

The man, Felix, was not happy with the way he was being spoken to. It was obvious by the tone of his voice and the sway of his demeanor. For someone talking about emotion, he was quite the emotional one himself. As he glared at Lewis on his way out, he made a rather amusing remark.

The Empress and her Dog.

“Woof, woof,” Lewis said as his eyes grew wide, a sadistic smile across his face. “This dog bites…”

The moment Felix left, Lewis’ smile faded. What a waste of human flesh… He had seen his fair share of despicable nobles. He was no different. The world would have been better without him.

“No need to point that out to me,” Lewis replied as he once more resumed his gaze on the Empress. The way she moved was elegant and refined. Almost mesmerizing. “It would appear to me that you have enemies even within your own circle.” He sighed, closing his eyes for the briefest of moments.

The Lady Simone spent quite a bit of time on her plants, to the point where she nearly lost track of time. If it weren’t for her attendants coming to get her, she might have missed it entirely.

“Why didn’t you say anything to her?” one of the maids snapped at Lewis.

“That’s not my job,” the assassin replied with a scowl. “I’m not here to shepherd her around. That would be a waste of my time.” That got a mean look from the maid, but she kept her mouth shut afterwards.

Of course, it was Lewis who was in for a shock of his own. The forced cleansing earlier was nothing in comparison to the hell that the servants put him through next. It was nearly an hour of scrubbing and grooming as he was forced into a fitted tunic and vest, a dazzling blue and silver with black slacks. His hair was trimmed and neatly pushed back. Last, but not least, he was gifted an elegant, black silver half mask.

“Oh, did we not tell you?” a cocky voice said as Felix entered the room where Lewis was being tortured with grooming. “It’s a masquerade ball! What fun that should be for you. All of those wonderful, mysterious people… Try not to kill anyone important now. I would hate for the mutt to cause a war…”

Lewis took the mask, ignoring Felix as he made his way to where Lady Aucliar was being prepped. Of course, he was not allowed to enter as the maids stood firmly in his path.

“Fine,” he said as he crossed his arms impatiently. “The moment she is dressed, though, I will be at her shadow.”

It was a reasonable compromise, and soon Lewis was allowed in. What he saw, though, almost stole his breath away once more…

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 9:09 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

“If you ever need anything don’t hesitate you ask. I am if nothing else… a good hostess. Especially to those that aid me when I need it most.” Her eyes met his and she thought about it. “Maybe I’ll tell you sometime.” A private person who liked her books and her plants with the occasional ocean dashed in.

“Thank you…” She looked up from her plants to Lewis. “For not being a ball and chain… It’s suffocating to think about it.” There was a look in her eyes. A painful memory maybe? But as soon as it was there it was gone.

She spent the better part of an hour watering her plants and rearranging them in the sunroom. Taking out the bad parts so they could grow better. She was very delicate with her shears as she worked. Once the man came in she looked up at him, “Oh, Felix good morning.” Her eyes were cautiously watching him. The relaxed woman that Lewis had met was now stiff and alert. There was no trust in her movements.

When Felix went to touch her arm she pulled back instinctively. The skin on her arms and shoulders had bumped up as if a cold draft blew through. She was thankful for Lewis to speak up. “Oh… Did Edwin get you a puppy?” Felix sounded cocky.

“Enough,” her voice was fierce and it sounded unlike her. “Don’t taunt my protector.”

“Protector? Dearest cousin am I not enough?”

Simone narrowed her eyes at him, “You rank forty-third in sword-wielding. You don’t know magic. You run at the first sight of trouble. And you suck at debates.” Her words came out as if Lewis had given her a bit of courage. “So no, you aren’t enough. Or are you forgetting it was on your kitchen watch that I was poisoned?”

Felix narrowed his eyes at her, “It’s not good to be so emotional as an empress. People might think you will do something rash.”

“On the contrary, they don’t think that at all and wish I would move forward. I will attend the ball do not worry about that but please refrain from getting closer to me today. You know I don’t like to be touched without permission.”

Felix bowed to her and glared towards Lewis. “Empress and Dog.” He left slamming the door on the way out.

Simone held a sad look on her face before she picked back up her watering can and started to take care of her plants again. “Do not trust him. He is a snake hidden in a rose bush.”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 8:57 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

As they entered the main hallway, Lewis was struck at the beautiful architecture around him. It had a sort of warm familiarity to it, a welcoming place that allowed for warm gatherings and happiness. Which, for Lewis, was strange. That kind of emotion usually eluded him, but he pushed that feeling aside. Perhaps he was getting sentimental as he grew older.

What a useless feeling that would be.

Of course, the Empress of Auclair was nowhere to be found in the main hall. Instead, Lewis was led to a side door, which opened up into a courtyard with a greenhouse near the end. Edwin brought him in, and made a comment about the Empress and her sleeping habits.

Lady Simone denied it, of course, and looked upon Lewis with a curious gaze. Lewis met her stormy gray eyes, and for the first time in his life, could not find his breath. Something about her seemed almost mystical, her gaze stealing his own. Of course, her immediate response to Lewis being called a gift was to lash out at the poor man who had offered Lewis.

“I intend not to be so restrictive, My Lady,” Lewis said as he crossed his arms. Bowing was a useless gesture. As a guest, formality was for show. As a protector, though, a formality was dropping his guard.

“I figured he was more than a simple merchant,” Lewis said as he looked upon Edwin. “I would not have guessed a Spymaster, though. You seem far too…” The assassin thought for a moment, his dead gaze trailing back to the Empress. “Erratic. But…that is neither here nor there…”

Edwin bowed out afterwards, leaving Lewis and the Empress alone.

The silence between the two did not last long as Lady Auclair almost immediately offered tea. “I would much rather have coffee. But..” He held up his hands. “Do not worry about what I want. I will take care of my own needs.” He stared at her for a moment. “Your eyes… they’ve seen a lot. I recognize that look.” He walked up to her, his brown eyes locking with hers for a moment.

“My name is Lewis Dusk. I won’t go into detail about what I do…but I will offer you my services. From what I have been told, you are quite the free spirit. I don’t care…” He tore his gaze away from her, and walked down the path and to the edge of the greenhouse, leaning against the entryway. “Do as you wish. My job is merely to make sure you don’t come to harm. Nothing more, and nothing less. Like I said before…I don’t intend to be a ball and chain.”

With that, he fell silent. As an assassin, he barely had any desire to talk more than required. As Simone moved between the plants, watering and weeding them, Lewis’ eyes never left her. A watchful guardian.

At once, though, Lewis tensed up, his eyes moving to the doorway in the courtyard. He relaxed as a man who looked similar to the Lady Empress wandered into the courtyard. At once, he smiled, noticing her. Lady Simone seemed at ease with his presence, so Lewis backed down. It wasn’t an attempt on her life.

“Simone, have you forgotten what tonight is?” He was easily a head taller than she was, and seeing the two side by side, Lewis could have sworn they were siblings. The man got very close to the Empress, though. Uncomfortably close.

“Please refrain from touching the Empress,” Lewis said with a bored tone. “The Lady Empress seems mildly distressed in your close proximity. That can be taken as a threat on her life…”

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 8:29 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Edwin looked at him for a moment and thought about it, “She just doesn’t have any interest in marrying for power. She has enough and doesn’t long for anymore. She would rather find love. Her words, not mine. The position she’s in… She can afford that. Our armies are enough to keep threats at bay but we can’t protect her as well as the land.” His voice was soft and he looked broken. “And I can’t risk losing her that way. As you can tell… If she wants something she gets it no matter the means. She isn’t reckless about it either. One of her other suitors could have taken her if she really wanted to but she wanted for Llywellyn to climb up into her room and smuggle her out the window. Llywellyn’s magic is the perfect counter to what is going on. She’s quiet though and likes the library most days. But she also likes walks in her gardens… Which she hasn’t been able to do lately. It hurts everyone to see her so confined which is why we’re asking you to protect our jewel.”

Edwin was waiting once he was done and smiled, “It’s good to look the part as well. You might be out with her on occasions so she can finally get back to almost living her life like normal. Come on she’s waiting I’m sure of it.”

Instead of meeting in the throne room or anything like that he lead Lewis to a green house type room. The sun was shining in and she was laying there on a chaise soaking up the sun. “You shouldn’t sleep in this room… at least for right now.”

“I’m just resting my eyes,” Simone spoke softly as she pulled herself up and looked over Lewis. “Who is this?”

“This… is my gift to you. He will give you back your freedom. At least as much as I can give it back.”

Simone made a face, “So he is a ball and chain?”

“Please don’t be difficult…” Edwin sighed a bit.

“Does he actually know who you are or did you tell him you’re a merchant?” She called him out and Edwin stuttered. “Edwin is my spymaster but he has a knack for different trades. When he gets bored he disappears for a bit working odd jobs.” She was speaking with every letter coming in harsh.

Edwin put up his hands, “Alright, alright your highness… I get it.” He bowed to Lewis, “Please take care of her.” That left the two of them alone.

“Do you like tea?” She was odd in the fact that she didn’t ask Lewis for his name or his skill set. She was speaking to him like an old friend. She poured herself a cup and stopped lightly. “You must think I am foolish for letting my guard down so easily with you,” she looked up at him innocently. “But if Edwin brought you to me that means that I can trust you. He is one of the few I hold very close to me and know very well.”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 8:15 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

The carriage stopping was sudden, and Edwin’s reaction was even more surprising. Even without prompting, Lewis would have exited the carriage to see what all of this was about. Surely enough, to Edwin’s dismay, there was a woman on t he back of a horse with a red haired man.

Llywellyn. Lewis knew the name from somewhere. It took him a moment before he remembered from where. Prince Llywellyn Celestina, third in line for the throne of Suwal. A high value target indeed if they were associating with someone of elvish royalty. Perhaps a consort of his.

It was then, that Edwin introduced his true client. The Empress herself, Simone Beatrice Monte Auclair. That got a reaction out of Lewis, despite his normal stoic demeanor. His eyes widened, and he looked between the Empress and Edwin. As the argument ensued, Lewis had an internal struggle about what he had just signed up to do.

On one hand, he thought to himself. …the Empress, huh? Protecting her is a high risk, high reward scenario. Six hundred silver, plus the one-thousand fronted to me is nothing to scoff at. But, I’ve heard of the recent attacks on her kingdom and her throne. Well, rumors of course. That failed attempt at an assassination was a woman that Lewis had known for ages. Saphielle… what a failure she was. Not a major loss, but the fact that Saphielle only went for the high value targets says quite a lot. I’d be putting myself in their sights as well…

Edwin finished his conversation with Llywellyn and the Empress Auclair, and led Lewis back to the carriage. Edwin seemed quite done with the whole situation, but seemed rather desperate for Lewis to still accept the contract.

“I’ve given it some thought already,” Lewis replied without emotion. “If I had known just who we were dealing with, I would have requested far more money.” He smirked as Edwin seemed visibly worried. “But don’t worry. I have my professional pride. I accepted the contract as it is now, and I will see it through. We can meet later, though…once I’ve settled in.”

Edwin sighed with relief, and soon the carriage arrived at the gates of Auclair.

Auclair was a massive castle sitting above a large town. From what Lewis could see, the town was alive with the sounds of bustling villagers and merchants. A healthy and happy economy; signs of a strong leader. That meant a lot. Of course, a healthy economy also meant that it was ripe for the taking. Being a female ruler in this world meant that it was assumed she would marry.

“Something tells me she rejected that idea,” the assassin said as he grabbed his bag of gear. He started to walk forward, and a butler raised his hand to stop.

Lewis glared at the man, who was clearly trying to take his belongings for him. “I can handle my own equipment,” the assassin said with a scowl. “Out of my way before I slit your-” He took a sharp breath. He let it out slowly. “I would much rather handle my own bags. Please and thank you.”

After settling in one of the highest towers available, Lewis found himself being forced into the bath house. Several maids and butlers were throwing things at him, demanding he be at least presentable for the lady, and soon the assassin was standing at the doors to the main hall.

“Is this really necessary?” he asked, straightening the overcoat he had. “All of this…formality bullshit?”

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 7:46 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Edwin pulled out some paperwork, inkpot, and a quill. “Before I tell you anything more I need you to sign these papers. This is a magic binding contract that won’t allow you to speak about anything you see to the wrong people. If the contract allows it then you can talk about it. However, your protectee likes their peace.”

Lewis snatched the paperwork and signed everywhere he was supposed to. The magic took effect and Edwin smiled. “Very nice, we’ll get along splendidly Master Lewis,” it was cheeky how he spoke. The carriage abruptly stopped and Edwin looked concerned as he slid the little panel behind him open. “What’s the issue?”

“She’s out here.”

“Fuck my life. LLYWELLYN, YOU SON OF A BITCH,” Edwin threw his hat down before calming himself. “Come with me. You are about to meet your protectee.” He got out of the carriage and looked around. They were around the cliffs and he pointed down to three figures. There was a red-headed elf on horseback with a woman behind him. She was looking at the sea.

“She is your protectee. The Empress Simone Beatrice Monte Auclair… and I’m going to go deck an elf prince. LLYWELLYN!” Edwin yelled and Llywellyn looked up with a smirk.

“What? Jealous?”

“You know it’s not safe for her to be out here with his men roaming about.” Edwin stomped his foot and Simone looked up at him sadly.

“She wanted to see the ocean. You kept her locked up in her room for two wee–”

“Her maid put poison in her tea. We had to fire most of the staff because we had to re-vet everyone. Your highness I know that you don’t like it… but please…” He was pleading with her but Simone just looked out at the ocean.

“I just wanted to be free for a moment,” it almost didn’t reach their ears how quiet she was.

“I’m going to take her back… Untwist your balls. As long as she’s with me she’s fine,” Llywellyn made a face before taking her back towards the castle.

“Of all the rotten princes to be visiting right now…” He honestly didn’t know which one he hated more. He led Lewis back to the carriage and began to explain. “Llywellyn is one of the worst influences…” He sighed a bit in defeat. “He can protect her but he can’t stay here in Auclair for long, only a few hours at best. They grew up together and it was thought they would marry when she came of age… However, she doesn’t really find anyone to her liking… So there’s been a rush of men trying to claim her. Not to mention the one trying to take her for his own. We’ve defused the situation many times including finding magic bombs hidden below the city. We cannot protect her and the city at the same time. Which is where you come in.”

Edwin crossed his arms and looked towards Lewis. “The enemy is a man who is hellbent on breaking her and using her as a breeding tool. Making her less than human. He had the balls to appear and say so himself. She won’t say it but she’s terrified. Llywellyn’s father yanked him back and has restricted his time here so he can focus on building relations for Sulwal and not beating a dead horse that is his relationship with the Empress.” He sighed more. “Do you understand the type of situation this is? Would you like to meet her now and actually talk to her? Or do you need time to think about this more?”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 7:32 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

The Dusk Assassin sat across the table from Edwin, a crimson hood shielding his eyes as he thought about the proposal that had been given. He was the perfect weapon, a killing machine to be hired to eliminate whatever the client wanted. But this? This was something entirely different. His initial response was to reject the idea entirely. A deadly assassin and someone’s protector? The idea was insane.

“I-” He paused. The up front payment seemed far more than the already lucrative 500 silver a month. He smirked, something that was visibly unsettling to anyone who might be watching in on them. After all, a tavern was a place of information.

“I do not think I am suitable for such a role,” he lifted the hood back to reveal his dead stare, a complete contrast to his wicked smile. “However…I have a feeling that this is not an opportunity to pass up.” There was far too much to be gleaned from this. A high value target? A merchant? Having those as potential contacts in his back pocket would be valuable.

“Make it six hundred silver,” he said as the smile faded. “And we have a deal.” His face gave away no emotion. He was impossible to read.

“Deal,” Edwin replied almost immediately.

Lewis smirked. Desperation was a good sign…

Lewis Dusk, a low profile assassin by trade, found himself in a carriage with no windows. Edwin had not disclosed any further information, which the assassin was not happy about. Still, this was to be expected. Contracts had yet to be signed, and with such a high value target, Lewis almost expected a geas to be in play.

“How much longer?” the assassin asked, an edge in his voice. “We’ve already traveled for quite some time. From what I can tell…” He closed his eyes and did some mental calculations. “We’ve been traveling North for the past hour. A castle?” Perhaps it was a royal envoy or something. Maybe a scholar. They usually had targets on their backs for their research.

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 7:20 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

Simone drank down her own drink with Lewis and even she was beginning to feel dizzy. “Let’s retire then…” Xeik had to escort them both to their room and it was like putting two kids to bed as he tucked Lewis and Simone in.

The phoenix rolled over and put her arm around her husband as she snuggled into him. This was her favorite place to be once he had his arms around her. The world was lurching though. Was it the alcohol?

“So you are a twenty-one-year-old assassin. The Dusk Assassin or so it says. Your records are immaculate. You were recommended to us by a friend.” This noble-looking man had an astonishing amount of information on the white-haired man in front of him. “You’ll be compensated greatly for this.” The man snapped and a chest full of silver was brought over. “This is just the up front payment. You’ll be paid five hundred silver a month after this. Lodging will be provided as well as food for as long as you are hired. This might be outside the realm of things you normally do. I want to hire you to protect someone. She is a high valued target who is almost always at risk. I will tell you more if you wish to accept my proposal.”

They had met at a very small tavern. Almost everyone was gone and even the barkeep was nowhere to be found. It was almost eerie in a way. “My name is Edwin Voltrea, you can say I’m a merchant by trade.”

Author: Dusk, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 7:05 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

It was the most fun that Lewis was able to have in a long time. Even with the constant threat of Rhenakos barging in, Lewis was actually starting to feel relaxed. He could feel Simone relaxing too as she jotted down her ideas, and knew that it had been a good idea for them to come after all. The night wore on, and soon Rhenakos ended up joining them much to Xeik’s displeasure.

“Now, now!” Rhenakos said as he dropped down three heavy glasses filled to the brim. “I come bearing a peace offering. I promise I won’t be in your hair too much longer.” A strange choice of words for the brute of a man, but it was welcome as Lewis and Simone each took the peace offering.

Xeik rolled his eyes, “Fine.” He took his own drink and started to chug it. He needed it with the idiot around. Still, he was enjoying himself as much as the rest of them were, and as promised, Rhenakos left after making sure that the party had well and done finished their drinks, offering to buy more later if they wanted.

“Don’t be strangers, ey?” he said with a wink. “Have a good night! Sweet dreams!” With a wave of his hand, he walked away.

“What a weirdo,” the divine mender said with a slight hiccup.

“Ah,” Lewis replied as he slouched into his chair. “That was one was…really strong…” Whatever Rhenakos had ordered them was hitting like an airship. Of course the berserker hunter would go for something heavy. “I think…I think I’m good for the night. Right Mone?” He was starting to feel tired, too. Just how much alcohol was in that drink?

Author: Simone, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 6:50 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

“That’s the porpoise!” Simone giggled towards Xeik. She took Lewis’s arm and walked with him side by side as they made their way to the bed. “Have a good trip Xeik~” She ran to the door and looked down at him. “Make sure you sharken your skills~” She slammed the door and jumped on top of Lewis who was in bed laughing hysterically.

Later they met back up at the Clam Shell. A pretty little bar where mermaids were swimming around doing dances and entertaining. They would even pop out of the water to deliver drinks in magic bubbles from the bartenders. It was a hell of a sight.

Lewis and Simone were taking in the sights. “I’m glad we’re in a huge ass bubble under the sea because… We’re down quite a bit underwater.” Simone hadn’t warmed up to the idea of being in the whale city. If the bubble popped she couldn’t swim. At the end of the day though… Lewis had convinced her it would be fun and if the bubble were to just randomly pop he would swim to her and save her.

Xeik and Lewis were having the time of their lives with puns while Simone quietly sat down next to them writing ideas down in a book. She did this often whenever she had ideas for her novels. For her, this was relaxing.

Author: FalseHope, Posted: Thu Sep 2, 2021 6:40 PM, Post Subject: A Novel Idea [P/R]

It was something of a cross between a cruel joke on Angela, and a reprieve for the Terrowins. Xeik had decided to take Lewis and Simone on an all-expenses paid (though, they didn’t need it) trip; a vacation from it all. They had been non-stop busy since their rebirth, and Angela had barely given them a moment's rest past their daily duties to their children.

Angela was, of course, okay with the idea in concept. But once Xeik told her the location she had chosen, she immediately gave him an irked look. The Divine Mender was quite aware that a whale of a city was the absolute last place the Goddess would ever want to step foot on. A guarantee that she wouldn’t bother Lewis or Simone.

Of course, she had to agree that her constant stress tests of the Terrowin’s must have been draining them, so the vacation would be good for them. After all, her precious Night Phoenix experiment had paid off, and there were now six of them. Well, not counting the small flock that she wasn’t supposed to know about, but that's another tale entirely.

“And here we go,” Xeik said as they stepped into the lavish Coral Hotel. It was literally made of coral. At least, the important parts were. He stepped up to the staff, and talked through the reservations he had made. It wasn’t long before they were headed up to the rooms. Lewis and Simone had the Coral Corral as their room, an extravagant suite.

Lewis rolled his eyes when he saw it, but there was a moment where he paused. There was a loud, obnoxious noise coming from the suite next to them. It took him a moment, but when he realized who it was, he turned to Xeik. “Did you…did you plan this?”

Xeik sighed, “Oh no…” The door next to Lewis and Simone’s room opened, and Rhenakos popped out shirtless. There were scratches all across his body from gods knew what.

“Oh hey! What a surprise!” Rhenakos said with a knowing grin. “How’s the current events?”

The ex-assassin scoffed, “What the hell are you doing here? I thought we were supposed to be getting a vacation?”

“Aww, I’m here to make sure that your anenomes don’t catch you off guard.” Rhenakos gave a thumbs up and a wink. “Don’t worry. I won’t be over-whale-ming you at all.”

“Please make it stop,” Xeik groaned. “Just…just don’t bother them.”

Rhenakos gave a hearty laugh. “Don’t worry. I don’t plan on making any big splashes today. Os and I are on our own bone-fide vacation. Who knew you three would be here.”

Xeik merely gave them a dead stare. “I have a feeling a certain Goddess is up to something…” He had no proof, though. Well, it was fine. “I’ll have the wait staff bring you up some drinks. I'm sure you’ll need them.”

Lewis nodded, “Thanks. In the meantime…” He gave Simone a smirk. “Let’s go test the beds…I can’t wait to ‘sea’ what they’re like.”

“Angela damn it, it’s spreading,” Xeik said as he wandered down the hall to his own room.

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