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Darling

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Beau woke up on their second night in the capital city to a quiet knock on the door. She frowned and sat up. “Go away, Caleb,” she hissed. “We can talk in the morning.” There was another quiet knock and Beau huffed and rolled her eyes, throwing off her blanket and stomping towards the door. She pulled it open and glared at the dark figure outside. “You’re going to wake up Je-” She froze, her eyes widening. “You’re not Caleb.”

The drow woman on the other side smiled slightly and shook her head. “No, Ma’am. I’m not.”

Beau frowned and recoiled slightly. “Ma’am?” She cleared her throat and shook her head. “Forget it, what do you want?”

“I’m the personal handmaiden of the empress. She sent me with a message for Beauregard, the blue monk.”

Beau raised an eyebrow. “Well, I- Yeah, that’s… That’s me, I guess. What’s the message?”

“She wishes to speak to you. In private.”

Beau paused for a moment as the words registered in her mind. “N-Now?”

“She has a rare free night. It may be her last for some time.”

Beau looked to woman over, searching her body language and facial expression for signs of a lie. There were none. She thought for a moment before nodded. “I-Okay, sure. I just need to get my cloak and let someone know where I’ll be.”

The drow nodded and smiled softly. “Of course. I’ll be waiting downstairs to escort you.”

Beau waited until she was out of sight and then scrambled to grab her cloak out of her bags. SHe hurried down the hall to Caleb and Fjord’s room and knocked incessantly. The door was yanked open violently a few seconds later to Caleb’s anxious face.

“What's going on? Is there trouble?”

Beau held up her hands apologetically. “No, man, sorry, didn’t mean to freak you out. I’m just in a hurry and I wanted someone to know where I was going.”

Caleb sighed and his entire body sagged in relief. “Where are you going exactly? Can it not wait until morning? You should not be going alone.”

“No, alone is exactly what I should be in this case. I think… I’m pretty sure I’m about to get laid.”

“You’re pretty sure?” he asked skeptically.

“Either that or executed, I’m feeling optimistic.” She noticed her friend start to get tense again and she rolled her eyes. “I was kidding. I’m going to be fine. More than fine, if this goes the way I think it is.”

He frowned but nodded. “Alright. Just… be careful.”

“Always.”

The expression on his face told her that he didn’t believe her, but she had bigger matters to attend to so she turned and started down the stairs, pulling her cloak over her shoulders and hiding her face and hair under the hood. The drow was waiting for her by the door and looked up when she came down. The woman nodded to her and lead her out through the door. There was no real difference between the streets of this city during the ‘night’ and the ‘day’. There were exactly as many people and exactly as much energy.

She tried to keep close to the drow in the crowds while always walking with her head down to hide her face and not gain attention. The drow lead her back into the richie rich part of town but didn’t head towards the palace. She brought Beau to a mansion instead. It was a beautiful wood house with crystal towers and embellishments that glittered in the star light. It looked like a mini version of the palace.

“Where did you take me?” Beau asked, pausing outside the gate and looked at the guards on either side with suspicion. They looked her over and frowned but didn’t say anything.

The drow gave her a calm smile. “This is the Empress’ private residence. She does not get to be here often, but it’s the one place in the Dynasty where she can have some true privacy.” She nodded to the guards and they opened the gates, allowing Beau and the drow inside. The drow continued leading her through the small courtyard to the front door. She pushed open the door and then stepped off to the side, waving Beau forward. “I’ll be here to escort you back to your lodgings when it’s time for you to leave.”

Beau hesitated outside the door and felt suddenly nervous. She’d flirted with barmaids and warriors, courtiers and rebels, guards and criminals, but never an empress. What if she wasn’t impressed? What if she made Beau leave in embarrassment? She cleared her throat and nodded her thanks to the drow hand maiden as she stepped inside. She stopped in the foyer and the door was shut softly behind her.

The foyer was beautiful, draped in colors and silks with an elegant chandelier hanging in the middle. She cleared her throat awkwardly. “Hello?”

“Beauregard? In here,” called a soft voice that she recognized. Beau took a deep breath and stepped through the archway, into what appeared to be a parlor. Empress Leylas Kryn was reclined on a chaise lounge with a champagne flute in one hand and a book open in the other. There was a nearly sheer robe draped over her body, with large bell shaped sleeves. Her white hair was curled slightly, fresh from a wash and still slightly damp, and fell around her delicate shoulders. She smiled slightly and snapped her book closed, sitting it and the flute on the table beside her as she rose to sit straight on the lounge. “I was hoping you would agree to come.”

Beau stuffed her hands in her pockets to keep from fidgeting. “Y-Your handmaiden said that you wanted to see me in private, Your Majesty?”

The queen chuckled like she thought Beau was adorable and pat the cushion beside her. “The proper way to address me is ‘Your Illuminance’. But you may call me Leylas. Come sit, darling.”

Beau stumbled at the sudden term of endearment but caught herself on the wall, clearing her throat as she tried to pretend it didn’t just happen. She only hesitated for a moment before moving over to sit beside her on the lounge. “If you don’t mind me asking… why did you want to see me?”

The queen’s laughter was musical. “I thought that would be obvious. I met you in the parlor in my bathrobe.”

“Yeah, no, that part-” She blushed when the robe started drifting particularly low on the queen’s chest as she took a sip of champagne. “That part is obvious. I just meant… why me?”

The queen hummed as she finished off her drink and set it back on the table. “You fascinate me. You speak with wisdom beyond your years. You even almost managed to convince me of something. By using my own words against me, no less. And you’re beautiful. I often don’t see the appeal that others of my kind see in humans but you caught my interest, to say the least. I also haven’t met many humans who didn’t immediately try to kill me.”

“Well, knowing that, I can’t decide whether inviting me here alone tonight was brave or stupid.”

Leylas propped her chin on her hand, looking at Beau with an appreciative eye. “I’ve been around a lot of people who want to kill me, Beauregard. I’ve also been around a lot of people who want to be exactly where you’re sitting right now. I’ve learned over my time how to tell the difference.”

“My friends call me Beau, you could call me Beau.”

Leylas reached up and propped her elbow on the back of the lounge, gently tugging on Beau’s hair tie until it fell away and her dark hair tumbled down around her neck. “Is that what you want me to call you?”

“Th-That ‘Darling’ was kind of nice.”

Leylas smiled and brushed Beau’s hair off her neck and behind her shoulder. “Darling,” the beautiful drow woman said in a sing-song voice. She leaned forward as if she was going to kiss Beau’s neck but paused a few inches away. Her breath hit Beau’s skin and the monk shivered, getting raised goosebumps at every point the was touching the queen. “Do you have somewhere to be today?”

“No,” Beau said quickly. “No, Leylas. I’m yours for as long as you want me.”

Beau felt Leylas’s lips brush ever so lightly against her neck as she smirked. “Perfect,” she purred.

 

Caleb woke up for the second time that day to frantic knocking on the door. He groaned and let Fjord answer it this time, the half orc already up and mostly dressed. He pulled the door open. “Jester?” Caleb heard him ask. “What's wrong?”

“Beau is missing! She’s been gone for hours, I looked all over the place, I can’t find her.”

“Beau’s fine,” Caleb groaned, finally pulling the blankets down off his face. “She let me know she was leaving.”

Jester stomped over and frowned down at him, her hands on her hips. “Where did she go? Did she say when she would be back?”

“She didn’t say when she’d be back, just that she was meeting with a female friend for the night.”

Jester’s shoulders started to relax. “You’re sure? It’s just a booty call?”

“That’s what she said.”

“With who?”

“She didn’t say. I chose to respect their privacy. Maybe that’s why she chose to tell me and not you.”

Jester pouted. “Don’t be a dick.”

“Caleb’s being a dick?” asked a familiar voice from the doorway. Caleb looked up and Jester gasped. “What’s he doing now?”

“Beau!” Jester cheered, rushing forward to hug around her shoulders. Beau winced when Jester’s dress sleeves rubbed against the raw, darkening love bites covering her neck but pat the blue tiefling’s back. “I was sooooo worried when I woke up and you were gone.”

“I told Caleb I was leaving.”

Caleb sighed and laid back down. “Yes, I was just explaining that to her.”

“Beau, he said that you met with a lady friend.”

Beau leaned against the door and smirked. “I certainly did. We met many times, actually. We sort of lost track of time, I thought I’d be back before you woke up.”

“Who was she?”

Beau’s smirk started to fall into a small, apologetic smile. “Sorry, I’m sworn to secrecy.”

Something clicked in Caleb’s mind and he sat up quickly, looking at her with wide eyes. “You slept with the empress?!”

Beau rolled her eyes. “Be quiet, for fuck’s sake. And no, I didn’t sleep with the empress. There was no sleeping involved.”

Jester gasped and clapped her hands together, giggling. “Your lady friend is Empress Leylas Kryn?”

Beau winked at her and turned to walk back downstairs. “I can neither confirm nor deny that. I’m heading to breakfast.”

Jester hurriedly followed her out and Caleb groaned in annoyance, putting his head in his hands. “Beauregard, this can only lead to conflict! Why can’t you keep it your pants?” he called after her, climbing out of bed to follow her down.

Fjord just blinked in confusion but didn’t move to follow. “I have no idea what just happened.”