The Seduction Plan Ch. 01byPlainJane12©
This is why I hadn't bothered to join the resistance in the first place. These guys were nuts. Stupid, and crazy. I mean, did they know who they were talking to?
We were sitting in one of the old bars off the port of San Drumais. One of those places that used be dugout palaces of the El Durar chieftains back before I was born. My father used to take me riding up here, back when I was still a princess and our kingdom still stood and he was still alive. He would tell me stories about the old peoples who sprang from this planet, and how the new peoples came from the stars. But that was back when people could fly and didn't need to breathe air.
I obviously needed to breathe air; I was laughing so hard I thought I was going to pass out. The boys from the resistance weren't pleased with my reaction. "Wait, wait, wait," I said, still trying to stop laughing. "Explain this again." I held up my finger. "One more time."
Bolthos, the big one with the big ears and the dull blonde hair sighed. "We want you to seduce him. Then-"
"Wait!" I cried, before bursting into a fresh round of laughter. Oh damn. This was too funny.
"Then," Bolthos continued once my laughter calmed to giggles, "We will kidnap you, and we can lure him to Gravlor's Peak. His sorcery won't work there."
"Even if it does," began Saymar, "It's the perfect place to attack. We'll have the tactical advantage." I looked at Saymar; I had always had a sort of begrudging respect for the guy. He stood out from the others in the resistance because usually when he opened his mouth, foolishness didn't spring from it like spilled marbles. He was also uncommonly handsome. --Which I never held against a man, unprejudiced as I am. He was scarred, but that just made his bright green eyes look dangerous and calculating. And I liked easily spotted dangers. You could always play near enough the edge for a thrill without getting in real trouble.
"Please, Princess?" the boy Dartix began to ask. But I slapped him across the face before he had a chance to say it.
I wasn't a princess. I hadn't been in a long time. Not since Moms and Pops had been slaughtered in the throne room.
I should have been killed too. But when there are a dozen princesses, three dozen ladies in waiting, and about two hundred other girls under the age of twenty hanging around at court just because the eldest princess is about to be married -- well, it's easy to miss one. I suppose.
I was twelve and I escaped. All sorts of people wanted to take me in at the time. But I was twelve and I was pissed. -And scared. Mostly pissed. Anyway, even then I knew being a princess would get me killed. And I refused to be anyone's victim.
"Sorry," Dartix said, rubbing his cheek.
"Sometimes I wonder whose side you're on," Bolthos said, shaking his head at me.
"Really? Maybe we should stop meeting then," I replied, and rose to get up.
A heavy hand landed on my arm. Saymar. He looked at me, and said, "Please sit down. They're both idiots."
I sat. "No. Dartix isn't an idiot. He just should be more careful. Bolthos simply makes the mistake of assuming that I care what he thinks."
"I know you don't believe us effective, Dor. But you don't seem to getting anywhere either. If we work together, we can take him down," Saymar said.
I closed my eyes a moment before responding. "Look, I realize that it may not seem like a bad plan on paper. But you don't understand the reality of the situation."
Long story shorter: After wandering quite enough through the world on my own, to the point that I was fairly unrecognizable to most, and not of any interest to all, I decided to get my revenge.
I was fifteen and still terribly angry that my family had been murdered. --Fancy that. I also was newly aware that the man who had killed them all was living in the glass desert, over beyond the Uspi sea.
I made a point of trying to find out if I could slip into his palace as a servant, unnoticed. I had vague plans of then slitting his throat in the night or poisoning his dinner.
Unfortunately the bastard didn't have servants anyone knew of. The people I asked supposed that maybe he used magic, like he had when he killed my parents. --That was actually the first time that I had heard how they had been murdered. An army of dead things swept through the castle and throttled everyone with bony hands.
Others supposed that maybe he did have servants, but they weren't from around there, and maybe they used magic too.
Only one way to find out.
I headed out, on foot -- because yeah, I'm kind of a badass -- to find his palace and demand a servant's position.
I made it. Barely.
-But I made it because I'm a badass.
...Nearly dying of dehydration and being attacked by an army of ants with heads the size of grapes, no big deal.
Would I do it again? No. -Of course not. But, that's because I'm badass enough I don't have to.
Anyhoo... I got there, and I discovered the strangest thing.
No, the strangest thing wasn't that the palace was completely empty. The strangest thing wasn't that I found the man I had been looking for totally unguarded, unprotected.
The strangest thing was that he wasn't really a man. He was just a boy. --Younger than me.
Well, maybe not younger than me. We were both at that age where girls shoot up faster than boys. And I had always been pretty stocky, in an athletic way, to start with.
I first spotted him lying in the courtyard of his palace. He was drawing on the stone floor with chalk, in a dreaming, idle way.
I limped in past the stone arch entrance -- the ants had taken some pretty necessary chunks out of my legs and the only drink I had had in a while was the blood from my cracked lips.
"Hey," I said. I was vaguely worried at the time I might die before I see him. I didn't know this boy in the courtyard was conqueror of my planet.
He stood up immediately; shocked I was even there.
"I'm looking for the Master of the Realm," I said.
The boy looked at me in confusion, and then looked around before saying, "Uh, you found him."
I sagged. "Idiot. I am looking for the Master of the Realm," I said, this time slowly. "The killer of the kings. The mighty sorcerer. You know, the one in charge?"
Now he looked vaguely bemused. "Yeah," he said. "That's me."
"Oh shut," I began, but then -- for some reason, probably just a little too much ant poison, I fainted.
Fast forward a couple weeks -- I had the servant's job, though, in retrospect, I think he just wanted a friend.
Fast forward a couple years -- I was his trusted counsel, who was regularly making attempts on his life, and failing.
Fast forward to now --
I'm twenty-freaking-nine. You know how frustrating it is to try to kill someone for over ten years, and never quite succeed?
I know what you're thinking; this girl is completely incompetent. How do you not kill someone in the span of a decade? But you have to understand.
I can't be overt about it -- or he'll know what I'm up to and kill me. Or maybe turn me into a sea monkey.
After all, he's a sorcerer. He has potions for everything and magic words for everything, and portals for everything. --I poisoned a shirt once, and he sent it through a portal to the realm of laundering. No joke. ...Okay, minor joke -- but not really; he did send it away somewhere and it came back smelling like flowers. It's disgusting.
In any case, it usually takes a while to come up with a plan anyway. Factor in the time it takes to pull off said plan without getting caught, and doing the research to make sure it might work, and besides that he actually does have me working a lot. I mean, a lot. I have to help him with spells, and local uprisings; baking up fake armies and dead armies and invisible wind armies. -I get in a couple attempts a year if I'm lucky. He also likes to read and have someone to talk to about what he's reading. He likes for us to each paint something and compare the results. He's a weirdo.
Then about five years ago, the resistance figured out who I was and thought it would be a good idea to keep tabs on me.
They're the ones who attack his fake soldiers and break his laws and try to draw him out once in a while by marching off into the desert (much as I did once), but usually they just end up lost in storms or something and never reach the palace.
Anyway, so I meet them once in a while, and I hear their plans and they hear mine -- and usually we just give each other a pat on the back for encouragement, have a drink and call it a night.
"I think the reality of the situation is that you don't really want him dead," Bolthos said.
"Fuck you. Of course I want him dead. What I'm telling you is your plan won't make him dead. --Because I can't seduce him. We're not like that. We hang out. He tells me things, sure. But I'm the girl he gets advice from. Not the girl he... gets romantic with."
"Bullshit," Bolthos said.
"Hey," Saymar said, "Just because you don't know better than to shit where you eat, Bolthos; doesn't mean the Master of the Realm doesn't. He's a smart man. Dor is a valuable asset to him; he's probably aware that adding sex to the mix could jeopardize that."
I smiled at Saymar; thank Somebody there's one guy with a brain in the bunch. "Of course," he added then, suddenly looking at his drink, "It's hard to imagine any man, let alone the most evil one in the world, being principled enough to avoid it, looking at eyes like yours, Dor."
I blushed from my hairline to my toes, before quickly raising my glass. "Same time, next month?"
I rode Greystone, my horse, home that night. She carried me and some packs of supplies. The Master of the Realm could conjure up anything he liked, but as I told him over and over again, I preferred not having to ask him for every single little thing.
It was dark by the time we got to the stables. I began unpacking and I felt a prickling feeling on the back of my neck. "I know you're there," I announced.
"Damn it!" the Master of the Realm declared. "It's a shadow spell! You're not supposed to be able to notice me; especially not in the dark!"
I turned around, looking for him. "Well, I certainly can't see you. That's something."
Suddenly he appeared in a shimmer of light right in front of me. It was shocking. He was fiddling with an eyeglass and some old paper, trying to reevaluate the spell, so he didn't seem to notice how close we were. But I did. -Especially after the meeting tonight.
Then he paused and looked at me. "You okay?"
"Sure," I said, blushing, glad he couldn't read my thoughts. I turned to finish unpacking.
"Here, let me help you with that," he offered. He never helped with anything unless he was paying attention, which put me on guard. I would have to be more careful if I didn't want him figuring something out. He quickly slung an entire pack over his shoulder like it weighed nothing. --Things like that always surprised me a little. He had really filled out since were teenagers.
Ha! I mean, of course. I would have tried that years ago, back when my thighs were still firm, had it been possible. Don't they think I would have thought of that? Seduction would have opened up a world of possibilities. ...Not that I could think of any right now; but yes, it seemed like a very good plan if it was possible. Oh crap, I was blushing again.
I followed a few steps behind him with half the other pack into the palace halls, trying to calm down. I hated it here. Everything so huge and empty -- every hall echoed. Everything was cold, especially at night, even though we were in a desert that got so hot in summer that the sands would melt.
"How many days have you had off now?" he suddenly asked over his shoulder.
"You mean 'day?' How many, 'day' have I had off? Because there was just the one, and not entirely one because look -- I'm back." I replied.
"I mean total, since you've lived here. Also, it's nightfall. You left before dawn. Gone the entire day."
"What, you think I've kept track?" I asked, trying to ignore the fact that it would be easy enough to figure out.
He stopped suddenly and turned to look down at me. I nearly collided with him, but he didn't move. His eyes sparkled a fiery grey. "You sure there's nothing wrong?"
"You want me to make something wrong?"
He smiled at me then, but his eyes were frustrated. Crap. Something was up. "These things to your room, then?" he said, patting the pack.
"Yes," I replied slowly, like maybe he was stupid.
"Okay," he said, and turned. We continued down the hall in silence.
My bedroom was the same as it had ever been. I remembered waking up in it the first time. The bed was softer than anything I had been in for years by that time -- and large.
The room was otherwise empty, except for a mirror. The room was circular, no corners, but there was a huge balcony that took up half the space. It looked out over the desert.
That first time, when we were younger -- I woke up and he was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking down at me like I might have cooties. "You okay?" he had asked.
"Awesome," I had replied.
"You look terrible," he said.
"Thanks for the update."
"Eric, Master of the Realm, Conqueror of the planet, etc."
"Bullshit," I had said. "Prove it."
"I will, if you tell me your name."
"Your full name?"
"It was my understanding one shouldn't give one's full name to sorcerers."
"You understand a lot," he replied. Then he plucked an apple out of the air and tossed it to me.
I made a rude sound with my mouth then said, "Big deal."
"Take a bite," he said.
I took a bite.
My wounds healed.
I shook my head. "Still not impressed," I said.
He invited me to stay on as an assistant soon after that.
Now he was unloading the pack onto my bed. He wasn't a boy anymore, that was for sure. His muscles moved under his shirt, and he seemed to be investigating my purchases with serious interest. Oh man... that meeting really bothered me! I couldn't stop looking at him, noticing things I had seen before but just hadn't...
"Hey now, just leave it," I said, gently knocking him out of the way with my shoulder.
"What'd you get?"
"None ya business."
"It is my palace."
"Maybe on your birthday, I'll let you see what I get at the market. Now go away." He backed away quietly. But he was still just standing there watching me. "Okay... some privacy?" I said.
"I'm not sure I want to leave you alone. You're being weird," he said.
I smiled, and turned to him. "Now this is getting annoying. Even if I was being weird, what is it to you?"
He looked at me critically, like he was trying to read something written on my face. I didn't like where this was going. "You know, Dor, I've never seen you cry. Ever. There have been times I wish I have."
"Thanks." I turned back to my pack. He was the one acting weird.
"Not. Not like that. But there's something off about you today. Something's bothering you."
"Gee, I wonder what that could be."
"You know sarcasm is the lowest form of wit."
"I'm sorry, I must have confused sarcasm with unusual burping. I'll do better next time. Perhaps after dinner."
"Would you stop?" he said, in a suddenly forceful tone. "You're the only person on the planet who dares speak to me the way you do, you're the only person I've granted any knowledge of my power or any freedom to do as they wish... but..."
"What?" I demanded. I didn't care what he granted me or what I dared. Now all I wanted was to know what he was getting at.
"Your eyes... they're always so empty."
What could a person say to that?
You killed my family?
I have to kill you... even though you're my only real friend?
Life sucks and then you die?
"But today, they're not. Today they're all... thoughtful and concerned... with something."
I just shrugged at him.
He sighed. He walked back toward me and then sat on the bed.
Okay. "Seriously, Eric, it's late and I have to unpack this stuff. If you want me in the spell room on time tomorrow," I began.
"I set a spell, Dor. One I didn't tell you about. -Years ago."
He wasn't looking at me. He was looking at his hands, like a guilty child.
"Because of it, I know you... deceived me."
"I wasn't sure the first time; I wanted to be wrong. But I also know you tried to kill me."
Oh shit. I began to back away from him.
"If I ever did anything once for you, anything good," I said suddenly, "Don't make me into some sort of mindless animal. Just kill me. Please." I'm not sure how that outburst came out of me so quickly, but I stared at him waiting for a response. He didn't lift his head.
"They're making you do it, aren't they?" he said.
Huh? I looked at him confused. Finally he looked at me.
"The resistance -- they've got something on you. I know you've been seeing them. I don't know how long, and I don't care."
I cock my head to the side slowly. "What?"
"I mean, I did care, but... The spell I used... thankfully, measures emotions."
"I know that you've been relieved every time the attempts failed."
No wait -- what?
"It's been a roller coaster following you. Emptiness, then relief, ease for a little bit. Then you leave and come back, and after a while you begin to empty again. I started watching you closer when these periods occurred -- it wasn't hard to figure out what you were doing."
He crossed the room suddenly and crushed me to his chest.
"Don't worry, Dor. I'll kill them all. I'll kill them all for you."
"What?!?" I pushed him away.
"You're the only person on my side, Dor. I know that. I won't let them manipulate you anymore."
"You don't have to apologize," he said. "It's my fault. I should have said something sooner. But when I first figured it out I was so hurt, I didn't want to deal with it all. I thought my only friend, my only family was trying to kill me. I couldn't deal with it. Thank God I didn't. I might have killed you before I knew the truth. Then, I put two and two together about the resistance. And, I'm sorry -- I thought that rather than say anything I would learn more about them through you."
"I have almost all the information I need. I'll take them all out in one blow. I wasn't going to say anything -- I thought that maybe... Anyway, but something's bothering you. You went and you saw them, and now you seem more confused than ever. What is it?"
"Er. Nothing. Nothing at all. You're ah, you're right. Uh. Huh."
"Your mind has been going nuts for hours. And your heartrate... God, Dor. I'm sorry; I felt terrible letting them put you through this, but... I uh, figured it was fair. You know, since you were trying to kill me."
I nod at him. "Er. Ah. Huh."
"But now, you know and I know, and you don't have to be upset."
"I know this is a lot to take in. But you don't have to worry -- you're my best friend. I won't let them do whatever they've threatened you with."
"Well that's good," I finally managed to say.
He took my hands in his and led me to sit down on the bed with him. "Just tell me what happened today, and tell me what they've threatened you with."
Well for one thing, they wanted me to seduce you. And they've only threatened me with restoring my throne. "Um..."
"You're safe," he said.
And it was true. I was. He healed me when I was hurt and gave me a home, and things to do. We laughed a lot. And even when things got bad, he was never what I had expected when I first came here. It was hard to reconcile that he was a mass murderer and also that he was the omnipotent buddy I swapped snark with. So hard in fact, that I had considered on multiple occasions asking him -- why my family? Why death? But I thought it would be suspicious. So I never did.