Chap 6 "Are we thereeeeee yet?" "Yes." "Wait, really?" Evelyn sat straight up. Amber looked out the carriage window. "Yup, I can see the gate now." "Thank the goddess! The road was awful. Why did he chose the day I travel to repave the road?" Evelyn stretched her back. The cart rolled into Risingr's courtyard. A line of guards in shiny gold-plated armor stood outside the palace's entrance, welcoming Evelyn. Risingr was nowhere to be seen, and in his place was his chancellor. He opened the carriage door for Evelyn. She walked out first, then Amber followed her. Miklas hopped down the driver seat, handling the rein to an attendant, and quietly stood guard behind Evelyn. "Welcome back, Lady Evelyn. I hope the trip was pleasant," the chancellor said. "It was fine, thank you. May I inquire where the duke is?" "Duke Risingr is having a meeting with his advisors." "Is that so? I told him in the letter that I have very important business to discuss." "I must ask for your forgiveness, my lady. It was a very important meeting, and he will see you as soon as it was done. Maybe he can make time for you right away if you tell me what the business is?" Evelyn paused, then she shook her head. "I'm afraid I will have to wait for him then." "As you wish, my lady." He nodded, then he led Evelyn and her retinue to the guest room. "If you need me for anything, you can send your servant to the great hall. I'll be there. My apology for not attending you in person--we're having a major renovation, and I need to supervise the workmen." "I see. I'll wait for your master here." The chancellor bowed and exited the room. "Mistress, why don't you tell him that you have what the duke needs?" "No, no. This is too important. I want to tell Risingr the news myself. I want to see his face when I hand him the letters." Evelyn grinned mischievously. "I'm just dying to see his bony face crinkles with joy and gratitude when I give him the throne." "I don't think his face is physically capable of doing that." "Can't a girl dream?" Amber shrugged. Evelyn looked around the room and noticed an opened door. She glanced at the small room behind it. "Look at that. He built a separate pantry for the guest! How opulent! I'll need a few minutes to rest my ass. Those road constructions are a damn nuisance." She walked into the pantry and survey the rows of snacks on a shelf. She inevitably picked a box of sweet plums and retired to the main bedroom. "I'll lie down for a while," she said, closing the bedroom door. Amber waited until she was sure mistress had settled in the bedroom. Then she silently opened the front door. Miklas was standing outside, holding his oversized halberd as usual. He eyed Amber curiously. "Come in, mistress is resting," Amber whispered. "But I need to stand guard." She held his hand. "Just a bit. No one will know." He looked around, saw no one nearby, and relented. Miklas walked inside and removed the mask. As soon as Amber had closed the door, he lifted the petite elf girl off her feet and kissed her gently on the lips. Amber hummed happily and kissed him back. "I hate that we have to sneak behind mistress back," Miklas said. Amber sighed. "Me too, big guy. But she might react negatively. Just give me some time, I'll figure out a way to tell her about us." He nodded then kissed her again. Then he carried the petite elf girl to the couch and sat down. Amber landed on his lap. "Is the covering made of silk?" he asked, rubbing the couch. "Probably. Risingr is filthy rich." "Really impressive," Miklas said, looking around the richly decorated room. His head turned from the grand chandelier above his head to the expensive-looking carpet lining the floor. "Speaking of impressive, you want some treat? Risingr affixed a fully stocked pantry to the guest room." "Of course. I assume mistress took the sweet plums already?" "Sure she did." Amber chuckled. "Some cookies then." Amber searched the pantry and returned with a box of buttered cookies. The pair of lovers ate the treats and fed each other. "You got some crumbs on your chest, big guy," Amber commented. She swatted his chest with her hand. But when his chest was cleaned, she didn't retract her hand. "I can't get over the fact that your chest is bigger than mine." "Of course, I'm bigger than you," he said matter of factly. She pressed her hand on his chopping board-sized pectorals and felt them up. She could not get over the smooth texture of his skin and the firmness of his muscles. Then she looked up at her boyfriend, who was staring at her traveling hand. "I'm not being weird, right?" "Not at all. I like touching yours too." She giggled and pinched his nipple playfully. "Ow," Miklas complained quietly. He returned the favor by pulling her head against his chest. The elf girl uttered a muffled 'eeek' sound. She retaliated by playfully sucking his nipple. Miklas bit his lips to prevent a moan, then he tickled her side as payback. Amber almost shrieked, but she buried her face in his chest to stop herself. The lovebirds fooled around for a while, each grinning and giggling without making too much noise, very much enjoying their little wrestling game until they heard Evelyn called out from her bedroom. Lucky for them, Evelyn wasn't complaining about the noise. "Amber, can you come in here and give my back a rub? It's killing me." They froze for a second, then exhaled in relief. Miklas released Amber, who quickly touched up her hair and smoothed her clothes. "Sorry, I've got to go." She kissed her boyfriend on the cheek. He kissed her back on her forehead. "And can you tell Miklas to get me some more sweet plums?" "Yes, mistress," Amber said loudly. She whispered to Miklas where to find the chancellor. He nodded, but he didn't get up right away. Amber looked at him quizzically, until she saw his downward gaze. "You got an erection?" she whispered in disbelief. Her eyes were glued to the obvious bulge on his loincloth. "You sucked my nipple," he protested quietly. "And you smell so good." Miklas ended up waiting for a minute while Amber held her belly laughing, silently of course. When his erection finally went away, Miklas got out of the room, his face reddened--red enough to be recognizable for a Terravi. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to laugh at you. I'll make it up to you tonight," she whispered after him, covering her grinning face. Miklas grunted indignantly as he walked away. He wasn't angry though, just slightly embarrassed. Barely a minute later he had forgotten about it. He wandered the hallways of Risingr palace, following the direction that Amber had given him. He passed by some uniform Terravi soldiers and they stepped aside to make way for the almost naked masked muscular giant. No one dared approached Miklas. Luckily, he didn't need to ask for direction. The great hall was situated in the middle of Risingr's palatial complex. Plasters, bricks, and limber littered the floor, yet Miklas saw nobody here. It looked like the workers had gone to lunch break. Miklas circled the hall and looked through every doorway he saw, yet there's no one around. On one particular closed door, Miklas heard the voice of the chancellor. He was about to knock when he realized that the chancellor was talking to someone. "They're in the guest room. And no, she hasn't told me why she wanted to meet." "That woman is such a pain in the ass." Miklas recognized the grim voice of Risingr. "If she refused to tell you, it must be important. But it can't be about the king's affair? It's been merely a few weeks." "Her spymaster is the best there is. I wager he'd retrieved important news, sir." "I know. That's why I 'hired' her. If she brought what I want, then I have to endure that smugness on her face." "An unenviable situation, sir." "Bah, all that I have to endure for the throne, my good man. Once I get what I want from her, Evelyn wouldn't be an issue anymore." "If she's such a nuisance to you, why promise her the chancellorship? Wouldn't that be counterproductive?" "An empty title, that's all. You will of course be my real chancellor. I'd rather give that mute meathead of a guard she owns the chancery than assign her any real power. That dim-witted harpy was so flattered with my promise that she didn't even bother asking what the job would entail. It's not like she's competent anyway. It's that little elf doing all the work for her." "So I heard, my lord." "Hmm, maybe I could 'borrow' that elf from Evelyn. She could free me from a lot of work. Besides, I quite fancy an elf girl around the palace. Quite a little young thing she was. And very pleasing to the eyes." "Indeed, my lord." "Well, let's get this over with. Lead me to her room." The two men left the room and entered the great hall. They saw no one. "Get more workers, will you? This place is a mess. And get humans, so I don't have to pay them much." "Aye, my lord." - "There, there. Feel better, mistress?" Amber asked. She was sitting behind Evelyn, giving her back a massage. "Ah yes, that's the spot. Your nimble hands are the best," Evelyn said with satisfaction. "Just a secret elvish nerve-stimulation trick. Now, breathe out. Relax your shoulder, and--" BANG. BANG. BANG. The door shook as someone pounded violently on it. Both Amber and Evelyn were startled by the loud noise. "Open the door. Quick," Miklas shouted. Amber hurried and ran to the front door. She opened the door and saw Miklas breathing raggedly. "Heavens above. What's wrong? You look like you saw a chimera." "I need to talk to the mistress." He quickly slammed the door shut behind them. "What's going on here?" Evelyn asked. She'd exited the bedroom and was observing the panting Miklas with confusion. He quickly related what he'd just heard. Amber and Evelyn's faces turned from surprise to outrage to horror. But before either of the women can react verbally, someone knocked on the door. "My lady, Duke Risingr is here," the chancellor announced. Amber and Evelyn looked at each other. Miklas's eyes darted between them. "Lady Evelyn?" Amber couldn't think of anything to say. The chancellor knocked again. Evelyn glanced at the door and motioned for Miklas to open it. He hesitated but did so anyway. "Ah, Evelyn, my good friend. It's good to see you," Risingr said coolly, walking past Miklas as if he didn't exist. He approached Evelyn, who had managed to put on her diplomatic face. Amber was still disturbed by what she'd learned and retreated to the corner of the room, eyeing her mistress worryingly. "Good day, Risingr," Evelyn said. Her voice had somehow managed to be neutral. "Are you well? You looked a bit under the weather," Risingr asked. "I, uh, the trip was quite...taxing, for a woman like me." "Ah, yes. I apologize. The road construction is of utmost inconvenience, but I didn't know you're arriving. I hope the wait wasn't too long. I have a lot of important business to take care of." "Of course. I understand." He clasped his hand. "You urgently request a meeting and here I am. Shall we take a walk? Fresh air might suit you better." "Umm, I supposed," Evelyn said. The duke ceremonially took her hand and led her outside. Miklas and Amber could only look on with apprehension. - Evelyn walked side by side with Risingr in his garden along the gravel path lined with shrubbery and colorful roses. It was a bright, sunny summer day, yet neither of them seemed to enjoy the good weather. "Oh my. It's hot today, isn't it?" Evelyn said as soon as they were outside. She looked up at the cloudless sky. "Could be worse. It's the middle of summer after all." "Your garden seems even more resplendent than the last time I was here." Evelyn made a sweeping gesture. "Lots of sweat and toils were spent on it. Human peasants', of course." They walked on for a minute more. Risingr was waiting for Evelyn to say something, but she didn't. His eyes fixated on her as she glanced around, making mundane comments about the scenery. Finally, when the gravel path reached a crossroad, he stopped. "So Evelyn. What is it that you want to tell me? What could be so urgent?" Evelyn stopped too. "It's about..." Evelyn paused. She looked at his narrowing eyes, then to his thin forehead. Behind his shoulder, far far away, was Risingr's vast empty estate land. And further behind them were a series of rolling pine hills. Pine... "It's about...the mines. Do you remember? You do? That's great. Well, I have managed to...turn a profit. Yes, great profit," Evelyn said hurriedly. She managed to find and put on a phony enthusiastic voice in the middle of her speech. Risingr's face turned sour like spoiled radish. "Profit? You? That can't be!" "Oh, give me some credits, Risingr. It's not much right now, but I'm on the right track. In a couple of...m--years, I can fully repay you." He stared at her and said nothing for few seconds. "Are you seriously come all the way here just to tell me about those...mines?" He almost raised his voice. Evelyn feigned surprise. "Why yes, it's important. Money's important. Don't you agree?" "I have enough of them to believe otherwise. Look, what about the thing I ask of you? What about the Hiss? Has he returned with the proof?" "Oooooh, that. Still no news from him. But of course, I'll let you know as soon as he'd returned," Evelyn said. Internally, Evelyn loathed how she sounded like a brainless broad, but she kept up the charade. Risingr was visibly annoyed at the lack of news. "You better be. That's our deal. Is that it? Anything more you want to tell me?" "Sadly no. I see you are disappointed. It seems that I have misplaced the importance of my news," Evelyn said, putting away the fake smile and donning a fabricated somber look. Risingr's lips twitched as if he's about to bark at her, but nothing happened. "It is disappointing. Alas, all we can do is wait. Yet, the news you brought is indeed good news." He'd regained his composure. "But a couple of years to recoup the cost? I'll tell you, human workers are lazy. Bring out the whips and chains, that'll make them work harder. Cut off a few heads if they dare complain. That's what I'd do." Evelyn was shocked, and the emotion on her face was genuine this time. "How can you do that? That's against the king's order." "I keep a tight lid. I enforced serfdom on the human, so they can't leave my land. I purged my administration of any humans. They're not trustworthy," Risingr said. "You treat the humans like slaves?" "Why do you care about the humans? You hate them as much as I do." Evelyn feigned apathy. "I don't care about them. It's just that...the king might hear about this. Someone might see something and blabber. That spells trouble to our little plot." "The king won't hear about this. I've lined many pockets so any prying eyes would look the other way. And I don't have to keep it quiet for long if you keep your part of the deal." "Of course. You don't have to worry about me." "Good. Now, if you excuse me, I have some other business to attend to. I trust you can find your way back." Evelyn nodded, and he immediately turned and left. Evelyn lingered until he was out of sight, her hands had closed into a fist. Her fingernails dug hard into her skin. - The return trip was uneventful. Evelyn refused to speak, and she wore a deathly grimace the entire time. That scared even Amber, so she stayed quiet too. When the carriage arrived home, Evelyn uttered only three words, "Leave me alone," and stormed back to her room. - Two days later. Amber opened the door and smiled brightly when she saw Miklas's face. She stood on her tiptoe to give him a quick kiss, then she led him by the hand inside. He had come to her room almost every night as soon as his shift was over. Amber's room was as familiar to Miklas as his own by now. He sat down on Amber's bed after removing his chest straps and setting the halberd aside. Amber soon joined him on the bed, she wore her usual night clothes, which consisted of a loose-fitting shirt and boyish shorts. "She's still in her room?" Amber asked. Miklas nodded. "Mistress told me through the door that she wants to speak to you first thing tomorrow. She didn't say anything else." "She wants to see me? That's good then. She's been refusing to speak to me the past two days." Miklas looked worried. "Do you think mistress will be alright?" he asked. Amber sighed. "I don't know. Mistress had never been betrayed like this before." She patted him on the arm. "Tell me what you heard in Risingr's hall again. I want to hear everything." "Are you sure? It upsets you." "I know. But I need to know every detail." Miklas recounted the whole story again. He glossed over the cruel things that Risingr said about Evelyn or Amber, but she pressed him to be more specific. He relented. "That stone-faced bastard. How dare he think he can treat me like that? I'm not some sort of toy for him to play with. I'm a high elf, damn it! We're the most respected scholars of the known world," Amber exclaimed. Miklas wound an arm around her and pull the incensed elf girl in for a hug. "I know. I know. He's a fool and an evil man. He'll never get his hand on you." Miklas's big hug calmed her down. Her anger quickly subsided and was replaced with serenity. She let herself melt into his warm embrace. "How do you know?" Amber asked in a soft voice. "I'll protect you with all I've got." Amber smiled. She could tell from his tone that he truly meant it. Miklas was so good at cheering her up. The elf girl hopped on his lap and cuddled with him as he held her like a child holding his stuffed bear. She buried her face into his broad chest while letting him pat her on the back. One perk of having a big boyfriend was it's so much fun to cuddle. He tickled her lightly, which made Amber giggled. Amber pushed Miklas onto the bed. Well, technically, she didn't push him. A girl of her size had no chance of forcing a giant like Miklas to do anything. Rather, she tapped him gently on the shoulder as a 'suggestion', and Miklas played along and lay down. Amber ended up straddling her lover's waist, her butt sat on his hard abs. She slowly ran her hands on his big pectorals, eliciting some light appreciative gasps from Miklas. "Thanks to you, mistress avoided making a big mistake. And you saved me from Risingr's evil clutch. You're my hero." She leaned down and kissed Miklas. The Terravi man responded by putting his hands on her hip and gently caressed her soft body. Amber's breaths grew more ragged as his hand crept upward. It went underneath her shirt until Miklas's hand found what he was looking for. He fondled her modest yet perky breasts with familiarity since he's a seasoned explorer of her feminine peaks by now. His hand made a sizable bulge underneath her loose nightshirt as he caressed Amber. "Ummm," Amber cooed softly when his sausage-sized fingers rolled around her hardened nipple lightly. "I think my hero deserves a reward for his good work," she said huskily, holding the big manly hand that's exploring her chest and directing him to feel her bosom more fully. Her hard nipples scraped against his palm, providing Amber with lightning pangs of pleasure. "Ahhhhhh," she moaned. "What do you mean?" Miklas asked, his voice shook with anticipation. Since their secret relationship started, the pair hadn't done anything more than touching and kissing. Amber grinned at how excited her boyfriend was. Truth be told, she was excited too, as evident by how fast her heart was beating right now. Amber made him withdraw his hand, then she crawled down the bed and sat between his legs, facing him. When her hands reached for his loincloth, Miklas understood her intention. His cock rapidly expanded inside the confine of his tight loincloth. Amber, with some difficulty, managed to undo the loincloth and free her boyfriend's straining manhood. Miklas watched with lust as his girlfriend slowly wrapped her dainty elvish fingers around his girthy tower of flesh and blood, fully enjoying the sensation of her hands on his steely-hard shaft.r"