Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Shahi - Extra Story Arc - Part 3
Since this story is the third part and the first two were posted quite a while ago, I'll post a link to the first part here so you can read it from the beginning :-) OF COURSE, while it is not necessary to read the book to understand this story, it's still a good idea if you want to know everything about the background to this story arc :-D
“Where is my granddaughter?” His Holiness the Silver Mystic asked me. It was the day he gave his oration to the assembled devout. I could understand why he was concerned since I had taken Shayla away a little over six months ago, and he hadn't heard from her since.
“She's fine,” I assured him with a smile. I was sure that it was true too, even though I hadn't seen Shayla since I left Hedonia about four months ago. I'd traveled to Earth for a couple of months, and then to Haven before returning here and bringing Tab'sh'kr to visit a few of the incredible places I had seen when I made my pilgrimage around the world. I'd only been back in the temple for a few days, and this was the first chance His Holiness had gotten to speak with me. Shayla's parents were standing nearby, anxious for news of their daughter.
“Thank you, but where?” He pressed with a determined smile.
I simply tilted my head as I continued to smile at him. “She's on another world conducting intensive training in the hopes that she'll become a better Mystic.”
“Then why aren't you with her?” His Holiness asked.
“I can only do so much,” I informed him. “I gave her the best start I could and have left her in the hands of those I trust to be able to truly develop her hidden talents. Don't worry, I do plan to go check on her soon. Who knows? Maybe she'll be ready to come home!”
He sighed, deciding to be pacified by this vague non explanation. I hadn't told him anything he didn't already know, and I could see that he well remembered how upset my father had once been when the Gods mentioned that I was going to go for training. His Holiness had to be wondering what the training was and how bad it could possibly be if my father was so against it. I wonder if he had demanded an explanation from my father at some point?
Nodding respectfully to Shayla's parents, I rejoined my husband so that we could leave the oration room. We were delayed by supplicants who sought blessings from the Highest Mystic, but this didn't bother me. I loved passing on blessings from the Gods, it made me feel like I had an important job.
I will admit that I didn't always feel this way, but now, I radiated joy whenever I was asked to bless someone. Even Tab'sh'kr could do a little bit. He could only channel a tiny amount of energy compared to me, but it was enough to give smaller gifts and blessings. It was hilarious to watch him as we had traveled around a bit the last month or so. People had flocked to us, and they revered him as a Gold Mystic every bit as much as they worshiped me as the Highest Mystic. He had been a little freaked out by this at first, but now he had gotten used to it. Still, it wasn't something that happened in the temple very often because most of the people that lived here were used to thinking of him as plain old Tab'sh'kr; a bit of a troublemaker.
Now that our year as a newly married couple was over, we weren't left alone anymore. People starting coming to see me again, which meant that it was so much harder to sneak away to our apartment to be alone together, but we eventually managed it, giggling and smiling the whole way. My dad must have read our minds because he was waiting for us in front of our door.
“I'm worried about Shayla,” he stated before I had so much as a chance to say hi.
I sighed, smiling at him sweetly. “She's fine dad, and don't worry, we're going to go visit her soon.”
He nodded in acceptance, hugging me for a moment before letting me go. I kissed him on the cheek, then turned to follow my husband into our apartment. My dad grabbed my arm and held me back.
“No babies yet?” He asked hopefully. I suddenly realized that he wanted grandchildren. Considering that he had been over 35 when I was born, and most people on Caladon had their first child by 20, he must be feeling that he was getting too old to wait much longer. I hugged him again, squeezing him tight this time.
“Not yet, but maybe soon,” I said, realizing that I was almost ready to be a mom.
“Good,” he murmured with a smile, kissing my cheek before gesturing for me to go on.
“Love you,” I exclaimed just as I was closing my door. He was only a little way down the hall and stopped to look back at me. “I love you too.”
I purred happily, still feeling like his arms were one of the safest and best places to be.
“Shahi!” Shayla exclaimed happily. She raced to fling herself into my arms and gave me a big welcoming kiss. “I'm so glad you're here!”
I couldn't believe how radiantly happy she looked. “I couldn't wait to see you again! How have you been?”
She blushed, twirling in a circle impulsively before hugging Tab'sh'kr and then returning to me. She took my hands in hers and grinned at me.
“I've been great! I... I've decided to take the test of Queenship!” Shayla announced. Both Tab'sh'kr and I stared at her in astonishment.
“You what?” I finally managed to ask.
“Yep,” she stated, grinning bigger than ever. “My test is tomorrow, which means you made it just in time.”
“But... why?” I wondered curiously.
“Because it's happening! I've slowly realized that the little lights I see are getting bigger. I almost always know when a God is nearby now, and I feel like I hear whispers. It's frustrating actually, because no matter how quiet it is or how focused on them I am, the whispers are impossible to hear clearly, but don't you see?”
Shayla bounced up and down excitedly. “It's progress! It's working!”
I was going to ask her why she wanted to be a Queen rather than a Princess, but then I realized that she was already wearing the silver charm that proclaimed her status as a Princess. I was stunned. “Wow!” And then I realized that it made sense. She already vowed to do whatever it took to serve the Gods better, and all of this was simply steps on a ladder bringing her closer to her goal.
And then it hit me that this meant that I was here in time to help administer the test. I laughed deviously. “Good luck!”
“What does that mean?” Shayla asked me with a pouty frown.
“Just that there are a lot of royals to administer the test,” I explained with a shrug.
“I know,” she murmured, looking at the floor nervously, but then her confidence returned. “But I can do this!”
“Okay,” I murmured, kissing her. “I have some things to do, so I may not see you again before the test.”
She nodded at me in understanding. “I'll bet!”
Tab'sh'kr grabbed her hand. “Come Princess, let's go get reacquainted.”
I chuckled as I watched them walk away, knowing that one of them was bound to thoroughly exhaust the other before they were done. As for me, it never failed that the first day of my return to Hedonia was marked by an unbelievable amount of people who wanted to welcome me back, so I was likely to be loved until I passed out from sheer exhaustion! I shivered in anticipation just thinking about it!
The King of the Hedonian Gods appeared before me, ginning at me like he just couldn't wait to be inside me. “We have to talk about Shayla, but first...”
One of those who were good at hosting him swept me off my feet and carried me towards my designated bedroom. “My God commands me to make you overflow with his passion!”
“Lucky me!” I giggled, winding my arms around his neck.
On Earth, there's a phenomenon called a pornographic movie in which actors get paid to have sex, but not normal sex like happens between normal people. No, they have something that can be more accurately described as endurance fucking. There's no real emotion to it, and because they film the scenes during the course of days, it seems like they have sex for the entire hour and a half straight.
Having sex with a God was very similar to starring in a porn, I imagine. He gave us both the stamina to last until he was satisfied, and had no qualms about adding in an extra body or two as the mood struck and people came to watch. The only difference was that I felt like I was overflowing with love; my love, the God's love, and love from everyone who lived on Hedonia. At times, it even felt like I felt the love of every person in the entire universe!
I'm not entirely sure how much time passed or how many people drifted in and out of my bed, but eventually, even I hit my limit. Channeling him had thoroughly worn me out, and I passed out just after a seriously intense orgasm shook me to my core. In my unconscious state, the King of the Gods decided to ask me a question. I think he hoped I would be too out of it to think clearly, but I had somewhat been anticipating this.
“My dear child, how would you like to carry my baby?”
My mind was firmly made up on this subject. “Not unless you can do so using my husband as your surrogate.”
He sighed in disappointment. “I knew you were going to say that, but I had to try.” I felt his energy kiss me tenderly and brush the mental image of my messy hair out of my face. “I guess I'll just have to work on possessing your husband more thoroughly...”
“Whatever you want, just let me sleep!” I insisted, trying to summon up the energy to wake up enough to crawl out from under the two lovers sleeping on top of me. I simply couldn't and soon gave up trying.
The God chuckled and left me alone. I was just barely aware of him talking to my husband, who must have come into the room to watch me at some point. He later told me that he had slept in Shayla's room most of the night, but returned to me when a ray of dawn's light had woken him up. He was in awe that I was still in the middle of an orgy at that point, and even joined in for a while. Apparently, according to him, it was actually approaching midday by the time I was too tired to go on. That might just be a record for me!
As a result of my sexual marathon, I slept so deeply that no one could wake me when it came time to help administer the test to Shayla. So – rather than let me sleep – the King of the Gods took it upon himself to infuse me with energy. I sat up so abruptly that my attendants screamed, and then laughed at their foolishness.
“We must hurry Princess!” They insisted excitedly. “The test starts in about 10 minutes!”
Tab'sh'kr groaned. “Even I'm exhausted. How can you possibly be awake right now?”
I had no time to explain, so I simply shrugged as I leapt from my bed and raced to the waiting bath. My attendants had me thoroughly scrubbed – and quite frankly horny – in about two minutes flat, and then quickly blew a light dusting of shimmering silvery powder on me before I had to literally run to the throne room. I made it literally just before the audience was called to order and the test began.
Having nothing better to do and intensely curious about the test of Queenship, Tab'sh'kr was hot on my heels, settling himself in a chair reserved for him just as I perched delicately on my throne.
“I thought for sure that you were going to miss this test,” my fellow Prince whispered in my ear. “How in the world are you even awake?!”
“I have no idea,” I muttered in his ear before turning my attention to Shayla. She was striding confidently down the aisle, smiling serenely. I looked across the dais at the Royals and wondered how Shayla thought she could pass this test. I have more experience than her and I don't think that I could pass this test!
The moment that Shayla reached the special chair that she would sit on during her test, her expression changed and she faltered. Now she looked uncertain and filled with doubt. Taking a deep breath, she sat on the chair, which was placed in front of the first Prince's throne. At a signal from the Queen, volunteers approached Shayla; the test had officially begun.
It was Shayla's job to orally please the two Princes, the three of us Princesses, the King and the Queen all while a long line of volunteers made it their mission to pleasure her in an attempt to use up her stamina before she passed the test. The chair she sat on was shaped like a saddle but with an opening between her legs to give the volunteers access to fondle or even tongue her as they pleased. They would stroke her body, stimulate her clitoris, and even have sex with her while she tried her best to ignore them and concentrate on the Royals.
I was very glad I hadn't missed the test because I've never seen or been part of one before, and this was an event not to be missed! So far, Shayla seemed to be doing well. She was sucking on the first Prince so expertly that his eyes practically rolled back into his head. I giggled as I wondered how he hadn't cum yet. It didn't take long before I saw her throat moving in a way that told me that she was definitely swallowing. The Prince moaned in ecstasy, determined to enjoy the pleasure as long as it lasted.
Then it was the second Prince's turn. He was newer – the one that had recently whispered in my ear – and looked nervous. I'm not really sure why, since his performance didn't matter in the slightest. In fact, the longer he held out, the better. However, there would be no shame to him if he spilled his load quickly. It would be considered a sign that he was trying to help her pass her test. He lasted a good five minutes – not that I was keeping track.
Then it was my turn. I stood to the side of the throne as the second Prince vacated it, then sat down and spread my legs wide. “I'm ready,” I murmured, grinning at her encouragingly. I wanted her to pass, so I planned to surrender to her touch as quickly as possible, but that's not what happened.
The energy that the King of the Gods had given to me had the side effect of giving me a lot more stamina than I wanted. This wasn't necessarily a bad thing, it just made Shayla's job that much harder. I rolled my head back and sighed as she used her impressive skill on me, quickly sending me to the edge of an orgasm that simply refused to happen. I hovered there on the edge for over half an hour, squealing and sighing the entire time.
Meantime, Shayla was finding it harder and harder to resist the volunteers. They blessed her with at least three orgasms before I finally came. Ironically, I think I only came because she started squealing and that somehow vibrated through my body in a way that was visible to everyone. It took me a couple of moments to gather up the ability to move, which gave Shayla what I am sure was a much needed though brief break as her volunteers changed places too.
She was hanging her head and panting – almost gasping really. I was concerned that she had already pushed herself too far. Stroking her head, I asked: “Are you okay?”
“Yes,” she gasped out, ever so slightly nodding her head. “But just barely...”
The waiting Princess helped me to my feet so that she could take my place – after all, giving the testee more than a minute or so to rest was against the test and would automatically disqualify her. I wobbled back to my throne, biting my lip in concern as I watched Shayla resume her task.
I knew how she was feeling! When I go to Haven and let the Shahi feed on me, my whole body becomes one big nerve that starts to feel so raw that it becomes almost unbearable before I finish. I force myself to keep going because I have to; I simply cannot allow anyone to go hungry and then prey on the inhabitants of Haven. Even so, it can be hard to endure. I don't think Shayla was at that point just yet, but she was pretty close.
She managed to last through both of the Princesses after me, but I knew she had hit her limit. I wondered if I was allowed to call off the test, or was it meant to continue until Shayla admitted that she couldn't do it? It was actually a bit heartbreaking to watch. King Frederick sat on the throne for his turn, and simply watched the expressions cross Shayla's face.
“I can't do it!” Shayla finally sobbed out. Pushing one of the volunteers away. “I've had enough, so much that it actually hurts!”
“You are wise to recognize that,” the King informed her kindly. “Do not be upset that you failed this test; just keep in mind that you are already a Princess of Hedonia.”
“But I failed the Gods!” Shayla wailed, burying her face in his thigh. He stroked her hair and let her cry.
Meanwhile, the Queen stood and addressed the crowd. “Brave Shayla has valiantly tried her best to attain the rank of Queen, but alas, it simply was not her time. Even so, this is a sacred occasion that should be celebrated! I give you all leave to seek out your pleasure however you wish!”
The audience – the majority of which only came to the palace on rare and special occasions – excitedly piled out of the throne room, discussing who should pair up with whom. Eventually, there were only a handful of people other than the Royals left. One of them looked positively wracked with concern. He twisted his hands and paced in agitation.
Shayla slowly stopped crying, and allowed the concerned young man to help her to her room. She was understandably excused from her vow for the rest of the night, I watched them go with interest, wondering just what their relationship was.
The King of the Gods stepped onto the dais to speak with those of us who were left. At this point, it was just we Royals and Tab'sh'kr – who was waiting for me.
“Shahi, as I meant to tell you before we got sidetracked yesterday, Shayla is making progress in her goal to better serve the Gods, but...”
“She is far too stubborn!” The Queen blurted out. “You know as well as I do that a large part of our job is to surrender ourselves. Our will is no longer ours but that of the people, but Shayla...”
“She finds it hard to do so,” King Frederick finished for her. The rest of them agreed.
“Yes,” I murmured softly, biting my lip. “It's been her fatal flaw since the beginning. I had hoped that she would have learned to bend by now...”
The King of the Gods nodded, agreeing with my hope. “She may well have, but, well... You remember how I suggested that she learn bondage?”
“Yes,” I stated with a nod.
“Well...” It was unusual for the Gods to hesitate, which made me wonder why he bothered to concern himself with Shayla's goal in the first place.
My Prince friend took my hand. “She's actually really good at bondage. Just last week, she had me tied up and begging for her forgiveness.”
I laughed. “And that's the problem, isn't it? She's taken to bondage like anything else... like something she needs to control!” I shook my head. “Oh Shayla...”
I paced back and forth for a few minutes to aid my thinking.
“I'm supportive of everyone,” the Queen stated with a kind smile. “But I think Shayla may need to rethink her goals. At this rate, she is going to seriously injure her mind!”
I stopped short with a frown. “What do you mean?”
“It is possible to drive yourself insane,” one of the Princesses informed me, her voice sounding both snide and concerned, which was interesting to say the least.
“I see...” I nearly whispered, a plan forming in the back of my mind. “Is... Is it possible to...”
“To what?” King Frederick asked me curiously.
“To... Strip her of her status and make her a slave?” I asked in a rush, a bit mad at myself for even suggesting it, but it seemed like the only way to help Shayla.
“No, that's not possible,” Frederick stated decisively. “She can choose to wear the symbol of slavery if she wants, but no one can force it on her.”
“Though I do see why you suggested it,” the Queen added with a slow nod. “It would probably do her some good to be a slave for a while, but no...”
“What about this?” I suggest, outlining a plan that came to me as I talked. When I was done, they all stared at me in silence. Finally, Frederick sighed.
“If you can get her to agree to it...”
I nodded. “I let you know!” But first, she needed to rest, and so did I, if the King of the Gods let me!
“Are you serious?!?!” Shayla demanded the next morning when I asked her about my plan.
“Yes,” I confirmed calmly.
“But, but, Shahi!” She protested, clearly afraid.
“Think about it, now is the perfect time! Most everyone is still here. If you wait even one day, it won't work anywhere near as well.”
“But I'm already a Princess!” Shayla whined. “If people want to have sex with me, all they need to do is ask!”
I tilted my head and gave her a look of deep sympathy. “But Shayla... I really feel that this is what it will take to truly open your mind and expand your senses. I believe that it will go a long way towards helping you achieve your goal. Won't you at least consider it for one minute?”
“But, but...” Shayla's eyes filled with tears, which she clearly tried to keep from falling. “Shahi...” She whispered a word so softly that I couldn't make it out. I simply continued to look at her in sympathy because what I was suggesting would be hard for anyone to do. I don't even think that I could do it!
I sighed so very softly, gathered her into my arms, and held her close. “What are you so afraid of?”
“I don't know!” Shayla burst out, her tears covering my shoulder as she held me tight.
I murmured incoherently, stroking her hair until she abruptly pushed me away. “I'll do it!”
“Wait, are you sure?” I asked incredulously, really not expecting her to agree.
“Yes because I think you are right,” Shayla admitted as she wiped her eyes. “And besides, I trust that you will be there to make sure that nothing seriously bad happens to me.”
I nodded in confirmation. “Yes, that's true.”
“So let's do this, before I change my mind,” Shayla insisted.
Without saying a word, I led Shayla to the throne room. King Frederick was waiting for me and looked surprised to see Shayla. He smiled at her kindly.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” He asked in concern.
“Yes,” Shayla nodded decisively.
“Very well,” Frederick stated. “Follow me.” He led us to the ballroom, which was probably the largest room in the entire palace, and was currently filled with a massive amount of food that people could eat as they wished. There was quite a few people here already, but would likely be many more as the day progressed and people recovered from their wild night.
The Queen cackled the moment she spotted us. “I thought for sure that you'd be too chicken, but I came prepared – just in case!” She snapped her fingers and beckoned for her favorite attendant to come forward.
It was the King who took the time to thoroughly prepare Shayla as the Queen explained what was going on.
“Dearest Shayla has agreed to an experiment concocted by her good friend Shahi! For the rest of today – until midnight on the dot – Shayla will be bound and helpless; at the mercy of anyone and everyone who cares to use her! There are no rules other than you may not seriously hurt her.”
Shayla whimpered now that she was utterly bound. I was intrigued to see that there was already a contraption to do what I had suggested, and here I had thought that I'd made it up! I was honestly impressed!
Basically, Shayla was wearing a harness that allowed anyone to adjust or rearrange her position at will. They could hook her to the table spread eagle, they could hook her wrists to her ankles, or they could dangle her from the ceiling with the merest tug on a couple of the ropes that could be connected to her. She was at the complete mercy of others, unable to move herself whatsoever.
Currently, she was on her back on a table in the center of the ballroom, her legs bent so that her feet were next to her buttocks, and her wrists were bound to her ankles. They started her out with an uncomfortable position on purpose to test her resolve. She only had five minutes to call this off before that ability was taken away from her.
Shayla tried to squirm, probably to test out how firmly she was bound, but also to see if her butt – which was hanging just so slightly off the edge of the table – was going to stay put. She was likely afraid that she was going to fall, but she was too firmly secured for that to happen. With a deep breath to quell the rising panic, she looked at me.
“Now what?” She asked in a nervous whisper.
“Now,” I announced loudly for everyone to hear. “You are at the mercy of everyone in the palace!”
I looked around, surprised to realize that some people had rushed off to tell others about this, and people were already piling into the ballroom. There was an air of excitement that was almost palpable. I gestured to a servant – which, by the way, was a volunteer and enjoyed working in the palace – to bring me a comfortable chair so that I could supervise the situation without my butt going numb from sitting on a plain chair.
Things started slowly – relatively speaking. Everyone simply stroked and rubbed her body. This sounds like no big deal until you realize that more than a dozen people were touching her at the same time. I could see her shudder in pleasure and fear of the unknown. It was obvious that it was taking her everything she had to not call this all off now while she still had the ability. She had about one minute left, but she bit her lip and stubbornly refused to give in.
I rolled my eyes, crossed my arms, and shifted so that my weight was on one hip as I sat. She might just be the only person in all of creation who was too stubborn to surrender even when forced to!
The first two hours were devoted to hands and then mouths. People drifted to her, played with her for a while, and then drifted away to eat and do other things for a while before coming back. The thing that made me wonder if they were being cruel or not was that each person that stimulated her clitoris got her so very close to orgasm, and then just stopped.
On the one hand, this was probably a good thing because she didn't get over stimulated too soon, but can you imagine being brought to the brink of orgasm 10 or 20 times and then nothing? I mean I would probably be shouting obscenities at the heartless bastards for teasing me!
After that, a man suggested that she be strung up for a while so that they could whip and beat her. I frowned in concern and bit my lip. Even knowing that this was going to happen at some point, I hadn't truly been prepared for it. How would I know if she had had too much? How could I protect her if necessary? Bondage had never been my forté...
Then I gasped in sudden clarity. “Quick Shayla, give me a safe word! Something that you can call out to tell me if you need them to stop!”
“Ah!” She gasped as someone smacked her lightly on her buttocks. “Uh... I don't know!”
“Anything!” I urged.
“Caladon!” She cried out. It made sense to me, since Caladon symbolized everything that was the complete opposite of what she was doing now.
“Okay,” I agreed with a smile. “If you feel overwhelmed and need to rest, you just call out Caladon, and I'll stop them. I promise!”
Shayla nodded, exhaling in relief.
The crowd started gently. There was an astonishing amount of people who liked to spank or whip others, and they mutually agreed to work her into the experience slowly. I was grateful to them because I had no experience with this kind of kink, and so had no idea what might happen. I looked to the King of the Gods for a sign.
“Don't worry,” he murmured to me. “She's doing fine.”
More time passed, and the whipping turned into an actual beating. I was nearly biting my nails, and a tiny bit relieved that they stopped with the whip when it started to draw blood. Shayla was sobbing, which made me want to stop them, but a glance at the King of the Gods made me swallow my protest.
“She's not using the safe word,” he reminded me. “She's nearly there...” He stepped closer to her. “Come on Shayla... Let go... Let everything go and surrender completely...”
He continued to murmur encouragingly, until Shayla's eyes glazed over and she murmured, “I hear you...”
“Let everything go and surrender,” he repeated.
“I don't know how!” Shayla confessed with a sob.
“You're nearly there,” the God informed her. He gestured for someone who could see him to beat her a bit more brutally. Shayla's gasps and cries grew fainter until she was nearly silent except for her ragged breathing.
Suddenly, she cried out in a soft and faraway voice. “I'm flying!”
“Good Shayla,” the King of the Gods praised her. “You did it!” He stroked her cheek as those beating her continued their job.
“I can feel you...” Shayla murmured, still sounding like she was somewhere else entirely.
“And you now understand that you have no control,” he stated. “You must not have control! You must surrender yourself completely if you want to be useful to us.”
“But why?” Shayla asked, sobs coming to her again. “I don't understand why!”
“Because you cannot control the Gods!” The King informed her, shaking his head as if this should have been obvious. “Only those who can surrender their will and allow the Gods to use them completely can truly be possessed by them. For some, it is easy to let go. For most, it's a struggle. Take Shahi's husband, for example, he also has a hard time letting go. As a result, he cannot be fully possessed by one of us unless he makes a special effort. Yet Shahi, she just trusts us completely. Her mother taught her that hosting a God was a simple thing, and so for her, it is.”
Shayla was quiet as she digested this information. It seemed like she was utterly beyond feeling what the crowd of people was doing to her, and make no mistake, they hadn't stopped. I was mildly nauseous just watching them!
Shayla sighed and hung her head. “I think I understand... But please, prove to me that this is real. That I'm not just imagining this!”
I sat up just a bit straighter as I watched the King of the Gods nod and place a hand on her head. He slowly filled her with his energy until he was almost completely inside her. She glowed brightly from his power, her body shaking as she made a sound of delicious ecstasy.
“Now,” she invited with his voice, and those who were beating her shifted her until they had easy access to use her body as roughly as possible. I actually cringed, wondering if they were hurting her after all, but she sounded like she was thoroughly enjoying herself.
Actually, she sounded more than a little bit like I did when I had the last few hundred or so Shahi left to feed. Usually by then, I was already exhausted and ready to call it quits, but I knew that I had to hold on until the very end. I was also usually completely overwhelmed by the sheer pleasure!
Shayla squealed and cried – something no one had ever truly heard from her before – until her throat was raw. Her body shuddered and shivered almost violently, making me wonder what she was feeling. I think she may well be feeling pleasure on a level that I will never know!
Eventually, an astonishingly long time later, it was Shayla herself that cried out: “Caladon!” Her posse of dark lovers all stopped what they were doing and took a step back. I didn't even need to say anything! Even the King of the Gods popped out of her with an audible sound.
“Yep, she's had enough!” He announced as if he needed to confirm her state of mind. “It may not be midnight yet, but she needs to be released and brought to bed to rest.”
I nodded in agreement and gestured for Tab'sh'kr to come closer so that he could take charge of her once she was released from her bondage. Her posse took great care to be gentle with her as they freed her, and soon, she was cradled in my husband's arms like a precious child. He carried her to her room, settled her into bed, and then placed a do not disturb sign on her door as he shut it.
I was behind him, having followed because I also felt like I needed a break. With a smile, I held out my hand to him in an invitation to go to our room. He glanced at the closed door, biting his lip in worry.
“Do you think she'll be alright?”
I nodded. “I don't think that they truly hurt her. It just looked that way to us.”
“I think we should take her home tomorrow,” Tab'sh'kr suggested.
“I agree,” I replied with a nod. “I don't think she can learn anymore here, but...” I hesitated.
“What?” Tab'sh'kr wondered curiously.
“Maybe she does need to stay and practice for a while,” I theorized.
The King of the Gods surprised me, since I hadn't realized that he was following us. “No, she needs time to quietly process everything that has happened. She knows what to do now, so it's up to her to do it.” He brought my hand to his lips to kiss my knuckles, nodded to my husband respectfully, and then vanished.
“Well, home it is then!” I announced cheerfully.
Shayla stared at the portal with wide eyes, tugging at her copper Mystic's dress nervously. I tilted my head, wondering what was wrong. She looked down to the floor.
“What if... what if I can't do it?” Shayla whispered her question.
“Can't do what?” I wondered with a confused frown.
“Fit in. Talk to the Gods. Manage a temple. Any of it!” Shayla exclaimed, highly agitated. “I no longer feel like a Caladonian! I feel lost...”
“Lost?” I asked, not understanding her in the slightest. I thought she had finally found what she'd been searching for; a way to serve the Gods.
Shayla paced the room in frustration. “Yes! All my life, I've been told to live a certain way; act a certain way, be chaste and proper! But now! Now... I've learned to do everything I'm not supposed to, and I like it! How am I supposed to take what I learned here and use it on Caladon?”
I shrugged helplessly, not really knowing what to say. “I... suppose... you could always try running a house dedicated to serving the Goddess of Love.”
Shayla bit her lip and looked at the ceiling in thought. “I suppose I could. After all, serving just one God is still serving the Gods, and I think I know plenty about what goes on in a house of love.”
Tab'sh'kr nodded in agreement. “You see? You're not lost after all, just on a different path.”
Shayla nodded slowly, her thoughts obviously running circles in her head. Finally, she shook her thoughts away. “You're right! I am simply on a different path than I thought I'd be. I think I'm ready to go home now.”
I hugged Shayla tightly, and then kissed her deeply. “I am so proud of you! You did it! You hosted a God!”
“I did!” Shayla exclaimed happily.
Exuberant, she nodded to the guards, who responded by dialing the code for Caladon. I was relieved that even though Shayla still had some time left on her initial 6 months of confinement for becoming a Princess, the King and Queen had given her special permission to go home. Once the portal was activated, we waved goodbye to those who had come to see us off, and then walked through the portal.
Just before it was too late, one young man shouted: “Don't forget me, and come back soon!”
“I will!” Shayla promised, but then we were dissolving and it was too late to say anything more.
“Who was that?” I asked curiously after we'd stepped foot on Caladon.
“My favorite lover,” Shayla whispered in my ear, knowing that if anyone overheard her, she could get into serious trouble.
“Oh,” I muttered, wondering if she meant simply a lover, or if she meant a man she had fallen in love with. It was an important distinction that I'd have to ask her about later.
A sleepy guard waved to us, thereby granting us permission to leave the portal room. We walked to our temple, grateful that we had chosen a time before most people were awake on Caladon. It meant that we didn't really have to worry about people spotting us and asking for blessings.
Arriving at the temple in remarkably good time, we discovered that we had to knock because it was still locked for the morning.
“Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to come this early,” Tab'sh'kr muttered unappreciatively.
“Don't worry,” I assured him. “Someone will open the door soon enough.” I was proved right a moment later when the lock clicked loudly.
“Shahi!” My father greeted me in delight. “I was just about to leave to serve on the fishing boats! I'm glad I caught you.”
I said nothing as I squeezed my father tight. My husband cleared his throat. “Good morning, sir.”
“Good morning, Tab'sh'kr,” my father replied warmly. “I'll come see you both later, but for now, I have to go.”
“I'll pray that the God of fishing stands by you today,” I stated, kissing him on the cheek.
There was an aggravated sigh. “Fine... I'll do it!” The God in question reluctantly agreed. “But you owe me!”
Shayla gasped, and then tried to hug him. “I can see you! I can only just barely make out what you're saying, but I can see you.”
The God of fishing frowned at her, and then looked at me. “You mean to say that it worked? She reached Gold level?”
“Apparently,” I murmured with a smile.
“That's excellent!” His Holiness – her grandfather – startled us all by exclaiming this when we hadn't realized that he was in the entryway with us.
My father kissed me on the cheek, softly murmured congratulations to Shayla – breaking a major rule – and then left, pulling the door shut behind him.
“Grandfather!” Shayla squealed happily before she hugged him. “I missed you so much!”
“You're looking well, my dear,” her grandfather stated with a smile, kissing her on the cheek.
“I feel wonderful,” Shayla admitted. It occurred to me that the King of the Hedonian Gods must have healed her almost completely, because otherwise she would have been covered in bruises.
Speaking of Kings, Sky popped in a moment later. “What's this I hear? Can it be true?”
Shayla bit her lip and frowned at him. She squinted her eyes and tilted her ear in his direction. “Why does he sound so far away?”
“What do you mean?” I wondered, confused. He sounded perfectly fine to me.
“I can see him – just like I could see that other one, but he looks a little faded and he sounds like he's – I don't know – on the other side of a big room with a closed door between us,” she explained.
“That still qualifies as a Gold level Mystic,” Sky announced with an impressed look. He reached out and touched Shayla, stroking her on the cheek. After a few moments of silence, he sighed. “She still can't host me, nor channel more than a tiny bit of energy, but she's still far better than I thought she'd be.”
“Actually, she can,” I informed Sky. “It takes some serious effort on her part, but she can do it.”
Shayla nodded in agreement. “It's probably best to save that for some very special circumstances. More importantly, I need to ask you what I'm supposed to do now. I want to serve the Gods, but...” She looked to the ground.
Sky looked intrigued. He stroked her hair, watching as she shivered delicately. “But what?”
“But... Do I really only have one path to walk?” Shayla wondered.
Sky exhaled slowly, not saying anything for a long moment. “Actually, you can walk any path you choose. We Gods have never tried to interfere with our people and their free will. We favor the devout and leave the disbelievers in peace. What you choose to do with your life is completely up to you.”
Shayla looked more confused than ever. “But I live only to serve the Gods! Tell me, what is it that you want me to do?!”
Sky sighed in frustration. “I want you to discuss this with your parents. After talking to them, come see us in the oration room tonight.” With that, the God vanished.
“Shahi...” Shayla murmured, reaching out a hand to me.
I suddenly understood that she was nervous about telling her parents what she had done. With a sympathetic smile, I squeezed her hand. “You'll be fine. I'll come to the oration room tonight, I promise.”
Shayla nodded in understanding. “I'll see you then.” She then completely flabbergasted her grandfather by kissing first me, and then my husband.
Tab'sh'kr broke at least a half a dozen rules by hugging her and speaking to her directly. “If you feel overwhelmed at any time, you come to our apartment. We'll help you in any way that we can.” He then kissed her and squeezed one of her hands before letting her go, and taking my hand in his. “So, my beloved wife, shall we go rest?”
I grinned at him adoringly, giggling lightly. “I think so! Quickly, before His Holiness recovers from his shock and demands that you be strung up and flogged!”
Hand in hand, we raced to our room, waving to Shayla as we did so. She looked radiant with happiness as she watched us go, but I could see it fade as she looked to her grandfather once more. “I'm ready to talk with my parents now.”
That night, it was announced that His Holiness had closed the oration room for a private meeting. This was unusual, but most people nodded in acceptance. Not too many people needed to use the room at this hour anyway.
I slipped into the room with Tab'sh'kr after everyone else had arrived. A moment later, the entire bevy of Gods – excluding the God of War – appeared, rather crowding the front of the room. I smiled at them as my husband and I sat on the same bench as Shayla.
“Wow! There's so many of them!” She knew this – of course – but it was different to actually see it with her own eyes.
Sky came over to the three of us and lifted my hand so that he could kiss it. “Shahi... I forgot to ask you this morning, but when do you plan on having my child?”
I laughed. “Soon,” I promised evasively. He sighed as if aggravated by my answer, but then turned to Shayla. He studied her thoughtfully.
“I think my parents and I have come up with a plan,” Shayla announced happily. “I'm going to go back to Mystic Island, prove my status as a Gold level Mystic, and then apply to be assigned to a temple that needs a Mystic.”
The Gods all chuckled, except Love, who sighed in disappointment. “That was always your plan! I was hoping that you had accepted Shahi's idea.” I had told her all about it earlier that afternoon.
Shayla shook her head. She looked over at me, and subtly pointed at Love. “That is the Goddess of Love, right?”
“Yes,” I confirmed.
“Will it get easier to see and hear them?” Shayla asked me.
“I don't know,” I said with a shrug.
Focusing on the Goddess, Shayla smiled. “I thought about it, but then I realized that serving in your house wouldn't truly help people like I want to.” She gestured to indicate her mother and father. “Besides, my parents were heartbroken when they learned that I am qualified to serve in a house of love. I don't want to break their hearts. I just want to help people! And...” She looked to the floor.
“What?” The Goddess of Love asked curiously, her face full of compassion.
“Well, when I hosted the King of the Hedonian Gods in my body, it wasn't because I am qualified to serve in the house of love. It wasn't even because I am a fully trained Hedonian Princess! It was because I had finally surrendered my will completely. Even now, I have a hard time with this. I just want so much! I think I would be better – more useful – serving at a temple dedicated to the Dark God,” Shayla explained.
“The God of death?!” Her parents gasped in shock bordering on horror.
Shayla shook her head. “No... God of Punishment.”
The God in question whooped in glee. It was so rare for him to have a dedicated follower that I'm not entirely sure that it had ever happened before. He pushed his way forward until he was standing in front of us.
Shayla chuckled at his enthusiasm. Then she sighed and smiled at him expectantly. “However, I have a few conditions.”
The God narrowed his eyes at her and muttered something like: “I knew she was just playing with me.”
Undaunted, Shayla continued. “I want to be allowed to go to Hedonia whenever I want. I am a Princess there, after all, and I have official duties to perform.”
I blushed and muttered: “As do I...” I have been horribly lax about them too!
“And,” Shayla stated significantly. “I want to choose my husband. A man who is not from Caladon, provided that he's willing to come here and marry me...”
“That's it?” The God of Punishment questioned, his tone unmistakeably hopeful. “In exchange for so little, you'll willingly come to my temple and serve as my living representation?”
Shayla nodded solemnly. With an elated cheer, the God agreed to her terms. Happy for her, I pulled her into a tight hug.
“Thank you so much, Shahi!” She praised me, holding me tight too. “Because of you, my dreams are finally about to come true!”
“My pleasure!” I stated with a grin. “Though I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell anyone um... well anything about your special training. I don't need all the Mystics on Mystic Island to suddenly come demand that I train them too!”
“I promise,” she vowed sincerely, sealing it with a kiss. I grinned at her proudly. Her parents nearly choked, aghast. Her grandfather simply frowned. “I think my parents and I will probably leave first thing tomorrow for Mystic Island.”
“Hmm...” I hummed in thought. “Then why don't you let me throw you a private goodbye party tonight?” I offered.
Shayla chuckled huskily. We were still hugging, and she knew exactly what I was talking about. Leaning back to look me in the eye, she shook her head. “I'm sorry, but I promised my parents that I wouldn't do any of the things you're thinking about until I am married.”
“If you're sure,” I pouted sadly; she nodded in confirmation. “Then I guess this is goodbye. I'll pray for your success!”
“Bye Shayla,” Tab'sh'kr added, figuring that he could talk to her since we were in the oration room.
“I'm going to miss you!” Shayla cried, daring to hug my husband. The truly ironic thing was – oration room or not – we were all Gold level Mystics, which meant that we out ranked everyone else here. They couldn't argue if we claimed that the Gods wanted us to hug!
The Gods, satisfied that things had been settled, all left. Shayla and her parents left, but His Holiness asked to be alone so that he could pray, so we left him in peace. Once in our room, I hugged my husband a bit sadly.
“I hope that things work out for her!” I exclaimed, suddenly afraid of the path she had chosen. It won't be easy serving the God of Punishment!
“Me too,” Tab'sh'kr murmured as we went to bed. All we could do was vow to be there for her if she ever needed us.
Hopeful, I looked my husband in the eye. “You know what? I think it might be time to conceive that baby we're supposed to have!”
He was silent in astonishment for a moment, and then a slow smile spread across his face. “I think you might be right!”
“Finally!” Sky exclaimed in congratulations. Together, the three of us worked on creating something truly special and I was filled with incredible hope for the future.
I can't wait!