Making her way through the room, she spotted an unoccupied table in the very corner and made a bee-line towards it. Thea kept her walls fortified as she passed patrons in the middle of compromising positions.  She spotted a few married lords with a woman in each arm, not a thought of their wives or children at home. Emotions swirled around her, but she kept her mind shut from them. She didn’t have to open her senses to know what they were all feeling.

The interior of the brothel hadn’t changed from her previous visit. Red drapes hung from every corner, flowing to the floor. Shades of pink and orange were added seamlessly on every plush furniture and table. The tones added a warmness and intensity that kept the clients in a blissful state of mind. 

Incense floated across the room, filling the air with a warm rosy fragrance.  All around her the men were soaking up their fill of the finest women the kingdom had to offer. Every single man in the room had purses the size of chests, half their fortunes being thrown away for a night of passion. 

It was never something she understood. Why pay for a woman’s touch for a single night when you could find one who would lay with you until death? Though, Thea would never dare say such things in The Mynx for Vikiana would cut her tongue out. It was the sexual fantasies of men that fed The Jade’s business and kept it running. 

Thea had been so preoccupied with her thoughts that she hadn’t even heard someone approach until they said something. “Why is a lovely thing like you sitting here all alone?”

She didn’t answer, looking him over from head to toe. What she saw didn’t thrill her.

“Well,” he took her silence as permission to sit, “how about I keep you company?”

The man reminded her of a fish. With puckered lips and eyes too big for his flat face, it was no wonder he had to pay for a woman’s touch.

“I’m fine. You can leave.”

“Come on sweetheart, don’t be like that. I can make this a night you’ll remember forever. Just say yes and we’ll have a great time.” 

“No, you may leave now.”

 His cheeks reddened, but he kept himself calm. “Darling—“

 “Don’t call me that.”


 “That either.” 

“Tell me what to call you and we can go from there.”

“You know the house rules. If a woman says no, you leave her be.” 

“But you don’t really mean that, do you?” He placed his skeleton hands atop hers. “I can pay you a great sum of money.”

“I don’t need your money. I am not for sale.”

“Everyone has a price, just name it.”

 “I think you should go.”

 “No. Not until you agree to be mine for the night.”

“Even if you gave me all of King Alaric’s treasure I would still refuse to bed you.” 

He stood up in rage. “Do you know who I am?”

 “A man who can’t understand a simple answer?”

 “How dare you! I am the son of a lord!”

Thea couldn’t help but grin. She recognized every high lord, lesser lord and could even identify their hunting dogs if given a chance. It was one of the responsibilities of being the king’s niece. So she knew the man standing before her had no trace of nobility running through his veins.  He pretended to, but she knew better. 

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