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    Laura S. Fox
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.

This Strange World Needs A Kicking! - 14. Vocabulary Problems

Chapter Fourteen – Vocabulary Problems

Apparently, Prince Sebastian’s body could do many things, but surviving underwater for more than any other human being wasn’t among them. Kai came back to the surface and inhaled noisily.

Three pairs of eyes were staring at him from up close. These guys didn’t have any idea about what personal space meant, for real.

“I think this water’s too hot. I need to get out.”

Galien pushed against his shoulder playfully. “Don’t even think about it, Sebastian. Life in the countryside can be quite boring. I’m dying for some palace gossip.”

“Kelonia is hardly the countryside,” Pepin argued. “Your duchy is famous for the beautiful balls your family throws, Master Galien.”

Kai wasn’t entirely sure whether Pepin was complimenting Galien or wanted to contradict him. What was sure, however, was that Pepin’s light pink nipples looked absolutely –

What the hell was he thinking now? His mouth was dry, and he had the crazy impulse of wanting to suck on Pepin’s nipples just to see how they tasted like.

“No way,” he whispered to himself. “I’m a total perv.”

“What’s that, a perv?” Pepin asked and moved slowly to his right.

Galien and Conrad chose the opposite side so they could face him. Still, Kai only had eyes for Pepin. Such dudes could only exist in BL shows. The curve of his neck belonged to magazine covers, and his skin was unblemished. His amazingly blue eyes were fringed by dark blond eyelashes that looked curly and long from up close. His lips were so soft, parted in slight hesitation, and so full. And their color… just reminded him of the last time he had tasted strawberries. Not that they were that red, but surely they had to be just as delicious. He could still recall Pepin’s kiss as being the sweetest thing he had ever had.

Now, that had to be the steam getting to his head.

Kai bit hard his bottom lip and began chewing on it. That should do for now to stop the munchies.

“Sebastian, is it polite of you to ignore your guest of honor so that you can gaze upon your manservant? In a manner that leaves the rest of the audience rather vexed, if I may add,” Galien said teasingly.

Kai shook his head and frowned. Galien quirked an eyebrow and challenged him with a sly smile. “I heard you proposed to Pepin,” he said.

To his ears, Sebastian’s royal voice sounded petulant, like a kid’s that just got his candy taken away. 

“You heard?” Galien chuckled. “That was three years ago, and you didn’t seem troubled by it.”

Ah, right. Nevertheless, he would not be caught wrong-footed this time around. “What I meant is that I heard that you proposed to him again,” he said triumphantly.

Galien shrugged. “And? What of it? Don’t you have Conrad? I must say,” his voice dropped to a seductive whisper, “that the fallen prince of Estfalia is even more enthralling than the tales made him to be.”

Conrad threw Galien a haughty look. 

“A true challenge,” Galien added, “but not for you, dear cousin, of course. May I touch him? He has such gorgeous shoulders.” The way the duke rounded the vowels as he spoke was tickling Kai’s ears like some kind of ASMR. He put one pinky in his right ear to get rid of the sensation.

“Do that, and I won’t be responsible for the fate that will befall you, Sir Galien,” Conrad said through his teeth.

“So hot to handle.” Galien sank into the water and sighed in delight. “You’re everything I expected and more, Sir Conrad.” He made no move to touch Conrad. Most probably, he didn’t want to end up with a broken arm or something. Kai wasn’t sure he would intervene. After all, this troublesome cousin was why he was in such a difficult position right now. 

Pepin stood at a polite distance, but Kai found himself drawn to him despite whatever his rational thoughts wanted to insist on, like how he wasn’t really a BL character, and he couldn’t find a dude cute.

“So, about that assassination attempt,” Galien suddenly said.

Kai straightened up and forgot about staring at Pepin. That was serious. As OP as he was, he couldn’t ignore the possibilities regarding someone trying to get rid of the obnoxious prince. BL story or not, he didn’t want to gamble on bad endings and whatnot. If this was a game, and his choices influenced the final resolution, he needed to take it all into consideration.

“How did you learn about it?” he asked.

Galien no longer looked like the social butterfly from earlier. His eyes were shrewd, and he was staring at Kai like there were words in there that couldn’t be spoken. What was that all about now?

“I have my sources,” Galien said rather bluntly.

Kai didn’t miss the short glance the duke threw at Conrad. Could it be that Galien suspected the royal concubine of being involved in that failed attempt at his life? But he had taken that poisoned blade right to the belly, so it couldn’t be.

“Conrad got hurt, as I told you,” he said out loud.

“I know,” Galien replied, and a small smile followed. “How is it, Sir Conrad, to feel so strongly for your captor that you are willing to put your life at risk for him? Sebastian must truly be an exquisite lover.”

Conrad set his chin high. “How crass of you, Sir Galien. One doesn’t mention such details in polite company.”

“Will you two cut it out?” Kai intervened. “Let’s talk about that assassin,” he added quickly, after two pairs of eyes set on him, filled with unspoken questions. “He was a dude about this tall,” he gestured, “wore all black, and he was really, but really suspicious. Kind of like a ninja.”

“What’s a ninja?” Galien asked, his shrewd eyes still inspecting Kai.

“A dude in black that’s really, really suspicious,” he replied in a deadpan voice.

Galien quirked an eyebrow, and his lips twisted. Then, taking everyone by surprise, he began laughing. “I see.”

“You see what?” Kai asked.

This time, the clever eyes left his face to turn toward Conrad. “Why even the proud prince of Estfalia would put himself between the man he presumably hates and a poisoned blade.”

“And why is that?” Kai questioned further.

“Because,” Galien blinked lazily as he looked at him, “you appear to have changed, just as the prophecy foretold.”

Kai rolled his eyes. “What’s that prophecy about, anyway?”

Galien ignored him. “You should allow Pepin to leave your side. I’d be happy to have him. Even if you touched him, I wouldn’t mind. I’m not exactly a chaste flower myself.”

That earned an offended sputter from the manservant. “I am untouched!” Pepin protested.

Kai put his arm in front of him just in time to bar a vicious but cute little dog from shredding Galien to pieces and turn the water crimson. 

“That’s great news!” Galien said, seemingly unaffected by furious pretty eyes and clenched fists.

Kai turned toward Pepin. “Don’t mind my cousin. He’s just talking smack, okay?”

Galien clapped in unhidden delight. “What strange expressions you have added to your vocabulary, Sebastian. What’s the meaning of this word, smack? And where did you pick them?”

Right. He needed to watch his mouth. So far, people had been too afraid of the real Prince Sebastian to question his new quirks, but the duke was a different matter. He was Sebastian’s equal, not to mention a clever character that must have known the prince since they had both been in diapers.

“From some barbarians,” Kai replied. “They were talking weird, and it just rubbed off on me.”

He could tell even without looking that Galien didn’t buy such obvious lies.

“It might have been part of the prophecy,” the duke commented, and it was so clear that he didn’t think that for a moment. “Now let’s enjoy our bath. We’ll have plenty of time to talk during my stay here.”

It was on the tip of Kai’s tongue to ask how long exactly Galien intended to stay but stopped. He needed to act more royal, and showing how annoying he thought his cousin to be wasn’t at all along those lines.

“Would you like me to massage your shoulders, Your Majesty?”

Pepin’s voice so close startled him. “No, I’m good, I’m good,” he hurried to say.

“Maybe His Majesty wants Conrad to do it,” Galien said in an insinuating voice.

“No!” Kai protested loudly. “I’m like completely chill. I don’t want a massage or whatever.”

“Pepin,” Galien added in the same teasing voice, “be careful. It appears that your presence so close to our esteemed protector affects him greatly.”

Kai narrowed his eyes. “No, really. In what way?”

Galien quirked both eyebrows and then let his eyes travel slowly across his body, even the part obscured from view.

Kai looked down. His cousin couldn’t see through all that steam, right? Nonetheless, he closed his legs and placed his hands in front.

“I made you look,” Galien said and laughed.

Kai scoffed and turned away from him. And Pepin. And Conrad. Couldn’t they see he was suffering?

***

With the fluffy robe on, he felt much more protected from Galien’s wandering eyes. The duke was completely shameless, staring at each of them and commenting on their bodies. He was a wild BL character. Pepin had blushed while Galien praised his slim waist and perfect skin. Conrad had replied with small huffs and grunts as the duke proposed that he would pose for a renowned painter only so that he could look at him whenever he wanted. 

The annoying cousin was, therefore, the soul of the party. They were gathered around a low table on which various delicious foods were displayed. Kai complimented Pepin on doing a swell job on the table arrangement and got a shy smile in return.

He was a great cook, and all praises were deserved.

“Why do you insist on not marrying Pepin off to me?” Galien asked with an exaggerated sigh as he delicately took a small canapé and admired it. His robe was opened in front, and Kai could stare at his chest. Did every dude in this world have perfect pecs? At least, it was natural for Conrad to have them, being a warrior and all that, but the duke didn’t in the least look like a guy who cared about fighting too much.

“So that you can keep him in the kitchen?”

Galien chuckled, making Kai shudder. Yeah, if he ever traveled to the modern world or whatever Kai’s real world was to these people, the duke would be an ASMR star for sure.

“Oh, but it is not the kitchen where I intend to keep him,” came the reply. “It is --”

“No, no, I don’t want to know,” Kai said quickly. 

“Why?” Galien feigned innocence.

“Because I know you’ll say something dirty, like your bed or something.”

There was no answer to that. Kai examined his so-called cousin, and the dude just kept staring at him with the same sly smile on his face.

“What?” he asked, unnerved by that pointed look. 

“Nothing. I’m just wondering whether you’ve been asleep or blind this whole time and just opened your eyes or --”

To his surprise, Galien stopped. His smile didn’t fade, but for some reason, he didn’t want to say what he had been about to say.

“Or?” he insisted.

“Or there’s more to you than even the prophecy cared to tell us,” Galien said promptly.

Kai had a feeling his cousin was keeping things from him, but he couldn’t just insist. Maybe if they drank something, Galien’s tongue would become a bit loose. 

“What’s the strongest stuff we have?” he asked Pepin in a low whisper. “You know, alcohol.”

The servant gave him a surprised stare. “Your Majesty and such delights do not agree too well with one another.”

“It’s not for me. It’s for Galien. He keeps things from me,” Kai put it bluntly.

Pepin nodded. “I’ll see what I can do.” He stood and walked out of the room.

“I hope you didn’t send your manservant away for fear that I would snatch him from underneath your very eyes,” Galien commented. “I am a seducer, as you know it well. I will convince Pepin to follow me to my estate on his own accord.”

“I’m sure,” Kai said dryly. 

“I assure you, Sir Galien,” Conrad said after keeping silent until now, “that His Majesty’s possessiveness of his manservant has nothing to do with romantic feelings. It is a matter of loyalty,” he added courteously. “He trusts Pepin with his life, and it would be cruel of you to separate them.”

Good boy Conrad!

“Oh, I see. Since we’re on matters of possessiveness, don’t you feel at least a tad jealous of the attention Sebastian has bestowed all evening upon the servant in question?”

The molten lava eyes set on Kai. “Not in the least. His Majesty bestowed his unbridled passion upon me. If he had ever cared about doing the same to his servant, he would have done so by now.”

And… you ruined it!

Still, Kai couldn’t be upset about it. As far as facts stood, Conrad had a point. If Sebastian had ever wanted Pepin like that, he could have had him like a thousand times. But how could the prince be so unaffected by a bishonen like his servant? That was beyond his comprehension.

Given that Sebastian liked dudes, of course. Not from where Kai stood or anything like that.

Pepin entered, holding a black bottle with a golden inscription on the front. Kai looked closer and noticed that the strange letters seemed alive. “What’s that?” he asked.

The servant smiled and fiddled with a small cup which he offered to Galien. “His Majesty doesn’t treat just any guest to this.” 

Galien took the cup and raised it. “To golden truths, then. But, please, Pepin, don’t be a cheapskate now that you plundered the royal reserve of this incredible delight. Get everyone a cup. Including yourself,” he added with his signature sly smile.

Hmm, why was he smiling? Kai narrowed his eyes even more. And what was that thing about golden truths?

“Your Majesty,” Pepin interrupted his train of thought. “Should I proceed as Master Galien suggested?”

Kai had never had more than a glass of beer once. But, he couldn’t back down that he had been challenged. He would just dip his lips in it and pretend to drink. According to Pepin, Sebastian didn’t like alcohol, so nobody would hold it against him if he didn’t drink it all.

***

Sebastian had to postpone any worries he had about Kai playing his role as the protector of Ifigia since there were other challenges ahead. For years, he had heard of a prophecy concerning a change in the Ice Prince that some thought it would happen because of him falling in love with someone, while others because of much more nefarious causes. Like many other prophecies in his world, this one was ambiguous and leaving too much room for interpretations. He hadn’t given it much thought until now, but the current events no longer allowed him to overlook it. 

What if the prophecy could have foreseen this strange thing that had caused him to travel through space and time to a completely different world and inhabit someone else’s body? It was a possibility and one he would have to explore at large once he had the time.

For now, pressing matters required more attention on his part. Milo was dressed in black pants that hugged his lower body nicely and a black t-shirt adorned in the same fashion as the one he had seen Beatrice wearing. He had also placed a small stud in his left ear, and Sebastian felt intrigued and enticed by it. Something of how the little stone shone in Milo’s earlobe made him want to grab it with his teeth and tease its owner. 

Milo had also done something with his hair. It looked slightly wet and sexy, and Sebastian could hardly stop himself from imagining how it would feel to run his hands through those blond strands and enjoy their silkiness. 

He had opted for the same plain clothes that Kai had in his wardrobe. The cosplay outfit was stashed away in Milo’s bag, and that gave him the much-needed confidence that he would succeed in earning the contest prize. 

“You’re staring.” Milo threw him a shy smile. “Not that I mind, but I’d like to know what you’re thinking.”

“You’re beautiful,” Sebastian said promptly. “Why are you with…” he was about to say Kai, “me?”

“You’re beautiful, too. Oh, gawd, you’re making me say corny stuff again.”

“Compared to you, I’m barely above average.”

“I’m sure you don’t look in the mirror much.” Milo shook his head. “You’re cute as hell. Good thing you’re an airhead because that’s the only thing that kept the girls from our school away from you.”

“I have no interest in girls. Not that kind of interest,” Sebastian hurried to say. 

“That’s great to know. Hey, we’re almost here. We’ll search for B and her band, first, and ask her if she has the time to help us with your makeup.”

Sebastian stopped in front of the entrance and stared at the doors that looked like they had been painted with tar. “Is this a portal to the underworld?” he asked. A lot of young people dressed in the same fashion as them were gathered there. They were laughing, talking, or using their phones. That sort of crowd attending a funeral seemed out of the ordinary, if not downright disrespectful.

Milo patted his shoulder. “It’s just The Pit. Let’s get inside.”

Sebastian didn’t ask anything more and let himself pushed through the doors. Inside, the crowd was much denser, and the people were cheering while a group of musicians was on a stage in front. He was starting to get that there was no funeral involved, only an entertainment event of sorts, one addressed to the masses that appeared to be in a state of exultation at the loud music blaring in their ears.

“B said they would be on stage after this band,” Milo shouted in his ear. “So let’s go behind the stage and search for her.”

Sebastian was in utter shock at everyone shouting and jumping. That was certainly not a way to enjoy music. He followed Milo, squeezing his hand tightly so that they didn’t get lost from one another. It served that Milo was tall and could carve a way for them through that jolly crowd, not that he did that forcefully, but with many apologies. 

He took one gulp of air as soon as they were in a long hallway, and the infernal music was muffled by a door closing behind them. B was there and waved at them happily when she saw them. She was just outside a room and had a stick in her mouth from which blue smoke rose. “My dudes,” she exclaimed as soon as she saw them. She removed the burning stick to kiss them both on the cheeks. She smelled of smoke even. Maybe that was part of a ritual. 

Sebastian scrunched up his nose. 

“We’ll need some help because you’re staring at the next cosplayer star of all times if only you gave us a hand,” Milo said. He pushed Sebastian toward her. 

Beatrice grinned. “Got your text. Let’s go inside and I’ll take care of everything, but let me finish my smoke. Want some?” She pulled a paper pack from her pocket and offered it to them.

“My body is a temple,” Milo said jokingly. “Can’t, sorry, need my lungs for practice.”

Beatrice shrugged. “No problem. What about you, Kai? Do you smoke?”

She looked at him like he wouldn’t be capable of burning a stick. “I do,” he said with confidence and pulled a stick from the pack she kept open.

“Since when?” Milo asked.

Sebastian watched intensely as Beatrice brought a small implement to his face and made fire. He placed the stick in his mouth as he had seen Beatrice doing and stared as the fire touched the tip. So, what was next? Was he supposed to keep it like that and watched it burn?

He inhaled a little, and a sudden cough made his throat tight. Milo pulled the stick out of his mouth and made a move to hand it back to Beatrice. “He doesn’t smoke. I have no idea what got into him.” He patted Sebastian on the back to help him regain his breath.

“It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to try,” he protested, but his eyes were already in tears. 

“You don’t,” Milo said and no longer seemed like his usual carefree self. For some reason, he seemed upset over his desire to inhale through that burning stick.

Sebastian felt annoyed by that reaction. Milo wasn’t his tender or anything like that. If he wanted to smoke, he could. So he grabbed the stick back and defiantly put it into his mouth again. 

“Go slow, man,” Beatrice told him with a grin.

Milo pursed his lips and frowned. Then he looked saddened for some reason. Sebastian could tell that his boyfriend disagreed and expected him to start talking. Nothing like that happened, and Beatrice began chatting about her band right away.

The stick wasn’t pleasant at all, but Sebastian kept at it stoically, mimicking Beatrice’s moves and trying to fight off the cough that came with each time he inhaled too deeply. She looked so self-assured, and that was something he needed in this new world with its strange rules.

***

“You’re friggin’ sexy,” Beatrice praised him as she helped him put on the wig. 

Milo had kept quiet most of the time, but since they had attended Beatrice’s band’s performance, it hadn’t been like they could make normal conversation. Edible Insanity had a reputation for being loud, and that was about everything Sebastian could tell about it. Now, everyone was getting ready for the cosplay event, which had brought him there, in front of that mirror, with Beatrice fussing around him and applying strange substances on his face.

Even more than at Milo’s house when he had tried on the clothes for the first time, he indeed looked attractive. 

“Are you sure you want all the world to see your boyfriend like this?” Beatrice teased Milo.

“Yeah,” Milo replied and added nothing else. 

The girl moved her eyes slowly between them, hesitated for a moment, but then kept quiet. Whatever it was that she wanted to say, she eventually settled for keeping it to herself. 

“Well, good luck, then,” she said and gave Sebastian a short hug. 

Milo took him by the shoulders as they walked out. “You are sexy,” he whispered as he pushed Sebastian down the hallway. “You’ll get that prize.”

That was all he needed to hear. He was there, after all, with one purpose in mind.

TBC

 

And, as you can see, Kai is tainting the world of Ifigia by teaching the local population strange words! Next time, you'll get to see how he truly handles alcohol. As for Sebastian, he wants to try everything the cool kids do, and we all know that's not a good idea.

Thank you for reading, and I hope to read your comments to this chappie!

Until next time,

Hugs,

Laura.

Copyright © 2021 Laura S. Fox; All Rights Reserved.
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Stories posted in this category are works of fiction. Names, places, characters, events, and incidents are created by the authors' imaginations or are used fictitiously. Any resemblances to actual persons (living or dead), organizations, companies, events, or locales are entirely coincidental.
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Yes Kai come over to the dark side we have candy, oreos, cheese, kettlecorn. And if you can read between the lines, more

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On 7/4/2021 at 6:19 PM, Wesley8890 said:

Yes Kai come over to the dark side we have candy, oreos, cheese, kettlecorn. And if you can read between the lines, more

You might have just won over Kai at candy... yeah, he might be just that easy, lol!

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On 7/4/2021 at 6:47 PM, leeoeder said:

Golden Truths, I think, will be Kai's big" Oprah" moment.

A big moment will be, lol! And that's all I'm saying!

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