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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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The Reluctant Consort - 30. Chapter 30

For @Hellsheild Feel better soon. :)

Chapter 30

What Does Home Feel Like?

Neith released Yoru from her control. The eagle flew high to perch on the trees growing above the lush garden. He waited for the three who were now hauling an unconscious Jihan up. When Jihan was on the bridge, Kastan lifted Jihan and carried him to the open meadow, placing him on the grass.

“An,” Kastan said, shaking Jihan’s shoulders, as he checked on the harsh wound on Jihan’s left temple. “An, don’t you dare. Open your eyes. Firuz, get a healer. Right now.”

Firuz got up and ran at full speed to the manor. The new shadow guard sent by Bast stayed next to a dazed Rashan, checking on the boy. Rashan was in shock. A small cut on his neck the only visible injury on him. He pushed off the hands checking his legs and arms and crawled to his parents’ side.

“Papa,” Rashan said, grabbing Jihan’s left arm.

There was blood on Jihan’s arms, his cream robes giving it a sharp contrast.

Kastan didn’t notice the wounds on Jihan’s arms, too busy making sure Jihan lay flat on the ground, searching for signs of consciousness.

Rashan started crying as he rolled the sleeves of Jihan’s robe to find bloody bruises.

“He saved me,” Rashan said, sobbing. “He saved me. Pa, why won’t he open his eyes?”

“He will,” Kastan said, cupping Jihan’s face in his hands and brushing a kiss on an unconscious Jihan’s lips. “Don’t worry, Shan. Your Papa will be fine. There’s nothing to worry about.”

Neith stood from the long couch, knowing she could not watch anymore. The dark cloud above the cliff was thick now, Nisa’s cruelty taking hold. She suspected Jihan’s injury was not so simple. This was why she had been watching the merchant so closely, for Kastan.

“Where are you going?” Bast asked, moving to stand next to her. “You’ve barely recovered from your interference with Rushi. I don’t think you should do this. There has to be another way.”

“You promised I could intervene with this one,” Neith said. “In any case, a little more pain will be nothing compared to what Duke Silver will endure if he loses Jihan.”

“Neith,” Bast said. “Healing him might mean you’re without your gifts for five years. Remember what happened when you saved Kyra.”

“This is my choice, as it was my choice then,” Neith said. “Perhaps this is why I’ve been so restless. Don’t worry. I’ll spend my time with Kaveh’s family after,” Neith said. “It will be nice to experience life among them like I did back then. You have Ha. I’ll leave the Imperial Tower to you.”

Bast sighed.

“What is it about Jihan that’s making you do this?” Bast asked.

“He was willing to give up his life for Rashan,” Neith said. “He jumped after him without hesitation. If that’s not love, what is?”

Bast stared at her, speechless, and she used his distraction to shimmer out of the Imperial Tower.


Kastan stared at an unconscious Jihan for the second time in the same month. This time, his heart ached with stark fear. The dark bruise on the right side of Jihan’s forehead let him shaking.

If only he’d been faster. If only he’d left the dining hall earlier. Why had he needed to read Kiyan’s message first? When he did get outside, the eagles calling in the sky alerted him to trouble.

The sight of a female Shadow Guard standing on the cliff wall releasing an arrow directed at Jihan and Firuz cost him precious time. He had ran to the Shadow Guard to stop her from attacking Jihan.

It took Kastan too long to realize that she was helping. When he reached her, Rashan’s scream had him changing direction, running toward the bridge. He got there too late. He was in time to find Jihan and Rashan both hanging over the bridge, the old rope railing broken.

Rashan hanging by his right arm, Jihan clinging to their son with both his hands, while Firuz used all his strength to hold them up with a vine pulled from the hanging trees. Kastan added his strength to Firuz’s, stabilizing the rope, and helping Firuz to pull Jihan up. The new Shadow Guard pulled Rashan up when she was able.

The vine wrapped around Jihan’s right leg snapped out of its anchor on the tree and that’s what had gotten Jihan swinging. Kastan could barely stand to think of the brutal hit Jihan had suffered on that jutting rock.

He closed his eyes and shook the memory away. He wished Nisa wasn’t dead so that he could ram his sword into her and kill her again. She had almost taken his family with her in her sick quest. He opened his eyes with a snarl, feeling sick in the depths of his stomach.

Jihan had not opened his eyes since. It was going on an hour. The bruise on his temple was turning ugly, and the healers were growing nervous. The manor was in a somber mood.

Kastan kept thinking about the main healer’s reaction when he assessed Jihan that first time.

The man’s lack of advice was enough to fill the pit of Kastan’s stomach with fear. The healer cleaned the wounds on Jihan’s arms with no trouble, but the ugly bruise on Jihan’s right temple had the healer at a loss for words. He checked it with care, cleaned the worst of the blood, but he chose to wait to explain Jihan’s condition.

Kastan could almost see the defeat in the man’s eyes as they all worked to make Jihan comfortable on the bed when they entered the master’s chamber. When Jihan was settled, it scared him that Firuz did not sit with him, instead moving to the long couch in the sitting area. Firuz sat in silence, his dark eyes glazed, his skin too pale.

“Your Grace,” the healer started, shaking his head.

Afraid, Kastan had chased the healer away not ready to hear what he had to say.

He now sat here watching Jihan, hoping against all odds that the healer was wrong. He hoped Jihan would wake up soon, as long as Jihan opened his eyes, they would deal with the rest.

Kastan took Jihan’s cold left hand and rubbed his thumb over their wedding ring, his heart squeezing tight with fear. He squeezed Jihan’s hand, willing a response back.

Kastan leaned over his still consort, brushing a kiss on Jihan’s cheek, his lips, panic seizing him when Jihan didn’t kiss him back. Desperation had him whispering into Jihan’s ear.

“Give me a chance to make it up to you,” Kastan begged. “I need you. Please, don’t leave me, An.”

He rested his head on Jihan’s chest, listening to his heartbeat, just to make sure he was still living. It sounded weak to him, but he didn’t want to dwell on that.

Kastan was suddenly very sure that he would not survive Jihan’s death. He would be like Firuz, there would be no life left. He would turn into a living dead man.

“Please, let me keep him,” Kastan begged all the gods he knew, tears filling his eyes and spilling over to soak into Jihan’s white tunic.


Neith fought the pain still running through her body and used her gifts to appear in the master chamber at Sun-filled Manor. Duke Silver was lying over his consort, in grief. Jihan was unconscious. Neith paused when she noticed Firuz sitting on a long couch in the sitting area. The tattoo on his left arm turning dark, his skin mottling from the tattoo rising up his arm, she knew that it would soon reach his heart and he would die with his charge.

Firuz did not complain or speak when he looked at her. There was only acceptance.

Neith let out a quiet sigh and moved with slow steps to the foot of the bed. Her gaze on the long hair spread across two pillows, the clean white tunic the merchant wore made him look as though he was simply sleeping. The bruise at his temple looked ugly, too severe. The merchant’s spirit was fading.

Can you be there for him?” Jihan’s voice reached her in an echo, and she turned to find him standing next to her.

Bathed in light, his spirit brighter than it should be. Neith was suddenly grateful she was cursed to see the dead. She had once tried to save Shana, Kastan’s Ma, and only managed to tell Kaveh her last words. Now here she was again tied to Kastan and his handsome consort in a similar fate. She did not want this one. These two were too young, too in love, their lives together starting out. They deserved to know where they would take each other.

No,” Neith said, making Jihan glare at her.

He crossed his arms against his chest, his jaw set in a determined line, he faced her.

Why not?” Jihan demanded. Look at him. He’s worse than Firuz. I know I can’t do anything for my Shadow Guard, but he needs to continue. He has Rashan and that child needs him whole. He’s going to need all the support he can get. You need to be there for him, Neith. Don’t be so mean. All he ever does is fight wars for this Empire. It’s about time you gave him something back. You owe him.”

You’re a bossy little thing,” Neith said, smiling in amusement. I too value Kastan’s happiness, thank you very much. That’s why I’m standing here, Jihan. I suppose this moment was always going to come. I wondered why I watched you so much. You and I seem to have an intertwined fate.”

You’re confusing me,” Jihan said, dropping his hands to his sides. He turned to look at Kastan and sighed. Will you be there for Kas or not? Should I find Ha?”

Ha is injured. You’ll find him accompanying Zure Niven,” Neith said, smiling when Jihan gave an exasperated sigh. Which reminds me how did you convince him to stand for you?”

I prayed,” Jihan said. Firuz said if I made a sincere plea, Ha would listen. So I prayed when Kastan left to find you in the Imperial Tower.”

Ah,” Neith smiled. Ha does listen to sincere words.”

What about you?” Jihan asked. What do you listen to?”

“I watch the future,” Neith answered, amused when Jihan scowled at her, unimpressed.

Jihan moved back to the bed and tried to touch Kastan’s shoulder, but it was not possible in his current state.

I should never have made him say he loved me,” Jihan said. This love of ours will break him. I’ve broken him.

Stop it,” Neith said, shaking her head, gathering her strength, all the energy left inside her and turning it into a healing force.

Jihan, I won’t need to be there for him,” she said, and held out her right hand, releasing that healing energy and directing it to Jihan’s body. “You be there for him. You’re right. He has fought hard for peace in the empire. It’s the least I can do for you both. This is my gift to you.”

Jihan’s bright spirit faltered, fading from her sight.

Neith worked to heal the worst of the damage from the wound on Jihan’s head. The magic she gave would be hard on Jihan, and it would take him a few days to wake up. He would still need to heal the ugly bruise, and he would be in some pain.

She was not at full strength and could not do more.

Neith staggered as she forced the last of her energy into Jihan. The master’s chamber door slid open and Kaveh walked in. His eyes widened when he saw her standing at the foot of the large bed. She dropped her hand, breathing hard, exhausted. She gave him a worn smile.

“There you are,” she murmured, making Kastan sit up on the bed to look at her. She turned to Kastan and gave him a short nod. “I tried to heal as much as I could for him. He is no longer in mortal danger.”

Kastan let out a relieved sigh, his eyes widening when Kaveh rushed to Neith’s side.

Kaveh wrapped a strong arm around her waist, supporting her when she leaned into him. He propped her up when she could no longer stand on her own. Kaveh held her tight, stroking her hair away from her face.

Bringing her hand to touch his cheek, she smiled.

“I’m tired and need a few years rest. Let me accompany you for a while, Kaveh,” she murmured.

“Me and mine will watch over you,” Kaveh said.

“Kas, don’t worry so much,” Neith said, her voice sounding tired. “Jihan will wake up, just give him time.”

“Thank you,” Kastan said, still sitting by Jihan’s side unwilling to move away from him.

Neith looked into Kaveh’s eyes fighting panic at what was coming next. She had always liked Kaveh’s kind eyes. He held her now in a gentle embrace. He stroked her hair and murmured words of comfort.

She closed her eyes and for the first time in years, she relaxed. The simple action of breathing out triggered the change. Her remaining energy consolidated into a smaller being for safekeeping until the day she could once again master enough energy to walk on two feet.


Kastan stared at his father who was now holding a sizeable white tiger cub. The majestic animal looked so familiar, Kastan could only gasp in recognition.

“She’s been with us before,” Kastan said, suddenly remembering running through the halls at their old house on Silver Lake Island, chasing after a large white tiger.

“She was your companion after Kyra was born,” Kaveh said, placing the handsome wild cat on the foot of the bed. “She saved Kyra’s life on the day she was born. She tried to heal your mother as much as she could but there was nothing left in her.”

“Oh,” Kastan’s gaze shifted to Jihan and back to the white tiger now sitting on the edge of the bed. It moved around twice then curled up into a fluffy fur ball and fell asleep. “It looks like I owe Neith a debt.”

“Yes,” Kaveh smiled. “I owe her one for Kyra. Which is why she has come to me. She’ll collect yours later.”

Kastan breathed in relief, and squeezed Jihan’s left hand. It felt warmer.

Jihan shifted his head to the side and let out a tired sigh. He was asleep, a far better state than the stillness of a few minutes ago.

Firuz got up and walked around the bed to lean on the wall near the headboard. Kastan glanced at him and was glad to see the paleness on his skin had disappeared. Their gazes met, relief clear in both their eyes, but they did not speak on it.

“I’ll go tell the healer to stop by,” Kaveh said, petting the little tiger cub that was now sleeping. “I’ll check on Rashan too. He wanted to come see Jihan, but I didn’t want him to see Jihan in case…”

“I know,” Kastan said, nodding his understanding. “Let him come in if he wants to.”

“Good,” Kaveh said, and started to head out. “Two more things, Safan is injured. The healers at the academy are keeping him there. Nisa sank her dagger into his back and the wound is serious. Lord Bero’s healers got to him in time, but it will take Safan a few months to recover.”

“Make sure the ones here at the manor send quality herbs to Safan,” Kastan said, never looking away from Jihan. “We’ll move him when he is feeling better. You said two things.”

“Ah,” Kaveh chuckled, glancing at Firuz. “Rashan seems to have gained a Shadow Guard.”

“The woman at the cliff,” Kastan said. “Interesting, looks like Bast has interfered too. I don’t know whether to be grateful or worried. I’ll talk to the Shadow Guard later.”

“I think it’s a reason to celebrate,” Kaveh decided. “All the bad is gone, and now there is only the future to look forward. What else do you need, Kas?”

“Jihan to wake up,” Kastan answered.

Kaveh chuckled and left the master’s chamber.

Alone, Kastan settled next to Jihan, prepared to wait for Jihan to wake up.


Two weeks later, Jihan sat on a comfortable long couch in the back garden. It was a sunny afternoon. Yasmin had just finished coaxing him into eating lemon tarts and tea. The people living in the manor had lost their minds in the time it took him to wake up and get back on his feet. Everyone was urging him to eat and threatening to pour cups of healthy green tea down his throat. Shaking his head, Jihan studied the bottle of peach wine on the table near him. He had gotten it from Set two days ago. Uncapping the round bottle, he poured a small amount into the clean teacup Yasmin had left for him.

He took a sip, and smiled at the sweet taste that filled his mouth. It was perfection. He started to take another sip, but a small nudge on his arm had him hesitating. He glanced at the tiger cub sitting on the cushions next to him.

“What?” Jihan asked, lifting a brow at the cute wild cat. “You want some? Can you drink wine in this state?”

The tiger cub bumped his arm with it’s head and he sighed. He looked around the flowering garden, checking to see if anyone was watching him. Firuz sat on a mat a few feet away, eyes closed in meditation. Beyond the grass meadow to the cliff, there were works hard at work building a new studier bridge over the cliff. Kastan and Moran had decided to post soldiers to guard the bridge entrances at all times. Temu was supervising the work,b ut he was too occupied to look at Jihan.

The tiger cub bumped his arm again and Jihan sighed.

“Fine, but if you get drunk, do not say I did it,” Jihan said, pouring wine into a second cup for the tiger cub. “Should I feed you?”

A low growl had him scowling at the cute tiger and pushing the cup to the left side of the table. It shifted closer to the table and licked at the sweet wine on it’s own.

Jihan gaped, picking up his own teacup.

“This is the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen,” he said, grinning when the tiger cub ignored him. “Who would think I’d end up drinking with an actual tiger cub instead of Duke Silver?”

Jihan tapped his teacup to the tiger’s and sipped his wine. He lay back on the comfortable pillows and lifted his left hand to play with the rays of light sifting through the leaves of the plum tree. The plum tree growing behind his chair provided enough shade to keep the sun from being too hot. It was the perfect spot to enjoy the afternoon.

He closed his eyes for a moment, but opened them when a warm hand wrapped around his left hand. His smiled when he saw Kastan. His heart fluttering as always, at the sight of his husband.

“You should be in bed,” Kastan said, coming around the long couch to sit next to Jihan. “Why are you out here?”

“Did you go to our chamber to look for me?” Jihan asked, accepting the kiss Kastan’ pressed on his cheek.

“Yes,” Kastan said, sounding grumpy. “I had a little heart attack when I found the bed empty.”

Jihan sighed. “I didn’t mean to make you worry. I’m just tired of being in bed. I feel well enough to walk around.”

“You were unconscious, Jihan,” Kastan said, shaking his head. “You need all the rest you can get.”

Knowing it was useless to argue, Jihan held out his teacup to Kastan.

“Okay, I will rest,” Jihan said. “Sitting here, drinking wine with you is also resting. Have a sip, Kas.”

“I should say no,” Kastan said, holding Jihan’s wrist steady as he drank from the cup. “Mm, this is very good. You should not be drinking wine.”

“We’re home,” Jihan said, shifting to rest his head on Kastan’s shoulder. He brought the teacup to his lips and drank from the same spot Kastan had used. He closed his eyes in contentment. “There’s no one causing trouble. Drinking wine is what we should do. You promised to drink with me. Did you forget?”

“No,” Kastan said, wrapping an arm around Jihan, pulling him closer.

“Then, just sit with me and enjoy the afternoon,” Jihan said, holding out his cup to Kastan. “I’m very happy right now. It’s been a long time since I felt I was home.”

The tiger cub finished licking wine and jumped on the table. Jihan shook his head at the manners, and sighed when the cub jumped off the table to go join Firuz on his mat.

“What does home feel like?” Kastan asked, his tone quiet as he asked.

Kastan held Jihan with possessiveness. His husband was still shaken, Jihan decided. He couldn’t blame Kastan. They had lived through a very terrible scare. Which was all the more reason for him to appreciate days like this one.

“Home feels like I’m thinking of you often. I want to know what you’re doing, where you’re going, why you’re going there. What made you laugh or made you sad. I love it when you talk to me about Shan’s future. I love it when you ask me, ‘Did you eat?’”

“I’m always thinking you haven’t eaten when you enter the manor so late in the evening,” Kastan said, stroking his fingers through Jihan’s hair. “Anyway, it’s good we got more staff to help Yasmin. She now has time to do the things she enjoys like cooking. The kitchen always has food now. I’ll just make sure you eat it when you come home.”

“Mm,” Jihan agreed, placing his empty cup of wine on the table. He rested his head on Kastan’s right shoulder and continued with his list. “It feels like, how I miss you when you’re not around. The time you were in the Iron Lands, I hated going to bed alone. I spent all my time in the evening reading to Shan. I’ve found that I like knowing you’re in the next room, or that you’ll be walking in any minute from being outside. I love knowing you’re around the manor doing whatever and that you’ll come back to tell me what happened, what you saw and what you think about it, then ask me, ‘What do you think we should do?’”

“You always have the best ideas,” Kastan answered, picking up the wine jar and pouring more into Jihan’s cup.

“You make this manor my home,” Jihan said.

“You do too,” Kastan said, brushing his lips on the top of Jihan’s head. “You and Shan are my home.”

Jihan let out a relaxed sigh, settling against Kastan contentment filling him. For a reluctant consort at the start, he was quite happy right now. He hoped they would stay like this for a long, long time.

“The other day you came in from training with your men and you said, ‘Let’s go to the lake on a boat, just us two.’ You got called away by Naveed and you haven’t brought it up again,” Jihan said, sipping his wine. “I’ve been thinking about it.”

“Then, I’ll tell Naveed to take over all matters this afternoon,” Kastan said. “We can go on the boat and see the sunset together. We can even fish if you feel up to it.”

“I’m not fishing,” Jihan said, shaking his head against Kastan’s shoulder. “If we do, you’re gutting them.”

“Are you squeamish?” Kastan asked.

“I’m not answering that,” Jihan said, making a face.

“An, how come I’ve never known this about you,” Kastan said with a laugh.

“When did we go fishing together so you can know?” Jihan asked.

“I’ll show you how,” Kastan said.

“No, no,” Jihan shook his head. “You do it. I’ll help you cook the fish after…”

Behind them, the manor was alive with the rhythm of life, Yasmin directing her new helpers to cook meals for all the souls who would pass by the manor.

Fara was in the manor overseeing the carpenters working on long overdue repairs. Naveed worked in the Duke’s Office this afternoon. Safan was resting in his room, giving Yasmin a hard time when she insisted he stay in bed.

Rashan practiced his sword stances on the third floor with his new Shadow Guard, Aoi. She and Rashan had become fast friends. Their voices drifted into the garden when they got excited They talked nonstop, laughing and giggling. Jihan liked her very much, liked that she was accompanying Rashan, as Firuz did for him.

Firuz meditated on, ignoring the tiger cub that did it’s best to pounce on his head, then his shoulders, at last falling on his lap.

The peach wine was sweet.

The weather warm, the flowers bloomed, filling the air with scent.

Duke Silver and his Consort sat on a comfortable long couch; teasing each other about fishing…they were home.


This is the end of the main story. There are five short extra chapters, which I'll post when they are ready.  Thank you for reading this story.  Your support got me to 'Fin'.  I mean that.
All my love, Sui.
Suilan Lee, 2019-2021
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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.
Note: While authors are asked to place warnings on their stories for some moderated content, everyone has different thresholds, and it is your responsibility as a reader to avoid stories or stop reading if something bothers you. 
You are not currently following this author. Be sure to follow to keep up to date with new stories they post.

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Chapter Comments

43 minutes ago, lilansui said:

Even an itty bitty one? :) 😁😁

I've scared myself too with how many of those I've written in this one.  The cliff hangers happened because the editing took too long I ended up making people wait. Hahaha. 


This is absolutely amazing to know about. I wish him loads of blessings. :wub: I'll finish the shorts first, before I think of anything else. Been so consumed with Jihan and Kastan...I'll have to see what other project I can get to. Thank you again for reading.

I'd hate to think what a small cliffhanger could do...make sure to check your brakes!!!! That guy from the FBI Cliffhanger Division could be right around the corner!!!

Driving The Muppets GIF

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Thank you for this story.

A great ending. I will miss the story but I am glad that there will follow side stories. Yan and Yija in Silvershore, Rashan and his Shadow Guard, the meddling of the white tiger , Kayan falling in love , Zure Niven etc. Endless possibilities 

I am looking forward to this.

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A good story keeps me on the edge of my seat. I read an amazing story multiple times. A great story takes my breath away. Thank you for the trifecta! I'm breathless!

Edited by Kitnika22
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Love love love this story, can someone please call Netflix this story needs to be turned into a series, #TheReluctantConsort❣️

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Loved it had me at the edge of my seat  reading it thank you love all your stories you make love sound so beautiful 😻 

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On 7/23/2021 at 10:34 PM, Geemeedee said:

is there a chance for a sequel?

:) :) :) Jihan and Kastan forever, hahaha. 

On 7/25/2021 at 12:46 AM, kelsob said:

someone please call Netflix this story needs to be turned into a series, #TheReluctantConsort❣️

Won't that be exciting!!! Thank you for this awesome, wonderful dream.

On 7/28/2021 at 8:49 PM, Nana Atuwa said:

Loved it had me at the edge of my seat  reading it thank you love all your stories you make love sound so beautiful 😻 

Thank you too for reading.  It's my pleasure.

On 7/29/2021 at 6:23 AM, Loring said:

This has been a wonderful escape for me. Thank you so very much! ❤️

I'm also grateful too, thank you for reading TRC.  It's been quite the adventure and I'm glad you enjoyed it. :)


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Thx for giving us such a nice ending. Loved Neith becoming a tiger cub and drinking peach wine 😂

can't wait the 5 extra chapters ❤️

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