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My new quarters, named the Yellow Rose House at some point in the past though it showed no sign of the flowers in winter, were everything Ophelia had mentioned, and more.

The house was a street away from Blue Ribbon House, and that put it on a markedly finer street. Outwardly, it was a modest but well-built little home, crouching among its quite similar fellows; a small family of reasonable means might live here.

Once past the threshold, it was on another scale entirely. The foyer was appointed as a fine greeting hall, carpet leading from the door up to a small desk, where the steward rose to greet me. He was Ian Shondi, a very slender man, the sort who looked every inch an accountant; it would be his task, he informed me once Ophelia had introduced us, to ensure that anything I needed while I lived here would be tended to, and to ensure that any of my callers had their proper appointments.

I questioned that last point, at first; I was far more accustomed to women coming when they had a need. Ian assured me that so long as my schedule was open and I was receiving callers, they could do so; but he and Ophelia fully expected that I would be kept busier than that.

The rest of the foyer was quite fine as well, in an understated way. None of it was lavish, but all of the furnishings looked well-made and comfortable. The eye followed quite naturally past the steward’s desk to a sweeping spiral of a stairway; on the balcony, a few alert men sat, taking in all that transpired beneath them.

Another such man waited in the upstairs hallway, minding the door of what proved to be my new bedroom. The bathroom was not attached, as the one I had enjoyed with Allan so long ago now, but it was entirely mine, just across the hall from the bedroom, and it was quite fine indeed, with tiles of cool blue lining the walls and floor. The bedroom itself…

The bedroom was a delight. My old possessions had already been set therein, awaiting my own attention to distribute them properly, and there was space aplenty in which to put them; the closet was large enough to walk in, no simple wardrobe, and there was a vanity cabinet where I or my clients might groom. There was a great curtained bay window, which had a fine view over a park, or at least what would be a fine view when the park was full of greenery and colour. The bed, of course, was very fine indeed; three people might sleep easily on its soft surface, and a canopy of dark blue velvet could be let down over it, to give some further protection from the morning sun.

The room itself was still small enough, though, that my possessions, while hardly filling it, at least made it feel lived-in. Much more comfortable, in that regard, than the suite I’d been offered at the palace.

Ophelia saw me installed, informed me that the kitchen downstairs could see to my meals at need if I but gave the cook or the steward the proper instructions, and then departed, leaving me to arrange my belongings. That was the work of only a few minutes; and once it was done, I sat in the chair by the window, not exactly looking outward, but thinking.

It was strange, the turns life could take. From a modest existence, through life on the streets, to the comfortable quarters and good company I’d enjoyed at the Blue Ribbon house; one completely unexpected development later, one crucial fact learned, and I’d been out in the countryside, racing pell-mell across the land to stop the greatest crime of the last century from being a total success. I’d been captured – raped, if I was to be entirely honest, though I’d willingly seized the chance to learn more. Nearly killed by a violent psychopath. Bounced on horseback all the way back to the capital, only to get into a firefight and slay an assassin… who had turned out to be my own mother.

I rather suspected that Alisande had done something to my mind, to make that killing easier to bear. At the time, I’d been stumbling around in a daze; her explanation that I’d done what I must, that I’d not even known who that assassin was and therefore could hardly be thought to have set out to commit matricide, had… sunk in a little faster than I thought was entirely natural.

I poured myself a glass of red wine from the rack by the window, and I spared a moment of silent grief for the mother I’d lost, for the woman she had been. But for the killer I had stopped, I would shed no more tears.

The sound of a tapping at the bedroom door caught my ear. I drained the last swallow of wine and rose to answer it, and found Ian there, telling me that I had… visitors below; visitors, I could tell, that he couldn’t be sure whether to call clients or simply guests.

Odd. I’d expected Rebecca, yes, she’d said she would seek me out; but unless Ian referred to her guards, I hadn’t expected her to bring another.

When I followed Ian downstairs, I found that he had not only been referring to Rebecca and her guards, indeed; a familiar white-furred male waited with her, now dressed not in travelling clothes or uniform, but in fine garb that, while perhaps not a match for Rebecca’s gown, certainly would not have looked out of place at the masquerade I’d fetched her from, what seemed so long ago.

“So good to see you again, of course, Travis; I’d not expected to enjoy your company tonight,” I admitted. “Especially not, um… under the circumstances. Shall we all get comfortable upstairs?”

“I’m rather hoping so,” Rebecca purred, grinning broadly. An erotic image drifted through his mind that turned my attention from her to Travis, looking him over in something of a new light; I shuddered in anticipation, then forced myself to move forward, beckoning them upstairs after me.

“Forgive me for bringing someone else,” Rebecca said once we were in my quarters, “but I thought he might be to your approval?”

“Oh, certainly,” I laughed; the other man and I exchanged grins. “I’d never complain about his company, though I’d not thought to be enjoying it with you – certainly not, ah, now.”

“Well, you see, a thought occurred to me,” she went on, head cocked. “One that we still must consider a time, mind, so congratulations would be premature, but – he’s of royal blood, even if his family is common.”

“A by-blow some generations back,” Travis confirmed, with a shrug and a soft smile. “There’s been white along my mother’s line ever since.”

“At any rate, it’s much too early to think of anything permanent quite yet,” Rebecca continued. Her fingers were drifting over Travis’s breeches, coaxing a quite interesting ridge to rise in them while the man leaned back in his seat and let out a sigh. The woman went on, “But I thought it might be pleasant to… acquaint myself with him, the sooner the better. I remembered you being fond of him, so I wondered – might you be willing to be between him and I?” She flashed a fierce grin. “He’s agreeable, it would give me some exposure to his pleasure, so…”

In her proximity at that time, with her in the state she was, I’d have been willing to caper naked through the snow-dusted park and back if she asked it. In response to her suggestion, I merely gestured toward the bed.

Rebecca was unclad by the time she reached it, slithering over the dark sheets. Travis and I weren’t quite so coordinated, and so wound up beside the bed, hands roaming over each other, muzzles meeting, as we rather inefficiently divested each other of our remaining clothes. His manhood was quite appealingly rigid by the time I freed it from his breeches; he reached down to curl his fingers against mine, bringing it up against his, cradling them together. I felt myself rising onto my toes, pressing up against him, delving a little deeper into the kiss and trembling from ears to tail-tip.

Heavens, the man could get my blood singing at the worst of times. When Rebecca was right there, her heat inflaming us both… I half expected my pleasure to peak before that first kiss parted.

He then sat back, though, letting her and I do as we needed, stretching out on the bed to observe. She and I tumbled about, and I laughed from the joy of it, and almost wept from the affection I felt from her – from them both.

Just as I made ready to press a little closer, she touched my nose.

“Remember that tree, just outside of Nordport?” she breathed over my throat.

I shuddered. I most certainly did remember the tree, the fierce energy we’d had for each other that evening, the ease with which I’d slid in and out of her. My answering groan was all the response she needed; a few moments later, we’d found an acceptable compromise, one that made it easier still – she lay across the bed while I stood beside it. At long last I slid into her again, as I’d not done since before setting foot in Wafret, and her body drew me in as though it was welcoming me home.

I needed to lean over her somewhat to keep my hips at the right height and my manhood at the right angle; so it was, with my hands firmly against the sheets to either side of her, that I was presented with a fine view indeed of the way she stroked Travis’s member, lapped at it, drew it into her mouth. I craved such a taste of my own, yearned for it, even as instinct drove me to push faster and harder and deeper into Rebecca’s hot, slick sex; hardly for the first time, I thought my resolve might fail me.

But not that night. That night, I was at my finest. I pistoned into her tirelessly; I slipped a hand down to finger her, fingertips brushing my own flesh as it slid back and forth. Travis leaned over to press his muzzle against mine, and my tongue explored his front teeth while he moaned into my mouth. Every time I made a move that sent a spike of pleasure through Rebecca, I noted it, and I tried to repeat it; when she was squirming without pause under me, clenching around my manhood, muffling the cries of her release against Travis’s balls, I knew that I was succeeding.

We drew apart after that; we still needed to seal the night with my own release inside her, but we could better risk a more casual coupling. Certainly it started out so, with her stretched out quite simply along the bed and me rocking against her; not that there was no urge to go faster, harder, but I needed to give our third a chance to get into place.

Which, after oiling his manhood, he did without hesitation, on his part or mine; his crown eased under my tail, spread me open, and speared in deep without even a moment of difficulty.

With so many limbs and bodies together, there was substantially more difficulty in simply moving against one another, but we scarcely needed to. Every time I shifted, it was against one or both of them; when I plunged into her, his manhood drew back inside me, and when I pressed back to draw it in again, Rebecca’s sex tugged at my aching member in turn.

Shallow though our motions were, there was a special intensity to them. Her sex kept an even tighter grip on me than usual, perhaps because I wasn’t fighting it quite so much, and each gentle stroke was accompanied by a firm rub against the crown of my manhood; each stroke, in turn, made Travis’s own crown shift inside me, rubbing against something there that had me delirious with pleasure. There was no possible way that I could endure that assault of sensation, and, indeed, I was the first to succumb, nipping at the side of Rebecca’s neck as i splashed into her; even as i did, though, I felt the waves of her pleasure course through her, her claws pressing down against my shoulders.

And then, even as my own ecstasy was fading, I sensed a surge of bliss, Travis shoving deep into me with a long, hoarse groan, pumping his pleasure deep under my tail.

We didn’t separate so much as we did roll onto our sides; Rebecca slid up along my body a ways, enough to nuzzle at my throat, but Travis stayed exactly where he was behind me, his slowly-softening manhood a comforting warmth inside me.

For all my initial trepidation and discomfort with the title, life as a Hero of the Realm was looking to have some marked benefits.

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