The Savage King(5)

By: Michelle M. Pillow

Kirill frowned, rolling his eyes. "Father collected women as Falke here collects weaponry.

I have no idea what to do with them all. I have no wish for a lifemate, let alone several


All Princes nodded in firm agreement. None of them looked to commit themselves to a

woman--ever. Why bond to one when you could have many?

"According to law, they are your responsibility," Quinn said softly, chuckling.

Kirill shot him a defiant glare and growled. Quinn laughed harder, unconcerned. Sighing,

Kirill gave up his feigned anger, lounged back in his chair, and threw a leg over the side. "I

tried to give them freedom, but half of them didn't want to leave the palace. The other half

has nowhere to go. And the crazy one, Taura, wanted me to bind her to father's corpse so

that she may burn with him."

"It's the Roane way," Falke said, in defense of his birth mother. The other Princes just

laughed. Taura was partly the reason Falke was so serious. Whereas all the others had the

blood of Var and human in them, Falke was half Roane. The Roane were a naturally bold,

hard people with strict discipline and rigid ideals. Taura had passed those traits to her son.

As children, when the boys were playing and getting into mischief, Falke had been training

to be a warrior.

"Ah, I suppose I'll have to at least meet with them all. How many could there be? Fifty?"

Kirill asked.

"A hundred and sixty three, brother, by my last count," Quinn laughed. "Give or take a

few dozen."

"It almost makes you respect our father, doesn't it?" Reid stood from his chair and

stretched, prompting the others to do the same.

"The late King always had respect. It was the other emotions he had little use for," Kirill

answered. With a thoughtful look upon his face, he strode from the old council hall,

leaving his brothers to watch after him in wonder.

* * * *

Ulyssa grimaced, furiously shaking her head at the woman who tried to hand her a near

transparent gown of black and silver. She looked warily over the line of young women

already dressed in similar outfits. It had been nearly a week since her capture and the

barbaric King had yet to keep his word and come back for her. It was really too bad, she

had a few punches she'd like to give to him, right before she ripped off his precious


Ulyssa sighed. She knew it was actually better he'd not come for her. Killing a king would

not look good on her resume, and it might hamper her escape. She highly doubted the

barbaric Var would give her a fair trial. She grinned. She highly doubted she could win a

fair trial in such a case. Murder was murder, after all, and no crime would be more

premeditated than the death of King Attor by her hand--for that was all she thought about.

"I am not dressing up like a doll for any man," Ulyssa said to the woman, enunciating her

words. She turned her back in dismissal. The woman finally gave up and left her alone.

When Attor said he had a harem, he hadn't been lying. She could only hope he'd forget

about her long enough for her to break out of the lush prison. Scratching behind her ear,

she again shook her head, widening her blue eyes at the persistent woman.

Ulyssa wore tight black pants and a black tank top. They were both hers, thankfully

salvaged from when she arrived. They'd taken everything else, including her communicator

and gun. At least they'd let her into a decontaminator. That was something, even if they

had been checking her for diseases.

From the looks of the preening women, they expected company. Ulyssa didn't plan on

sitting around and waiting for that company to arrive. Leisurely, she made her way around

the room to a long buffet table. Picking at the food, she quickly ate. Then, grabbing up a

goblet, she drank deeply of the wine. She'd have preferred hard liquor, but was happy that

it was at least alcohol. No matter where she went in the galaxies, every race had some

version of liquor.

"Getting drunk, the galactic pastime of champions," she mumbled under her breath with a

small laugh of self-amusement.

The harem was just what she would have expected one to look like--silk and satin, pillows

and furs, a water fountain in the center surrounded by fruit trees and yellow ferns. The

floors were checkered gray and white tiles, constructed from a stone much like marble.

It took Ulyssa awhile to place where she'd seen the like before, but it finally hit her that the

palace looked much like the old Moroccan architecture on Earth. She'd seen the ruins

once as a young girl and had been fascinated by their intricate patterns. However, there

was also a definite medieval castle influence at play within the basic structure.

There was an aviary in the center of the room where a loud sofliar sang some sad song-nonstop, over and over again, until Ulyssa wanted to wring its feathery little neck. She'd

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