Dragon Knights Fan Fiction ❯ Inside Tetheus's Head ❯ The Libelled Close In ( Chapter 12 )

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

When thinking about one of my other stories, I realised why Lykouleon needs Raseleane. It's so obvious! I was gonna mention it there, in the notes, as it was a bit vulgar for me to work with. Then again, it fits perfectly in here.

If I allowed character interaction in the author's notes, then I'm sure that Tetheus would explain about the difference between good girls and bad girls. (I was asked this somewhere else). They're an artificial distinction, used to reassure daddy and mammy and also a tool for sexy roleplaying. Basically a bad girl likes sex, so does a good girl. There are two kinds of good girl, the bad girl using it to seduce and the innocent girl, who when exposed to sex, gives herself completely to it, with no guilt and absolute passion. One views sex as dirty, one doesn't, both enjoy it. People in between, just don't have as much fun.

Warning: This is perverted.

Summary: Can a lonely, sensationalist author create a cunning enough deceit to survive the cut-throat world of professional writing? What happens when those whom you've lied about track you down?

A few weeks after midsummer, a tired and surly Tetheus is woken early by the awesome sight of an angry Dragonlord. He blearily picks up the novel dumped beside him and flicks through the pages. The contents of it are already known to him, but as he reads each salacious passage, he can see why some denizens are the castle are going to want to kill him. How did Lykouleon find me so quickly? He turns page after page, slower and slower, trying to find a construct of lies that will stand up to the Dragonlord's fury. He can feel Lykouleon's bubbling rage as he desperately tries to concentrate on the book and all evidence linking him to it. They must have put the screws on the publisher, then staked out my post office box and followed me when I got my returned script. But how'd they know? I bet they had first approval on it. Moles in the publishing industry, or something. Come to think of it, who was on the judging panel? Eventually, Lykouleon runs out of patience.

"It says that I'm impotent!" wails the Dragonlord. His lower lip trembles and he slumps onto the bed beside Tetheus. Turning to him, his eyes red and swollen, he continues. "Everyone knows that I can't sleep around, because my bodily fluids are poisonous. Can you imagine it? Every girl I sleep with would die. That's awful, far too big a price to pay." He hugs himself and Tetheus retracts the comforting hand he'd extended and thinks Okay, the plan to get you really drunk is totally scratched now. Ouch! "Raseleane would know!" Lykouleon screams. "Every single time!"

Step one, calm the Dragonlord by distracting his attention. I think I know something that may help here. Tetheus struggles up in the bed and settles a pillow against his back, artfully exposing his taut, muscly torso, before turning to his distraught visitor. "Lykouleon, have you ever heard of condoms?"
"Condoms?" asks the Dragonlord, blinking his painful eyes. "What are they?"
"They're a cover that you place on your manhood," Tetheus informs him, with a cough. "They're used by many men to stop their lover getting pregnant and to protect them from venereal diseases." A small candle starts to burn in Lykouleon's head. "They're not foolproof. They can break, slip off, or just be badly made. I kn... have heard of people who used them and still got sick or pregnant, but there is a chance, a good chance that your lover will be okay afterward. "
"Really?" asks the Dragonlord, his mouth gaping as he runs things through in his head. "I know," he says, starting to smile. "I'll ask Kharl the alchemist to make infallible ones."
"My lord?" says Tetheus, with a note of alarm. "Are you sure that's wise? We're already dependant on him for Alfeegi's pills..."
"Ah, so you have to steal an extra pair of Ruwalk's knickers. Big deal," he replies dismissively.
"I do have a sexy lace g-string that I was keeping for an extra-special occasion," says Tetheus. I'm going to miss them, but I think that the situation calls for underwear of a high calibre.
"Wonderful," says the Dragonlord. "Get on it right away!" He bounds up off the bed and happily performs a sexy dance. "Woo-hoo! I'm gonna get some!" Flushed from his exhibition he turns to leave. While striding to the door, he calls back to Tetheus, "Find out who this Keigh Hay person is. We think that it's someone who works in the castle. Raseleane, Ruwalk and a few others are furious at their portrayal in the book. It's not good for our reputation either. Can you believe it?" he says, turning to the half-naked Dragon Officer. "Even Cesia is in it! Of course there are aliases, but I don't think that Tesia, Luwark, or Rykouryon will fool anybody." He pauses at the door, shocked. "Rykouryon? Even my dad is in it! Lucky I escaped, eh?" he says, with a completely straight face.

"Of course, my lord," answers Tetheus, with an equally blank expression.

As soon as the Dragonlord leaves, he flops back down on the bed, sweat pouring out. Aliases? I didn't think of that. I used everyone's real name! Thank goodness the publishers altered them, but really, what crap choices. The sweat soaks into his sheets, as the situation turns around in his head. Suddenly, he sits bolt upright. Oh, my sweet fuck! The original is in my drawer. With the real names! If anyone sees it, they'll know that it's the original script! I have to get rid of it! He jumps to his feet and scrambles to the drawer. The script's safe inside. He breathes easily, but holds off on picking it up. If anyone sees me with it, I'll be in trouble. I need to think about how I'm going to dispose of it. Or rather, to whom I'd going to dispose of it. If this is found in someone else's room, anything pointing to me's going to be overlooked. Still, I can't leave it in the open. He moves a few books and hides it in the false bottom, with his diary. He then rips down the competition notice and burns it in his fireplace, scattering the ashes when he's done.

He breathes more easily, then returns to the bed and picks up the discarded book. He looks at it for a moment and then runs a finger down its smooth spine. He smells the full leather of the cover and closely examines the binding. He then marvels at the crisp, fine paper containing his words, in beautiful typeface. Holding it to his chest, the only thing spoiling the moment, is that his name isn't on the cover. I knew that I could beat that dippy blonde and her cackling horde of wannabes. He holds it a moment longer, then tenderly lays the book down on his desk and steps back.

Tetheus the Black reaches into his inside pocket and pulls out a notebook. He opens it to a clean page and writes Suspects at the top, in clear letters. Now, who can I realistically frame? Alfeegi makes the number 2 spot, after disgruntled, former worker Ted. He also adds Kharl the Alchemist and A Minion of Nadil, to the list. That's four. I'll need to cast my net wide and work quickly. He puts the notebook away and opens his door. First step on any investigation is some forceful marching around the Castle. That usually makes people nervous. A bit of grimacing should keep people away, while I appear to know what I'm doing. Hopefully, I'll get some inspiration. I hate not having a plan. When in doubt, apply slogging police methods. They're slow, which will give me time to think and sometimes, the evidence can lead to interesting possibilities.

He stomps around the castle, looking sternly ahead, not catching the glances of anyone he passes and trying to keep a grim stare in place. Don't panic, don't panic. The longer his walk becomes, the more nervous he feels about the people he passes by and the more his forceful glare wanders from the path ahead. Everyone who sees him is openly curious. Groups whisper among themselves, as he passes. If he directs a stern look at any of them, the whispering becomes more furious. They know? They know! Shit! Keep the mask in place, keep walking. He marches on.

His first lap of the castle is nearly complete, with no inspiration in sight, when he runs into Cernozoa. He doesn't notice her, face forward, looking neither left nor right, but she smiles, waves and finally grabs his arm and pulls him off his circuit and into a private corner.

"So," she says, with a shy smile and a saucy wiggle. "I guess you know."
"Know?" Tetheus asks. "What do you mean?"
She smiles broadly and reaches out to stroke his arm. "Tetheus. You've been traipsing through the castle all morning, glaring at everyone. They all think that you're furious, now that you've finally found out."
"Found out?" he asks, confused. Blood pressure dropping. She doesn't look upset, she looks amused. What have I missed?
She regards him for a moment, her eyebrows raised, then sighs softly. "I never know what you're thinking." She leans in again and takes his hands, caressing them gently. "You've read the book, right? Lykouleon found out about it today and we knew he'd go to you. You must have read it."
"I skimmed it," he admitted, slowly. "I haven't explored it in depth, though. The Dragonlord only gave me a copy this morning." Although I could probably recite the entire thing, word for word, you don't ever need to know that.
"Well," she says. "It's a scandalous look at the castle. Everyone's in it," she smirks, "or are claiming that they are. Each minor unnamed character is being fought over. There are practically duels over which of us is the Lady in Velvet mentioned."
Tetheus looks at her. Cernozoa, that's you.
She continues, oblivious. "Lykouleon's in it..."
"He's claiming that it's his dad," Tetheus interrupts.
"Of course," she says, with a blank face. "Lykouleon's dad, Lykouleon's wife, his best friend, his fortune-teller, his Dragon Officers, everyone important." She pauses and looks at Tetheus. He says nothing and obviously disappointed, she says softly, "Except for you, Tetheus. You're not even mentioned."

He casts his mind back through his story, examines the words in his memory and his heart sinks. You're right. I left myself out of it. Totally. What a frigging give-away. Of course I'm the most obvious suspect. Why would the most important member of the Dragon Secretariat be left out of a scandalous book based on the Castle, unless he was the author? Who else would do that? I'm ruined.

Her eyes sparkle warmly as she squeezes his hands. "Not a word about you. They must have thought that you were too boring to write about." She laughs deeply and throatily. The sound is like chocolate. "It can't possibly be written by anyone that knows you, or has known you." She smiles again, cocking her head. "That should make your search for the author a lot easier. Ruwalk comes across as this great sexy beast. If it wasn't for the fact that it rakes up old dirt, that I'm sure he'd hoped never to hear of again, I'd have him pegged straight away as the writer."
"So," she asks, an evil gleam lighting her eyes. "Who is it?"
Not me? They don't think it's me. They don't even suspect. I'm safe!
His shoulders shake and Cernozoa's tone turns to one of alarm.
"Tetheus, it's okay. Hey, honey, you're a great, sexy stud and you know it."
He manages to control the threatened outbursts of joyous mirth and speaks with a catch in his throat. "I'm fine, Cernozoa. It is as well that I am not mentioned in this sordid book, since respect for the law is undermined by this sort of business. And as you say, it should make it easier to track down the culprit."

Unexpectedly, she holds him and gently touches her lips to his. "I wish you were my secret," she says. "I'd feel so great being the only one to know the truth behind the man inside you. But I'm glad that only a few in the castle are privy to this truth. I'm glad that Keigh Hay kept it. I'm glad she didn't know."
"You think it's a woman?" he asks, as he softly kisses the delicate skin on her shoulders and neck.
"Of course," she whispers. "No man could write like that."

Wow, Tetheus bothered about something? The world must be ending, but I reckon that's enough to give a heart attack, even to him.

There's a fair bit left in this arc. Funny how it came out of nowhere. Anyway, I reckon that introducing Cesia will take a chapter in itself and should hopefully end the mystery of the dastardly book of scandal and intrigue. This Cesia ... is not the same Cesia as you'd find in the Dragon Knights books. I like that Cesia, she's got a good head on her shoulders, she's strong and she's skills and powers enough to stand up for herself. But she wouldn't fit in here. Then again, considering her as she first turned up ... She did steal Nadil's head ... You'll see when she shows up.

I'm sorry that her entrance's been delayed again, but the chapter'd be twice as long and take more than twice as long to finish. That's the problem. I've never been as prolific as I've been recently. I've another fic to polish off and it might be up before the end of the week. The shorter the chapters are, the tighter my editing is and the faster its updated. I think I get discouraged when the chapters grow too large, as well. Rune's Quest for Peace and Kakashi's Sedentary Adventures have the prettiest language in them, but they're shorter than my other fics.

Anyway, I think I found a natural ending. I didn't want to stick in another cliff-hanger, but Tetheus obviously isn't out of the woods yet.