I went around with a smokeless torch, lighting the candles scattered tastefully around the room. They varied in shape and colour and when lit, emanated thin tendrils of smoke that wound around the room, filling it with an ethereal mixture of flickering light, shadow, wispy smoke, and myriad fragrances.
Candles, an obsolete means of lighting after the advent of fire and light stones, were surprisingly popular at the provincial capital.
The servant I had asked, though mildly surprised by my age, gave me a smile encompassing the understanding between like minded men and soon proceeded to return with the empty pouch which had contained my month’s allowance and a box filled with an assortment of candles.
It looked like a lot of the nobles resorted to wax-play for their nightly satisfaction.
So, here I was, preparing for a night of experimentation with Phobos while Deimos, the poor dear, had to be dragged around by Father and Mother all over the palace, socializing with the noble scions that would be in attendance from all over the province.
She had actually wanted to stay back with us but Mother had put her foot down, saying that it would be good for her social awkwardness to interact with others without the two of us guarding her like jealous mother hens.
Also, at least one of the three of us had to be present at the welcoming banquet for the sake of politeness no matter how injured we were. Otherwise we wouldn’t be showing the Duke, the host, sufficient deference.
As the rapists and clan exterminators of Huaxia would put it: We wouldn’t be giving them enough Face.
Phobos and I had gotten off the hook due to her recent awakening and me being her partner.
Snuffing out the torch after the last candle was lit, I let the room sink into a decadent ambiance and waited for Phobos to exit the bath.
The camp had gone into a tizzy after Phobos had recovered from her mana exhaustion and carried my unconscious form through it to Mother’s tent.
Instead of stopping to rest the horses midway between the next city and the provincial capital as we had planned, the carriage train ran day and night and reached the Capital a whole day prior to the schedule so Phobos could consummate our first union post her awakening on a proper bed and not a rickety carriage.
While the rest of the exhausted camp got the day off to rest and relax, I was worked to the bone, running all over the capital, pulling strings to get my hands on another Heavenly Silksnail for Phobos’ awakening present… and the candles, let’s not forget the candles.
My vision fell on the inconspicuous wooden box sitting beside the larger box of candles on the dressing table. It had been quite difficult to find a specimen from the sericulture farms in the area with a shadow affinity, especially at such a short notice.
The second empty pouch in my baggage spoke of the ‘difficulty’. I was stony broke and would need to start my business of notarizing marriages soon to recoup the losses.
Now that I had mana, I could finally put all my training in the esoteric arts of contract magic to use on individuals other than myself. This tournament being a gathering of talents at the marriageable age as it was, there would be no dearth of demand for the services of me and my fellow tamers.
All extraneous thoughts fled my mind as the latch to the washroom door clicked, indicating that Phobos was finished with her ablutions.
I had seen her fully-clad, half-clad, barely-clad and unclad countless times before, but for some reason, today as the flickering candlelight glinted off the droplets of moisture slowly streaming down her wet hair, down her temple, cheek, chin, neck, and finally disappearing into the profound gully of her chest, my heart couldn’t help but beat faster.
Wrapped loosely as she was in her bath towel, she stood on the cusp of maturity, yet burnt brightly with the enthusiasm of youth. The contradictory, yet complementary impressions travelled from my eyes, to my brain and then straight to my loins.
I was aroused… and I had permission to do whatever I wanted with the woman, my beloved, who stood within reach, emanating a wordless invitation.
So, without delay I strode over to her and pressed her against the wall with my chest while caging her within my arms.
I saw my form reflected in her eyes and in them I saw the hunger in my gaze, just as she saw her own arousal pictured in mine.
Wordlessly she dropped her towel and I stopped her lips up with mine.
Our shadows were intertwining giants that tangled their tongues on the opposite wall of the room.
Drawing back, a thin thread of shadow bridged their lips, the connection elongating and thinning till it snapped.
For a moment the shadow-giants paused to appreciate the other before merging together into an indistinguishable whole.
A trail of my discarded clothes, some torn from the urgency of their removal, led to the bed where with a primal roar, I released my lust into the depths of Phobos’ womb for the second time this night.
Red welts covered her pale skin and an impression of my fingers marked her breast, while shallow furrows that bled lightly marked my back, speaking of the violence of our coupling.
Our eyes met as sweat glistened on our toned bodies and the undiminished fire in them was all the prompting we needed.
I slowly resumed pistoning within her as she lay on her back on the bed, slowly bringing her to the peaks of her arousal as I reached out over her head towards the headboard and carefully brought the conical candle placed there in a glass holder.
Unscented, uncoloured and further infused with mineral oils to reduce the melting point, the wax would only leave a slightly uncomfortable warmth on the skin without the danger of burns.
A special blend for beginners. Thanking the thoughtful servant in my mind, I dripped a bit of the molten wax in between her shivering breasts just as she arched her back in climax.
The room was warm with the heat from the numerous candles and the frenzy of our love-making and we dared not open the windows for ventilation for fear of our vocal expressions of lust attracting an audience.
Thus, dizzied by hypoxia and feeling uncomfortably warm from the sweltering room, the warmth of the wax was the tipping point where her muddled brain perceived pain as pleasure.
The pleasure overrode the pain, the pain qualified the pleasure, amplifying it…
And with her sensual scream, roiling waves of darkness emanated from her, snuffing out all the candles in the room except the one in my hand.
There within the confines of darkness illuminated by only one flickering candle, the two of us were the closest we had ever been and as I continued painting on the canvas of her skin with the molten wax, the bond grew stronger still.
Till, finally, I completed a replica of the marking on our right hands and with the last drop of wax, the darkness invaded the last bastion of light, destroying our separateness.
We were truly one.
Phobos Felidae, Tier 2 Mage, Wife of Mars Felidae.
Mars Felidae, Dual-contracted Tamer, Husband of Phobos and Deimos Felidae.
With this, we were complete.
End of Volume 2