In this snippet, Cass has agreed to space travel to Cyanus. She is shocked at her first peek at the palace where Eyoen was raised…
The palace was sick. Absolutely ridiculously beautiful. It was huge, for one thing. They poofed in at a distance – Eyoen knew she’d want to see it from the outside – and Cass had to force her own mouth closed. It was like an antebellum plantation on crack and steroids. It had to be at least a mile long. The front doors were 20 ft high, and two huge red creatures stood guard on either side.
At first she thought they were statues, but then one rumbled and stepped forward as Eyoen approached.
Cass stopped and gaped. “Is everything here outsized?”
Materen laughed. “These hutrei resemble your dogs, but they are closer in DNA to a dragon. Domesticated and loyal, but not really tame, thus they must be kept outdoors.”
“Yes, my dear,” Eyoen said, nodding at a light blue skinned servant who bowed slightly and opened the door. “My family is waiting to meet you just inside.”
“Where’s my luggage?”
“Inside. Don’t worry. All is as it should be.”
When the doors opened, Cass thought for a moment that she would faint. There were a dozen blue demons lined up to meet her, and one so tall and stately she knew he must be the King stood at the head of the procession. Everyone was dark haired and beautiful, and had it not been for the expectant smiles on all their faces, she’d have been completely distracted by their surroundings, but that was for later.
“Give me my bag,” she hissed to Eyoen.
“Right here, my dear.” And when she turned she saw that he’d manifested a table and her suitcase lay open on top.
“Greetings, King of Cyanus,” she said in formal Cyani, as Eyoen had instructed her. “It is my great pleasure to visit your land, and I humbly bare this small token which I hope you will accept. That’s all I know,” she added in English, and everyone laughed.
The King smiled and stepped forward to shake her hand like an American, then he kissed both her cheeks and forehead as was Cyani custom.
“Greetings, friend of my son,” the King answered. “It is my great pleasure to welcome you to my land and to my home. What is this?”
Eyoen had told her that his father was a strategist and liked games of chance, so she took a chance that he would be good at chess and had spent an obscene amount of money on a set with beautifully carved marble pieces and a velvet lined box to house its pieces.
“It’s a chess set and a book explaining the game and detailing the playing strategies of great players like Bobby Fischer.”
“Thank you, my dear.”
“Please call me Cass.”
The King nodded and stepped back, and the Queen stepped forward. She was the exact opposite of Carlow. Still tall, but as slender and delicate as he was broad and strong. Her skin was a slightly paler shade of blue and her hair wasn’t black but a rich dark red unlike anything Cass had ever seen, and she had lovely lavender eyes.
“Queen Siri, this is a swathe of raw silk in lavender to match your eyes.” Eyoen had approved the color and fabric. It was enough to make a dress, and the material was unlike anything they normally wore, which made it utterly suitable for a Queen.
Siri grinned and rubbed the silk against her face. “Marvelous, my dear. Thank you very much.”
Cass passed out Christian Louboutin stilettos to one fashion forward sister who squealed and immediately ordered a servant to help her put them on. She gave Materen a vintage Camaro model car that had to be assembled. Another sport mad brother got a baseball, bat and book on the game. There were hats, more books, perfume, Alexis Bittar jewelry, an elaborate make up kit, a box filled with different kinds of playing cards and instructions on gaming, a handheld electronic game and a bottle of extremely expensive Glenlivet whiskey for Eyoen’s oldest brother who he’d told her was a tippler.
When Cass finished handing out the gifts, only the two of them and Rierdane remained in the hall. Everyone else had vanished to play with their toys.
“My work here is done,” she grinned, dusting off her hands and sneezing three times in succession.
Eyoen frowned. “It’s bad enough I’m feeling poor. Now you’re sick?”
Cass shook her head. “Nah. I’m never sick. Must be the change in environment. May I have some Kleenex?”
Eyoen manifested a box and handed it to her, watching with concern as she blew her nose. He snapped his fingers and disposed of the used tissue.
“Sire, your father asked that you visit the healers.”
Eyoen wanted to refuse, but Cass began to shoo him away.
“I’ll just get settled in my room. Unless you want me to go with you?”
He did want her to come, but he didn’t want her to be alarmed at anything the healer might do to rid his body of the last of the steel poisoning.
“No, my dear. You rest. I’ll have a servant show you to my suite and bring refreshments.” He nodded at a girl nearby, and she bowed and swept her arm toward the back of the room.
“Sire, perhaps you would give miss the ability to speak and translate the language,” Rierdane said smoothly. “In case she should desire anything specific that is not provided.”
Eyoen shook his head. “Of course. I am so tired, I can barely think.” He waved his hand at Cass, who blinked.
“Did my head just tingle?”
Eyoen smiled. “Perhaps,” he said in his language.
“Are you very weak, baby?” she asked, then started when she realized the words she’d uttered were in Cyani, not English. “Well, shit! That’s awfully clever.”
She shook it off and walked over to give him a hug and kiss on the cheek.
“You’re very sweet,” he whispered into her ear.
“I’m on my best behavior so I don’t shock anybody,” she whispered back. “I hope nobody heard me cuss just now. When you come back we’ll take a nap and eat and you’ll feel better.”
“Yes, my dear,” he said wearily. He didn’t bother to explain that he likely would be completely restored when he returned. Why deprive himself of the joy of her fussing over him? “I will see you soon.”
Cass thought she would fall down dead when she saw Eyoen’s suite of rooms. Damn near her entire house could fit in his parlor, and her house wasn’t small.
“I damn sure ain’t gon’ need to work out. Just getting from room to room is a mile either way,” she muttered.
“Did you say something, miss?” the servant asked.
“No, no,” she answered in Cyani, smiling. “Everything is wonderful.”
“I will leave you to settle in. Refreshments will be here shortly. The bathing chamber is through that door should you like to refresh yourself.”
After the girl left, Cass walked to the door she mentioned, thinking it would be a good idea to see what she looked like after her first time space traveling. She raised her hand to push open the door and was shocked when it opened on its own.
The bathing chamber was ridiculous. Pale gold marble shot through with faint swirls of grey and silver was everywhere. There were specific sections blocked off with marble dividers, and in the center was a pool. To the side was a smaller pool, both deep enough to accommodate steps.
When she stood over the smaller pool and looked down she saw the bottom grew gradually deeper. It had to be at least six feet deep. Probably more, she realized, since Eyoen was over six feet. The big pool was even deeper. She could comfortably swim laps in here.
She stuck her hand in the water and laughed when the water seemed to tickle her fingers. She looked at her hand and frowned. She held her other hand beside it and realized the one she’d trailed in the water was not only completely clean, her skin looked softer, as though it had been conditioned. A hang nail she’d had on her thumb was gone.
She wondered what else the water did. She sneezed twice.
“Too bad it can’t keep my cruddy nose from running.” She sniffed loudly. She went over to one of the marble dividers and found a water closet and a bidet with no buttons and towels of all sizes but no toilet paper.
Routed, Cass shrugged and sniffed. If worse came to worse she’d have to make use of one of those plush gold towels. Hopefully Eyoen was back before it came to that.
She wandered back into the main room and followed her curiosity through another self-opening door and found Eyoen’s bedroom. The bed was like nothing she’d ever seen. At least the size of two or three beds put together, it was piled with soft, fluffy, oddly shaped pillows and was so high off the ground she had to climb six steps to get to it. Until she walked around the side and saw the steps the thing had looked like it was floating. She kicked off her shoes, climbed up and lay down, yawning.
It wouldn’t hurt to grab a quick cat nap. Eyoen might be finished by the time she woke, and they could take a swim in that big ass tub…
Eyoen grinned when he saw Cass. She’d fallen asleep with her legs hanging off the bed. She was snoring lightly, lips parted. Apparently her nose was still bothering her. He could fix that.
Cass woke to find Eyoen undressing her, and she smiled, seeing the bright happy shine in his eyes, the ease with which he now moved. He was obviously feeling better. Even his blue skin seemed more vibrant.
“Somebody’s feeling better,” she sneezed, the sound muffled in the shirt being pulled over her head.
Eyoen frowned and manifested some Kleenex for her. “Come into the pool, my dear. Perhaps we can wash away whatever irritant is upsetting your nose.”
“That water, is it treated somehow?”
He laughed tugging her up from the bed naked. “In a way, but I think spelled might be more accurate. It’s magically treated to clean and condition the skin without soap. It helps with star burn, insect bites, a host of minor maladies.” He led her into the pool and sat her down on the steps when she was submerged up to her neck.
“Can you fix my hair back if I get it wet?”
Cass held her nose and dipped her head back until she was completely underwater.
“If that doesn’t do it, nothing will.”
“If you are still afflicted there is a pool I will take you to beyond the yard that is renowned for its restorative powers. It will sort you out if need be.”
“Is it just me or is this water tingling?”
He grinned. “It is massaging you, my dear. Does it feel good?”
Did it ever. If she sat here too long with the clever water lapping at her naughty bits she might not need Eyoen anymore.
“Yes, you will,” Eyoen said, pulling her into his arms.
She threw her arms around his neck when the steps were no longer beneath her feet, but couldn’t tread water because her legs kept bumping his.
“Just hold on,” he whispered…