The prince arose from his bed, head still spinning from the night before. The palace had been busy making preparations for the engagement feast and attending to Nieneve and her brother, giving him opportunities to skive off on his princely duties. Even his uncle had been rather distracted.
The whore next to him groaned in her sleep. He crinkled his nose in disgust. He didn't like the thought of her kind sleeping in his bed, but she had been a gift snuck into the palace by his friends, and it would have been rude to refuse.
"A pre-wedding present," Sir Iaine Jonas, a young knight only a couple of years older than Leopold proclaimed, shoving the whore into the room so hard that she fell onto the marble floor. The others in the room laughed and jeered, loud enough for someone walking past to have heard, but no one came in to disturb him.
"Now now," chided Leopold. "That is no way to treat a lady." He stifled a smirk as his eyes roamed over her filthy rags. He held out a hand to help her up off the floor and then bowed graciously. "My lady."
She was surprised at his compassion and she turned her face slightly away as if embarrassed. His friends, however, sniggered. They knew this was all part of his act, playing the handsome prince, wooing the girl. Whores were always better when they wanted it.
Slowly, his friends vacated the room, with the occasional pat on the prince's shoulder or a drunken slur as they left. Sir Jonas whispered in Leopold's ear as he passed by, "remember the dare and we'll get you a virgin on what would have been your wedding night."
Leopold recalled his friends' dare as he watched the sunlight brush across his whore's cheek. To bed Nieneve before the eve of their wedding, removing her status as a maiden, and escape the fate of their arranged marriage.
In all honesty, the prince was shocked that she had never laid with a man before. Yet if the rumours were true, Pharneus Dracarys had more or less kept her locked away in that dreadfully small castle of their's. The only male besides her brother that she had ever come into contact with had been some farmer's son, and Pharneus must have quickly taken care of that threat by sending him off to art school.
A knock at the door interrupted his thoughts. In a fit of panic, he flung the covers over the whore's face, causing her to stir and then struggle. He yanked the covers away and placed a hand over her mouth to muffle her shrieks.
She tried to shake him off, but then her eyes focused on his and saw him gesture to the door then press his fingers on her lips she calmed. Her fear-filled features softened as she gazed upon the prince, her prince. The knock came again, harder against the door's solid oak surface.
"I will be there in a minute!" called the prince, placing the covers back over the whore. She allowed him to do so, laying still underneath them as if she was never there.
"Open up!" He heard Arfur's voice from behind the door. Leopold threw on a robe and let him in.
"What do you want?" said Leopold, crossing his arms. Arfur placed a hand on his chest and shoved him onto the bed, causing the whore to squeal and tumble out of the bed.
"Leave wench," Arfur commanded.
"She's my whore, you can't tell her what to do!" The prince said to Arfur, but it was half-hearted. He snatched up her rags and chucked them at her. "Leave."
Her eyes filled with tears and she blubbered. The prince image shattered forever. She quickly dressed and left the room.
"Make sure nobody sees you!" He called after her.
"So, talk of the palace says there's another feast." Arfur lay on Leopold's bed, hands tucked behind his head.
"Comfortable there?" Leopold said, prodding him.
"Ouch!" Arfur rubbed his side.
"Anyway, you were saying?"
"Yes, apparently there is an engagement dinner tonight. I thought you had one already a few nights ago?"
Leopold ruffled his hair, still layered with last night's oil, confused for a moment and then shrugged. "I guess so. I must have forgotten." After a pause he said, "yes, I remember my uncle saying something about that. He said during the last feast that it was just the meeting. The one this evening is my engagement."
"I'm offended Where's my invite?" Arfur said with mock-sorrow. "I wanted to see you carry out that dare!"
"This evening isn't for low-born scum like you," Leopold joked.
"Low-born? I have you know that my father is-"
Arfur was cut off by Apophis' voice. "Must every event I arrange be met with your tardiness?"
He strode into the room. Arfur scrambled off the bed and attempted to make a hasty escape, but Apophis grabbed hold of the back of his robes.
"I had a servant run you a bath," he said to Leopold, then turned to Arfur, hauling him towards him. "And you, if I catch you sneaking another whore within the palace walls, I shall have your balls sliced off and donated to a more deserving eunuch."
He walked out of the prince's bedchamber, but not before saying over his shoulder, "it is important that you are there on time. Your father will also be attending."