The next morning, Permotio woke late. Her sleepy eyes glanced at the empty bed. She called out Libidinosus's name twice, both with no reply. She lifted up, leaning on one elbow. She shifted the bed sheets up, giving herself a little more dignity. She called out again, louder, and he appeared holding a silver tray. "Good morning, mistress. I hope you had a great night. Breakfast is served." He was only wearing an apron, barely covering his groin.
Permotio relaxed instantly. She stood up from the bed, allowing the sheets to fall. "I need someone to help me into my corset. It's kind of impossible to lace myself in. Will you help me?" He nodded speechlessly. "But firstly, when is Verna returning? I do not want to have my dignity slashed by her seeing me in this state. Lace me in, my dearest Libby."
Libidinosus blushed at Permotio's use of his nickname. "Hush my sweet. Verna will not return until tomorrow. It is the day of the servants Harvest. It is something in which I am too young to participate. I'll lace you in. we'll have to find it first. I fear it was damaged. My friend has drained out the blood. Your skirt is somewhere in my room. We went into...I think your skirt was lost in the bathroom."
Quickly but painstakingly carefully, they searched the rooms for Permotio's skirt and corset. After fifteen minutes of careful searching, the corset but no skirt had been found. She was laced into the corset; Libidinosus had no idea how to sneak into Permotio's chamber to get a clean skirt.
"Libby, I know a back way into my chamber, but how do I go in this state?" She suddenly declared. Libidinosus blushed again at his new lover's use of Libby.
"I have, I believe, an idea."
And so, after ten minutes of ducking at every noise, the new lovers found their way into Permotio's chamber. They found the last clean skirt available and Libby helped her into it.
Although he had prepared breakfast, neither had eaten. Hand in hand, they walked together into the main Hall. All eyes were focused on them as they fetched their yoghurt and fruit to the designated lover's area. Only those who weren't servants were present, but still the Hall was full. They talked quietly about the night before, verbally re-enacting the night's events. They had to take care. If the King and Queen heard of their "antics" it would mean death for Libby as the servant.
Currently they did not care. They were more interested in the passionate happiness that is synonymous with the newfound love. "This is the happiest I've ever been, dearest, and it's all thanks to you." She placed a small kiss on his lips. "I cannot help but have some fear. You must realise that not even gold will please my parents. It is certain death if they find out. It would be my choice on how you die. Decide now, my dear, before I make the decision. How do you wish for me to kill you?"
He never had the chance to answer. Twenty Odiums had entered the main Hall. Their guns were blood stained - they had already killed. To enter the main Hall, one must pass through at least fifty guards, each at different times. It meant all were dead or dying. Each Odium suddenly fired two shots each. One hit Libidinosus between the eyes. He was dead before Permotio heard the shot. He fell to wooden floor with a dull thud. That was the only movement. The other bullets lodged in the walls, lace and tapestries.
The central Odium, the tallest and most obviously the leader, walked proudly towards Permotio. His voice was like her father's - strong, wise, and authoritative. "Recognise this?" He held up the Metuere King's bleeding eye as he spoke. Permotio remained calm. She did not shed a tear. She failed to flinch. She remained strong and unemotional. "Princess, I want you to come with me. Failure to do so will result in the deaths of all in this Hall. Do you understand, Princess Permotio?" Permotio breathed deeply, then nodded carefully. "Good. I will leave you with my son. He will search you to make sure you are unarmed. If you are, you will both be unarmed. If you have weapons, you will both be given a gun, one bullet in each. Follow him. Princess, I do not want to harm you. Ecce hora! Gentlemen, follow my lead. Son, go with her to her chamber. You know where it is." The leader grabbed Permotio by the waist and threw her to his nameless son. She landed on top of a good-looking young man, possibly the same age as herself. "If you try anything, Princess Permotio, I will know. This is not the first time I have been in the castle. Go."
Permotio kept her arm around the leader's son's waist. "I apologise, but I feel unsteady. I need physical support."
She looked up, and noticed that he was smiling. He was not mocking her; it was a friendly, warm, benign smile. "I'm not complaining. With a beautiful girl hanging off me - I do not mock you - it's any guy's dream! So, we're going to your chamber, huh? Want me to carry you?"
Permotio felt herself grinning back. "Are you...Never mind. Would it be possible for me to continue hanging off you, as you so delightfully put it?" Permotio was still grinning. "My chamber is near. Would you like to go the direct way, or the scenic route?"
"How more scenic can you get, huh? You're already gorgeous. C'mon, we'll take the direct route."
They walked in silence. Permotio could feel his warmth, his breath against her cheek, his heart beating near her ear. She shuddered as they reached her chamber. The blood from Cavum's suicide had not yet been cleared. The nameless son broke the awkward silence. "Whoa, looks like someone died in here." He glanced at Permotio's face. "Shit, someone did die in here. You know 'em?"
"My brother." Permotio managed to finally say. "He slit his wrists. He died last night. Twice. But, as I've learnt, acta est fabula. It's Latin. It means when the drama is acted out, or when the bad is over. I never really understood what it meant until now. Where are my manners? Please, take a seat on that chair, the one by the desk. We can talk." The Odium semi-carried Permotio to the desk. He sat on the chair, and rested Permotio on the desk. She felt better, but was slightly uneasy. "Who are you? What is your name? Why are you here? What do you want from me?"
He laughed. It was warm, like his smile. "Princess, I do not mock you. I'm the only son of the Odium King. My name is Prince Fidelis Odium. I came for the fun. I also came here to talk people out of killing anyone. I guess I failed. I want just one thing from you and you know what it is." Fidelis leaned forward; Permotio tensed. "I know you fight for peace. So do I. I need help. How can I fight for peace, if my own Pater is King of the Hated?"
She breathed a sigh of relief. "I did not know that Odiums speak Latin. I do fight for peace, but how can I help you?"
"There is so much you don't know about us. I know that Metueres and Odiums were once - a very long time ago, mind - one family. Sibling rivalry got out of hand." He bowed his head for a moment, and then looked up at Permotio with chocolate eyes. Tears were spilling down his cheeks. "Forgive me, kind and beautiful princess, but I'm scared. I'm only twenty years old. I fear that fighting for peace will end in my death. I couldn't cope with that. I don't want to lose all the people I care about."
Permotio wiped away his tears with her thumb. His skin was soft and warm. "I know. I know exactly how you feel. My family means so much to me. I've seen too much at too young an age. I tried to save a girl's life seven years ago. She died from a bullet in the stomach. It was an Odium bullet. How can I trust you, after what I've seen?"
Fidelis reached up to Permotio's hand. "Help me, kind princess. I do not mock you. I am not next in line to the throne. After my Pater, no one gets the throne. Of course, I'm talking metaphorically here. There is no actual throne. Why can I not lie to you? I'm telling you so much, and you have told so little. Kind princess, treat me as a Metuere, as I am treating you like an Odium. The girl you speak of...It was not I, so you can trust me. I have not killed anyone. I refuse to take a life. My Pater gets angry easily. He almost killed me for not wanting to harm your father. I'm scared, Princess, I'm so scared."
Permotio smiled gently. "Do not be scared. I know. I know." She hopped off the desk, and held the crying Odium in her arms. She felt an empathetic sympathy for him. He was in the same position as her. He was just more aware of his feelings. "I never thought I'd be hugging an Odium. You are the sworn enemy of my family. Even if you say that both our families were as one, it's going to be a challenge convincing the elders. Have you an idea?"
Fidelis wrapped his arms around Permotio's waist and shook his head. "I have no idea. None at all. Thank you, beautiful Princess. Will you answer a personal question? You may say it's none of my business and tell me to shut up."
Permotio laughed. "I will answer your question if you answer two of mine."
Fidelis nodded. "Ladies first." He motioned with his hand for Permotio to speak.
Permotio could feel her cheeks warm. "One: would you please stop calling me princess? It is not annoying, as such, but I'm accustomed to people calling me by my first name." She paused to let Fidelis answer. He nodded, laughing. "Thank you. Two: what are your plans to convince the elders that Metueres and Odiums are related?"
Fidelis bowed his head silently. "Truthfully, Permotio, I have no idea how to convince them. I don't even know if I'm right. I need help; that's why I've come to you. I asked to be your minder. It was either you or a servant. You're much prettier." Fidelis lifted his hand up to touch her face, but pulled away before he could feel her. His face suddenly became solemn. "The one who was...shot. Did you know him?"
Permotio blinked back tears. "His name was Libidinosus. I was, am, in love with him. Last night was our first night of passion. He was my brother's servant. My servant is his sister. Verna - my servant - caught me and Libidinosus last night."
"Caught doing what, exactly?" Permotio's look was enough. "Oh. He deflowered you. Was it your first time? Forgive me. I'm curious. You don't have to answer, not if you don't want to."
"It's fine. Everyone is curious to some degree. No, he wasn't my first. That was three years ago. My partner at the time was a fighter. I had just one night with him before he had to fight. Two days later, he was found dead; a knife was between his first and second ribs. I was told it was an Odium, but I'm not sure. Have you still got your purity? And why have you not searched me for weapons?"
Fidelis blushed. "I was planning on searching you; your beauty has distracted me. I still have my purity."
Permotio stood up, and raised Fidelis from the chair. "I shall be your first then," she whispered. Permotio was about half a foot shorter than the Odium. She stood on tiptoes and raised her head up to kiss his lips. She kissed him - slow, long, gentle, and passionate. His lips were warm and he slipped his tongue between their lips, getting all the places she liked.