Dream Worlds Are Born

Story 616 ~ Seker & Themis


#1

“All you need to do is beat the other women for his affection and stab him with this once you’re completely alone.” Seker remembered the words of her Master as he handed her the sharp, enchanted blade. “Remember, he is a demon and can snap your neck before you can blink, you must be close, you must be fast.”

She stood there now, feeling slightly exposed in the outfit the Emperor’s handmaidens had chosen for her. It wasn’t that it was uncomfortable or that she was embarrassed, it was just it had been hard to find a place to hide the dagger. She had chosen her thigh after much deliberation. She looked down the line of women. Some of them looked excited, others nervous, and a few looked like they thought the world revolved around them, like they would easily entice the Emperor. Seker had to admit that there were many beautiful women here and if the Emperor cared only for one’s outward appearance then choosing a new wife should be easy.

She looked around the room, taking in the armed and armored guards, especially the woman standing to the right of the throne. She wore a pair of grappling gloves with metal on the knuckle. She was a pugilist and was probably much faster than the others. A voice pulled at her attention and she realized it was announcing the arrival of her target. Emperor Themis Orunmila came striding through the room, his eyes focused straight ahead and seeming not to notice the women. Then he paused in front of her, his nose flaring, his eyes locking with hers. Her heart jumped and for a moment she wondered if he knew, but he turned his gaze away and continued on to his throne.


#2

Assassination is the best way to meet your future potential wife


#3

It was odd to her a supposedly lecherous man paid so little mind to the scantily dressed women in the room. She had always had a mind of her own. Just because her master thought a certain thing didn’t make it true and it definitely struck her odd he had only stopped to look at her. Even as he sat he seemed disinterested beyond his occasional glance her way. She decided he could just have a very specific type and she could fit the bill. She didn’t want to kill an innocent man though so at the same time she now wanted some verification what her master thought of this emperor was true.


#4

She tried to keep her eyes facing away from him as the man who had announced the Emperor began talking to her and the other women. He repeated what she had heard upon being chosen, that the Emperor was looking for a wife, that if they were lucky they would have the honor of marrying him. He even pointed out that those who were not chosen, wouldn’t leave empty handed. She could see Themis watching her out of the corner of her eye, but she acted like he wasn’t there. She had to act the part and get him alone. The man ended his speech by letting them know that today would be spent with them mingling and getting to know Themis. “We have prepared a large banquet for all of you as a way to celebrate our Emperor choosing a new wife. Please follow me and if you should have any questions, don’t be afraid to speak up. Your comfort is important to us.”

The man nodded to Themis and he nodded back. Seker knew what this really was. It was a way for them to weed out those they didn’t deem good enough for the Emperor. Seker wondered what his type was. She had been told he had an entire harem, so she guessed he was into those who could be easily broken. As the women started to shuffle out, she couldn’t help but look at him. He was speaking to the woman next to him and when they both looked at her, she shifted her gaze away. She told herself not to worry. If they knew, they would have done something by now.


#5

Once the women had left the room his right hand woman said “I’m glad there’s actually a woman here you like so much. I was worried since you’re still healing from the loss of your wife.”

“Its almost not fair to do this when my heart still so belongs to my departed wife but maybe with her I can learn to love again. She actually stirred my heart when I saw her and I wasn’t sure it would ever be able to react to a woman again”

“Keep in mind Cora would be happy you’re doing this. Anyone who knows you knows you’ll always have a place in your heart for Cora but you can love again and that will be completely okay. Cora was not the kind of woman who would want you to spend your life alone”

“I’m just hoping the one woman I am interested in does have a desire to be with me. Didn’t she seem uncomfortable”

“if she’s here she’d have to want to be unless maybe she had pressure from her family. You can get to the bottom of that and even so you could probably get her to fall for you anyway” He almost laughed “thanks, I dont know how I’d do this without a friend like you. With the pressure I’ve gotten to chose a new wife I feel like nobody understands how much I loved Cora”

“It’s not that, people are just weird and expect the emperor to be married. They just think it makes you look weak”

“Nothing makes you stronger than love”

“Yes, say those things when you’re talking to that girl. Most girls love mush”

“I highly doubt she wants to talk about my departed wife”

“You never know”

“Tell me more of what you thought of her at first glance”

“She seems intelligent and she holds herself like a woman raised to fight which is definitely something I can respect. I really don’t see her as a woman here against her will or because of pressure from her family”


#6

“There’s something about her scent though.”

She wagged her finger in front of his face. “It’s rude to smell a lady on the first date.”

He chuckled. “You know I can’t help it, instincts and all that.”

“I guess I can give you a pass then.” She rested a hand on his shoulder. “You can do this boss, just don’t make it too obvious. Pretend some of the others are interesting.”

“I have dated before.”

“You’re rusty so trust me.”

“Thank you, I’ll take it slow.”

“For now at least. A woman like that must have a wild side.”


#7

“Oh?” since there were no outsiders around she hit him “pervert” Taenya said with a laugh. He chuckled with her and she was glad he could have even had a thought like that for a moment. She meant it when she told him she didn’t think Cora would want him alone, she had loved Themis too much. “I do hope she’s an adventurous sort of woman”

“You’ll get to know her soon” Themis excused himself before he followed the group of women in there and sat with the woman who had caught his eye. Taenya was right, even though she was here as a possible bride he shouldn’t show just how interested he was in her yet, it would make most women uncomfortable.


#8

Seker moved among the women, a drink in her hand as she surveyed the room. She didn’t see Themis among them and she changed directions, heading over to the man who had brought them into this room. He smiled warmly at her when she approached and took her hand when she offered it. “Seker, right?” He said.

“Yes, and I didn’t catch your name.”

“Rhesus, ma’am.”

“May I ask where the Emperor is, Rhesus?” He released her hand and gave her a nod.

“He’ll be here soon. He asked that you all have time to get to know each other before he came in.” He gestured toward the other women. “You are competing, but you are not enemies.”

“I see, I hope my question wasn’t too forward.”

He chuckled. “Not at all, so please, enjoy yourself. Our home is your home.”


#9

She was tempted to keep to herself, to just lean against the wall and wait but that would make her stand out too much. She couldn’t see a single other woman doing that and while she wanted to be picked she didn’t want to stand out so much they suspected her of wanting to do anything else besides become his new wife. She scanned the room and went with her gut on who she might get on best with. The woman wasn’t as interesting as she had hoped but it killed time until he finally entered. All the women eagerly looked toward him so she could comfortably look him over, searching for anything she should worry about.


#10

“I hope you have all been enjoying yourselves.” Themis said with a smile. “I know this is all a little overwhelming, but hopefully you’ll feel comfortable here for the time being.” He gestured around him. “For now, consider this place your home.” He let his eyes sweep over them and they settled on Seker who forced herself to hold his gaze. She was relieved when he finally looked away. “You will all be given fair treatment here, you’ll all have a chance to get to know me.”

“And how will you be choosing?” One of the women asked. “I mean, it shouldn’t be that hard right?”

“This is not something I am taking lightly, it’s an important decision, one that will not only effect me, but my entire kingdom. Someone who thinks they are better than others, is not the kind of person I am looking for.” The woman’s face flushed with embarrassment. “Now, please continue and I will come around so you can introduce yourselves.”


#11

Seker couldn’t ignore that nagging feeling within her that something was amiss. She knew not every sleaze was obvious but he just seemed so genuine. There really wasn’t anybody in this room he truly needed to put on an act for, none of them would have batted an eye if he went for purely looks so he must actually care about who the woman was at his side. If he had twenty or so stashed somewhere it wouldn’t really matter. She wasn’t quite ready to dismiss her mission yet though, the feeling was just nagging at her more.

Seker continued talking to the disappointing woman she had been speaking to before until Seker made his way to her. The blonde coudl barely hold in her delight “It’s so amazing to meet you!” she gushed. Themis had been ready to talk to Seker, had been since he entered but he was following Taenya’s advice. He had made himself talk to others before approaching her. He contained his sigh and gave his time to one more woman before talking to the one he really wanted to know more about.


#12

“So, Seker, correct?” He asked once he had finished his conversation with the other woman. She held out her hand and he took it gently in his.

“Emperor.” She couldn’t help but be amazed at how tall he was and how beautiful he really was this close. He wore power like a second skin, yet there was something surprisingly gentle about him. Was it all a trick?

“Call me Themis, please, if we should marry, there’s no point in us not being on a first name basis.”

She couldn’t help but smile at him. “I’m surprised you remember all of our names.”

“I wouldn’t be a good Emperor if I didn’t have a good memory.” He realized he was still holding her hand and released it. “Apologies.”

“It’s fine, really.”

He chuckled. “I couldn’t help but notice your hand though, rough skin, from a sword I’m guessing.”

He heart jumped in her chest. “Uh, well…”

“I’m amazed. Perhaps you could demonstrate later?”

“Uh…” she didn’t know why she was so suddenly so hesitant. It’s not like he had cornered her, like he had smelled her out or something.

“I mean for everyone, not anything private.” He cleared his throat. “You could maybe fight Taenya, though she’s not into using swords.”


#13

If she wasn’t here to kill him, the thought of going hand to hand with Taenya would be exciting but she was hiding a dagger and the cards probably held a non friendly fight for them anyway if she didn’t do this sneakily enough and get out of town. If it should fall off of her there was no explaining it, they had been told they couldn’t have weapons. Instead of directly answering she asked “does she just box in general or is her skill specialized” Why pass up an opportunity to learn about a woman she may have to fight to escape once her job was done.

“She doesn’t have a special fighting style but she’s the best I’ve seen, beyond being a friend of mine now that’s why she is often at my side”

“where is she now?”

“I assume taking a much deserved rest somewhere.” she wondered if maybe Taenya was checking on his captives, making sure they didn’t escape and join this little party.


#14

“Maybe after getting settled into my room.” That way she could hide the weapon. She didn’t like the idea of leaving it, but until she got a moment alone with Themis, she wasn’t going to be able to use it.

“Of course. I hope it wasn’t too forward of me to ask. Taenya would tell me to slow down.”

“I don’t mind.” She gestured to the sword at his hip. “That one’s quite beautiful.”

“It was a gift.”

“May I?”

“Of course.” He unsheathed the sword and held it out to her. She traded her drink and took to admiring the blade. “It’s sharp.”

“I can see that.” She smiled and his heart danced. He knew he was being rude to the others, but he couldn’t help but linger with Seker. “I’ve never seen anything like it, thank you.” She held it out to him and he allowed his fingers to brush hers. He watched her cheeks flush, delighting in the reaction.

“You’re very welcome.”

“So what now?” Seker asked as they traded drink and sword. Her heart was beating far too fast. He had an obvious effect on her and she mentally reprimanded herself.

“You get settled in and I talk to Rhesus about who stays and who goes.” He answered honestly.

“I see,” she dropped her voice and he leaned closer to hear her, “am I staying?”

He chuckled. “I’m not supposed to tell you, you’ll just have to wait and see.”


#15

He was smiling too much and too genuinely for her to be leaving so she relaxed as he moved on from her. She hoped her attraction to him wasn’t clouding her judgement. Most importantly, she hoped she had resolve on weather he was innocent of the accusation or truly a terrible man in need of ending. Seker sought out another woman to distract her so she wouldn’t stare at him and this one was a much better choice.

She began telling Seker about her family, mainly her father. He had apparently done a lot of traveling before settling down and Seker found the stories his daughter retold absolutely fascinating. It wasn’t too much longer before they were excused and shown to where they’d be staying if they made the cut “finally” she thought to herself. She wasn’t here to make new friends or socialize, she was here for her job or to warn Themis beings were spreading falsehoods about him in order to get him killed. She’d hate admitting why she was there but she would, no matter what that might mean for her.


#16

“So?” Taenya asked as she came up behind Themis.

“So what?”

“Did you get to meet your future wife?”

He arched an eyebrow. “Where were you?”

“Doing my job and making sure everything was secure. You know I barely stopped the last assassin that broke in here.”

“Not that you had to, I could have taken care of it.”

Taenya rolled her eyes. “That would be boring.” She waved off the idea. “Anyway, how was she? When’t the wedding?”

“You told me to take it slow.”

“And did you?”

“For the most part, yes. I asked her if she wouldn’t mind fighting you in front of everyone.”

Taenya started laughing and he looked away embarrassed. “So romantic.”

“I’ll make it up to her, I just didn’t know what else to say.”

She patted his back. “It’s sweet how much you already like her.”

“It’s crazy you mean.”

“Love is supposed to be crazy.”

“And I’m trying to be fair to everyone.” He sighed. “Can’t I just kick the others out and follow my instincts?”

“Be nice, instincts are for later.” She winked and he shook his head.


#17

Themis hadn’t kept many of the other girls around, not wanting to raise too much false hope. He kept just enough to keep with his plan of not being too obvious about his focus being on Seker. The first thing Seker did in her room was find a place for her weapon. Simply putting it under her pillow or mattress wouldn’t do. For all she knew he would have beings searching their rooms when they werent in them. On a job like this it was better to be paranoid. She needed to stay ahead of her hosts.

She wished she had her own bathroom, there were always good hiding places in bathrooms but this was just a room, nothing attached. There was however two paintings in her room. If she could get it to stay behind one of them it would be perfect. Even if he had servants invade their belongings for information they wouldn’t check her room that thoroughly unless they suspected her.


#18

She was relieved when it stayed lodged behind the second one and she backed up, examining it. Nothing looked out of place and it wouldn’t be noticed unless someone actually moved the painting. She then took in the room, checking all the exits in case she had to escape from here. She could scale the outer wall if she had to and she had see that the hall where her room was located was long and she would have quite the run if she had to leave that way. A tap on her door made her heart jump and she froze. “Who is it?” She called out.

“Jane ma’am, one of the maids.”

She crossed over to the door and pulled it open, getting a smile from the woman on the other side. “Is something wrong?”

“No ma’am. Rhesus asked that myself and the others inform you ladies that Themis will start spending time with you all individually tomorrow. Rhesus plans everything, so he wants to know what things you would like to do for your day.”

“It’s really just going to be us?”

“Yes ma’am. Oh and also, about your match with Taenya, Rhesus believes it would be fun to have you do so during dinner tomorrow night, as a form of entertainment.”

“That sounds perfect and do you think Themis would be opposed to just showing me his home? I’ve heard this place has a lot of secrets since it’s so old.” In truth, she simply wanted to see if there really was a harem and it was a bonus if she could get him alone in a room.

“Of course.”


#19

Seker was left alone until she was escorted to dinner where she took it as a good sign she was the nearest woman to Themis. She was sure he had picked where they’d sit since she was directed to a certain spot. He spoke to her frequently over dinner but made sure he was talking to the other women as well. Seker hadn’t been surprised Taenya was at the table but it did surprise her the woman talked to her as much as she did. She hoped it was out of true interest and not suspicion. Just before they left Taenya told Seker “I’m eager for our match” Seker found herself more eager as well, especially since she had a good place to stash her weapon. Though, she did hold some hope she could dress in something a little more her in the following days.


#20

Themis found it hard to leave Seker when they all had to get ready for bed and took more time telling her goodnight, hoping the other women didn’t notice his growing affection for her. Seker couldn’t help but find it a little adorable when he glanced around before taking her hand and bringing it to his lips. She knew demons, as a rule, were supposed to be scary, but with him she couldn’t see it. “Themis?”

“Yes?”

His eyes locked with hers and she swallowed then sighed. “Do you think you could maybe get me some clothes that are more comfortable?”

He smiled, then let out a little chuckle. He didn’t know what he had expected her to say. He found himself hanging onto every word she said. “Of course, I’ll talk to Taenya about you borrowing some of hers.”

“Thank you, sorry to ask.”

“You deserve to be comfortable.” He released her hand. “Good night.”

“Good night.”

They parted, Seker heading to her room while Themis was intercepted by Taenya who couldn’t help but tease him. He just smiled as he went up to his room. Seker couldn’t sleep that night, her mind too busy trying to work everything out.