Hearing his father’s name made Egilka scowl. Suddenly he didn’t want to kiss Clajak. Not as much, anyway.
The prince grinned. “What I wouldn’t have given to have heard that announcement. ‘My father, do you remember a certain Nobek emperor who once courted you as a possible clanmate? The one who if Tidro hadn’t been so much more to his liking, would have made you an emperor yourself? Well, I’m now betrothed to his son. I’ll be emperor in the distant future instead of you.’ As if Wej wasn’t already eaten up with envy over your research being so far beyond his work.”
Egilka said, “I’m glad my family issues are fun for you to envision, Clajak.”
“My Imdiko, that man has always competed with you and every other person he’s ever come across. It’s only his status, breed, and rank that managed to get anyone to clan him. I know you have little loyalty to Wej, because he inspires none.”
It was true. While Egilka had respect for his father’s work – despite Clajak’s insult, Wej was a brilliant scientist – the man was torment to be around. He even kept a home separate from the rest of Egilka’s parent clan.
“My father Wej is difficult,” Egilka acknowledged. “And yes, when he found out I was to be clanned to you, the anger was ... extreme.”
Even leaving it to his other fathers and mother to tell him of the eventual clanning hadn’t cushioned much of Wej’s fury when he found out Egilka was to join the Crown Prince Clan. The elder Imdiko had been beside himself in a jealous rage.
“I don’t think he gave a damn about being Yuder and Zarl’s Imdiko really, or even about being emperor someday. I think it just pissed him off that I would outrank him,” Egilka mused. That the announcement had come so soon after Egilka had won the top award in research science over four other nominees – one of whom had been Wej – had only fueled his father’s jealousy.
“And now he stays in his laboratory, terrorizing his research team and keeping the rest of the world at bay,” Clajak said. “A lonely man without a friend in the world. That's your future if you don’t loosen up, Egilka.”
The Imdiko gave Clajak a dark look. “I am nothing like Wej, not even remotely. Fuck you.”
Releasing mid-December 2015