He looked at the smirking Nobek. Bevau stood still, but he thrummed with energy. Clajak knew taking such a man down would be a profound achievement. He needed time to figure this out.
Stalling so he could do just that, Clajak said, “Hmm. I’m not sure you have a valid point, my Imdiko. Tell me, Bevau, what is the protocol for obeying dissenting orders from two princes?”
Bevau cocked his head to consider the question. “I would have to make a judgment call and serve the one I believe to be the most entitled. That would be based on the situation, not privilege of birth, by the way.” He gave Clajak a narrow gaze.
A curl of excitement and dismay swirled in Clajak’s gut. The Nobek had identified Clajak as the greater physical threat of the two royals. Of course the warrior would want to overcome that first, rather than the more intellectual Egilka.
Clajak needed to think faster. If he didn’t come up with some ruse that would outsmart Bevau, the Nobek would get him in a compromising position. No doubt the prince’s rogue of an Imdiko would be more than happy to go along with that, hoping to get an opportunity to top as well.
Keeping his tone unconcerned, Clajak asked, “Are you saying that I would be in the wrong?”
Egilka’s eyes danced with merriment. He could tell which way the wind was blowing too. “You, wrong? Perish the thought.”
A frontal attack on Bevau was out. A trained soldier, a high commander of the ground forces no less, the man would have Clajak on his belly and a cock up his ass before the Dramok could land the first blow.
Still stalling for time and knowing he was running out of that commodity, Clajak dropped onto a seating cushion. Playing nonchalant, he eyed his companions. There was no denying the predatory glint in both sets of eyes that trained on him. Clajak’s nervous excitement edged up another notch.
He confronted the situation head-on. “Ganging up on me, I see. And here I was thinking of pleasant ways to while away the time until we can venture back outside.”
Egilka shot Bevau a conspiratorial grin. “That’s pretty much all he ever thinks about.”
“So I’ve heard. Such things have their time and place.” The Nobek looked about the shelter. There wasn’t much to look at. “With this being a new facility, no one has thought to put distractions in here. With nothing else to do, this place will surely see its share of such activities. We have the time. And I have the inclination.”
Bevau’s gaze fell on Clajak again. His eyes had gone dark, and the look on his face had turned pure, hungry Nobek. Clajak thought maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea for him to put himself on the floor, where he could easily be pinned down. Yet he thought if he tried to rise now, Bevau would be on him like a ravening zibger.
Egilka didn’t make the situation any better. Even the gentlest Imdikos could sense when prey was ready to be taken. “You should know that Clajak is heavily afflicted with the Dramok’s curse.”
Bevau grinned. His fang peeked out. “He has to run the show, huh?”
Egilka sighed. “Unfortunately. I’ve found it takes a great deal of craft to put him on the bottom.”
The game was coming to a close, and Clajak was on the losing side. He sat straight up, his eyes narrowing at his clanmate. “All right, Imdiko, I know what you’re playing at. Don’t even think about it.”
Egilka ignored him, speaking familiarly to Bevau. “That means you’ll have to make that judgment you referred to earlier. Who would you obey in this situation?”
Bevau’s grin was pure deviltry. Clajak knew the last play was at hand, but he didn’t have a decent move left to him ... if he’d ever had one at all. With no strategy making itself known to him, instinct took over. He tried to get to his feet.
An instant later he was flat on his back, lying on the long seating cushion. Bevau was on top of him, holding him down, his rigid erections pressing against Clajak’s.
Releasing September 2015