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Nervousness shot through me as I headed out into the hallways and started walking towards the exit to the castle. I was in the mask now, but I felt more exposed than I ever had before. Of course, the celebration did not occur within the castle. The location actually wasn’t known to anyone but those that set it up, which likely included Julian.

We were instructed to stand outside our homes. Those in masks would be picked up by carriages and brought to our final location. At the end of the night, we’d be returned the same way. Although I passed several servants and guards on my way out, they completely ignored my presence. This wasn’t in the way that they kept their distance out of respect. Instead, it was more like I was a ghost, wandering through the hallway.

This was not an effect of the mask, regrettably. The servants were instructed that under no circumstances were they allowed to look at or acknowledge someone in a mask. It was part of the illusion of this night. We were not nobles at this moment. We were simply spirits, seeking out the sexual gratification with our night queen, Qetesh. The ritual that seemed to permeate this strange society raised the stakes in my mind, causing me to feel anxious even when I told myself it was just a bunch of nobles fornicating to alleviate their own boredom.

I passed the gate guards, moving to the front of the castle gates. The castle housed many dignitaries and upper nobles. It was never a location lived in by only the king and his sons. Many had been given rooms in the castle which was a sign of trust and unity. This included Sylvia’s father, and various other Dukes, Earls, and Marquis. Although most only used the rooms occasionally when they had to visit the castle on business, a few allowed their future heirs to stay in the castle for a year or two to expose them to the political landscape.

Of course, the king, the princes, and I were housed in a different wing, but some of the wings were known to house quite a few men and women around my age. Many of them had shunned me at the ball two weeks prior, but tonight, I wore the mask, and thus I had no identity as far as they were concerned.

There was a large grouping of people outside the gate dressed up in their finest clothing. Each person wore a mask of their own although identifying them was likely not hard. Some of the masks were very gaudy, full of bright shiny beads and diamonds, others were more modest. Many of the men went for a jet black tuxedo mask that made them look like secret agents although a few weren’t afraid to have something a bit more eccentric.

Then again, I didn’t have a choice when my mask was made. I wondered if it was common for members to have their masks prepared for them. If that was the case, I imagined there were a few people who had been handed ridiculous masks as a practical joke or something.

I quickly tried to blend into the crowd, but as I moved out into the moonlight, several people gave me lingering looks. Instead of the veiled hostility, I had felt at my welcoming banquet, these looks had more consideration. They looked my body up and down. It was mostly my body they were examining, perhaps considering if I was worth one of the Qetesh coins.

My dress certainly stood out from the pack. Every other dress looked like it was made by the same seamstress. It was likely the best and most expensive seamstress in town, but the result was that everyone wore similar designs. Meanwhile, my dress looked completely different, incorporating leather straps, fine cloth, hand stitching, and nylon stockings, my dress was made for my body, not simply from measurements, but from personal experience. It was made by a woman who intimately knew the ins and outs of my body. The effect showed, and I saw some women stare with jealous glares, while others looked on with awe. A few looked like they wanted to approach me, but they were too scared to.

I didn’t meet them halfway. After the treatment at the banquet, I no longer felt like I owed these people anything. I had no want to endear myself to these women. If a few left me some experience, that was great, but mostly I planned to take as much experience as I could from as many men as I could. The main reason I planned to target men tonight was simple. Men came, and they came easy. As long as he shot his load, I knew I had earned my experience, and I moved on accordingly. While I could tell with women sometimes, it was never as clear, so I decided to maximize the use of my time, it would be mostly men tonight.

Therefore, I stood aloof among the crowd, wrapping my arms under my breasts, accentuating them sensually and unintentionally as I put on an aura of superiority. I’d be the hottest girl at this event, and I knew it, at least that was what I kept telling myself. I filled up the surrounding space, raised my chin, and built myself up emotionally. Although I wasn’t aware of it, my charm was very high at this point, and simply by being me, my body seduced those around me.

Seduce has increased to LVL 7.

I didn’t really understand why my level suddenly increased, but I had no complaints with increasing skills. I was also wrapped up in my own thoughts, so I didn’t realize how most of the conversations had turned towards hush whispers as people eyed me. Before any of the people waiting with me worked up the courage to approach me, a line of carriages suddenly approached. There was about fifteen of them. Each one was pulled by a team of horses and coachman dressed all in black.

The coaches were also completely black with gold edging. Each one was completely sealed off, with no visible windows. As I understood it, the nobles were taken to and dropped off from the party within these coaches so that even after going, the location would remain unknown. They were perhaps large enough for six people if they squeezed in there, but it seemed like the people only went four in each.

As I was about to step into a carriage, there was a sudden call out “Sister! Oh, sister! How about joining us?”

I looked instinctually down the line of carriages, and at the very end was a brightly dressed man who seemed to glow even in the darkness. He wore an eccentrically sparkly diamond-encrusted mask with numerous spikes and bobbles. Despite the mask, he still wore the instantly recognizable black and red robe, although he was at least fully dressed for the moment. It was, of course, Julian who waved his hands without any care for discretion. I stepped down from the carriage and quickly walked down the line of carriages, hearing whispering as the eyes still followed me.

As I approached Julian, I could see that Gregory was by his side. His mask was, of course, white, but it had two horns coming out the top. His tendency to wear all white included this night, which, alongside the secretive mood and dark atmosphere, gave the feel that he was dressed as loudly as Julian in his own way. Julian whistled as I approached, looking me up and down with appraising eyes.

“You have dressed quite well tonight, my dear, but it won’t stay on you long. All that leather might make it difficult to take off?”

I was tempted to spill the secrets and show him the deceptively magnificent dress, but it was a pain to put back together and I didn’t want to ruin the surprise later. When I switched into my seductress mode, he’d just have to be amazed like the rest. Gregory gave me a kiss on the hand, and I provided a light curtsey to the pair. Then they ushered me to their carriage.

Their carriage, as it turned out, was not black, but completely white. I winced and lowered my eyes as I stepped into the carriage. While heading to a secret underground celebration on a dark night, I couldn’t think of a more flamboyant and obvious way to travel. On the upside, the carriage was bigger, with six horses pulling it, and thus I had more room to stretch my legs. In the end, it was only the three of us that boarded before the carriage took off into motion.

“What of the rest of the family?” I asked.

Gregory put his finger over his lips. “Who? We have no family. We’re nothing and no one but devices of Qetesh.”

Julian rolled his eyes. “What brother means to say is that the King has his own carriage. Your betrothed will likely escort that trollop, and Devon always finds his way to these things, eventually.”

“Brother!” Gregory looked on sternly. “But the masks…”

Julian laughed. “You take these things too seriously, brother. If we kept propriety like they did before I joined, these events would still be ten old farts and the prostitutes they cleared out of the local brothel.”

Gregory shook his head and sighed. “One of these days, brother, you’ll find yourself in some trouble.”

The pair chuckled mischievously towards each other, but my mind was focused on the answer he had given me.

“I-I don’t think Devon will be coming,” I said quietly.

Julian smiled. “I notice that you have been eyeing our youngest brother quite a lot. I know you want to sample him. Perhaps even before you sample your own husband-to-be. I don’t blame you. Although he’s tough to catch. You might need to drop your coin for him. But he’ll be there. He always comes. Perhaps this time, you’ll be the one to make him do so.”

I still didn’t believe him. After our fight earlier today, I had a distinct feeling that he would avoid this event. Although I put a lot of blame on Richard, he was at least honest with himself, even if he spent his life living in a made-up daydream. Devon seemed normal, but I was quickly seeing that he saw the world in a way that was convenient for himself.

As the carriage rocked along, the boys continued to talk, laugh, and flirt with each other. After about thirty minutes, the carriage finally came to a stop, but I found myself unable to keep track of any turns. It would be very difficult to find my way back now without a carriage. Fortunately, I had no plan to try to walk home.

As I went to open the door, Julian stopped me while wearing a severe face. “While I teased my brother, I will say this. Once we get inside, you may want to avoid using names. If the wrong ears hear, you and I both could be in trouble. I am the one who brought you here, so it will be me who faces the most wrath. So, in all seriousness, my dear, don’t let me down.”

I nodded with a gulp. His serious side had an edge to it that made my skin crawl. A moment later, he gave a laugh and his face was back to normal. But for these brief seconds, he actually felt like he might be a scary person. Rather than assume the worst, I took my interpretation as nervousness. I needed to start treating this trip sexually so that Mental Fortitude would kick that discomfort away.

I stared up in wonder as we exited the carriage. The mansion in front of us appeared to be deep in a forest, but the front yard had been well-groomed. Various fountains, hedge shapes, and gardens gave the place a decadent feel. The carriage pulled away, allowing a new carriage to pull up and deposit even more people.

I could already see dozens of people filing in, and it looked like the number was only going to grow. I stared dumbly at the mansion in front of me, which was artsy and beautiful, unlike the castle which despite its décor still held the trappings of a functional military base. There was a tap on my shoulder and I turned to see Julian there.

“Gregory, go on without us. I’d like to give our new recruit the tour.”

Gregory nodded, his eyes already focused on whatever remained beyond the door. He practically skipped ahead of us, giving a single nod to the servant that I could only describe as a bouncer before heading in. Julian held up his arm, and I grabbed it, allowing him to escort me into the room. The way Julian was putting so much effort into making me feel comfortable, I wondered if this was something he did for everyone, or perhaps it was because I might be joining his family.

We entered the room, and I frowned at the sight in front of me. It looked like a bar or a club. It certainly didn’t have the underground sex party feel. There were tables, chairs, and even waiters and a bartender. A few people were sitting in chairs, talking with each other, and many were getting drinks. There was a girl sitting on a guy’s lap, but what I walked into wasn’t anything more exciting than you’d see at any bar on a Friday night.

Julian was observing my expression and then he gave a chuckle. “This is just the receiving room, my dear. A place to talk in quiet. We actually arrived a tinge early, but as the night rages on, the need for a quiet place to retreat to will become obvious. The drinks are free, of course, but don’t get so drunk that you lose function. The waiters are ordered to take anyone passed out home.”

I nodded, concealing the eagerness that made me want to tour the rest of the mansion right away. He walked across the room and took me to the other side. There was a doorway covered by a thick curtain. He held his hand to the thick curtain before turning to me.

“Beyond this curtain is where things get interesting. The room beyond is the main hall. You can meet, jump into groups, whatever you feel like.”

He pushed the curtain aside and took a step in. I followed behind him, and my eyes widened in excitement. There were a few people kissing aggressively, and definitely some heavy petting going on, but the room only had a few dozen people at this point and it seemed like the party was just getting started.

The room itself had a giant fountain in the middle, which cascaded water down ten plates where water poured over the edges into a wide basin. In the back was a giant statue of a familiar naked woman holding wheat and a penis that would be Qetesh. The room itself had various sections. In one corner was a grouping of couches in which there were currently six people sitting, all kissing each other. And when I said that, I didn’t mean 3 people were kissing 3 other people, but all six were touching and kissing the other five.

There was another area which looked to be a giant den filled with pillows of various shapes and sizes. A third area looked to be full of abstract art, but a certain piece in the shape of a U had a woman and a man inside it, the man currently kissing the woman’s neck while rubbing her privates, so my guess was that they were functional.

“Most of the activities will occur in this room.” Julian waved his hand. “But there are numerous side hallways. You’ll find this place completely free of doors. You won’t be able to keep anyone who wants to watch out, but, if a wide room makes you uncomfortable, you should be able to find a side room with a bit of privacy. I would recommend you do not go down the right hallway as that involves… certain more extreme perversions. Perhaps in a future visit, but this one would be bad.”

I looked at the hall he was pointing to curiously. I did want to know what perversion he was talking about. I lived in a world with the internet. I’d be very hard-pressed to find something that could genuinely surprise me. That said, given my knowledge, I suspected I did know some of the things behind those curtains, and many of them were not the kind of things I wanted to experience.

“And of course,” Julian continued, moving to the side. “There is the coin trade over here. I think you’ll find many items may be worth it but beware… if you give all your coins away, you’ll be at the sexual mercy of anyone here.”

I glanced over the items that were part of the trade-in and gave a wry smile. Somehow, my male enhancement lubricant, the vials of sexual recovery, and the numbness potion had found themselves there. The skin restoration was the only potion that didn’t make it. I guess it wasn’t sex-themed enough. I also found various dildos, strap-ons, a rabbit, basically all of my ideas taken and sold for the highest price.

And the price was high. The cheapest dildo ran 15 Qetesh coins. That meant over a year of monthly Qetesh earnings or being offered sex 15 times. I didn’t know how much a prostitute charged, but if you did the math, this was probably thousands of dollars worth of sex. I put that thought away. Thinking about monetizing sex was one direction I was not ready to go.

There was the sudden sound of metal clinging as something colorful flew towards my face. Instinctually, I reached out and caught it, sleight of hand likely contributing to my quick reaction time. When I looked at what was in my hand, I realized it was a Qetesh coin. Right, if you were handed a Qetesh coin, it meant someone was trying to buy your company. I looked up at the man who had tossed the coin, and my body suddenly froze.

Standing in front of me was a muscular man with dark hair, beautiful blue eyes, and a mask that was midnight black lined with silver thread. However, mask or not, I recognized him anywhere. It was Devon.

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