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“This is… very interesting.” Mother said, looking out over the yard.

“Yeah… the girls said it was hot out, so I decided to treat them.” I laughed.

It was late in the year, and had this been Amaryllis it would have been way too chilly, but

I had rigged up the lawn full of long hoses which I then cut various holes into. Using the water stones, I cranked the pressure up to full and created various impromptu sprinkler systems. It wasn’t like real sprinkler systems didn’t exist, but the ones that kept this lawn lush and green were built underground. Part of the fun was being able to move the sprinklers around and attack each other.

Right now, Kemala and Veronika were running around such sprinklers, enjoying the temperature outside. I was sitting with Mother under the shade of an umbrella, enjoying some tea and watching the girls play. Meanwhile, I had a sheet of paper in front of me and was busy scribbling on it.

Kemala and Veronika were in swimsuits which were far too skimpy for girls their age. I certainly wouldn’t let my daughter run around in something like that. Well, wasn’t Veronika technically my daughter. Ahem… that’s not really the same thing at all. She wasn’t really my daughter, and we had a sexual relationship. Thus, her two piece which was closer to a thong than anything was fine, even if it was white and almost transparent in the water. At least my sister wore something that didn’t turn transparent.

“You called?” A somewhat agitated voice called out, causing me to look up.

My mother bristled under the unwelcoming tone. If she had things her way, Lyra would have been taken out and beaten by now. However, I wasn’t as scared of Talitha as I once was. Now that I knew where I stood with her, I felt a lot more comfortable telling her now and asserting my own authority. Of course, that authority was skin deep. If she learned I wasn’t really her son, all of that goodwill would be obliterated in a moment.

I glanced up at Lyra and smiled. “I recalled that you’re somewhat good with magic. I was hoping you could go over this for me.”

Lyra eyed me suspiciously. We hadn’t talked much since the day I had told her the truth. She still thought I was lying. Brooke had offered to try to talk to her, but I had refused. She’d likely think less of Brooke and assume she was being manipulated or paid off. She didn’t know Brooke like I did, and was a bit haughty as an upper-class woman. Someone like Lyra tended to look down on the help. She wasn’t as bad as most, but classism was strong in Amaryllis and there was no doubt.

“Perhaps… I can look at it.” She snatched the sheet from my hand.

What I had been drawing was an elaborate magic circle. The last few weeks, I had returned to studying magic. Magic engineering was fascinating to me, and I was considering becoming an engineer. I came from a world that had built many miracles without magic. This world felt somehow behind my other world in many ways, constantly falling back on magic to replace what my world had been able to do for fifty years.

It was that reason that my interest was renewed. Perhaps, I could work on some of the world’s problems by applying my own knowledge. I was sixteen now, seventeen if we went by Caleb’s age, so it was getting to be about time where I was considering my future. I didn’t plan to be the prince of this country any longer than I had to. I’d much rather build and create things using my knowledge and magical knowledge.

“This… you drew this from scratch?” Lyra said, eyeing the circle in wonder.”

I nodded. “I’m interested in trying it out, but I have no control of magic. I can create control and prevent an overdraft by combining my chakra with another, but it usually spirals out of control and ends up producing way too much magic. It’s unstable, I should say. It requires me to be in perfect sync with a partner to be able to do it. Besides, joint spells are really powerful and I don’t want this spell to come out too strong.”

“Y-you’re an aseeded?” She asked.

Mother looked down. “Ever since he was poisoned, he has been unable to access his chakra points. Well, it’s not like he ever took interest in magic before. It’s a shame it took losing it to suddenly gain an interest in it.”

“Like him…” Lyra spoke lightly on her breath, eyeing me with a bit of surprise in her eyes.

I smiled but didn’t say anything. After a moment, she glanced back down at the magic circle. After looking over it a few more times, she nodded.

“It’s not dangerous, although I can’t promise It’ll do anything. What is the point of it?”

“It will be cast right there.” I pointed to an area out in the lawn, near the bunch of water toys I had built for the girls.

Lyra nodded and took a step toward that direction. “Very well, let’s see-“

“Ah… actually, before you cast it, it’d probably be best if you had a swimsuit on.” I responded sheepishly.

“Eh?” She glanced back at me, but then she raised her nose. “It’s not that easy to get a look at my body. Hmph!” She stubbornly turned away and started marching for the place with purpose.

Mother raised an eyebrow, confused as to why she was acting so over the top. I sighed and leaned back in my seat.

“I did warn her.”

“H-how do I look?” I heard another voice behind me and glanced over to see Rhea standing there.

She was much more modest than the 13-year-old vixens. Her swimsuit covered most of her skin. Then again, I wondered if she was covering herself so much to hide scares she’d received. I smiled at her and gave a thumbs up. She looked somewhat classy. Her swimsuit matched her skin tone well with a blue with highlights. It was a one-piece which covered her back and chest. She smiled at my approval.

“Where are the other girls?” I asked, “I guess I should call them the new girls.”

“Brooke took them out to get swimsuits. None of them thought to bring theirs when they moved in. They were caught off guard when you suddenly asked.”

“Ah… so it’s that.”

“I must say, when you picked that brutish bule women to join your harem, I thought you were just being kind, but she certainly is dependable.”

“Haha…” I scratched my head. “Yeah, she’s someone I feel I can trust with most things.”

With that, Rhea watched the two girls running in the sprinklers excitedly. She looked like she wanted to go, but was afraid to leave without my permission.

“Go on…” I patted her lightly on the behind. “Have fun.”

She shot me a look of surprise, blushed, and then ran into the crowd. As she ran, I hid my expression. I was still a bit troubled about her. After all, she was the one who warned me my life was still in danger here. She was slowly coming out of her shell, but I wanted to seriously find out what was going on with that. I was seriously worried about my life here. Would I be experiencing another attempt on my life soon? I’d like to think the guards were sufficient, but I was poisoned once before. I considered voicing my worries to Talitha, but I was sure the woman would overreact.

As I was thinking about such things, there was a sudden boom. Water shot up like a reverse waterfall into the air. A moment later, it began to rain down everywhere in waves. The girls shouted and screamed as it came crashed down on them. The source of said explosion was the place where I had pointed Lyra to go. As the water finally finished falling down, standing near the epicenter was Lyra. She had been drenched from head to toe. I also noticed my drawing had been ruined in the explosion of water.

“You…” She shouted. “You did that on purpose?”

“How is that possible?” I shot back, “I told you to wear a swimsuit!”

She shot me a glare and then turned and ran. As she went, her shoes squished with every step. Strangely enough, even though she looked angry, she looked strangely happy to an extent. I had no clue what was going through her mind, but I was definitely curious as to what thoughts she was having. She disappeared back in the house while grumbling the entire time.

As for me, I pulled out another sheet of paper. “Decrease quantity, increase duration.”

Mother chuckled, perhaps finding delight in seeing the snobbish woman getting covered in water, or perhaps just being happy to see her son getting along with his harem. As long as I made sure mom got regular attention, she never grew too upset over the time I spent with other women. I didn’t want another blow out like during that first week I was staying here when I started avoiding her.

A few minutes later, four women came out. It was Brooke and the three new girls. They were all wearing some particularly nice swimsuits. Brooke didn’t disappoint in putting the girls in something sexy. Never think a lesbian doesn’t know how to enhance a woman’s sexuality where it’s important.

Other than Terah, who had successfully integrated herself into the palace, there was also Bernice and Neriah. Terah was a beautiful woman not unlike her mother. Fortunately, there were enough physical differences that her mother wasn’t suspicious that this was her daughter. She had supposedly abandoned her when she was really young. I didn’t know how I felt about this. Why didn’t she become one of my adopted children like the others? Ah, well, it doesn’t matter. She was wearing a more traditional two-piece which looked quite sexy.

Neriah was a big-breasted woman who was the daughter of a close family friend. I was warned that I absolutely could not offend her. I liked her because she was very curvy, even curvier than Lyra. Her boobs looked just a bit too big for her body, and I wondered if she had a boob job or something. She had big, red lips and was kind of ritzy.

Bernice, on the other hand, was a cool type. She was lean and sporty. She looked like a girl you might see on a track team. Her hair was done up in a ponytail and she always seemed to smile like she was just on the verge of laughing at something. She seemed friendly enough to me and was supposedly the daughter of a particularly rich merchant who had close relations with our family.

With the exception of Terah, the other two women I could fuck whenever I wanted to. I hadn’t thus far. I was told that it was proper to give them a week or two to adjust to their new environment before I start pushing them to perform. Both girls were here for me to use for sex. In fact, even though Kemala and Veronika were young and genuinely playing in the water, the other girls likely only came to show off their bodies to me.

They were doing that right now, smiling and winking as they walked past. Neriah accidentally dropped her hair clip and bent over right in front of me. I’d admittedly accuse her of being a bit too transparent, but given her nature, it was likely that she really hadn’t planned that at all. She was wearing a monokini which made her current position really revealing. As for Bernice, she was in a tankini and looked very sporty.

Terah gave me a single look but otherwise tried to act like the other girls trying to get my position. She had a skirted bottom and strapless top. Compared to the other girls, she clearly was the most beautiful. However, she was also the most unobtainable. Her look supposedly said nothing, but to me, it spoke volumes. She was asking me what I was waiting on and when would we be going to Amaryllis. Getting her into my harem was only step one. The next step was getting on this trip. It was only a few weeks away, and I had made no effort to make it happen.

We hadn’t spoken since that night. I was dreading that meeting, as I didn’t know if I could lie convincingly. I made no mistake. This was a dangerous woman. She had entangled the old prince into her assassination plot, and I was now the one who had to deal with this. Of course, none of this would have happened if Lilith had been better at selecting a body for me. No, that wasn’t fair. None of this would have been an issue in the first place if it wasn’t for me causing that accident that led to my close death. Then again, I wouldn’t have had that accident if they hadn’t tried to have me kidnapped by a crazy woman! Well… there were faults on both sides. As soon as I ran into that Lilith girl again, I’d definitely make her pay for her mistakes.

A servant came in and then knelt next to my mother, handing her a note with both hands. My mother opened it and then read the contents. While I was watching the girls dance in the water, some trying to just have fun while others try to secretly show me parts of their bodies, my Mother’s expression dropped and her hands tightened on the note.

“Is there anything the matter?” I asked.

“It’s your grandfather.” Mother sighed. “He’s demanded you come to meet him.”

“Ah, really? Well, it’s fine. In a day or two…”

“The request is immediate.” She shook her head. “That bastard wants to take you from me. I just know it.”

“Come, mother, he’s family, he can’t be that bad.” I tried to smile encouragingly, but her sour expression was unmoved.

“You don’t know that man. He’s also the reason I was whipped.” She said bitterly.

I made a noise of surprise. It was Grandfather who had her whipped? I was under the impression it was our deterrents who pushed to have her punished. That spoke volumes to the kind of man this guy was.

“What should I do?” I asked for her advice.

“You must go.” She responded helplessly. “If grandfather calls, no one else in the family has the right to deny him. I don’t know why he wishes to see you; however, you must be absolutely respectful. The way you asked questions and fought in public. For that, he made you hold the whip. Even then, he likely still holds resentment for you daring to stand up to him then.”

“S-seriously?” I muttered.

Why was I only hearing about this now? If I knew this guy was so petty, I definitely wouldn’t have challenged him in front of the entire council!

“You don’t need to worry too much.” She sighed. “You are family and his grandson. He will not do anything too harmful… on the surface.”

“Somehow, I feel a bit less reassured,” I said with a gulp, “Should I change my dress?”

“You better just go immediately. The less he waits, the better. Transportation should already be out front ready to take you. Your guards will also join you. I’m afraid you’ll be alone this time.”

“I understand, mother. I’ll be fine.” I reassured her, even though I wasn’t completely certain myself.

This was a tricky situation. There was no way that he knew about the rebellion, right? If he knew I was associated with Terah, the situation could be absolutely disastrous. Even a grandson might face horrible repercussions for doing something treasonous. Or, maybe he knew I wasn’t really his relative? Even that was kept by two secrets, first that I’m the soul of Clyburn inside the body of a dead man, and second that dead man was an adopted child who wasn’t born into this family. Either was treason, and he has no reason to want to keep a fraud around. If either secret got out, I was dead. How could I have been so calm just a moment ago with so many deadly secrets on my shoulders? I felt like crying.

Standing up, I put my paperwork aside and began to head out of the castle. At this point, I was growing used to the guards following me everywhere and was quite familiar with the castle. I quickly made my way to find a limousine out front. The travel was very quite. Mother was a reserved woman usually anyway, and rarely talked, but the guards and driver didn’t speak to me at all. Any attempts at conversation in the past usually resulted in one-word answers.

It wasn’t long before we pulled up in front of a familiar building. It was the same location as the fundraising event I had attended a bit earlier. This was the family home, after all. I suddenly wondered if he had the greenhouse bugged. That would mean he could have overheard my conversation with Terah. No, this thinking made me too anxious. If he truly knew about Terah, then he would have done something before she was invited into the palace. I was just getting frightened over nothing.

More terrifying, the path the butler who met me at the door was taking me happened to be the very greenhouse where I had met with the rebellious organizers. As we walked by the area where I was pulled into the forest that night, I gulped a little, However, we kept walking, and then ended up in a small gazebo. Grandfather was sitting at it, sipping tea in a way similar to Mother. I stood, making sure not to sit until he invited me to.

He was an older man, and I thought he looked a bit like Caleb. That was probably intentional. Talitha probably went to great effort to find a family that would look like her own. He had a thick greying beard and tightly combed hair. His expression looked severe, and just a bit intimidating. I stood in silence for nearly a minute while he slowly drank a cup of tea.

“You can sit.” He said after finishing his cup of tea and putting it down.

Only as I sat did he turn to me. “Caleb, you have grown up. You’re almost a man now.”

“Thank y-“

“Your production of children is seriously lacking.” He said simply.

“Ah… I’m working on that.”

“Work harder…”

“Yes, sir…” I said resolutely, determined to enjoy Neriah and Bernice until they were both pregnant.

The man watched me for another moment and then nodded to himself. “Pour me more tea.”

“Y-yes…” His request caught me off guard, but I stood up quickly and then managed to pour without spilling any.

“Your father has opted for an offhand approach with you. We’ve allowed your mother, to raise you for most of your life. The results are…. As they are…”

For a second, I thought he was going to say disappointing, but somehow the words he used felt the same as had he said disappointing. He had an air of displeasure around him, and I found myself slightly glad he wasn’t really my family.

“I’ve decided…” He continued. “That it is time to take a more hands-on approach with you. Women do not understand how to raise men. It should be men who raise men. Your mother and fathers attempts seem to have failed. I will take charge and correct your development.”

I bit my lip, keeping from saying anything. In reality, I wanted to throttle this guy. First off, I wasn’t even this Caleb guy. I had made 4 babies, and 2 of them were male! No, with Ashton, it’d made three males! This guy was just an arrogant prick.

“In a few weeks, I’ll be heading to Amaryllis on an international request to discuss the future of men. Those Matriarchy-led easterners have certainly messed things up world-wide. It’s up to me to go fix it while your father stays behind and keeps the council under control. I’ll be going with two others. One of them is Davont. He is not our ally. The other will be… you.”

“Me?” I said, a feeling of dread forming in me. “Actually, grandfather, I think it best if I stay and work with my harem to make-“

“You will come.” He said, “Bring your entire harem. You will make babies on the trip.”

After trying to avoid this trip, suddenly I’m going anyway? What the hell?

“Grandfather, I-“

“There will be no arguing!” His voice raised for a moment, and I almost winced at its ferocity.

“Yes, Grandfather.”

I lowered my head instantly. If I tried to fight him, it’d only lead to more arguing. It almost felt like fate was taking a lead in my life. I was really helpless. Was this my fate? Was I going to assassinate this grandfather of mine with the help of a rebellious group of freedom fighters? I had hoped to avoid the brunt of it, but here I am right in the middle once again.

“You may go now.” He said, “Make sure to be ready. Also, I expect your harem to be pregnant by the time we return. Any girl who isn’t pregnant, I will impregnate her myself! Understood?”

“Understood, grandfather.” My words came out a bit smoother than before.

Assassinating my grandfather? Maybe that was for the best.

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