The next morning, I allowed a scantily clad maid to dress me and then put on my slippers. When I was done, I looked over at her and couldn’t help stop some displeasure from appearing on my face. She wasn’t one of the extremely experienced ones that waited on the woman who identified herself as my mother. I didn’t know if that made me feel better or worst about the whole situation. I didn’t want to expect absolute perfection in a maid, yet I couldn’t help feeling just a tinge of irritation when she did things slower and less efficiently than the more skilled ones that worked for that woman.
When I found myself wishing Mother didn’t send such crappy maids to tend to me, I found myself biting my tongue and wiping the expression off my face. The girl herself was shaking in terror, worried my displeasure might mean some kind of punishment for her. Were those thoughts my old personality starting to shine through? Was I starting to turn into that monster? No, I denied that possibility, for my own psyche if for no other reason. I was just a little tired and frustrated that I had blown things with Lyra the night before. That was all this was.
“M-m-my lord…” She said, practically breaking into tears over what I might do to her.
“You’re doing fine,” I said, lowering my eyes guiltily that I had such pretentious thoughts. “Please, lead me to the rooms of my harem?”
I had hoped this would ease her mind, but instead, she looked even more disturbed by words. She glanced around uneasily like she was looking for someone to counteract my orders, or perhaps looking for the trick in my words.
“Would my prince not prefer I send the ladies to your room.” She suggested nervously.
“No…” I shook my head.
It apparently was an oddity that I would be visiting their rooms. They were to be brought to me, used for my entertainment, and returned. That was the normal course of things here. However, I needed to learn more from Lyra. I had foolishly squandered last night, and I had learned nothing about what had happened. At the moment, she was my only source to the outside world. Other than Kemala, there was no one else I wanted to talk to right now more than Lyra.
Furthermore, I had a nagging feeling that anything I did and said was being watched by that woman, the one who called herself my mom. I couldn’t exactly put my foot down on what the problem was, but I didn’t feel like I had the freedom I was told. It was very possible my room was bugged in some way. Lyra’s room could be bugged too, but what were the chances of it considering they’d be listening for me there. At the very least, I hoped Lyra would feel more comfortable in her own room than the room where I pushed her down the night before.
I stood up and gestured for the maid to lead me. She had no choice but to obey in the matter. Walking was still a little stiff, not having fully recovered, but I was moving a lot better than before. I wanted to move quickly because I was afraid the woman known as my mother would corner me. Even if it had nothing to do with Lyra, I knew I would hear something about keeping Kemala alive. Before that happened, I wanted as much information as I could glean about this place. In some ways, I felt like I had never left that pirate ship. I still felt the danger all around me, closing in.
After walking down three hallways and a flight of stairs, I grew impressed that Lyra was ever able to sneak into my room. After all, I’m sure she wouldn’t have been permitted to see me and would have been stopped had anyone caught her. With that, she had to familiarize herself with the layout of this mansion, and then use the cover of night to come to my room, all so she could finally see me and tell me that she wasn’t really interested.
Of course, by the time that happened, the old prince was dead, and I was there instead. I reacted in a way that Lyra didn’t expect, and she had fallen into my clutches. It probably would have been worse with that other Prince, who might have punished and tortured her in his anger. I shivered to think about that happening. What would have happened had I not left and reincarnated in this body? What would have happened if that night, it was the prince unpoisoned? Would my precious Lyra had returned to Amaryllis battered and broken, or would that vicious woman have had her throat cut and all I would have heard were vague rumors about how she had been killed by pirates on the way home.
Still, last night left me very confused. Many in Amaryllis knew Lyra to be a cold and dispassionate ice queen who didn’t like men. However, my first encounter with her had been while she was at a pussy market, a location where women had sex with other women, often to get money for drugs. Lyra had an active libido and was desperately trying to quell it. I remembered that she was so happy when I had eaten her out that she started talking about marriage. That was years ago, and Lyra was older and more mature now. We both were. But I didn’t forget the fact that behind Lyra’s reputation, was a woman who could be considered kind of easy.
Easy enough, in fact, that a prince was able to push her down and have his way with her! The fact that I was the prince still left me a little bit frustrated. She didn’t know it was me. Which means, she had sex with someone else. Admittedly, I didn’t owe Lyra anything. I had many chances to slip with her, and for one reason or another, I never had. Adding to that, it seemed like her mother sent her here with the express purpose of getting knocked up by this prince, in the same manner, that I was sent abroad to knock women up. Having sex last night was exactly what Lyra was supposed to do. It’s what her mother expected. It was what this mother of mine expected. It was what the prince would have expected.
What could I be angry at Lyra about? Not offending a psychopathic prince and starting an international incident? I came on to her last night strongly enough that I had given her no other option. No, this was all my fault. I should have spoken the truth from the beginning. Even now, Lyra was in pain because of my actions, and I had to set things straight with her. By the time we reached the wring that my harem was housed, I had settled my thoughts on the matter.
The wing was large and empty, which was a testament to how small my harem was. It only consisted of three girls, now that I sent Kemala to live here. I hadn’t even met the final girl in my harem, but considering the other girl had tried to smother me, I was instantly distrustful of her. Besides, I’d never sent someone for sex anyway. It was an awkward thing for me to do. In the mansion, it was often the girls who pursued me for my time. It got to the point we even had a schedule where each day I would hang out with a different girl. Sometimes we had sex, but the vast majority of the time was just spent being together with the people I loved. I wasn’t so great of a sex maniac that I needed sex nightly. In fact, I couldn’t keep up with that lifestyle, even though I was only sixteen.
“These three rooms house your women, my lord.” The maid bowed, and barely waiting for a nod, turned and left.
As for me, I looked over at the three rooms tucked in the corner. I didn’t know which room contained which girl. Well, that was assuming that the girl was in her room at all. I knocked on the first door and waited for the answer. When no answer returned, I had the distinct feeling that this felt like a Lyra move. Either of the other girls was too caught up in what they were supposed to do to refuse to come to the door immediately. Only Lyra would be in a mind where she would ignore the person.
Using that reasoning, I took a breath and opened the door, stepping inside. Her room was small compared to my room, and the lights were out, making it dark. It was still a decent enough room, with a soft bed and a distinctly feminine feel that Lyra appeared to have made hers during the few months she had stayed here.
“Just leave the food at the door.” A voice said into the pillow.
It was definitely Lyra, who had her head buried, her blinds pulled, and the intent of avoiding dealing with anyone else in the castle. I allowed the door to quietly shut, and then I tiptoed over to her bed. She didn’t move, so I guess she didn’t realize I was still in the room. I sat down at the foot of her bed, and only then did she twitch, lifting her head up.
Lyra wasn’t wearing makeup, and her hair was a complete mess. She was wearing a somewhat sexy nightie, but other than that, she didn’t look prepared to see someone in the slightest. When her eyes landed on me, she nearly jumped out of the bed, spinning with a shriek.
“Y-you! Prince Caleb. What are you doing here?” Lyra demanded, her face glowing red.
“I came to see how you’re doing,” I responded simply. “You left last night quickly.”
“Th-that…I… I mean… while we were together… don’t you think it odd that I called another man’s name?”
I blinked. That was right, she had said the name Clyburn many times during our intercourse. To me, I had written it off as moaning, but upon reflection, she was desperately trying to cause me to lose interest and stop by mentioning another man. It was certainly odd that I pushed through despite hearing her call someone else’s name. Not that it was someone else’s name, but Lyra certainly didn’t know that.
“Ah… as to that… I’m sorry… I pushed things too far.” I sighed.
Lyra turned her head. “No… it is my fault. I came to your country and entered your home with the expressed purpose of having you impregnate me. Then, I snuck into your room in the middle of the night. I should have expected something like this to happen.”
“Lyra, about me…” I started to work out the words to confess to her.
“I’m sorry… even though we did this… my heart belongs to another.” Lyra said, her voice sounding slightly pained. “When I return, I will beg him for forgiveness, and hope he still impregnates me.”
“Unless… you’re already pregnant…” I said a complicated expression on my face.
“Yes… unless…” Lyra’s mood dropped even more.
“When will you be returning to… Amaryllis?” I decided to frame the last part as a question.
“Yes. My home country is Amaryllis. I was to spend a whole year here. If you impregnated me, I would have had the pay all the way to term here. However, my first two months here, your mother wouldn’t allow me to see you. I was never given a reason why. The other girls won’t tell me anything. They act afraid. One of the girls even went missing. I haven’t seen her in a few days and when I ask, everyone keeps their mouth shut.”
“Are you sure you want to hear the truth?” I asked, my voice low.
“Will you give it?” Lyra shot me a look.
“Two months ago, someone tried to poison me. I was in a coma up until a few days ago. I’ve only been totally up since yesterday…”
“Gods…” Lyra covered her mouth, “I’m so sorry… I didn’t know…”
“As for the woman you speak of, she tried to smother me with a pillow to finish the job. A guard… well… she didn’t make it.”
Lyra’s eyes widened even more, tears forming in her eyes. “I didn’t know her well, but I never imagined she’d do something like that.”
“Yeah… well, it’s been one of those weeks.”
Lyra nodded, wrapping her blankets tightly around her and not responding much. The atmosphere was still a bit tense between us, but that was to be expected.
As soon as the name left my lips, Lyra’s expression flickered. Was my name really that meaningful to her?
“What of him?” She asked.
“Have you heard from him in the last two months?”
She gave an uncertain look. “No… since I’ve been here, my communication with the outside world has been… slim.”
“I think…” I started, but then found it difficult to come up with the next thing to say.
What should I say? I think that Clyburn is dead? Or should I just go for broke? Lydia… I am Clyburn! There was nothing I could say that would go well in this conversation. At best, she’d think I was crazy, and at worst, it could be the last time I ever talked to her.
Thus, I could only change what I was going to say. “I think that a year is a long time for you to be here, and a lot can happen over this year. I like you, Lyra, and I’d like to continue our relationship.”
I tried to hide the bitterness in those words. I just didn’t have the guts to tell her that I was Clyburn. Instead, I was going to sweet talk her into liking me, because I needed someone I recognized and could trust close by. However, she would hurt and be pained by this, but I saw no other way. At least, she hadn’t heard of Clyburn’s death, even though he did exist in this world.
There was another option, but it was simply too crazy for me to fathom. That was the belief that this world was an alternative world where Clyburn was still alive and someone else. In that case, I really was stealing Lyra from him. Well, it didn’t matter. If that was actually true, however unlikely, I needed Lyra by my side. Clyburn had his chance with her. He hadn’t taken it because he had grown comfortable with all the women around him and once again took them for granted.
I decided that I wouldn’t take the women in my life for granted anymore. Not ever again. I had lost too much and too regularly. I understood that whatever I had, I could always lose more. Those days of sitting in depression over the loss of Mia and Ashton suddenly seemed a bit silly. I still missed both of them dearly, and their deaths certainly affected me, but I wouldn’t allow myself to neglect those I could be with because of those I couldn’t be with.
“Caleb… I…” Lyra had begun, her eyes looking like they were about to reject me.
I put a hand on Lyra’s knee. “Lyra… you’re important to me. I will definitely take care of you no matter what. If, in the end, you want to leave for Clyburn, I won’t stop you. However, I will always be by your side when you want it, okay?”
As I spoke, I stood up, preparing to leave. Lyra could only stare at me, her eyes wide in wonder. I pulled up her hand and kissed the back of it. It felt like a proper thing to do at the moment, Turning, I left the room, closing the door behind me.
“My lord!” A person fell to the floor who was in the hallway.
She wasn’t dressed as a maid, so my only guess was that she was the other harem girl.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
Not daring to look up, she didn’t even question why I didn’t know her name. She simply answered the question without hesitation.
“Rhea… I have done bad things to you in the past.” I didn’t ask it like a question at all, I already knew the answer.
Rhea shook her head frantically. “Not at all! Master is good. Rhea acts badly. Rhea is naughty and must be taught lessons! It’s Rhea’s fault!”
Her voice was filled with desperation and loneliness. It was enough to make my heartbreak. However, I had no clue what to do to make her feel any better. In fact, I suspected anything I tried to do would just make things worse.
“Rhea… the woman who stays in this room, Lyra, is very important to me.”
Rhea’s eyes jerked up as she looked at the room Lyra was in, her eyes widening.
“I suspect she’s lonely and needs a friend. Can you please check on her often? I’d be nice if you were close to her. Tell her about this castle and the world beyond.”
Rhea nodded. “Yes… master… Rhea will! Rhea listens!”
I nodded and dismissed her as she fled back into her room. I didn’t know why I made that request of her. A small part of me thought that the girl needed someone else in her life. Just by looking at her, it was clear to me she was close to breaking. It was probably the other girl’s strength that had kept her alive for so long. That woman disappeared yesterday after being sent to my room. Lyra may not suspect I had anything to do with it, but this would assuredly think that I had killed the only other girl she could relate to. Just cleaning up the messes of my former self was proving more taxing than I could possibly imagine.
I headed to the final room, the room that should house Kemala. There was a chance that my orders last night were not carried out. This room could be empty, and Kemala could be in a cell. Her presence would prove how good my word was. I grabbed the doorknob and peaked my head inside. My eyes adjusted to the darkness and the first thing I noticed was a girl lying in the bed. It was my cute little sister, except that she wasn’t wearing any clothing.
In fact, she was completely naked, and her legs were spread in a particularly lewd fashion. Her light gasps reached my ears next. She had her fingers down below, and she was rubbing fingering herself with her mouth partway open and a flushed look on her face.
My mouth dropped open in shock, as I never expected to find her in this situation. I hadn’t knocked on the door like I had with the other girls, so she hadn’t actually heard me come inside. Rather, what was supposed to be my cute little sister was actually replaced with this lewd girl satisfying herself. I knew my sister was a young teenager, and young teenagers were prone to touching themselves, but this was not a situation I expected to run into when I opened her door.
“Ahhnn…” She let out a moan… “Brother…”
My facial expression’s twitched as I realized the person she was fantasizing about was none other than me. This was the supposed girl who had poisoned me? If anything, she was absolutely obsessed with my presence. I didn’t even know how to react to this. She should have known my sadistic nature more than anyone, yet she had me on her mind to the point that when she satisfied herself sexually, I was the image that came up. Of course, I had walked in on my other sister’s masturbating before, but they were older sisters. This girl was a few years younger than me, and I had already put her in the same vein as Charlie. She was ruining her cute sister status!”
“B-brother…ahh… yes….” She continued to moan until I finally gave a polite cough. “Brother… eh? Brother!”
Her eyes shot towards the noise and our eyes met. I opened my mouth to say something, but a moment later a pillow hit me in the face.
“Brother! Lech! Pervert! Get out of my room!”
In my old mansion, whenever I walked in on one of the girls masturbating, it was never a big deal. Madison might blush before gesturing for me to join her, while Hannah would play it off like she meant for me to catch her. That was why I didn’t bother to show any modesty. This was my harem wing after all, and I had already seen Kemala completely naked when I bathed her. Thus, I was completely unprepared for a violent reaction.
Thud! Something big hit my foot. I let out a cry and started jumping around the room. However, Kemala didn’t let up. She started grabbing anything on her nightstand and chucking it my way. It hadn’t occurred to me before, but Kemala was Caleb’s sister. If Caleb was a psychopath, perhaps this was the kind of thing that ran in the family?
“Get out!” She screeched.
I did the only thing that was honorable. I fled my cute little sister. I managed to close the door just as a lamp struck it and shattered. That thing was aimed for my head! I sweated a bit, giving out a sigh. Women truly were odd. Even though 99% of this world were women, I still didn’t understand a single one of them. Instead, I could only limp back to my room, shaking my head and feeling a bit wronged.
I was only halfway back, I thought, I still wasn’t 100% sure I was going in the right direction before I saw someone coming towards me with a frown on their face. That person was none other than the woman who called herself my mother. She also did not look pleased. However, I didn’t feel as intimidated by her now as I did before. I knew I was in the same world. I knew Lyra was nearby. With that support, I was ready to face this woman.
Our fight was about to begin.