Carahil - V

That was back at the Count's Arms. Carahil had found Velwyn, but was unable to persuade him back to the Manor. They both looked very relieved to see Clark, and even more so once they'd heard his tale of the Lich that was Lorgren Benirus.

The mysterious transformation of the Manor was a surprise to both of them. Neither had any explanation, but it was clear that Velwyn now regretted selling the place so cheaply. Clark reminded him how expensive ghost-clearing could be, and he changed his tune. "I do get to return to the Elven Garden with a clear conscience, so it's all right in the end."

Carahil snorted in disgust, but she let him leave without saying anything further. "Come on, Clark, I want to see what happened."

"Oh, this is much nicer," she exclaimed. "Almost the way I'd have re-furnished it myself. Maybe I'll move that table you trip over when you come in, but the rest is just delightful."

Clark found a bottle of Tamika's in the cupboard. A vintage one, no less than a 399. "Shall we celebrate, or would you prefer to celebrate first?" Clark nodded towards the bedroom.

"Can I go and bring Sparky over before we do that?" Carahil asked. "I want to see if he's going to settle in here before I believe there's any cause for celebration."

The Mages Guild was just across the road from Benirus Manor, so it was only a couple of minutes later when Carahil opened the door and sent Sparky inside to look around. The imp flew up to examine the balcony and then went around the corner out of sight. As Carahil closed the front door, he re-appeared from the dining room, having flown down to the back hall from the study.

Sparky followed them up the stairs, and Clark opened the bedroom door. The imp looked at the bed and then at Carahil. "I think I know what he wants," she said. "Maybe this is time for that celebration of yours, if Sparky will cooperate."

Clark helped her unbutton her robe, and she took it off and hung it in the cupboard. Then she turned to Clark, and starting removing his clothes. Sparky watched, but did nothing. He was clearly aroused by Carahil's nakedness, but loyally waited for a sign that he was to do anything.

"From what you've told me, the Queen Imp keeps a harem of as many drones as she wants. So this would be a good time to see if Sparky can share."

"Well, I think the Queen's just being greedy. But that's her royal prerogative, so I won't object. What would you like me to do?"

"Stand behind me, and let me guide your hands," she told him. "I want Sparky to be able to see clearly what's going on, but without leaving him out."

"I think that worked out well," Carahil said later, as they sipped a glass of wine around the fireplace. "Now we know that Sparky's not going to treat all men like he did poor Marc. Even though I don't like the man, that looked too painful for words."

Clark preferred not to think about that too much. He'd found Sparky quite cooperative, and it was clear that his motivation was to serve the Queen, rather than keep her for himself. That boded well for what he and Carahil had planned for the next few days.

Randonil wasn't so sure about what Clark proposed. "I'm sure Virgilia will enjoy it, if it all works out right, but there's a danger that Sparky will be aggressive if there's another queen."

"That's why we need you there as well. It will make the situation more complex if the 'rival queen' brings her own drone along, and we think - I mean I'm sure - that Sparky will look to Carahil for guidance. So when she's happy about swapping partners, he'll go along."

"The other point," Clark continued, "is that I need someone who's got some spell-casting experience. There's Prizna, of course, but she's a bit too unique to prove anything. Not to mention that she'd probably cause a riot walking through town naked."

"Yes, I see your point," Randonil mused. "Virgilia's the best at being queen. And right now, she's more likely to agree than she'll ever be. The goblins will have put her in just the right frame of mind for trying this."

"That was a piece of pure genius on Virgilia's part," Clark enthused. "When she started doing that with Carahil, Sparky was quite nonplussed for a moment or two."

"I noticed that he didn't miss the opportunity it gave him," Randonil replied.

"Got in there ahead of you, did he?"

Randonil said nothing, but refilled everyone's glasses. "To the Imp Queens," he proposed. "Long may they ... whatever you call that."

"Unlike men," Carahil told him, "we don't talk about it, we just do it. So it doesn't need a name."

"Tsarrina wouldn't agree," Virgilia interjected. "She'd want to give it a name, and a price!"

"I'd prefer to keep it priceless," Carihil told her. "Or at least, just for my closest friends."

There were still a few more stages needed in Sparky's education. They'd succeeded in introducing him to a second 'queen', and he'd done what they hoped. However, Carahil needed him to become independent of her, or she'd be tied to the imp for the rest of his existence. It was apparent that he liked Virgilia, too, but would he go with her when Carahil wasn't there?

They sat around the fireplace discussing how to set that up. "Where's Sparky now?" Clark asked.

"He can't have gone down to the basement, because he doesn't know how to open the door," Carahil replied. "He must be somewhere upstairs. Did you leave the bedroom doors open?"

"There he is," Randonil pointed at the imp, fluttering up on the balcony. He was looking down at Virgilia, who was lying face-down on the rug in front of the fire. She was still nude, as they all were, and her legs, pointed toward the imp, were parted.

Randonil bent down and whispered to her. "Stay there. We're all going to the bedroom, and we'll close the doors. We want to find out what Sparky will do when he has you all to himself."

He beckoned to Carahil and Clark to follow him, and they slipped out of the room. Sparky continued to gaze down at Virgilia. Carahil made sure Sparky saw her close the door between the balcony and the bedroom, with her on one side of it, and the imp on the other.

"I wonder what Sparky's doing now," Carahil mused.

"If what you told me is true, probably this," Randonil replied, applying a tiny tingly shock to just where she liked it.

"It was all right, but I preferred it when we were all together." Virgilia wasn't complaining, though. Most of her customers didn't have the skills the imp seemed to have.

"Most of your customers don't have wings," Clark reminded her.

"Ok, so he can do things they can't, but there's only one of him, and I was getting to like the extra attention."

She appeared to have worn Sparky out. The imp was dozing in the corner with his wings wrapped around him. "Randonil and I feel pretty much the same way he does," Clark told her, "so you'll just have to wait until tomorrow for that."

Virgilia giggled. "You men are such wimps!"