37. Dead Man Walking

Last chapter…

Pili made some slow (and unpleasant), progress with the whole garlic issue, but he threw up and Cassie was grossed out…luckily she decided to guess that he was a vampire and forgot about being grossed out.

Later Pili was watching her sleep, but not in a creepy way, and then Tem decided to give him a heads up about the power of teenage girl crushes (be very afraid).

Also Tem walked in on her twins making out (just for practice ok) and it was super awkward.


The lustful cries of a hungry infant echoed throughout the living quarters; Antonia huffed in annoyance and swung her legs off of the bed.  Once that thing got started there was no stopping it, even with one of Corabella’s massive teats shoved in it’s gaping maw.

Antonia: “Hey shitstain, you feel like going outside?”  Princess Selket grinned and held out her arms to be picked up.

Being on toddler duty wasn’t the worse gig in the pyramid, really.  Selket was a pretty happy kid, and she seemed to like playing on her own for the most part, which left lots of time for Antonia to read and whatever…it could be a hell of a lot worse.

They settled down by the creek, and the teen let her charge loose; normally she’d whip out a book, while the Princess gnawed on a toy, but today the young woman’s mind was all over the place.

Tensions were high at Apep these days.

Queen Maat was sick, like, super sick…too sick to do her queen stuff, anyhow.  So Kenza was sort of acting in charge, which meant everything was kind of militant at the moment.  “Cuz Kenza’s a massive bitch, isn’t she?”  Antonia crooned sweetly to the tot.

The teen had no idea how bad off Maat really was, because she wasn’t actually allowed upstairs or anything, but she hadn’t seen the queen in at least a month or two; it must be pretty bad if Kenza was allowed to run rampant around the joint telling everyone what to do, and imprisoning people on a whim, though, right?

Yeah, that poor Jahi guy was back in the dungeon again, and looking pretty rough these days too because Kenza had him on some kind of epic starvation diet, “to keep him compliant,” or whatever.

Nothing about life these days was especially awesome, but what made it worse for Antonia in particular was all the remembering.  There had been hints of it, when she’d been a kid, like knowing about stuff she shouldn’t, and using big words etc…but it was different now; it was more.

And it was driving her absolutely fucking crazy, “omg shitstain, don’t put rocks in your mouth!  That’s how dumbass little kids get dead, okay?”

Kenza: “You should have listened to me, my Queen; this is what happens when you displease Athena,” the Warden sighed “what would you do without me to save you?”

“Excuse me, Warden,” came a sheepish voice from the landing.

Kenza: “How dare you infect the Queen’s chambers with your cursed male presence!”

Wes: “Forgive me, Warden!”  He peeped, “it’s only that I’ve got her Majesty’s tincture; Artisan Corabella asked for me to bring it to you!”

Kenza: “She should have brought it herself!”  The robust wail of an incensed babe rose from the lower levels; the Warden clenched her teeth, “regardless of any other…distractions.”

Wes: “Yes Warden,” he left the medicine and hurried back downstairs.

Kenza glared after the slave; adulthood hadn’t improved his competence at all, perhaps he would better serve Athena’s Daughters from the bottom of an Offering Pool.

But that could keep for now.

Kenza: “Sweet Queen, it’s time for your medicine,” she murmured.

Deftly, Kenza added something from her pocket to the bottle and swirled the mixture around, “only for now, I promise!  Soon there will be no more need for our little ruse, and you can be well again,” she tipped the mixture into Maat’s mouth.

The queen stirred weakly, but the Warden forced her to swallow.

Kenza: “I’m sorry, my love, but this is the only way we can be together, don’t you see?”  The Warden furrowed her brow, “it’s his fault, I know, I know…he ensorcelled you!  I see that now,” she smiled tenderly, “but I will free you from his influence, and then you will understand, and we can finally be together, as the Goddess intended.”

Jahi would have paced, but he lacked the strength; how many days had it been since his last meal?  Too many, but still, not enough to kill him…yet.

At least there was water.

The illness had come on suddenly six weeks prior, and Queen Maat had been placed on strict bed rest by her women; at first he’d been permitted to stay by her side, but once she’d slipped into delirium, the Warden had taken over.

It was the dungeon again for him after that, naturally.

The Queen must yet live, though, or else he’d most certainly be dead by now.  Jahi wondered, not for the first time, however, why the Warden was keeping him alive at all when there was no one to stop her from doing away with him.

‘There is a purpose for you yet,’ he mused, morbidly, ‘though you may not see it.’

The caterwauling of Corabella’s infant could be heard clearly in the stillness of the dungeon.  As always, it startled him, twisting his gut with a sort of wild panic; one day soon, it would not be the buxom red head’s fat babe that made the stones ring in Apep.

‘She’s waiting for the Queen’s to give birth,’ the thought pounced upon him out of nowhere.

That must be the reason, there could be no other…at least none that his undernourished brain could fathom; but why wait for his child to be born?  What was the significance of it?  Jahi felt as though he was failing to grasp at some elementary conclusion.

“Are you alive?”  The voice was low and subdued, “I brought you something to eat.”

‘The other slave,’ he was young, and shy, and a bit soft around the middle.

Jahi: “I live.”

Wes: “Thank the Goddess!  I was worried I have to dispo–well, I was worried I’d find you dead this time!”

Jahi: “I appreciate your concern.”

The boy had the decency to blush for his near insensitivity.

Wes: “I’m sorry I can’t bring more, they won’t let me.”

Jahi: “I understand, think nothing of it.”

Wes: “I saw Her Majesty earlier,” the young man gulped audibly, “she’s not looking very well I’m afraid, I-I’m worried…what if she–?”  It was apparently too horrible a thought to speak aloud.

Jahi: “Then Apep will have a new Queen, and I will surely see the bottom of it’s Offering Pool,” if he’d been less starved, he may have found the lad’s turning to a prisoner for comfort rather amusing.

Wes: “Goddess forbid!”

Jahi: “Let us hope so.”


And here you thought it couldn’t get more depressing than last chapter!  HAH!  Well, bear with me; rough seas ahead, but, you know, light at the end of the tunnel etc.  Maybe.

I have been able to salvage some stuff.  Not enough stuff, but stuff…the story will go on!  Look forward to some TEENS.  Lot’s of teens.  Teens for days.  (Beware the teens.)

See how excited Wes is for teens??  Whoa, wait not like that.


21 thoughts on “37. Dead Man Walking

  1. Kenza that is NOT OKAY. Poisoning your queen just to stay close to her? And what about her bab??? Somebody’s gone off the deep end…though Maat kidnapped her lover, so maybe it’s karma? Not the best tribe to be a part of, apparently… Poor Jahi starving in a dungeon. Really not cool, Kenza. 😦

    But on a brighter note, Antonia is a teen! Looks a bit familiar… LOL at her calling the bab a shitstain. Repeatedly. ❀ Child-rearing at its finest. Well, babysitting at its finest, but I don't see Corabella spending much time raising her kid.

    I enjoyed the interactions between Wes and Jahi. Even if Jahi is in a damn dungeon. (KENZAAAA.)

    So glad you were able to salvage what you could! If you hadn't told me about The Great Disaster, I never would've known. ❀ ❀

    Liked by 3 people

    1. It’s a slippery ride down the slope of NOT OKAY, that’s for sure! But desperate times call for desperate measures, and Maat was being Unreasonable about the whole Jahi thing! What’s a Warden to do? (Save the Queen from herself, naturally) :mrgreen:

      Antonia is clearly the best chance for that poor, young Queen-to-be, though I doubt she’ll call the kid “shitstain” when it finally gets to wear the Snek Crown πŸ˜€
      Does she look familiar? Hmm, where have I seen her before ❀

      And finally Wes gets a speaking part! Yaaay!

      I'm glad The Great Disaster is not *super* apparent; hopefully I can keep that going!

      Liked by 2 people

  2. WELCOME BACK, FRUITY!!! I was so delighted to see a chapter of yours in my feed! ❀ I'm with Lobster, there is no hint that something was amiss. Seriously! You did good, my love. I'm proud you were able to be a phoenix!

    HA! Antonia is great, I love the way she interacts with the kiddo! So dry and straightforward! β€œCuz Kenza’s a massive bitch, isn’t she?” Antonia crooned sweetly to the tot." That made me LOL! I wonder if she will be one to decide she never wants to breed? She seems kind of reserved, like she'd be happily childless her whole life–and she doesn't seem particularly thrilled at the prospect of being a nanny. Hmmmm!

    The interactions between Kenza and Maat were scary, but definitely insightful! The plot is thickening for sure!

    So excited for more, Fruity! I can't wait to see you stretch your wings even further!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thanks lovely! ❀
      Figured I should drop back in sooner rather than later; I’m glad for another vote that it’s not a jarring transition so far (hopefully I can keep that up)!

      It’s possible that Antonia will never want to have a hoard of rugrats! We’ll have to see which way her flag starts to fly, especially as she starts to remember more Things πŸ˜‰

      Kenza is definitely bringing this arc to a head in a hurry; not long now until plotz begin to smash together and Stuff Happens, eee!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Loved this chapter and all the gloom…that makes for wonderful drama! Oh, that evil Kenza! I want to see her floating at the bottom of the sacrificial pool! And if Queen Maat figures out what she’s done, then she very well feel that gurgle in her throat as the water seeps in…I will celebrate!

    My poor Jahi! I hate to see him in that state. But I believe in Maat. She will save her love!!!

    Antonia….hmm…not sure what to think about her.

    And then the little princess. I’m not sure who’s child she is…forgive my moldy brain.

    YAY for new chapters! You’re rocking!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah Kenza! An example of jealousy, and religious devotion take just a smidge too far! You’re right, though, Maat is NOT going to be as okay with her Warden’s shenanigans as Kenza seems to think!

      Jahi often seems to get the shit end of the stick, don’t he?! Poor (hot) dude. πŸ˜•

      Hah, I don’t blame you! So many characters to remember; Selket is Maat and Anthony’s daughter, don’t be perplexed if you don’t remember him, he was a blip with no dialogue near the beginning of Gen 2.

      Ty for the love! ❀ Hopefully they’ll come a bit more regularly now πŸ˜‰

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Got it now…I could tell she was Maat’s but forgot about the father. He suffered the oil, I think. So she’s the heiress princess and the next child is a spare.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Goodness, Kenza don’t let Jahi starve! The readers’ interest in your quarrel with him is probably the only thing that has kept some of them from murdering you in your sleep so I’d be careful if I were you…
    Wes, your blush somehow looks… terrifying. But yey for teens, there we agree! And teen trouble and hormones and more people like Cassie.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Let’s hope Kenza decides to stop being a little bit crazy, and lets Jahi out! Who am I kidding; I think someone is going to have to intervene on his behalf 😬

      Everything about awes is terrifying, lol! He is not an exemplary Amazon slave!


  5. Okay, I am not a big Maat fan, but DAMN. Kenza is an evil, meddling bitch. 😭

    I interested to learn why she keeps Jahi around/alive. If only she’d just finally let him return to his family… but then, she’d need to have a heart for that πŸ˜‚

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah! I know what you just read 😬
      There’s not much to say in Kenza’s defense; shit got out of hand! Desperation working on a troubled, zealous mind 😭

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I think he has that same feeling 😢
      Kenza is zealous and confused and making REALLY poor choices 😬 she’s kind of spiraling out of control…

      Liked by 1 person

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