Updated: May 7
Fanfic: Written by me (Thamalasca). It isn't canon, though it does contain canon references from the novel. (read up to chapter 186).
Also I'm not a writer, don't expect Shakespeare.
Trigger warning: This fanfic contains references to the following: Prostitution and erotica (Read at your discretion)
Premise: Tara has to solve an issue before her wedding with Kyle.
Sitting at her desk in the first aide to the Crown Prince’s office, Tara held her chin in her hand while deeply in thought, jutting ideas in her personal notebook.
In four months, she was getting married, and she had a bit of a problem to solve before then….
‘I know that guy has been going through the Elias library to find “the books” that supposedly taught me how to kiss.’
Lucky for her, he had decided to agree to the Crown Princess Selection, so she was able to purchase various black-market books on top of the (in)famous “The Ocerian Man Manual 1, 2, 3 & 4”, “Daily habits to lose, nightly habits to gain 1 & 2”and of course, the “Social Skills to get a Prince: Extra bedroom edition” that had been best sellers at the time.
‘The worst part is that I had to read them all…. Ugh! Just thinking about the utter nonsense and drivel that was written in some of those pages still makes me shiver.’
But she did find one small volume that was very interesting. Titled: “The Red Boudoir” by a certain: “A.N”. Centered around the sensual and sexual journey of a young woman, it contained all the knowledge, and much more, that she needed. Reading it had been quite…. enlightening…. And she could tell that the author was almost certainly a woman.
But she still had the issue of not knowing whether he found the book or not. So, she needed to prepare a failsafe just in case.
‘I’d love to meet the author, but that is probably going to be difficult so, what other solution can I come up with? Hmmm…. I need experts…. Experts! Of course!’
Tara jumped out of her chair, a wicked grin on her face, and called Bernard.
Sitting comfortably in a tasteful salon, Madame Fleur waited expectantly for her client to arrive. It was a most unusual request but not only was the offer tempting, but she had also been given guaranties towards her safety and well being that she found reassuring.
A discreet but luxurious carriage had come to pick her up. Inside, she found a brasero to keep her feet warm as well as a nice fur blanket. The ride had taken about 45 minutes where she arrived at a lovely little mansion in the suburbs of the capital. There, a maid had taken her to the salon she presently was in and offered tea as well as an assortment of delicacies to snack on.
A knock on the door and the maid informed that her client would be arriving shortly.
Madame Fleur, feeling a little nervous, patted her head and smoothed out imaginary wrinkles on her dress.
The door opened and a young woman entered with a warm smile.
As Madame Fleur was getting up to greet her, the woman stopped her.
“Please, stay seated. I’m sorry for being late. I trust you were well taken care of in the meantime?”
“Ah, yes. Very much so.”
Wearing the uniform affiliated to the Ministry of Security, her red hair tied up in a more practical than fashionable manner and sporting amused and eager spring green eyes, Madame Fleur couldn’t believe her “client” was the future Crown Princess.
“Madame Fleur I presume?”
Still dumbfounded, she bowed deeply.
“I greet the future moon of the Empire. It is an honour to be in your presence.”
Lifting her head, Madame Fleur was surprised again to see the young Lady Elias seemed bothered.
“Madame. Could you do me a favor?” the young woman asked with a slight frown.
“Of course, Your Highness!”
“Then please forgo all this etiquette nonsense while we are in these walls. Miss Tara will suffice. I find imperial etiquette stifling and nonconductive to a proper conversation.”
“Very well…. Miss Tara.”
Tara nodded happily.
“Great! Then before we get down to business, I need you to sign this non-disclosure agreement please.”
Tara passed on 2 sheets of paper to her guest.
Taking out reading glasses, Madame Fleur carefully looked over the papers given. Basically, these asked absolute discretion on her part for the duration of the “business deal” under threat of a huge fine and possible imprisonment were she to divulge, in any way to anybody, what went on inside the manor. It also stated that her client had to show the same discretion or else she could be subject to a fine up to 10 times the rate for her services.
Surprised, Madame Fleur looked at the young woman calmly sitting across her.
“This includes your Master, Andrei Pitt by the way…. And the Crown Prince of course.” Stated Tara with a mischievous expression.
“How did you….?”
“Andrei is also my Master so, … As for my fiancé…. Let’s just say he takes his duties as Minister of Security a little too seriously wherever I’m concerned….”
“I …. see” Madame Fleur answered with a grin of her own.
She continued: “this is why you chose this particular room for the meeting today.”
“Oh? Do tell….” Tara asked leaning forward eyes alight with interest.
Following her client’s example, Madame Fleur leaned forward as well and spoke softly.
“This room is in the center of the house. There are no windows, only one chimney and 2 doors. The chimney is lit, so the sounds won’t carry, the door you came in is the only access to the corridor, the door behind me probably lead to a room with no other entry than this one. Finally, your trusted maid is probably in the corridor, keeping watch.”
Tara chuckled with a wicked grin.
“There are 2 of my people in that corridor. Beth, my maid as you have guessed, will be attending us, while Bernard, my knight, is barring access at the corridor’s entrance.”
The other room also had a secret passage to leave in case of an attack, but Tara wasn’t going to give that little piece of information.
“So, Madame Fleur, since we seem to understand each other, why don’t we both sign these papers and I’ll tell you why I’m in need of your services.”
2 Months later.
Tara was having a jolly good time with this week’s group. The girls were all the non nonsense pragmatic and practical type and all of them were true professionals. One of them had a wicked sense of humour with a gift for imitation that had her in stitches but also made her blush on occasions.
‘Oh dear, some of her stories are very…naughty, but also quite informative.’ Tara mused as she jolted down information as fast as her hand could right.
‘Lucky, I learned shorthand when I worked for the TV program, or else I’d never be able to follow.’
If her initial intent was to give credence to her lie regarding the origins of her knowledge in sexuality, now, not only was she gathering intel about various nobles that could be of use in the future, but Tara was also genuinely interested in how the “flower world” worked on a legal and business aspect. Her goal was to create better working, legal and business conditions for the women and men who were part of it.
Now she had meetings twice a week at random, once for her education, and the other with the owners of the various Flower Houses of the capital to talk about various issues related to their business.
Prostitution was legal in the Empire. The Flower Houses and their workers paid taxes like anybody else but were often considered 2nd category citizens and she intended to change that.
Tara’s mood sobered quickly as her mind took a much darker path. There were other things she would take care of as well she vowed to herself. Some of the people she had met over the last weeks, understanding who they were dealing with, had started to hint and some very dark and disgusting things going on, things that were only talked about in hushed and wary tones, which had left her with a taste of bile in her mouth.
She had already asked for more information, but it was slow going….
“Miss? ….. Are you alright?” a lovely baby doll faced girl with raven locks asked.
“Huh? Ah! Yes! Yes! Ha-ha. Sorry my mind wondered a little, so what did I miss?”
“Rosalia was talking about the subject of today’s lesson: fellatio….”
‘Well! This ought to be interesting….’ Tara smiled inwardly.
A young woman sporting the most luscious lips she had ever seen smiled at her and asked:
“Do you know what a fellatio is Miss?”
“I have read the Red Boudoir……”
‘Why am I blushing suddenly’ Tara wondered as she felt a heat wave going through her body.
“Oh! That is a great book! All the girls must read it when they arrive in a House. It’s a mandatory part of out training.” The girl replied, clapping her hands in delight.
“You should have told us sooner, but now that we know, it will make things easier.”
The women agreed in concert.
‘Mandatory reading?... Is it possible that….?’
“Ladies, do you know who the author is?”
“Unfortunately, we don’t. There are rumours of course but….”
Meanwhile, in the Palace.
‘2 months…. 2 months and I still can’t get any information and what is going on in that mansion. I’ve got all these pieces of the puzzle but I’m missing one to get the full picture…. I’m going crazy… What are you up to now, Tara?’
Frustrated, Kyle ruffled his hair and, once again, went through what he knew.
Tara had bought this mansion in the suburbs. Twice a week at seemingly random days, groups of women or a mix of men and women came. They all wore cloaks, hiding their features and clothes and they never said a word before entering the house.
Beth, Tara’s personal maid always opened the door and let the groups in. Bernard always accompanied Tara who arrived either before or after. There was no other staff in the house on the meeting days, but staff came the other days to clean, cook and take care of the property.
The groups came back out and carriages, never with the same drivers, came to take them away. The stopping points always varied, and the people involved all went their separate ways and went back to random houses in the capital, then disappeared into thin air.
‘Maybe I’ve taught you a bit too well, my dear.’
Their wedding was only 2 months away… How did she manage to organise such a complicated operation on top of all she had to do? She had to have some help.
Kyle had gone to see Andrei but to no avail. The man had just chuckled while showing him the non-discloser agreement he and Tara had signed.
‘Great idea by the way, that non-discloser agreement. I’ll have to keep it in mind for later.’
He smiled with pride. His fiancée was truly something else.
Then went back to brooding again. Both Beth and Bernard were loyal to her and would never betray her, but both did blush furiously when he asked what was going on and, as expected, refused to answer. Now that Beth would blush in front of him, he expected, the girl was a hopeless romantic, but Bernard?
He had tried to push the issue, but Bernard just closed up even more, blushing furiously, and just told him to go ask Tara if he wanted to know and actually left in a huff.
Why would a hardened knight like him, who was training under the best strategists of the Empire, (he had a real potential in that field, and Kyle hated wasted potential), would blush like a virgin….
‘Blush like a virgin……’
“No, Could it be?” Kyle mused out loud, startling Walter who was working at his desk.
“Your Highness?” he asked.
“Nothing…. I think I just found out what my fiancée is up to these days….” Kyle replied with a wicked grin.
A month later.
Tara entered the mansion to meet with today’s group for the last time. In a month, she had her wedding and things had become frantic. Tired, she gave Beth her cloak.
“Miss, today there is only one guest.” Beth informed her.
Tara snapped her head.
“Only one? Who?”
“A very beautiful lady. She knows all the protocols and she said to tell you this when you arrived: A.N.”
Arriving in front the salon, she patted her hair and straightened her uniform. Taking a deep breath, she slowly opened the door.
That was the first thought that came to her mind when she saw the woman sitting gracefully in the sofa, sipping a cup of tea.
Tara gently closed the door behind her. Both women looked at each other in silence.
She had never felt jealous of another woman’s beauty, until today. “A.N.” was probably Yeon-Woo’s real age, early to mid thirties and exuded that “je ne sais quoi” that would make anybody man or woman, turn their heads and just look.
Her proportions were just perfect. Tara bet to herself that the woman in front of her fit the Golden Ratio that all artists aimed for in their creations.
Rich chestnut hair, flawless cream-colored skin, elegant hands with long fingers almond shaped nails and golden amber eyes that reminded her of a rich cognac she once had tried with Kyle.
Smiling, Tara slowly sat in front of her unexpected guest.
“It is a real honour to meet you, Lady A.” She began.
“Anaïs Nim, at your service. I heard that you were looking for me.” answered a rich alto voice.
Those golden eyes held a powerful intellect and an arrogance that felt oddly familiar. No, not arrogance, more like self confidence.
‘This woman knows herself like few people do’. Tara mused. ‘She’s absolutely comfortable in her own skin and knows her exact worth’.
‘Now what is this feeling I have…. Why to I feel like I know her already?’
Then it hit her. This time he was certain her intuition was right. Sitting back in a more comfortable position in the armchair with a satisfied smile she said slowly:
“He likes talented people.”
“Then you know who I am or, to be more exact, what I am.”
“Does it bother you?”
Anais closed her eyes half mast and gazed intently at the young woman in front of her. There was an agile brain, different but equal to hers in that pretty head. But there was something more… She didn’t give out the “feel” of a young 20-year-old woman. Anais had the odd idea that she was facing a woman about her own age and experience.
‘She’s showing me her true self’ came the immediate thought. ‘The one she usually hides deep down, that maybe even He hasn’t met… yet.’
“I think, Miss Tara, that you and I are oddly similar. And no, it doesn’t bother you.”
“It there anything you wish to know?”
“I could ask you the same question.”
Anais smiled softly.
“I admit that I was curious as to what kind of woman could steel that Man’s heart.”
Tara smiled in turn.
“It’s a great compliment. Thank you.”
“I’ll admit that I was curious as to what kind of woman he had met before.”
“I’m satisfied as well.”
Both women laughed, complicit. Tara continued:
“Lady Anais, once all this wedding madness has died down, I would like to tend you a proper invitation for tea. I think you and I could become good friends in the future.”
Anais blinked in surprise.
“Is it wise to invite me?”
“Is it because you work for Him?”
“No. That isn’t the issue.”
“Then I don’t see a problem. Now we both now that it is better to be discreet until the coronation, but after…. It’s good for an Empress to have an eccentric friend or two….” She explained with a wicked grin.
Laughing out loud, Anais replied:
“Yes, I’ll gladly accept then.”
“One day, I’d love for you to explain why you decided to go through this…. education…. I feel there is something more too it than the obvious.”
Tara pondered those words for a while.
‘It would be nice for Yeon Woo to have somebody to confide in. I wonder if she would believe me if I told her the truth….’
Witnessing Tara’s sad and wistful expression, Anais felt a surge of sympathy for this young girl, wiser than her years, and that seemed so lonely and alone. But that expression disappeared quickly, the door was closed again as she said:
“Maybe one day…. I shall.”
Kyle, holding his now wife in a tight embrace whispered in her ear sending shivers down her spine.
“Shall I see if what you have learned these past months lives up to your kissing ability?”