Copyright © 2017 by Victoria Vallo
Korac sat on the too soft, too silky cushion in Barol’s lounge and eyed all of the robed bodies, as well as a few unrobed ones, moving about the room. Here on Nykon, pleasure slaves were referred to as regas, an ancient word associated with the harems of old, which once upon a time had only been kept by the planet’s royals.
But times had changed. Now, money ruled over lineage, and the Nykonians did all they could to preserve that order. That very drive was the reason Korac had come to Nykon to negotiate with Barol, the sixth wealthiest man on the planet—at least at the moment. There were three men Barol wanted to be rid of, for various undisclosed reasons, and it just so happened that all of them were off-planet at the moment. Barol had made it clear that he would pay handsomely, since the timing was so perfect and likely wouldn’t be so again for years.
Korac had studied the three names and agreed to take the job for the right price. He’d quoted an outrageous sum to start with, and then he’d graciously offered to lower his price if he could take one of Barol’s regas with him for the duration of his mission. So long as he got to choose which one, that is. Barol had agreed and led him to the lounge, but Korac hadn’t yet spied the one he wanted. Upon arrival, he’d run into the most beautiful male he’d ever seen in his life, in a back hallway of all places. Noting the robes of a rega, Korac had tried to stop him and secure his services for the afternoon, but the young man had insisted he was already taken by someone very important and would be punished if he was late. Korac had smiled and stolen a kiss before releasing the young man’s arm. He could still remember the sweet gasp that had come from the beautiful male, not to mention how soft and yielding his lips had been.
Korac licked his own lips now as he sipped at the drink he’d been offered upon entering the room. The rega master had tried to make suggestions, but Korac had said he simply wished to watch for a while. Many other members of Barol’s household were taking advantage of the services offered. Nykonians had very specific societal and sexual customs. Sex before marriage was forbidden between intended partners, as it supposedly tainted the union, yet having as much sex as one wanted with regas was allowed for males and females equally, as long as pregnancy was avoided. Also, adultery was punishable with death, and one could not use the services of a rega after marriage. Married couples essentially owned each other’s bodies, and children were considered chattel to be controlled by their fathers until they either reached the age of twenty-five or married. Even an unborn fetus was considered the property of the father rather than the mother. These strange customs had created a society where marriage was either an escape or a prison sentence to many natives, and familial relationships were nothing short of fucked up ninety percent of the time. And the underground sex trade was more intricate, and more expensive, than on any other world Korac had ever visited.
Shifting in his chair, Korac once again searched the room. He didn’t see the young male anywhere and wondered if he was still with the “very important” person who had secured him earlier. Finishing his drink, he gestured for the rega master to approach him.
“Yes, sir. Have you found someone you wish to sample?” the master asked.
Korac had to fight not to roll his eyes. He’d had sex with pleasure slaves before, but he never could get used to the way their keepers talked about them, not on any world. “No, not really. I met a young man earlier but don’t know his name. He said he was already engaged for the day. He’s slender and small, and he was pale with golden hair yet his eyes are almost black. Very young, likely just barely come of age to serve as a rega.”
The master paused, pressing his lips together. “He wore robes of jet and silver?”
The man straightened. “Ah. I’m sorry to say that he is Barol’s personal rega. He sleeps in an adjoining room and never services others. If you want him as part of your,” he lowered his voice, “bargain, so the speak, you must ask Barol himself. I have no authority over Yuri.” The man smiled. “Though I see you are a man of fine tastes. He is very beautiful.”
Korac smiled and stood up. “Then I shall ask.” To seem amiable, he tossed one final glance around the room and added, “But if he refuses, your offerings are all lovely. I’ll return and select another companion for my mission.”
The master bowed. “At your service, sir.”
Korac strode from the room, laughing once he was out in the hallway. He wondered if the rega master had any idea that Korac was an assassin. Barol had asked Korac to come disguised in vague diplomatic robes, which Korac had laughed at initially. Yet it seemed that most everyone on this planet was equally stupid, understanding nothing but money and more than willing to look the other way for it.
Korac made his way to Barol’s office suite to find out just how much Barol would be willing to compromise for the right sum. The thought of Yuri pleasuring that old windbag made Korac feel sick and only increased his longing for the beautiful young man.
* * * *
Yuri trembled as he yanked the last of his clothes out of the drawers, trying to hide his emotions but failing miserably. His nerves refused to calm, and his anger built slowly in the background, along with something else … an odd sort of anticipation. Barol stood watching him, probably trying to make sure he didn’t steal anything. Yuri turned to glare at his uncle. “I’m not a piece of property simply because you’ve provided for me for a couple of years.” He opened his robes enough to expose his right hip before removing them completely to change into something else. “He’ll see soon enough I don’t bare the tattoo of a registered rega.” He tossed the robes down, tired of looking at them. Tugging on the first pair of pants he came across, he ground his teeth and tried to hold his tongue. No use getting his uncle too angry, even if he would soon be out of the man’s reach.
Barol frowned deeply. “It’s a good idea, one that is saving me a lot of money. It’s been hard enough to keep you a secret all this time.”
Yuri’s mother had done the unthinkable and fallen in love with a rega. She’d tried to run off with him and even had a child with him. But her family found her eventually and had her punished. She and Yuri had been hidden away for years. Yuri had never had any freedom until after her death. At that point, he’d become his uncle’s “problem”, and he’d donned the robes of a rega to be able to move about his uncle’s home without anyone asking who he was. He’d tried to escape more than once, but it had never worked out.
“But you said I’m just going on this mission with him. It’s a temporary solution.”
Barol smiled, an odd glint in his eyes. “He might take a fancy to you and wish to keep you, given your unique attributes.”
“Attributes? Is that what you call them now?” Yuri was used to hearing much harsher words when they discussed his unique genetic qualities, the very things that had made his family hide him all this time.
“Yes. The less said about it here the better, as well you know. And you saw Korac earlier. Didn’t you find him pleasing? Would you rather stay here and one day be discovered for what you truly are?” Barol folded his arms. “The man’s besotted by your face. Play your cards right, and you’ll be a pampered pet the rest of your life. Or at least a few decades. He’s from Kirkuss. They’re a long-lived people. He’s twenty years your senior but may easily outlive you. And you should see his ship. The man’s wealthy.”
“He’s a killer.”
“There are worse things to be,” Barol said pointedly, eyeing Yuri with contempt. “I’ve been generous. Your grandfather wanted you killed at birth, but your mother threatened suicide. I’ve done all I could over the years because I loved my baby sister.” He sighed, a mask of faux compassion coming to his face. Barol loved to go on and on about his love for his sister, but Yuri had never bought into it for even a moment. “She was led astray by that scum. Thought herself in love.” He came closer. “You know you’d have been killed after her death if I had not stepped up. Most families don’t show such mercy to freaks.”
Yuri did know that most born as he had been were killed before they even had a chance to cry, but he could only find a little room in his heart for gratitude.
“So how much money am I saving you?” Yuri asked as he put the last of his few belongings into a bag and finally drew a shirt over his head. He sat on the bed to put his socks and boots on. “How much am I worth to this man?” He gave his uncle his smarmiest smile. “May help me, in the end, to know how much he wanted me.”
“Get all your sarcasm out now. If you’ve any brains at all you’ll use this opportunity.” He paused, as if he might not answer Yuri’s question, but then he came closer. “He quoted me a price of one million. He offered to half it if he could have a rega with him the entire time. I was shocked, but once he came back and asked about you specifically, I understood. He’s taking two-hundred and fifty thousand as the down payment.” Barol smiled now. “And I told him I’d be open to a bargain if you please him well.” His smile faded. “Do a good job, and I might not have to pay him any more money at all.”
This guy cut his price by half a million just to fuck me for a few weeks? Yuri swallowed, lost for words. He knew who the targets were, as his uncle never seemed to care if Yuri was around when he was scheming, so he knew this mission wouldn’t last more than a month. Far less, in fact, if this man was as good as he was supposed to be.
“See? He’s very keen to have you.” Barol laughed. “I’m sure you can satisfy him one way or another, no matter what his tastes are.”
Yuri stared down at his boots. “This man is a killer. Do you even care if he kills me, once he finds out the truth about me?”
“He won’t kill you,” Barol said. “Anger over a lie isn’t worth that much money.”
Yuri stood, knowing his uncle’s answer even though he’d avoided the question. He moved to the door, away from the man who didn’t care what happened to him. “What deck is his ship on?”
Yuri looked at Barol, hoping it would be the last time. “Don’t worry. One way or another, I’m not your problem anymore.”
Barol didn’t even try to hide his pleasure or pretend to be sad. Yuri guessed he no longer saw the playacting of familial compassion as worth the effort. “Glad to hear it. There’s a big universe out there. Chances like this don’t come along very often.”
Chances like this? Leaving a life of abuse and neglect to be fucked senseless by a stranger who murders people for a living? “Yeah. You’re right.” He flung the door open and hurried to Deck Five. The assassin was nice to look at, though he would never have admitted that to his uncle. But looks weren’t everything. The guy was also huge, easily twice Yuri’s size, and he could probably hold Yuri down with one hand. Yuri swallowed again, trying to calm himself once more. Would this man kill him? Or hurt him so much and so often he’d wish for death?
Yuri remembered the strength in the hand that had grabbed him that morning, as well as the feel of the man’s hot, hungry mouth. Yuri had never given much thought to what his first kiss would be like, but he certainly hadn’t expected anything like the touch of the assassin’s lips.
Pressing the keypad on the wall outside Deck Five, Yuri waited. The guy’s ship must be nice if the deck was secured. The door slid open, and the assassin loomed over him, leaning in the doorway.
“We meet again, sweet boy,” the man said with a smile. “I’m Korac.” He reached out and drew Yuri to him. “And you’re mine now.”
Those hot lips captured Yuri’s, and he stumbled against Korac as he was pulled into the room. Everything tilted and blurred as he heard the door slide closed and then lock behind him. He grabbed hold of the man’s biceps and let the embrace happen, too stunned to fight and too unsure to try to return it.
When the kiss ended, Korac stared down at him, a curious look on his face. Yuri felt panic grip him as he worried that even this unplanned escape would be spoiled as well. Trying to please this man would likely be better than staying here, so Yuri pressed close. He could feel every hard muscle on the man’s body through the thin diplomatic robes he wore. The robes also did nothing to hide how aroused Korac was. As much as that huge bulge scared Yuri, he had no other choice. He made himself reply. “Yes. I’m yours now, to use as you please,” he said, echoing one of the trained responses of a rega.