We are taking book requests on our companion website. You can request books here. Make sure, you are following the rules.

Tempting Auzed: Chapter 5

Auzed fumed. The human had lied, and now they were both in trouble. Dammit, he’d told her to keep her mouth shut and follow his lead, but she just couldn’t do it. She had no idea what she’d done either. It was clear she believed she was helping, but she didn’t know anything about this world. What being married meant and what lying to the proud people of Sauven could result in.

She was to be swayed by a Swadaeth, for Goddesses’ sake! She’d be forced to admit the lie, and he’d be revealed as a criminal, having broken not one but three laws today. His honor would’ve remained in place if he’d only been found to have killed a sefa and entered Sauven territory in defense of a female. Even the Sauvenians would see he’d had no other choice. But to lie? He’d had a choice in that, and he’d chosen to break the law. There was no honor there.

Auzed had spent his life as a soldier, always following the rules. He’d been promoted to head guard, the youngest the Pearl Temple had ever seen, and now he would sit in a cell, a dishonorable criminal. His decades of hard work gone like that. All because she had to go and “help.”

What would his father think of him? Auzed sank into a chair, forgetting about his injured back and side, and shot to his feet again with a hiss of pain.

He inwardly seethed, pacing back and forth as the doctor checked Alejandra over, tending to what he could with the portable healer he’d brought with him. He could feel her eyes tracking his movements, but he refused to meet her gaze. Over his life he’d found remaining silent and retreating into his mind to be the best way to relieve the overblown spikes of anger he often felt thanks to his Traxian heritage.

As a half-Tremantian, half-Traxian male, he’d had to learn to manage the fiery emotions always blazing in him at the smallest thing. Being a soldier and now a guard had helped, years of strict training teaching him control.

He turned to continue his pacing but found his path blocked by the doctor.

“I was told you were injured,” the male said unenthusiastically.

Without a word, Auzed winced and lifted his arms, unable to remove his shirt with his hands still cuffed, and presented his marred back to the male. The doctor tugged his shirt overhead until it bunched at his wrists. Zed’s gaze landed on Alejandra’s nervous stare. She tentatively crossed to him.

Her attention lingered on the doctor working behind him and then briefly on his bare chest. “What is a Swadaeth?” she whispered.

Auzed bit back the rude answer he wanted to give and instead took a calming breath. “A Swadaeth can sway individuals. It’s a sort of mind control. Whoever they are will sway you to tell the truth.” He hadn’t realized there was a Swadaeth working here, or he would’ve denied the lie when Alejandra had first uttered it. Was there any argument to make her exempt from being swayed? If she were his wife…but she’d claimed they were not yet married.

Alejandra’s eyes widened farther. “What? You guys have a mind reader here?”

Zed scowled. This female was so ignorant of this planet. How had she ever thought she could get away with lying about something like this? “Swadaeth don’t read minds, they only influence you to do as they say.”

“Can I…” She huffed out a breath in irritation and glanced at the doctor, possibly remembering she had to watch her words. Zed could feel the ripped skin of his back was almost mended.

The doctor stepped away. “Alright, I’ve done what I can, but I want to see you both after you’re finished here for more internal scans and repairs. She’ll need an elixir as well. Do you have any questions?” the doctor drawled in a tone of boredom.

“No,” they both said in unison.

The doctor pressed the tips of his tail to his slightly bowed forehead, a customary greeting and farewell, then left. The electric whir of the door behind him ensured they were locked in.

As soon as the door slid shut, Alejandra spoke. “Can we just run?”

“Run where? I seem to recall you took issue with jumping from a great height before. Do you have access to transport that I don’t know about?” 

She quirked her lips downward. “Fine. Then is there any way for me to overpower the sway? Or lie through it or something? What if I say it’s against my human religion or that my head still hurts, maybe?”

“Some can throw off a sway, but it takes practice. And most Swadaeth know when their sway has failed. You need to act like you’ve been swayed while fighting it off. And you’ve never even been swayed before.” Zed chuckled in derision. “In other words, no. They will give you their command, you’ll repeat the command, and that will be it.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence, bro,” she said, throwing her hands on her hips in annoyance. “Do you have any ideas, or are you just gonna stand there pointing out problems?”

Now you want me to come up with a plan? I told you to stay quiet and take my lead, and you mucked it all up!” Auzed barked a little too forcefully. To his surprise, she only jumped, but the flash of fear morphed into anger. She was a brave little thing, indeed. Her deep brown eyes sparked with determination. Though she’d just spent weeks in a forest—and looked like it—he could admit those eyes were enchanting.

“I didn’t hear you spouting off any plan. All you were doing was making the guy in charge more and more angry. At least I did something! And by the way, I did it to save your ass, so a thank you would be nice!”

“Thank you?” he repeated.

Ignoring the obvious bafflement in his voice, she shot him a sarcastic smile and chirped, “You’re welcome.”

Auzed was lost for words. He’d never been spoken to like this by a female, and he’d certainly never spoken to a female with such a disrespectful tone. If she were another soldier, he would’ve challenged her to a fight. “You don’t realize what your help has cost me, human. I—”

The door opened again, and Fierad strolled through, appearing way too smug. Zed’s hands itched to smack the look from the male’s face. It would only grow worse when Alejandra admitted to her lie. Their lie.

Behind Fierad entered Dedeth and then a tall female with dark purple bags under her eyes. Fierad had said she was half Swadaeth. Maybe she wasn’t as powerful. She had a Sauvenian’s long tail and coloring, but her glowing eyes weren’t as large as a Sauvenian’s and her ears were only pointed at the top, as opposed to the tapered points on the top and bottom that most Sauvenians had.

“Is this her?” the young female breathed. Relli, as Fierad had called her, appeared exhausted. Why was she working if it affected her health this much?

“Yes.” Fierad nodded with a grin. “She needs to be swayed to tell the truth.”

Relli moved to stand before Alejandra. Zed could not tear his gaze away. Everything he’d built, all the trust and respect he’d garnered, would be gone in the next minute. Relli shifted from side to side. Alejandra’s nervous gaze followed her movements. “You want to tell Fierad the truth.”

Alejandra’s lids fluttered dreamily, and she muttered, “I want to tell him the truth.”

Zed exhaled the breath he’d been holding, deflating.

Relli stepped out of the way, eyes still locked on Alejandra, and Fierad joyously stepped forth. Over his shoulder, he added, “The regents have been made aware of the human’s existence, and they are on their way now.”

That was it, then. King Bet and Queen Dasa, co-rulers of Sauven, would claim Alejandra as a citizen and mete out his punishment.

Fierad dipped his head until he was at eye level with Alejandra and grinned. “Have you promised yourself to this male?” He turned to smirk at Auzed while listening for her reply.

“Yes. I have promised myself to Auzed.”

He and Fierad stared at each other for a moment, neither believing what they’d heard. Auzed quickly masked his surprise and donned a smirk of his own. “See?”

When Fierad faced Alejandra, who was still dazed and dreamy, his grin vanished and a maddened look of frustration replaced it. “When did you first meet Auzed?”

Alejandra blinked, her eyes glassy. “I first met Auzed three days ago.”

“Where?” Fierad shouted, giving her a little shake.

Auzed growled and stepped toward the male. “Unhand my intended.”

Fierad stepped back. “I don’t believe this.” His accusatory stare landed on Relli. “Are you sure she’s under your sway?”

She pursed her lips and straightened. “This is what I do all day, every day. I know when someone has broken it.”

“So, she belongs to this male already. Are they mated?” came an assertive voice from behind them. All turned to see the co-regents taking in the scene. Zed glanced back to Alejandra, who continued to stare into space. How was she doing this?

“Majesties.” The Sauvenians in the room lifted the tips of their tails to their foreheads and bowed. Auzed only bowed, since he of course had no tail. Alejandra remained unmoving.

The king and queen of Sauven wore identically decorated white vests that ended near their ankles with long capes attached to the back. While Queen Dasa wore her hair in a tight braid against her skull, King Bet left his long purple hair loose.

Since no one else had bothered, Auzed answered, “No, we’re not mated. But she has vowed to select me during the ceremony, and she’s a citizen of Tremanta, Your Highnesses.”

The co-regents looked at each other, exchanging a silent conversation. For the two rulers to come here together must’ve meant they were taking this matter seriously indeed. More often than not, the king and queen were off seeing to their separate responsibilities. The current queen saw to Sauven’s international and intergalactic matters, making sure trade to and from the city ran smoothly and acting as the city’s representative on The Intergalactic Alliance. The king remained in Sauven, seeing to the day-to-day needs of their people.

The news that had been disseminated mere days ago of the humans’ existence must’ve been important enough to force Queen Dasa to return home. Auzed suspected many cities around Clecania were convening in much the same way. Working out a strategy to lawfully demand Tremanta send the large group of humans they protected abroad. To spread the wealth, as it were.

It was an uncomfortable notion, but humans were being thought of more and more as a resource and less as a sentient species with customs directly opposed to their own. And like any sought-after resource, it would only be a matter of time before the asking stopped and the taking began. The thinly masked desperate looks on the rulers’ faces confirmed his worries. There was a war brewing.

“You have admitted to breaking our laws, Head Guard Auzed?” Queen Dasa asked.

“Yes. I entered your territory and slayed a sefa, to save Alejandra. There was no alternative.”

“And do you cohabitate?”

They all studied him as, in an instant, he combed through the pros and cons of both answers, though he didn’t know why they were asking. “We have not yet returned to Tremanta. I found her days ago in the forest, but I insist on remaining with her while we’re here.”

“Gather yourselves while we convene and speak to your Queen regarding your punishment.” King Bet turned his attention to Fierad. “Their interrogation is over for now. Bring them both to a nest. Disable transport and communications.”

Queen Dasa slid her imperious stare to Auzed again, her voice filling with authority. “You will be comfortable while you’re in Sauven, but you will remain in Sauven.” She held his gaze until he nodded his assent.

A thought sparked, and he blurted, “We’re supposed to visit your medbay first. The doctor requested it. And I also need access to my communicator so I may speak with my Queen.”

The co-regents glanced at each other again, then the king answered, “I will send a messenger with a communicator, clothing, and other goods. They will supervise your communications until we have come to a decision.” He focused on Fierad. “Take them to the medbay first.”

And with that, the rulers left.

“You no longer feel my sway, Alejandra.”

Zed turned to find Relli gently rousing Alejandra from her stupor.

She blinked, then her gaze focused on the female. Alejandra’s gaze bounced around the room, and she fiddled with the gold band on her finger. “We good?”

Fierad glared at her—gone were the once-gentle looks he’d bestowed her with when he’d thought she’d be eligible for marriage. He stopped Relli before she exited the room. “You take them to the doctor and then to an empty nest.”

“But the regents said—”

“I don’t care what they said. I have more important things to do than chaperone two criminals around the city,” he barked, turning on his heel and walking out the door, Dedeth close behind.

Auzed bristled. He’d never seen a female treated so poorly for no observable reason. How had Fierad risen to his current status while behaving like that?

Relli griped under her breath, “And I don’t have things to do?” She let out a sigh and flicked her tail at them. “Alright, let’s go.”

Auzed’s head was clouded. He couldn’t decide which emotion to land on. Relief? Shame? Caution? Somehow the human female had maintained their lie through Relli’s sway. He shot Alejandra a sidelong glance. She caught his stare and shrugged, pursing her lips in a self-satisfied gesture that screamed, Ha! Despite himself, the corner of his mouth lifted. She’d broken the sway and faked her way through. Incredible. He’d do well not to underestimate her again.

“The tuey is waiting in the entry hall. My apologies. We had to cage it to keep it from running to you. How long have you been bonded?” Relli asked.

“Bonded?” Alejandra furrowed her brows. “I only met him a few…er, recently.”

“Tueys are native to this planet and have some psychic gifts. They’re solitary unless they’re looking to reproduce, but occasionally they choose to bond to a creature they feel connected with. As long as you treat her,” Relli said pointedly, “well, she’ll remain loyal to you forever and only leave your side to find a mate before she returns to you. She’ll be able to sense when you’re in trouble or when you’re happy.”

“Kevin’s a girl?” Alejandra whispered under her breath.

“I thought you called her Wilson,” Auzed said.

She glanced up at him and laughed. “Oh yeah, no, it’s from a movie. Doesn’t matter.”

The hall opened up into the large entry, and as one, they glanced over to the commotion in the corner. A metal cage with bars on all sides had been placed out of the way, but inside the cage a round glowing ball flew around like trapped lightning. The box tipped and flipped over as the tuey continued to bounce around inside, ramming the walls in a desperate bid to break free.

“Oh, Wilson!” Alejandra cried, rushing over to the cage. Wilson unfurled and shoved its little hands out, reaching for her. Relli motioned for a guard to come and unlock the cage. When he did, Wilson happily zoomed around Alejandra’s legs before leaping up to her shoulders and draping itself around her neck.

It was odd to see a female being so affectionate with an animal. His brother’s mate, Jade, enjoyed spending time with their alien hound, Cebo, but he’d never met another female who liked having pets near them. It had something to do with the nomadic nature of a Tremantian female’s life. Always moving from one husband to the next. They never let themselves get close to anything, or at least they never showed it.

Walking back over to join him, Alejandra grinned. “Ready to go, honey?”

Honey. She’d called him that before too. The term translated as a food that was sweet and thick. The byproduct of an insect, but the way she said it in a purr sent chills down his spine. He didn’t like it.

Females didn’t use pet names. They didn’t like to keep animals. It wasn’t how things were done. Not to mention his own odd behavior as of late. He didn’t break the law. He didn’t lie to authorities. And he certainly didn’t get chills from a single word.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode