Malyenne woke up first. She wriggled her left arm out from under her partner and began gently stroking her hair.
Lirya’s eyes fluttered open. “Ohhhh... good morning, Mistress.”
“Yes, it is a good morning. In a few hours, that damnable Count Velandro will find that his latest trick has failed. I just wish I could be there when the Baroness declares him persona non grata and sends him packing.” She scowled. “It’s a pity we can’t throw him in the dungeon as he so richly deserves, but treating a nobleman so, even a pig like him, would set too many others against us.”
Lirya’s expression was also unhappy. “I hope he won’t trouble you again, Mistress.”
“Oh, he will; that’s as certain as tomorrow’s sunrise. But there will be time enough to worry about that later.” She wrapped her arms around her companion, hugging her close to offer comfort after what she had just said, and in anticipation of what she must now say.
“I’m afraid you can’t go home. Once he finds out that you failed him, he’ll order his minions to find and kill you. Actually, he probably planned to do that even if you’d succeeded, to guarantee your silence.”
Lirya hugged her back. “I can’t go home anyway, not after trying to steal the Baroness’ tiara.” Her eyes were sad, but her voice sounded content. “Mistress, all I ask is that you summon me out of my cell once in a while so we can have a few hours together.”
“Don’t be ridiculous! The Baroness will pardon you once I explain the situation and call in one of the favors she owes me.”
Malyenne felt much better as she saw Lirya’s face light up. She continued in a no-nonsense tone. “You shall stay right here. It’s a bit small for two, I’ll admit, but we’ll manage. Let me know where you used to live, and I’ll send a few servants to collect your things.”
“One servant should be enough, Mistress. I don’t have very much.”
Malyenne resumed her stroking of Lirya’s hair. In response, she stretched herself like a contented cat. “Well, that’s going to change. You deserve better.” Her tone turned serious. “Also, I’ll want to send a few men-at-arms to lay a trap for Velandro’s hirelings. I hope the scuffle won’t disturb your neighbors too seriously.”
Lirya burst out laughing. Malyenne enjoyed the jiggling of her breasts, and made a mental note to learn what sort of jokes tickled this girl’s sense of humor.
Finally, she said, “Nobody is going to notice one more brawl at that inn, Mistress. There hasn’t been a week without one since I’ve lived there.”
“Well, then, you’ll just have to get used to peace and quiet,” she replied. “I have an idea. Once things settle down a bit, I’ve been meaning to spend some time at my villa. How would you like to take a nice long trip out to the country with me?”
“Oh, yes, Mistress, that would be wonderful!” Lirya exclaimed.
Malyenne smiled. “Lirya, you don’t have to keep calling me ‘Mistress’.”
“All right, milady.”
Now it was Malyenne’s turn to laugh out loud. Lirya smiled at first, and then looked a bit puzzled as she kept breaking down into round after round of chortling. The jest wasn’t that funny.
Finally recovering her voice, Malyenne began, “You’ll understand when you meet my servant girls—”
“Are they cute?” Lirya leered.
“Oh, yes... and from now on they are our servant girls,” Malyenne grinned. “As I was about to explain, they normally address me as ‘milady’... but when one of them is invited to my bed, or wishes to be, I am her ‘Mistress’.”
Lirya giggled. “That sounds like a very useful distinction... Mistress.”
Malyenne was opening her mouth to reply when Lirya’s meaning suddenly became clear.
For the rest of the morning, she found better things to do with her tongue.