The Zephyr’s Prince (Three Brothers Fair 3)
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Copyright ©2018 Emily Carrington
Nubes walked with Lord Andrew — Andy, according to Un-Ala — at his side, the kelpie’s arm in his. They walked together along the beach not because they had struck up some conversation during the latter part of dinner, but because they were expected to start bonding.
They’d only been down by the water for five minutes, but the sky called to Nubes. He wanted so desperately to fly that he hurried his steps a little.
Andy kept pace.
“Un-Ala is wonderful,” the lord said presently. “His English is beautifully accented like a cake perfectly iced. He also has a sense of humor and doesn’t mind displaying it even in formal settings. I like him a great deal.”
Nubes blinked. Was he jealous that someone else had noticed his consort? Yes, and yet, no. Yes, he was feeling something, but it was more protectiveness than jealousy. He asked, “You talked during the banquet?”
Andy nodded. “He was able to relax me, which was much needed.” He blushed a little in the failing light of the sinking sun. “I am intimidated by you, but he helped me see at least a little light in the tunnel of my panic.”
“You speak formally still.”
“It is my curse.” Andy grinned. “I cannot help myself, apparently. Or that is what my brothers say.”
Here was a safe topic of discussion to pass the time. “I like your brother Hans. He makes me laugh.”
“Did you talk to him tonight? I missed that.”
“I did not have the pleasure. But I have visited Prince Regent Hans and his husband, King Felimid. They have many beautiful children.”
“Much to Felimid’s relief,” Andy said.
Nubes smiled a little. “Yes, he was lucky to find a kelpie to fertilize his wives’ eggs and so carry on the water demon race, even slightly diluted.”
“All of Hans’s and Felimid’s children seem to possess the traits of both parents.”
“As do the children of the princes Christian and Alastair. I never thought the blending of races would carry off so beautifully.”
“Will it be the same with our children?” Andy blushed. “I meant, if you wish to –”
“I do.” Nubes wrapped his arm around the kelpie lord’s shoulders. Stopping his fast pace, he gazed up into the star-dusted eastern sky. “It is my understanding that kelpies are one gender only?”
“We have males and females,” Andy answered, sounding surprised. “How else would we perpetuate our race?”
Nubes laughed. “True. But what I meant was that each of you only holds one gender within your bodies? As in, you are male only?”
Andy nodded. “Sylphs are… both… like all elementals?” He seemed embarrassed to be discussing such a fact.
“Like all others,” Nubes agreed. “So I would become female during the pregnancy. Would that disturb you?”
“No, but…” Andy shuffled his hooves. “I wish I knew how Tian — Prince Christian — handled it when Alastair shifts to female.”
“I cannot answer for him. Have you ever been with a female?”
Andy shuffled his hooves again. “No.”
“Then perhaps I should shift now to make sure you like it.”
He wasn’t asking — he wasn’t even serious — but Andy seemed to take it under honest consideration.
“I will not back out on our contract no matter whether I learn to love your female form or not. I am honorable.”
I never doubted it, Nubes thought, even though he had wondered. “Let me shift then.” He stepped away from Andy and crossed his wings over his front, hiding him from heel to head. He closed his eyes, finding the change easier to will that way, and transformed. All elementals had two genders within their bodies, but some didn’t make a full shift. Some only changed below their waist.
Switching testicles for a uterus wasn’t painful, but it did take a moment. Even as her chest swelled and her ass took on a rounder form, her shoulders drew in slightly and her hips widened.
Nubes opened her eyes and settled her wings away from her face.
Andy gazed at her. There seemed to be nothing but starlight in his eyes for a moment, but then he smiled and his own light filled their golden-brown depths. “You’re beautiful, Your Majesty.”
Nubes grinned. “Thank you.” Her voice had risen in timbre a little, but not much, her male self possessing a light tenor.
Andy offered his arm. “May I guide you now? Or does your kingship — queenship? — still overrule my lord’s title, allowing you to lead?”
Nubes waded through that hampered speech and then curtseyed. “I will take your arm.” Then she turned her eyes to the sky. “Although I confess: I would rather fly than walk this night.”
Andy frowned briefly. Then he asked, “Can you carry me as a female? I would love to see the stars closer.”
Nubes read the fear in Andy’s eyes and called his bluff. “You are afraid of flight.”
Andy shifted back and forth, his hooves shifting the sand. “Yes, but I would still like to see the stars more closely.”
Nubes wound her arms around Andy from behind, spread her wings, and rose into the air.