Daos IV ~ Ch7: Quid Pro Quo

Previously ~ Crucial Moments and Crossroads

Dani Reyes
The Next Afternoon

Dani Reyes blinked, confused.  "Tell me again exactly what I'm doing here?"

Hyun-jun Im wearily obliged, leading through his suite of posh, flawlessly decorated offices.  "I've been experiencing a certain...health condition of late which leaves me requiring odd things like rest, sick days, and vacation time.  Suffice to say, I'm not the efficient man I used to be and apparently require the services of an assistant."

Dani was still confused.  "Okay...but what am I doing here?"

"Our dear, sweet mutual friend Detective Ona was under the impression that you require a new position...preferably one with daytime hours and a strict professional dress code."

She blinked again.  "But I already have a job; Dominador knows this.  And I don't see why I need to change.  I mean, Strawberry will be really disappointed if I don't show up for my shift tonight."

"Yes," Hyun-jun mused.  "Miss Strawberry indeed.  You know, Dominador predicted you might have a few objections, so I'm willing to make this a full-time position, starting at a rather generous five-figure salary, replete with vision and dental.  You can even enroll in the 401K plan right away."

Hyun-jun Im
"That sounds great," Dani admitted.  "But I'm not so sure about this.  It's a bit sudden."

Hyun-jun was amused.  "Did I mention you also get an expense account for the sole purpose of purchasing new work clothes and getting regular maintenance at an upscale salon?"  That last part was his idea.  While he was a bit fond of Dani, Hyun-jun did have a certain standard to maintain.

Dani still appeared skeptical.  "How high's the expense account limit?"

"The limit starts at five thousand," he smirked.  "It goes up to ten after one year's service."

The numbers rendered her breathless.  "Wow," she gasped.  "That's um...that's quite a favor.  How come you're being so generous?"

"Because once you accept, Dominador owes me a favor," Hyun-jun beamed.  "I function best when people owe me favors." He shrugged. "It's a thing."

***



***

679 BCE, Silla
The Reign of King Munmu

After all these years, Iseul still played the geomungo.  These days, her children were her main audience, though.  She had seven total; three boys and four girls.  After the birth of her seventh child, her husband declared enough was enough.

The news was saddening.  She'd had fun making them; it seemed that when he came to her bed, her husband Yiryeon was a completely different person, more virile, more reckless and irreverent.  He had a way of making her scream his name and claw his back to shreds.  And when they were sweaty and spent, she would talk with him, play a song or two for him, and he would look at her far more kindly and intimately than he during the day.

For the first child, he pretty much ignored her after their first new nights together.  Now that he was a "man", he had concubines and courtesan houses to turn his attention to.  It was a curious thing; although Yiryeon was able to perform magnificently with his wife, he was unable to perform the same with any other woman.  Lady Nyang of Snow Blossom House told all her friends he was practically impotent.

Among the servants, rumor had it Prince Yiryeon secretly loved Iseul the Dreadful, that when he bestowed his "favors" upon her, the two practically burned the house down with their passion.  With a love like that, was it any wonder he was unable be with another woman?

***

"What have you done???" Yiryeon barked at his bronze mirror.  "You have made a me laughingstock all these years."

"No, I haven't," came the sly reply on the air.  "You asked me to perform your duties when it came to time to breed a child with your wife.  I did exactly.  I went to her and performed to the best of my abilities to ensure a healthy child - nothing more, nothing less."

Yiryeon faltered looking uncertain.  "And during the day?  During the times when I was with other women?"

"Your body was your own, completely at your command."

The still-youthful Prince flushed with humiliated fury.  "How dare you insinuate that I'm...that I'm...that I cannot --"

"I insinuate nothing," his old friend replied sternly.  "What happened in the beds of those concubines and courtesans has nothing to do with me.  I know nothing of those events, nor do I care.  In case you've forgotten - and I'm beginning to think you have - I'm only in this for the skin, your skin, and the time to collect grows near."

Again, the Prince faltered.  "It does?  How so?"

"Your youth is slowly running out.  I have no use for old, wrinkled skin.  I will need to collect my payment while your face is still firm and unlined," the dokkaebi told him with brutal honesty.  "But do not fret.  You married into a royal family and enjoyed ten years of great wealth and privilege.  You have seven healthy children.  The fate of your family is quite secure - Iseul will see to it."  The raspy voice developed a cold, hard edge.  "When the time comes, Yiryeon, I expect you to hold up your end of the bargain.  Otherwise, I will travel across the worlds back into time, and personally see to it you die a slow, painful death at the hands of the Tang."

Next ~ Gotta Deal at Some Point

Comments

  1. Dom owing a human-demon a favor....

    and I have to admit, your historical stuff makes me yearn for Selo and Inya.

    ReplyDelete

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