diva_avBronze slippered feet padded across the ship’s deck as Tiila made her way to the ship’s spa to prepare for the evening’s events. A classy little parlor called Celestial Wellness on the far east side of the ship was her destination as she traversed the hallways of the Princess. The ache for some well needed pampering resonated through her. She needed something to ease the doubt that was fogging her thoughts. She’d never influenced a group even a fraction of the one she had before her but she wasn’t about to let the others know that.

The smell of botanicles let her know she was near and as she turned a corner the vision of a proper salon put a genuine smile on her lips that lingered until she caught another, far less welcome sight. That horrid little Theelin had apparently had the same idea.

Pale golden robe hanging loosely around her delicate shoulders, Aidenne looked across the spa with a sigh of resignation. Of course the Zeltron bitch was here. She had to share a room with her. Why would she dare to hope for a few moments of pleasure without the woman sticking her disgusting pink nose in it?

It was so tempting to turn and walk away. But that wouldn’t be good for their image. Forcing a smile and a chuckle, she turned to the waiting spa attendant. “She gets lonely without me,” she told the woman with a mischievous little wink.

Her lips tightened. Now she couldn’t even relax, she had to spend her time pretending to like the strangely colored little gnat. They turned into a pleased smile. “I’ve been looking all over for you. I know how you like to treat yourself before a show.” She walked over to Aidenne and signed the sheet on the marble counter top; a metaphorical marking of her territory, throwing down the gauntlet. She paused a moment before signing in Aidenne’s name as well. “Shall we?”

How was it possible to hate a person so much and yet take this perverse enjoyment from their presence? The Diva’s lips curled into that hedonistic smile. “Of course. I’d hate to be anything less than my best for you. Or the audience.” The fire between the two could easily have been mistaken for passion. In fact, the spa attendant–an attractive woman in her own right–was beginning to blush as she waited for the pair to decide on the particular services they desired.

Without breaking eye contact with her partner, Tiila spoke to the woman. “Full mani/pedi, massage, facial and body mask…” She smirked playfully. “for two” The human looked almost relieved as she turned to gather the technicians that would manage the pair. Tiila slipped her hand into Aidenne’s, threading their fingers and tugging the smaller woman along into the spa without waiting for an invitation.

Since breaking her fingers was out of the question, Aidenne followed along, contenting herself with insulting the Zeltron in her mind. Do you really think a facial will help? Are you sure they’ll be able to cover a body your size? Outwardly she only smiled and added her own instructions. “The manicure is last though. My friend and I are going to need some drinks first.” That was probably the most truthful thing she’d said since setting foot on the Princess.

“Of course.” She tapped her chin in thought. “Two Merenzane Gold.” Her ice colored eyes narrowed at the girl. “And I don’t want to see an empty glass.” Tiila glanced around the spa, noting the collection of unlucky woman that thought they were here for special treatment. It was a field ripe for the game.

Without noticing the Zeltron doing the same thing, the Diva looked around the spa, taking note of the other patrons. Her golden eyes finally settled on an older human woman at a far chair, currently enjoying the attentions of a Teevan masseuse. Judging from the almost severe bun in the woman’s hair and the general expression of self-importance, Aidenne immediately labeled her as a bureaucrat’s wife, or perhaps someone with political aspirations. Whatever the case, she was an ideal first target.

“I don’t know about you, Tiily.” She picked the most irritating sounding pet-name she could manage to say without gagging. “But I’m dying for a massage.”

Tiila’s ocean colored brow twitched at the name ‘Tiily’ but she smiled all the same. “I am always in the mood for a massage.” Pulling her eyes from the overweight Rodian currently receiving a face mask, she glanced to the tables. One look at the woman there and Tiila’s smile became more wicked. “I know how important your pre show massage is.”

Aidenne was using her instrument to its fullest. Her voice held the smallest note of suffering as she sighed tragically. “It truly is. I hate to think of what my performance would be like if I didn’t get my massage.” Her lip curled with amusement. Damn the Zeltron for making this so enjoyable. “And I’d be horribly disappointed if I knew you hadn’t received a massage as well.”

Pouting, Tiila nodded in agreement. “It is just a shame that one of the tables is taken.” She looked directly at the progressively more and more frazzled attendant as she spoke. “The last salon we were at didn’t have this problem but, then again, that was a nicer ship.”

The Diva nodded her own agreement with a dreamy sounding sigh. “The service there was incredible. We were talking about it for months afterwards…” Wicked golden eyes met the attendant’s face.”…to everyone we met.”

Apparently the attendant could take a hint. Stepping around the Teevan masseuse she set off a series of soft chimes by the patron’s head. “Mrs. Pyrson, your time is up now. If you’ll come this way I’ll have one of the girls show you to the steam room.”

Satisfaction stained Tiila’s lips in place of the missing magenta. “How convenient.” Despite herself, she was having fun. Almost forgetting their hidden animosity, the Zeltron glanced to the smaller woman beside her. “Perhaps this salon will be just as good.”

Aidenne couldn’t help but smirk back. “We’ll see. After all, our drinks haven’t arrived yet.”

That pink face turned solemn and she nodded. “Definitely. We are far from a decision on the quality of your service.” She glanced towards the door that she had sent someone off to fetch their drinks.”The speed of it certainly leaves something to be desired.”

“Agreed.” The Diva’s amber eyes glowed with wickedness as a second Teevan joined the first, both men making the massage tables ready for their clients. “But I must admit, this looks promising” she chuckled, looking over the two attractive and highly flexible men.

“It has its pros.” Ducking behind the screen, Tiila dropped the bronze tube dress into a pile on the floor and wrapped herself in a fluffy white spa towel. Sweeping her hair off her shoulders, she slid up onto the table. A gentle waft of intimidation surrounds her mostly bare skin. “There may be hope for this place yet.”

Never one to be concerned with modesty, Aidenne cast her robe to the side and simply eased herself onto the second table. With her vibrant hair still piled atop her head, the patterns in her mottled skin were on full display. But the spa employees were professionals. And if it turned out she was wrong, they were attractive enough to make her consider giving Krynn a night off. “We’ll decide after we get our drinks,” she murmured, starting to relax already.

The towel unfolded beneath her and the silver skinned attendant pulled it to her hips. “As all decisions should be made.” Turning her head, Tiila watched the Rodian woman enjoying herself. She crinkled her nose, this time in disgust. “It’s a shame about the view though.”

“Mmmhmm…” Turning her head, the little Theelin didn’t bother to hide her amusement as she looked in the direction Tiila had indicated. “Perhaps if our view was a little less… green…”

“Green, wart covered, hideous…” Each word was more and more disgusted than the last. “It is really putting me into a less than pleased mood.” Those arctic eyes never moved from the surprised Rodian’s face.

Aidenne’s lower lip settled into a pout. “My friend is upset,” she told the harried looking attendant. Despite the highly talented hands working on her back, her voice grew chill. “And we still don’t have our drinks.”

“Yes, of course. Right away.” The woman hurried off, whispering something to the attendant working with the Rodian which prompted her to begin wiping the gunk off the woman’s face before disappearing through the door.

Tossing her hair over her bare shoulders, Tiila looked at Aidenne. “I swear… if she doesn’t bring drinks back…” She couldn’t help the smile as she rolled her eyes.

“Well you could just…” She made a vague gesture with her hand, smiling wickedly at the other woman. “Encourage her.” Maybe it was the Teevan’s magic fingers, but Tiila seemed much less repulsive than normal.

The doubt in the Zeltron was expertly hidden by light laughter. “I have a lot of work to do later. I need to save it.” She didn’t need them thinking she couldn’t do her part.

Aidenne nodded in understanding. She could appreciate professionalism on the job. But suddenly she was curious. “Is it fun?” she asked, face brightening as she finally spotted a girl returning with their drinks.

Looking over at what it was that pleased Aidenne so, the pink woman also cheered. “Fun? Is what fun?” She reached a hand out for the tray and wiggled her fingers slightly.

Drink in hand, the Diva’s eyes drifted shut as her masseuse began to work on her legs. “You know… doing your thing…” She lifted her head to take a drink, sighing happily as the liqueur worked its way down her throat.

“The… pheromone thing? Or the empathy?” She drained a third of her glass in one grateful drink.

“Either. Both.” She shrugged and took another delicate drink. The large Rodian had finally been escorted from the room, leaving the two women in relative privacy. “I know how I feel when I get my way. I just thought…” Pausing on the verge of explaining herself, she let the words trail off. She didn’t have a reason for being curious; she just felt the desire to talk.

“It feels… amazing.” She watched the gold colored liquid as it sloshed from side to side in her glass.”Pain, fear, lust all of it is pleasure.” She smiled just a bit. “And making people feel what I want them to feel is always fun.” She took another drink.

A wicked pout pulled at Aidenne’s lips. “And here I have to settle for simply making people do what I want them to.”

Another drink made her glass dangerously close to empty and she frowned. “Feel often leads to do.”She uncurled her fingers and blew across her palm in the direction of the nearest attendant who immediately looked in her direction with wide wondrous eyes. “I need more.” The woman nearly tripped over her feet to get to the back room as fast as possible. Looking back to the Diva, Tiila grinned.

Her silvery laugh echoed through the room as she drained the remnants of her glass. “She better be bringing one for me as well.” Looking around the room once again, she was now almost disappointed to find it empty. The opportunities for play only increased when there were bodies in the room. Glancing over her shoulder at the Teevan above her, she chuckled again. “And is your massage adequate?”

“I’ve had worse.” She toyed with a bit of blue hair that fell beside her face. “But I have also had better.” Tiila wriggled a little to encourage the alien in his attentions. “I bet you can do better…”

“You don’t want the Diva’s friend to be disappointed,” Aidenne told him plainly. Watching the pink-skinned woman for a long moment, she shook her head slightly. Bralor was never going to let her live this down. But she spoke what was on her mind anyway. “You’re not as…unpleasant as I first thought…”

Her smile became slightly less acted. “Well, I could have told you that.” She flicked the hair back over her shoulder as the masseuse redoubled his efforts into her skin. Her chin rested on the back of her hand as their refreshed drinks arrived. “But thank you… You’re not so bad yourself.”

Accepting the compliment with another chuckle and a raise of her glass, the Diva was silent for a moment, concentrating on the fingers kneading her flesh. Then, since the air in the room had become quite amiable, she returned to a topic that was never far from her mind. “So why serve?”

“I don’t know anything else.” She picked at the silver polish, chipping it into little flakes that fluttered to the floor. “The devil I know is better than the devil I don’t.” Her honesty surprised even herself.

Aidenne watched the silver flecks as they floated downward through the air. “It’s a shame silver looks so horrid on me.” She wasn’t distracted though. Her idle thoughts filled the silence as she focused on Tiila’s answer. The explanation rang very true and she caught herself wondering if that was why she didn’t do more than just complain about being a slave herself. “I think there are more devils out there than not,” she said finally.

“Gold would look good on you…” She nodded more to the Diva’s words than her own. She sheared the last bit of polish off her thumb. “They are all devils.”

“No,” she disagreed immediately. Then a small frown creased her brow as she began to change her mind. “Well… yes. But some are better than others.”

“I’m sure some are… but if I choose the wrong one it’s death for me.” Her eyes turned to the other woman. “Life with Durga is so easy.” She laughed a bit, self-derisive. “I suppose I’m just scared…”

One delicate eyebrow arched up toward her hairline. “Scared.” Certain it was coming, she waited for a sign that Tiila was mocking her.

“Yeah.” She tried to laugh a little harder, to discredit her moment of honesty. “Scared of actually working for a living.” She turned away again, taking a drink to hide the cringe that tightened her face.

“Well if the way things are going here are any indication…” She laughed then turned her attention to the man working her back. “Lower. I have to be on my feet for most of the evening, you know,” she said pointedly. Golden eyes blinking slowly, she swirled the liquid around in her glass. “I’ve found many things to be scared of… but I decided not to waste my time.” Chuckling softly, she drained her glass to wash away the sudden aftertaste of honesty. “I find it’s easier to be numb.”

The Zeltron murmured, her lips still mostly on her glass. “And of being killed…” She blinked innocently as if to say she hadn’t spoken at all.

The Diva’s lips twisted into a smile. “Well if I don’t get to do it no one does.”

Tiila smiled back at Aidenne, the gesture somewhat genuine this time. “I’ll let them know if they come looking for me.” Her legs bend at the knees, affectionately stroking the shoulder of her masseuse with a soft pink toe. She spoke to the man without looking at him. “You’re doing a wonderful job dear. If you wouldn’t mind… lower?” The tone in her voice gave the distinct feel that he should whether he minded or not.

Fully intending to give the majority of spa employees a little something to encourage forgetfulness, Aidenne smiled back. It felt almost strange not to be faking it. “If they come looking for you, we’ll all be in trouble. I imagine that’s what keeps us dreaming of freedom.” An indelicate moan left her lips as her Teevan worked the soles of her feet. “That’s it. Right there.”

“He will… if I don’t follow orders, he will.” Her chin fell back down into the pillowed table. “And I have a feeling I will receive many orders to not follow while I am out here. Durga would not waste an employee in the field.

The Diva’s nose crinkled slightly. Since she doubted very much that Tiila would appreciate any sympathy, she decided to save her words. It was almost disturbing to find they had so much in common, even though her own leash had considerably more slack than the Zeltron’s. “I think…”Golden eyes unfocused, she stared out across the spa. “That’s why it becomes so important to enjoy ourselves between orders. To fill those spaces well.”

An indulgent smile spread across her pink lips as silver hands kneaded her thighs. “I say we have that part down so far.” Her icy eyes glittered with mischief. “And I have a feeling we will only get better at it…”

She couldn’t disagree with that. Lips curling into that wicked smile, she couldn’t help but chuckle as she imagined the possibilities. “They’re going to regret forcing us to play nice.”

“Yes… Yes they are.”

The room around them was silent, their own private sanctuary, kingdom, and playground. “If the service manages to be this accommodating for the rest of our stay, I may just leave a good review after all.”

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