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“How many are left?” Caster asked, standing to survey their handiwork.

Ryuunosuke paused. Tilting his head, he took a look over his shoulder. As he counted, he tilted a little more and more at a time until he ended up going in a whole circle.

“Gah – Hang on, I lost count.”

He used his finger this time, counting the bodies on their floor. They were all lined up neatly when they brought them in, but once they started playing with them, they ended up all over the place like toys spilled from a toybox. It was fun to see them lined up before, like looking at a successful, full collection, but Ryuunosuke preferred seeing them like this so much more. What was the point in collecting toys if you weren't going to play with them, after all?

“I don't know. I think five. There are probably a few others I haven't touched yet that are under other ones.”

To begin with, they had about thirty children. It was an impressive physical number, but Ryuunosuke decided that he wanted something else. What did the blood of thirty children look like all together? It had to be impressive, he thought. If he cut them all open, he could see for himself how far their blood would go. In his head, he imagined their quarters being flooded like a small ocean. It had to go high enough to reach their ankles at least.

Yet... It wasn't anywhere that high yet. So far, all he made was a pretty mess.

“Can you help me hang them up, maybe?” he asked, shifting to look up at Caster. “That might look nice, too. Right? Don't you think so, sir?”

Caster considered this, placing a thumb with one long nail against his lips as he looked between the bodies and the pillars. “That may indeed. You are truly an artist with a fine eye, my master!”

Ryuunosuke chuckled and rubbed a hand against his neck embarrassedly. “N-not at all. Now you're just flattering me.” He scanned his eyes over the dead little girl beneath him once more and quirked an eyebrow curiously as he thought. “If we're going to do it like that, then we should sever the main arteries.” He flicked himself in the forehead with two fingers and stuck out his tongue with a grin. “Why hadn't I thought of that before? I'm so thoughtless sometimes.”

He picked up his knife again and slid it carefully through the girl's carotid artery. In an unexpected burst that caught him off guard, a spray of blood surged forth, splashing his face with warm, thick crimson. It was a little like a pie to the face except... No, definitely not as delicious.

“B-bleh...” He spat and slid his shirt sleeve over his wrist to wipe the blood from his mouth and nose. He took a look at the amount of blood covering his sleeve and made a face. “Man, how much got on me?” Tentatively, he touched his fingers to other spots on his face and they came away covered in blood.

Caster was quiet, he noticed. He looked back up at him and frowned.

“It's all over me, isn't it? It should be on the floor, not on my face.”

The other didn't seem to be as concerned by this as he was. Caster may have had a very large, unusual face, but Ryuunosuke always found his expressions to be more than easy to read. The look he was giving him at the moment was indecipherable, though; like he was about to erupt with another one of his joyous epiphanies.

“S...ir?” Ryuunosuke canted his head until it nearly touched his shoulder and then-

Beautiful!

He grabbed Ryuunosuke by the shoulders and brought his face within mere inches of his own. Caster's bellowing proclamation echoed throughout their hideout, bouncing off all the walls, returning to him over and over. Beautiful. Beautiful. Beautiful. As if hearing it once wasn't enough to make Ryuunosuke's brain halt and his lips stutter.

“W-wh... I... Sir?”

Caster took a deep breath, looking as if he were steadying himself to unleash a big reveal. Whatever it was, Ryuunosuke was ready for it. Tentatively ready, but definitely ready. The longer Caster grinned and eyed him like he had something to say, the more he wanted him to say it.

“You see,” he started slowly, running his hands down the sides of his arms, “I realized something upon seeing you this way.” Next, he gestured around them to their work on the floor. “I support your vision. You know I do. However, it is not the children that I see here, my master. All this while, you have been far more interesting, so engrossed in your work, so dedicated. You shine when you do something you love!”

Ryuunosuke nodded dumbly, trying to follow. “Uh-huh... And...?” Because he knew there was an 'and' waiting there. Caster was never simply finished.

Caster proudly stuck out his chest and a wide grin creased his lips. “You are the true art here! Don't you see? Artist and artwork, combining together to create something even more magnificent! The experience of creating the art and the artist himself, together! I'm ashamed that my eye had not been able to see it sooner.”

Ryuunosuke looked down at himself, where a bit of blood had rolled down his neck to stain his shirt collar. He watched the way it slowly seeped into the fabric and both of his brows raised as he began to see what Caster was talking about.

His initial idea was a grand idea indeed, but it was such a literal concept. If it weren't for Caster, he may not have seen his work from this sort of perspective at all. Smiling, he placed a hand over the one Caster left on his arm and he gave it a little squeeze. “I see now! I see, I see. Art is joy, isn't it? Then our joy must also be art! That makes so much sense, sir. You have more of an eye for these things than you give yourself credit for.”

Now it was Caster's turn to look away shyly. He reluctantly slid his hand out from underneath Ryuunosuke's to scratch at his neck. “No, my master, it's really all you. How could I help but notice when you're shining so brightly...” He paused to sigh, giving himself a moment to look Ryuunosuke over in admiration. The way he looked at him, with his wide eyes so soft and fond, did funny things to Ryuunosuke's heart. “I was truly blessed in this new lifetime of mine to be given a master like you.”

His affectionate words made something twist in Ryuunosuke's chest and he felt the corners of his eyes burn. Quickly, he stood up with his knife and brushed his hands on his pants, trying to look unaffected. “S-stop it,” he muttered, his voice quivering. “You're going to make me emotional.” When Caster's expression suddenly fell, he felt the twist in his heart tighten and he shot to mend his statement. “I mean... I feel pretty blessed too, you know. I didn't have anyone else who would compliment me the way you do. And when you look at me, it's almost like you... l... love me.”

His own words surprised him, bringing a flood of emotion he hadn't felt in so long. He rolled his sleeve over his hand again and brought it up to hide the inevitable blush on his face.

Next thing he knew, he was being enveloped by his servant's robes, two long arms wrapping themselves around his back to hold him against a thin, yet solid chest. He sighed, letting instinct take over as he rubbed his face into the soft fabric, smearing blood into it. It was warm, he thought. And even through the layers, he could feel Caster's heart beating.

“I do love you,” he said, causing Ryuunosuke's heart to shoot to a dangerous speed. “My love for you is as pure as the love one would feel for any exquisite work of art. You are beautiful and insightful; far beyond any other person I have known. How could I not love you?”

Finally, Ryuunosuke realized that he hadn't moved an inch and lifted his arms to return Caster's embrace. “W-what about Jeanne?” he asked, feeling uncertain. “You still love her, don't you? I don't know if I want to compete with anyone for your affection.”

Caster hmm'd and rubbed thoughtful circles into his back. “I love you both. Is that bad?”

Ryuunosuke leaned back in his arms to look up at him and fixed him with a stern face. “Just as long as you don't love her more than me.”

Reaching up to his face, Caster ran his thumb along his lips where the blood had already been wiped away. He smiled gently. “I love you both the same.”

Ryuunosuke smiled widely beneath his thumb and pressed a quick kiss to it before he rolled himself out of his arms. Somehow, he felt like he had already known this. Being told that he loved him felt inconsequential, as if he had already communicated it to him before in other ways. Every time he looked at him, every time that he spoke about him with words of praise; Ryuunosuke could sense his love.

He placed his hands over his chest and closed his eyes, imagining what a heart filled with pure love must look like. His heart and Caster's heart – they were probably redder and more beautiful than any he had ever seen before. He still had his knife gripped tightly in his right hand and a part of him wanted to dig in right now to see, but he just couldn't. Not yet. It made him too happy just to know that he had a heart that was cultivating such a powerful emotion.

“Love,” he said euphorically, enjoying the way the word rolled off his tongue. “I think I really like it. It makes my insides feel all tingly, like they're about to explode.”

From behind him, Caster reached his hand around to caress his cheek and lightly touched the hand that held his knife. It was just a small thing but he had done all of this already without any other assistance. Others needed large weapons and gruesome devices, but all Ryuunosuke needed was his knife, like a painter with his brush. He plucked the knife from between his fingers. As he stepped away from him, he admired the drying blood along its edge.

“I won't change the direction of your vision. I am sure we can yet cover the floor of this place in fresh blood from these children, but there is something else I wish to see...”

Ryuunosuke liked the way he said that – the look he was giving him too; it was very intriguing. “What do you have in mind?” he asked gamely.

He didn't shrink away or flinch in the slightest when Caster brought forth his knife and used it to push open his shirt. “I wish to see my master... Head to toe, covered in the blood of his victims.”

It was a very straightforward request. If he were honest, the image had came to mind as soon as Caster mentioned 'the artist being one with his work' or whatever it had been. It was a little unpleasant to have it in his mouth, but he loved the feeling of fresh blood on his hands and feet, so why not? He already had his shoes off anyway.

“Kay,” he said, shrugging his purple shirt down his shoulders. While he folded it neatly, he asked, “You gonna turn one of them upside down for this? If you're going to, like, paint me, then you're going to need to have a... a bucket of it or something, right? Or I could just roll across the floor.” He laughed. “I mean, there's already a lot of it on the floor.”

Caster looked at him as if he were being ridiculous. “Roll? Of course not. I don't intend to make you act so undignified.”

“Well I don't know,” he said with a roll of one shoulder. “I haven't done this before. Not for my whole body, at least... I covered my feet to summon you, you know.” He held up one blood-covered foot and waggled his toes at him for punctuation. “Took a whole dead father! ...Okay, not the whole guy but whatever. It took more than I expected.”

While Caster picked up one of the children, he continued to strip, starting from the top and working his way down. There weren't many clean places to put his things anymore, but they did have a table that had remained mostly blood-free through his antics. At times, he got a little wild with it and he was surprised that he hadn't even splashed the chairs with it.

By the time he had all of his clothes folded and moved his shoes to the same safe spot, Caster had already tied the body he was working on against one of the pillars. He splish-splashed his way over to him, stepping over a couple children on the way. Briefly, he let himself think about how silly he probably looked at the moment: naked with blood only covering his face, hands, and feet. It was probably the closest he had ever come to looking like a genuine serial killer.

“Well?” he asked, slicking his hair back with the blood on his hand. “Whatcha think?” He struck a pose and his bangs slowly, comically drooped back down to his forehead.

He knew he looked heinous but Caster was still smiling at him like he was a god among men. “Like a canvas,” he said.

“...Are you saying I need a tan?”

Caster ignored his joke and waved his fingers for him to come closer. As he neared him, his eyes finally spotted the metal pail Caster had put underneath the body to collect the blood.

“Oh, you really did find a bucket. Well that's good, but this still might take a little while...”

His voice trailed, curiously watching Caster as he placed his hands on the girl's body. One hand went to the junction of her shoulder and neck and the other gripped tightly around her upper arm. In a clean pull with inhuman strength, he severed the arm from her body. Blood steadily poured from the wound, nearly missing the bucket as flesh tore from flesh. Ryuunosuke's eyes grew wide in awe as he watched and he felt his heart pound.

“H-holy shit, sir! I didn't know you were that strong!”

Clearly aiming to impress him further, Caster dug his nails into the arm's wrist and scraped downward, peeling the skin from the limb as easily as one would peel an apple. Repeating the motion, all that remained was a bit of pale, drained skin around the fingers. What he was left with looked more like something one would find in a butcher shop than from a human.

He made a sick sound and then laughed. “Super cool!”

“This will do to start.”

It was a bloody hunk of meat, but what did he intend to... He figured it out a little slowly, feeling uncertain and perhaps nauseated by the idea itself, but quickly came around to accepting it. If he thought of it like a large paint brush, then it wasn't anything unusual at all.

He held out his own left arm first. “Go for it,” he said, giving Caster a nod of approval.

Holding the limb by its wrist, Caster lifted it and rolled it along Ryuunosuke's arm from his shoulders to his fingers, leaving behind a fresh, wet trail of blood. Both were pleased to see that it worked so well like this – no different than using a paint roller to cover a wall. Once he had the top of his arm covered, he turned his arm over and let him repeat the motion with the underside as well until he got even inch coated.

“Oh man, I've got one totally red arm. Look at how neat this looks,” he said, a little more to himself than to Caster. He immediately stuck out his right arm next, begging to have it painted. “Do it, do it, do it!”

“Patience,” Caster chirped, slowly rolling the limb over his right shoulder.

The girl was hours dead already but the inside of her still felt warm. The blood that was rolled over his arm felt fresh and spread easily, coating his skin with no signs of running out. Once both of his arms were completely red, he held them both out in front of himself to admire his new red sleeves. “This is, like, real art here, sir,” he said, praising their collaborative efforts.

“Truly magnificent indeed,” Caster agreed. “Now how shall we proceed?”

Stepping around him, Ryuunosuke checked the bucket and was surprised to find it a lot fuller than he had expected. “There will probably be enough in here to do the rest of me. Man, I didn't know you could get so much blood out of one little girl...” It was pretty astounding. Maybe Caster was just a lot more experienced with this than he was. “Why haven't we been turning them all over like this the whole time? I've just been making a mess, haven't I.”

Hating to see his master looking disappointed, Caster dropped the mangled arm and gently stroked one of his bloodied cheeks. “You were having a lot of fun with them first though, weren't you? Your enjoyment is really what matters.”

“Well... I guess that's true.” He had to look away, feeling Caster's intensely affectionate gaze centering in on him again. “S-so – proceeding? There's almost a whole bucket of it now. You could just use your hands to finish me off.”

That sounded suggestive. And just like what he wanted, actually. He would clearly be lying if he said that this experiment hadn't been making him excited. There was blatant physical evidence to prove otherwise, after all.

“You won't mind if I touch you, Ryuunosuke...?”

The way he looked so uncertain made his heart flip. “Of course not. It's for the sake of art... And I wouldn't mind anyway.” The way that Caster's face lit up made him feel even weaker. If he didn't take his eyes off him, he was sure his heart was going to explode all on its own from an overload of emotion. “I'll lay down,” he said hastily. “That way, the blood on the floor will take care of my back and you can use what's in the bucket to get the front of me. Laying on my stomach here sounds kind of unpleasant. Especially while naked.”

“That will work,” Caster agreed.

He knew what to expect, but the feeling was really something else. Sitting down in an inch of blood felt... strange. He was familiar with the texture – thicker than water, smooth, warm – but lowering himself down into it felt... hard to describe. It did indeed feel like what he expected, but there was something else about it; something about being surrounded by it on all sides made him feel different. Powerful. Warm. Comfortable.

It was easy to relax and close his eyes in it, as if he were taking a hot bath. He could feel it slosh against his ankles and underneath his knees as he listened to Caster move. He lifted his arms and spread it over them and when a bit dripped onto his chest, he spread the droplets around. When he cracked open eye, it looked a bit like ketchup to him, but he knew better than to taste it now. The coppery taste of it wasn't appealing at all. Didn't taste anything like ketchup.

“Oh, Ryuunosuke,” Caster sang, clasping his hands together. “You are already a sight to behold! I'm not sure I will be able to contain myself once I see this completed.”

“And? What if you can't?” he asked, raising a sly eyebrow. “I'm enjoying this too, you know. You should get down here and feel what it's like. Feels good.”

Caster daintily lifted a corner of his robe and frowned when the fabric came up sopping with blood. What he was thinking was a mystery, but it looked like he started mulling over whether he wanted to take off his robe and join him. Was he not confident in his appearance underneath it? (In a way, Ryunnosuke couldn't blame him, knowing that Caster disapproved of this appearance compared to what he described as his “handsome” appearance of times past. Still, he didn't understand.) Ultimately, he resigned with a sigh and released the corner of his robe that he held.

Ryuunosuke watched him silently as he picked up the bucket and returned to his side with it.

“I may join you some other time, but I will enjoy lending a hand to your art just the same,” he said with a smile. “Now, I could simply tip the pail over you and empty all of its contents at once, but I feel as though I would have more of a part in this if I used my hands.” He held up both hands and wiggled his fingers tantalizingly. “Will that be alright, Ryuunosuke?”

“I already told you. I won't mind if you touch me,” he said, letting his head fall back against the floor, feeling the blood creep through every strand of hair at the back of his head. “This already feels pretty good and... your hands will probably just make it feel even better, you know?”

“So much trust...! To hear you say such a thing makes my heart sing! I hope you won't mind if I enjoy this as well then?”

If they loved each other then that was only natural, wasn't it? He didn't see a reason why he even had to ask in that case. Biting his lower lip softly between his teeth, Ryuunosuke lifted his arms above his head, offering the untouched expanse of his skin to his servant. “Of course. Touch all you like. Make sure you get it on every part of me.”

He started to wonder again what would happen if Caster couldn't “contain himself”. Knowing him, he was going to cry in joy or something, just being able to touch him like this. He looked about on the verge of tears or singing in delight, so either was possible. Very possible with him. Ryuunosuke just smirked and let himself relax as he handed the rest over to him to take care of.

Slowly, he closed his eyes again and listened as Caster dipped one of his hands into the bucket. It was full enough to make a sloshing sound and he peeked open an eye to watch as he rolled up one of his long sleeves so it wouldn't get soaked in it. He lowered his hand in to the wrist and Ryuunosuke closed his eyes again before he felt the first drop of it hit his stomach. To his surprise, that wasn't where he started. Instead, he felt his fingers descend upon his collar. The touch evoked a soft sigh from him and caused something in him to stir; a different feeling than from before. This time, it was something else, something hot that sent a rush straight down his body.

He covered his mouth and remember what a mistake that was instantly, sputtering when he tasted blood. Caster lowered himself and helped fix the situation, sliding the flat of his tongue across his mouth to wipe all traces of it away. When he pulled back, he smirked and it struck Ryuunosuke with too many feelings at once.

“Thanks,” he murmured quietly, turning his head a little to the side.

Caster just smiled fondly as he continued, stroking his wet palm along his collarbones. He dipped his hand again and added a little more to the spots on his chest that Ryuunosuke hadn't covered, but he let his palms slide over his nipples as if just to tease him, even though he already covered both of them himself. Seeing the way he reacted was apparently encouragement for Caster and he rubbed his fingers over one of his nipples a little more deliberately, watching the way his face contorted with every press and squeeze he gave it.

“Wh-what kind of experience do you have?” Ryuunosuke asked suddenly, unsure why he even said it himself. Perhaps a part of him wanted to know, even if it was from another lifetime.

Caster continued to rub, even though by then he was only rubbing the blood off instead of adding to it. It looked for a moment like he was lost in thought, recalling things from his own past before he spoke. “I used my victims for all manners of things.”

Children? Ryuunosuke tried not to think too hard about his response. All that mattered was that he knew what to do with his body. If one knew how to bring intense pain and fear to someone, then it made sense that they were capable of delivering just as much pleasure and elation. That line of thinking had to be true, as Caster was very talented in both regards.

He dipped both hands the next time and spread them both across his stomach, rubbing in slow circles to spread the blood around. His fingers slid around his waist to make sure that no bare skin was left untouched but the way he touched him there felt ticklish and made Ryuunosuke wriggle uncomfortably. Caster made a pleased sound as he watched him respond. Slowly, he returned his hands to his waist and slowly slid them lower. The lower they went, the harder Ryuunosuke's breathing became and he moved so slowly that he feared that he may pass out before he ever touched him.

“Y-you're really close...”

“Hm?” Caster feigned innocence, removing his hands completely when he said that. He brought his hands back to the bucket to freshen his supply of blood and just when Ryuunosuke closed his eyes and expected the next thing to be the glorious feeling of wet hands around his cock, they appeared somewhere else.

His feet. He groaned loudly as Caster worked his thumbs into the pads of his feet and over the tops, soaking what hadn't yet been reached. It felt great, wonderful even, but that wasn't what he wanted. He didn't even know he wanted Caster to stroke his cock with bloody hands but now the thought was there and he definitely wanted it. If he was going to be so teasing about it, then he was probably saving the best for last. After all, he ordered him to cover every inch of him. Well... It may not have been an order, but Caster always did what he asked, even if he was going to go in a roundabout way to do it.

He freshened the blood on his hands again and Ryuunosuke lifted himself up a little on his elbows to peer into the bucket. As he thought, there was a lot to spare, enough to cover the rest of his legs and more. Caster must have noticed this as well. After he got done working some into his calves, he lowered his hands into the bucket, cupping them together to scoop out a larger amount of it at once. Ryuunosuke's eyes widened and he moaned when he released it above one of his thighs, feeling the red, thick liquid roll down either side of his leg. To make sure that it received the proper coverage, Caster used his hands to spread it from his knee to his hip, letting his fingers slide temptingly down his inner thigh.

He looked down his body, feeling a little disgusted at what he saw. After Caster switched to his other leg, he was completely covered in blood from head to toe. The only place that had yet to receive any attention was his dick, which stood anxious and rock hard between his legs. Looking whiter than any part of him, it was like a beacon, begging to finally be touched and turned red like the rest of him.

It was going to make his hair stiff but he ran a hand through his hair anyway, feeling way too anxious not to. “You're going to help me wash this off after too, aren't you?” he asked.

Caster hummed happily and readjusted his sleeves, making sure they were both staying up before he dunked both hands back into the bucket. “Of course,” he said, his words like a moan. “But there's only one spot left on you now and I would love to see this work completed.”

Yes, Ryuunosuke thought. That was his only thought, the only thing his brain was able to manage before one of Caster's large hands closed around his cock. He threw his head back, trying to be mindful of the hard floor. His toes curled and his legs squirmed, feeling all the pleasure from that one spot spread out to every corner of his body. He moaned loudly, encouragingly.

Caster was just so big; every part of him. (He assumed that every part of him was larger than average. There were some things he had yet to see and he was very curious.) His hands were easily twice the size of his own, his fingers long, thin, and claw-like. He fit so easily in his hand that he only needed to use his fingers for the most part.

Once he had him slicked thoroughly with blood, he stilled his hand. Ryuunosuke looked down in surprise, hoping that he didn't intend to leave him like that now that he was “complete”. He may have been complete now, but he wasn't finished yet. Caster was remaining quiet though, which meant that he probably wasn't done yet – but he was smirking awfully wide. If he were anyone else, Ryuunosuke might have been afraid for himself but all he felt was some anticipation, trusting completely in Caster's intentions.

He re-soaked his hand and, this time, brought the flat of his palm down along his length. All he had to do was cup his hand a little and he was able to cover the full length of him with just his palm alone. With the way he had his hand arced, Ryuunosuke curved perfectly into his fingers and he found it impossible not to thrust into its inviting, slick warmth. Something about the blood stung when it came in contact with the tip of his cock but it wasn't bad enough to make his arousal wane in the least. A little pain was always welcome to him.

It didn't seem like Caster cared about the condition of his robe anymore either. (It was a part of him or something anyway. He knew he could clean it up in a second if he really wanted to. The concern was probably just some kind of cute hold-over from his past self.) He had gone from kneeling carefully to sitting on his knees now, looking totally engrossed in the work he was doing, lovingly rolling his palm over his master's cock.

“S-so good,” Ryuunosuke sighed, stretching his arms out above his head. The only thing that could have made it better was if he could get a look at them together at that moment. As peculiar as he acknowledged the situation to be, something about it made his heart swell and that warm feeling made his cock jerk in response. He concluded that this was the work of love.

It was so powerful.

He continued to thrust up into his hand, the head receiving mounting stimulation with every rub. He licked his lips slowly, ignoring the flavor of blood, and touched Caster's wrist.

Surprised, perhaps broken from his own blissful place, Caster stopped momentarily to look at him. “Is something the matter, Ryuunosuke?”

Ryuunosuke moaned. He looked so concerned about him. “No, it's... I just wanted to hold your hand.”

Caster looked as moved by that as he would have predicted. He gave Ryuunosuke his free hand and squeezed his fingers in his own with a smile. That expression made him feel so fuzzy that it almost felt wrong to keep using his other hand the way he was. Not that it was really going to stop him...

A bead of sweat rolled down his forehead, creating a clean streak of skin down his face as it rolled to his chin. Noticing, Caster leaned in and swiped the trail with his tongue all the way up his cheek, over his eye, and to his brow, leaving an even larger vertical line across his face. Seeing Caster with blood on his tongue made him groan and he rubbed himself more eagerly into his hand.

“Close...” he croaked, feeling his skin heat up. He felt like he was on fire and looked a bit like it, too. The blood was getting tackier as it dried and was probably sealing off his pores, which could have explained why he was getting more light headed than usual in the situation. He reminded himself to breathe and one deep breath turned into a wordless cry as he gave his final thrust, coming into Caster's fingers.

His body went limp as he came down from the peak of it, letting his arms and legs relax into the cooling puddle of blood on the floor. After a few recuperating breaths, he opened his eyes and stared up into the tall ceiling. The blood around him still felt a little warm. The permeating scent of savaged bodies remained and likely wouldn't go anywhere for a long, long time. And Caster's hand remained in his, still holding onto his just as firmly.

Gently, Ryuunosuke lifted the hand that held his to his lips and kissed his fingers, sighing happily.

His eyes flitted to Caster's and he gave him a lopsided grin. “I hope you know where I can take a bath now.”