Chapter 80 – The First Flag ❤
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After getting into the proper position, I activate the skill. Kamil seems to recognize it and begins hastily moving his shield to cover his right side when my vision suddenly blurs. It regains focus moments before my blade collides with the metal aegis, releasing a loud clang. The force of the charge pushes me past Kamil while throwing him off balance.

I stop a few meters behind him with my sword low near the ground and exhale heavily. My heart is beating like crazy. What a feeling. It was almost like reaching over a hundred under a second and then instantly slowing down. How can her small frame endure so many G's?

“What the hell?! That’s Shino’s move! How can you use it?!” Kamil shouts after collecting himself from the received blow.

I take a deep breath and chuckle while turning around, placing the blade of my weapon over my shoulder.

“It’s the power of love. One level above the power of friendship.”

“Bullshit!” Kamil clicks his tongue. “It doesn’t matter if you can imitate one of her attacks, I’m taking you down!”

He definitely activates some technique as the air around him changes visibly. A golden aura begins shimmering over the contours of his body and his eyes also emanate a golden glow. Additionally, Kamil’s shield gets covered with a yellow layer of mana too, similar to what I’ve seen Kyrie do. Hero Class is such a cheat.

But well. So is mine.

While Kamil is powering up, I reach for another technique from the Moon-Slashing Arts that I’ve borrowed from Shino. Thanks to the fact that I did practice with katana-type blades back in the day, I’m able to use those skills at a fairly decent level since my Katana Proficiency is at level 3 or so.

A black mist envelops my left hand and I position it by my side, making a circle with my fingers. With a little bit of an issue due to the length of the blade, it looks quite comical as I awkwardly slide it into the non-existing sheath. The whole weapon gets covered by the black mist and I lower my stance, prepared to draw.

Just as Kamil finishes his preparations, I squeeze the handle harder and feel a tingling sensation on the inner side of my hand. Faster than my eyes can perceive it, the black blade makes a diagonal cut upwards, sending three giant pillars of dark energy straight at my opponent, leaving deep cuts in the arena.

I instantly break into a run afterwards and watch how Kamil manages to block the first and the second blade of darkness, but they break the golden cover and push his guard to the side, allowing the last one to smack him right in the chest. Looks like I can properly control the lethality of these skills as his armour receives only a dent. Neat.

Before he can catch a breath, I’m already in front of him. Kamil makes a desperate attempt to block my nodachi sailing through the air at him with his own sword, but I change the direction mid-swing and hit his knee, making him lean forward.

His face heading down meets the pommel of my weapon heading back up and the latter overpowers the former enough to throw him slightly into the air. To finish up the impromptu combo, I spin around and land a mid-kick into his stomach. But, it seems that I have underestimated my already held-back strength and send him flying, crashing into the nearby wall.

“Whoops.” I retract my leg and put the nodachi back on my shoulder. “Hey, at least you can take a good beating with these skill—”

*SHIIING*

A huge golden greatsword shoots out of the dust that's still covering Kamil and obstructing my vision, heading straight for me at an incredible speed. I manage to jump aside only partially, parrying the awe-inspiring projectile with a hastily put up guard, only thanks to my slightly heightened senses coming from my race and high stats.

The holy blade zooms past me and slams into the opposite wall, leaving a shallow cut on my shoulder. He is definitely not holding back.

“You fucker!” Kamil shouts as he emerges from the grey ashes with a clearly unamused expression.

“Is that the only insult you know? It’s getting a little boring.”

He sneers at me, recasting the protection on his shield while walking. “Stop using someone else’s techniques and fight me with your own power!”

Kamil lunges at me, shortening the distance between the two of us in just three big steps. His sword leaves a golden trail as it’s heading towards my head from above with a high vertical swing. 

Such an open attack is easy to parry even for me and I let it slide over my angled blade to the side. I push him away a bit with a knee hit and we get entangled in an exchange of blows in close quarters. I’m at a bit of a disadvantage with my large weapon at this distance so I’m reduced to mostly defending.

After a few short moments, an opportunity appears. His sword pushes the tip of my blade to the ground and positions it in the perfect place for me to activate another technique from the Moon-Slashing Arts.

Surprising him with a flash of white light, I invoke Crescent Cleave while focusing on making the strike blunt. Immediately after my blade reaches the highest point, I follow with Falling Star and make a mirrored version of Crescent Cleave, effectively leaving an X-shaped shining cut hanging in the air for a brief moment.

Kamil gets launched backwards from the double hit, shoving his sword into the ground to slow himself down. After reaching a stop, he throws me an irritated glare.

“Is that all you can do?! Mimicking the skills of a girl you’ve fucked?!”

I sigh. “Fine. I guess I can humour you for a second.”

Releasing the nodachi form, I bring the bladeless hilt in front of me and begin filling it with mana. The crystal on the bottom shines brightly and I pull the handle to the opposite sides at the same time. As predicted, the artefact splits into two mirrored copies and stays in each of my hands.

“Let’s see how much damage you can really tank.”

Two ominous greatswords form from both artefacts; one sapphire blue and the other crimson red. I stop trying to mentally limit myself and lean forward, applying more pressure onto my right foot. The moment I hear the pavement under it crack, I rush at him, closing up in a few ground-crushing steps, effectively doing the same as he did previously but without the use of a skill.

Seeing a berserker-like opponent with dual greatswords heading straight at him, Kamil raises his shield at his front and the aura covering it turns much denser, spreading around the edges of the aegis to cover more space.

Both of my weapons strike the golden shield from both sides, and surprisingly, bounce back, accompanied by the sound of someone hitting a metal gong. Making use of that short window of opportunity, Kamil thrusts his sword into the air. Immediately, chills run down my spine.

A moment later, immense pressure hits me from above, forcing me onto one knee while I support myself with the blue greatsword stabbed into the ground. Before a blinding light and loud buzzing surrounds me, I catch Shino shouting something and Kamil beginning to laugh.

Then, in the middle of white that forces me to close my eyes, I kneel under the pressure as my ears are assaulted by an unbearable noise. Additionally, all the skin on my body starts burning and stinging like hell.

Somehow managing to shape the red greatsword into a dagger, I struggle to raise it above my head before I receive any more serious damage. After reaching my objective, I can feel eight thick chains shooting from the ground and latching onto the blade I’m holding up in the air, creating a sharp-angled cone around me.

The pressure still remains but the light no longer burns me. I open my eyes and find myself in a very tight space created by these purplish chains. It looks like they can withstand whatever this attack is without an issue. I guess their nullification ability comes in handy here.

After ten full seconds, the pressure and loud buzzing slowly fade away. I retract the chains and stand up, waiting for the light to disappear too. The curtain obstructing my vision retracts back into the sky and reveals Kamil standing in the same place as earlier while still laughing heartily.

He finally notices my barely scratched state and stops as confusion paints his face. “What? How are you fin—”

*THUD*

I slam my fist straight into his face without holding anything back, interrupting Kamil mid-sentence. The blow obviously sends him flying into a wall again as light ripple travels through the air from the force of the impact.

“Are you a fucking idiot?!” I shout shortly after the punch.

Without a second wasted, I shape a whip and send it after him. In the next moment, Kamil’s body is speeding back at me, with the rope coiled around his throat. He lands perfectly on my fist prepared for his arrival, launching him into another part of the wall with a mighty blow to the stomach, releasing another ripple into the air.

“Did you want to kill me with that?!” I shout again as he crashes into the stone.

The pattern repeats for a while until I run out of the wall to destroy. With one last pull, I bring him back in front of me and wrap up in Void Chains to hang him in the air. 

I was going to scold that idiot further but he’s barely conscious after taking so many hits. His armour has multiple dents all over it. I have to admit, it’s a very powerful artefact. He barely suffered any internal damage. At least I can rest easy knowing that they do have someone capable of soaking blows around.

Retracting the chains, I allow him to slide onto the ground almost lifelessly. Shino runs up to me as I release a long sigh.

“Sensei! Are you alright?” She starts checking me all around, especially the cut on my shoulder.

“I’m fine. Much better than this punk.” I stop her and brush through Shino’s hair to calm her down a little. “That move did pack a punch though. My skin still stings like hell. I’ll need at least half an hour with my Rejuvenate to get rid of it.”

She releases a sigh of relief and looks up at me. “I got so scared when he used that. The last time we’ve seen his Divine Retribution, it evaporated a bunch of Abyssals in seconds. But, I’m so glad that you are fine.”

“Somehow. I could have ended up as a toast if not for one of my abilities. Anyway, we better bring him to a healer first. I don’t want this duel to maim him and who knows how he looks under that armour.” I glance at Ross on the sidelines and he nods at me. 

A few guys in robes run to us immediately. One of them starts casting some low-level healing spell on my wound. The rest of the squad also comes to us, plus one person I don’t remember being here when we were starting.

Shino notices me staring at them and pulls on my sleeve. “That’s Vanessa-san. She returned shortly after you guys entered the arena. She is the new member of our team that I’ve told you about, the geo mage.”

Ah. I see. She’s quite the looker. And that gentle smile perfectly suits her almost noble beauty. She must be popular amongst the adventurers. Seems like this world doesn’t lack its fair share of badass beauties of various specializations.

I move my attention to Ross as they arrive by our side. “Sorry for the wall. I got a little worked up.”

He gives me a wry smile and shakes his head. “Don’t worry about it. Things like these happen from time to time. But well… to almost completely shatter a magically reinforced surface… I did expect you to be strong from the display that time, but it seems that I’ve been slightly underestimating you.”

“Truly, to completely overpower someone specializing in defence, it was a spectacle to watch,” the brown-haired lady in emerald cloth armour comments with a soft smile.

“Vanessa, as I presume?” I glance at her.

“Ah, where are my manners? I’ve heard a lot about you but you might not know me. Yes, my name is Vanessa De Vere, but I often use my alias, Tooru, during my adventures. Since you are a trusted man of King Rossberg and also of the heroes’ group, I think I can mention that King Melrond from Ronerulle is my father.” She makes a courteous bow.

“Oh, a princess. It’s my honour.” I also bow my head.

For some reason, Ross seems to be very tense. He often does some weird gestures with his eyes when I glance at him, aimed towards Vanessa. Maybe he actually has a thing for her? He did say that no princess caught his attention though. Who knows.

“Dude! That was amazing! Weren’t you supposed to be weak?” Marcia joins in, clearly excited after the bout.

“Well, a lot has happened since we parted ways. I’ve realized a few things and also received plenty of help from other people. My methods to grow stronger are quite… unique.”

“I know! It’s sex, right? You’ve really scored a jackpot with that Class, getting pussy and power at the same time. Usually, it’s the latter that leads to the former.”

I chuckle and shake my head. “It’s not really like that. If it was, this Class wouldn’t have been almost forgotten and its holders wouldn’t be incredibly weak. Random sex doesn’t really help me. It’s actually more about bonds.”

“Besides, Sensei’s abilities focus more on others rather than him,” Shino butts in from my side.

Marcia moves her gaze to the samurai girl with a wide smile. “You’ve finally taken him for a ride, haven’t you? Took you long enough, geez. So, is he as amazing as we thought?”

Shino hides behind my arm as her cheeks steadily grow redder and redder under Marcia’s enthusiastic barrage. With a wry smile, I raise my hand to stop her.

“Let’s not forget that we are in public. Not everyone is as open and easygoing as you, Marcia. We are in the presence of royalty too.”

She rolls her eyes and shrugs. Ross must be already used to her way of being while Vanessa seems to be holding up pretty decently, with just a tinge of rosiness present on her fair cheeks. Paul tries his best to hide his embarrassment but it doesn’t work that well for him.

The King clears his throat, capturing our attention. “I suggest we move back to the castle while our healers take good care of Kamil. Judging by the intensity of this fight, I don’t think it would be wise to send you out too early so I guess you are free to do as you please until he makes a complete recovery. We can talk about possible destinations for your journeys after that.”

I can feel Shino’s joy through our bond after hearing his words. In the end, that means she can spend some more time with me without worrying about others. I’m pretty sure it would be hard deciding between accompanying them or staying with me. She does have a decently strong sense of obligation, especially towards her close friends.

As the robed healers carry Kamil out to wherever they are going, we head the opposite way and follow Ross back into the castle in pairs. Marcia can’t stop fangirling over the latest bout and keeps pulling Paul into a one-sided conversation again and again while Natalie and Vanessa follow shortly after them, exchanging some short sentences now and then.

We close the group with Shino, walking pretty much in silence. Just when I’m going to try and make some small talk, her petite hand slides into mine and the world around me swirls into darkness once, twice, thrice before I regain my full vision. But, it happens at an unfamiliar place; some kind of a small chamber, most likely a bedroom.

“Where are we?” I ask while looking around.

“Sensei…” 

Ignoring my question, Shino moves to my front and guides my hand—that she is still holding in hers—under her skirt and then into her soft panties. My fingers reach a very warm and incredibly moist spot over the delicate skin of her girly mound. She looks up at me with a heavy blush.

“My, my. You seem very bothered. Astrea might have been on point back then, hadn't she?”

She shyly glances to the side for a brief moment before returning her eyes to mine. “Yes… Although, it wasn’t that bad… Just a little tingly… But it got way worse during the duel… I don’t think I can hold back any longer...”

I chuckle and rub my finger over her hot lower lips a little, causing Shino’s mouth to open cutely. She places a hand on my crotch and gives me a pleading gaze.

“This is my room so no one should find us if we are quick… Please?”

Placing a soft peck on her forehead, I stir my fingers some more, evoking a barely audible moan from her this time.

“How can I say no when you are like this? It’s my fault, isn’t it?”

Shino giggles quietly as she pulls my cock into the open, giving it a few strokes up and down, still gazing straight into my eyes. After leaving a soft kiss on my lips, she turns around, leans forward a bit to hold onto the nearby wall and uses her other hand to slip her panties to the side, uncovering her clearly wet slit. She stares at me over her shoulder while spreading it wide with her fingers.

I step closer and lean my body over hers, entwining the fingers of her hand pressed on the wall with mine as my shaft touches her warm pussy from below. She shivers a little when our private parts make contact.

“So…” I whisper to her ear as my body presses into hers from behind, rubbing my rod over her leaking honeypot back and forth. “How many times did you fantasize about having a quickie with your sensei?”

“Mhhhhnnn… I’m sorry…”

“What for?”

“For being such a lewd girl…”

I chuckle again, realizing that the answer might be a pretty high number.

“And? Did I ever say that I dislike lewd girls?”

“N-No…”

“Then what did your sensei say?”

“That you l-love lewd girls—aaaaahhhhhhhh…”

Just as she finishes answering, I slowly slide my glans inside her snug entrance, knowing well how tight she was the last time. Shino releases a tame moan and moves her other hand onto the wall too. Bit by bit, I push deeper and deeper, making sure that she enjoys every second of it and doesn’t feel any discomfort.

“Sensei’s p-penis… So hot…”

“Fuuuh… I could say the same… Are you trying to melt my cock off?”

She giggles adorably and presses her cheek against mine after I position my face next to hers.

“I can’t help it. It already feels so much better than the last time…”

“Well then. Let’s not make the others wait too long, shall we?”

Shino nods and we enter a slightly awkward kiss with me pressing onto her from behind, pretty much pinning her to the wall. I begin to slowly move my hips back and forth, immediately causing Shino to sigh blissfully into my lips.

While my left hand is entwined with hers, I use the right one to playfully roam my fingers under her shirt, caressing her belly and chest in turns. My waist begins hitting her soft bottom strong enough to cause light slapping sounds already and Shino also lets me hear some of her quiet moans.

“Mhhhhn… Nhhhhnnn… Sensei… Nnnhhhnnn… You don’t need… to be so gentle… Mhhnnn...”

Complying with Shino’s wishes, I turn the pace up a bit which soon raises the volume of her dreamy sighs and moans. Each time my cock rushes through her hot insides and rubs against her uneven walls, Shino breaks our occasional kisses to show her satisfaction. Her whole body jumps a little when I pound her from behind.

“Ahhh… Ahnnn… It’s actually… so much better than I imagined… Ahhhh…”

“I’m glad to hear that… Haaah… Anything else for my dear princess?”

Shino doesn’t answer for a moment, clearly hesitant about voicing out her desires, but she finally pushes through her worries and catches my eyes with hers as I keep giving her pussy a good time.

“Ummm… Ahhhh… Can you… push me harder into the wall? Mhnnnn…”

She’s really getting anxious over the smallest things. I immediately begin incorporating her little fantasies into our session and squash her smaller-than-mine frame into the wooden surface, without pressing too hard onto her but enough to get rid of any distance that was left between her chest and the wall.

I catch both of her hands and move them slightly higher. As I present her exposed neck with countless soft kisses, I keep shoving my cock inside her yearning hole even harder. 

Being tightly pressed against the wall, her body has no more room to run away from my pounding and each thrust causes her waist to lightly hit the hard surface, which produces a rhythmic accompaniment of noises created by my hips hitting her plump butt, wet sounds from my dick making out with her pussy, and her waist softly hitting the wooden wall.

“Ahhh… Ahhhh… Ahhnnn… Like this… is good… Ahhh… I’m almost… Ahhhh...”

I give her pretty neck a tame bite and feel her whole body shudder. At the same time, Shino’s hot internal walls coil around my shaft with increased force, rubbing me in just the perfect way. 

As Shino releases an alluring moan, riding her high, I also groan a little and allow waves of milky liquid to fill her up. I make a few more thrusts, aiming to paint her furthest depths in white as her whole body trembles and then wait for my little princess’ orgasm to reach its end, holding her firmly against the wall.

We stare at each other while breathing roughly and Shino smiles at me. “One more?”

I chuckle at her. “What happened to the quickie?”

She adorably escapes my gaze, slightly ashamed of herself. I gently pull my penis outside and turn her around, placing my hands on the inner side of her thighs. Shino quickly catches onto my intention and places her own hands on my shoulders as I lift her up and press her back against the wall, aiming my tip against her pink crevice.

She entwines her legs behind me as I slide myself back inside and seal her lips with mine at the same time. Without waiting, I start pounding her pussy again, giving it a good stir from below, hammering her body into the wall.

“Mmmmhnnn… Nhnnnn… Mhhnnnn…”

With our mouths sweetly rubbing against each other, only muffled moans are able to escape the passionate kiss. Shino seems to be enjoying the rough affection today so I keep poking my tip as deep as I can in this position, tickling some spots she gives the best reactions to.

Her hands, now free, get themselves busy by exploring my hair and her slender fingers run through it with tender movements. I can feel her relishing in the pleasure and I’m sure she can also sense how good her tight insides feel to me through our bond as she breaks our kiss from time to time with a smile she can’t hold back.

Perhaps because she has come recently, Shino’s high is building pretty quickly and very close to reaching another breaking point already. Since that works pretty well for us, I spread her thighs to the sides a little more and give her pussy an even stronger pounding. Shino’s body keeps sliding up the wall from the force of the impact each thrust creates.

“Ahhh… Mhhhnn… Ahhhh… Nnhnnnn… Ahhhhh…”

She persistently aims for my lips after each time we are forcefully split apart by her moving up, resulting in a weird combination of muffled and open moans, which, I have to admit, sound pretty hot.

When her fingers move to my back and dig deep into the leather of my coat, I also quickly shift my hands to wrap them tightly around her waist and pull Shino’s body down one last time, impaling her on my hard cock and sending my tongue out to explore her mouth.

She moans fervently with our connected lips, causing vibrations to tickle my muscle and mouth at the same time as her pussy attempts to wring me dry for the second time. I very much oblige and fill her up to the brim with another luscious load. I hope this is enough to satiate her burning desire or the others will definitely figure us out.

Shino rests her head on my shoulder as she slowly calms down. I brush through her black hair affectionately. She finally straightens her back and arrives with her face in front of mine, giving me a warm smile.

“That was amazing, sensei. And… Sorry.”

“Apologizing again?” She chuckles. “I’ll pin you down and fuck senseless anytime you want. That movement skill of yours comes in handy for that. I’m so jealous.”

“Can’t you copy it like my other abilities?”

“Once every two days, I guess. I need to check if I can use it. But, I do have Void Affinity so it should be fine?”

I slowly let Shino down while still supporting her with my body. Noticing a stream of white beginning to drip out of her precious place, I quickly press my fingers over her lower lips to save her tights from getting accidentally stained.

Shino giggles at me and pecks my cheek. I give her a soft kiss back and carefully cast some cleaning magic to get rid of the evidence and also dry out her wet panties since they are quite thin.

After I’m done tending to her, Shino insists on cleaning me up too, obviously, with her mouth. I enjoy her warm tongue for a moment and she stuffs my cock back into my underwear after getting rid of her leftover saliva with a bit of magic too. It will always feel weird to hear that my semen tastes amazingly sweet.

We check ourselves and each other all around and exit Shino’s room. A group of maids spots us and quickly escapes behind the nearby corner.

Right. I don’t think this room has any silencing wards and we’ve assaulted the wall between her chamber and this corridor pretty roughly.

Shino picks up my hand and nods at me with rosy cheeks, warning me about the transfer this time. We make three shadowy jumps again and reappear around the same spot we’ve disappeared from. I lead us back to the meeting chamber.

“Al! Shino! Where did you two go?” Ross asks us the moment we step inside.

“I got quite thirsty after the duel and we took a turn to the kitchens. Apologies for taking so long, we’ve lost track of time while chatting there.”

He nods at me and we move to sit down near Natalie. Somehow, I have a feeling that she has again figured things out just from exchanging glances with Shino. Fortunately, I don’t think anyone else is as sharp as her.

We talk a little more about things connected to the Abyssals and what plans Ross has for the heroes. It seems like he is truly trying his best to support them properly and has researched the best areas for them to explore and experience the world. Rather than ordering them to head to someplace, it’s more like he provides them with good opportunities.

“Alright. It was fun meeting you all again, and you Vanessa, but I have to head back. There are things in a few days that I have to prepare for properly. Ah. The plans, Ross?” I speak as I stand up.

“They should be delivered by now. I had them verified as much as possible. If you notice any discrepancies, I would be glad if you could note them down.”

“Of course. Thank you. I believe you should be quite satisfied with the outcome.”

Ross gives me a wry smile, clearly trying to force it down before the others notice. Good. With the most recent map of the sewage system and Astrea’s knowledge, it should be a piece of cake to navigate through the canals.

After making a courteous bow, I start heading towards the door.

“You are going too, Shino?” Marcia’s question stops me and I turn around with Shino right behind me.

“Yes… I will be staying at Sensei’s place… For now…” she answers quietly.

“You are going to live in a brothel?” Paul asks.

“Well now. Outside of the working hours, it’s still a noble-class mansion worth thousands of gold, you know?” I answer. “Our residents are always praising the living conditions.”

“Now I’m even more interested in seeing that place,” Marcia comments.

“You are free to come with us for a short visit. It will be just in time for a little dessert.” Then, I glance at Vanessa. “I’m not sure if inviting a princess to such a place can be considered as a huge offence, but since you are part of the group now, you are also welcome.”

“I don’t pay that much attention to this kind of stuff outside of the official, public affairs. You can say that I’m currently Tooru the Adventurer and not Vanessa the Princess and I have to admit that I’m also a little curious about your place after hearing some bits about it when the two of you were gone.”

I nod at her and we move out as a full group. As we stroll through the city, I reach out to Cornelia and Elea to let them know about the incoming guests and they happily oblige to prepare a warm welcome for my friends. I beg them not to cause a scene for once and they just chuckle at me.

We arrive in front of the main gate and they can’t believe that it’s really here. Marcia repeatedly asks if I’m not screwing with them, making me chuckle. Shino assures them that we are at the right place and the two of us lead everyone to the main entrance.

Fortunately, after opening the door, we do not stumble on two rows of bowing maids loudly announcing their happiness from me coming back home.

“Alastair.”

A calm voice arrives from above us and we glance up just in time to catch Astrea jump down from the first level and gracefully land on the ground in front of us, surprising everyone greatly.

She glances at Shino for a brief moment and nods at her, definitely taking notice of our earlier fun. She then slowly walks up to me and I lean down a little to let her softly peck my lips, sighing inwardly. There goes not causing a scene.

At the same time, Elea and Cornelia make their way down the stairs, one at each side, in their casual clothes. The presence of the Court Magician they know from the castle surprises them even more, except for Vanessa, of course.

Seeing that Astrea has already gone ahead and did it, the both of them also go for a short kiss after arriving at our spot. Paul is clearly confused by this whole situation while Marcia stares at me with wide eyes. Natalie glances at Shino, who giggles quietly.

The two beauties invite everyone to the upper level for some snacks and drinks. We sit down in the recreational area and chat for a bit about the whole place and what we actually have to offer. 

Marcia clearly shows interest in the fun devices I mention when talking about servicing also female customers so Elea offers to take her to one of the Pleasure Chambers for a quick visit and the two leave.

Shortly after, Zalia and Mafaris pass by and stop for a moment to give me a hug from behind. I introduce them and mention that Mafaris is the one who usually takes care of women with different tastes.

Then, since Marcia is gone, I suggest a tour to the others too and everyone leaves to take a walk around accompanied by someone. Cornelia escorts Paul, Astrea escorts Natalie, and Mafaris joins in to escort Vanessa, somehow quickly befriending the princess.

Shino also leaves to take a bath while I head to my chamber to check if the plans have been delivered. Moments after arriving there, I receive a Whisper from Mafaris, asking if they could occupy a room for a moment while we aren’t technically open. Slightly surprised by the turn of events, I tell her that I don’t mind and they are free to do whatever they want during their free time.

Not even three minutes pass when I receive another Whisper, this time from Elea, asking if Marcia can use the chamber as she is barely holding back after seeing all the equipment. I also tell her to allow the redhead to have as much fun as she wants and then return to the maps.

Around half an hour later, someone knocks on my door and I get up to check it. It turns out that it’s Vanessa, with slightly flushed cheeks.

“Hi. I didn’t know where to go so Mafaris led me to your room. The others aren’t done with their tours yet, it seems.”

“That’s fine. Come in. Do you want something cold to drink?”

She nods and walks inside. I show her to the coffee table by the window and grab some homemade lemonade I keep in a cabinet equipped with a frost array set up by Cornelia. Pouring both of us a glass, I sit on the opposite side.

“Had fun?” I ask with a smile.

Vanessa blushes slightly but nods. “She is a very open and likeable person. I kind of… got swept up by her enthusiasm…”

“Hahaha. Don’t be so uneasy. I’m actually glad that you are fine interacting with a demi-human.”

“Our kingdom doesn’t hate them as much as this one. Personally, I don’t think they should be treated so harshly either.”

“That’s good.”

“You are a good person too. Shino and Natalie talk about you a lot. I was curious if they were exaggerating, but now I can see that you are really as kind and understanding as they said.”

“Thank you. It’s also nice to know that they’ve made friends amongst people of this world. You’ve pretty much filled the spot created by my leave.”

She smiles beautifully. “One thing led to another, and here we are. I didn’t think I would join their party. At first, they were only asked by my father to bring me back to our capital for the burial of my brother.”

“My sincere condolences.”

“It’s okay. Thank you. Anyway, after that, they were heading here so I decided to accompany them since our paths aligned. The details of my brother’s death were very vague and I wanted to investigate it myself, coming here to ask King Rossberg about it since he had passed away in Evaneheim. But, so far, I feel like he has been dodging my questions by repeating the same things. Back to the party though, we’ve gone through a few difficult situations together and I just feel like it’s fun around them. We have a good synergy too. And I do want to protect people from the Calamity.”

Suddenly, something clicks in my head. Rossberg’s weird behaviour around Vanessa begins making a lot of sense if I’m not mistaken about this, and every piece of information keeps telling me that I’m not.

A few of my Void Chains in the form of comfortable thin purple straps shoot from the ground and wrap themselves around Vanessa’s legs, arms and waist, effectively incapacitating her movements as she is placing down her glass with lemonade.

She glances at me, slightly confused. “What’s the meaning of this?”

“I deeply apologize for this offence, Princess, but I’m not stupid enough to ignore such a heavy flag.”

 

Uh oh. What now?

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