After around an hour that I spend casually talking with Vii and Zehra, the others start waking up. All the other Beastkin leave the land of the dreams before my lovely dwarf. I’m pretty sure Astrea is awake for quite some time and just keeps spooning Sirgia to not rouse her from sleep with any movements.
I raise myself to a sitting position as we exchange morning greetings, helping Vii lift herself too, which results in her impressive breasts smushing my chest as she leans onto it with a soft chuckle. Shaking my head and smiling wryly, I brush through her brown hair, scratching a little behind those beautiful ears of hers.
The other girls move closer to us and sit up in front of us three, creating an amazing sight of appealing furry and non-furry bodies. The way their alluring slits are just so slightly hidden by being pressed against the material of the sheets makes it so much more erotic.
“Do you have any preference, Alpha?” Feriha suddenly asks; her ear twitches adorably as she gazes at me.
“Preference?” I raise my brow.
“In who you would like to use to relieve yourself,” Yudie elaborates.
“Ah.” I guess that’s why all three of them are pretty much lined up and showing themselves off. “Well, I don’t really have any strong preferences, but…”
“We’ve already made sure that Alastair doesn’t feel uncomfortable for the day,” Vii butts in with a smile, squishing her soft mountains more into me.
Yudie sniffs the air a few times. “Certainly, there are some signs of that in the air, but they are faint. I assumed it was just his pheromones building up.”
“Anyway, just to let you know, I didn’t bring you girls with me to use you in the morning to satisfy myself but just to have a pleasant rest together. I have no need to release each time I wake up. I wouldn’t mind mating with you, but not really out of some feeling of responsibility or obligation. Just wanted to clear that up for the future.”
They exchange glances with each other a few times and then nod. Zehra and Vii help me explain it a little better so that they actually understand what I meant instead of just complying with a new whim of the alpha.
Hari, who got a little dejected at first that she won’t get ravaged in front of her friends, quickly turns back to her slightly shy but enthusiastic expression after I mention that it doesn’t mean there won’t be any fun morning sex. If that’s what they would like, and it wouldn’t inconvenience the other person or people sleeping with me on that day, I’m always up for fulfilling their wishes or desires.
While waiting for Sirgia to wake up, we also talk a little more about me and my abilities in detail. The half-circle of Beastkin beauties of various sizes and builds that gather in front of me as they eagerly listen to my words is truly a feast for the eyes. They all accept my Partner connection after I explain how it works.
Some more time passes and my precious little dwarf still doesn’t open her eyes. I decide to not wait any longer and move closer to Sirgia, lying down on my side in front of her. With my fingers gently brushing through her smooth hair, I begin leaving soft, affectionate pecks on her cute lips.
After a brief moment, they also start moving and answering with their own little kisses as a warm smile slowly overtakes Sirgia’s previous, neutral, sleeping expression. She lifts her eyelids and her cheeks flush just a tiny bit.
“Good morning, Master.”
I give her one more kiss. “Good morning, my love.”
She giggles quietly and glances around without moving her face from mine. “Did I perhaps oversleep?”
“I just felt like waking you up with some kisses. Was that a bad idea?”
“It was the best, Master. I loved it.”
We smile at each other and I help her up before we join our lips for a slightly deeper and more passionate kiss. After we break off, Astrea’s face appears by Sirgia’s and she nuzzles her cheek into it, purring calmingly. We also exchange a few quick kisses and finally move on.
Vii leads us to a chamber that has been turned into a bath with some simple earth magic and the power of mana crystals imbued with the fire attribute. We all take a quick dip. Of course, it’s a public bath, a big chamber with many smaller pools, so my person does attract a little bit of attention, from both genders.
Fortunately, we end up in one with just women in it. Not everyone here is using the baths in their intended way and I appreciate Vii taking us slightly further from those pools that have their water surface quite disturbed by various motions coming from their users. I put up Hall of Serenity around our pool. Totally to train the skill and not to mute the myriad of yelps and moans. Totally.
As expected, the girls insist on washing me so I don’t really oppose the idea, already quite used to it from back at home. The difference here is that the sensation is different, because naturally, they partially use their bodies, and I haven’t yet gotten myself rubbed around by soft wet furry breasts.
While a few of the girls take care of me, I also help one of them out by washing their body, often focusing on this amazing fur or ears and tail. It’s actually kind of funny how they look when completely wet and it makes me chuckle a handful of times.
As we take our sweet time together, more and more women keep slipping into our pool to wash themselves too. They get surprised by the absence of the sounds from outside at first, but quickly move on to their activities.
And those couldn’t be more obvious. Yes, some of them just came here to take care of their fur or skin, perhaps using that opportunity to sneak some glances at the new alpha, but a huge part of the women is clearly doing their best to flash me the best angles of their alluring bodies and private parts as they sensually wash up, clearly attempting to seduce me into doing something else.
Zehra explains with a chuckle that it’s nothing unusual and also the reason why part of the bath is busy with other activities. This is the best opportunity to enjoy some pleasant mating in a refreshing atmosphere instead of doing it anywhere else, or on the street as it often happens.
Astrea and her friends even encourage me to accept some invitations and give a few girls that catch my eye a good dicking, but I politely decline. I don’t want to end up in a huge orgy that somehow lasts the whole day, hahaha. And Sirgia is with us too. I will obviously prioritize my lover’s comfort over some random pussy. No offence.
Afterwards, we share a quick and quite decent breakfast, which certainly is fresher and much more bountiful than I expected it to be. It turns out that they have turned a different chamber into cooling and freezing one, also with the use of crystals, and that’s where they store the gathered supplies.
As for how it actually works with the Community's place constantly moving, it stays in the same spot for like ten days after the date of the main gathering, which is when people are obligated to come and share what they managed to gather. Then, it's moved to a different spot.
We didn’t change that part, except for the rules connected to the obligatory contribution, since the idea was quite decent. Just the implementation was quite oppressive and tyrannical. It will be much better now.
Anyway, we eat our fill and take a stroll through the whole place to see how things are going after the initial changes. I can already spot many more of the poorest and weakest members having something to cover themselves with, which is nice.
We consult with Taro and the Beastkin we have spoken with earlier about all the rules and stuff, and it seems that the small revolution in the way of operating the Community has been met with positive reception so far. Except amongst those who were in much better situations in the old, abusive system.
And they are our next issue before we leave. Astrea takes the elders, Taro and a few other people with us and we head to the prison chambers. They quickly identify the most vicious supporters of the abusive tyranny and line them up for execution.
Those who weren’t as bad towards others but still were clearly enjoying abusing the power after willingly submitting to Micah are banished and led to another room to be thrown out after we deal with everything.
It takes us half a day to go through every prisoner. There aren’t that many, it’s just that every single person is judged based on previous evidence and their own counterclaims. It’s not a merciless slaughter of anyone who did something wrong once and that’s why there’s a bigger group of people to pass on the verdict instead of just the two of us—the alphas.
The lighter offenders receive different punishments but still are punished, of course. Something like having their rights limited, some restrictions put on them, or having to take part in some heavy labour duties, the less pleasant ones.
After everything is settled up, the time comes to deal with the worst scum. I low key expected Astrea to just go ahead and personally behead each of them, but she actually suggests something else.
The elders agree with her idea of hosting a tournament where the criminals would fight to the death for the amusement of the people they have wronged, and not only, and the winner would be spared. Of course, they would still get banished. And killed on sight if they ever dared to show up in the sewers again.
She says that I’m smart but she’s something else too. This situation clearly creates a chance for the convicts to redeem their honour in a battle of life and death instead of being executed like the lowest vermin. And it clearly relates to how things are done in some tribes living outside, from what I remember reading about them.
We don’t necessarily need to be here when the whole thing happens so it's left to the Council that will oversee the whole Community, contacting us through Taro, who will come back with us to see where the mansion is.
But, before we move on, Sirgia suggests that it would be a good idea to add someone from here to my Partners so they could contact me in case of a serious emergency. I think that would make Taro’s role quite obsolete, but I can’t disagree that it’s a decent suggestion.
The question is, who to choose? Amongst the people who are in this renewed council, there’s one person I clearly recognize—the pure-blood Squirrelkin that I previously sent out to give some clothes to the weakest members.
She seems like a nice girl so I ask if she would be willing to take up that responsibility after I explain how my skills work and she accepts with no further talks, looking quite happy. Therefore, I end up with one more Beastkin girl on my Partners list. Her name is Gini.
Astrea promises her in my stead that I will surely reward her for helping, during my visits in the Community from time to time, and that she should think about what to ask for since I prefer giving others what they would like instead of random things. Well, she isn’t wrong there, but I have a feeling that she’s clearly implying a certain kind of reward, judging by the enthusiastic nodding of the squirrelgirl.
We make sure that everything has been covered and prepare to depart. Astrea’s friends receive some simple armour and weapons from the Community’s armoury just in case. We’ll be moving through the sewers again and only Zehra is an actual combatant at the second Tier while the other girls are at the first one, without much combat experience.
The elders insisted on taking something with me but I didn’t really find anything that caught my attention in particular when going through Micah’s things or all the storages. I don’t need the valuables they managed to collect either. Well, they also don’t exactly need them, but they might come useful in future, who knows.
Even though we’ve tried to sneak out without attracting too much attention, someone seems to have ratted us out and a major part of the Beastkin fill up the chambers through which we are heading to the main exit, either cheering, kneeling or showing their respect in a different manner.
While certainly a little awkward, it does feel nice. I did not aim for it, but I guess I did end up as a kind of a Hero in the end. Now that I think about it, the whole thing was one of these common tropes of removing a tyrant from some village or city to free it partially. Oh well.
“Alright. Let’s focus now. We have VIPs to escort this time,” I say after we finally leave the loud corridors.
“We’ll take care of the enemies, Master.” Sirgia turns around and gives me a faint smile.
“You just focus on protecting them, Alastair.” Astrea nods at me.
“We’ll do it as you say then. Astrea, take the front. Sirgia, cover our backs.” I plop my hands on their heads and ruffle through their hair. “Taro and I will stay near the girls. Let’s move.”
“I’ll lead us to the entrance we have previously used then,” Astrea announces.
“Actually… Let me check something.”
I bring out the maps and browse through them, following the lines I’ve marked while we were exploring the underground. After a brief moment, I press my finger over a certain spot.
“This should be adjacent to our mansion. Since they built a secret tunnel and chambers, it would be stupid not to add some way of getting into the sewers from there. Let’s check these few canals around our home first and use the nearby exit if we find nothing.”
Astrea and Sirgia nod in understanding while the rest look at me with slightly clueless or confused expressions. No need to explain everything right now. The girls will learn about important stuff from Elea or the others later and it’s unnecessary for Taro to bother with such information. Even safer for us if he doesn’t get the whole picture.
The catgirl starts leading us towards the new destination. I shape up a katana with my draconic hilt to be able to use Shino’s skills if the need arises. Astrea’s friends seem fascinated with the mysterious blade shimmering in various shades of purple, violet and dark pink.
Unfortunately, our journey back isn’t meant to be an uneventful one. At around half-point, we stumble onto a big three-headed alligator, feasting on some giant rats. Noticing it, Taro seems to be turning as anxious as the girls. Perhaps it’s a well-known inhabitant of the sewers.
My adorable dwarf and fearsome catgirl just glance at each other after Sirgia comes to the front and exchange nods with a faint smile adorning their cute faces. In the next moment, they rush ahead, together.
The mighty gator notices their killing intent and turns around, but it’s already too late. Sirgia’s boosted legs carry the Dwarf girl to her opponent in a few floor-breaking steps and she takes a mighty swing of her extended battle hammer into one of its heads from below, raising the front of its body into the air.
Astrea appears underneath and throws in a powerful kick while making a split, sending it crashing against the ceiling, which isn’t that high, just around three meters or so. Without waiting for it to fall, she receives some help from Sirgia, who launches the catgirl into the air with her weapon, and Astrea throws the overgrown lizard back down by grabbing its tail.
My strong dwarf is already waiting for it with her body clearly tensed from one of her Crusher techniques, and the moment the three-headed alligator slams its back into the stone pavement, landing belly up, she mercilessly squashes one of its heads with a powerful blow from above, completely pulverizing it. And judging by the extremely tough-looking scales and skin, it shouldn’t be that easy, even if she targeted the underside. That’s my girl.
Astrea descends onto the second head like a falling boulder moments after the first one gets erased from existence, pushing herself off the ceiling to increase the power of her strike. Her fist, enhanced by a blue aura, punches a hole in the monster’s middle neck, shaking the whole tunnel a little bit as it also damages the floor in the process. She might not yet be used to her new strength.
As the monster writhes in pain from having two of its heads obliterated in an instant, they casually walk to the last one and hold onto it from the sides; Sirgia from the left and Astrea from the right.
They nod at each other and hug it together to stop it from shaking. With the support of one leg each on the alligator’s huge body, they release a tensed grunt, and as a loud crack travels through the tunnel, they literally rip its last head from its shoulders. The monster spasms for a few seconds more and stops moving.
Confirming that it’s dead and there are no other enemies drawn to us by the sounds of battle, or rather one-sided beatdown, they trot back to us and stop in front of me. With a big smile, I pat their heads, ruffling through their hair.
“Well done. Be careful of your strength down here though, Astrea.”
The others seem quite shocked that my lovely dwarf can fight almost on par with their Beastkin friend. I don’t blame them for being surprised. Sirgia didn’t really do much since the moment we entered the Community. And I guess clearing a Goblin camp wasn’t that much in Taro’s eyes.
During the rest of our trip back, nothing stronger than this little big fella pops up. Only a few small groups of the ever-so-annoying rats. Especially the toxic ones are a pain in the ass. But, my girls handle them with ease after gaining some experience against them from our previous encounters. Taro and I don’t have much to do besides executing one or two rats that sneak past them in the chaos.
We reach our destination. Nothing inconspicuous. Just three normal canals in the vicinity of the mansion. Since I don’t think it would be wise to make an entrance where the rails from the cart are, we focus our efforts on the two paths that aren’t crossing with where the secret tunnel should be located, more or less.
Everyone joins in on the search. Out of all of us, Taro is the best at it as his Class is close to a scout. I could take a peek at the abilities of my Partners as my borrowing skill is now off-cooldown, but let’s first see if we can find it without wasting it on something so trivial.
And, after around ten minutes of searching, Yudie calls us to her position and we find a stone brick that is clearly loose when you examine it from up close.
Pushing the block makes some mechanisms rotate and click and part of the wall caves in, allowing itself to be pushed further inside. We find ourselves in one of the small chambers we’ve been using as storage for Sirgia’s materials and other things. We both agree that this needs a security upgrade. We’ll be locking that door at least.
We thank Taro for his help and split up. I’ve informed Elea and Cornelia about our group and they welcome us after we get to the main hall. Even though I’m already quite used to it, the amazed expressions as they all gaze around still evoke a small smile to appear on my lips.
Amongst the welcoming party, Shino is present too, and she trots closer to us with an excited spark in her eyes as she stares at the furry girls by my side. She glances all over them, capturing their attention.
“Woooow… You are such a pretty fox lady…” she mutters quietly while gazing up at Vii. “And your fur is so beautiful too…” she then compliments Zehra.
The two are slightly surprised by the most likely unexpected first reaction and Vii chuckles at her.
“Oh, thank you. You have very charming, purplish eyes. I’m Vii.”
“Shino.” She nods with a smile and turns to me. “Sensei, isn’t she like that one character I drew in the past?”
“Hmmm… Rin?” I ask with one eyebrow raised.
“Yes! Exactly! This is so amazing! It’s like she came to life!”
I chuckle a little and brush through her hair, moving closer to place a peck on Shino’s cheek.
“Don’t get too excited. Zehra is a real person and you better not forget that. Or this big bad scary wolf will eat you up after you annoy her too much.”
Shino blushes a little and nods.
“Hey! I’m not scary!” Zehra protests.
“Not denying bad?”
“Well… It depends…” She looks away and I chuckle again.
“Will they be joining?” Shino asks me.
“Most likely. Why?”
“You need to find the tailor fast, Sensei! I have so many nice designs Vii-san and Zehra-san could wear! Ah, but they could be used casually too! You definitely remember some!”
I have forgotten how much into designing outfits for her characters Shino is. Her artist media were flooded by alternative versions of already drawn characters in countless different outfits. At one point, I was sure she was considering joining the fashion business, that’s how many she drew.
“I’ll work on that. Don’t forget to ask for permission before you draw them. I’m sure we both know how wild your imagination gets when you stumble on something intriguing, hahaha.”
She blushes again and we exchange a tame kiss. Afterwards, I briefly introduce the group of Beastkin to Elea, Cornelia and a few of the residents that have come here to greet them, not without giving a peck or two to all my lovely wives. I guess I’ll be calling them that now. They brought it up anyway.
Vii, Zehra, Yudie, Hari and Feriha leave with Elea and her entourage to take a tour around the mansion while my dear elf fills them in on most things. Astrea also joins them after she nuzzles her cheek into mine, purring appreciatively. I can feel how happy she is, now that everything ended decently well.
The rest of us sit down in the lobby. Emi peeks out from behind a corner and I wave at her invitingly. She joyfully launches herself at me as usual and I let her snuggle with me as I talk a little with the others. Safi also joins and moves behind me to give me a very pleasant massage, showcasing something she’s been practising with her slime for some time. And she is damn good.
“So, anything worth mentioning happened while we were out?” I ask after filling everyone on our recent expedition with Sirgia’s help.
“Not really. The working night when you departed was calm. Well, while I say that, it doesn’t mean there were no customers. The number of new people is steadily growing. The situation around the capital might actually not be that bad. Perhaps it’s just those above commonfolk that are vicious enough to overshadow the rest,” Cornelia answers.
“Thanks. Elise was taking the shift, right? How was she?”
“Very good. She was a little tense and awkward at the start, but she’s a natural at this. She’s definitely much better than some shut-in scholar-magician faking it all the way.”
“I’m glad to hear that but I don’t think she’s that much better. In the end, you have this charming visage of a sexy mature woman that is pretty much perfect for the situation. Elise is more like an adorable and cheerful girl. Not that it’s bad.”
Cornelia’s cheeks turn a little bit rosy as she glances to the side. “You and your weird tastes... Most men would choose a cute short girl over me…”
“Weird tastes? Let’s make a bet then, hahaha. We’ll start a survey for the next three working nights and see who is right. You dare?”
She squints her eyes at me, most likely suspecting some kind of a trap, but sighs with a soft smile in the end.
“Fine. And the bet?”
“Uhhh… Honestly? I don’t know. Something like ‘whatever the winner wants’ isn’t really viable since we would do that even without the bet. Any ideas?”
“I have none too… I guess we could go with some light punishment instead? But what could be considered one...”
“I know,” Sirgia speaks up and we glance at her. “The loser will have to wear nothing for a week inside the mansion.”
“WHAT?!” Cornelia shouts in surprise, making the sly dwarf giggle a little. This is clearly aimed at my charming magician.
“Except while working, of course,” Sirgia adds.
“How is that a punishment for him!? He would be glad to walk around with his cock in the open!”
“Oi. Do you really have me for an exhibitionist?” I raise my brow at her.
Cornelia opens her mouth to answer immediately but she stops herself and waits for a moment before actually speaking.
“Okay, I apologize, that’s not true. Sorry, Al. I got a little worked up.”
“It’s fine.” I chuckle at her.
“But, I would clearly be the one to suffer a much bigger embarrassment than him.” She turns to Sirgia again. ”I can’t fuck like an animal in front of a crowd. It’s not fair.”
“It would be very inconvenient and embarrassing for Master too,” Sirgia replies.
“Our new friends are very open. If they saw Master naked in a corridor, there’s a big chance they would ask him to have sex with them or even initiate it by themselves, right there. It was embarrassing for Master to do it back then too. But, he did it in front of strangers while here everyone knows him so it would be much more embarrassing if someone walked into Master doing lewd things in the open. Or even just walking naked.”
“She’s right. I can already see myself getting a little bit into the mood if Alastair would be naked all the time. I’m actually curious how it feels against a wall,” Neira reveals like it’s nothing special. “And I’m sure the other elves would be the same. Especially Elea. She would give him a handjob each time they passed each other. Moreover, I’m fairly sure Alastair wouldn’t deny them since he is very kind, rarely thinking about himself.”
I notice Shino muttering something to herself with her face as red as a tomato. “—ing after a bath… I would be going back in just a towel… And then I would bump into Sensei while drying my hair… And then I would fall on my butt and see his p-penis above me… And then he would help me up, and… and I would slip… And my mouth would—”
Then, a scene brought up by a certain catgirl named Hari not that long ago flashes in my mind, depicting a ravaged Catkin lying limply somewhere on the floor, sofa, or table, with a silly expression and loads of cum dripping from her wrecked pussy. There’s no way she would pass an opportunity to fuck in front of others.
“I think we should think of something—”
“Deal!” Seeing my wry smile, Cornelia interrupts my sentence and agrees to the bet.
“Oh Goddess, have mercy…”
And just like that, we end up with this quite embarrassing bet, with me stating that there are more people who would bone a sexy mature lady as a receptionist or madame while Cornelia says that cute and short young girl would be a much more popular choice.
Not fully confident, but I can spot a slightly self-assured smirk on her face. She does know the people a little better than me by being an inhabitant of this world and a person who actually interacts with the customers. Let’s just hope she’s risking it instead of basing her sudden decision on relevant data.
“Alright. We’ll have the girls accompanying the customers ask about it rather than the person at the reception to not influence their answers,” I suggest.
“That would be the best.” Cornelia nods.
Then, we chat for a short moment and decide to visit Ross and let him know about our discoveries and consult on the situation of the Community. Besides Cornelia and Shino, we get Astrea to join us too since it does partially involve her as the current leader of it.
If anyone will have any qualms about a demi-human in the castle, I’ll just introduce her as my escort battle slave. This will be a decent way to get a little bit more data on its residents, judging by how people will react.
We move out and go through the town. I’m in my adventuring outfit and Astrea is wearing her battle clothes so we aren’t as easily recognized as when some of us walk in the establishment's outfits, but I can clearly notice that some people do figure out who at least two of us are in the neighbourhood.
One man walking hand in hand with a woman, both in more than decent clothes, stops us to thank me and Cornelia for our amazing shop, saying that we are doing the Goddess’s work and that our products are just incredible and that he always recommends it to his friends.
The woman clearly has no idea what kind of a shop he means, deliberately using a roundabout way of speaking about things, but she nods along with her—most likely—husband’s words. We just smile wryly with Cornelia and thank him before excusing ourselves with a scheduled meeting.
We reach the castle without any more fans stopping us and get inside without any issues. The guards don't seem to care that a Catkin accompanies us, most likely assuming that she’s a slave by the collar with the dangling crystal or due to the status of the three of us.
As we are being led to a waiting room by a maid before she goes to check if it’s possible to meet with the King, we stumble on an unexpected encounter.
“Alastair! Cornelia! And even Shino! I’m glad to see you again!” Lianne walks out from one of the corridors and we make a polite bow to the former Queen. “Are you here to talk with Rossberg?”
“Yes, Lady Lianne.” I nod.
“I see. He should be free at the moment.” She then turns to the maid. “You can go, I’ll escort them myself. Thank you.”
The maid bows and scurries away while we follow the Queen.
“And this is? I don’t believe we’ve met?” She glances at Astrea.
The catgirl looks up at me and I nod, signalling that this person can be trusted.
“I’m Astrea. Alastair allowed me to live in his mansion. It’s an honour.”
“No need to be so stiff when we are alone. You are such a cutie. Are you one of the girls working for him?”
“Actually, she’s my sworn mate, which pretty much translates to wife in Human terms.” I decide to butt in.
“Oh, what a lucky girl. You must be happy to be together with such an amazing man.”
Astrea nods. “Yes. Very.”
“So, how big is your little harem now, Al? I hope you are still showering my dear Cornelia with lots of love, fufufu~” She clearly glances down at a certain spot in my pants before softly laughing.
The magician in question blushes slightly and looks away, evoking another playful chuckle from the Queen. I smile wryly and nod.
“Whenever my precious Ice Queen requests, my Lady.” Cornelia jabs me with her elbow, turning even redder. “As for the number, it’s now up to six individuals with this one here deciding to follow the unimportant me,” I say as I plop my hand on Shino’s head to ruffle through her hair, making her blush too.
“Finally. Took you two so long. I thought I would need to slip some aphrodisiacs into your drinks during your next visit or something. It’s not healthy to hold back so much.”
Shino and Cornelia stare at the Queen with wide eyes at the revelation of her ingenious plan to bring me and the samurai girl together. Are all women in this castle such schemers?
“And look who is speaking.” I chuckle quietly.
“Shush. I’m taking your prescription regularly. And I’m very grateful for it. Anyway, we’re here.”
We smile wryly at each other at Cornelia and Lianne pushes ornate double doors open, making them almost slam to the sides.
“Ross! You have guests!” she softly shouts inside with her angelic voice.
The King, currently lying almost upside down on a sofa with a book in his hands, jerks up and falls to the floor in shock. He quickly stands up and shoves the book under a pillow, just to reach for it again to make it disappear into his storage ring, judging by the effects.
“Mom! You can’t barge into the King’s quarters just like that! And with someone too!” he responds accusatively.
“Why? You have something to hide from me? What was that book?”
“Nothing! Just a diary of some random general. Anyway, what brings all of you here?”
I close the door and apply Hall of Serenity just in case and to train it actively. The more the better.
“Sorry for this unannounced visit. A maid was going to let you know but we stumbled on Lianne.”
He sighs and motions at us to come and sit. “It’s fine. You are really starting to tease me too much, Mother… But I guess that means you are feeling better than in the past. Did the two of you...”
Lianne raises a pillow at him as her cheeks flush red and Ross stops immediately. Looks like she’s still shy when it comes to speaking about herself but somehow manages to tease Cornelia and him from time to time. She’s sending me timid glances with rosy cheeks, trying to look proper again.
We shortly relay to the King the information on the Goblin camp we found during our expedition and also mention pretty much everything that happened during it. Lianne listens to the whole story with a calm but slightly excited expression. For obvious reasons, I omit the details about my own duel with Micah and the ritual.
“I see… I knew that earthquake had to have something with you…” Ross smiles wryly after we finish.
“Nothing as strong as the name suggests, but a slight tremor was noted by people in a certain district. Now we know the cause.”
“I’ll have to send a team to check that place after this Community you spoke of moves out. It would be great if you let them know or something, to avoid unnecessary contact and confrontation. They would most likely get attacked on sight. And we’ll recover the body you mentioned too.”
“Thanks. Were you aware of its existence?” I ask.
“Honestly? Not exactly. We knew there were some refugees in the sewers but no one suspected a full-blown nomadic tribe down there. It would be quite a problem, but hearing that it’s under your control, it should be fine.”
“Thank you.” Astrea bows her head.
“Of course, all of this stays between us. All in all, you most likely prevented some kind of a rebellion from forming up down there in the future, under the leadership of that man, which is greatly appreciated. Anyway, on the other hand, you told Vanessa about that, right?”
I nod. “Yeah. It was too dangerous to keep her in the dark like that. It could end up turning into a way worse situation if she managed to figure things out by herself without anyone explaining them properly. Sorry about that.”
He sighs. “It was a mistake on my side to cover it up. I didn’t expect anyone from his family to investigate it this deeply. It seems that whatever you said to her, at least partially quelled her anger towards me as she just expressed her dissatisfaction about it and left in a hurry to do something important.”
“She will definitely be back soon. But, don’t worry. She will come for me, not for you.” I give Ross a wry smile.
Then we discuss Vanessa, the Community and other things for a little longer. The King asks Shino if he could look for some nice spots for them to travel so they can gain more experience or if she would like to have some more time to stay around me. She agrees to take part in the next expedition if it won’t be too far from here and Ross nods.
After it gets quite late from all the talking, we wrap things up. Shino decides to stay at the castle with the others to not seem like she is avoiding them and spending all the time at my side. I give her a loving hug and a myriad of gentle pecks for this considerate side of hers.
The three of us return back home and join everyone for evening dinner. Our new Beastkin friends have been fully introduced to the mansion while we were gone and they let me know that they’ve imagined something much less polished when it comes to the services department. They are curious and eager to take part in it after having all the details explained.
Additionally, Sirgia ran our bet with Cornelia through everyone to check if they would be fine or if it would be uncomfortable for someone in case either of us wins. It seems that there were no votes against, even from Elise, who clearly kept eyeing me with an embarrassed expression as Sirgia relayed the information to me.
And thus, we have a few stressful working nights ahead of us. At least for me and Cornelia. I need to focus on finding that tailor now that I don’t have any pressing matters too. Let’s see how things will go from now.