The blue haired young Lady looked like a 16-year-old highschooler who'd likely show dimples when she smiled. Her entire presence was that of a teen. From her glowing excitement to the way she clapped her hands in gesture. Her eyes were large and round, like Dolly's, with a good-natured light twinkling within.
She was the type that made you want to take her in as a grand-daughter.
From the folds of her robe the girl took out a rolled up piece of paper. "Look." She unfurled what was undoubtedly a picture of me. Not a drawing, a picture. Full color and everything. And there was something about it because I could feel threads of...of I'm not sure what...emanating from every inch of paper.
It was recent, too. Looked exactly like me. I examined it closely.
....Yeah, I seemed pretty damn cold...
"Every Darcian knows you. You're the most popular young bachelor in the whole realm!" She giggled. "The Okeanos Family's Crown Prince would be high-profile even if your mother hadn't sent out concubine invitations to all the eligible little Misses of the Darcian Kingdom."
I nearly choked. "She did WHAT?!"
The girl prattled on as if she hadn't heard me. "It was a really shocking event. It's been so long since a male Dragon had taken on a concubine. Who could guess that the Royal Family itself would be the first to break the silence? And that the invitations would be so numerous? Your sex drive must be monstrous! You have quite a few waiting Ladies hoping for your favour back in Darcia, Your Majesty. "
My brain hurt from every word she said. I rubbed the bridge of my nose. "Wait, wait, wait, hold up. First off, where the hell is this Darcia place? I've never heard of it. Second, what's with this whole concubine business? Also who the heck are you?"
The Little Blue-Haired Goddess gave me a wide-eyed look of disbelief. "You don't know of Darcia? It's not the largest of realms but it's a famous one..."
"What do you mean, realms?"
"You don't know about the realms either?" She was dumbfounded. "Didn't your Royal Mother tell you about them before?"
"She must've forgotten." I monotoned.
Cass was staring at me for a while now. Specifically ever since the kid had mentioned "Dragon" and "Crown Prince."
"That makes sense." She nodded happily. "Dragons are known for being careless, after all."
"Well, I'm listening."
"Right. Sorry, Your Highness." She grinned sheepishly. "Um, so, it's like I said before. Darcia is the name of a Kingdom within the Realm of Mist and Shadow. The Mortal Planes, you see, are fractured. We call these fractures 'Realms.'" She explained. "The Realm of Mist and Shadow, for example, is one of the smaller, more exclusive realms out there and is home to supernatural races all generally known as Darcians. Though we're not all of the same species, obviously." Another laugh. " We're only called Darcians because it's ruled by the Darcian Kingdom established by the Darcea Clan. They're a family of powerful Vampires, by the way. Most of them are pretty nice but only because they're already mated. You probably don't wanna meet the ones who aren't." She paused. " I suppose someone like you wouldn't have any trouble with them even if you did. Since you're a Dragon and all."
My head was seriously hurting. Like, what? Realms? Supernatural races?
This is a high fantasy story, not a supernatural story! What's more it sounds like one of those supernatural adult romance novels.
Cass was already sporting that dull, blank look that said he didn't understand a single thing that was going on. I can't blame him.
"Right, right...Vampires. Secret realms. Got it. Now who're you? You really a Goddess or what?"
She shook her head. "No. I'm really not. I'm an Undine!"
A fucking Undine! I was astonished.
...Mermaid waifu GET?
No, I got Min. But cute mermaid girl...
Wait, I should get the full story before anything. "So what're you doing here pretending to be a Divine?" I questioned curiously.
I saw her eyes lose a bit of their luster. "It's not really like I meant to. It just happened that way. You should know how Aeil treat those with life-giving and water-bringing abilities. We Undine are creatures that can manipulate and create water so it's not weird they have this kind of attitude towards me." She sighed.
"Doesn't answer my question."
"I said it, right? I didn't mean to. But Grandfather--not my real one, but the man who found us--became so distraught about what was happening to the Dry Lands that I couldn't keep quiet. I can use a special Key to open up small gateways back into Darcia whenever I want. I was planning on leaving for good after the first few years and I recovered from infancy. After becoming a teen I'd be able to protect myself, you understand. I did leave too. However I became attached to a few of these guys so I kept coming back." The girl smiled fondly. " For the time being I've decided to stay here more often and help out by creating water. Recently though I've been too exhausted and couldn't make as much. The constant use of my powers have been hindering my growth back into adulthood which is just so annoying. Until I get older my full power is locked away too so it's been so frustrating. But nevermind that. More worrying is the rate at which the land is been dying. I really think there's something wrong here. Ah, but you were a great help." She rushed to say. " I was curious about where all this Life energy sprang from. It was you all along, right? The Okeanos Family really is best when it comes to things like this. Still, I wonder what could be causing the rapid change? Wait, is that why you're here, to fix things?"
There's a lot about that to pick apart...She likes to talk, I could tell.
"Before we get into why I'm here I'd like to know what you mean by infancy and stuff. "
Another shake of the head. "It's nothing much. It's just a technique Undine can use. Kinda comes with a harsh backlash. Simply put if we ever encounter a really, really, really dangerous event we can us up all our stored energy in exchange fot speed and defense at the cost of reverting back to an infant state once the time limit is up. We wouldn't starve or dehydrate but anything else can kill us. Eh, it's pretty scary when you think about it. Can you imagine how hard it is being an infant? Let me tell you, it's terrible! And embarrassing!"
"It ain't that bad." I shrugged.
"Oh how would you know?" She sighed once more.
I ignored her. "That move is a double-edged sword, isn't it."
"Tell me about it. It's not something we'd use unless we absolutely had to." She pushed back loose strands of hair. "Actually when we got to this realm it was due to falling through a crack in dimensions while we were being hunted by enemies. We were leading them into a trap. Unfortunately we ended up in quite a pickle. There must've been only a one in a million chance of that crack appearing where it did, mind you. We would've really died if we weren't so quick on our feet. If those guys who fell with us had somehow survived, or if Grandfather hadn't found us, we wouldn't be alive. The backlash leaves us vulnerable until we're able to gather back our strength and age our bodies back to their original forms. Took me more than eight years to get my body to it's current age and It's still a couple of years from what it was before. I'm actually 22, you know. No, wait, that was before. So...30? Not that age matters for us much, I suppose. We stop physically aging around our early... " She droned on but I stopped listening.
Yes that's the only important take away. Everything else we've heard before, who cares about that? The story just got more complicated. That's all.
So we have multiple realms, vampires, Undines and me being recognized as a Dragon Prince.
Alright. I can roll with that.
I really do have to admit Damien's got a really complex background.
But what did that matter? Still just gonna do my own thing.
Mother and her repopulation project are just gonna have to wait for some other, more filial son to come around. Cuz I ain't fathering a thousand kids.
Do I look like Ghengis Khan to you? No, didn't think so.
"I'm going out for a smoke. Don't join me." Cass suddenly announced. He was busy rubbing his temples.
"Toodles." I bade him farewell.
He waved me off tiredly.
I shot the "Goddess" with level stare the moment he was gone. "So I've been crusading since I got to this dusty hell hole. I've been called a Bandit King, a Water God and a Demon Lord. I've got a stubborn, horny, underage tribal Princess trying to push me down and apparently a legion more on the horizon. My sister's trying to brainwash me. My future step-daughter has a bloodthirsty Holy Sword that's helping her and her mother strong-arm people into a cult I accidentally built. That guy who left? He wants me to make a Kingdom so he can have a few fancy titles. I've been here a month and everything's all fucked up." My tone was dead even. " I only wanna know one thing."
Silence. The air was charge with a dreadful tension. I saw a bead of sweat trail down her forehead. She waited in near breathless apprehension.
" ...Can you use the Water Clone jutsu?"
"Hah?" Her mouth fell open. She shook herself. "Wait, how do you know the Undines' secret core technique?"
"Nevermind that." I casually disregarded her question. "I'll be honest, I'm strapped for cash right now and I've only a thousand Fuks to my name. Don't think that's worth something here yet, so...yeah. But I need to learn that skill. So money aside, we're gonna have to come to some sorta agreement. And since I've only got one thing to bargain with let me just say it now: You can take my body, but you'll never take my heart!"
I offered the best " willful glare" I could muster.
"Wrong, son." A new voice chimed in at just that moment. "Even if she took your heart she could never take your body! At most she could share it!"
"Mother!" I hissed in surprise.
The Little Goddes was forgotten.
Becaues from out of the corner of the room just out of sight was the sexy, voluptuous figure of my very own Mother. Wearing a deep blue dress that clung to her skin and detailed a finely toned waist and pair of hips that naturally swayed enchantingly from side to side as she sauntered over.
"Yes, it's me, Mommy!" She place her hands on the aforementioned hips in a proud pose. Then her charming, valiant image broke down a mere instantly later.
Liquid pooled at her eyes.
She was a mere streak of chocolate brown as she rushed me. I was promptly glomped, thrown to the floor in a fashion that felt oddly familiar.
"My baby!" She cried. "I missed you so much! How can you just leave home like that for so long? How can you do that to you poor little Mama?!"
She grabbed my head and buried me in a deep, fragrant valley
"Are you still mad at Mama? No, it's okay, don't worry! I understand! It's perfectly fine if you want to marry that beastkin girl, I won't get your way. She was pretty cute anyway. As long as you're happy, I don't care."
"Well aren't you going to say anything?"
"You need what?"
"I...need...AIR!" I struggled.
And shoved her away, gasping for breath a second later like my life depended on it. Which it did. Because those wonderfully soft pair of rabbits were choking me to death.
Not just that, but she was really strong! She was crushing me!
"Are you trying to kill me?! I nearly died! From now on, no more hugs!"
The woman looked crushed. Her face had on an expression of having been wronged.
"Son! Be reasonable!" That felt familiar too. " I can compromise on many things, but now you're going too far!" Her hands were already inching their way towards me.
I take a step back. "Goddamn addict."
"Son..." She whimpered. Her eyes went wide and sparkly.
Two minutes later she was hugging me from behind, lifting me up and swaying me from left to right in a tight squeeze.
"How the hell are you even here?" I muttered, almost resentful.
"What do you mean? Mary took me." She pointed.
"Good evening, Young Master."
"Holy!" I felt my skin crawl.
Mary, clad in a black and white maid dress, walked expressionlessly from out of thin air. Literally. There was only a ripple, like a wave of heat, to indicate her arrival.
Her indifference was as palpable as ever. Not a single emotion clouded that beautiful face
"How the heck did you did you do that? You just teleported in! Actually, yeah, that's right, how'd Mother even show up? I didn't hear her stepping in now that I think about it. Vera and Evie suddenly showed up at Kane's place back then too..."
Mary spoke, quite flippantly, the words, " I'm this realm's World Tree spirit and she's my offspring. There's few places on this planet we cannot travel."
Dryads! These three grass-hairs were Dryads! Or...at least two were. What did that make Baz? Is there a male version I'm not aware of?
"We don't have any one gender, Young Master. We do have the power to switch between them, however. Though Basil is an airhead so I didn't teach him too much about his abilities and origins. As for Vera, that girl refused to learn that particular technique because she was afraid you'd...no, nevermind. Anyway you can think of them as a full boy and girl like you have been."
Baz turning into a girl...that could be cute. I was already picturing it. The kid IS pretty thin. Put him into a dress and--WAIT A MINUTE! What am I thinking?! Don't get trapped in that filthy abyss, me.
Get ahold of yourself. He's your bro. You don't lewd your bro, dammit. No matter how good they'd probably look with a little make up and a one-piece.
I shook my head clear of those distracting thoughts and posed yet another question. "You can read minds too I'm guessing?"
"No, you just had that kind of look."
I've got a perpetual poker face, how the heck can she tell what look I have?
"More importantly, " Mother spoke up. "Why didn't you come back? You just planned on letting your powers run wild, is that it? What, you hate your Mama so much that you'd rather subject yourself to this awful place than come and learn from me?" She let out more tears. "Don't you know how dangerous it is for a young untrained Dragon to wander the world all by his lonesome? There's all kinds of bad men who'd love to get their hands on you. You just barely unlocked your bloodline, haven't you? You can't fight back if you keep healing your enemies. What could you do against them? Anything you do will just heal in an instant. You'd end up captured and used for who knows what. Come back and let me show you how to at least create a tsunami. Or how to rip the blood from a person's body."
Her eyes were so earnest. I couldn't handle it.
Then Mary revealed the truth. "Don't listen to her, she knows about your little torture sessions. What does it matter that you heal them? You basically crush their will to oppose you." She made a "heh" sound that was nearly a chuckle but wasn't. "I'm actually rather impressed at that. I don't think any other in your family had ever thought to use that in such a way. You truly have a talent for turning even a blessing into a curse, Young Master."
"Mary!" Mother glared.
"How would she know that?" I grimaced.
"She's been using magic to spy on you."
"Mary, you traitor!"
"Your father's been spying too." Mary took a single step forward and disappeared, leaving a transparent wave in the air.
I heard a masculine saying, "Fuck!"
The she reappeared a second later with a tall, handsome, very startled-looking man.
He was holding a strange square-shaped crystal in his hand that displayed a bird's-eye view of the entire room.
His other hand was holding onto a large bowl of fried chicken wings.
"See?" Mary said. "They've been keeping a close eye on you ever since you left."
"Nonsense, I've done nothing of the sort. Son, don't listen to this weird chick!"
He chucked the square-shaped object as hard as he could at a nearby wall. Where it shattered into a million pieces.
He whistled innocently.
"...Ahem..." A cough. "That Minnie girl's got a pretty good physique by the way. Really fills out those outfits. Gotta say, I approve."
"It was your mother's idea. I had nothing to do with it."
I ignored him. "Mother?"
The arms around me felt laden with sweat "Yes, son?"
"I'm disowning you guys."
Mother's sniffles rang throughout the temple.