"Ah! So it's the relics you're after?" Gold asked.
"Give up! You're undressed and there's two of us. We're going to defeat you before your people even knows what happened, and I'll fuck you into submission for your experience!" Kanae exclaimed, staring hard at the high elven knight's luscious body.
"N-No, Amethyst!" Lani protested. "Even if Gold is currently our enemy, she is still a colleague of the order!"
"Seriously? Not even a taste?" She frowned.
Someone as powerful as the Knight of Gold would yield a lot of experience. Maybe give a decent jump in levels, too. But Lani was right. That ankh was the real prize here, not the chance to have sex with Gold.
"Ha! Ahaha! I don't need my equipment. Faith is my armor. Devotion, my sword. Luxury, my ambition! This is my last mission before I can finally become a member of the council of lords. I'll never have to lift a weapon in my life again! You're not going to keep me from it," Gold said.
"What's so important about resurrecting Saint Rue anyway?" Kanae asked.
It wasn't Gold who squirmed from the question, but Lani. Her posture faltered, shifting to a less brave one.
"A question better suited to the Saint Priest, is it not?" Gold grinned.
"Because Saint Rue was no saint," Lani began with a sigh. "Duke Ruedegard Ducante lied, cheated, and stole from the downtrodden to build his cathedral. He ruled with tyranny and was constantly at war with others. Only a very select few people know the truth. We can't very well tell the people of Radevic that the city's founder was an autocrat."
"You neglected one more fact. Saint Rue was on the road to deification. He was so close to ascension until blah, blah, blah. What did those aged lords say again? I think the term they used was 'robbed'. Ugh. Those decrepit bastards just can't get over it," she groaned aloud.
Deification. That was the same path Kanae was on. After defeating Gretchen Redbaron, who was another candidate to deification, she only needed to defeat another two. Did that mean Saint Rue contended against another candidate and lost?
"What do you mean by robbed?" Kanae asked.
"Hm? Oh, I thought you knew. Isn't that why you named the Commonwealth's capital the way you did?" Gold raised a brow.
Ehmvier? It couldn't be…
Gold continued, "Duchess Arenade Ehmvier. Saint Rue had fulfilled the other two conditions and only needed to cultivate a few more followers. However, Duchess Arenade's failed attempts at charity resonated far and wide. People loved her. Though she failed to make any meaningful change to the lower castes, it was her name that was uttered in prayer and not Rue's. His followers dwindled, and he passed away in grief. To rub salt in the wounds, she wasn't even on the path of deification, and a goddess in Arenade's likeness ascended to the pantheon of The Many around that same time."
Kanae was in disbelief. Arenade had never mentioned this past to her before.
"Then the Empire of Ortesia wants to bring Saint Rue back so he can achieve deification? That's madness!" Lani gasped.
"That's what I said!" Gold exclaimed exhaustedly. "Who cares about some dusty old corpse? They do, I guess. Your misfortune is that I chose to go along with their whims to get what I've been promised— a seat on the council, a castle by the oceanside, and boy serv— I mean countless servants to answer my needs!"
The doors burst open. Darren von Cleisseldor rushed in, flanked by Ortesian knights and Rotandrix dragoons with their weapons drawn. Kanae cursed under her breath. Shit. They had taken way too long.
"Lord-Major, are you alright?" Darren asked.
"Eeek!" Gold hugged Robin tighter to her chest to avoid being seen. "Get out! All of you! Can't you see I'm naked?"
While the infantry whipped around and left out of fear, Darren remained steadfast.
"Ah, worry not. I can't possibly get aroused by you. Working with you irritates me too much anyway." Darren waved a dismissive hand.
"Kuuuh… I'll reprimand you later for that offense! For now, we have been bamboozled. Queen Kanae tricked us into coming here!" Gold pointed at the two of them accusingly.
"Oh, no. Who could have seen this coming?" He rolled his eyes.
"Lani, the relics!" Kanae seized their distraction to fire a Scorching Ray into the sky, then lunged for the One-Eyed Cross and ankh.
The Knight of Gold was quicker. She shoved Robin into Kanae and shapeshifted the dagger into a maul. Her foot swiped both relics towards the pool, sending them sinking into the depths. When Darren charged up behind them with his halberd, the steel pointed stopped against an invisiblle force field.
"You've forgotten that I am a Saint Priest!" Lani's staff wreathed itself in black fire. The snaking flames traveled down the shaft and into her palm. Upon pressing it to the barrier, a bolt of dark energies fired out and forced the drakeling back. "
"What is this? Tss… It's hot!" Darren tried to put out the fires by patting his armor which shouldn't have been able to catch alight.
"What are you doing, idiot?" Gold called down a beam of light that seared away the flames, but it returned to eat away at his plate armor.
It almost looked like hellfire.
"I'm a warlock. I have pacted myself with a devil, but I am pledged to protect the her grace Grand Eye Analise and his majesty King Turren! You have proven yourself an enemy of Aidenhall, Knight of Gold. I will not overlook that!" Lani drew flames from her staff to lob at Gold.
"Stop that! Those flames will ruin my perfect complexion. My skin is sensitive to dry heat!" Gold ran for her life from the jet of fire.
"Robin, go to your dad and run! Now!" Kanae ushered him away while the two were busy.
Robin nodded. He raced past Darren in middle of prying off pieces of his burning armor. The fire continued to burn away his leather tunic but stopped upon making contact with his scales. By then, he was down to nothing but his birthday suit.
"What? How! You should have been burned to a crisp!" Lani exclaimed.
"Mother won't like that I lost my dragoon regalia… Well, they always chaffed against my Diamond Scales. Nullifies any and all flames, magical and non-magical. Makes my scales tougher than plate. A racial skill gifted only to first-born drakelings. It's good being the eldest!" Darren barreled into the barrier, shattering it this time and picking up Lani.
They crashed through the wooden fence and tumbled out of sight. Kanae dashed back as Gold plunged her maul into the ground. Fissures opened. Water poured from the pipes and drained from the pool.
"You're alone now, Kanae! A succubus is no match for me. Be a good sinful demon and accept your end," Gold demanded.
"How about another deal? You let me have sex with you, and I'll happily die!" Kanae offered.
"Wha—?!" She seriously considered it for a second, then shook her head. "How filthy. Me? With a succubus? Preposterous! I am pure and innocent myself. Therefore, I am bespoken for those who are also pure and innocent!"
"You're the farthest thing from pure and innocent! You were trying to get at Robin, and… and look at your body! It's just begging for me to—"
Searing divine energies fired past Kanae's head and barely decapitated her. A perfect hole cut through the entire building. A few pale imperial infantry peered down the hole, and then at them.
"First… you etched a scene most foul into the my mind during our battle… then you interrupted my lovely bath. Perhaps the Commonwealth is in need of a cleansing after all, but you won't be here to see it. I'm going to SMITE the sin right out of you here and now!" Gold was about to fire another shot unti Kanae flashed her tits.
The Piercings of Impurity beamed with blinding intensity. Gold shielded her eyes, and Kanae pounced with the hunger of a starved lion. The shapeshifting weapon dropped to the ground. They fell to the warm and wet floor with Kanae atop. She clamped her tail's gaping maw on the high elven knight's pussy.
"You might be immune to succubus magic, but you're not immune to pleasure!" Kanae taunted.
"Nngh… How dare you… taint me with your foul being!" Gold's much greater strength would have crushed Kanae, were it not for her being so weak to the intimate touch of another.
The Knight of Gold, Petyr Stormcloud, shuddered as the fleshy walls of Kanae's tail rubbed her clitoris. Her breathing grew hoarse. She heaved with each gasp.
"Fall for me. I'll fuck you however you like. I'll grant you pleasure like you've never known. Aren't you tired of fighting? Don't resist. Just focus on me, and how my fingers glide across your moist body~" Kanae whispered into Gold's long, pointed ear and nibbled at the tip.
"I…" Gold opened her eyes and stared deeply into Kanae's own. "I NEED ANOTHER BATH!"
She kicked Kanae off and grabbed a bar of soap before diving head-first into the pool. Gold resurfaced, frantically scrubbing herself until she was a bubble monster in the water.
"Damn it. You really are a prude!" Kanae complained.
They were so close. Gold was on the verge of climaxing, and it might have made Kanae stronger.
"Prude? You're a loose, easy whore that will fuck anything. Even a languisteed! I have standards. Standards that a succubus, especially not you, will ever meet!" Gold dunked herself into the water and rinse off the suds.
"Hey, come back up here! I have a bone to pick with you. I'm not loose! My pussy is perfectly tight!" she yelled into the water.
The entire pool glowed a bright golden. Instead of steam, it bubbled more intensely. When Gold emerged for a second time, the air around them felt stifling.
"I didn't want to use this. It costs a lot of mana. But you've left me with no choice." Gold sprouted angelic wings and flew up until the full moon was at her back. She had her shapeshifting weapon again as a spiked mace in her right hand.
"Lord-Major, are you crazy?! You're going to level the whole place!" Darren yelled from afar.
"If it will rid my body of the succubus' stink, THEN SO BE IT! RETRIBUTION'S CROSS!" she bellowed into the night.
Chains shot out from the fissures to anchor Kanae to the ground. They were powerful, reminiscent of the pacifying chain skill. She couldn't so much as budge. A gargantuan cross-shape drew itself on the ground with Kanae centered at the intersection. Something was burning. Her skin blistered, then—
Kanae heard Darren's shouts. Someone stepped into the cross, and Kanae came face to face with—
"Esta?" Kanae gasped.
"I made it in time, Master." Esta smiled and embraced her before the incandescent light of the sun consumed them.
A high-pitched ringing assailed Kanae's ears. She snapped awake with Esta lying on top of her. They were at the bottom of the hot spring without a drop of water left. Esta was smoking from her backside. The Dragonhead Greatshield absorbed most of the spell as evidenced by its intense glow and fire gushing from the maws.
"Esta!" Kanae cried tearfully.
"Are you… okay, Master? I came as fast as my legs… could carry me…" Esta whispered, each word uttered with great effort.
"Why are you here? How did you even know where I was going?" she asked.
"Of course, I know… It is a servant's duty to know. How can I… protect you otherwise? My only regret is that, I… I…"
The weight of the drakeling knight fell limp on Kanae. She tapped her shoulder, shook her repeatedly, but there was no response. With every ounce of strength Kanae could muster, she rolled Esta over and pounded on her chestplate.
"Oh, no you don't! You're not leaving me, too! Why didn't you just stay home?!" Kanae yelled. She felt her neck for a pulse. Faint, but it was there.
Relief, however, lasted only for a moment. Gold landed on the ground, breathing heavily and transforming her weapon into a pike to lean on. A third of the resort and the entire private hot spring suite had been leveled from her devastating attack. An imprint of a smokey cross was all that remained.
"Silver? Ahhh, great. Now Avaline is going to give me an earful!" Gold grabbed her face and groaned.
"Kanae, get up! It ain't over, ya dumb slut!" Edina shouted from within the resort ruins, fighting her way through knights and dragoons alongside Minestra.
Succubi, undead horde, and even Titan were fighting the Ortesian forces. When Gold saw that they were losing, she clicked her tongue.
"Darren! You drakeling lunk! Where are you? We're retreating!" Gold shouted, wrapping herself up with a towel.
As if to answer the order, something flung Darren screaming at her feet. He landed hard on the ground but quickly pushed himself up.
"The Saint Priest is trouble!" Darren warned.
Lani levitated over with a sphere of runes floating between her hands. Her eyes noted Esta unconscious on the ground and snapped.
"Silver! How could you do this, Gold? You've gone too far!" Lani spun the sphere and activated another rune.
Tentacles, much like the ones from Chappy, emerged from the warlock's back. They were thicker and meatier. Lani sent them stretching towards Gold and Darren, but the two made quick work of butchering the appendages into cuts of salami.
Kanae, however, eyed the One-Eyed Cross and ankh between them instead. She unwound Lust and snatched it— just as Gold had done the same. They glared each other down, pulling with all their might.
"Viviren, portal now!" Gold demanded.
Two high elves cloaked in a white garb rushed from the fight inside the inn to channel magic. They formed a portal. On the other side was a wetland shimmered of sparse trees and many low shrubs.
Kanae and Gold's whips snapped, and both of them fell backwards. They each had a different relic. Kanae snatched the One-Eyed Cross, and Gold possessed the ankh.
"This is a draw, you hear? I don't lose! You better find a nice place to hide that, because we'll come looking sooner rather than later!" Gold tantrummed.
Darren took one look at the unconscious Esta, frowned, and followed the Knight of Golld through. Much of the Ortesian forces hurried as possible before it shut on the rest. Abandoned and left to fend for themselves without their leaders, the succubi horde descended upon them like locusts.
"Sorry, Kanae! There were so fucking many to fight through." Edina panted.
"The Knight of Silver was here? I thought you teleported her back to your city?" Minestra asked, gazing down at Esta with sheer bafflement.
"Esta ran all the way here… I can't believe it…" Kanae cradled the drakeling close.
"Give her this!" Lani kneeled down and offered a rigid-looking pustule, purple in color, and throbbing rhythmically like a heart. "It's a healthstone. Feed it to her. These are really hard to make, and it's the only one I have… but Silver deserves it. You deserve it, so please."
Kanae nodded. She grabbed the healthstone and pressed it into Esta's mouth. As the stone touched her tongue, the entire thing vanished. Soon, Esta started coughing violently, but her wounds were disappearing. Her eyes snapped open.
"Master… What did you just… feed me? A rotten grape?" Esta asked.
Too overcome by emotion, Kanae hugged her drakeling knight and knocked them both to the ground.
Everyone had to set aside their relief to assess the damage done. Rudura mostly came out unscathed. It was the resort inn at the end of the road that suffered the most. None of the innocents were injured. Jareth and Robin were also fine, thank goodness. The succubi were recovering by helping themselvles to the imperials left behind, Claudia's dominatrixes more ravenously than Lilith's Sisters in Black.
"We… We did it… Not only did we take back the One-Eyed Cross, we also forced Gold to retreat!" Lani dropped to her knees, clutching the One-Eyed Cross tightly. "I'm still in shock that this thing contains a devil… It feels wrong hollding it.
"An avatar. Our real selves are in the three hells. Looks like ol Varren is quiet now that we separated him from that elf. Ha! Fuck you, Varren! Try setting the place on fire now!" Chappy taunted behind the safety of Lani's back.
"Are you going straight back to Radevic with it?" Kanae asked.
Lani shook her head. "Now that we have it, I'm not so sure. The Rook of Rotandrix stole it from Aidenhall to begin with. Ortesia will most likely have people there waiting for an opportunity to reclaim it. Leaving the One-Eyed Cross there might not be feasible anymore… but deep within Ehmvier." She eyed Kanae in particular. "I know the Commonwealth is taking the brunt of the war, but will you safeguard the relic here? In return, I'll continue to lend you my help!"
Gold managed to claim that ankh. Having Chappy here would help them locate it again. Well… Kanae glanced at the One-Eyed Cross in Lani's hand. It was better that that was out of Ortesia's hands first. One problem down.
"You got it." Kanae grinned. "You and Chappy are welcome to stay. We'll protect the relic. In exchange, I'm going to need your help to flip through some pages again."
"Eh? Well, if… if you insist." Lani fidgeted.
"Whooo! That means a threesome for me!" Chappy cheered and prodded his warlock with tentacles.
Kanae left them to it and searched for Esta. She was sitting inside the undestroyed part of the inn with a rooftop over it. A few towels were draped around her shoulders.
"God, you're always worrying me." Kanae sighed.
"You worry me just as much," Esta fired back.
"Are you… Did you just talk back to me?" she squinted at her allegedly loyal drakeling.
Esta didn't respond, but the corner of her lips curving into a smile was an answer enough.
"Is the baby okay, too?" Kanae asked.
"Yes. I know because it is like a constant fire inside me. From all these fights, I just know the child will be born strong!" Esta clenched a fist in front of herself.
"I'm begging you… let's leave the fighting to after the kid is born…"
As they were getting ready to leave, the villagers of Rudura brought them food and of course their staple crop, melons, for the journey back. They were hardy folks. Jareth promised that the resort would be up and running again soon.
"This is how it's going to be? We'll be playing cat and mouse the whole time because those Ortesian bitches have portals?" Edina asked.
"Until we find a way to shut them down, we don't have a choice but to deal with it. Buuuut, I did catch a glimpse of where they were going. It looked like a wetlands. The only place in the Commonwealth with a wetland is along the west coast. But why there?" Kanae wondered aloud.
"Because it is difficult to march an army into a wetlands," Minestra chimed in. "I've commanded my forces across the scorching Suvius. Through the swamps of Bladesong. There is no worse ground to traverse than a wetland. They are able to avoid that nuisance by simply using portals. However, that same terrain would deter our own forces from marching to them. Perfect place to set up a stronghold, if you ask me."
In which case, they needed an army of people who could fly, and Kanae had just the race for that.