Chapter 43: Purple Tempest
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"We're going to kidnap Ryota to ensure that Adrin won't be able to brainwash him into attacking me," states Zeruna.

"How are we going to do that?" Aema asks.

"Using your gate, we'll sneak in at night. I'll get you to wake the hero up since he'll piss himself if he wakes up to me grabbing him suddenly. Out of fear or something else, I don't know." Zeruna sighs, this hero has troublesome personality traits, perhaps a gender changing ring or something of that ilk is in order. 'Castrating him is a last option should it ever come to that. Chopping his balls off isn't a good way to maintain friendly relations. It's likely he'll go on a bloody crusade to avenge his penis if I or the Children of Chaos de-man him.'

"I can't believe I have to willingly make physical contact with another human," Aema jokes.

"You've touched me."

"Yeah but you're a Dark Elf, not a human."

"So what? I'm tall and muscular, have long ears, purple eyes, vampire fangs, white hair and various destructive magical abilities. I'm a human at heart though."

"Don't forget charming," Aema winks suggestively causing Zeruna to slightly shuffle. "I'm joking!"

"So I'm not charming?" Crocodile tears begin to well up in Zeruna's eyes. It was strange to watch: an amazon of a woman crying like a eight-year-old. "You're so mean."

"Anyway, continue with this flawless master plan of yours."

"So cold!" peeps Zeruna. "Anyway, we'll take him anywhere, somewhere secluded and explain our situation to him. Three otherworlders, one country — convenient, right? It shouldn't take to long. I would set up a Psionic connection with him but there are two things preventing me.First, both parties trusting need to trust each other with their life or something similar to that. I'm easily able to contact you and the Children of Chaos. I would do what I did with the Sparrow Knights and emotionally manipulate him with Psionics but Ryota's resistance is too high to a mid-level ability like that. This means I have to actually trust him."

"I remember typing something like that in my story, Zeruna can only mentally contact people. Sorry for invertedly placing limitations on you," Aema comments. "What's number two?"

"Reason two? Doing so would require me to enter his brain and that is off the chart. I entered it for approximately six seconds before, it was like looking into the maw of depravity and lust," Zeruna utters.

"I pray for you sister," replies Aema.

"Of course, before we do that, I plan on having a good day before we get to Ryota," states Zeruna. "Let's have a day to ourselves, we're going to need it to maintain ourselves."

"Sounds like a plan!" Aema agrees while stretching.

With it just being the two of them, Zeruna and Aema had a marvellous day to themselves. Aema was enjoying Zeruna being more genuine with her and Zeruna was finally able to unwind. The only downside was that Zeruna had to wrap herself in the disguise of Shi preventing direct face-to-face conversation. Although there wasn't much entertainment in the massive medieval city, they enjoyed their time together. It was what they both needed, a stress-free moment where they could talk the days away. Zeruna even crafted a set of armour for Aema constructed from the same material as Aema's bow.

Aema graciously accepted the gift though nearly fainting. The armour, like Aema's bow, had a golden tinge to it and gave off the impression that it was forged by a High Elf master blacksmith. It was light enough that Aema could still manoeuver inside it. Most attacks wouldn't produce even a dent in the armour. It additionally possessed no intimidating shoulder spikes, imposing symbols or mysterious arcane patterns.

Perfectly suitable for someone as gentle as Aema.

However, by some strange and peculiar coincidence, the armour Zeruna made was a replica of a drawing made by Aema while she was writing her isekai romance novel. Of course, Zeruna's rendition of the armour is better quality due to it being real; however, it doesn't alter the fact that Zeruna succeeded in perfectly replicate an item she couldn't even see. Both do not ruminate on the coincidence for long as it is something they half-expected; their universes seem to be strangely entwined together.

"Perhaps we are alternate universe counterparts of each other?" suggest Aema, as she gives the breastplate back to Zeruna who stores it in her inventory

"I wonder too."

"By the way, is there anything I can do to repay the armour?" asks Aema.

"There's no need," returns Zeruna. "It is a gift from I to you."

"I have to do something or it isn't fair, are you sure?"

"Alright do this for me," states Zeruna. "Smile."

"What?" Aema replies.

"Just smile like how you usually do."

Normally when Aema smiles and Zeruna's day immediately brightens, unfortunately, the smile produced by Aema was the complete opposite. It wasn't genuine and thus, gave off extremely creepy vibes. Aema's lips curled and cheeks wrinkled, it was like looking directly into the depths of hell itself. Her golden eyes stared onwards like an emotionless doll.

Aema begins to giggle at Zeruna's reaction to her deliberately disturbing smile, "I couldn't see your face but I know that freaked you out," she declares victoriously.

"You've made a dangerous enemy," Zeruna states.

For the rest of the day, Zeruna gets back at Aema by constantly making weird things happen around her through the use of Psionics. Pranks like making Aema temporarily lose complete control of her legs causing her to stumble, guiding falling feathers onto her head or constantly making dust go in her eyes.

Overall the day was pleasurable and fun for them both; however, Zeruna and Aema had to soon break into the palace making them both strangely nervous.

Zeruna aided Aema in equipping her new armour which has happily worn by the Aema. Although this kidnapping was extreme, it is to guarantee King Adrin won't brainwash Ryota into attacking her. This 'Pact of the Maiden of Light' makes near-impossible for Ryota to be maliciously utilised as a war machine against the world. The Pact will not protect Zeruna as she is partly the reason for Ryota's summoning meaning she is a target as long as Ryota is near Adrin.

Using Aema's Gate skill, they appearing directly into the empty throne room of the palace. It's jarringly empty and quiet.

"Bravo six, going dark," Aema whispers.

"Shut it!" Zeruna harshly hisses under her breath.

The two move over to the shadows and the walls. Zeruna's eyes slightly illuminate as she uses the spell Mana Sense to locate the hero. He'll most likely stick out with his relatively outrageous mana levels.

Zeruna is immediately blinded by another high intensity reading next to the hero's. Unlike the heroes light blue colour, the one next to him is a near-white colour suggesting whoever is beside him is of incredible strength. At first, Zeruna thinks it is the mysterious Sorcerer until she feels a strange familiarity and a bitter feeling —as if she has fought this person. The Dark Elf's weapons burst from her arms surprising Aema who, up until this point, had seen little of the deadly weapons.

"Is something wrong?" asks Aema.

"Shut up," Zeruna spits.

"Okay, okay, it's not like anyone will hear us," returns Aema.

Zeruna turns to face Aema, her tall figure towering above the small author's body. The look in Zeruna's eyes says everything, never has the Aema witnessed something so terrifying. Aema legs begin to shake and shiver.

"Go," Zeruna booms.

Aema attempts to reply until Zeruna presses her weapons against Aema's neck, drawing blood. With a swift movement, Aema is cast aside like trash. It was then she realised, she wasn't facing the person she'd somehow grown attached to for three months: the individual before her was now the villainess of her book, Zeruna Black. 

Ryota and Mei sat across from one another on the comfortable king-sized bed. The Hero leans in close to Mei starry-eyed as she retells the stories of the far past. Tales of fighting Great Evils and other fantastical stories about prevailing against seemingly unwinnable odds. Mei seems to have mixed feelings about telling the stories: at one moment she could be cheerful and even smiling to herself, the next, she could be quiet and upset at realising the individuals she spoke of were deceased.

Honestly, Ryota felt awful. Mei had lived various lives and been in a fantasy world for a couple of centuries, while he had only been there for a few days. The stories he'd heard only confirmed one thing: this isn't the same girl he spoke to four days ago. Plentiful hardships had been heaped upon her and regrets had been built up over many centuries. Mostly due to a single individual: Zeruna Black.

The Dark Elf had one of her monstrous subjects slaughter and plunder an entire village that Mei happened to be living in. No one seen was spared and very few escaped. Mei never got to properly show how thankful she was to her adopted family. Again and again and again and again her bloody quest for vengeance left Mei beaten and bruised at the hands of the Elf. Zeruna, on multiple occasions, asked Mei to join her. 

"It was as if I were nothing to her," Mei says solemnly. "Every time I got up, she would laugh and leave with her disgusting group of followers. She treated me as if I was a joke. You couldn't imagine the pleasure I experienced when I drove my sword into her chest at the final battle. Her surprised face said it all."

"But she lived," utters Ryota.

"I gave her precious seconds, I wanted her to taste despair, I gloated as she always did before killing her enemies. She could draw out her opponent's deepest fears. I could've ended it, but I was careless. I wanted her to feel despair, something, anything! No emotion, her reaction was minimal. It was as it was all a game to her; as if she could just pop in another token after she died. She laughed at me then she escaped." Mei looks down and clenches her fists. "I couldn't even properly avenge my friends and those who I considered family."

"I don't know what to say," Ryota replies. "I'm sorry I wasn't there to aid you. I know you have a burning hatred for Zeruna, but I do feel like she is trying to change."

"Perhaps she is, after all, Adrin is still breathing — although fingerless on a hand. However, Zeruna starting a new peaceful life does not absolve her from her past crimes," she returns. "If you're going to set aside your weird fetishes for once, please do it now. Do not fall for her beauty, it will betray you later."

"She had no reason to leave me alive; my existence here is nothing but a threat, but I'm not dead. Why?"

"I don't know myself," utters Mei. "It can't be good but– wait."

A shiver suddenly runs up Mei's spine, a chilling slithering feeling sliding down her back. Her black hair begins to turn into white from the roots to the ends. Her brown eyes begin to transform into a blood-red colour. Two sharp fangs carve their way through her gums and release themselves into the air. From a portal, she pulls a 150cm long Odachi hidden in an ornate sheath.

This is her true appearance, the appearance of a pureblood Vampire. The difference between the average pureblood and Mei is that the latter posses the rare trait of being a Daywalker. As the name suggests, she is able to walk under the sun, unaffected by the UV rays sent her way.

"She's here," says Mei. "Ryota, stay back."

"What are you going to do?" asks Ryota.

Mei doesn't answer, instead, she continues to scan the room. The door suddenly flies off its hinges and launches towards the two. Before Ryota realised, the pieces of the door lay on the ground. With a single swing, Mei swatted the door from the sky as if it were a fly. In the doorway stands Zeruna, long white hair fluttering around her and her eyes consumed by a purple light. From her forearms stick two curving metal blades.

What was strange was the golden-eyed girl attempting to pull the Dark Elf from Mei while pleading with the her to calm down. Blood trickles slowly from the brunettes forehead.

Mei keeps her eyes locked on Zeruna and her hands resting on her sheathed weapon.

"Zeruna, please don't," the girl says as she again attempts to pull Zeruna away.

"Who's that?" asks Ryota.

"I don't know," mutters Mei.

"Please think ab–" the brown-haired girl wasn't able to finish her sentence before she is thrown aside again. Mei launches from her position, gently catching the girl before she can crash into anything.

"Zeruna," growls Mei as she carefully lowers the girl to the ground.

A devious smirk splits across Zeruna's face, "Let's take this outside, there is much to discuss. We wouldn't want anyone to listen in, would we?"

"You're going to pay for those you killed," Mei snarls as she brandishes her Odachi. "Prepare to be slaughtered."

"Yes, I suppose you'd be good at something you've witnessed long ago; me killing your comrades is a great example of slaughtering," at Zeruna's response, Mei's grip around her sword tightens.

"I'm going to make you eat those words!"

"Hoh-hoh, how threatening... yet unoriginal. They say actions speak louder than words, little maiden. You're going to have to fight me if you want to back up those words," returns Zeruna, her frightening grin stretching further across her face.

There's a flash as the two figures teleport from the palace, leaving Ryota and Aema alone. Their disappearance is followed by a explosion of sound from outside the palace.

Sorry about this being late, I got hit with a bunch of exams which meant I spent most of my time revising. This chapter might have a errors since I'm pretty tired while editing.