Quick recap of past events. Heh... I’m not that bored so let’s just get to it!
Marcel and friends were traveling through the C-rank fire dungeon, defeating monsters and making their way forward, aiming to reach the peak where the strongest monster probably lived.
They’d been traveling for over 10 days before they finally noticed. Someone was following them, trying their hardest to not leave traces, but eventually failed miserably. It was as if something they had was luring them out of the darkness.
This person hiding in the darkness was getting closer and closer in the following days that passed until eventually, the others could feel their aura. This, however, made Valeria a bit restless and in dire straits. She looked ready to escape at any time, far away from the stalking stranger.
Valeria’s reaction after she sensed the stalker’s aura made the others suspicious and wonder about the connection between the two. Two more days after that, on a very ordinary night after dinner, she finally came clean, and she wasn’t the only one about to.
“The Demon Lord’s castle staff must have already looked into our true identities. Besides, we’re all friends here, so I don’t mind. As you all might have guessed; I have a special relationship with our stalker. Valeria isn’t my real name. It’s Karshena! Karshena Lepra Bengalis, to be exact!”
“Kar-Kar-Karshena?!! You mean the famous ‘White Tiger Princess’ I-is-is you?” Evan stammered in between words. He was slightly frightened by this revelation.
This reaction was to be expected when one mentioned one of the most famous missing characters from the general public's eyes. They might not be as famous as the Demon Lord or the Rulers, but people still know of them; very well, in fact. As the rumors go, she’s a super-strong beastly princess capable of controlling one of the wildest non-Guardian rulers with her fists. That rumor is false albeit, it still has some truth behind it.
“Hehe, that’s me!” The striped-haired assassin smiled her usual bright and cheerful smile, but Evan, including his two brothers, looked frightened this time. They thought about the weight behind her smiles and couldn’t help but feel uneasy. Suddenly, they felt like watching their words just a little bit.
“Haha, wait till you learn about her identity...” She pointed at Silva who still sat calmly without a shred of worry. One could even imagine her sipping some tea calmly as she watched her friend expose their centuries-old secrets. Seeing her act like this, the three brothers relaxed a bit. Silva was the same old Silva, and that made them feel slightly relieved.
“Anyway, I think the person following us is Lucia, my elder sister. To keep things short, Silva and I escaped from home to have some fun, but our families are overemotional big babies and would have said, ‘Big no-no!’ so we skedaddled, and they’ve been looking for us since. My father sent my sister after us and we’ve escaped from her every time.” She explained, still smiling.
“Seriously! Why do you always open your mouth even when you know that danger follows whoever listens to you? Oh well... I guess this is just about you being you.” The lady sipping on her nonexistent tea gave her opinion like always.
“Anyone else wants to go before I do?” Silva asked the group. Everyone else was probably hiding secrets like they were so she might as well use this chance as an excuse to let everyone get them off their chests.
Marcel raised his hand, having decided that his double identity game had gone on for too long between himself and his friends. He was finally going to reveal everything like Valeria—sorry, Karshena had.
Unfortunately for the three guys who freaked out after knowing that Marcel lived in the Demon Lord’s castle, this reveal was almost certain to send their brains in overdrive.
Taking a deep breath in, he started,
“My name is Marcel but also Dave thanks to the World Administrator. I am a hero as well as the ‘Demon Lord’s Wife’ thanks to a certain someone...” He clenched his fist, wanting to punch this ‘certain someone’ in the face. He quickly calmed down from his riled state and continued,
“...You must have questions about why I look like this when the Demon Lord’s wife is a blond-haired yaddi yadda yadda... The answer is for my safety. The kidnappings, both successful and attempted, should make more sense now that you know this. After the Demon Lord made the stupid mistake of revealing my name and--” He was stopped by Nigel. He didn’t need to explain anymore. They already understood from the moment he mentioned the name ‘Marcel’.
At this point, almost everyone in the demon realms and beyond knew the name ‘Marcel’. It was such a unique and never-before-used name amongst the inhabitants of the demon realms. From the moment the Demon Lord mentioned that name at his party, it had become the mark for the Demon Lord’s future wife.
Having heard Marcel confirm that he was indeed the Demon Lord’s wife, they were stunned and quiet as they processed this information, even the normally unmoved Silva. Marcel’s three friends: Allan, Shalia, and Kenny, who already knew, were the only ones unmoved by this revelation because they had already been stunned quiet in the past, especially the one who now has to compete with the Demon Lord. They watched the others experience the same things they had with a slight feeling of superiority welling up from inside of them. They couldn’t help but admit that it was fun to watch people contemplate information about their friend in a frozen state.
After a while, Silva was the first to come out of their deeply tranced state, “Then I’m guessing that the man who’s constantly with you is the Demon Lord’s secretary?”
“Mm-hm!” Marcel nodded.
“Oh my god! I can’t believe I met Lord Arkteris in person! I just thought he was just an attendant whenever I saw him with you, Marcel?” Nigel was shocked beyond belief like all the others. Yes, today was just one of those ‘everyone gets shocked’ days and the ‘unshocked’ were going to love watching the shocked make fools of themselves.
Nigel was shocked that he had already met one of his battle idols while the girls thought about how straightforward they were during the time they first met Marcel, wondering if Claude had taken any offense to their actions and words from back when they first met Marcel. Sure, Silva knew that the man that day was someone special thanks to her intuition, but she didn’t know by how much. Sometimes, she’d just like to go home and fix this problem with her powers, but she doesn’t want to do that just yet.
Speaking of Silva going back home, it was now her turn to reveal her identity,
“Since Dave has also revealed his identity, I guess it’s my turn! My true name is Natsume Mikohime Inari, fox princess of the Koto Empire.”
“Add the ‘Shrine Maiden’ title to your name. You used to always bug me about it!” Karshena grumbled.
“Shut up, you! Don’t make them freak out even more!” The fox princess shouted at her friend. And freak out, they did.
Natsume Mikohime Inari is the name of a major celebrity across many worlds. Famously known as the ‘Saint of the Spirit Fox Race’, ‘Divine Fox Priestess,’ and ‘Sacred Shrine Maiden Princess’, she is a demigoddess with divine powers sought by individuals from far and wide. This was the identity the Oni Leader almost revealed to others during their stay in his homeworld.
Every year, people came to the priestess with their wishes, and she relayed them to the gods. She also had the power of clairvoyance and with this power, told the world’s inhabitants what they sought to know. This existence was one of the terrifying giants in the world and here their friend was, telling them that she was this existence.
To make the shock they’d all have to live through pass faster, Shalia took her turn,
“I am Shalia Al Ulvaris, genius princess of the Sunfire elves.”
“And I am Allan Wolfram Archlen, son of Lancel Archlen Wolfram and Levitae Wolfram, genius of the Blue Dove witches, also known as the Blue Star.”
“And you already know me. Kensuke, son of Yuigen, Leader of the Oni.” The quiet guy said then went quiet again. They all remained in their shocked state except Marcel who somehow, was no longer surprised when he met some big shot. Getting used to this is probably bad but too late, he’s mostly unfazed. He watched quietly as the rest fell deeper into the hole that is each other’s identities. Just why did they all have such terrifying backgrounds?
One was the Demon Lord’s wife, another, the White Tiger Princess, the third, the Sacred Shrine Maiden Fox Princess, fourth, the Pure Princess of the Sunfire Elves, fifth, genius of the witch world, son of Lord Archlen, a famous battle-type witch and werewolf princess, Levitae Archlen and sixth, son of the Oni Leader, Kensuke. Ha, they were all nobility in one way or another. The only ones who weren’t somehow related to nobility were the three brothers.
After a while, they all mostly recovered from their shocks and the three brothers asked in unison, “Why are all of you nobles?”
The others laughed in unison and answered, “Haha, we don’t know!” They shrugged. Their unison response made their reaction seem planned and they continued to laugh, feeling relieved in their hearts. With this reveal, a portion of the burden on their shoulders had been released and they all felt like they could show their true selves to the others without hesitation. Evan was the first to show this. He probably had a death wish, moving as fast as he did.
Crawling up to Karshena seductively with beaming eyes, he flirtingly moved his hands across her shoulders to her cheek where he cupped it and asked, “If let’s say I were to marry you, would I get to live a life of comfort and luxury?” He asked the princess who must definitely be loaded. Instead of feeling threatened or scared of Karshena and her background, he saw an opportunity to get rich like he’d always wanted. He was going to have an easy life if he married a princess like her, right?
“You wish!” She wasn’t falling for any of Evan’s bad seduction techniques. Since he wanted to marry a noble princess like her so badly, she’ll tell him the facts like they are.
“Marrying me is a serious matter. Marrying me or anyone in my family for that matter means sharing you with all my other siblings. Let’s please not forget that I have 544 siblings, meaning that if you caught the interest of at least half my siblings, which you most will because I chose you, then...” Valeria left him to figure out the rest for himself. She wasn’t lying in the slightest. This really was how marriage worked for the most part in her family.
“If you want to deal with about a hundred ladies and even men constantly at each other’s throats for the rest of your life, then you’re welcome to try your luck with me. Also, even if you wanted to, because of something I said to my father quite recently, he’d never agree to it in the first place. If by some miracle, he agreed to us getting married, then I'll happily marry you and see you get tortured until the day you die.” The girl smiled an ominous and wicked smile that sent shivers down Evan’s spine,
“Now do you still want to marry me, Evan?”
“No-no, ma’am!” Evan shook his head vigorously. He never thought he would ever have to reject a woman’s advances, but I guess there’s always a first time for everything.
Evan sighed after learning of his fate if he married a noble princess like Karshena and couldn’t help but utter out his inner thoughts,
“I guess it is what it is! I just really wish I get reborn as a noble in my next life. Maybe then, I’ll never have to worry about money ever again in my life.”
“Ha, fat chance of that happening! You’re so not destined for noble life that even the underworld wouldn’t make such a mistake!” The brutally honest demigoddess prick told her friend. She even snickered.
“Shut up! You don’t know anything!” Evan looked hurt and ready to cry. He was upset.
“But I do! You are more destined for a life as a gigolo than a noble’s. Isn’t that sort of the same as what you want?” She asked. She couldn’t see much of a difference between being a noble and a gigolo since greedy nobles are exactly that: gigolos, most of the time anyway from what she’s seen.
“*Sniffle* That doesn’t make me feel any better!” Evan added. Ha~, got to leave it to the little lady to say hurtful things without even meaning to. Now that the cat was out of the bag, it was only going to get even worse when she was around those she trusted.
Evan half-sobbed for a while before he wiped his tears. He suddenly remembered something Silva’s words almost kicked out of his mind. It was regarding Marcel.
“Speaking of rebirth, what did you look like before you changed, Marcel?” He asked curiously. The others nodded in haste, also wanting to know. After all, Allan was the only person there who knew what Marcel used to look like. Everyone else joined his group of friends after that. Shalia wanted to go to that party that night but sadly, she had things to do and couldn’t make it. Ha, I wonder what would have happened if she’d caught a glimpse of him then? She does too.
“Do you guys really want to see it? I didn’t look any special!” Marcel wondered what all the fuss about with his old looks. Having already said goodbye to his fully human looks, he really didn’t want to have to transform back to that and then have to part with it all over again. If he was given a choice, he would have liked to keep it, but he’s already gotten used to looking at a silver-haired, heterochromatic beautiful guy when he looked at himself in the mirror. The only reason he wasn’t a self-absorbed narcissist with his looks that keep getting better by the day for some strange reason is that he’s seen better.
“Yes! Yes! Show us now!” Shalia practically yelled in excitement with gleaming eyes. He really wasn’t going to get away with not doing this, was he? Oh well, I guess he’s doing it. Here it goes!
How was he going to transform back into his old self? Well, with the help of the first-ever magic he mastered, of course: Illusion magic. Oh, you forgot that Marcel did that, didn’t you? Don’t worry! I did too, oops!
With the help of illusion magic, he could mostly trick the senses of others into thinking everything was fine. This was how he managed to trick Claude after he got tricked by the man. He loved getting back at him very much. It was one of the primary magics associated with the darkness element.
To transform back into his former self, he tried remembering what he looked like as he sat in front of the mirror one last time moments before he had to give up a huge part of his human identity. Now that he was thinking about it, this might be the day that everything truly changed for him. It was the day this world got accustomed to him and vice-versa.
He kept the memory of what he used to look like in his head. The blond hair, those blue eyes, clear as the blue sky and the structure of his face as well as the rest of his body. He remembered them all so vividly and with these clear images in his mind. He cast the illusion magic and poof; old Marcel was back!
“OH! MY! HEAVENS! So cute!" Shalia looked at the transformed Marcel with gleaming, bright eyes that instantly made him regret fulfilling his friends’ request. Oh no, he’d just given her more fantasy fuel! At that moment, she looked ready to snuggle and squeeze the life out of Marcel. The only thing keeping her from doing so was the last of her image she was trying to preserve. Now she was going to be even more insane and ridiculous over the next couple of days.
“I understand though! That does look cute! If a guy like that approached me, you know I’m definitely following him without any questions for a while.” Valeria said pointing at Marcel, looking at Evan as if hinting that Marcel stood more of a chance with her than he did. Daniel couldn’t help but laugh at her remark and Nigel did too. They must admit that everyone making fun of the male assassin was nice to watch, even if he was their brother. His reactions are always so cute too!
“Hmm! There’s something strange about that appearance though. It seems forged... almost like someone worked tirelessly to create it.” Silva commented, looking suspiciously at Marcel.
“Yes, I quite literally just transformed in front of you guys,” Marcel answered her comment. He didn’t quite understand what she meant by those words.
“Never mind!” She let it go. She didn’t want to make simple things complicated, so she left them as they were. Besides, there was no point in doing that anymore. This was now an appearance he could only take on with illusion magic anyway.
After commenting on how Marcel looked in his old form for a few minutes, the conversation finally shifted to something that wasn’t the cute form of Marcel that slew even Alverona.
“Now almost everyone had revealed their identities. It’s just you three left now.” Valeria wanted to know which race the three brothers come from and so did the others.
“Well, we aren’t anything special compared to any of you guys. We’re thunderbeasts from Boltz.” Daniel answered the question.
“What? You mean those super rare thunder and lightning beasts created in the super-enclosed, super-secret world that few manage to come back from alive? You’re from that place?!” Shalia was the one to scream this time, to everyone’s surprise.
“Yes! We three were born on Boltz.” Nigel answered.
“How are you guys even related? I heard that only every thunderbeast hatches from a separate egg on Boltz.” Shalia asked more questions. She was in inquisitive mode.
“We three were born from the same lightning bolt which shared its consciousness between us. When we were still seeds, we received a lightning strike from a bolt that relinquished its consciousness to us. Another thing you should know is that we and all other thunderbeasts are technically the lightning bolts above in Boltz which happen to strike a lightning seed at just the right time. They relinquish their lives about to become us.
When we were struck by this lightning, instead of sharing its consciousness with one of us, it did so with all three of us, thus we became psychically connected as we grew. After that our three seeds fused into a giant beast egg where we stayed to grow for a very long time as many more lightning bolts nourished us. The different bolts also made us slightly different from each other. That’s how we are related. Even now, our growth is heavily linked with one other, meaning that when I evolve, they do too as well.”
Shalia and the others pondered over Nigel’s words. As they did, a question came to mind. They wondered why Evan couldn’t have been more like his two brothers if they inherited the same consciousness. Just what kind of horrible lightning struck Evan to create such an annoying monster?
“Ooh, can you show me what you look like as thunderbeasts?” Marcel was curious. He wondered if they’d look like Claude’s lightning wyrm in their true forms.
“Sure, but make sure not to touch our bodies when we transform! Our bodies are made of lightning. You should know what happens when lightning touches your body, right?” Nigel warned like the big brother he is.
“Don’t worry! My body has been tempered by the lightning of Boltz and as we speak, one of them is even living inside of me. I will be fine!” Marcel remarked.
“What?!” The others except for Allan and Shalia exclaimed. Just what kind of dangerous thing was this guy doing while they couldn’t meet. ‘Was that why he went to Boltz?’ They thought.
“Anyway, please show your lightning forms. I would really like to see it.” Marcel quickly and suspiciously changed the topic as to not go further into his Boltz’s matter. His diversion worked as everyone quickly looked towards the thunderbeast brothers, eagerly waiting to see their true forms.
“As I said, don’t touch us!” Nigel warned again before they began transforming.
Transforming, they changed the very nature of their bodies, changing their bodies of flesh and blood into semi-spiritual bodies composing of the naturally abundant energy in Boltz: lightning.
When they finally finished transforming, they looked like panthers, 1.5 meters tall and varying lengths between 1.5 and 1.8 meters. They had crackling purple lightning bodies, covered in blue, green, and red spots. Nigel had more green spots and was around 1.6 meters in length while Daniel had more blue ones and the longest, around 1.8 meters, and Evan... well, he was the most unique of the bunch, aside from being the shortest. His body had the most evenly distributed colored spots of the bunch. It was like he absorbed every type of lightning that struck their egg while his brothers restrained themselves, being more selective over which ones to absorb. Was this why he was so annoying? I guess we’ll never know.
Looking at the brothers’ bodies, one wouldn’t guess they were semi-spiritual bodies. One could easily make the mistake of thinking they were beasts of flesh and blood because of how solid their forms appeared. They appeared more solid than Claude’s lightning wyrm. I guess raising a lightning bolt with magic inside your body isn’t going to give the lightning bolt the same body a naturally occurring fusion of physical magic and the earth’s forces like the thunderbeasts.
Marcel, upon seeing the brothers taking on their true forms, really wanted to pet them. He wanted to do it so bad that he almost forgot to ask.
“May I?” He asked Nigel eagerly.
“Sure, but be careful. I don’t know to which degree you tempered your body with our home’s lightning. You could still get hurt!” Nigel replied with a concerned expression, even if he was in beast form.
“Don’t worry! Your lightning stopped being able to hurt me a long time ago.” Marcel said, before reaching out to touch the giant panther’s fur. He was very surprised.
When he touched the brother’s body, his fingers brushed through what he thought to be fur, and was shocked. When looking at it, he only thought that it looked like fur, not that it would be soft, silky, and smooth like it. It was a pleasant joy that only he will be able to experience.
As he petted the fur, he entered a state of happiness and calmness, making the onlookers very jealous and the transformed brother being petted feel embarrassed as they stared with slight disdain at not being able to experience the joy that is touching a semi-physical lightning body.
Evan, while his brother was being petted by the only person around who could, walked over to Valeria in a strutting pose with his beast smug face as if asking her, ‘How do you like me now?’
Valeria looked at him being smug and flamboyant, shook her head, transforming into her true form as well. She really knew to make others look insignificant.
Transforming, she morphed her body into a semi-physical, 2-meter-tall white tiger to completely outshadowing the majesty of Evan as if saying, ‘I can do better’.
In her true form, she was not only taller than Evan but also more majestic than him. Sure, her body was still grounded to the physical realm because she was young but she more than made up for that in beauty and amount of magic energy. She was indeed the White Tiger Princess.
With fur as white as the purest of snow, black stripes containing the essence of her family’s power, and an eye-like mark golden in color on her forehead emanating divine power as if having a special significance to the princess’ power, she looked as sublime as one would expect from her. Evan could only look in awe at the princess outshadowing him and wait, she had one more surprise for him.
Raising her paw, she struck at him, and strangely, it hurt.
“Raargh! What did you just do?!” He grumbled in a deep, beastly voice.
“Everyone has secrets. Behave and you won’t feel any more pain. Don’t bother me or you’ll get it!” The girl spoke sassily, licking her paw as she did. It had been a while since she assumed her true form. She really wanted to stretch and relax in peace.
“Yes, ma’am!” Evan answered her words, taking a seat beside her. Even in her true form, the lady could still easily get him, so he was silent as to not experience any more pain. She did so as well, looking around while relaxing. Now that she thought about it, this warm place was a nice place to sleep while in this form. If only they weren’t going to be swarmed by a whole bunch of monsters if not for the barrier Marcel’s magic always keeps active, she could properly sleep for a few days before finally leaving.
The others stared at the white tiger princess who nonchalantly licked her paw as if having not noticed them staring at her majestic form. Marcel wanted to pat her as well, but he felt like doing anymore apart from what he has with Nigel will be enough to make Ains sad who’s psychically connected to him. Even then, he could hear the large wolf’s slight whimper as he stared out into the world through his master’s eyes. Someone was getting jealous.
Now everyone from a transforming race in the group had already transformed, except Silva. Evan just had to provoke her and ruin the rest of his brothers’ and his night. Or was it?