~ Chapter 29: And so it begins... ~
Lifting my head up from my el’doraw’s chest, I looked back at the draconian princess. My eyelids were heavy, but I wasn’t so tired as to not notice the beautiful sight displayed before me.
Ayuseya was wearing a partially transparent pink nightgown that barely covered her chest. Her usually hidden body was up to display now, letting me savor every bit of it, except for her nether region, she was wearing panties. Her golden scales could be seen through the fabric, letting me known of their presence on her belly; hips; lower part of her chest, right above the last ribs; under her knees; tibia; arms; and collarbone. With her tail wrapped in front, looking down a bit shyly, and a strand of her long, red hair flowing over her right cheek, Ayuseya was a pretty sight to behold.
My mouth opened involuntarily, and Shanteya closed it for me.
What’s this? I asked taken aback by this pleasant surprise.
I… she was startled by my question and looked at me with her red draconic eyes.
Hm? I tilted my head to the left and tried desperately to remove all the naughty thoughts in my head.
I… I heard… well, you see… erm… she looked around, trying to avoid my gaze.
Knowing what happened before, how she cried, and her complicated situation in general, the only valid reason I could think of for her showing up dressed like this was in order to appease to me with her body. Because she yelled at me and cried after what happened before, maybe she thought that I was upset or mad with her. All of this was only to appease me, yet it only made me feel like a villain taking advantage of an innocent girl.
Letting out a sigh, I scratched the back of my head and thought a bit about how to approach her now. It was clear that Ayuseya wasn’t like Shanteya, otherwise the skill [Bond of Trust] would have appeared after that night together.
Listen, Ayuseya, I’m not mad nor upset with you. As I said, I may have done something bad back then, I apologize. I said and bowed my head to her. There is no need to force yourself to appease me if you don’t want to. I’m not going to touch you in an improper way. I haven’t even touched Shanteya that way yet. Nanya is out of the question because she never entered my Inner Mind. I continued to talk with my head bowed down in front of her.
As someone born and raised in Romania, I saw no need to stay in such a posture, but I read somewhere that when you apologized and showed your submissive side to the woman you might have upset, as a man, you would have a slim chance of being forgiven instantly. Of course, I read about that on a meme post, so the credibility of the advice was doubtful.
T-Then… what do you wish of me? she asked with a trembling tone of voice.
I gulped and looked up at her. My eyes moved quickly to lock with her own, but it was hard not to notice the tempting allure of her barely hidden body.
To feel comfortable and safe around me, not threatened… I don’t wish you harm. Erm, I guess despite being husband and wife according to that ring, we can’t jump straight to being lovers. I’m sorry, I made a mistake! So, how about just being friends for now? Honestly speaking, the first sign of trust I offered you is by bringing you here, in my Inner Mind. Is there anything else I can do? I said and showed her a wry smile.
[Ayuseya’s point of view]
When I put on this nightgown, I knew I was exposing myself way too much. I never felt so embarrassed in my entire life. One of my maids suggested in using this on Dankyun since it appeared to be a popular form of seduction noble draconian women used to catch the attention of their husbands after a long time of being neglected by them. I never intended to use it for that man, it revealed way too much, however, I wasn’t trying to hide myself from Illsyore’s gaze. I knew that if there was even a slim chance of success for my plan, then I had to do this.
If the old me saw myself right now, appearing before a Dungeon Lord wearing nothing but this poor excuse of a nightgown, I would have certainly refused to accept such a thing. A shout of anger would have been the first thing to escape my lips, however, without Illsyore, I would have never been able to shout again.
So, what went on through my mind when I decided to approach him like this? What sort of mad thoughts pushed to expose myself to him like a woman in the Red District?
Looking at my current status, I had no power and no allies of significant strength. The one after me was a Supreme, and I accidentally married a Godlike Dungeon Lord. I didn’t need an explanation to understand just how powerful Illsyore could become when he already showed abilities and a power that far surpassed the oldest dungeons on this continent. The question was if he had enough time to become strong enough to battle Dankyun and his small army on equal grounds?
Unfortunately, at this point, the only one who could offer me a helping hand was Illsyore. Considering the danger, considering the threat, he should have chosen to discard himself of me rather than try to stand and fight in a battle that had no connection with him to begin with.
Despite knowing that, despite the fact that I should have begged and asked him on my knees to help me, here I was, standing before him with the intention of testing him. My mind spoke of reason, of shaking off my pride, but my heart as a woman wanted to see just what sort of man my fate had been tied to.
I still found it hard to believe that as a dungeon, he wished to help me. I still couldn’t believe that as a man, he wouldn’t touch me or take advantage of me. He defied the very rules and logic most men went by in this world.
What if… What if Illsyore has the same plans as Dankyun and wishes to use me for his own benefit? was the question plaguing my mind.
It was strange, but I really wanted to see, I really wanted to believe that maybe… maybe I could trust him.
I knew it was a foolish way to try to see this, but that was how I wanted to test him. That was what my instincts and feelings were telling me to do: put the steak in front of the wolf and see if he can abstain or not.
Even so… it ended up like this.
Illsyore was standing in front of me, bowing his head and not ordering me or trying to blackmail me into submission. He didn’t scold me for asking too much. He didn’t scrutinize my idea and thoughts, no… he merely apologized for something he needed not apologize in the first place.
I was the one at fault… I was the selfish one, yet he was the one saying ‘sorry’.
Do you even understand your position now? I asked softly.
He looked down for a moment, furrowing his brow and thought hard.
Erm… Maybe? he replied with a forced smile.
You could order me to do anything you wish. You could order Shanteya to hold me down. You could do anything you desire to us, yet… I stopped midway and looked down.
Was it a good idea to say such things to him?
I would never do such a thing! he replied adamantly as he shook his head. I blinked surprised and turned my gaze between him and Shanteya.
Master speaks the truth… here, in his Inner Mind, we are free of the chains of those spells. said Shanteya as she pointed at her neck.
I blinked surprised once more as I saw no black tattoo around her neck.
The symbol of her enslavement was gone, but how could that be?
Were you freed? I asked.
No. Look, you have no ring either, right? she pointed out, and I remember it was so.
In other words, you are free here to follow your own will. I can’t interfere with it. I can’t order you to do anything, and I’m more vulnerable here, next to both of you than I am outside. he said.
His words sounded like a preposterous lie.
That can’t be true! No one would put himself in such a terrible danger in front of someone they wanted to control! If they did… I stopped my words and covered my mouth.
It was only then when I realized what this meant.
Illsyore’s actions were a mirror of his own thoughts and feelings. I initially believed this place was something similar to a prison he made, a secret place where he could freely control us as he desired, but if this was actually the place where he was most vulnerable, then by showing me this side of his, he put himself in a greater danger than any Dungeon Lord would ever dare to. I wasn’t someone who trusted him, yet he dared to trust me, to believe that I wasn’t going to harm him, that I wasn’t going to hurt him.
Tears gathered at the corners of my eyes, but I wiped them off before they had the chance to flow down my cheeks.
With a smile on my lips, I looked back at him and nodded.
Being friends sounds good. I like that… We can be friends. I told him.
That’s great! he said with a cheerful smile.
Do you plan on sleeping with us tonight? asked Shanteya.
I remembered my embarrassing outfit and the reason why I came here. It made me giggle.
I do not wish to give Illsyore any wrong ideas, so I’ll excuse myself for tonight. I said with a nod.
Aw, too bad. he seemed a bit disappointed.
Let’s take this one step at a time, shall we? I told him, and he nodded in reply.
I left him and Shanteya alone. For me, it was too early to think about sleeping in the company of a man even if it already happened, but back then, I believed other things, now I knew that Illsyore could be my friend, and he didn’t wish me any harm.
It wasn’t much, but it was a first step towards building a mutual trust. I could start trusting him little by little, and in time, maybe our relationship would change.
[Illsyore’s point of view]
Although Ayuseya still didn’t trust me enough to activate [Bond of Trust], it still was an improvement and big difference from being hated. I feared that thanks to my reckless behavior, I might have ended up antagonizing her towards me. In the end, my fear was for naught, she agreed to start off as friends. It was the normal way of starting a relationship if I were to say so myself. What happened with Shanteya was indeed sudden, but her circumstances and history allowed this sort of sudden change. She was raised as an assassin in a guild that heavily discriminated against women. Her curses and pain were all removed by me, and without a second thought, I welcomed her in my arms. I enslaved her, but then I wished to free her.
Everything I did was what I believed would have been normal to do back in Romania or any other modern civilized country, but in this world, such freedom and will to help others was rarely encountered. Maybe they were used to people taking advantage of them, or maybe that was the first intention believed everyone to have. Either way, I was an oddity from this point of view, but I had no intention of changing myself.
As I tried to fall asleep in Shanteya’s arms, I thought back at how people may have acted in medieval times on Earth. Many movies and stories depicted the age in a rather romantic and adventurous way, but I remember there were others that showed the cruelty of that time. Nobles were above the peasants. Being born in the right family was important if you wanted to move up in society. In modern times, you could even become the president of the country if chose the right path, but in medieval times, others chose it for you. If people were used to such laws and the cruelty otherwise believed to be unacceptable, unreasonable, and unthinkable in the XXI-st century, then I was certainly seen as someone strange, with wrong morals and principles even, but was it really like that?
No matter how I looked at it, my way of thinking was better. My mind and maybe even my personality were the product of hundreds of years of moral debates, countless wars, millions of sacrifices, and the constant evolution of society and science.
Is there a way to offer what I know to this world? I asked myself before falling asleep.
The following day things proceeded as usual. I woke up around 6:00 AM, released Shanteya and sent her off to kill monsters. For the first two hours, I focused on increasing the size of my dungeon territory and checking the escape tunnel I build the day before. I managed to add another 1.4 km to my territory. This time, however, I didn’t forget to strengthen my armor before heading off. It was a routine I had to get used with, but still a rather boring one. I found it more interesting to build stuff.
If there was one thing I wasn’t able to talk with either Nanya and Tuberculus the day before was about how I could build my body. It slipped my mind yesterday, maybe because of how busy I was with the dungeon and the tunnel, or it could have been the whole pranks session. Speaking of which, once I finished checking up on the tunnel, I saw Nanya up and about in front of the academy.
I flew over and approached her.
“Good morning, Nanya.” I said.
“Ah! Mornin’ Illsy! I was actually looking for you!” she said with a grin.
“Huh? OK?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Right when I went to bed last night, I remembered that I have some stink bombs in one of my chests!” she showed me a small green ball wrapped up in dried green leafs.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“A stink bomb! Toss it on the ground, and it will burn the nose of everyone around it! Nyahaha!” she laughed.
“Let me guess, I’m going to be the one doing all the tossing?” I asked.
“Of course!” she nodded.
“Alright, I’m in.” I shrugged. What could be the harm in it? I thought.
“Great! Let’s go!” I smiled and followed her, but just then, I felt something terrifying and a message appeared in front of my eyes.
<A biological lifeform designated as ally has died.>
“Huh?” I said shocked.
My first reaction was to check up on Shanteya, but she was safe, I could still sense her life sign somewhere in the forest. That meant there was someone else here who died, but what worried me were the words: ‘designated as ally’.
“What’s wrong?” Nanya asked tilting her head to the right.
“Someone… someone just died…” I said.
“What? Who? Who died, Illsy?”
She looked up at me with big eyes and clenched fists when she heard the shocking news.
Gulping, I tried to identify who that designated lifeform was.
“Show me the data on the designated ally. Show last known location. Show me anything…” I said as I selected the words in that message.
<Zoraya Del’argo. Student at Fellyore Magic Academy. Species: Draconian. Death: Less than a minute ago. Last known location: <Display a directional arrow.>>
I selected the option, and a green, transparent arrow pointed me in her direction.
“Zoraya Del’argo…” I told Nanya.
She followed me around the academy and towards the dormitory, while I followed the arrow. The direction it took us was none other than Dankyun’s room. Once I stopped in front of it, Nanya didn’t wait, she kicked the door down and locked eyes with the criminal.
“Ah! Nanya, what a surprise! I was just done with this… traitor.” he spoke calmly as he used a piece of cloth to wipe off the blood of his victim from his hands.
The draconian man was dressed in his usual armor, but the only missing parts were the gauntlets, which were left on the side of the king-sized bed his left. This was a room reserved for those of a high noble rank.
Although barely decorated, since it was usually left to the taste of the students, there was one detail in this room that made it stand out from the others, a newly added piece of decoration. The floor was painted with the spilled blood of the draconian student. The nearby walls, table, and curtains were stained as well by the thick, red fluid. At Dankyun’s feet laid the disturbing detail: the body of the student Zoraya Del’argo.
There was no doubt about who the killer was. As for how she died, I could tell through a simple look at her remains. She was naked, with red whipping marks on her body. Her arms had been ripped out of her body and tossed aside. The slim tail covered in green scales was cut in half, and there was a gaping hole in her chest. This sort of damage wasn’t done by magic or a tool, but by the bare hands of the Supreme standing next to her with a nonchalant smile on his face. The monster wasn’t fazed at all by the horrible deed he had committed.
The draconian girl suffered a terrible fate, a death she didn’t deserve, and once again, I was confronted with the cruelty of this world and the madness of this man.
I heard of this type of people back in my world, the psychiatrists called them psychopaths, but I had the feeling Dankyun suffered from megalomania as well. Although I didn’t know if he suffered from any other mental problems, these two were clear so far. The worst part was that this individual who found pleasure in killing was a Supreme.
“Nanya, this…” I said, but when I looked down at her, I saw her anger.
Her fists and jaws were clenched tight, and her entire body was tense, she could barely keep herself from jumping forward and attacking him. Actually, that might have been her intention because I saw a black aura similar to my black fog, forming around her, it was the first time seeing her like this, and she was scary.
“Oh? Little Nanya is upset? Hm… Here.” Dankyun leaned down and grabbed the dead girl’s head. Stepping on her chest, he decapitated her with a strong pull. “Catch!” he then tossed the head at us.
I used [Telekinezy] and caught it instead of Nanya.
“You’re a monster…” I said as I looked at the expression of horror left on the girl’s face.
The dark fog was now released on my territory as well. This man, this monster, I couldn’t forgive… I couldn’t allow him to live. Would Nanya even stop me now if I attacked him?
No… she was the first to attack.
“DANKYUN!” she growled and jumped towards him.
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