Novel An Angel’s Thesis

Discussion in 'Community Fictions' started by Gandire Alea, Sep 1, 2021.

  1. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    Something I am working on. Let me know what you think~

    The new world was still young, yet the gods of old continued their feuds. The dredges that remained of their people were dying. They were on the cusp of destroying themselves. Then, from the heavens beyond their new home came a nightmare, came an Ancient of the Universe. This Dreaded One tainted all that it touched, distorting all that came into contact with him into abominable/eldritch reflections of what they once were. Even gods fell to him.

    Divided, the age of gods would cease. They would become something else. Though they loathed each other and scoffed at the idea, they came to fight as one. Their peoples stood side by side. The war was great, the planet shook, but they sealed the remains of Dreaded One within his citadel which the gods of the depths sunk below the waves.

    A new world lay before the gods. They tasted the fruits of cooperation and desired the progress and peace that came with harmony. Yet their war was not over. The Dreaded One’s touch still lingered. Of their children, he would claim daughters for himself…


    “Don’t care. That’s got nothing to do with us.”

    Pages 2-8
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    Pages 44-50

    Something unrelated~
     
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2021
  2. Warrior Seadra

    Warrior Seadra Well-Known Member

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    Well, I guess this is interesting. I’ll need more before I can actually judge it.
     
  3. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    A mischievous grin that screams success flashes across the face of a violet eyed girl as she separates her palms from each other. She looks herself over for any mishaps and the first thing she notices is how her now oversized hawaiian shirt drapes down from her shoulders to her thighs like some sort of curtain. She takes a step towards the two onlookers but looses balance as he now oversized shoes get caught around her feet.

    Geira rushes forward at girl’s staggering. Her short pastel pink, hair flutters as she rushes up to the smaller, violet eyed girl and catches her by her shoulders.

    The looks down at her small hands, watching her thin fingers as she opens and clenches her palms. Pursing her lips, she says, “This… might take some getting used to…”

    Geira narrows her eyes at the remark. Her grip on the girl’s shoulder tightens and she shakes her once as she says, “No… what!? How? You were… and now! Just who are you!?”

    The girl chuckles at Giera’s confusion as she peels her hands off of her shoulders. She then parts her curtain of wavy black hair away from her face and slides part of it behind an ear as she says, “Calm down, just relax. It was just a spell.”

    She then gestures towards herself, placing her fingers against her chest. “Like I was saying earlier, my na… Actually, no… Hold on… Shana! That works, call me Shana. S- H- A- N- A, but pronounced Sh-ah-nah.”

    Shana’s eyes then narrow as she falls into thought. While touching her throat with her fingers, she says, “I sound a bit like Kairi…”

    That is when she notices the other girl trying to slink away. She seems to be trying to hide her face with her hood, but her cloak is so ragged and tattered, she has to hold it in place.

    Shana darts after her. Her quick gait shakes her baggy jeans. It, already no longer able to cling to her now much slimmer waist, slides free with each step. They soon down to wrap themselves around her thighs. She goes to readjust them, but her feet slide within her shoes and she is once more falling.

    The other girl, stops backing away and hurries forward to see if Shana is alright. At the same time, she releases her hood and the cover instantly falls away.

    Shana’s muscle memory takes over mid-fall and she dives into a roll, slipping out of her shoes and pants in the process. As she springs back up onto her feet, her underwear also finishes sliding off, not that she pays it any mind. She even ignores the dirt and leaves clinging to her shoulder and hair and instead stares straight at the other girl.

    Now that she is getting a clear look at her face, she realizes that girl greatly resembles an acquaintance of hers. As such, she unconsciously gives her a friendly smile, something she normally wouldn’t do for a random stranger on the road.

    Her expression then hardens. With her violet eyes are focused solely on the other girl she gestures to the dead cyclopes scattered around them. “More importantly, what was all that about? Where were they taking you?”

    The other girl’s black eyes widen upon seeing Shana’s face. She is so shocked, she only manages a stunned, “…I… I’m Thea…” and completely disregards everything she was asked. Shana’s face is eerily similar to her own. There are a few notiable differences, the most important being their eyes. Whereas Shana’s are violet, hers are black. The most notable and shocking difference is Shana’s thick, wavy, black hair. Thea nervously keeps her straight hair short. She can’t even claim it reaches past her chin. Shana, however, proudly wears hers down past her shoulders.

    Geira, too, rubs her eyes upon seeing the two stand side by side. Now that the battle is over and she can get a proper look, she realizes Shana and Thea not only have similar facial features, they share a striking resemblance in build. Even the tan of their skin is the same shade. “Are you two sisters?”

    Shana is taken aback by the question. Pursing her lips, she thinks about how to answer. Then, with another glance at Thea, says, “I suppose you could say we’re “blood-sisters,” but genetically speaking, we’re probably closer to being distant cousins more than anything else.”

    She then turns back to Thea and says, “More importantly, what happened?”

    Geira cuts in between then and says, “No, more importantly, you’re half naked. Aren’t you going to cover yourself?”

    Shana tilts her head at the question. Truthfully, other than holding her now discarded jeans in place and make herself vulnerable to being attacked, she’s unable to improve her situation. She thus gives a thoughtless, “I can worry about that later.”

    Geira face palms. Even Thea is embarrassed at the response she just heard. Geira says, “That’s not the point here. Look, I get it. It hasn’t even been a day yet, but I’ve more than figured out you’re one of them crazed magical researchers. Still… have a sense of modesty.”

    Shana sighs in annoyance, “But nothing I have fits me anymore…” She then turns to her discarded jeans and underwear and after some thought, says, “I just need to make the waist smaller and legs shorter, right?” She then claps her hands together and the two articles of clothing are enveloped in neon amethyst light.

    Once the light fades, the results of her alchemy are revealed. Tears have appeared on her jeans, running from the waist down the legs. They create an image of a strange blooming flower. As for the underwear, part of the fabric seems to have weaved its way into the blooming jeans thing.

    Shana picks up her results for a better look and ash falls from it. As far as she can conclude, that is the rest of her missing underwear. Furthermore, parts of the insides have fused together making sticking a leg through impossible. “Well… this was my first time trying alchemy on something as complicated as clothes…”

    Now that she has calmed down, she notices there is a draft between her legs. While she is half naked at the moment, she never intended to remain that way for long. Her earlier comment about dealing with it later was more her trying to buy time to come up with a solution than anything else. She then looks at her oversized shirt. While part of the collar is sliding down her shoulder, it doesn’t seem like the whole thing will slip off any time soon. Regardless, she adjusts it by buttoning the remaining two buttons. She then tugs at the hems of the shirt in hopes of stretching it even just a bit further down her thighs. The situation isn’t ideal, “but I suppose it’s better than nothing…”

    Geira shakes her head. “Forget it, you can borrow something of mine. We can buy you new clothes once we’re all back in Ostia.”

    Thea’s taken aback by the sudden decision. She takes a few steps back, saying, “No need. I’ll be just fine on my—”

    Geira cuts her off with a glare. “Absolutely not! You were captured by a group of cyclopes. There’s no way I’m ignoring this.”

    Shana gives Geira a blank stare, “From how you speak, a group of cyclopes is bad?”

    Geira suppresses her sigh at the ignorant interruption and says, “Cyclopes are solitary creatures. The only time they’ll unify to work in groups is when they’re being controlled.”

    Shana purses her lips and recalls how they easily parried her zweihander despite her ridiculous level of strength. The fireballs she cast weren’t much better either. Only after strengthening herself with magic was she finally able to cut through them.

    Geira then gesture Lyra towards her pegasus. “Come on, Vor is more than strong enough to carry us all back.”

    Thea again tries to refuse. She says, “No, really. This is normal. There’s no poin—”

    Geira cuts her off by grabbing her arm and forcing her onto the front of her mount. She then digs through one of her bags and throws a bundled up skirt at Shana.

    Shana makes a face as she stares at the clothing. “Do you have anything else?”

    “Not anything that’ll fit.”

    Shana swallows her reluctance and turns around. Then, after brushing away the dirt and leaves from her shoulder and hair, she slips into the skirt without another complaint. Tightening it is a bit tricky, but she figures it out and looks herself over. Satisfied it reaches past her knees, even if also still bothered and making a face that it isn’t pants, she proceeds to collect the remains of her clothes which she then drops behind her back where it vanishes just like her sword did earlier.

    She then stares at the pegasus in doubt, making no move to approach. “Your stupid horse swatted me with his wings last time I tried touching him.”

    Geira looks Shana over and releases a helpless sigh. “I know, I know, but you should be fine now. Also, Vor is a pegasus.”

    Shana’s expression falls flat as she looks herself over. Realizing what has changed between now and then, she facepalms while saying, “You’ve got to be kidding me…”

    As Thea watches the exchange in confusion, Geira looks away in shame.

    Shana takes a breathe, walks up to Vor, and learns towards his face. Annoyance laces her words as she says, “So, you’re going to let me ride you, now?”

    Vor holds his head up high as he neighs in approval. He then lowers himself to make climbing up easier for Shana.

    Shana stares at Vor for a few seconds before turning to Geira. With a flat voice, she says, “Yeah, I think I’ll just walk.”

    Geira shakes her head upon seeing Shana actually begin walking back to the city. She trots Vor up behind her, and with the words, “You’ll hurt your feet like this,” scoops her up from underneath her arms. After seating her side saddle right behind herself, she grins with anticipation as she says, “Make sure to hold on tight so you don’t fall off. Oh, and you might want to keep your legs closed too.”

    Shana grumbles, but decides against jumping off Vor and accepts the instructions. She wraps one arm around Geira’s waist and uses the other to balance herself so she can readjust her skirt. While she was able to tighten it to fit her waist, she can’t get used to how the cloth slides around, underneath, and between her legs. Once settled, she again brushes her wavey hair away from her face and voices a major concern of hers. “I don’t have any identification.”

    Geira says, “I’m a Valkyrie. As long as I vouch for you two, no one will say anything about either of you.”

    Shana says, “Is being a Valkyrie really that amazing? Sure, your hair is an impossible color, but don’t you just go around giving funeral rites to fallen warriors?”

    Geira tosses a cold glare over her shoulder at Shana. Disgust laces her voice as she says, “You really don’t know about anything other than a few spells, do you?”

    “Where I come from, Valkyries had the role of guiding the souls of courageously departed to Valhalla.”

    Geira makes a face as she again sighs at Shana. “Okay, fine, yeah. Overseeing funerals is one of my duties, but that’s just a minor one. My true role is to serve as a protector. I travel around exterminating any who threaten the peace and defend those who can’t defend themselves.” After a moment of silence, she then adds, “Say, where is Ponamu, anyway? I honestly can’t place your accent. Were your clothes normal there?”

    “In the middle of the ocean. It’s a small island within a chain of volcanic islands. I’d honestly be more surprised if you had heard of it.”

    Geira then laughs. “You’re pretty relaxed abou—”

    “Why’d you do it?” Thea, with a voice full of doubt, is unable to hold back any longer and speaks up from in front of Geira. As far as she can tell, she and Shana are distant relatives from the same accursed bloodline. Somehow, Shana managed to disguise herself and maybe even suppress their curse, yet dispelled it without a second thought. The only explanation she can come up with on how Shana managed such a nearly impossible feat is that Shana’s blood must be weaker than her own. That would also explains why she has violet eyes instead of black ones like her.

    “I don’t understand. Why would you give your life up like that?” Thea recalls how Shana brushed a finger against her cheek to wipe away blood from a cut before then placing that blood covered finger in her own mouth. Afterwards, she clapped her hands together and in a blaze of electric blue light, destroyed her disguise.

    Countless magicians have tried to get a hold of Thea just for her blood. Its numerous magical properties make it a philosopher’s stone for them. The simplest way to use her blood is for a dispelling effect. It is so potent with magic that it can blow away any other spell or enchantment with a simple adjustment.

    “You were free…”

    Geira, not wanting to press Shana into answering, doesn’t turn her head to look at her. Still, she places her full attention into hearing what she’ll say.

    Shana is taken aback by the question. She isn’t sure know how to answer the question, and also gets the feeling she is misunderstanding what is being asked, but decides to answer with honesty. “I helped you because you were in danger. I don’t really need a reason to help others. If you mean my current appearance, don’t think so much about it. Not like it’s the first time I’ve done this.”

    Thea purses her lips as she sinks down in on herself. She can accept Geira’s desire to help her. Many people have reached out to her during her travels with offers of aid in one way or another. While most merely meant to trick her into lowering her guard, others were genuinely concerned. As a result, she is confident in her ability to judge the intentions of others.

    No one, however, has ever gone as far as Shana has. As far as she can tell, the other girl genuinely acted to help her. That she undid her disguise can only be taken as her way of being honest with her, to show her she isn’t alone.

    Shana too falls into thought. She realizes misunderstandings are being born among them, but decides against addressing them. In the future, she might clear things up if necessary. At that moment, not only are those misunderstandings useful to her, she is more curious about Thea. Regardless, she doesn’t ask for details. While her knowledge is lacking, she has no doubt she will be able to figure it out sooner or later.

    Thinking about it anymore, however, is pointless. As such, Shana decides to use the rest of the travel time to gather information on other matters. While gazing at the passing trees, she says to Geira, “So, I was asking you back when I thought you were trying to steal my organs, but about-”

    “I was not trying to steal your organs!”

    Shana giggles at the rise she got out Geira and says, “My bad, my bad, but the way we met just felt really shady.” As Geira sighs, Shana continues, “So about your hair. You said pink is the sign of a Valkyrie, but were you born like that, or did it just become pink after a while?”

    Geira heaves out another sigh at the basic question. Even if Shana is a stranger to the continent, to not know something that simple can only mean she’s from a place abandoned by the gods. Then again, considering her black hair, her having been raised in a place like that wouldn’t be the slightest bit surprising. Deciding to take extra note of her actions on the possibility that she’s a Daughter of the Dreaded One, she says, “Okay, first, there’s no specific hair color designation. Pink merely struck the All Father’s fancy at the time. As for my hair, I was born like this. The same way it was decided you should have violet eyes, I was given pink hair.”

    Shana’s eyes widen upon hearing they are now violet. That is also her only reaction to the unexpected information. She wants to pull out a mirror from her dimensional storage to check, but contains her curiosity, feeling that doing so would be too suspicious of an action. Instead, she thinks back to the other impossible eye colors she has seen since arriving and asks, “Is there a point to distinguishing us like this?”

    “It’s the gods marking us for greatness, an honor anyone and everyone would sacrifice their lives for. For someone like you to have such a distinction is unheard of though.”

    Shana purses her lips at the comment. The pride that laced Geira’s words as she answered disgusts her. She keeps the emotion from her voice and she says, “Does it make us stronger or something?”

    “No, only apostles receive blessings. Although, even then, there is a line of thought that believes their achievements stem from their own natural abilities.”

    Shana gives a flat, “So then they’re just expecting us to throw everything aside and wash their feet? How annoying. I have no need for some meddling god to brand me with some sort of stigma. This life is mine to live and mine alone.”

    Thea feels a chill run down her spine at the open blasphemy. Considering Shana’s position in the world, she can’t help but find her bold words, to a Valkyrie no less, terrifying.

    Geira herself tenses at the remark. Her hand twitches for the spear mounted on Vor’s side, but takes a deep breath and maintains her hold over Vor’s reins. Recalling Shana’s black hair, she tries to imagine the sort of life she must have lived so far. Upon considering the hardships and fear the girl must have gone through on a daily basis, she wonders if she too would come to despise the heavens had her circumstances been the same.

    Thea, fearful of the direction their conversation is going, jumps in on the silence. Her words are clear, but quick. “Shana, I’ve been wondering, but what brought you here from… I believe the name was Ponamu?”

    Geira says, “Actually, I’ve been wanting to ask you that for a while now too. I meant to earlier, but then all this happened.”

    Shana grows quiet as she recalls walking down the street while joking around with her friends. “There was a blinding light, then I was here.”

    Geira tilts her head. “That’s it?”
    “That’s it.”

    The silence that falls upon them strains the curiosity Geira and Lyra have into an awkward feeling of being duped. Geira soon loses her patience and snaps. “That doesn’t tell us a damn thing!”

    Shana responds with an indifferent, “Yeah, I want answers too.”

    Geira isn’t sure what to make of Shana’s statement, but laughs at the strange acceptance in her tone.

    “Shana you’re a complete stranger to these lands. Can you at least try to sound worried?”
    “Being worried isn’t going to help me get home.”
    “Do you even know where you are?”
    “The Holy Aelia Empire.”
    “Fine, so you’re somewhat familiar with the geography. What exactly are you planning to do next?”
    “I guess I’ll just wander around?”
    “Be serious about this!”
    “I am dead serious.”
    “What do you mean, ‘dead’!?”

    Lyra chuckles at their exchange. In her case, more out of relief at the new direction the conversation is flowing than Shana’s frivolous attitude. To keep the conversation flowing on that happier page, she says, “You’re really brave, Shana.”

    Geira says, “Foolish is more like it. A cute girl going off on her own in place she knows nothing about? There’s nothing inspiring about it, just blind recklessness. Even with your hair, scoundrels are going to be throwing themselves at you in droves. If your not careful, some aristocrat might even take you away.”

    Shana blanches at their remarks. Despite sitting behind everyone and not being visible to them, she flexes an arm and says, “I’m a lot stronger than I look.”

    Thea answers before Geira can say anything, “That’s true. I would have never imagined anyone being able to swing such a massive sword.”

    Geira gives a noncommittal, “hmm,” as she recalls Shana running on air as she beheaded a cyclops. She pulls Vor’s reigns as they emerge from the forest and step onto the road. “We’ll need to hurry or gate will close on us. Try not to talk or you’ll bite your tongue.”

    Vor dashes down the forest road. Then, the moment an opening in the tree line appears, he leaps. His wings spread, and with a powerful flap, they lift him and his riders over the trees. Another flap lifts them even higher.

    Thea gasps at a view only visible from mountains or very tall towers. Her eyes dart left and right, moving from the sea of trees underneath all the way to the horizon, taking in everything that lays in between.

    Shana herself merely looks down from Vor’s back to the treetops below. After adjusting her skirt to keep it from fluttering too much, she looks around a bit more. Then, she says, “How high can he fly?”

    Geira jolts at Shana’s complete disregard to her earlier warning. While wondering if calling her out on it would be pointless, she says, “Past the clouds.” Then, upon hearing Thea gasp in wonder, she shakes her head.

    Geira wishes her hair were longer so that it would billow in the wind and into Shana’s mouth. Then, while chuckling to herself, she reminds the girl to keep her mouth closed before continuing where she left off. “It’s not as amazing as it sounds. When you’re up that high, it’s really cold, the wind is strong enough to blow you away, and it gets hard to breath.”

    Shana, not giving Geira’s warning any mind, stares at the distant city of Ostia. Its towering walls, invisible from within the forest, seem to grow taller with each passing moment. Despite the three of them already being high above the trees, those walls are even higher. They’re so massive, she can’t make out the city being protected behind them. Instead, all she sees is a jarring, out of place, grey forced between a verdant sea and the blue sea.

    Something else unrelated~
     
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  4. HNCKrstl

    HNCKrstl 《The Đevîl's Cøñsørt》『♡Hayyan's Female Version』

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    Pages 9 - 15? :giggle::blobpeek:
     
  5. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    Those walls, in her opinion, are a true feat of magic engineering. However, there is one thing she can’t understand about them. “Why are those walls so ridiculously high? Heck, they’re even taller than the ones at the capital.”

    Geira makes a face at Shana’s question. Internally, she questions Shana’s capabilities with magic, but she answers without letting any of it seep into her voice. “They’re not, we’re actually flying above the them. That’s all an illusion generated by the barrier.”

    Shana grows silent at the reply. After a few moments, she grumbles out, “…Well, I feel cheated.”

    Geira laughs, much to Shana’s frustration, and continues, “I’m guessing you don’t have barriers like that in Ponamu? They deter monster attacks and give the people peace of mind. Honestly though, Ostia is over doing it. Barriers this imposing are just for showing off affluence.”

    Shana examines the “wall,” but can’t find anything to suggest it isn’t an illusion. No matter how long she stares, all she sees is a solid “stone wall.” When Vor lands by the front gate, the first thing she does upon sliding off his back is zip over to touch it. Still, all she feels under her fingers is “rugged concrete.”

    The guards were rushing over to stop her, but stopped at Geira’s call. Then, upon seeing the girl merely running her hand over the wall without doing anything else, they exchange baffled expressions. They then turn to Geira who shrugs and shakes her head. After a bit longer, she says, “Shana, what are you doing? Everyone is staring.”

    Shana knocks on the “concrete wall” with her knuckles and spins around. Her voluminous hair flutters and wraps around her face, and she is once more forced to part it away. When she slides a hand underneath it to lift it aside, she only succeeds in freeing a portion of her face and leaving the other half hidden. Yet even then, a lock drapes down and hooks around her cheek, serving to assert the marvel shining from her eyes and smile. “This barrier is amazing. It magnifies its authenticity by adopting the properties of the wall underneath it.”

    Geira sighs. “What are you talking about? There is no wall underneath. That’s 100 percent barrier.”

    Thea is the only one who noticed the guard captain reach for his sword at Shana’s remark. Realizing that Shana might have breached upon a sensitive topic, she says, “More importantly, Geira, Shana still needs new clothes. That shirt she is wearing is probably starting to get painful.”

    Shana is taken aback by the comment and cups her chest with a hand. “Well, it kinda is… But it’s because of my shirt?”

    Geira slaps her forehead at Shana mindlessly accentuating one of her assets. While the watching guards try to get a better look, she has Vor trot over to the girl and hoists her side saddle onto her lap. With Shana sandwiched between herself and Lyra, she marches Vor through the gate.

    Lyra, shifting forward to make room for Shana, is shocked at how smoothly they are entering the city. “But… don’t we need to check in?”

    Geira chuckles and say, “Did you forget? I’m a valkyrie. Being with me gets you all a face pass.”

    Then, as Geira continues to have Vor trot down the street, Shana looks back at the wall. Unlike the impossible height it had from the outside, they are roughly 10 stories tall.

    Despite Geira saying, “This is the illusion from inside.” Shana suspects that is the true wall itself.

    After a bit, Thea turns and says, “Shana, was that mana inference?”

    Shana pauses for a moment at the question. She repeats the word to herself before then saying, “You mean my mana pulse reading? What you said sounds much better.”

    Geira frowns at Shana’s abstained denial. “Mana inference is a highly advanced technique that requires both mastery over various types of magic and an intimate familiarity with mana that can only be born with years of spell casting.”

    A wry smile crosses Shana’s face at Geira’s accusation. Mana inference is a technique she accidentally discovered on her own. Nothing suggesting it even existed was written anywhere in her academy’s archives. Attempts to teach it to others also ended in failure. While many wrote it off as her just being special, she theorized it stemmed more from everyone’s dependance on specialization. Never did she expect the answer to be treated as common knowledge. It makes her suspect her sudden arrival in that land might actually be a blessing in disguise.

    She gestures to herself, her fingers fluttering with a ballerina’s grace as they lay over her chest, and says, “My body… when it comes to mana, it’s a bit special.”

    Geira rolls her eyes, thinking Shana is merely messing around. “Right, and you also happen to be a master magician?”

    Shana’s smile turns into a grin of unabashed confidence. “I’m first rate.”

    Geira looks Shana over, pausing at her modest breasts. The girl’s slender hips prove themselves firm and filling within her lap. “I wouldn’t exactly call you first rate, but you are an alluring gem.”

    Shana turns her head at the compliment. Unable to make sense of it, she stares at Geira for a follow up, but all she gets is a sly grin.

    She soon gives up and settles for taking in the city. The shops are grander and larger than she expected, but soon realizes that magic has probably been used at every single step from producing the building materials and transporting them, to putting the materials in place and fortifying what is created. Even the ten story glass covered building with self-opening doors loses its awe as she mentally pictures what its construction must have been like.

    Another self opening door on a different building, however, keeps her thinking. Yet, the more samples she sees, the more confused she gets. She pushes herself off Vor, but Geira’s hand swoops down before she can finish sliding off and catches her by the stomach.

    Geira’s head turns towards the Shana as she sets the girl back in place. She keeps a firm grip on the girl’s side as her eyes lock onto the girl. Then, with annoyance laces her voice, she says, “And where do you think you’re going?”

    Shana, with her investigation denied to her, says, “How do those sliding doors work?” She settles for the fastest, but less satisfying, method of acquiring her answer.

    Geira stares for a moment, trying to make sense of Shana’s question, and gives a deadpan, “What?”
    “Those doors keep sliding open. How do they work?”

    Geira continues to stare before saying, “You’re joking…”
    “No, really.”

    Doubt laces Thea’s voice as she says, “You didn’t have them where you’re from?”
    “Nothing like that.”

    “What- Ahm,” Geira clears her throat, catching herself as she was starting to berate the lack of magical development of Shana’s home. “You can’t take a guess?”

    Shana shrugs, “I want to say there is a magical field in front of the door with the instruction to open the door whenever someone enters its space, but not only would something like that be ridiculously complex, it’s incomplete. Those doors clearly distinguish humans from animals and intention. They only open when someone wants to enter. Unless it’s for some sort of test, or to show off, no one is going to weave together such intricate magic for a task that mundane.”

    Geira chuckles and says, “So much for being first rate.”

    Shana pauses, somewhat annoyed she isn’t receiving an answer, says, “No helping it, magic went down a different route where I’m from.”

    Geira’s glee deepens at the impatience growing on Shana’s face. Wanting to see more, she says, “It’s actually quite basic.”
    “You have no intention of telling me, do you?”
    “Oh, come on. Show us you can live up to your title of first rate.”
    “Then let me go investigate one.”
    “No can do, you are staying right here where I can see you.”

    Thea, feeling needles crawling up her skin at their back and forth, gives a meek, “I would like to know to…”

    Geira, looks at Thea in surprise. Wondering if she took her teasing too far, she sighs and says, “They aren’t real.”

    Shana blanks at the explanation. Her head flicks in the direction of an opening door where she then watches someone enter a building. The door the slides shut behind the person. “What?”

    Geira adopts the tone of a teacher and says, “I mean just that. Those doors aren’t real, they’re just a combination of illusion magic and barrier magic. The illusion shapes the barrier. Doorways naturally have doors. You know that, I know that, everyone knows that. Therefore, when we see the barrier, we see a door. And because we know doors open, they will open as long as we have the desire for them to be opened.”

    Shana jumps off Vor’s back. Her skirt billows but is jolted down as Geira, again, catches her by the stomach and once more forces the girl onto her lap. “We have some at the temple. You can investigate them to your hearts content later tonight, so quite trying to run off.”

    Shana clicks her tongue, but instead of complaining, falls into thought. Illusion magic isn’t a discipline she is well versed in, but what Geira explained goes more than a step further than anything she is familiar with. A strong enough illusion can influence the real world, but for thoughts to influence the illusion in turn sounds more like quantum physics than psychology.

    While lost in thought, she gives a semi-distracted, “Thanks, Thea.”

    “Hey, shouldn’t you be thanking me!?”

    Shana gives the valkyrie a glance before returning to examine the automated doors they pass by. At the same time, she says, “Like hell I’ll thank you. You only said anything cause Thea asked.”

    After some time, Vor trots into a large, stone, temple. Unlike the sleek, surrounding, buildings, it has a rugged appearance and was constructed by stacking cold grey rocks atop of one another. Its weathered appearance, developed over countless storms, gives it a grave solemness. As they enter its large courtyard, Thea says, “You aren’t taking us to the main temple?”

    “There’s no need to go all the way to the center of this city.” Geira then winks as she adds, “Besides, I’m the one asking the questions.”

    Attendants soon appear to help the three off Vor. Only when Geira shakes Shana does she return from her thoughts and realize a hand is being held up to her. She stares at, confused for a moment, before ignoring it and sliding off Vor on her own.

    Getting up, she presses her hands against her lower back for a light stretch. Then, ignoring the soreness in her bottom from riding on Vor, she steps away to give space for Thea and Geira to be helped off. That is when she notices men are standing ready a bit of a distance away. Suspecting something, she glances back to Vor and confirms that attendants helping are all women.

    “Seriously, what a stupid horse…”

    Geira, overhearing Shana’s muttering, frowns as she says, “Come again?”

    Shana gestures at the surrounding men with her head. With a deadpanned toned, she says, “They keeping their distance for a reason?”

    Geira averts her eyes at Shana’s stare. That Thea is curiously listening as well makes her more reluctant to answer. After some time, she clicks her tongue and grabs Thea’s hand. She then reaches for Shana’s while saying, “Come on, let’s eat and get washed up for bed. We can save everything else for tomorrow.”

    While Thea was slow to evade Geira’s grasp, Shana isn’t. She twists out of the way with nimble footwork and says, “I can walk.”

    With the words, “Whatever, let’s go,” Geira brings the two into the temple, leaving Vor and her belongings to the attendants.

    The first room they enter is an armory. Lining the walls are racks of weapons ranging from swords, pole arms, and maces along with shields of various shapes and sizes such as bucklers and kite shields. They are polished and organized. The floor, however, is a mess. Various types of metal, leather, and cloth armor lay strewn about. Getting to the door on the other side is akin to navigating a maze.

    Geira sighs at the sight and says, “With everything that’s happening, we’re a bit stretched thin. Everything unessential keeps getting pushed off for later and this is the result.”

    Confusion fills Lyra’s face as she says, “Armor is unessential?”

    Geira chuckles. “Sure, it’s useful against smaller creatures like orcs and goblins, but that’s it. Against something like a minotaur, and you’ll only end up being weighed down. ”

    Shana pauses and bends down to pick up a small pair of metallic wings. They are designed with cup like shapes and are held together by a thin strap of cloth. The cups themselves are lined with soft fur and can be hooked together with a small latch. “I can’t see these being useful for anything.”

    “That’s bikini armor. It’s for when we’re giving demonstrations to the public.” Geira then grins as she tosses over the bottom half and adds, “Try it on. Together with that sword of yours, you’ll look hot.”

    Shana blanches with disgust and tosses the useless armor aside.

    Geira laughs and says, “Your loss,” before taking the two further inside the temple.

    It’s as they enter the hallway that Shana is given the sensation of having entered a wooden ship. She didn’t notice within the armory, but the floor, walls, and ceiling are all made of wood. Glowing, orange, stones placed along the walls as illumination is the closest that comes to décor. Yet despite the barren state of it all, a warm, cozy, feeling permeates the area.

    The passage soon gives way to a vast room containing a massive marble mural. That room, larger than the armory, seems to have been specifically made to house it. Carved out and painted on it is a massive tree. An eagle rests on a branch, a stag stands by the trunk, and a serpent slithers over the roots. Despite the depiction, Shana finds whole thing an exquisite testament to greco-roman culture.

    That brusque fusion of culture brings something else to Shana’s attention. She didn’t have time to dwell on on the matter earlier with everything that was happening, but now that she has a moment to think, it’s starting to eat at her. She looks to Geira and says, “Why do you have a pegasus?”

    Thea frowns as she tries to make sense of the question. “Shana, what are you talking about? Valkyrie have always ridden pegasus.”

    Shana shakes her head. “No, no, the original pegasus was sired by Poseidon. Greek, not Norse.” She then points at the mural. “Same with this conundrum.”

    Geira is shocked at Shana’s knowledge to the point that it seeps into her voice. “How do you know that? That’s something only the most ancient of texts mention.”

    Thea is taken aback by the outburst. Her hair rises and whips around as her head flicks towards Geira in disbelief. “Wait, that’s true!?”

    Geira clears her throat. While she is shocked that Shana of all people knows such a deep piece of history, answer such question is also one of her duties. She looks between the two girls and says, “You know this, but back in the past, the gods warred against one another. They were reaching a point of no return and they all knew it. Lord Jupiter, in an attempt to avert annihilation, offered a herd of pegasus to the All Father and he accepted.”

    ***

    Geira’s morning stroll comes to an abrupt end just before she can enter the courtyard. While the rings and chimes of metal striking and sliding against metal have guided her out of bed for years, seeing Shana swinging a sword longer than she is tall roots her within the armory door frame. Depending on the angle, the girl is even able to somewhat vanish from sight behind the blade too.

    The sun’s burning rays remind Geira of herself. She moves to the building’s shade and decides to observe Shana’s form along with the other members of the temple. Now that the sun isn’t glaring into her eyes, she notices the Shana is drenched with sweat. Her oversized, “Hawaiian,” shirt clings to her body, leaving her petite frame, and lack of underwear, apparent for all the onlookers.

    That her borrowed shorts are barely visible beneath said shirt make for a very risqué show.

    Geira continues to watch Shana circle the zweihander in a figure 8 like pattern around herself, maneuvering a hilt that’s more than half her arm’s length around her own body the same way a stream funnels around a tube. Each step Shana takes is controlled and decisive. Despite her thin arms, neither the blade’s length nor its ridiculous width affect the balance of her swings. Watching her is like watching a work of art.

    It’s as Geira steps closer to call out to her that she notices the gouges cut across the ground. Realizing Shana made them while practicing makes her reconsider her previous assessment. “Careful you don’t hurt yourself.”

    Shana finishes a final circular swing before twirling the sword with the fingers of a single hand. The blade flicks upward and she rests the dull segment just before the parrying hook against her shoulder.

    Geira says, “You’d have been better off doing this in the bikini armor.”

    Shana makes a faces as she wipes aside the hair clinging to her forehead from sweat with her free hand. Now that it has been layered, it no longer acts as the heavy curtain it had been the day before. Regardless, her thick, wavy, locks contain a life of their own as move to shield one side of her face while lovingly wrap around the other.

    “You wear it if you like it so much.”

    “No, I’m serious. First yesterday and now this? Your chest must be killing you.” Geira then laughs as Shana’s expression darkens with annoyance, confirming her suspicion.

    With a, “Whatever,” Shana pivots her zweihander over her shoulder and lets it slide down her back. Yet instead of impaling ground, it vanishes without even falling past her waist. She then says, “So, did you want something?”

    Geira’s grin deepens at Shana’s blatant changing of the topic. “Not really. When I woke up and saw that you had packed your futon, I thought you had left. I was not expecting to find you swinging that.” The mirth lacing her words, however, comes from the happiness at seeing Shana still there.

    Shana’s feels a lump take root in her chest at Geira’s joy. She isn’t irritated by the girl. She doesn’t dislike her either. Instead, very much to her own surprise and confusion, speaking to Geira is comforting. Not even a full day has passed since they first met, yet that was seems to have been enough for her. It’s enough to allow the unease she has been keeping to herself slip free.

    Then, as Geira says, “I don’t know what’s more of a monstrosity, that sword or you arm strength,” Shana’s expression clouds over. Surprised by the sudden shift in emotion, Geira falls silent. “Sorry, calling you monstrous was going to far. Honestly, I can’t see you as anythi—”

    “I tried grabbing the soap during the bath last night and missed. It ended up being just outside my reach…”

    Geira makes a wry smile as recalls the shock on Shana’s face. She’s tempted to try and tease the girl, but keeps it from her voice as she says, “Yeah, you ended up knocking it onto the ground.”

    “I should have been able to grab it…” Shana looks up and stares straight into Geira’s eyes, “Back when we first met, my eyes were slightly higher than yours. Now, my head barely reaches past your mouth. Earlier this morning, I went to serve myself a glass of water, but the glass was again just outside my reach.”

    Geira stares at Shana for moment. Despite her doubts, she speaks the parts she wants and hopes to be true. “You wore that guise for a long time. I can’t even imagine what it must be like, the frustration of readjusting to everything about yourself. However, sacrificing everything for Lyra was really brave and noble of you, and I will not forget that. No matter what anyone else says, I will be right here to support you as you adjust back.”

    Shana closes her eyes and takes a deep breath. A light smile plays at her lips as she regains control over her unease. Nothing has changed about her troubles. She can’t even accept anything Geira said to her either. Regardless, moving forward now feels a bit easier. She looks back into Geira’s eyes and says, “Thanks.”

    Geira makes a sly grin. “You know, despite that ghastly strength of yours, you really are just a cute girl when you smile like that.”

    Shana clicks her tongue at the remark. “Rude, I’ll have you know that both my parents are human.”

    Again, something totally not related~
     
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  6. HNCKrstl

    HNCKrstl 《The Đevîl's Cøñsørt》『♡Hayyan's Female Version』

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    Shana is cute :LOL: Glass and soap out of reach? :ROFLMAO:

    :blobspearpeek: I wanted to investigate those doors too :hmm: Geira totally fooled Shana saying they will go to temple and check those doors tonight, and then it's already morning next day? :cry: ..why...
     
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  7. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    “Yeah? Well, you don’t smell like it. Come on, let’s get you washed up for breakfast. Thea’s probably up by now, too.”

    Shana’s hand thrust up to stop Geira. Her face burns a light red as she says, “I can wash myself, thanks.” Then after staring Geira down, she mumbles out, “Do you mind lending me another pair of shorts?”

    Geira sighs as she says, “Yeah, I’ll bring them to you in a bit. What about a shirt? Or do you have even more hidden away?”

    “I’m good. I’ve got loads.”

    “Great, I suppose I’ll question Thea in the meantime.”

    Shana thanks her and walks for the bathroom. Yet the moment her back is turned to the other girl, her expression falls. Recalling that earlier display bothers her. She doesn’t hate that she was encouraged, but the fact she needed encouragement to begin with.

    She steps into the armory muttering to herself, “What’s wrong with me?”

    ***

    Shana’s expression twists with a myriad of emotions before falling flat as she stares at the bras that were forced into her hands. Reluctance is etched across her face. At the same time, she question how such clothing came to exist there.

    She then looks up at Geira. The valkyrie’s expression is like a wolf’s, one eager for her prey to finally relent. After a moment’s silence, she says, “I’ve been thinking about it, but these will only get in my way.”

    Geira’s expression flashes from anticipation to shock and then frustration. “What do you mean you don’t need them!? It hasn’t even been 24 hours, and you’re already obviously dying from pain.”

    “Quit exaggerating.”

    “You’ve been tugging on your shirt every step you take. Heck, you wince whenever you turn too fast.”

    Even Thea, who was dragged there by Geira, is off put by Shana’s remark. “If you don’t like them, we can find you some different ones.”

    Geira shakes her head with a firm, “No. Not happening. The white one makes a great contrast with her skin and hair. With the right expression, it’ll create an amazing impression of purity and innocence. The pink, red, and violet match wonderfully with her eyes and can be alternated as needed. The black… well, that speaks for itself.”

    Shana shoves the bras back to Geira. “Yeah, pass. I was serious when I said they’ll get in my way. I don’t want my back covered with anything. The whole reason I wear Hawaiian shirts is because they’re easy to take off.”

    Geira frowns as she says, “Wait, are you planning to get something with an open back? Look, I get armor isn’t really useful against a lot of what’s out there, but you still need some cover.”

    “I’ll wear a jacket.”

    Thea, seeing that neither Shana nor Geira will yield to the other, steps in. She places a hand upon Geir’a arm and says, “She’s the one whose going to be wearing it. How about finding her a cute padded shirt with a matching jacket instead? Then, with the right hat and pants, she’ll look stunning.”

    Shana sighs upon seeing Geira fire back suggestions of her own. If not because Geira was pay for the new clothes, she would have gone off to buy her own clothes. That she isn’t familiar with the current trends is more an inconvenience than anything else. Such is how she feels when Geira gives her white, pink, red, violet, and black panties.

    They are tie-on’s. Instead of using elastic to cling to her waist, they have to be tied into staying in place. Shana’s face once more flashes a myriad of emotions before sighing out in reluctant acceptance. “You really like these colors.”

    Geira snaps back with, “What I said still stands.”

    By the time they finish shopping, Shana has the clothes she’ll be wearing out in her hands: alight pink, open back, top that ties around her neck, a sleeved, forest green, jerkin, jacket, and simple, men’s, pants loose enough that they allow her to comfortably kick others in the face.

    While she gets changed, Geira puts the rest into a bag for her to toss into her dimensional storage.

    As they leave the magically cooled store, Shana says, “I’m surprised at how similar these clothes are to where I’m from. The materials are different, but that’s about it.” She then promptly takes off her jacket and tosses it into her dimensional storage. The summer heat is too overbearing for the extra layer.

    Geira scoffs and says, “I’m more surprised that your wearing that top with breasts like that. They need to be at least a size bigger to really pull it off. You barely have any center or side view what so ever.”

    Shana glances down into the the V created by the tie-on’s around her neck. While there are a pair of bulges underneath, very little lift is created. Instead, they are well covered and firmly secured in place. At a complete loss on what to say due to lack of interest in the matter, she gives a clueless, “They’re… fine?”

    Geira groans out a sigh as she covers her face with a hand. “Well, it’s not like you don’t look cute, but you could look so much better.”

    “Who cares? They’ve been enchanted so they won’t break or burn away, right? That’s all that really matters.”

    Thea, fearing Geira might drag them all into another clothing store if the tension continues rise, cuts in. Her voice is calm, but quick and firm as she says, “Only to a degree. A good sword can still cut it. By the way, it’s been hours since we had breakfast. How about getting something to eat?”

    Once Geira begins to list options of where they can eat, Thea sighs. Her biggest fear, Geira dragging them into another store and potentially forcing new clothes on her, has been averted. With that, she has again been able to keep attention off of herself.

    That act in general is proving much easier than she had anticipated. Geira, as a valkyrie, naturally draws attention to herself. Her well toned frame, towering height for a girl, endowed breasts, and pink hair are all eyes catchers. Shana is much smaller and slimmer in comparison, but her complete disregard towards displaying her own voluminous black hair makes her stand out in a different way. The two can draw attention regardless of where they go.

    Thea had thought eyes would thus be drawn to her simply by being with them, and had prepared herself for the worst, but nothing has happened. If anything, the ceaseless back and forth between Geira and Shana keeps even the onlookers too on edge to notice anything save for them.

    Regardless, she is terrified. Never had she thought she’d be brazenly walking down such a busy avenue, much less without covering herself. So far, she doesn’t seem to be in any danger.

    “What do you two prefer? Something that makes your mouth melt into heaven, or something that spreads soothing warmth from your tongue all across your face and makes you sigh out in bliss?”

    Thea is brought back to her senses at Geira’s sudden question. Realizing she may never have a chance to eat any of the two ever again, she opts for the outrageous sounding choice. “I would love to taste heaven.”

    Geira nods with anticipation as she says, “You definitely won’t regret it. How about you, Shana?”

    “Shana…?” Geira calls out to the girl upon not receiving a reply. She turns at the same time and ends up spinning in a complete circle without seeing her. “Where… where in the world did she go!?”

    Thea freezes. She was so lost in her own thoughts, she never even noticed they had been separated. All she can recall is, “Sh- she was with us when we left the store. And we only turned that one time.”

    “Damn it, she got lost!” She takes Thea’s hand to keep from also separating from her while adding, “Come on, that’s probably where it happened.”

    ***

    Shana rips a wanted poster free from a community bulletin board and leaves. When she paused by the bulletin board to see if there was be anything useful on it, she never expected to see herself. Although, when she recalls her rampage through the royal palace, ending up branded a notorious criminal should have been obvious. Furthermore, Ostia is the closest city to the holy capital.

    Pursing her lips, she looks back down at the poster as she walks. Despite having stared at it for minutes just earlier, she is still bewildered by it.

    The poster reads:
    Very dangerous. Wanted alive.

    Other than her picture, no information save the lie about being ‘dangerous’ is offered about her. Furthermore, despite everything she did while there, she’s wanted alive. Either she impressed them or strings were pulled, of which she leans towards the latter. Remembering brings a wry smile to her face. Despite all boasting from Lucius, they were not ready for someone like her.

    She then shoves the poster into her pocket, making a note to burn it in private. It’s then, while brushing away the lock of hair threatening to drop over her right eye, that she notices Geira and Thea are no longer with her. After looking around, she concludes she must have gotten separated from them.

    “Well, finding them shouldn’t be too hard.”

    That’s when she notices a crowd further ahead. As she gets closer, she hears cheering and along with calls of, “Who’s next? Beat me and you get all this gold! Come on!”

    Shana squeezes her way through and finds a woman, “Julia,” with a large build holding a broad sword. She is about as big as Geira, but with more muscle. At her feet lays a pouch filled with gold coins.

    As she steps forward, all the cheering and hollering dies. Everyone stares at her in shock and fear. When she looks around, those her eyes fall upon flinch and look away. At the same time, she notices a growing sense of unease. She mutters to herself under her breath, “So this is what Thea meant…”

    Julia calls out to Shana once she reaches the center. Irritation laces her voice as she says, “You’ve got guts walking out like this, I’ll give you that much. Can you even pay the participation fee?”

    Shana reaches behind her back and pulls out a bar of silver. She then lobs it to Julia while saying, “That good enough for you?”

    Julia squeezes the bar and claps it against her hand. Smiling with satisfaction, she tosses it into a second pouch before saying, “Okay, yeah. That works. I’ve never thrashed a black haired, bitch before. Filthy tart, you’re going to regret ever sneaking in to this city. Once this is over, I’m tossing you into the waterway.”

    “I’m Shana.” With those words, she traces a electric violet colored circle in the air with a finger by rotating her wrist. As the space within the circle blurs, she spins the disk onto its side with her fingers and eases it away from herself. Then, before she can fully extend her arm, her hand sinks and vanishes within the space.

    Without needing to look, she grasps her zweihander with a reverse grip and pulls it out. She slides its long handle out of the space followed by crescent hilt. Then, as its parrying hooks appear, she hoists it overhead. She following through with the motion as he pulls the rest free and twirls it around with her fingers before lowering the tip towards Julia’s face.

    Julia dashes forward with a scoff, “You’re a bit strong, but so what?” She skirts around Shana’s zweihander and swings her broadsword.

    Shana yanks the hilt of her zweihander towards her head. Keeping the angle downward, her hand returns to a reverse grip as she braces her free hand against the blade’s ridiculously wide, flat side in order to use it as a shield. However, instead of remaining still to take the blow, she steps back, returns her hold to a normal grip, and snaps out her sword.

    Julia ducks underneath the swing and grins as she feels gust of wind brush over the top of her light brown hair. She readies her sword and stabs towards Shana’s neck.

    Shana, already extending her weapon, cannot pull it back in time. As Julia’s sword draws closer, she leans back and kicks the brunette across the head. Then, while Julia is stumbling over to regain her balance, she circles her zweihander around and stops it just before Julia’s neck.

    Julia tenses upon noticing Shana’s sword, and with grit teeth, is guided into standing back up. As she meets Shana’s eyes, she forces herself to says, “Fine, I lose.”

    Shana makes a light smile, twirls her zweihander over her shoulder, and lets it disappear behind her back. Then, while brushing aside the lock of hair partially falling over her eye, she says “I’m a lot stronger than I look.”

    Julia’s face flushes red as she snarls, “Look, take the money and scram.”

    Shana gives her a lighthearted “thanks,” takes the bag of money, also lets it vanish behind her back, and turns to leave. The crowd before her panics and parts, creating a wide space for her to walk through. Curious, she turns to a random guy and winks. He pales and runs away screaming.

    While wondering what came over her to even do something like that, she also realizes she shouldn’t stay there any longer. Everyone’s fear could lead to a lynching with a single word.

    ***

    “Valkyrja Geira, I would have a word with you.”

    Geira stands straight as she recognizes the collected tone. She grabs Thea’s hand as she turns around and squeezes it upon meeting a pair of dark eyes that glimmer like the night sky.
    “Imperator Lucius Commodus, may the blessings of the All Father, Odin, be upon you. For us to encounter one another here surely must have been fated. How may this valkyrie be of service?”

    Not once does she show any indication of bending her knee to him, the man the god emperor is raising to serve as the future Legatus Legionis of the Holy Aelia Empire. Instead, she moves to hide Thea behind herself.

    Lucius ignores her actions and merely gestures to his four companions.

    Geira’s eyes widen upon seeing two of them have golden eyes, the sign of the imperial family. She steadies her breath and says, “I understand, please come with me.” Then, with an even firmer hold on Thea’s hand, leads everyone to the temple.

    Thea finds the silence overbearing. Everytime they pass by an alley, she wants nothing more than to yank her hand free and flee down it. Yet, with the eyes of Antoninus, the son of the god emperor, and Faustina, the daughter of the god emperor, glued to her back, she realizes she wouldn’t get far. She feels them daring her to run so that they might skewer her through the back with their swords.

    She can only pray something creates a big enough distraction for her. Those prayers, however, stop at mere thoughts. There is no one for her to pray to. If she were to try, she fears she might receive divine retribution. At the very least, she wishes she still had her hood to pull over her head. In the end, she finds herself desperately squeezing Geira’s hand.

    The moment they reach the temple, attendants have a room ready for them during the time it takes to walk there. As they sit down, Geira makes sure Thea is seated right beside her and a fair distance away from everyone else.

    Geira looks over her “guests,” as she waits for the room to clear. Once they are the only ones remaining, she looks them in their eyes as she speaks. She takes advantage of her position to refrain from granting them the etiquette dictated for speaking to them and says, “Welcome Sebastos Antoninus Titus Germanicus; Sebaste Faustina Annia Germanicus, Imperator Lucius Commodus. It has been a few years since we last met and I am delighted to see all of you in good health. Pray tell, how may this Valkyrja be of service to you?”

    Antonious clears his throat. His golden eyes move from Geira to Thea. He then gestures to man and woman with them and says, “Before we start, allow me to introduce our noble companions, Zachary Aurelius and his sister, Arial Aurelius. The gods have deemed it appropriate to grant us Apostles for these trying times.”

    Zachary and Arial both stand. They make fists with their right hands, place them over their hearts, and give light bows. Zachary’s green eyes are firm and inspire confidence, just like his tone. “We swear to cleanse these lands of all the threaten them.”

    Arial’s face shines like her honey gold hair as she follows up on Zachary’s oath with a soothing smile.

    Geira is at a loss for words from awe at who her guests are. It’s only as she hears Thea gasp out does she recall the fear that dwelled in the girl’s eyes when they first entered the room. Using that as a tether to return to her senses, she stands and extends her greeting. “I am Geira, Valkyrja of the All Father. I welcome you both as fellow protectors of this land and extend the All Father’s blessings onto you.”

    At the same time, she notices that Zachary and Arial do not resemble each in the slightest. Their cheek bones, foreheads, noses, and chins have nothing in common. That stated, she can’t deny either of them as attractive. That they are dressed in simple, plain, clothes to blend in with the populace does nothing to hid that.

    Lucius speaks as they reseat themselves. “Valkyrja Geira, I am certain you have been made aware, but chaos grows thicker across the land with each passing day. The gods have graced us with Apostles, but our strength is still lacking. We have come to you to request you accompany us as well save this land.”

    Geira closes her eyes to break away from Lucius’ starry night eyes and takes a deep breath. It’s then she recalls being informed earlier that morning of an attempted assassination in the holy capital. She also remembers Shana charging without hesitation to rescues Thea from a pack of cyclopes, but she also used Thea’s blood to undo her disguise. Right now, she cannot discern if she did that in order to reassure the girl or because the current disguise was compromised. All she does know is that Shana has black hair, and that she’s a bit of an airhead.

    She exhales and glances at the five before her. Starry night sky eyes, two sets of golden eyes, emerald eyes, and gentle azure eyes all stare at her in anticipation. With her fist against her heart, she lowers her head and says, “Your invitation honors me. Truly, embarking on such a quest would bring honor to the All Father. Yet with great regret, I must refuse.”

    Geira looks up to faces everyone and continues, “This Valkyrja has already dedicated herself to another quest of equal importance for the world. Under the name of the All Father, I pledge see this quest through.”

    Thea gasps. Not only has Geira taken the Odin’s oath, she realizes that part of the reason is to protect her.

    Lucius glances at the black haired girl and allows for a light smile to play at his lips. He nods in approval as he says, “Truly a shame, but I wish you the best on your quest. Perhaps we shall me again along our respective journeys.”

    That is when Arial glances out the window and gasps. Her expression fills with wonder and delight upon seeing Vor out in the courtyard.

    Antonious says, “Valkyrja Geira, perhaps you could introduce your majestic partner to us?”

    Geira needs all of her will power to keep her expression from falling flat. She sips some tea to calm herself and says, “Vor does not take well to meeting new people. Arial may approach him, but I kinda ask that the rest of you maintain your distance.”

    Geira then brings everyone outside. Then, along with Thea, she leads Arial to her partner.

    Vor, much to Geira’s annoyance, neighs in delight and rubs his head against a complete stranger. Arial laughs and rubs his neck, running her fingers though his silver white mane while calling him beautiful. Vor then lowers his front legs, indicating for his new friend to ride him.

    Arial turns to Geira who nods after a brief moment of intense internal anguish. Arial hops on, and the moment she is secured, Vor leaps into the air. He flys her around the courtyard three times before trotting to a landing beside Geira.

    As Geira is helping her down, Lucius walks over and pats the pegasus while saying, “This beast look quite friendly to me.”

    Vor slaps Lucius onto the ground with a wing as he screeches out a neigh and leaps onto his hind legs. Geira and Arial throw themselves in front of Vor before he can stomp down on Lucius, forcing him to flap his wings to pull away and keep from trampling the two ladies. Once Vor has all four legs on the ground, he snorts at Lucius and turns away.

    This is again not related~
     
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  8. HNCKrstl

    HNCKrstl 《The Đevîl's Cøñsørt》『♡Hayyan's Female Version』

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    Vor is the best~! :LOL::ROFLMAO:
     
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  9. One Perfect Veteran

    One Perfect Veteran [Red+White on Black] [Fish In A Sweater]

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    Hm, don't take me too seriously please. And, in advance, I am really really really sorry if you ever feel bad about what I am saying. If you feel I am saying some harsh and unfair things, I implore you to immediately ping me and tell me what an idiotic idiot I am and to let all your grievances about what I said out. I do not want to make you hurt at all. And please do not pay too much attention to what I am saying because I just got a little bit, no a lot excited about your passion project, so I could not help but let it all out here.

    Now, I have read and reread the prologue and the chapters. So, for the prologue, what I would say is that the premise is cool. I don't like it. I love it. The fantasiness of the setting. That bit about the gods being older than the world and that there was this epic fight with the Ancient of the Universe. It adds to the story and I can say that I really like the idea of exploring the mysteries of the world and uncovering bigger and bigger secrets that the prologue does not mention. From my point of view, the prologue is a biased bit some ambitious people started spreading to cover the truth of what has really happened. But, again, do not let my expectations weigh on you. I am just stating my impression here. Maybe I am getting all this wrong. Anything you come up with later will be cool anyway.

    Now, as to the story's main character... I would say that the idea is interesting. From what I read, I get the feeling you wanna make some setting in which Shana is that mysterious character, whose awesome past will be uncovered as the story progresses. I adore such settings. In my opinion, such a setting is a key to the plot escalating. Like, author explaining that Shana is such and such until something comes up and suddenly our perception changes of her completely. Until the author decides: "meh, you are no match for my supreme intellect, you rabble can't even comprehend the beginnings of the massive plot I am weaving, not to mention observe the whole grandiose picture I am painting." And suddenly, BAM and everything completely changes. Readers realize that the author treated them as fish before a fisherman and carefully and methodically sprinkled small pieces of bait throughout the chapters that are actually a prelude to something monumental we have not seen. I reeeeally like the idea. Though, again maybe I am completely wrong and my inattentive eyes can't see the truth hidden behind all the clues that you have already started to sprinkle throughout the chapters.

    Now let's see... well, I wanted to write more, but it seems you are getting a bit impatient, so I will briefly tell about my impression of the characters. First, Geira is that stoic and teasing onee-san character who is actually kind and overall lawful good. I get the impression that she treats the main character as someone under her care, treating her sternly and with suspicion of her origins. I understand that Geira is that person who has a strong personality who is used to taking the lead. The problem I have here is that sometimes she comes off as a little too strong. Like, she is sometimes too overbearing, overshadowing the main character along with Thea. What I think she needs is a little character development. But the story is young, though I can already see some of her inherent traits. She is too focused on boobs...

    And next let's get to Thea. Such characters as Thea, from my experience are the most disliked among the readers and anime watchers, why? Because not many of these people can relate to her. Though, I hate those haters, like seriously you think you are so awesome that you can leave such hateful comments? Like, try writing scripts yourself, you will realize you won't even be able to start not to mention to create a working character. Now, I realize that Thea has that dark accursed trait of having violet eyes. And that makes her fear everyone. But in my opinion, she relies too much on others and whenever she gets into trouble you cannot help but think, somebody come save her please. What I really am hyped for is for her to get character development. I get the feeling Thea is going to play some kind of major role in the future. Personally, if I had any mentionable writing skills, which I do not actually possess, I would go for Thea somehow getting to face some hardships alone and overcoming them alone or breaking over those hardships becoming a type of broken characters. Though, I kinda get the feeling this work is on the "good" side of the novels where reality is not that cruel. But personally I love timid character or hated character facing hardship and becoming strong or timid character breaking over not being able to do something and becoming cynical and cold blooded, but deep inside regarding those who were close to her, that character feels deep feelings for or something like that.

    As for Vor, I like how he is portrayed, often times creating comedic situations. Still, I have to mention that Vor sounds like he either does not have much worldly experience among the people or is just a little sheltered. Though, i do not actually know. Maybe Vor was actually the protagonist all along, a pegasus from heaven, who created the universe and thus is doing whatever he wants to.

    In the end, the last thing I wanna say is that I really wanna request to see more of the inner thoughts and feelings of the main character. I already like her a lot. But since Geira has such a big personality, sometimes the mc gets a little overshadowed. I am really hyped for what you would come up with next. Like really really hyped. But don't let it get to you please. It is not like I want to pressure you or anything. Considering how much work you do, this looks like a passion project.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2021
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  10. One Perfect Veteran

    One Perfect Veteran [Red+White on Black] [Fish In A Sweater]

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    Please omit the "not" from here otherwise there will be misunderstandings: "I would go for Thea somehow getting to face some hardships alone and not overcoming them alone or breaking over those hardships becoming a type of broken characters."
     
  11. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    Geira exhales in relief. She was afraid something like that would happen. However, she keeps her thoughts to herself, and instead turns to Arial to reevaluate her. While the Apostle’s expression is full of bewilderment, she did act without hesitation.


    Arial helps Lucius back onto his feet, asking him, “Are you alright?”


    Lucius growls out a, “Fine,” before then turning to Geria. “What was the meaning of that?”


    Geira lowers her head for a moment, but then lifts it and meets his stare head on. Her tone remains firm as she says, “My apologies, Imperator Lucius Commodus. However, as I mentioned, Vor truly does not take well to new people.”


    Lucius, realizing there is little he can say back to her, turns. He looks to Antonius and says, “I believe we are finished here, Sebastos Antoninus.”


    Antonius, understanding his friends frustration, nods. After a few words, he thanks Geira for her time and leads his group out of the temple.


    Only once they are out of sight does Geira sigh in relief. She turns to Vor an rubs his head. “What am I going to do with you…?” Despite her words, her expression is more pleased than exasperated.


    She then turns to Thea and says, “Be careful around Lucius. He’s complete and utter scum.”


    Thea glances to Vor while saying, “Because he knocked him to the ground?”


    Geira continues to pay Vor’s head. She considers her words for a moment before saying, “Vor won’t always act violently to people, but you can trust him when he does.”


    “But didn’t Vor hit Shana? She’s very clear with her feelings about him.”


    Geira pauses at the question. With a sigh, she says, “That was more of a swat. It was Vor saying, ‘Don’t touch me,’ if you would. With Lucius, he was saying more along the lines of, ‘I’m going to smash your brains out.’ Shana might be hiding a lot, but she I don’t believe she is a bad person.”


    Then, as Vor goes over to nuzzle his face against Thea’s, Geira adds, “And you look pretty trust worthy too. Anyway, now that they’re finally gone, let’s have lunch.”


    Thea pushes Vor’s face aside as she says, “What about Shana?”


    “She’s a big girl. She chose to walk off on her own, she can figure out her own lunch.”


    Thea averts her gaze. That was not what she was asking about, but she hesitates on whether or not she should be more clear. She is well aware that her safety at the moment depends entirely of Geira. While the valkyrie has noble intentions, she doesn’t want to gamble on what could happen should her mood be spoiled any further.


    Geira then laughs and says, “I’m kidding, I’m kidding. If anything happens, we’ll definitely hear about it faster by waiting here. Something is bound to turn up sooner or later.”


    ***


    Shana admires the vessels moored within the harbor created by Ostia’s walls. Even from a distance, she is given the impression of floating fortresses They are easily over 20 stories tall, well beyond the true height of the walls, and roughly around 500 meters in length, probably longer.


    “I really underestimated them. Ships like those could easily circle the planet.”


    None of the ships have masts either, making her wonder if they use magic to propel themselves forward or if they’ve developed some sort of propeller system. The thought then leads her to wonder if magic also keeps them together.


    As she walks closer, she notices that some of the smaller, private, vessels closer to the shore do have masts. More surprising, however, is that very few seem to be for military service. That said, there is a wall dividing the harbor far off in the distance. The few military vessels there may just be for keeping the peace.


    Shana stops bothering to think about it and instead bites off a roasted vegetable from the skewer in her hand.


    “Shir-Shana,” the man beside her taps her arm and says, “those guards are glaring at us pretty hard. Would you not agree that it’s time to leave?”


    Shana bites off a piece of meat from a different skewer. She continues to move closer to the harbor while saying, “Then leave. You’re the one following me.”


    “Oh, come now, Shri-Shana. Don’t be like that. We’d make quite the name for ourselves if team up.”


    Shana tosses the annoying mosquito a cold glare and continues walking. Refusing him again is more of a hassle than she cares to go through. Instead, she hold her head high and breathes in the sea breeze. She relishes the nostalgic ting of salt in the air and a pleasant sigh escapes her lips.


    “That’s a beautiful smile you’ve got there.”


    Shana glances at the pest again before once more looking forward. Now more relaxed, she inadvertently becomes more talkative. “I’ve spent that last few years of my life near the coast. Days like today are just perfect for walking across the scorching sand, cooling my feet with the waves, and testing new spells.”


    “So, why did we come to the harbor? I am assuming it doesn’t have to do with magic.”
    “What do you mean, ‘we?’ You have nothing to do with me.”
    “There is no need to be so cold, my name is Viren.”
    “You can repeat that as many times as you want, I still don’t care.”
    “Being with me can provide you with some good cover.”


    Shana disregards his words.
    Then, a firm voice says, “Halt, state your business here.”


    A guard with a spear appears before Shana, blocking her path. More stand ready at her sides, not far away. She twirls a finger in her wavy hair, wondering if that is only happening because of it. The thought is soon tossed aside and she says, “I’m looking for a ferry.”


    The guards become wary at her statement. Those at the sides ready themselves to fight if needed.


    “Shri-Shana, come again?” Even Viren is taken aback. Out of all the scenarios he had guessed based on her personality, he had assumed he’d be able to jump in and explain that they were seeing the ships together. Reality, however, proves much more difficult than he anticipated.


    The guard barks at Shana, dismissing her words as a lie. “I’ll only repeat myself once, you moecha putida. Why are you here you?”


    Shana doesn’t take her eyes off of the guard in front of her. At the same time, she takes note of the guards surrounding her and secretly prepares a spell within her internal magic circle, one that will help her escape.


    The guard then sneers and muses aloud as he looks Shana over. “Actually, no. You’re here to continue what you started, aren’t you?”


    “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”


    “No? Then let me remind you. Last night, there was a girl roaming around the upper districts. It’s suspected that she’s responsible for attempting to break into the pro-magistrate’s villa.” The guard then grabs for Shana’s hair while shouting, “Witnesses reported that she had filthy, black, hair just like like yours!”


    Shana grabs the guard’s forearm and swings him around, slamming him into two of the guards approaching from the side.


    Viren jumps to her other side before she can do anything. He blocks the foremost guard’s sword with his talwar sabre as he says, “Stop right there!” A swift kick then sends the guard tumbling into his partner behind him.


    “What is the meaning of this? No questioning, no investigation, you just met her and condemned her guilty!”


    Another guard blows a whistle while the reassemble themselves and surround the two.


    The guard Shana flung away readies his spear and glares at Shana’s accomplice with disgust. His face burns red as he shouts at the top of his lungs. “You’re vouching for this filth? Such depravity! Letting yourself sink that low. I’ll see you hanged—”


    Shana slips past the guard’s spear while he’s talking, grabs him by his collar, uses his body to bat away the two guards beside him, and flings him at newly arriving guards. Despite her effort to open an escape path, however, she and Viren are soon surrounded and cut off from each other.


    She then leaps up over everyone’s heads, kicks off air, and zips straight towards Viren. She scoops him up with her arms upon landing and prepares to leap away when,


    “Stop this at once!”


    A firm voice cries out from above. Everyone looks up to see a white pegasus neigh out as he lands beside Shana.


    Geira hops off Vor, looks around for the highest ranked officer, and marches up to the guard with the spear. Ice laces her words as she stares him down. “Explain this, now.”


    The guard’s back automatically straightens into a salute. “Ma’am, we’re currently apprehending a criminal. Her suspicious behavior leads us to conclude she is plotting some sort of terrorist attack on this port.”


    “Kutta!” Viren, enraged by the bold faced lie, storms towards the guard with his talwar ready to cut him down. “You surrounded and attacked her for no reason! None what so ever!”


    The guard says, “Restrain him.”


    Some guards move forward to comply, but Geira stops them with a turn of her head. Even Viren pauses at the pressure she’s emitting. That’s when the guard says, “Honorable Valkyrja, this man has been enticed by that lupa. He’s clearly been enthralled by their nightly romps.”


    “How dare you insult—” Viren’s talwar is stopped mid-swing. He grits his teeth, yet despite whichever way he tries to pull or push his arm, it’s locked in place. That is when he notices Shana has grabbed him just past his elbow. He knew she was strong, but never did he think it was to the point he’d be made to feel as helpless as a child.


    Shana speaks with a collected tone, yet irritation laces her words. “Let her speak.”


    Viren exhales and relaxes his arm. Then, as Shana releases him, he sheathes his sword.


    Geira is amused by the exchange. Despite that, she keeps her curiosity to herself and says, “I’m quite interested in what this man has to say.” She then turns to him and says, “Tell me, what happened.”


    The guard again goes to complain, but flinches back at Viren’s piercing glare.


    Anger laces Viren’s words. He already put away his weapon, but from his attitude, he doesn’t need it. “Shana and I were walking, admiring the ships, when he interrupted. He accused Shana of having attacked the home of the pro-magistrate last night, and then tried to grab her hair.”


    Geira raises an eyebrow at the report and glances at the guard. “Really? How strange. Why haven’t I heard a single thing about that?”


    The guard’s face twitches. He makes no effort to hid his irritation as he says, “The report must have been lost on the transit to your current temple.”


    “Yet I head of this confrontation moments after it started?”


    “Regardless, that man can’t be trusted! There’s no knowing what that—”


    “I’m looking for a ferry.” Shana’s clear and firm voice cuts through the guard’s tirade.


    Viren tenses with fright. He omitted that suspicious detail to protect Shana, but now she freely confessed it herself. Afraid Geira will turn on them upon hearing such an unbelievable admission, he turns to her. Her expression, however, leaves him baffled.


    Geira is blanching at the remark. Exasperated, she turns with the words, “Shana, what?”


    “There are many places I want to go and traveling by ship will be a lot faster than walking.”


    Geira is taken aback, not just by the boldness with which Shana is claiming she is ready to part with her, but her utter ignorance. “Shana, these ships are for cargo. What you need is a sky ship.”


    Shana’s expression brightens at the information. The way a lock of her hair hooks around underneath her left eye adds to the charm. “Sky ships!?”


    Her excitement at learning of sky ships and complete disregard for her current situation makes Geira shake her head. Viren, on the other hand, has to fight to keep from laughing. He is completely taken in by her carefree nature.


    The guard, however, is shocked by the casual exchange between the two. Unable to control himself, he cries out for an answer. “Honorable Valkyrja, are you acquainted with this witch?”


    Geira’s expression hardens into a frown. “Shana is my guest. She rode into the city with me just yesterday and spent the night with me.” Then, as the guard pales, she looks to the other guards and says, “Take him away. I’ll be back to finish with this later.”


    Once they leave, she turns to Viren. While she has never seen his face before, his features and brownish skin denotes his ethnicity as being from Bharat. More importantly, his blue angarkhi has saffron embroidery and is matched with a saffron cummerband. With a wry smile, she says, “That fool had no idea who you are, but I thank the All Father for the good fortune Shana must have had to wind up holding the Pramodan Lotus in her arms.”


    Viren’s expression turns bashful. His eyes glance at Shana as he says, “I, too, never expected that I would come to be carried in such a position.”


    “What, are you regretful?”


    Viren shakes his head. A silly grin crosses his face as he adds, “Nonsense, Shri-Shana could have escaped at any moment she wanted. That she returned for one such as myself flatters me to no end.”


    “You raised your sword to help me fight the guards. That…” Shana trails off. Now that she’s finally looking at him, she notices that his hair is a deep marine blue and that he has matching eyes. They are impossible colors just like Geira’s. She’s curious, but she clears those questions with a breath. “Either way, thanks, Viren.”


    Viren laughs upon finally hearing her say his name. “Of course, you clearly did nothing wrong. However, I suppose this is were we part. Until we meet again, Shana.” He then reaches for her head, intending to brush her hair away from her face, but Shana grabs his wrist before her can get too close.


    At Shana’s cold stare, he smirks and opens his palm to reveal a pink lotus, one that compliments her eyes. “A parting gift.”


    Shana’s face twists with disgust at what he was about to do, but she nonetheless accepts it with her fingers. Then as she glances back at him, her mouth moves on its own. “Perhaps we’ll meet again.”


    Viren’s face lights up with a smile. Excitement laces his words as he says, “We absolutely will! Phir milenge.” Then, with a nod to Geira, he walks away.


    Geira helps Shana onto Vor and climbs on up behind her. Once Vor is soaring above the roof tops, she stops restraining herself and asks, “What the heck happened?”


    ***


    Within the villa of the city’s Legion Legate, five cups of warm tea sit ready on a table within the private quarters of Lucius. As appropriate for the Legate’s son, the room is furnished with rugs, sofas with silk cushions, and furniture carved from wood of the world tree.


    A maid opens the door to the room and in enter, Faustina, Arial, Lucius, Antonious, and Zachary. While Faustina waits for by the table for someone to pull open her seat, Arial grabs a cup, downs it, and plops down on one of the seven sofas.


    Faustina is aghast by the sloven behavior. She ignores the seat Lucius pulled for her and heads over to reprimand the Apostle. Her expression is stern as she mentally prepares a lecture on the proper courtesy a lady must display.


    Arial waits for the heavy footsteps to stop before saying, “Oh, give it a rest. We’ve been dragged all over and I’m dead tired.”


    Faustina is caught with the words in her throat, but is more taken aback by what she just heard than anything else. “You’re dead? No, what do you mean, ‘dead’?”


    Zachary laughs out from the table. He was reaching for the tea, but stops to instead say, “No, no, no, dead tired is an expression. It means something like being so tired that it’s like she’s dead.”


    Faustina makes a face at explanation. Irritation laces her voice as she says, “While some of the expressions from your world are clever, this one would have been better off left there.”


    “Too late, I’ve already brought it over. Get used it.”


    Faustina yanks the pillow from underneath the Arial’s head and smacks her with it.


    A wry smile crosses Antonious’ face upon seeing his sister lose her composure. Not even two months have passed since the Apostles were brought to their world, but Faustina has taken quite well to Arial. At the very least, she wouldn’t be treating such a distinguished person so crudely otherwise.


    Lucius, picking up on the thoughts of Antonious, chuckles. His hand brushes around his eye as he recalls the stories his mother used to tell him. “I heard that my ancestor also frustrated his wife to no end. There were many things he couldn’t, and sometimes flat out refused, to adjust to.”


    Antonious turns to Zachary and says, “You’ve done quite well in that regard.”


    Zachary gives a nonchalant shrug and smile. “I’m just more used to this than Ari. Attending meeting, giving speeches, organizing events, etc.”


    Arial snatches the pillow back from Faustina and flings it at Zachary. “Quit bragging about being an eagle scout.”


    “I was also on the debate team.”


    Arial stares at Zachary before saying, “Don’t make me come over there.”


    “And do what? Read me to death?”


    Lucius sets down his cup of tea and says, “Do you two ever stop bickering?”


    Antonious says, “You mean outside of the public view? Dead never.”


    Faustina’s lips curl at her brother’s appropriation of the word. Arial, however, sighs and gives a gentle shake of her head. “That’s not how you use it, Antony.”


    Antonious smiles back and says, “Teach it to me later.”


    Arial doesn’t answer, but gives him a shy smile.


    Zachary rolls his eyes and says, “So, Geira was a bust. Where you able to find that Julia person?”


    “Julia has proven to be useless.” Lucius speaks with a sharp tone. With annoyance and disappointment lacing his words, he adds, “I received a report earlier that she lost a match to a Daughter of Dreaded One. Clearly, her lavish reputation as an exceptional sell sword is ill deserved.”


    Arial says, “Actually, wasn’t that girl from earlier a Daughter of the Dreaded One? I thought for sure we were going to apprehend her once we were out of the public eye. Why did we let her go?”


    Lucius sighs at the question. “To be honest, that would have been the simplest and cleanest solution. Unfortunately, that Valkyrja has taken her under her protection. To do anything now could cause a rift with an entire pantheon, and she knows it.”


    “So then, we do we do?”

    something relating to something else~
     
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  12. One Perfect Veteran

    One Perfect Veteran [Red+White on Black] [Fish In A Sweater]

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    Sounds... ominous
     
  13. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    oh, I missed that typo...
     
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  14. One Perfect Veteran

    One Perfect Veteran [Red+White on Black] [Fish In A Sweater]

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    Geira: "I will remember that moment every time I am feeling bad"
    Thea: "Calling people absolute scum so readily? Scary..."
    Thea: "Thankfully, I am smarter than Lucius"
    Shana: "Gaijin with his gaijiny ways. Doesn't even bother to explain what all that hub-barabub means..."
    Lucius thinks Geira thinks: "To do anything now could cause a rift with an entire pantheon, and I know it."
    What Geira actually thinks: "If he did anything then, he would not be causing a rift with my pantheon, he would become a rift himself."
     
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  15. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    Lucius shrugs as he says, “Nothing. The Valkyrja aren’t fools. Once her true nature is revealed, everything will fall into place.”


    Antonious says, “That said, the current situation isn’t all that bad. That lupa might be running free, but everything she does is under trustworthy surveillance.”


    Arial turns away and grips her knees. “I don’t like it. We have one right there, and we’re not doing anything about it.”


    “Do not worry.” Faustina places a hand upon her shoulder. “We need to wait for a bit, but this situation is completely under control. Knowing when and how to act is also an important duty for Apostles.”


    Lightning flashes and thunder rattles the room. Paintings fall from the walls and glass ornaments shatter as drop against the ground. As everyone jumps with shock, they realize the shaking still continues. The entire city sways as rain and hail fall from the sky.


    Zachary is the first to react. He scrambles for a window, losing balance and tripping more than once. Thunder deafens and disorients him as he semi collapses against the window frame. In the time he needs to rebalance himself, he is drenched by the pelting water. As he struggles against the howling wind to shut the window, he shout as loud as he can. “The hell did all this come from!? There wasn’t a damn cloud in the sky five minutes ago!”


    Faustina is soon by his side. Together, after strengthening themselves with magic, they eventually succeed in closing the window. Without pausing to catch their breath, they move on to the next one.


    Once all the windows are shut, Lucius runs a hand through his golden hair and flicks some water from it. He, like all the others, is panting and dripping wet. Then, as the ground rumbles once more, he says, “This isn’t a normal earthquake.”


    Arial snaps at his remark. “Oh, cause earthquakes are normal?” Then, as if summoned, the city jolts.


    Lucius tenses and relaxes with the quake. He then shakes his head and says, “Earthquakes happen. They’re a normal part of the planet’s geological process. Right now… I dare claim Lord Neptune is struggling against something.”


    Antonious nods. “He’s right. This may not be for some time, but everyone, be prepared. Our first clash against chaos might be sooner than we expected.”


    ***


    Shana tugs at the hems of her floral pink, silk, robe pajama she donned after emerging from the bath. It clings against her body curves thanks to the dampness of her skin and the ribbon like ties within the garment. Two halves of a sash are also attached to the back, but she can’t be bothered tie them together. Instead, she just lets them hang behind her.


    All she wanted were shorts like the one Geira lent her the previous night. She already had plenty of shirts she could chose from, even if a bit over sized. Geira, however, refused to budge on her sleep wear. Her irritating words still echo within her mind. “Covering your thighs anymore than this is a sin.”

    The smooth fabric brushes against her bare legs each time she moves. It isn’t a feeling she can get used to. Worse, each step reminds her of how exposed she feels. For now, though, all she can do is bare with it.


    While holding the front of her robe down, she heads to the room she is sharing with the others. From outside the door, she hears Thea arguing with Geira.


    “No, I’m not staying.”
    “Thea, it’s raining sideways out there. Once Lord Neptune finishes, I—”
    “That’ll be too late!”
    “Thea, I promise, I’ll escort you both to where ever it is you want to go.”
    “Once Shana gets back, we’re leaving!”


    Shana is thrown for a loop by the argument. Not even 20 minutes have passed since she separated from them to wash herself. Geira had tried to force another group bathing between the three of them, but she literally threw the valkyrie out of the room. Regardless, she doubts that is the reason Thea is in a panic to leave.


    The only other thing that comes to mind is the freak earthquake and crazy thunderstorm that appeared from nowhere. Apparently, the gods are behind it, but that does little to explain anything.


    “Wait, wait, wait,” Shana enters the room. “Why are we leaving?”


    Thea is shocked by Shana’s calm and confused tone. She goes up to Shana and grabs her shoulders. Desperation fills her voice as she says, “What do you mean, ‘why’? We can’t stay here any longer!”


    Shana glances to Geira, but she merely shakes her head. The valkyrie signals that she is just as clueless about the current situation. Thea, however, is pleading for her to understand. The girl is trembling where she stands, her eyes brimming with tears.


    Instinct takes over. Shana takes Thea’s hands and guides her to sitting down on the bed. Then, while continuing to hold her hands, she looks straight into Thea’s eyes and adopts the same soothing tone she recalls her mother using on her long ago. “It’s alright, you’re alright. Nothing is going to hurt you. Why is it we can’t stay here? Where is it you want to go?”


    Thea throws herself in Shana. Her arms collapse against her chest as she grabs her shoulders. “They’re coming! Can’t you feel it? We’re in danger! We can’t stay here!” Another earthquake shakes the city as if to emphasis her fear.


    Geira places a reassuring hand upon Thea’s shoulder. Now understanding from where Thea’s fear is coming from, she knows how to speak to her. “Lord Neptune is fighting this danger himself. The royal family and Apostles are also here. If needed, they too will lead the forces of Ostia and join the fight. Come morning, I give you my word, I shall deliver both you and Shana away from this city come rain or hail. However, to leave now is too dangerous.”


    Thea takes in a long breath and exhales. She doesn’t say anything, but her reluctant agreement is clear. Afterwards, she continues to cling to Shana. She is adamant in refusing to separate from her.


    Geira then notices Shana’s hair and clicks her tongue. “You’re a mess. Viren is either blind or has extremely good eyes. Why haven’t you straightened out that bird’s nest you call hair yet? Yesterday was one thing, but I know I bought you a brush.”


    “Pass, that’s way too much of a pain. Besides, I’m a bit busy here.”


    Without a word, Geira crawls onto the bed and slides up behind Shana. She ignores the smaller girl’s warnings to get away and, while grabbing her own brush, places a hand upon Shana’s head. Shana goes to push Geira away, but finds she can’t move, not without dropping Thea who seems to have fallen asleep in her arms.


    A second later and Geira runs the brush down Shanas damp hair. It barely moves two centimeters when the knots stop the movement short. Shana tries to pull her head free, but Geira secures her grip and forces the brush down.


    “Ow! That hurt!”
    “Quit, squirming so much.”
    “Get out of, ow! my hair!”
    “It wouldn’t, hurt, so much, if you actually, brushed it.”
    “Leave my, ow! hair alone!”
    “Take better care of it.”

    “This has nothing, ow! to do with you!”


    Geira stops as she narrows her eyes in disproval. “You might be too lazy to bother, but I refuse to let your looks go to waste.” Then, while ignoring all of Shana’s complaints, she resumes smoothing out her hair. The natural waviness keeps it from being fully straight upon finishing, but at least now it no longer resembles a cat dragged in from a typhoon.


    Then, while sliding her fingers through the hair, she says, “I’m so jealous. Your hair is much softer and smoother than I would have imagined.”


    More surprising, however, is that Shana’s hair is also already mostly dry. “Do you know a spell for drying hair?”


    Shana, still in the same position from when that all started, chooses to ignore her. Instead, she runs a hand through her hair. It’s almost as if she is confirming that it is all still there.


    Geira makes a wry smile at Shana’s attitude. Then, acting as if she hasn’t noticed, she adds, “That’s really convenient. I’d have you teach it to me at all costs if I could use magic.”


    Shana continues to sulk while holding Thea with both arms.


    “More importantly, you’re going to need to brush your hair again in the morning. If you’d lik—”
    “Touch my hair again, and I’ll rip off your arms.”


    Geira chuckles at Shana’s interruption. “Well, let’s get to sleep. Seeing that you can’t move, I take you’ll be sleeping with us tonight?”


    Shana makes a face but can’t bring herself to set Thea aside. Her panicked and tearful expression from earlier pervades her mind at the thought. Therefore, despite her discomfort, she says, “It can’t be helped.” Then, before Geira can comment, she adds, “You’re sleeping opposite of her.”


    “What? No, I wanted to sleep in the middle. A flower resting in both my arms.”


    Shana ignores the pandering and settles down with her back to the wall. Then, while still holding Thea tight, she gets the blanket over both of them and closes her eyes.


    Geira can only say, “Shana? Shana! Come on, don’t exclude me like this…” Unable to do anything else, she turns out the lights and also climbs into bed. Unlike the other two, she is all on her lonesome.


    With the lights off, Shana opens her eyes and confirms the Geira isn’t doing anything. Satisfied that the valkyrie is sleeping with her back to them, she glances down at Thea. The tranquility on the girls face is a complete change from earlier. She can only guess that it has something to do with her being a Daughter of the Dreaded One, but lacks too much knowledge to know what that epitaph even entails.


    As Shana thinks back to her “blood-sister,” her thoughts come to a jarring stop. She has no idea what came over her. While she did create a connection with Thea by using the girl’s blood to create her disguise, that does not explain her comforting her. She has never been such an empathetic person. While she has had some moments with her own actual younger sister, they were no where close to the gentleness she just exhibited. If it wasn’t because she was herself, she’d have been wondering if someone had replaced her.


    Thea, still half awake, finds comfort in Shana’s breathing as it relaxes and she drifts to sleep. She was terrified beyond belief earlier, she still is, but is no longer suffocating under it. The ease Shana carries herself with and the lack of reservation Geira holds towards her are nothing like she’s ever experienced before. She half wonders if she isn’t just hallucinating the whole thing.


    Remembering the silly argument the two of them even got into eases a smile onto Thea’s face. She decides to put confidence in their words and trust tomorrow will come. With that heavy burden lifted from her heart, she moves closer to Shana and joins her in sleep.








    Chapter


    Zachery’s snapped sword slides from his hand as he drops onto all fours and vomits. When he went into that battle, he had imagined he’d crush his enemies by calling forth hail the size of minivans from the heavens. Then, against the ones who did manage to get close, he’d freeze them into ice sculptures with cuts of his sword.


    Nothing went as he expected that night. His magic didn’t work. He could feel his mana coursing through his body, waiting to be molded into a spell, but when the time came, nothing. He couldn’t even manifest an ice dagger, much less a single hail stone. All he could do was stand in place with his hand upon the hilt of his sword.


    Under the street lights, slim covered fish people crawled out of the ocean or river, pounced upon the soldiers, and dragged them under the water. It didn’t take long before Lucius ordered everyone to fall back, away from the water. Then, as the fish people proceeded onto land, the “drowned” soldiers stumbled out behind them. Those soldiers, however, all wore vacant expressions. Their eyes had become black pits.


    Zachery hurls again. The eyes of the soldiers hadn’t become black pits, he was merely staring into empty sockets. He doesn’t even want to guess what happened to them while submerged. What he does know is that when they surfaced, they were no longer human.


    “We going to die…”


    A shaft from a ballista tears through one fallen soldier’s head. The force of the shaft sends the soldier tumbling back into the water.


    The next thing Zachery knows, he’s charging ahead, screaming. He has no idea who’s sword he’s swinging, or where he got it, but the only thing on his mind is to swing at anything that moves.


    A gentle hand steadies his heaving back. The warmth it carries capture his wandering mind, allowing Faustina’s soothing voice to reach him. “The gallantry you displayed in your first battle was truly captivating. Despite your fear, you swung your sword without hesitation, saving the lives of countless people.”


    Zachary clicks his tongue. “Please, I barely remember a thing from last night. I completely freaked out.”


    Faustina smiles at the mysterious phrase, but can more or less discern its meaning. “Yes, and in that hour of desperation, you chose to fight. A weak man would have run and hid. I will admit, we had intended for you and Arial to slowly accustom yourselves to battle. This should not have never happened. Yet, now that it has, we can all say with certainty that you are our Apostles, our beacons of hope for our darkest hour.”


    Zachery grits his teeth at Faustina’s words. He wants to take her words and shove them down her throat, but one phrase stands out. He didn’t run away. That was his biggest fear since becoming an Apostle, and in what may easily prove to be the worst battle he’ll ever be dragged into, he faced it head on.


    He sits back and looks into Faustina’s golden eyes. With a self-depreciative chuckle, he says, “Gallant? I must have been running around like a madman.”


    Faustina merely smiles back at him and rises. “Come, let us get cleaned up. Our duty here is finished.”


    ***


    Geira chuckles at Shana’s glum expression. More than an hour has passed since they left Ostia and she has been sulking the entire time. One look at her face would make anyone think that the storm had never actually cleared away and that they weren’t walking under a glorious sunny sky.


    “Just to be clear, you woud never be allowed to ride on a sky ship.”


    Shana’s head slowly shifts towards her side. Geira’s sweet smile irks her to no end. “Yeah? Then just commandeer one. Problem solved.”


    Thea flinches at Shana’s bold suggestion. Her face twists with unease and uncertainty as she gives a weak, “Shana, that would bring a lot of attention to us.”


    Geira smacks Vor’s flank and adds, “Seriously, if you want to soar around the clouds, Vor’s more than happy to carry you around.”


    As Shana glances towards the pegasus, Vor gives an energetic neigh of approval. Disgust washes over her face at the mere idea of even mounting him. “I’d rather claw my eyes out.”


    Geira and Thea exchange looks of disbelief at Shana’s overly violent expression. They understand it means she’s refusing, but they can’t understand why anyone would refuse by saying that.


    With a heavy sigh, Shana looks to the sky as she adds, “I don’t care about the flying. It’s the sky ship.” Her voice picks up in speed and intensity as she continues, “I want to see how it flies, take of it’s wings, it does have wings, right? Examine the materials it’s made off, see the kinds of spells were put into it, figure out how they were weaved together, expe—”


    “Shana! Shana!” Geira grabs the girl’s shoulder. Shock and concern lace her voice as she says, “We get it, really. You are a crazy magical researcher. As alluring as you are when captivated by your passion, we should focus on the here and now.”


    A light blush comes to Shana’s cheeks upon realizing what happened. Normally, she’s pretty mindful of not getting carried away by her zeal, but everything has been off since being bought to the Holy Aelia Empire. While enduring the heat radiating from her face, she gives an embarrassed, “Sorry about that.”


    Geira chuckles at Shana’s shame. Then, upon receiving an annoyed glare, laughs out. “You really are just too cute.”


    Shana clicks her tongue and snaps back. “Whatever, just get on with it.”


    Geira laughs some more and continues. “As I was saying, this road is pretty straight forward, but we’re going to end up staying at the next city at this rate. Is there a goal to this, or are we just walking for the sake of it?”


    Thea says, “I honestly just want to get away from the coast.”


    Shana turns to Thea. She is only with the other two because of how panicked Thea was last night. If not for what had happened, she’d have set off on her own. Now, however, she is starting to consider that traveling with them might not be so bad. “Well, if you don’t have a destination in mind, how about joining me?”


    Geira says, “Wait, you mean you actually have one in mind? Pray tell, Shana. To where in this vast world doth thy heart yearn for?”


    “You know what? You can just stay at the next city. We don’t need you.”


    Geira is completely dumbfounded by Shana’s open and direct rejection. Never in her life has anyone ever dismissed her in such a way. Even Vor freezes from shock.


    Shana continues, her tone flat. “Thea is in agreement.”


    Thea jolts at randomly being dragged into their dispute. She had been nervously looking between the two, worried their spat might break into an actual fight. As such, she had been trying to avoid being noticed in order to find good opportunity to interject and peacefully resolve the situation. Now, that plan has been dashed and she’s being dragged into the thick of it. Before she can even consider a response, the conversation continues.


    “What? Are you even looking at her expression? Besides, I already promised to protect you both. And we Danes, we keep our promises.”
    “Well, break it.”
    “You have no idea what you’re asking. I’d rather die than break a promise.”
    “Yeah? Well, I’m giving you permission. It’s fine.”
    “It’s not up to you. The All Father was my witness. I will see this promise through.”
    “When did this even happen?”


    Geira is taken aback by the question. Then, after thinking for a moment, she says, “Oh, right. This happened after you got lost.”


    “I did not get lost.”


    Geira ignores the interruption. She acts as if Shana never said a thing and recounts her encounter with Lucius, the royal family, and the Apostles.


    Shana takes in every Geira says without a word. Then, while doing her best to keep her myriad of emotions from her face, says, “Which is how you knew they were in Ostia. Looks like leaving really was for the best.”


    “Especially considering your wanted poster.” As Shana tenses at the remark, Geira adds, “Honestly, Lucius gives me the chills. I don’t want to have anything to do with him. The Apostles seemed nice enough though. Still, I really can’t see them as siblings.”


    “They’re calling themselves siblings?” Shana does not keep the amused surprise from her voice. “Who’s idea was that?”


    Geira frowns at Shana’s remark.


    “I honestly thought they were going to kill me.”

    something to look at when you finish~
     
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  16. One Perfect Veteran

    One Perfect Veteran [Red+White on Black] [Fish In A Sweater]

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    I looked at it before I finished though
     
  17. One Perfect Veteran

    One Perfect Veteran [Red+White on Black] [Fish In A Sweater]

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  18. PRSBlacklight

    PRSBlacklight Member

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    Okay, angels are my thing. Go forth and make me blind with their glorious splendor!
     
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  19. Gandire Alea

    Gandire Alea [Wicked Awesome Translator]

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    Both Shana and Geira are taken aback at the sudden comment. Whatever they were thinking is blown from their minds.


    Thea’s hand flies to her mouth upon uttering those words. Lost in her relief that they somehow set aside their dispute, she got carried along with the flow of their conversation and allowed her true feelings to slip out.


    Growing flustered, she grasps at the first topic that comes to mind. Half shouting and half slurring her words from the frantic pace she speaks with, she says, “Shana! You asked if wanted to join you. Please, by all means. Continuing to travel with you both would be my pleasure!”


    Shana and Geira exchange glances, but don’t say anything more.


    Instead, Shana grins as she says, “Great.” She then points at the mountains much further ahead. They are too far off to see, but she continues with full assurance that they are there. “Right now, I want to climb the tallest peak and study the constellations.”


    This time, Thea and Geira are left dumbfounded.


    Geira, not bothering to hide her disbelief or ridicule, says, “When we left Ostia, you took the southern road and we just followed, but it’s all because you want to go stargazing?”


    “Yeah, from multiple places. I need to triangulate my coordinates before I can even attempt to go home.”


    Geira rolls her eyes and shakes her head. She dismisses Shana’s words as nonsense and says, “Sure, sure. Well, I promised to see this journey through, so if that’s where you want to go, then let’s go.”


    Thea releases a light sigh at the frivolity of the journey, but truthfully finds the goal satisfying. While they are still relatively near the coast, the goal will literally take them as far away from it as possible. Furthermore, neither Shana nor Geira seem like bad travel companions, and should the need ever arise, she can always slip away.


    “Getting there is going to take a while.” Geira speaks up after some thought. “Having Vor fly us will save a lot of time.”


    “I’d rather run.”


    Geira sighs as she says, “Yeah, I thought you’d say that. Well, in that case, I should warn you. It’s going to take us about 5 days to leave this forest. The first city we’ll come across afterwards is Aquileia. We’ll be able to replenish our supplies there.”


    “Actually, why is there a forest here? I figured the land around the supposed holy capital would be a lot more… cleared.”


    Geira smiles with pride at the question. Admiration laces her words as she says, “The gods wanted it this way. Truly a testament to their wisdom.”


    “What wisdom? This path sucks. We just left a major city. Wouldn’t something better defined and paved work a lot better? Heck, the tree shade is so thick here, we can’t even see the sun.”


    Geira nods, “Yes, which is why many cities maintain proper highways.”


    Shana glances towards Thea, but the girl shakes her head in a panic and turns away. Then, with a click of her tongue, she says, “So, why did they want it this way?”


    “We are mortals. We do not question the gods.”


    Shana drops her face into her hand and releases a heavy sigh. “Forget it…”


    Thea, growing worried about that Geira will take insult at Shana’s lack of piety towards the gods, cuts in. She doesn’t know what to say, so she once more just says whatever comes to mind. “I like the trees. They give a lot of shade for hot days like these.”


    Geira laughs out with the word, “Exactly!”


    Shana, picking up that Thea is trying to change the topic of conversation, lets the issue drop. To do otherwise would be pointless, infuriating, and make her want to hit her head against a brick wall.


    The three continue to make casual conversation as they walk. They stop for a few breaks, but the day is spent moving. Each time they pass by a traveler, Thea tenses. Shana doesn’t think anything of it at first, but after the 5th time, she begins taking the girl’s hand with her own. Thea still gets nervous when people pass, but she longer shows a desire to flee into the woods.


    Geira also acts on behalf of the two. She always steps forward whenever someone appears. By doing so, she ensures that she, a valkyrie, is noticed before their black hair. Some time after passing by another traveler she says, “We’ll be coming up to a clearing soon. It’s a pretty popular spot, we can rest there for the night and move on come morning.”


    Thea instinctively reaches for her hood at the revelation, but stops upon finding herself grasping at air. She tried asking for a hood earlier that morning, but Geira refused to grant her anything that would cover her, “cute face.”


    She takes a breath and says, “Perhaps we can skip the clearing and find something more secluded?”


    Geira flashes a reassuring grin at the girl and gestures to herself. “Relax, you’re traveling with a Valkyrie. If anyone is foolish enough to do anything, I’ll personally deal with him or her. You have my word.”


    To Shana’s surprise, Thea is visibly relieved upon hearing Geira make that promise. However, a different issue soon comes to mind. “Will the people already there even let us in?”


    “They have no choice but to let us in.” Geira chuckles at Shana’s confusion and continues. “The law of hospitality to travelers, that guarantees all travelers will be treated fairly by others, even other travelers. In return, said travelers must demonstrate proper etiquette while under another’s hospitality.”


    Shana frowns as she tries to imagine how such a potentially dangerous practice became a social norm. She soon gives up and says, “How did something like that even come about?”


    A sly grin cross Geira’s face. Amusement laces her words as she says, “Because you never know when that vagabond is actually a traveling god. Try and imagine it. Some guy asks you for food, you toss him into a lake, turns out he’s Thor. Not a pretty image.”


    Geira then speaks up as if she had almost forgotten a detail. “Also, it encourages growth and development through contact with other people.”


    Thea purses her lips. She wants to speak of her own experiences, but fears contradicting Geira. While lost in thought over what to do, she feels something warm wrap around her hand. It’s Shana, she can tell solely from the softness of the skin and how her hand is being grasped.


    Thea breathes in and exhales. Whatever hesitation she felt is washed away. She looks straight at Shana and ignores everything and everyone else, including Geira. Then, taking a deep breath, she says, “Not for us.”


    Once she has Shana’s full attention, she continues. “I’ve been chased away many times. Worst is when they let me have a space and then try to attack me in my sleep. We have to be careful.”


    Shana nods at Thea’s warning. The seriousness radiating from the girl’s eyes speaks volumes of her experiences. Not knowing what to say, or even if there is anything she can say, she squeezes Thea’s hand. Whatever happens, they will face that night together.


    Geira breaks the silence by saying, “Which is why I promise not to let them do anything, to either of you.”


    “Thank you…”


    The last part of the day’s journey is in silence. As they reach the rest area, Shana wordlessly grabs Thea’s hand, clears the lock of hair sliding down over the side of her face, and marches straight in with her head held high. Many of the people setting up their own camps are stunned by Shana’s bold entry. Frowns harden on their faces as their eyes narrow in on Shana’s free flowing, black hair. Slurs such as, “curva murdara,” and “salope” get passed among them as many clutch their weapons. Some even stand up.


    Geira steps forward, placing herself and Vor in front of the two girls. Her sharp glare stops everyone in their tracks. Many that were slowly getting up are left in a half crouched position. The valkyrie’s intention to shield Daughters of the Dreaded One leaves many breathless from disbelief. The festering anger that ignited from the sight of Shana’s black hair was doused early by cold water. They have no idea how to react to the unexpected sense of betrayal they are feeling.


    Geira glances to the two behind her and says, “Come on, let’s head to the back.”


    The lapping sound of water rippling against a shore soon enters their ears. Shana, curious, follows it. After going around some bushes, a bluish green lake comes into view. As suggested by the sound, the water of the lake is not still. It flows outward, as if constantly being forced away from its center and towards the surrounding land.


    Shana is baffled by the sight. At the very least, she presumes the place isn’t dangerous. Geira wouldn’t have brought them there it otherwise. In fact, she doubts it would have turned into a rest spot if it were. As such, she places her right hand into the water for a mana inference, but doesn’t discover anything magical about it. The lake consists merely of normal water. Still, something about it feels off.


    Geira notices Shana deep in thought, waving her hand back and forth in the water, and says, “What the heck are you doing?”


    “This lake, where does its current come from?”


    Geira’s expression, hardened from having walked through the clearing, twists with shock at the foolish question. After a moment, she says, “This lake is a spring overseen by a naiad, obviously. Why else would it be surrounded by privacy bushes?”


    Shana snaps back without a moment’s hesitation. “That doesn’t explain anything.”


    Thea tenses, but Geira rolls her eyes without a word more. Then, upon seeing that Shana doesn’t intend to press Geira for a better explanation, she relaxes. While taking notice that the lake’s “current” is growing more fierce, she glances to Shana. The girl is still waving her hand through the water.


    “Shana, she doesn’t appreciate your touch.” Then, as Shana, very confused, withdraws her hand from the lake, she adds, “We should go. We aren’t welcomed here.”


    Geira also glances at the turbulent water and nods. “Come on, we should be able to find a nice spot over there. It should be far enough away from all the others to serve our needs.”


    She then brings everyone to a small clearing at the edge of the rest area. While the other travelers are still visible, the distance is enough to make accidentally wandering into their space impossible. The ground, unfortunately, is a bit rocky.


    Thea expression twists with regret as she imagines trying to sleep on such a rough place for the night. “I’m sorry…”


    Geira chuckles and says, “Don’t worry so much about it. To be honest, I’ve been in much worse places. Something like this can’t even be felt with the right padding.”


    The two then hear Shana clap her hands together. The ground flashes with a blinding amethyst light that ceases just as they are covering their eyes. The next thing they know, a stone hut has been erected before them. Its walls are thick and its roof slanted.


    The other travelers are staring with their mouths dangling open from shock. Many hold their weapons ready, having instinctively drawn them at the sudden light. They now stand in place, lost over what to do next. Various groups look amongst themselves, wanting to do something, but they don’t. Geira’s presence leaves them little recourse but to continue watching.


    Shana thinks for a moment and claps her hands together once. With another flash of amethyst light, another structure adjacent to the first is revealed. That one, however, has neither a roof nor an entrance.


    Geira is the first to reorient herself and break the silence. “Shana, what… did you just do?”


    Shana’s expression clouds over with confusion as she turns to the Valkyrie. She is at a complete loss over what she is being asked. Her tone, however, implies that what she just did is the most obvious thing in the world. “I made hut for the night.”


    “That’s not what I’m asking about! All you did was clap your hands together. No chant, no magic circle, nothing, yet you still conjured 2 stone structures. What kind of spell was that!?”


    Shana stares at Geira over the ridiculous question. “I didn’t conjure anything. I transmuted them with alchemy.” A doubt then takes root in Shana’s mind. She recalls the times she has seen others use magic in that land and adds, “You do know about alchemy here, right?”


    “Quit your nonsense! Do you honestly expect me to believe that was alchemy?”


    Shana answers by pointing down. The rocky ground that originally covered the area vanished without anyone realizing. Dirt is all that now lays beneath their feet.


    Thea crouches down and touches the ground. She too was surprised at Shana’s display of magic and needs to physically confirm that her eyes aren’t playing tricks on her. Only once she feels the cool dirt shift between her fingers, does she speak up. “Shana, alchemy of this scale requires a large and complicated magic circle. This… transmutation of yours is impossible according to current alchemic theory.”


    Shana, starting to piece together the reason behind Geira’s behavior, thinks back to the development of alchemy where she is from. It too was once as cumbersome to use as Thea just described. But then, a bit more than 2,000 years ago, the process was simplified. Since then, alchemy has come to be regarded as basic magic for all magicians. That revolution in use makes it her favorite example for defending her research in synthesis magic.


    Shana smiles to herself at her musings as she looks at her two companions. With a shrugs, she says, “Placing my hands together represents the magic circle. Afterwards, as long as I have knowledge about the surrounding materials and their composition, I can rearrange them as I like.”


    Geira pales at Shana’s casual revelation. She steps forward to stop Shana from saying anything more, but the damage has already been done. While Shana is adding, “The difficulty changes depending on the complexity of the material being worked with and the intricacy of the structure being transmuted,” the various magicians also in the clearing can be heard clapping their hands.


    Geira, flinching as she fears the worst, turns around to stop the wonton destruction Shana has just unleashed. Greeting her eyes are magicians of various skill levels growing more and more confused as they continue to clap their hands together.


    “I suspected as much.” Shana’s words are laced with bemusement as she adds, “The cultural significance behind the gesture is either too different or simply just nonexistent here.”


    Geira, annoyed that Shana risked unleashing chaos with a revolution in magic simply for sating her curiosity, glares at the girl. “And what does that mean?”


    “Where I come from, putting your hands together like that is a symbol of prayer. There are some conditions, but that empowerment is probably what lets it serve as an all-in-one, substitution magic circle for alchemy.”


    Thea then says, “And because no one here knows or understands the meaning, it’s impossible to do?”


    Geira is lost for words. She wants to tell Shana off for spouting false magic principles, but she cannot deny the results right before her eyes. Shana transmuted two stone structures using the stone that was present in the ground. Still, as impressive as what was accomplished, she is convinced Shana must have erred somewhere.


    “So, what’s the second structure for?”
    “A bath.”
    “A bath!?”

    “Yeah, I want to wash off the sweat and dust before going to sleep. The entrance is inside.”


    Geira dashes into the stone hut to verify the outrageous claim for herself. Along the wall is the opening that leads to the other structure. She stops at the entry to a room of grey. The design is simple; stone walls, a stone floor, and a stone bathtub shaped just like the room. Despite appearances, they are not as smooth as they appear. While she can slide her hand over the bathtub, it is rough and grainy.


    “Still, making something like this with alchemy— Even if it isn’t as good as a temple’s, it’s much better than anything I would have expected out here.” She then moves to the bath. “This even has its own built in seats.”


    “Obviously, it’s more comfortable that way.”


    Geira’s head snaps towards Shana at her remark. Despite her amazement, she jumps to vocalize her critiques.


    “There’s no water.”
    “It’ll get dirty and cold if I transmute that now.”
    “Yeah? Well what about the ceiling? Are you trying to show off? Those walls aren’t exactly impossible to climb over.”
    “Oh, don’t worry about that.”


    A cry of pain then rings out from the clearing outside. Shana grins and says, “And that’s the curse I laid into the walls activating. See? You and Thea don’t have to worry about anyone trying to peek on you with magic during your turn.”


    “That still doesn’t stop anyone from just physically peeping.”


    Shana glances to the side where Vor is alighting onto the top of a wall as if to emphasis the point. He then neighs out in pain as he jolts and falls over. With a smirk, Shana says, “There are a few safe guards for that too.”


    Thea, having also walked in, says, “Why did you make something like this?”


    Shana gives a bashful laugh and says, “To be honest, I have trouble sleeping if I don’t get cleaned first.”


    Geira’s amazement falls flat as she stares at the girl. “Are you an idiot?”


    Shana shrugs. Having heard similar phrases spoken with the same tone and expression from her friends over the years, she can laugh the question off. While brushing her hair aside with her fingers, she say, “Maybe my focus is a bit eccentric, but that’s my problem. Besides, you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.”


    Thea quickly jumps in between them before anything more can be said or develop. “Perhaps we should eat? It’s been a long day and I am starting to feeling a bit hungry.”


    A roar filled with confusion and fear shakes the night awake. The sound of dirt and rocks crumbling fills the air as more bestial roars follow. Those roars are all followed by a thumping sound and change to cries of frustration and pain. Shana, herself, is scrambling to sit up before whatever is happening can finish.


    That’s when she notices Geira is already up, grabbing her spear, and dashing for the exit. Shana claps her hands together in a fluster and an amethyst light from outside of the hut flashes through the doors. Judging by the fact that Geira hasn’t shouted out, she concludes that she filled the pit trap before the valkyrie could inadvertently trigger it.


    Then, not paying any mind to her robe sliding down one of her shoulders, or even that she is barefoot, she hops out of bed and also makes for the doorway. Her focus is on discerning the current situation so that she can cast the best spell possible. What she encounters, however, is nothing she was prepared for.


    Swarming into the rest area are gigantic beings with bulging muscles. While the few still burning campfires do not provide much light, they reveal enough to see that those giants are easily double the height of the travelers trying to fend them off and that their arms and chests are more robust than logs. One giant then lurches forward and spews fire over a person. The resulting scream echoes out into the night, overshadowing all other sounds and allowing everyone to share in the person’s final moments before his roasted flesh drips from his bones.


    That final clue is enough for various travelers cry out, “Cacus! We’re being attacked by cacus!”

    Something unrelated for when you are finished~
     
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  20. One Perfect Veteran

    One Perfect Veteran [Red+White on Black] [Fish In A Sweater]

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    Thea is either secretly badass, hiding some secret powers or just too overconfident. From what information I have currently, I do not think she can escape from Shana or Geira at all.
    That is such a cool, but frightening concept.
    Shana: I can see that, but that is exactly why I am continuing.
    Although, I really do not understand what is happening. Is it some water god? Water spirit? Is water alive?
    What I imagined was people's mouths hanging off. It was not pretty. Its just that i am not sure if dangle open is a valid phrase
    Shana showing off! A magician!
    I can feel the consequences.
    To be honest, I do not think its smart at all. If I were Shana, I would not have liked all the attention that their group now gained. But that is just me. I always prefer spending time quietly rather than grabbing attention of others.
    Though I can see that its common sense for Shana. Plus its her personality!
    I can feel the consequences x2.
    Telling everything outright! Maybe Shana has a plan? Though from what I know, she isn't the type to plan things out. I get the impression she does everything spontaneously.
    I can feel the consequences x3.
    But just think about it. They just erected that bath and now someone is already climbing its walls... I get the feeling the people there are on the scum side
    I knew he would be there
    I get the feeling that Thea is really a keeper of the balance there. Geira is cool and honorable, but her habit to just strongarm someone into doing something. Its really not a good habit at all.
    Giants akin to those at the start? Why would they attack a random camp? I bet its the mc's fault or Thea's fault.
     
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