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FeralHeart - Chapter 227

Published at 17th of July 2019 09:03:30 PM

Chapter 227

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Artemis was tired, not just physically, but mentally . Her mind felt like a wet rag that had been wrung out one too many times . All her ideals, all her pride… it seemed like they had been squeezed out of her, leaving a dry, tattered piece of cloth behind .

The entirety of the post-duel banquet had been torture for her . She had been hypersensitive to the gazes of the attendees the entire time . She felt like they were burning hot lances stabbing into her, judging her . Finding her lacking .

She felt vulnerable without her armour and dressed in a dress with too many frills for her liking . The worst moment had been when the girls from the warrior-division of the academy had turned a cold-shoulder to her .

Where just a few hours ago, they had looked at her with eyes filled with admiration and worship, now their gazes contained nothing but contempt .

She had honestly been surprised at just how much it had hurt .

When they were following her about starstruck like chicks after a mother hen, she had taken them for granted . She had ignored them easily, relegating them to background noise and focusing on getting strong enough to achieve her goals .

But now that they had turned their backs on her, she felt an intense sense of loss, like she was worth less somehow .

How cold was the world? How fickle . A glorious hero today, a disregarded loser tomorrow .

There was a sound of a door being unlocked . She looked up from the dazed state she had been after the banquet and saw that they had reached the apartment . Her soon-to-be sister wives entered the apartment and she followed them in silently .

Thankfully, the boy wasn't home yet . No, not boy . . . not anymore . She'd have to get used to calling him Husband soon . She wasn't sure she could face him right now .

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She knew that she shouldn't be blaming him, after all, he had done what any honourable warrior would and given his all . And that had just exceeded her capabilities . His victory was deserved .

But still… she couldn't help the animosity towards him that rose up in her heart .

"Come with me . "

Artemis looked up to see the cinnamon-haired kitsune, Ceres, beckoning for her to follow . She was an enigma, this girl . The origin of her bloodline, the circumstances under which she had gotten married, how she had redeemed herself and won over the support of the contingent at Firang… all of it was shrouded in mystery . None of it was on record in the files she had perused .

The curiosity she felt about Ceres took the edge off the dull numbness at her core and she followed after her .

Soon she realized that Ceres had led them to the bedroom of the apartment .

"What…" she began but Ceres cut her off .

"Shh . Just follow me . "

The door opened revealing the interior of the room lit dimly by a cheerful blaze in the fireplace . The smokeless torches at the corners of the room were unlit . Phobos and Deimos, the two feline wives of the boy, were sitting on the large king-sized bed in the room . They had piled cushions against the headboard and there were several body pillows scattered around on the bed . Both of them were in their sleepwear .

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Artemis felt a sudden apprehension about what was going to happen . An apprehension that was intensified when the door closed behind her with a click that had an air of finality to it .

"Come on," urged Ceres . "Let's get you out of that monstrosity of a dress and into something comfortable . "

Artemis suddenly realized that in her haste to get away from the banquet, she had forgotten all about packing something for the night .

She could have stayed in the castle, then moved after they had been officially wed by the Prime Minister (a Tier 5 Tamer) the next day . But she hadn't wanted to meet her parents . Both of them had been nagging at her to get married . This wasn't the first time a duel had been arranged for her . Only this time, the challenge had succeeded .

Artemis didn't want to see their smug faces . As such, she had been avoiding them for the entire banquet, and as swamped with people toadying up to them as they were, they hadn't been able to corner her . That was why she had left with the Felidae girls .

Ceres pointed at a pair of folded pyjamas that were laid on the bed . Artemis noticed that the design was similar to the one Phobos was wearing . It was probably hers seeing that their heights and overall silhouettes were very similar .

"Here?" she asked .

Ceres gave her a flat stare and said in a deadpan voice . "We are all girls here . You must have changed your clothes in female company at some point in time . Or aren't there any locker rooms for the Hands of Justice?"

Artemis sighed and gave in . Reaching behind her, she began fiddling with the zipper of her dress . Her wings kept getting in the way and she began to get frustrated . She'd never worn something so fancy and impractical before .

"Here, let me help . " Phobos' husky voice rang out behind her all of a sudden, startling her a bit at how silent she was when moving . Like a ghost in the darkness .

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With the help of the dark-haired girl, the dress finally came off and pooled on the ground, leaving her only in her underwear . Stepping out of it, she quickly wore the pyjamas and turned around .

She found Phobos' yellow eyes locked on her with an odd glint to them . Artemis had an uneasy feeling like sector was prey being sized up by a predator .

Shaking her head, she dismissed the odd thought . Just because their husband was an anomaly didn't mean that they were too . She had nothing to fear even if they teamed up against her .

Grabbing her hand, Phobos pulled her along to the bed and had her sit at the head of the bed . Adjusting the cushions so her wings didn't accidentally tear them to shreds, she propped herself up into a comfortable position .

Phobos settled down to her right, Deimos to her left and Ceres in front of her .

"So, why did you bring me here . "

"To make you feel better about the situation," replied Ceres .

Artemis chuckled self-deprecatingly, "No need to worry about that . I'll come to terms with it soon . He was the better warrior . I lost… I'll keep my promise . "

Deimos shook her head . Reaching out, she squeezed Artemis' hand . "You won't need to keep any promises," she said . "Just don't be mad at him… give him a chance, ya?"

Artemis wanted to say that she didn't want to give anyone a chance but looking at Deimos' sincere face of entreaty, her heart grew soft . She nodded reluctantly . The bright smile Deimos favoured her with made her feel better about that decision .

"Actually," said Ceres, "Husband told us about your goal . About why you were working so hard to get strong . "

Artemis felt a spike of anger . He knew about her plans . He knew what she wanted to do later in life . She had categorically told him that marriage wasn't in her calendar . Still he had insisted upon fighting her and tried so desperately to win, even using a nearly suicidal technique at the end that might have killed them both .

Now she learnt that he had even bragged to his wives about her goals . Did he get a thrill out of crushing her dreams? It must have been such an ego boost to conquer a Princess… Take the Sword Maiden down a peg .

Her eyes stung . Clenching her jaws, she held back her tears .

Noticing her change of expression, Ceres quickly added, "Ah, please don't misunderstand . We aren't mocking you . What we want to say is that marriage can be a huge boost for you . Especially when your partner is someone like Husband .

"He is a really wonderful person . Once you get him to accept you as family, he'll do everything in his power to help you achieve your goals . He'll lay down his life for you . "

Taking a deep breath, she continued, "You know that there are some rumours about my heritage, right? The truth is actually even more damning . I was married off to Husband as a spy…"

Artemis listened enthralled as Ceres narrated her story . A tragic tale of star-crossed lovers where the villainess finally sacrifices her life to prove the depths of her love for the hero, only for the hero to drag her back from the gate of death by stepping halfway through himself .

When she finished her tale, they sat in silence for a while, soaking it in before Phobos spoke up:

"Actually, Demi, you, me… Husband has a history of having to beat his wives into submission before marrying them," she said with a chuckle . "It happened when I turned Feral…"

Phobos, Deimos and Ceres took turns regaling her with stories about the man she had promised to marry . They told funny anecdotes, recounted romantic moments and even went into overly-detailed descriptions of raunchy scenes that set her cheeks on fire and her maiden heart aflutter .

They spoke and she listened . And as the night wore on, a thought began forming in her mind: 'Maybe marriage isn't so bad after all . '

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