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Published at 14th of August 2019 08:56:54 AM

Chapter 17


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Yuuna's Elixirs, Everhand, Ostroven

----

It really is a Sunday, nobody wants to go outside or do anything for that matter . I just finished cleaning and cooking so I have nothing to do .

I'm craving cake . There should be a special today too .

In fact, Kanna should come too . I know she'd love it . I head to her room and knock on the door . It's open a tiny bit . Just enough to see her moving around .

Steven: "Kanna?"

I open the door, Kanna just got out of the bath and she's standing there nude . We look at each other embarrassed . Her face reddening when she notices me .

Kanna: "Get out!"

She slaps me hard on the cheek and slams the door shut . I place my hand over the stinging sensation, trying to numb it to no avail .

Steven: "I'm sorry!"

Kanna: "Go away!"

Steven: "It was an accident!"

The door opens and she peeks out, a towel covering her . She's looking at me embarrassed .

Kanna: "Was it really?"

Steven: "Yes, I'm sorry, Kanna . "

Kanna: "Wait here . "

She closes the door . I know she told me to wait but feels like an eternity . I only wanted to ask if she'd go to the bakery with me!

The door opens and waves me to come in . I haven't been in here since I first came here . It's still like a normal room, nothing elegant like Yuuna's .

Steven: "I haven't been in here for a while, Kanna . "

Kanna: "You're always busy with stuff . I thought we would do a lot more . "

What's this heavy feeling I have all of a sudden?

Her still wet hair glimmers through the window . Her eyes captivate me . Even after all this time, she's a Goddess to me .

Kanna: "What did you want?"

Steven: "I wanted to know if you wanted to go to the bakery with me?"

Kanna: "The bakery…?"

Her ears stand tall, attentive . She gives me a bright smile as she grabs her sunhat .

Kanna: "Yes!"

I knew she'd love it . We head out, with the wind picking up . The leaves flowing through the air . I cover my eyes to keep dirt from getting in . It's been getting really windy recently . I hope it doesn't get too out of control .

I noticed Mei and her sister in the hood, at a table eating . They might not have the best first impressions, but they do seem like nice people . I walk up to them, wanting to say hello but it seems that I walked in on a conversation .

Mei: " . . . I told you, they didn't notice you . "

Steven: "Hello, Mei . "

The hooded sister freezes in place .

Mei: "Steven, hello . How's your day?"

Steven: "It's good . How's your sister?"

Mei: "She's still really shy . Who's that behind you?"

I realized Kanna was hiding behind me . She's as shy and curious too! It's adorable!

I push her to my side, her hands behind her back . She looks at them curiously . The sounds of her ears moving softly under her hat .


Steven: "My friend, Kanna . "

Mei: "Hello!"

Kanna: "Hello . "

I look inside of the bakery and noticed the line inside was short . Now was a good time to order .

Steven: "We should get going, it was nice to see you . "

Mei: "Likewise . "

We head inside, waiting in line to order . This bakery is always filled with people; it comes with being very popular .

Kanna was looking up to me, her eyes sparked with curiosity . No doubt, she wanted to know who Mei and her sister were . With beauty like hers, anyone would want to know more about them .

Steven: "What's up?"

Kanna: "Who was that noble lady you were talking to?"

Steven: "I wouldn't say noble . "

She certainly doesn't act like one . Well, she's refined like Yuuna, in a way . She didn't talk down to me like most nobles do when they find out I'm a servant . Her sister is really quiet though .

I can't really say, they're both a bit off .

Steven: "She's more… Ehm…"

Kanna: "A new friend?"

Steven: "Well, I guess you could say that . "

Kanna: "Who's the one in the hood?"

Steven: "I don't know her name . They came to the shop yesterday . I think they might move in nearby . "

Kanna: "We should eat with them!"

Certainly, it was a great idea . We could get to know them more . Maybe even learn her sister's name .

We ordered our cakes and went over to Mei . She welcomed us but her sister seemed fidgety . She really wasn't kidding, she's really shy .

Steven: "Your sister really is shy . "

Mei: "She is, but I love her . "

Steven: "What's her name? You never told me . "

Mei: "Her name…"

She pauses, looking over to her sister . It's just a name, unless she's that shy . I believe it's called social anxiety or something . I've only heard of it back home . In fact, this is the first time I've met someone like her in this world .

Mei: "Li-Lihua . "

Kanna: "That's a pretty name . "

Steven: "It really is, Lihua . "

It's best not to talk to her directly, she's frozen solid . I feel bad for her . Her hands are trembling .

Mei: "I heard of a festival happening later in the evening, would you like to join us?"

Steven: "A festival?"

Kanna: "It's the annual Autumn Festival, I actually wanted to go but Cynthia is busy . "

Steven: "I'll go with you, Kanna . We can all go!"

Mei: "We all should, right sister?"

She nods .

Well, she doesn't need to speak if I want to get along with her, right? I'm actually surprised she said yes . I was expecting her to not say anything . She quickly glances up and I catch her eye . Her purple eyes illumined her hood . She keeps her head down, occasionally giving me a quick glance before finally returning to eating in small bites .

She has to be using magic for something like that to happen . Lots of it . Is she using it to hide her face?

Kanna: "Then let's go!"

We finish up and head to the festival . Along the way, they were lagging behind us instead of keeping pace . They must be talking about something important . I'm starting to wonder why they're here in Everhand .

I slow down, now walking alongside Mei . She gives me a smile and welcomes me to walk beside her .

Steven: "Why are you here in Everhand?"

Mei: "What do you mean?"

Steven: "You came to Everhand, right? Why are you here?"

Mei: "To look for someone . "

Steven: "How's that going?"

Mei: "We already found him . "

I wonder if she's the person you would hear about that would make a trek to find their parent .

Steven: "How did it go?"

Mei: "I don't know yet . "

Just not in a bad way, I hope . When we arrived at the festival, it was already evening . It's when it really became lively .

We stuck together, going from stand to stand . Mei tries her hand with an Archery challenge and literally destroyed the target, shocking everyone . Kanna challenged Mei to Skittles, which was similar to bowling back home, and won .

Foolishly, I tried wrestling but I'm quickly slammed hard against the floor by someone nearly 3 times my size . When I crawl my way out of the dirt-ring, I'm hurled insults by the spectators .

Spectator #1: "Scurry off where you came from, noble . "

Spectator #2: "See how pompous you are now that you got your ass handed to you!"

I painfully make my way to a bench . Kanna and Mei come over to me both covering her mouth, laughing .

Mei: "Are you alright?"

Steven: "Yeah, my arm just hurts . "

Mei: "My sister knows a healing spell . "

Her sister tugs on her shirt .

Mei: "It'll be alright, Li-Lihua . "

She stuttered again . Her name can't be that hard to pronounce .

Steven: "Lihua . "

I say her name without thinking . Embarrassed, I try to play it off .

Steven: "I-it's alright, I'm sure you can do it!"

Now that she's standing and I'm sitting, I could look into her hood . It's still really dark and only her purple eyes are visible . Something like that would be terrifying if I woke up to it in the middle of the night .

She reaches and holds my arm . A slight purple glow emits from her hands and the pain instantly fades . I thought Holy magic was a gold-like color, but it was purple . What element gave off purple?

After relaxing we head back to the festival, going through even more stalls . One of them was a board game just like backgammon, and I try it out . It's Yuuna's favorite and we play it all the time .

I go 2 games before I lose . I'm a little relieved, not that I lost but that it's over, this kind of game can drag on for almost an hour . I look around and neither Kanna or Mei is around . I have to look for them now, great .

The dizzying crowds would confuse anyone not accustomed to the large population of Everhand . I've been here for half a year and yet I still manage to get lost occasionally .

I go over to a nearby fountain where I found Mei's sister eating by herself . Odd, I thought she would always be with her . I go over to her and she freezes in place when she noticed me .

Steven: "Hey, Lihua . "

She continues eating in small bites .

At least say hi back, this is awkward .

Steven: "Where's your sister?"

She points to one of the stalls . Kanna is with her throwing horseshoes . That's good, I know where they're all at now .

She's trembling, I reach out and pat her as I would with Kanna . Trying not to make myself appear as a threat to her .

Steven: "Are you having fun?"

She nods .

Malin: "Round-ears!"

Things go from great to bad in less than a second . Malin surrounds us with his group, itching for a fight . Now is definitely not the time for this, we should be having fun!

Steven: "The hell you want, Malin?"

Malin: "You think you can just run around and do what you like, huh?!"

Brenner: "Who's your friend?"

He tries to prod her with a stick and I push him away, he whacks me on the wrist in retaliation . They're inching closer every second . I'd fight them after I get Lihua out of here!

I grab her hand and make a run for it . Fortunately, she was able to keep up and we were running through the streets, losing Malin's group in the process .

We really ran, we're next to a small plaza not too far from the Academy . I'd say we ran 3 quarters of a mile . We're out of breath as we sit down .

Steven: "Are you alright?"

She's out of breath, her hand over her chest . I have to get her back to Mei, she must be worried about her .

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I stand up and try to assure her that we'd be alright . Kanna knows if we split up, we'd meet back up at the house . It's something we came up with to deal with Cynthia's usual antics that end up with us getting chased by the guard or an angry storekeeper .

Steven: "Let's go back to my home . Kanna should bring your sister there . "

She grabs my hand firmly, not wanting to let go . As an apology, I'll make her and Mei a snack, or a meal, should they want one . The cool wind and night sky is something I'll never get used to . The stars light up the sky like in some kind of fantasy . It's breathtaking, to say the least .

Once inside, we go to the living room and start the fireplace so we could warm up . Yuuna's probably asleep in her room .

I head into the kitchen and prepare a tea . My personal favorite, cinnamon tea . It tastes even better with a little sugar . I'll leave it on the side, if she wants to add it herself .

I bring out a tray and offer Lihua some . She eagerly accepts and drinks it . Like a child offered juice . It makes me happy to know that she likes it .

Steven: "We can wait here for your sister . In the meantime, feel free to make yourself at home . "

She puts herself closer to the fireplace, sticking her hands out to warm up . I sit down on the couch and relax . Kanna might take a while, I should at least get comfortable .

Steven: "Are you doing fine? I'm sorry for what happened . "

She nods .

Steven: "Are you hungry? I don't mind making you something . "

She shakes her head and sits next to me . Is she more comfortable around me now? I could hear her yawning under the hood . She leans her head against me, her soft breath is against my arm . Alright, this is weird . Is she tired or something?

I'm tired too, but if the others see this, they might flip . Kanna might give me an earful and I don't know what Mei would do .

Then again, I can't be that bad, right? Just a little while, it'll be fine .

I close my eyes, a small nap before Kanna arrives .

Turns out, I slept soundly through most of the night .



(A few hours later)

An Abandoned Building, Everhand, Ostroven .

----

It's almost midnight .

I'm keeping watch, as ordered by Lady Mei . Her mother ordered that we bring back Steven Omeo alive as soon as possible . I can't imagine the terror she'd put him through .

The door to the building opens, I take cover behind a table, sword at the ready . Ladies Mei and Lilith enter quickly .

I sigh from relief .

Mei: "You can finally take your hood off . "

Lilith: "Finally . "

Wilburt: "Did everything go well, your highness?"

Mei: "He's interesting, to say the least . "

Lilith: "Why can't we just take him already?"

Mei: "Says the one who happened to be asleep in his arms!"

Lilith: "I was tired!"

Things certainly did become interesting . Asleep in his arms, how? I can't imagine Lilith asleep with the man who almost killed her .

Mei: "Either way, I wish to observe him for a while longer . "

Lilith: "Why?"

Mei: "Someone not from this world, living with people that are nothing like him, the Elves, maybe, but Nekomatas? That doesn't interest you in the slightest?"

Wilburt: "Your majesty was very clear on her orders, your highness . "

Lilith: "I just want to go home . "

Just like every sibling, they're bound to fight . They go back and forth, trying to bring me into their argument but I do my best to stay out of it . Unlike the ones I've seen at the palace, this became rather intense .

Mei: "Why don't you be the good little sister and listen?!"

That seemed to have hit Lady Lilith pretty hard, she's crying . Mei realizes she may have gone too far and reaches out to her .

Lilith: "Listen? To you? That's all I've ever done and you've never recognized me!"

Mei: "That's not—"

Lilith: "My sisters could've at least say good morning, but I've been alone in that fucking tower since I was little!"

Mei: "Lilith—!"

Lilith: "I just—I just wanted dad—to say "I'm proud of you . "

My heart sinks, my blood running cold and breath, shallow . She's clueless that the King is deceased . I knew we should've told her when we first arrived . It'll only make things worse if we waited!

Mei: "Li-Lilith, father's been dead for the past 3 months . "

Lady Lilith breaks down, sobbing . Lady Mei tries to comfort her but is pushed away, I catch her before she falls .

Lilith: "I—I hate you—I fucking hate you!"

She grabs her hood and storms into the night . We tried stopping her, but our calls are in vain . We're left alone with the echoes of her tears . The night wind giving a feeling of melancholy .

Mei: "Lilith, I'm so sorry . . . "

Silent tears stream from her face .

Wilburt: "Your highness, I apologize . "

Mei: "I won't be useless to her . Tomorrow, we get Steven . "

For the rest of the night, sounds of Lady Lilith's cries continued to sting me .



Yuuna's Elixirs, Everhand, Ostroven .

----

I move to my room after waking up too early to do anything .

I'm awaken by Yuuna, softly kissing my lips . I grab her and let her fall on top of me .

Steven: "What's going on, Yuuna?"

Yuuna: "It's your punishment for last time . "

Steven: "Your punishment tastes sweet . "

We move to kitchen to prepare breakfast .

French toast or eggy bread as it's called here, it's everyone's favorite . I especially have to keep an eye on Yuuna, she ate most of it last time .

Kanna comes out, still tired from the festival . She really enjoyed herself, until Malin ruined it .

Kanna: "Ah~ I don't want to go to school . "

Yuuna: "You have to, Kitten . "

Steven: "I made your favorite, Kanna . "

We got ready and made our way to the academy . With Cynthia and Livia soon joining up by the square .

Livia: "Good morning, Steven . "

Steven: "Good morning!"

Livia: "The Headmaster asked if he could see you when we arrive . "

Steven: "Seriously? I thought that he doesn't need me anymore, he said it himself . "

Livia: "Sorry, he asked . "

Just when I thought things were over .

We split up at the Academy and I head with Livia to the Headmaster's Office .

As always, he sits in his chair, silently before speaking up .

Headmaster: "Good morning, Steven . "

Steven: "You called, Headmaster?"

Headmaster: "Straight to point, then? You're a good student . "

Seriously, what does he want? I'm extra vigilant around him . I can't trust him .

Headmaster: "Who was that hooded person you were with?"

Steven: "Hooded?"

Mei's sister? There's not many hooded people that would stand out like her, but what does the Headmaster want with her? It's not like she's anyone special . How does he know about her anyway?

Steven: "A friend's sister . "

Headmaster: "Who's your friend?"

Steven: "Someone from Feles Isle . "

Headmaster: "What's her name?"

Steven: "What's it to you?"

What's the worst he'll do? Kick me out of the office? I'll be damned if I let someone innocent get thrown into his world . Besides, he doesn't own the Academy, he'll put his position at risk if word got out that he did something to me .

Headmaster: "That's fine . "

He turns his chair around, looking outside the window to the Academy .

Headmaster: "Steven . "

Steven: "What?"

Headmaster: "If you saw Lilith again, and she asks for your forgiveness, would you forgive her?"

Steven: "What are you—"

Headmaster: "Think about it, would you forgive her?"

Even Livia is looking at me confused .

Would I forgive Lilith? When I hear her name, I see her as evil, sadistic, and a temptress . I doubt someone like her would change, but I might forgive her if she's really sincere .

Steven: "I might… Why?"

Headmaster: "There's something I want you to do—"

Steven: "No . "

I said firmly .

I knew this would happen . He's going to make me do yet another insane task . Livia got hurt last time, doesn't he have a limit?!

Headmaster: "There's another student I want you to acquaint with . "

Steven: "I said no . "

Headmaster: "She was really keen on meeting you . "

Steven: "I'm leaving . "

I quietly walk out, nothing of value was going to be gained if I stayed any longer . For all I know, that student could be really troubled .

I'm on my way to class when I run into Mei in the courtyard . I wonder if she's a student, or trying to apply and her sister isn't near her, odd .

Steven: "Hello, Mei . "

Mei: "S-Steven? Oh, I wasn't expecting to run into you here so suddenly . "

Steven: "Where's your sister?"

Mei: "Li-Lihua? She wanted to stay home . "

Why does she stutter? Her sister is shy and she stutters, they both have their own problems, it seems .

Steven: "What are you doing here?"

Mei: "I actually wanted to talk to you . "

Steven: "What did you want?"

Mei: "You . "

She places her hand on my chest, my vision blurs and I'm sent flying into the fountain . The power was so powerful that it tore the ground and made a shockwave that broke some of the windows on the lower floors of the building .

I'm lying, wet, in the fountain, catching my breath, in pain . It hurts so much that I struggle get on my feet . Why is she doing this?!

Steven: "Mei! Why?!"

Mei: "Because you hurt my sister!"

Her sister? What did I do to Lihua?!

The noise starts drawing students out from the classrooms and they start looking from the distance . She's throwing fireballs at me and I'm doing my best to avoid them as the scorch the ground . I have to come up with something fast, I'll lose at this rate .


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I grab a stick and dash towards her, avoiding her balls of fire . I throw the stick to try and confuse her, grabbing her legs and sweeping her up off the ground . She's quickly regains her balance and flips me over, holding me to the floor, a knife to my neck .

Mei: "After you, I'll get that cat friend of yours, too . "

Kanna?! No!

Michael: "Steven! Do that thing!"

I hear Michael's shouting through the crowd and I see my class looking at me . Kanna especially, looked at me terrified as Cynthia shielded her .

Michael: "That spell! Do it!"

Steven: "Holy Warrior!"

My body becomes engulfed in a light, I stand up to realize that I'm covered in armor and a greatsword is in my hand .

I look at Mei, she's licking her lips like a predator . We circle each other when the Headmaster comes out . I've never seen him outside his office, he's really pissed and Livia was accompanying him .

Livia: "Steven—!"

Headmaster: "What do you 2 think you're doing?"

Mei: "Better yet, I'll just kill everyone here!"

Steven: "Mei, why?"

Mei: "I already told you; you hurt my sister . "

We clash swords and cast spells to get the upper hand . My body, exhausted, is screaming to collapse . My magic armor and sword dematerialize in front of me, leaving me exposed . I fall to my knees, unable to move .

What happened?! Why am I weak all of a sudden?!

Mei: "Hoo, looks like you used all your Magic Power . You poor fool . "

She picks me up by the neck, her knife tracing along my arm .

Steven: "Mei…"

She stabs me in the abdomen, swirling and twisting it around before dropping me . I lie in a pool of my blood, Kanna is being dragged away by Cynthia, escaping but she's limping .

Steven: "Kanna… Run…"

The Headmaster steps in, raining spears of light on Mei . Livia rushes in with another student and drags me away . I pass out as Mei becomes engulfed in darkness .



(A few days later)

The Demon King's Palace, Shi De Emo, Hei'an Zhi Guo

----

Servants: "Welcome home, your highness . "

We're home, after a week . I honestly expected to stay out for a good month but Mei worked amazingly fast .

Mei: "Someone carry this man into the dungeon . "

Wilburt: "I'll do it, your highness . "

This would've been a good time for Lady Lilith to speak up, but she's been very quiet since . Poor girl, she's been through enough and the death of her father is the last thing she wanted .

The sisters Bao, Biyu, and Huian walk up to us . Welcoming Lady Mei home .

Bao: "Nice job, Mei . I always did know Lilith wasn't capable of this . In fact, I bet she was messing around . "

Lilith silently walks away, depressed and on the verge of tears .

Mei: "Lilith, wait! Argh, Bao! What the hell is your problem?! What did Lilith ever do to you?!"

Bao: "My problem? My problem?! You want to know what my problem is!? She forces herself to be something she's not, that's what my problem is!"

Biyu: "She might be a bastard child but I'm with Mei, she's our idiot sister in the end . "

Biyu moves to Mei's side, surprising her in the process .

Mei: "Biyu . "

Huian: "A bastard child wouldn't fit with the Royal Family . So much that father tried to keep her identity a secret . "

Bao: "It's just like Huian said . "

Mei: "You guys could at least say good morning to her . "

She mumbled to herself before walking away .

Biyu: "Hm, what's wrong with Mei, Wilburt?"

Wilburt: "There was an argument with Lady Lilith in Ostroven . "

Bao: "See? Even Mei has her limits with her . "

Biyu: "We all do, Bao . But that doesn't mean we have to treat Lilith worse than she deserves . "

Bao: "I still stand my ground, sister . "

Biyu: "Do as you wish then! If you need me, I'll be with my sisters, both Lilith and Mei . "

I resume my duties as soon as the argument died down . I carried Steven up here in a wagon but I have to go the rest of the way by foot if I don't want to track dirt in the palace .

Huian: "How did Mei take him?"

Wilburt: "Lady Mei attacked him at his school, when he was off his guard . They damaged some buildings but nobody else was killed to avoid any unwanted attention . "

She starts to gently stroke his hair .

Huian: "Can I keep him? He's really cute . "

Wilburt: "That is not for me to decide, your highness . "

Lady Huian can say some rather odd things at times but it took even me by surprise . She wants to keep the man who almost killed Lady Lilith and stepped on the Royal Family's name as a pet!

Even if she wanted to keep him, the Queen gets the final say in it . She wanted him first .

I dragged him with the help of a palace guard to the dungeon . There were already 2 others here, a man who was caught stealing food and a girl that just came out of nowhere, talking insanity about "quests . "

He gets dropped and we leave . Now that he's here, the Queen needs to be informed . She knows what to do with him .



(An unknown amount of time later . )

Woman: "Hey, wake up already!"

I being shaken . I sit up with my head hurting, like I just had a drinking contest with Yuuna . I look around and notice the woman next to me .

Where am I? I'm nowhere near the Academy . There's a window above me, but I can't reach it to look out . This is like some kind of prison . I should be at a hospital, I was stabbed! Not a prison!

I look to my abdomen and not even a scar remains .

Woman: "Hey! I'm trying to talk to you . "

I look at her, she doesn't look dangerous . She's in here, with me . A young woman covered in dirt and sweat . Her ears are round . Round . Ears .

I hope she's not another demon .

Woman: "Where are we?"

Steven: "I… Don't know . "

She scoffs and moves to a corner, holding her knees .

A man awakens from the other corner and stares daggers at me . Really, where am I? I don't belong here at all .

I feel safer talking to the woman, I could try and figure out what's going on .

I sit next to her, giving me a sad look .

Steven: "What's your name?"

Madelyn: "Madelyn . "

Steven: "Do you know why we're here?"

Madelyn: "No . "

Steven: "Not even a little?"

Madelyn: "I just said no!"

Steven: "Alright, I'm sorry . "

I'll try my luck with the man . I could at least try to defend myself if he attacked . I still can't get over his death stare at me . I noticed his ears, round like mine and Madelyn's . What if I got thrown into a prison for demons?!

I stand a safe distance from him . His death stare turns into curiosity .

Steven: "Uh, hey, man . "

He looks away from me, to the door leading outside .

Steven: "What's your name?"

Man: "None of your business . "

Steven: "Why are we here?"

Man: "Your guess is as good as mine . "

I'm not getting anywhere, I sit against the wall when a man comes in . Another Elf, maybe I am in prison after that fight at the Academy . Though, this Elf is really refined, and moves with authority . He's no ordinary guard .

Wilburt: "Ah, you must be Steven Omeo, allow me to introduce myself . I am Wilburt, the Head Servant for the Royal Family . "

Steven: "The Royal Family? What does Ostroven's Queen want from me?"

Wilburt: "I believe you are mistaken . You are in Shi De Emo . "

I heard Livia talk about it a couple times before, the capital of Hei'an Zhi Guo . I could feel my body getting clammy . This has to be some kind of joke . What about everyone at the Academy?

What about Kanna?!

Steven: "Where's Mei? Is everyone at the Academy alright?"

Wilburt: "They should be the least of your worries . "

Steven: "Tell me, slave . "

Wilburt: "Alright, at least you could die knowing something . Lady Mei is in the solar with Lady Lilith . You're friends on the other hand, they're all dead . "

He said with a sinister look on his face .

He's joking, right? He has to be joking! I saw Cynthia dragging Kanna to safety, but Livia? I refuse to believe it!

I fall against the wall, silently crying . The man walks out and the others look at me, sympathetic .

I don't care, I just want to go home . I decide to rest, there's nothing to do . I'm stuck here .

Madelyn comes to me, trying to comfort me . She pats me on the head awkwardly .

Madelyn: "Don't listen to him, he's lying . "

I raise my head to her .

Steven: "Is he really?"

Madelyn: "Yeah, besides, I know a way out!"

Man: "Did you find a way?"

Madelyn: "He triggered an escape flag!"

Steven: "A what?"

Madelyn: "The heroine and her party, on their way to their execution, is saved at the last minute and escape!"

I'm stuck in here with a nut!

Madelyn: "Just follow my lead . I know what to do!"

Are we actually going to have her lead us? If she really has a plan, we need to know it .

If one of them knows explosion magic, they could blow the wall away, but that might bring some unwanted attention . I could also slash the gate with Wind magic, but how long will that take? I don't want to run out of Magic Power like last time .

Steven: "Do any of you know magic?"

Madelyn: "There's magic?!"

Man: "I wouldn't be here if I did . "

Who are they? They don't know magic but almost everyone uses it .

Steven: "Where are you guys from that you don't know magic?"

Man: "From a village . "

Madelyn: "And I'm from Riverside . "

Riverside? It sounds so familiar but I can't put my finger on it . It sounds like a small town in Ostroven .

Steven: "Is Riverside in Ostroven?"

Madelyn: "Ostroven? No, California . "

Steven: "Yo-you're joking… Right?"

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Madelyn: "It's fine, no one ever believed me . They never will . "

California?! I remember Riverside! I went there with my family a couple times before . If she's from California, then she was brought here like me! This is great, maybe I could find a way home now and figure out how it was done .

We need to escape, I should trust them . They're both in here with me, after all .

Steven: "Madelyn, you said you knew how to escape?"

Madelyn: "I did, we cut the gate down . "

Steven: "How do we do that?"

Madelyn: "You said there was magic . Blow it open . "

Steven: "I don't know explosion magic . "

She thinks when Wilburt comes in, with Lilith . I should've known it was her! Another figure follows behind her . Blue skin and horns, a true demon . I really am dead if I don't think of something, fast .

Demon: "Which one?"

She's expressionless, only making me even more paranoid .

Wilburt: "The one in the middle, your majesty . "

Demon: "Bring him and the girl to the courtyard . Everyone is waiting . "

Wilburt: "At once, your majesty . "

Alright, I sort of understand what Madelyn was talking about, escape . Lilith and Wilburt open the gate and I go for it .

Steven: "Firebolt!"

I throw it like a pitcher, and hit Wilburt at high velocity, sending him stumbling a couple of feet back . Lilith backs away from the fire as I try to rush him .

Wilburt: "Alright, my turn . Wind Torrent!"

I get sent into the wall and then beaten by a couple of guards coming in, pinning me to the floor . They grab and drag us as we resisted .

When we arrived at the courtyard, a small crowd was gathered around a platform . Nothing had to be said to know that we were being executed .

We're marched onto the platform and tied together to a pole . Madelyn, kicking and screaming the whole time, gets repeatedly hit over the head by the guard .

Executioner: "These 2 have been convicted of committing crimes against the Royal Family and have been sentence to an execution for their treasonous actions!"

Crowd: "Burn them!"

Executioner: "What better reasons to deal with savagery by none other than savagery itself!"

Is this really it? My mind drifts to Kanna and Yuuna . I planned on going to the festival with them .

A group of mages encircle us, readying spells .

I start to think back when I was with Livia in the Academy's arena, learning and practicing new spells . Before we fought Lilith in the estate .

Livia: "In emergency situations, you can share defensive spells with another person but it'll take twice the effort to do it . "

Steven: "How does it work?"

Livia: "You need to have contact with them, holding them will work . "

Twice the effort? I can do that!

I grab Madelyn and begin casting Shielded Winds, hoping it would work against so many mages . It's hard to keep her in contact with her moving so much but I manage .

Steven: "Shielded Winds . "

Large balls of fire engulf us . My vision filling with fire and light . It's so hot, my eyes are burning .

We slowly descended into another darkness .



The Demon King's Palace, Shi De Emo, Hei'an Zhi Guo

----

I'm putting water on my chest . That kid's fireball really packs a punch but that's about all it can do . My outfit is barely charred .

Lady Lilith moved out of the way, thankfully . She must've known I was going to use wind magic on him .

Mei: "Wilburt, mother called us all . "

Wilburt: "Yes, your highness . "

The Queen is planning something, she hasn't called all of us at once since the Demon King died .

I accompany Mei to the solar . We were greeted by everyone else except Lilith, she's nowhere to be seen . Something must be really happening, the air is serious .

Lihua: "The execution failed . "

Bao: "How did it fail?"

Lihua: "They escaped . "

Mei: "How? I witnessed the executioners engulfing them in the fire . "

Lihua: "Someone used Shadow's Leap . "

Shadow's Leap, it's the dark magic spell that let's someone travel at extremely high rates of speed . We used it to go to Ostroven and back but it uses a lot of Magic Power . That means who ever did it is very powerful . The only powerful ones that I know of are the sisters and the Queen, but they wouldn't do something like this .

Mei: "Who would do that?"

Lihua: "Who's missing?"

Lady Lilith .

We all look at each other in disbelief . Why would she do something like that?

Mei: "No mother, Lilith wouldn't do something like that . Especially not for him!"

Lihua: "I don't want to believe it either . "

Bao: "I never liked her—!"

Mei: "She's in her tower! She has to be, she wasn't informed about the meeting!"

Mei begins to panic and runs off to Lilith's tower . Huian, unexpectedly, steps up in Lilith's defense .

Huian: "There is no reason for Lilith to do something like that, mother . "

Bao: "It was all her! I told you not to take her in!"

Lihua: "I've grown tired of your accusations, Bao . "

She said expressionlessly, forcing Bao into a silence .

Bao: "Sorry, mother . "

The door opens slowly and Lady Mei appears in tears . Her makeup flowing down her face .

Lihua: "Mei?"

Mei: "She—she's not in her—tower!"

Lihua begins to comfort her . I feel bad for Lady Mei, she doesn't want to believe that Lady Lilith helped then escape . I don't want to believe it either but it's suspicious that she's not here .

Lihua: "It's alright, my sweet daughter . "

She looks at everyone else . Expressionless, but she's more than furious . I could sense it, the the chill that goes down your spine .

Lihua: "Mei, take your sisters, bring Lilith home, and if possible, bring back the other 2, dead or alive . "



The Void

----

Darkness, I've seen it so much that I no longer think I died . What happened? I used Shielded Winds, we shouldn't be in here .

I used the time to try and calm Madelyn down, who's hyperventilating, and cast a candle light to give us some visibility in the darkness .

Madelyn: "Where are we?!"

Steven: "I don't know, but we're safe for now . "

She takes a few deep breaths, calming down .

Madelyn: "What did you do?"

Steven: "Magic, obviously . "

Tentacles made of darkness manifest and grab us both, dangling us upside down . We struggle against it but we're exhausted from our near deaths .

A very deep voice calls out to us, scaring us into submission .

Voice: "This one is ambitious, but deluded . "

Madelyn is flipped over and raised .

Voice: "And this one is quiet, but more deluded . "

Then I'm flipped over and raised . I call out to the voice, demanding an answer . The only person I know that can control darkness is a Demon!

Steven: "Who are you?!"

Voice: "I go by many names, but it does not matter . "

Steven: "What do you want from us?!"

Voice: "We saved you, at least be generous . "

Steven: "We?!"

Voice: "It does not matter who, only that you do as we say . "

Madelyn: "And what's that?"

Madelyn takes over the conversation, speaking calmly . It took me by surprise, she was just kicking and screaming earlier .

Voice: "Dethrone the Queen, Lihua . "

Mei's sister?

Steven: "What does Mei's sister have to do with any of this?"

Voice: "Fool, that wasn't Mei's sister in the hood, it was Lilith, the bastard child . "

I take the time to calm myself and think . If Lilith was in the hood, why didn't she attack me when we were alone? When my guard was down, especially in the living room? It doesn't make any sense no matter how I think about it .

Madelyn: "Where do we start?"

Voice: "There are few locations near the Queen that are loyal to me . You'll start in a hidden village inhabited by my people, not corrupted by the Queen . "

Madelyn: "How close is it to the Queen?"

Voice: "It's only a week away . "

If it really is a week away, it's likely around a 100 miles from the Queen . Assuming that we only stop for rest .

A village of Demons no doubt . I don't like it one bit, but as long as it's away from our deaths, I have no choice .

I still don't understand any of this, how and why are we going to dethrone the Queen?

Steven: "Why us? Why can't the Elves do it?"

Voice: "The Elves fail to see reason . "

Why should I, what do I get out of it? I don't want money or recognition . I just want my freedom that I fought Lilith over desperately to get back . I want to go back to Kanna!

Steven: "And when it's over?"

Voice: "Of course, I am not without gratitude, you will be rewarded . Name it, and you shall receive it . "

Steven: "My freedom back!"

Voice: "As you wish, but dethrone the Queen if you want your freedom . "

Steven: "And my friends? Cynthia, Kanna, Livia, Michael, the Academy in general? Are they dead like the servant said?"

Voice: "They are very well alive but injured, rightfully believing you were kidnapped . They are searching for you at this moment . Stay away from them, for their safety . "

Madelyn: "What about me, why was I brought to this world?"

Voice: "None other than to feed the Royal Family's ego . "

Madelyn: "No grand adventure?"

She mumbles to herself, disappointed .

If we dethroned the Queen, wouldn't someone else take her place? Unless this person has a vendetta against the Queen, it's more logical to get rid of the Royal Family as a whole .

Steven: "What do we do about the others, Lilith and Mei?"

Voice: "Do not hurt Lilith under any circumstances, she saved your life by bringing you here . The sisters, Bao, Biyu, Huian, and Mei, only if they get in the way, may you kill them . "

I refuse to believe Lilith saved me . Why would she do that? We were trying to kill each other almost a month ago . So why the sudden change of heart?

Madelyn: "Wouldn't they take over if the Queen is killed?"

Voice: "To kill her is one of many ways to dethrone her . "

Alright, I think I get it . The Queen's the source of everything and the others choose to follow her . If the Queen is dethroned, everything falls apart . She's the one keeping everything together .

At least, that's what I'm getting from this .

Voice: "Go now, you are at your destination . The village awaits . "

We fall through an opening through the floor, a dark steam following us, landing in the middle of the village the voice was talking about . I hit my head on a rock, opening a wound on my head . I'm holding my head when Madelyn comes to check on me .

Madelyn: "Are you alright?"

Steven: "I hit my head, but I'm good . "

I check my hand and only a little blood is coming out . I'm a little relieved, I thought I was going to bleed everywhere .

An old man appears, his skin, the color of a ruby . He must be one of the Demons we heard about .

Old Demon: "Ah, you must be the 2 we were told about . So It's barely started and you already injured yourself . "

Steven: "Yeah, where do I resign?"

Old Demon: "There's no backing out now, kiddo . We could get that head checked on . "

Steven: "Healing magic will be fine . "

Old Demon: "Nobody knows healing magic, follow me to the clinic, kiddo . "

Steven: "I'm not a kid, my name is Steven . "

Madelyn: "I'm Madelyn . "

Nikita: "Nice to meet you guys, I'm Nikita . "

We're led to an outdoor clinic with everyone watching us . I'm not used to being in the center of attention and it's even making Madelyn nervous .

The doctor checks me out, cleaning my wound before wrapping it with bandages . I thought Demons were ruthless and just pure evil, but they're helping me .

I start to feel a little guilty when I realized this .

Doctor: "Since no one knows healing magic, you need to let it heal naturally . "

Steven: "I, uh—Thank you, doctor . "

Doctor: "Don't thank me, it's my job! Here, you should rest and get your bearings back . "

I'm resting when Nikita comes in complaining .

Nikita: "I already wanted to put him to work, doc . "

Doctor: "They're our only hope against her, we shouldn't be too demanding . "

Steven: "It's fine, it's just a knock on the head . "

I stand up, ready to get started . I'm not sure what I'm doing, but I should help out as thanks .

Nikita starts dancing around, his feet tapping away, happy . Looks like they're in a rough spot and we came in at the perfect moment .

Nikita: "We need medicine!"

Madelyn: "Where do we find that?"

Nikita: "We raid it from the military, where else?"

Steven: "You can't just buy it?"

Nikita: "And support the Queen? You're nuts!"

Madelyn: "How many people are in the village? It doesn't look small . "

Nikita: "Around 800 of us . We're dwindling every month to disease and famine . "

I've heard more than enough, I'm more than willing to help .

Steven: "Alright, where's the military? I don't mind a raid if it means sticking it to the Queen and helping the people . "

His eyes light up, dancing around like a jester . This guy really is off, but he cares for his people enough to raid the military . I can't really hate someone like that, even if he's a Demon .

Nikita: "There's a camp down the main road a few miles from here! They get supplies every weekend . "

Steven: "We can get started right now, then . "

Nikita: "You need equipment . "

Steven: "I only need a sword . "

Kanna and Livia taught me everything I know when it comes to fighting with magic and a sword . I even learned a little bit of evasion and stealth . I feel comfortable with something like this, they're not going to be fighting like Mei, right?

I'm taken to the armory and shown several low quality swords . These people really do need everything, from food and medicine to weapons and armor .

I grabbed the first sword I saw . Madelyn seemed put off by the weapons as well . I swear, I'll break this sword just by tapping it .

Nikita: "This girl will guide you to the camp, her name's Zia . "

Zia: "Hi!"

She's just a kid .

Steven: "How old are you?"

Zia: "I'm 15!"

It's another person I have to take care of! If she's guiding us, I hope she won't try and join in on the raid . I'd hate myself if she did and risked her life .

Madelyn: "Just guiding us, you'll wait until we get back and not try to help with the raid, understood?"

Zia: "I know! It's too dangerous for me anyway . "

At least she has sense . We start heading through the woods, to the military camp . The woods are really dense, how do they make their way through this?

A narrow gap opens up and we pick up the pace now that there's less foliage to move around in . Zia's really energetic and we have to keep her in sight if we don't want to lose her .

The gap opens a little more and we're practically on a dirt road now . We're able to freely stretch out, much to our relief .

Steven: "Hey Zia . "

Zia: "Yeah, Stevie?"

Stevie? She's quick to give me a nickname .

Steven: "How do you find your way through these woods?"

Zia: "I always walk through here, so I know my way . The others know how too!"

Something like that really is something .

We arrived at the camp in a hour's time . The camp looked more like a checkpoint on the main road . There isn't many guards, but they might be in the tents . I'd rather avoid them and have them think the medicine was misplaced than put up a fight .

Steven: "Zia, do you know where the medicine would be kept?"

Zia: "Of course, it's right there in that open tent at the edge, see?"

It's wide open, it won't be easy but there's bushes nearby I could disappear behind if I get caught . I might be able to pass through as a traveler . Madelyn would help a lot if she were with me .

Steven: "Madelyn, what do you think?"

Madelyn: "It's easy without getting caught . Look, we could circle around and use the treeline as cover to get to the medicine . The forest's are dense, so they won't chase us if we get caught . "

Alright, there goes my first impression of her . That's an amazing plan! Zia stayed behind, she's our way back through the forest .

We quickly move between the trees, the only problem was crossing the road . We crawl through the grass but the road was made of hard dirt . We'll be visible .

Madelyn: "We chance it . We're a good distance, it'll be hard to see us . "

Just like she said, we cross without getting caught and go through the trees on the other side . Nearing the camp, I get ready to sneak in .

Steven: "Are we both going?"

Madelyn: "If you can do it on your own, go ahead . "

If things do come to it, I could use Holy Warrior . It's more of a one-off considering I can barely use it for half a minute .

I'm crawling low and slow against the bushes, several feet from the tent with the medicine . I look around and don't notice any guards and run in, closing the tent . Hopefully, nobody will notice and I can move freely inside .

I grab a nearby pack, emptying everything from it on the floor and start grabbing any medicine . From bandage rolls to the bottles, completely stuffing the pack .

I try on the pack and make it comfortable to wear . I look out and noticed the armory . I could use a good sword from them .

The idea was tossed out when I started hearing some of the soldiers nearby . I jump into the grass, hiding .

Sargent: "Did you close the tent?"

Private: "No, sir . "

He opens the tent, looking around and noticed it was raided .

Sargent: "Fuck! Get the others! We've been raided!"

I quickly crawl my way back to Madelyn and tell her that they noticed the medicine was missing . We circled back around to Zia before they started searching for us and made a break for the village .

We're all out of breath when we arrived, Nikita came and took the pack to the doctor .

Madelyn: "That's one repeatable quest I don't want to do again . "

I go to the doctor and check on the medicine . Surely after all that effort, we should be good for a week, at best .

Doctor: "This is really good medicine, Steven . I'm amazed you managed to grab so much . Though, some of the vials appear cracked during transport, it's still more than what we usually get . "

Steven: "They weren't very secure with the medicine . It was easy to take, actually . "

Doctor: "And if we learned anything from them, it's that they quickly learn from their mistakes . It'll be harder next time . "

Steven: "How long will the medicine last until we need more?"

Doctor: "A couple weeks, I'll let you know if we need more . And thank you, really, we needed this . "

The sun sets, it's the end of the day . Nikita shows us a tent we could use until a more "permanent" place where we could stay is set up . It wasn't too bad, there's enough room for us to walk around in and it's like camping .

We went to bed after eating . Food was already low without us and they're rationing, so we ate nothing more than just bread and butter .

Seemed like even in a different world poverty is an issue and this village was evidence . It's different from my life as being a servant to a noble family .

Madelyn: "Hey Steven, where are you from . You seem to know everything about this world . "

Steven: "I'm from Everhand . "

Madelyn: "What's it like?"

Steven: "It's… Beautiful . Without any problems from a Demon like Lilith or Mei, it's really peaceful . It may not be too different from our world but I loved it . "

Madelyn: "What did you do?"

Steven: "I was a student at the Mage's Academy . "

Madelyn: "You're a warlock?!"

Steven: "A what? No, it's like—what's it called—a Japanese high school where you can learn magic . "

Madelyn: "That's amazing, I want to go! Does it have its own questline?"

Questline? She really thinks it's a video game! How deluded could she get!

I sigh .

Oh well, if she wants to see it like that, I can't say much . It does look like one, to be fair .

Steven: "Yeah, the antagonist is the Headmaster . "

Madelyn: "So it's like, the Academy is in danger because the Headmaster trapped everyone inside and is harvesting their souls?"

For some reason, I could imagine the Headmaster doing something like that . I mean, he's not that evil, he'll just make someone do something absolutely insane, like hunt a Demon inside an abandoned estate .

Steven: "Well, no, he'll make you do an impossible task . "

Madelyn: "Did you do it?"

Steven: "My friend got hurt because of it . "

Madelyn: "What happened to him?"

Steven: "Her, she was in a coma for a couple weeks . She only woke up when these guys in the Army came and used magic to wake her up . "

Madelyn: "Ooh! Does the Army have a questline too?!"

I'm actually enjoying this, I'm about to burst out in laughter . It's like telling a story to a really excited child .

Steven: "Not that I know of, they were involved in the Academy—Uh, questline . "

Madelyn: "Did they help with the quest?"

Steven: "We assaulted a chapel because a Demon was there and got arrested . We broke out a few hours later by starting a riot . "

Madelyn: "How did the quest end?"

Steven: "They saved my life . "

Madelyn: "Are there any side quests?"

She could at least listen until I finish! I'm trying to tell her my story!

Steven: "There's a lot of them . "

I kept telling her stories, about Feles Isle and Ostroven alike until we were both too tired to listen or tell anymore stories . We turned in for night before turning off the lantern that kept the tent lit up .

We could look outside and see the infinite stars that light up the night sky .

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