S 012: Premonition of Trouble

I wake up with a terrible hangover and with a naked girl I don’t recognize sharing my bed, her legs entangled with mine and her head on my shoulder, her peaceful breath tickling the side of my neck.

And once I make a small effort of will and direct my body to break down the alcohol inside me, the hangover disappears, which leaves only the naked girl.

I have no idea who she is, exactly, but that doesn’t prevent me from appreciating the way the early sunlight caresses her skin. I decide to follow the sunlight’s example and slowly run my fingers over the curve of her hip. The girl shifts slightly under my touch and lets out a blurry moan, but she doesn’t wake up.

I smile mischievously and gently push her down onto her back, then get on top of her. Once again, she frowns a little as her sleep is disturbed.

But she still doesn’t wake up, so I keep going.

I give her a very light kiss, my mouth hovering just above hers, barely touching, my tongue brushing over her lips to get a hint of her taste. I lower myself down onto her a bit more, feeling her soft, springy flesh press against mine. My hand slides up from her hip, along her flank, and to her chest.

Oooohohoh…

This is very nice. Since I’ve spent the past few weeks first in Akasha’s frigid company, then in the confines of a sealed carriage trudging through the Frontline, I haven’t had the opportunity to fuck anyone for quite a while. The only complaint I could have about this girl is that she might be a tad younger than I would normally…

Hmm?

That’s right, isn’t it?

This girl is rather young. I usually prefer more mature women.

Oh, my…

Was Akasha’s influence enough to shift my tastes in another direction?

This girl under me right now isn’t quite as young as Akasha herself, fortunately, but she still looks young and innocent enough that her parents probably wouldn’t approve of what she’s done with me last night – presumably; I don’t actually remember any of it – or what I’m doing right now.

And…

Unblemished, clear, pale blue skin. Smooth white horn. Silky silver hair. Clean nails. Uncallused hands. The clothes spread haphazardly all over the floor are all of very fine make, as well.

Could this girl a noble, by any chance?

Majin territory is mostly divided in tribes and city states, rather than actual countries, so there aren’t any kings and such, but there are still divisions of hierarchy.

I vaguely seem to recall that the governor of Elphen is a high oni, too.

…This is pretty bad, isn’t it?

Am I going to be chased out of town because I unknowingly slept with the governor’s daughter? No, but she definitely would have been accompanied by some bodyguards, if she really was someone so notable, right? And those bodyguards of hers definitely would have stopped us from going a step too far, right?

Right.

Definitely.

She’s just some unknown, random, inconsequential, unrelated, high oni young woman, who just happens to be rich and pretty.

Which means I can continue with a clear conscience.

My pointless scruples out of the way, I lean more deeply into the kiss and slip my tongue between the girl’s lips. At the same time, after playing with her small breasts enough, my hand goes back down along her flank and hip to caress the soft skin of her leg, then ever so slowly moves up the inside of her thigh.

And finally, as my actions become more forceful, Mysterious Girl A opens her eyes.

…I have to say that waking up while being embraced by an incredible beauty such as myself – I’m in my default appearance – should rank right up there among the best ways to start one’s day. I hope this girl is appreciative of her great luck.

For a few seconds, even as the kiss continues, the girl looks into my eyes without reaction, her gaze still blurry with sleep, until the hand creeping up her thigh reaches its destination, and I slip a finger inside her. With a gasp, the girl’s eyes open wide, and she finally seems to understand her situation. She tries to turn her head away and escape the kiss, but I expertly follow her movements and trap her lips with mine.

“Ah! Nnnh!”

Her back arches against me, as if to push me off, but at the same time, her arms reflexively wrap around my neck and hug me tightly.

My smile widens, and I press down onto her more heavily, keeping her beneath me, my tongue playing with hers and my fingers moving more actively.

“Haaa, haaa, haaa.”

Half an hour later, Mysterious Girl A is left panting, her body lying powerlessly on the bed, dazed eyes wandering aimlessly around the room.

I just sit there next to her with my legs crossed and look down at her.

Once she’s calmed down a little, I say, “Good morning.”

It takes a moment for the girl’s eyes to focus on me, but even then, she doesn’t say anything. Judging from the blush rapidly creeping up her cheeks, I’d say she’s too embarrassed to open her mouth.

I’d like to ask why she’s still acting shy after we spent a whole night together, but that would probably only make things worse.

Which is why I say something else, instead.

“So, I realize this might not be the right time to ask this question, but um, who are you, exactly?”

“You’re the worst.”

“Haha. Sorry.”

It’s clear just listening to the tone of my apology that I’m not sorry at all, actually, and Mysterious Girl A – whose name turned out to be Eileen – clearly noticed.

She frowns and continues her accusation. “So you just did…” She blushes and hesitates for a moment before continuing. “…this, to someone you didn’t even know, to someone you didn’t even recognize? You are a fiend. Don’t you have a shred of moral integrity?”

“Well, it just seemed appropriate, given the circumstances.”

Eileen fumes at my nonchalant reply and glares at me from across the table, but I can tell she’s not really angry. She’s just trying to conceal her embarrassment.

To give her time to compose herself, I glance around us at the other customers having their breakfast in the inn’s first floor. Quite a few of them are sneaking peeks at our table, but none look like they’re going to actively disturb us.

I wonder if any of them heard Eileen’s moans?

…I probably shouldn’t ask her that question.

I look back to her to see if she’s ready to resume our conversation, but she’s still blushing profusely and avoiding my gaze, so I indulge her and instead turn to the half-finished plate in front of me to continue my meal.

The round of introductions from earlier informed me that Eileen is not, in point of fact, Elphen’s governor’s daughter, for which I’m very thankful. She’s only the daughter of a rich merchant who came here from Mel Senshir for business. Next, they’ll be heading to Oluo, the Academy City, where Eileen has been accepted and where she’ll study for the next few years.

I didn’t ask what subject she was going to study, or if she had friends already waiting for her there. I don’t expect we’ll ever see each other again once this breakfast is over, so I’m not overly interested in her life story.

If I do have a question, it would be…

“By the way, with the way traffic across the Frontline has dried up, these days, what kind of business does your father hope to make in Elphen?”

Talk of more down-to-earth matters apparently gets Eileen’s mind off of her embarrassment, and she finally lifts her head to answer. “Traffic might be drying up, but with the arrival of the human dignitaries, there’ll still be quite a lot of people coming here in the next few days. Father hasn’t planned any long-term business, as far as I know. It’s only that we were on route to Oluo, so we made a slight detour to Elphen, to see what the fuss was about and see if we could make any profit off of it.”

“Wait, human dignitaries? What human dignitaries?”

Eileen tilts her head. “Haven’t you heard? A group of humans will be arriving in Elphen soon. Father says the war is going to start again, and that they’re going to negotiate some things. I don’t know.”

“I see…”

How did I miss that particular piece of news?

Well, it’s true I didn’t dare to go out much, while I was waiting for the caravan to leave Lamos, and then I got drunk out of my mind once I arrived in Elphen, so I suppose I wouldn’t have known about whatever happened in the outside world.

“Do you think Lord Yulan will come to Elphen himself, for the negotiations?” Eileen asks. “I wonder if I’ll be able to see him.”

“I doubt it.”

Yulan doesn’t move for such trivial matters as negotiations – in fact, Yulan doesn’t move for much at all.

Maybe because he’s a god, and he finds conversing with us common mortals to be beneath his station and dignity?

I wouldn’t know. I’ve never actually met him.

But he’ll probably just send a few of his subordinates to welcome these human guests. Or maybe he’ll just send the Major, if these human guests happen to be unwelcome in the first place, and he wants to get rid of them.

“I hear the person who’s coming is an important human, though,” Eileen says. “So someone equally important should come from our side, right?”

“Oh? Someone important, you say? And who’s that supposed to be?”

I wonder if it’s someone I know.

I’ve met pretty much every important human there is to meet, considering I infiltrated pretty much every important place in the human territories there is to infiltrate. I’m even friends – or at least on speaking terms – with quite a few of them.

Well, some of my other identities are, that is.

I’m expecting an earl or a marquess to be involved, at least, since Eileen’s talking about ‘important’ people, but the answer she gives me almost makes me spit out the mouthful of tea I’m trying to drink.

“It’s the daughter of the God-Emperor. She’s called Milla, I think? Or is it Lilla? Or Philla? I can’t remember.”

“…It’s Milla.”

“Ah, so you know of her, too?”

“I suppose you could say that, yes.”

It was something like 50 years ago, though. That’s pretty much a lifetime ago, for a human, isn’t it? She’s probably forgotten about me, after all this time…

But why would Milla have come to majin territories to negotiate?

And what is there even to negotiate in the first place?

With the apostles on their side, the humans have an overwhelming advantage in the war. They don’t need to negotiate to obtain anything; they can just up and take it by force, if they want.

Maybe they’re hoping to limit losses on their side, as much as possible?

But why Milla herself?

It just doesn’t make sense.

Her status as the daughter of the God-Emperor is certainly prestigious, but she doesn’t actually have much political authority. She doesn’t have any great achievements that she could lean on to intimidate or coerce her opponents, either. As far as I’m aware, she’s stayed rather low-key for pretty much all her life.

So why is she acting up now?

…And then, I remember my own thoughts from a moment ago.

Maybe Yulan will just send the Major.

And I feel a drop of cold sweat trail down my back.

If the daughter of the God-Emperor dares to step foot in majin territory, Yulan won’t even need to open his mouth and make the order. In fact, even if Yulan ordered the Major not to do anything, that crazy bitch would still rush here as soon as she heard the news and take matters in her own hands.

She won’t give a single shit about the negotiations or the war or anything else.

I know perfectly well about the Major’s absolute, unrelenting hatred for the God-Emperor and everything and everyone even remotely related to him. Over the years of my association with her, I’ve seen that woman grow ever so slightly kinder and more merciful toward humans as a whole – even from the perspective of someone with such loose morals as mine, she truly was excessively cruel, when I first met her – but the God-Emperor most definitely is the exception to this rule. No matter what, the Major won’t miss an opportunity to tear one of his family members into shreds, regardless of the cost.

…Don’t the people who sent Milla on this mission realize the danger?

Are they idiots?

Or just insane?

Or could it be that Milla’s enemies among the humans are purposefully trying to get rid of her this way? But who would dare to do such a thing? Even if her cultivation rank is very low, she’s still the daughter of the fucking God-Emperor. Untouchable.

No, why am I directly assuming the worst?

Maybe they’re just confident in their security measures?

They could have sent good bodyguards to accompany her…

Perhaps even a god or two?

But would that be sufficient?

Assassination isn’t frank and upright combat. Anyone can be assassinated, given the right preparations.

And I know the Major’s resourcefulness.

And ruthlessness.

She wouldn’t hesitate to sacrifice the entire city of Elphen itself, along with everyone in it, if it was necessary to accomplish her goals. She wouldn’t care in the least that it’s filled with the majin she’s supposed to be fighting for.

And if she notices I’m here…

It might be a good idea to leave this place right away.

But… Milla…

It’s not like I’m trying to rekindle an old flame that was extinguished 50 years ago or anything, but…

Haaa…

“Are you all right?”

“What? Oh. Um, yes, I’m fine.”

“You look a bit distracted,” Eileen says, looking at me worriedly.

“Sorry, I was just remembering what we did last night.” I give her a thumbs-up. “You definitely have talent for this. It was really nice. Oh, do you want to do it again after we’re done with breakfast, by any chance?”

Instantly, Eileen’s face turns as red as the reddest thing in the world. She points an accusing finger at me and starts stuttering. “You… You…!”

I don’t know what she intends to say – probably a disparaging comment about how I shouldn’t be corrupting the youth with my disgraceful behavior or something – but I nod sagely. “Hmm. Quite, quite.”

“…”

Eileen seems to have lost the ability to form coherent words, so I take the opportunity to think a bit more about what I want to do next and how I want to do it. Then, I sigh quietly to myself and ask the question that’s probably going to get me violently killed.

“So, when did you say these human dignitaries would be coming, again?”

24 comments

  1. So Milla’s being sent to rid Gareth of someone he doesn’t care for, bait the Major into attacking (and thus starting another war that Springfield will not be able to stop) and presumably also thus lure her into a trap so that Gareth can finally stop her blowing up Daddy’s secret labs?

  2. Somehow i didn’ register in G001 that Gareth uses his own sister as a sacrifical pawn. Looks like his development into a typical, ruthless family member progressed faster than his father thought.

    1. Yes and no – he really doesn’t like his sister (disgust at her squandering her talents or something), so it’s not quite the same.

      1. Yeah, it hugely depends on his morals and relationships with his family. From the sound of it his sister has probably reached the end of her life anyway.

        I’m wondering how a family that encourages this kind of behaviour can survive long term. They can’t trust their own family members and any ally’s outside of their family can’t trust them either. That’s pretty self-destructive.

  3. YES ! YES FOR YUR-

    I mean thanks for the chapter

    Also the major wouldn’t happen to be an elf, would she ?

  4. Anyone else thinking that The Major is Akasha’s Sister? I wonder what would happen if she let slip that she’d just helped a girl named Akasha escape the prison after nearly 300 years if that’s the case…

    1. Yeah, I think most people are leaning towards the Major being Nerys even though I can’t think of anything the author wrote that strongly implied this. Just subtle implications. At this point I would be surprised if it wasn’t Nerys.

  5. Thanks for the chapter.
    So Sif know Major, Akasha and Milla. Hum, Here how i see the future : Major is Nerys (And maybe Yulan is Akasha’s father ?) and want revenge. Sif will tell her that Akasha is alive, she will go on human territoire with sif to find Akasha(they just have to follow the path of destruction ^^). And i see Akasha and Nerys killing Gareth and his father putting Milla on the throne with Sif as spouse.

  6. I’ll admit, I do adore the idea of Nerys being a God. There’s just too damned many utterly awful, completely monstrous Gods. Or at best morally apathetic elitists who see something like the deaths of hundreds of thousands of mere mortals to be of secondary importance to the loss of a frigging MINE. Stop and think about this for a moment. The Duke’s brother, not yet a God at his 9th rank of cultivation…is the ONLY conventionally moral individual explicitly identified in the story as being above 6th Rank Cultivation.

    I appreciate that goal-oriented megalomaniacs would be more *likely* to accrue something close to absolute power, but in a world so utterly magic-drenched as this one I’m left wondering why the Duke’s brother is a standout moral oddity among the powerful. Surely over thousands of years two or three actually kind, just and (reasonably) merciful people would’ve attained Godhood on Caldera, right? So, where are they?

    1. “So, where are they?” – well, Finram has already mentioned that the God Emperor is inclined to keep gaining godhood a secret and either control or remove anyone who makes it there anyway.

      As for gods all being morally apathetic, that’s possibly just because most of them are really old. Finram is young in comparison at the age of 40-50 (I forget his precise age) and so hasn’t gained callous disregard for mortals yet, not least because his family is alive and in close contact with him.

      On that note, I’m not entirely convinced Nerys will be a wholly benign god if it does transpire that she’s the Major.

  7. Also: Question for the Author. Akasha is encountering limitations in power-expenditure by what her meridians can withstand having pumped through them. It’s described as the essential limiting factor of her magic despite her now having a little over EIGHTY TIMES the amount of Blood Qi she’s ever had before.

    So how do human Gods differ in their magic use that allows them to progress beyond Akasha’s level of magical ability? As it’s been explained to us, the primary difference between Akasha and other magic-users is that “normal” magic users draw Qi in and then utilize up to one unit less of their personal maximum to power spells, whereas Akasha wouldn’t die like they would if she used too powerful a spell due to the differences between Blood and Conventional Qi.

    It still doesn’t explain how other Gods can user wider area effects or overall more powerful magic than Akasha. Wouldn’t they suffer from a similar limit with what their meridians could withstand?

    1. Humans would face the same problem as Akasha, if they suddenly found themselves with 80 times more qi in their dantian than they’d had a minute ago.

      Meridians have a limited capacity. Forcefully using more qi than the meridians can handle will cause them to tear and burst (the result of which usually varies between crippling and death).
      But the size of one’s meridians isn’t fixed. As one slowly goes up the ranks of cultivation, the meridians also slowly grow larger to accommodate the increasing amount of qi that flows through them. But that process is gradual. It can’t happen in a day or two (it’s like training one’s flexibility by doing stretches every morning).

      That is to say, humans, who need to carefully and gradually refine the ambient qi and make it theirs, will rarely run upon such a problem. But Akasha, who can easily absorb great amounts of blood-qi by killing demons and such, needs to be careful not to break her unready meridians by casting magic too powerful for her (this almost happened all the way back in Chapter 017, by the way).

      1. So what about when Akasha was casting more powerful (longer range) spells while in rage mode? Did
        A) rage mode temporarily increase the capacity of her meridians,
        B) she pushed her meridians past capacity, but rage mode instantly healed them, or
        C) she pushed her meridians past capacity, but didn’t care at the time because rage mode?

        1. Range is determined by the soul’s strength. The stronger the soul, the farther one can cast magic without it being a ridiculously wasteful endeavor.

          You can see spent energy VS range as a logarithmic function, with X being spent energy and Y being range. Strengthening the soul brings the function’s limit (the Y value where it plateaus) higher than before. In other words, as long as you’re within the range allowed by your soul’s current strength, you don’t need to spend much more energy to cast a spell 10 or 20 or 100 meters away. But if you go past your allowed range, then just reaching one meter further will cost you a lot.

          In brief, longer range is not strongly linked to more costly spells.
          Which means that, while in rage mode, what changed wasn’t the capacity of Akasha’s meridians but the range of her magic. Her spells could reach further, but they weren’t all that much more expensive than before, and her meridians thus didn’t suffer any damage.

  8. Um. That was too far. Sorry, Liv, you really should have said “yes there is explicit sex” when I asked about content warnings.
    I’m dropping this completely, unless a censored version shows up. Bye.

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