Chapter 18:

Figuring Out Magic

Draconia Offline

I know that it wasn’t just a figure of speech, she really meant it. I try helping Liana with coordinating Emi’s rescue but I can’t focus. I keep thinking about her words and my head is full of catastrophic scenarios. What if more Draconians start to hate humans? What if…?

“Don’t,” Erik clutches my hand. “I’m here to make sure it won’t come to that. Besides, it’s been barely two weeks since it all started and people are still confused. They need time to come to terms with it. Not everyone will hate Draconians just because you’re different, look at people like Mrs Hana, Dr Stein and Ingri’s parents.”

I try to smile back at him but then I glance at the 3D projector that’s constantly showing the news on silent.

“I-it’s been confirmed,” I gasp and quickly turn on the sound.

Everybody stops working and we’re watching the broadcast in which a reporter says that a young Celestial woman in Kazakhstan has indeed died when doctors attempted to amputate her wings. So far Draconians were mostly undecided whether to believe Emi’s video or not but now we can expect real panic.

“I know that she was your friend,” Julia says slowly. “But at the very least no one else will try something similar.”

“Small comfort,” Fefnir frowns. Liana doesn’t say anything but I can feel her anger and sadness she’s bottling inside.

“Oh, I was meaning to ask you, Fefnir,” Julia chews her lip. “Do the Dragonkin die when they lose their tail?”

“No,” he shakes his head. “Our weak spot is our stomach where the scales aren’t that hard. We can re-grow all our limbs.”

Julia opens her mouth wide, speechless.

“O-ouch, dammit,” I massage my temples because sudden burst of pain flashes through my head.

Dr Stein shakes off her astonishment and jumps to me.

“What is it, Ryuuto?” she asks with real concern which is a pleasant change.

“Too many agitated emotions in the vicinity,” I explain. “Plus, I didn’t rest much after the interrogation and it was the first time I was directly connecting to so many unknown people.”

“Right,” Erik clicks his tongue. “Doc, Ryuuto needs some means to better control his ability, can you think of something?”

“Well, obviously no as he’s the only confirmed telepath ever,” she’s lost. “But I can look up some meditation techniques and we can test them to see what will possibly work.”

“Li, you need to rest as well,” I say when Erik points to the door, making me get up. “You’re on the brink of total exhaustion. Don’t think you can hide it from me.”

“When I’m done organising Emi’s rescue,” Liana nods tiredly. “Then we should have a few hours to rest properly before my employees reach her.”

“Mrs Hana, please see to it that Liana really goes to bed,” I implore the housekeeper. “My viceroy has a bad habit of over-achieving.”

“Yes, I know,” Mrs Hana is well aware. “Don’t worry, Mr Ryuuto.”

“Just Ryuuto, please.”

“Then just Hana, please.”


Julia is watching me while the painkillers she gave me just a half an hour ago to mitigate my headache end up in a toilet bowl.

“That didn’t go well,” Erik sighs, kindly holding my hair.

“It has almost the same composition as that brand you mentioned you’ve been taking, Ryuuto,” Julia says, nervously stepping in one place. “I thought your body is used to them.”

“His old body was used to them,” Erik says instead of me as I’m too busy trying to get rid of that disgusting puking aftertaste. Water doesn’t help much so I have to brush my teeth.

“I’ve always had a weak stomach,” I say and collapse on our bed when I’m done cleaning my mouth.

“I think it’s probably more than that,” Julia is unconvinced. “It’s only understandable that human medicine isn’t designed for… new species.”

“Sleep helps,” I curl under the blankets. “Erik’s presence does, too. Even when I feel overwhelmed, resting in the mind I really like soothes me.”

“That’s good to hear since painkillers are out of question,” Julia sighs. “Still, there’ll be times when you won’t be able to nap whenever you like or your boyfriend won’t be by your side. Ms Richter is right; we need to find some method how to train your telepathy.”

“I’ve tried basic breathing techniques but they don’t work that well ever since my ability got stronger,” I admit.

“Got stronger? Tell me about it,” Julia insists because it’s new information for her.

How strange and pleasant at the same time. Just two days ago, telepathy was still my most guarded secret and I dreaded telling another soul. Now five more people know, six in total if counting Erik. And it’s okay which is something I’d have never thought possible. I even befriended a doctor.

I let Erik tell her under which circumstances my telepathy levelled-up because fighting with coming sleep is no use.


“Gosh, Ryuu, you toss a lot!” Erik’s aggravated voice wakes me up. That or the fact that I accidentally rolled on my back and painfully squeezed my wings.

“S-sorry,” I open my eyes. “I just can’t find a comfortable position and I’m not able to roll over my back anymore.”

“I hope your body just needs to get used to that because otherwise I don’t know how I’d be able to get any sleep,” he yawns, his eyes red. “Especially after your wings get really big.”

“After my wings get big, we won’t need a blanket anymore,” I try to tease him. “I’ll cover us both. Feathers are very warm.”

“Hmm, looking forward to that,” he finally smiles and pets my left wing. “How did Celestials sleep in the game?”

“We didn’t,” I say. Erik really doesn’t know anything about VR gaming. “What’s the point of programming virtual avatars to sleep? The system automatically logs you off when your brain is too tired to handle the dive.”

“Oh, right,” he scratches his chin. “So we have to figure it out ourselves, preferably while your wings are still small since I’ve literally woken up with your feathers in my mouth.”

“S-sorry,” I apologise again and turn red.

I want to hide the fact that the thought of his mouth caressing my wings is somehow alluring but because we’re still touching, he catches that. And not only my thought, he gets my sudden excitement as well.

“Being lewd at 2 A.M.?” he bursts laughing.

“A bit,” I admit, blushing. “I slept well so my headache got better.”

“You’re still hurting, though,” he becomes serious and gently strokes my hair.

“It’s the intensity I’m used to,” I shrug. “Some days are better than others but I’ve never had a week when I didn’t have any headache. This is nothing.”

“For real?” he frowns.

“At least I don’t have problems sleeping,” I try to be positive. “I’m always so exhausted from other people’s thoughts and emotions that no matter what problems I’m currently dealing with, it doesn’t disturb my sleep. Like Emi right now…”

“Are you close with her?” Erik is curious.

“As close as one can be with a gaming buddy,” I say. “We started playing when Draconia launched five years ago and went for countless quests together. We drifted apart when we became too busy with ruling our races, though. I really hope she’s okay.”

“Liana is doing her best, Emi will be with us in no time,” Erik reassures me. “Until then do you mean to go back to sleep or…?”

“Little petting, pretty please?” I turn my back to him and spread my wings.

“You wish,” he chuckles. “I get your new Celestial preference but what’s in it for me?”

“My feathers are fluffy and pleasant to touch?” I try but it’s no use as Erik is already positioning me on my knees and gets rid of my sleeping shorts.

“You know I don’t like it much from behind,” I murmur. “I want to see your face.”

“Well, I can’t put you on your back anymore and we didn’t do this position lately,” he says. “Don’t worry, I’ll make it nice.”

He isn’t lying, he never does. Even though this isn’t my favourite technique, he makes up for it when he shoves his chin between my wings.

“Not bad, huh?”

“It’s not horrible,” I admit.

I want to let him have as humanly normal sex as possible so that he can take a break from all those weird things happening but I can’t stop the reflex and dive deep into his mind almost immediately. But he isn’t bothered; his mind is welcoming just as my body is towards him.

He reaches orgasm quickly and the telepathic loop makes me climax at the same time. I feel so blissful that it’s somehow natural to release my mana a bit as well. My feathers flutter in a sudden breeze and this time Erik isn’t startled.


“Let’s try this exercise,” Julia presents me with instructions the first thing in the morning.

“Seriously? Before breakfast?” Erik sighs. “Aren’t they waiting for us?”

“I told them we’ll be ten minutes late,” Julia is adamantly pushing a tablet into my hands. “It’s a simple breathing exercise that is recommended to do every morning. It’s supposed to focus one’s mind.”

“Okay, okay,” I give in, take a pillow and put it under my butt like a meditation cushion. “Hmm, it’s surprisingly a good sitting posture for Celestials,” I discover and relax my wings.

“I reckon because your centre of gravity has changed,” Julia comments. “Your race might not need a backrest.”

“Possibly,” I nod. “Erik, can you read the instructions? But don’t touch me, I have to learn not to rely on you all the time and calm my mind myself.”

Erik’s stomach rumbles but Julia assures him it’s really only ten minutes long so he starts reading. He reads slowly and for a few moments I’m thinking about how I love his voice before I finally remember to focus on my breath. It has a different effect, though, my telepathy only grows sharper now that nothing is distracting me.

“Time out,” I quickly open my eyes. “It seems calming down makes is worse.”

“Worse or stronger? That’s a big difference,” Julia asks.

“Stronger and therefore worse,” I set things straight.

“That’s also progress,” she says. “You need to be able to focus your telepathy as well as blunt it in order to rest.”

“Now he needs the second mode,” Erik waves his hand. “Do you have some other meditation?”

“I suspected it might be the case so I looked up one that’s supposed to help people who are bothered by noise,” she says proudly and presents him with a different text.

“Another attempt, honey,” Erik nudges me because I’m not willing to close my eyes again.

This time it goes more smoothly. The breathing part is very short and after that I’m just following Erik’s voice giving me instructions on how to let noises flow through me without reacting to them. In a certain sense, loud sounds do feel similar to telepathic noise that’s bothering me.

“Well?” Julia smiles at me when the meditation session is over.

“It might help,” I say hopefully.

“Great, train it twice a day and we’ll see how it goes,” she nods.


We meet Hana in the hall and she insists we go properly to the dining room. Everyone’s already there and eating when we arrive. The atmosphere is both strangely elevated and grim.

“My people reached Emi an hour ago,” Liana says without any greeting. “She’s famished, dirty and has a few bruises but physically otherwise okay.”

“But mentally?” I’m worried.

“She scratched my people when they tried to touch her so they had to use sedatives,” Liana sighs. “They told me that she knew that she’s being rescued but her instincts must have kicked in.”

“So it’s highly possible she developed a trauma,” Julia guesses. “Damn, we could really use a psychologist.”

“I’ll try asking in our guild,” Liana suggests. “We have over five hundred members; one of them might be what we need.”

“Worth a try,” Fefnir approves and goes for ham.

We sit down and dig in as well. As always, the breakfast is a little feast. And it’s already mirroring our new dietary needs.

“Start with eggs, okay?” Erik insists because he notices I’m eyeing pancakes.

“Roger,” I say and put scrambled eggs and a piece of wholemeal bread on my plate.

“Researchers are running early blood tests,” Julia informs us and she’s nibbling a toast while glued to her laptop. “It seems new races might process glucose differently.”

“So sweets may not be harmful to us?” Liana is curious.

“That still remains to be seen,” Julia shrugs. “Maybe in case of Celestials… possibly. But you still need to eat balanced meals, sugar is just quick empty energy.”

“Eating, eating,” I roll my eyes because Erik is giving me stares. I’m allowed one pancake after a proper meal.

“Emi should arrive in the evening,” Liana says when we finish eating. “Meanwhile, we should train our new abilities. Reports of spells that went badly or injuries caused by uncontrolled strength are increasing.”

“They are?” I’m worried.

“So far only minor stuff,” Ingri says. “Still, people are scared what might happen if, for instance, a fire spell goes out of hand in a block of flats.”

“You have to take it outside,” Hana claps her hands and even Liana has to listen to her.


“Uff, this is harder than I thought,” I’m out of breath after just six attempts to make a fire ball in a safe distance in front of me.

“The spell does work, though,” Erik is supportive. “You’re just cautious more than usual because of your burnt hand.”

“Damn,” Liana screams because she’s just set on fire a small bush. Her employees immediately put it out, ready with extinguishers.

“Ha!” Fefnir shouts victoriously as he manages to destroy another wall. It’s part of an older garden arrangement that Liana wanted to re-design anyway so she allowed him to use it for his power training.

Suddenly, I feel a pleasant gust of wind. Fire spells seem too volatile to master but air is somehow natural—a Celestial racial element. I feel like I can make it listen to me quite easily so I spread my wings and try releasing mana.

I get goosebumps under my feathers when I distinctively feel mana being channelled through them. My wings are still too small to properly carry my body weight but the wind gets much stronger, I feel like I’m in a trance and… my feet leave the ground.

At first, everyone is excited to watch me hover but then my mana leaks too much, I lose control and I’m suddenly half a metre above the ground. But I’m too enthralled to feel any concern for my safety. I’m floating!

“My God, Ryuuto!” Erik catches my wrist and pulls me down. I finally get to my senses and fall onto his chest, panting.

“You can’t do things like that when you’re still not in full control, Aefener. What if you fall badly and injure yourself?” Liana turns on her strict mode.

“Sweet, true air magic!” Ingri is holding her phone.

“Did you shoot it?” Liana frowns.

“You bet I did,” the girl grins. “Since I can’t train with you, guys, I can document it at least.”

“Your powers are still dormant but you’re already a plant nonetheless,” Fefnir smirks because Ingri is sitting in the grass and looks very comfortable there.

“For the hundred’s time, Fefnir, the Earthborn aren’t really plants,” Ingri rolls her eyes.

“Says someone with their feet shoved in dirt,” Julia tries to joke for the first time ever while examining Ingri’s legs that are beginning to sprout tiny rooty tentacles.

“Anyway, back to the important stuff,” Erik interrupts them. “Even training outside isn’t as safe as we’ve hoped… especially for Celestials.”

“I was managing just fine,” I oppose.

“No, you weren’t,” Erik purses his lips at me. “The moment you felt the wind, your mind went blank.”

“You did?” Liana blinks, astonished. “How did it feel like? Was it weird?”

“Not in a bad way,” I assure her. “I want to try again.”

“Are Celestials supposed to fly without their wings?” he’s confused. “Wait until your wings grow properly.”

“Celestial air magic was used only for flying support, we obviously need to flap our wings,” Liana explains to him. “Erik is right, Aefener, be patient.”

“I just want to float a little,” I murmur, discontent.

“And end up with a sprained ankle or something possibly worse?” Erik pokes me.

I don’t want to post my flying attempt but it turns out Ingri already did. I’m thinking for a while about revoking her right to temper with my social account but Fefnir tells me to let it slip.

“She’s still a teenager,” he shrugs. “Plus, we need as many followers as possible and you actually floating is a big deal.”

“Hmm, I think I finally got the hang of it,” Liana announces proudly and conjures a perfect little flame a few centimetres above her palm.

We keep training and make a few videos to tell people what to be especially careful about. As I don’t have any headache today and it’s becoming evident that spellcasting does take lots of calories, I eat without protest all those delicious snacks Hana is kindly bringing us outside.

“What about earth magic?” Erik asks me when we move to level 1 water spells.

“Nope, we can’t do that one,” I shake my head. “Earth magic is the exact opposite of air. Only the Earthborn are able to control it.”

“So let me sum it up,” Erik tries to make sense of it in his head. “Celestials are pure magic casters controlling air, fire and water while air is your natural racial element. The Earthborn are genetical engineers who can control the earth. The Dragonkin are physically the strongest race, almost nothing can harm them, they can re-grow their limbs and breathe fire like dragons. And Clawfangs…”

“Right, you haven’t actually met any, Emi will be your first,” I realise. “Clawfangs are all about agility, quick attacks, stealth and martial arts. They can also tame all kinds of animals to do their bidding.”

“And which race is the best then?” he asks innocently so it surprises him twice when we all freeze. “W-what? Did I say something wrong?”

“Not wrong… just… rude,” I cough. “Races of Draconia were designed to complete each other in dungeons, that’s why we’re so different. Asking which is the best…”

“Oh, right, sorry,” he gets it. “Still, the Dragonkin seem the strongest to me. No offence, Ryuu, your magic is amazing but you’re so frail.”

“No offence taken because you’re actually spot on,” I admit. “The Dragonkin are the strongest… physically.”

“So who would actually win a duel?” he’s still curious.

“That doesn’t really depend on the race but on the skill of a particular person,” Liana answers for a change. “We Celestials are unparalleled in the air where we can evade easily and prepare spells. However, should a Clawfang, for instance, get us stealthily while still on the ground, we don’t stand a chance.”

“The game was really balanced,” Fefnir continues explaining. “Each race has their advantages and weaknesses. Mine being that the Dragonkin are rather slow. As for Clawfangs, they’re the only race that doesn’t have any magic at all.”

After that little explanation especially for Erik and Julia, we move to basic water spells. And they turn out to be even more difficult than fire.

“It’s just impossible to conjure water out of nothing!” Liana is furious because even after an hour practising, neither me or her get any result.

“Maybe here you need to summon it out of ground moisture?” Ingri suggests. “Or alternatively from clouds.”

“Try manipulating existing water,” Erik hands me a glass of juice I was sipping from.

Several more attempts and I finally form a small water ball. But it’s too hard to maintain and it bursts after two seconds, splashing on my hoodie.

“Damn,” I swear. “No more experimenting with juice.”

“It needs washing anyway,” Erik comforts me. “You’ve been wearing it non-stop.”

“I should have brought more clothes with me,” I sigh. “Li, is it possible I go to my apartment to grab some stuff? Also… I guess I should stop by my university to explain the situation to my supervisor in person and ask for an extension. A one-day trip at most, promise. If you would be so kind to lend us one of your cars…”

“Are you nuts, Aefener?” Liana slaps her forehead. “You became the world-wide celebrity, someone wanted to kidnap you and the government is still after you. There’s no way I’m letting you out of the mansion any time soon.”


“Ryuu, you still don’t fully realise it, do you?” Erik pets my wings. “The world outside is much different from the one we left barely two weeks ago. It’s dangerous for a transformed Draconian to parade in the streets, moreover for the one everyone knows from the media.”

“Presidents also can’t just go wherever they’d like,” Liana offers an analogy. “Danger aside, people would go crazy. Give me your key card and I’ll send someone to move your things.”

“How bad is it outside, really?” I look at Fefnir, desperate for answers. I’ve been so busy with my telepathy, magic and getting in touch with our gaming friends that I didn’t have almost any opportunity to familiarise myself with the mundane every-day situation.

“So far only high-levels have fully transformed and most of them chose hiding,” Fefnir says. “Majority of Draconians is still in hospitals or with their families. The government and local authorities strengthened police forces but everyone is nervous, not knowing what will actually happen when we start going outside again.”

“They predict violence is highly probable,” Ingri is tense. “Fear, bullying, insults, riots…”

I knew that it might come to that. I just hoped it wouldn’t be that bad but… I was naïve. I look at Fefnir and try to see him from a normal person’s perspective.

“You’re too used to Fefnir from your game,” Erik says as he knows what I’m thinking about because he keeps petting my wings. “Try to see him through me.”

I quickly close my eyes, take a few breaths and connect deeper with Erik. He knows that Fefnir is a good guy but he can’t help it and is secretly a bit scared by his looks—two metres of muscles, covered in scales, with horns and soon able to breathe fire. What a formidable sight.

“And I’m used to him,” he adds when I open my eyes. “Think about how normal people will probably react when they see a Dragonkin, for example, shopping for groceries.”

“I don’t think Celestials will be better-off either,” Fefnir shakes his head. “Sure, you don’t look scary, your looks are beautiful by human standards, but people were always afraid of magic.”

“Miss Richter,” Hana suddenly interrupts us. “I just got a message that your guest should arrive in fifteen minutes.”

“Emi,” I whisper and my wings tremble.