Chapter 17:

0.17. Coffee Candy

We Got 'Shipped' by the Goddess


<Pu’er Julis>

This really feels like a family..

Avner and I are the breadwinners, Bleu is the housewife.

Everyday I would wake up to the smell of food in the kitchen. Exiting my bedroom, I would be greeted by Avner and Bleu who were already awake.

“Morning.”

“Morning Pu’er.”

“Good morning.”

I’ve gotten them both a mattress and blankets each for their stay here. They don’t need to suffer on the couch anymore.

Nevertheless, I do still feel guilty that they have to sleep in the living room..

No. That doesn't make sense. Avner gets to sleep with that beauty of a Goddess while I have to sleep all alone–

Should I spend a night sleeping with them instead?

No. No. No. I shouldn’t get ahead of myself. They’re only here as my escort until my safety is restored.

After taking my morning shower and donning my uniform, I came to the dining table.

If not for Bleu, my breakfast would’ve consisted of convenience store rice balls, oats, or cereal, depending on my mood and how many times I hit the snooze on my phone. Speaking of which, I hadn’t tapped on the snooze once ever since they came to my home.

“It’s delicious as always.”

I’ve gotten used to the hellbent 48 hour training session I’d have to suffer through every evening.

Dreadful as it was, I could clearly feel myself growing stronger.

In spite of that, compared to that blizzard that is Bleu, I can barely hold a candle. Xe’s really impossible.

“Mom.. about that ritual..”

What exactly is stored inside his grey matter?

“Priority wise, I believe it's still much safer to focus on Pu’er safety.”

“True. We could always do that later..”
“What ritual?”

This is the first time I’ve heard Avner brought up this topic.

“Ah well.. you know how we keep losing our memories every time we reincarnate?”
“Yes?”
“I found a ritual to preserve our current memories when moving into our next life.”
I nearly dropped my spoon.
Isn’t that taboo.. no. Is that even possible?
If all it takes is a simple ritual then.. wouldn’t someone have found the solution to it? Or could it be that..

I see. That’s what Bleu is using to bind Avner.

Just as how xe’s using my life as a chip, xe’s using the ritual as a chip for Avner.

That sounds tempting really. If I could bring my memories to the future..

“I’ll ensure a safe transition for you too Pu’er. You don’t need to worry.”

“Ah?”

“I think your help will prove useful.”
So I’ll also be part of this ritual?

“Really?” Avner exclaimed.

“Yes. The two of you.”
“How about you?” I asked Bleu.

“I’ll be present too. There's no reason for a client to request something without being involved in it hirself.”

Then.. our future together is..

“Yup. Our future together is set. I hope to continue to work with the two of you.”

Blew showed a bow. Avner and I looked at each other.

I found myself comparing his crimson eyes to his cheeks– he’s blushing.

Ah..

I quickly turned away.

How did I just realize I have a man in my own house?!

===

“Good morning boss.”
“Good morning.”
“Good.. morning?”
Why is Lianne so early today? Suspicious.

Finishing hirs greeting, xe simply turned around and walked off, as if xe had been waiting for this opportunity.

Avner chased after hir, I heaved a sigh as I headed to my office.

There were a number of reports I needed to submit today. First, a writeup of an email for the new product test of a new type of incubator. Then prepare for another meeting to come in a few days time..

Hm? Don’t I have to bring Avner together with me?

No. I can’t possibly rely on him like this. It’ll make things very suspicious. I’ll just go to the meeting venue as usual, give my presentation and come back.

It’s not like the enemies would strike on that exact day when I’m most vulnerable.

I got down to work and sent out task delegations when I heard my phone buzz. Normally I’d ignore it but something didn’t feel too right so I checked.

A message from Darwin. I grimaced.

[“Last chance. Meet me at the church at XX street this Sunday.”]

They’re threatening me now. Haahh.. should I report this to the angel bureau? No. Darwin himself is part of the bureau, doesn't that mean it’s pointless to do so?

Just like in any politics, it’s up to you to fend for yourself. Complaining wouldn’t really bring any results and it ultimately brings even more problems. The same is true for the national organization of angels in this country, Alska.

Having seen this message, I’m beginning to think that angels were more corrupt beings than demons.

“...”

I sent a text to Bleu and Avner about this and quickly got back to work. I shouldn’t let something like this bug me. Not when I already have a Goddess on my side.

===

It was the hour right after discussing the report. Oddly enough, though I’ve prepared slides for the presentation, I wasn’t given any chance to show it as the meeting proceeded solely with the figures shown on each executive’s laptops.

They asked me a few questions, others directed amongst themselves. Throughout the meeting, I had the sense that I’m somehow the search engine for anything related to company data.

“Good work there,” Mister Winstor complemented with a smile.

His gait was much lighter than usual, as if he had been liberated by something.
“Did something happen?”
“Pardon?”

“You seem more spirited lately. Did something cause that?”

“You mean that. Hm.. how should I put it.. I suppose I’ve come to terms with my relationship.”

I felt uneasy when he said that. If I recall there was a rumor once that my boss liked me. Avner also hinted at this.

He pressed the button at the elevator, waiting, he turned to me.

“Pu’er, I hope you find happiness.”

He bowed.

“Take good care of my friend alright? I’m sure he’ll be glad if you speak your honest thoughts.”
Happiness. Friend. Honest thoughts.

What did that demon do to my boss?!
“Ah.. y-yes..”
“It’s alright. I’m rooting for you.”
I nodded.

The thought of that demon and I..

Just what did you do to him, Avner?!

===

I reached the lobby. Noticing the unusual number of angels in the vicinity, I frowned.

“Boss, I’ll go get something at the cafe, you go on first.”
“Alright then? I’ll see you sometime soon.”

That was an excuse.

The reason why I said that was because there’s a trap therelain in wait. I’m a corvette, so I can see it.

He waved and walked out of the building, phasing through the demon mine planted on the ground.

I’ll have to find an alternative exit.

I was about to turn around when a hand touched my shoulder.

“So you’re the person who made The Seraph disappear huh?”

{WARNING: YOU ARE BEING TARGETED}
{YOU HAVE BEEN TARGETED}
{INITIATING COMBAT…}

The world phased into monochrome as soon as the whisper came to an end.

I quickly spun my body to avoid the incoming strike and took out Gungnir by crushing the gold jewel.

A demon working alongside the angels.

“You’re fast.”

{SEARCHING_FOR_CONTACT}

{Contacts: Avner Cross, Bleu [ERROR], Darwin Kenn}

{Contacting Avner Cross…}

{Contacting Bleu [ERROR]...}

{NEARBY_USAGE_OF_INTERDICTOR}

{CONTACT_FAILURE}

An interdictor!

I need to leave the range right away.

The rifle troop of angels began their assault. The world seems to slow– compared to Bleu’s movements, these bunch were quite manageable.

Reacting to my will, Gungnir began to glow. I twisted the shaft and intercepted the projectiles.

CLink!! CliNk, CLInk!

The demon who initiated the fallout and I clashed.

From the tip of Gungnir burst forth 7 trails of light. They spread out and scattered.

I used this moment of respite to send a powerful strike towards the demon and made an escape.

Gungnir’s projectiles are not only penetrative, they also have homing characteristics.

I was unsure if I had killed any of the angels. Whatever. What matters here is that I managed to leave the range of the interdictor. I was now outside.

{Contacting Avner Cross…}

{Contacting Bleu [ERROR]...}

Though I’ve contacted them, they still require some time to reach my location.

I’ll have to hold these bunch down by myself until then.
The best option I have to escape is by reaching The Boundary.

But, even if I leave the range of the fallout, I would still have to deal with the demon in the real world.

“As expected.. you shouldn’t have been able to deal with that Seraph alone.”

Her voice echoed behind..
I quickly swung my halberd– I hit nothing?

“That was a fake.”
She– the demon grabbed the shaft of Gungnir. I was sent stumbling with a kick.

{WARNING: EROSION VALUE: MODERATE}
The small stumble made me trip. I was wearing high heels.

“Now then..”

The demon took out something like a needle– I know that. It’s like that serum they gave me the first time.

I tried to get up, just to realize that there was some paralyzing effect affecting my movements. The other angels pointed their guns at me.

Oh no.
“Just quietly accept your injection. It’ll hurt just a bit.”
With a scary smile, the demon approached me.

Clenching Gungnir hard, I was just about to retaliate when the demon’s face got squished by a blue barrier that formed between us.

“Good work.”
“Huh?”

Avner?!

What kind of timing?!

“You did well to protect yourself Pu’er.”
Red lighting crackled into blue, blue into gold.

Darundal had a 3rd phase?

He looked so cool.. eh wait. Now’s not the time to think about these things.
“It’s my turn. You’ll all die by my..”
Before he had the chance to finish, the world warped back into colour, my stomach churned.

The demon was the initiator of the fallout, so she had the right to revoke it. I returned to the real world; the pitiful Avner never got the chance to show his true strength.
I was tackled from behind and fell forward. High heels– darn it!

“Ngff?!”
The demon grabbed my chin and forced something into my mouth.

“Eat it.”
I resisted.

She pressed my neck, causing the ‘thing’ to slide into the back of my throat– I had swallowed it.

“Hey!!”
“Tsk.”
I was suddenly released, the demon fled.

“Are you alright, miss?”

The security guard on site rushed up to me.

“I-I’m fine..”

I held my stomach. It was a clean gulp. I don’t feel the urge to vomit at all.
With his hands out, I tried to get up to realize that my ankle had been sprained.

I turned towards the direction the demon had escaped towards. The troop of angels previously had also left their seats.

“Pu’er!”

Avner rushed over from the outside. Did this guy just leave the office without my permission?
“Are you okay?”

“Y-yeah..”
“Are you related?” the guard asked him.
“He’s my friend.. it’s fine..” I told the guard.

Avner supported me.

“I need to vomit..” clutching my abdomen, I said.

“Vomit?”

“They fed me something..”
“Huh?”

“Coffee candy.”
Makech
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