Chapter 21:

0.21. Seraphication

We Got 'Shipped' by the Goddess


<Avner Cross>

“So I’ll have to take a leave to find these ingredients.”

“Pu’er condition should stabilize in a week’s time. The flare up should begin in the next two days.”
“Say.. was it really a good idea to reject her like that?”
“No. It’s just me being selfish. I already have someone in my heart.”
“Someone?”
That’s the first time she’s brought this up. Or maybe not? Your husband?

Back in the office I had to lie to Pu’er about Bleu’s gender. My mind fortunately managed to weave a convincing story to segregate Lianne’s understanding from Pu’er’s. Bleu’s true gender is a girl despite the fact that her ears are the real deal.

“I won’t tell you even if you asked about it. So give it up.”

“Alright. Alright.”
I won’t try to be privy. But I’ll try to use a roundabout method to have you spill the beans eventually.

After Pu’er’s condition stabilizes, I’ll have to venture to the demon realm to find the specific ingredients for the memory preservation ritual. Bleu will stay with her for the time being.

Once I’m done with my trip, I’ll swap with Bleu, she’ll go to the angel’s haven to find the ingredients specific to that region.

It is unknown if Pu’er safety will be in jeopardy for the rest of her life. So it’s important we don’t ruin our relationship haphazardly. At the same time, keep enough distance so that we don’t become too dependent on each other.

It’s a secret that I have a crush on Pu’er. Nevertheless, I don’t intend to push her onto me without knowing her feelings.

And seeing as how she just got rejected by Bleu.. it’s definitely not the right time to allow my feelings to show.

===

“Uncle Avner.”

Cain waved his empty milk bottle at me.

“Thank you.”

I took it and passed him the other baby bottle with water. Bleu told me to let him drink water to rinse the milk from his mouth.

I pushed the plastic tip to his lips, he squinted his eyes and looked away.

“Cain, drink some of the water to rinse off the milk will you?”
He turned his other cheek to me, still squinting his eyes.

“If no aether Bleu won’t take care of you anymore if you don’t?”
To my threat, he reluctantly took the bottle and took a couple sips.

“Good boy.”

I patted his head and brought the milk bottle to the kitchen.

“How is he?”

Bleu asked, skimming the bubbles off the nice smelling broth. She was wearing a nice pink apron with her white dress, blue hair tied into a braid. I mean, just looking at her like this makes you want her as a wife.

“Somewhat fed. I had to threaten him with your name just so he drinks water– just how is he so obedient to you anyways? He doesn’t listen to whatever I tell him.”

“First the person, then the words. I may just have some characteristic that causes children to be fond of me, otherwise, it could be because of my past experiences.”
Past experiences.

Somehow I can relate to that. Just as I’ve had many kids in the past (which I don’t remember), Bleu must have been a mother numerous times too. It would make sense why she’s such a pro at it.

I washed the milk bottle and hung it on the drying rack.
“It’s kind of late. Should I go check on her?”

“I think you should. But be careful. Bring Craim Stygian with you. I’ll come in a bit.”
“Huh? Okay..”
Over the past month living together, I’ve learnt that Bleu’s hunch was almost always on point. So I didn’t question her words and prepared for the worst.

I came in front of Pu’er’s room and knocked.

“Pu’er, it’s morning.”
Knocked, again. Repeated thrice.

I tried the handle, it wasn’t locked.

The door slowly creaked open.

In the dark, I saw her sitting straight on the bed. More light poured in, I noticed that her hair was a mess. Doesn’t she normally have a night light?

“Pu’er?”

To my call, she slowly turned her head over to me.

{WARNING: YOU ARE BEING WATCHED}

Her dull golden eyes matched mine.

I gripped the hair clip in my hand tight.

I turned on the lights.

“Bleu. She’s turning.”

I wasn’t sure if Bleu heard my report through the sound of the cooking hood, nevertheless, I gave her a heads up before entering.

{WARNING: YOU ARE BEING WATCHED}

I closed the distance slowly. Pu’er merely looked at me in a daze.

I got in front of her.

“Are you alright?”
“Hm?”

She cocked her head to the side.

I reached out, she didn’t react.

I touched her forehead, a slight fever.

{WARNING: YOU ARE BEING WATCHED}

“Do you know who I am?”

Pu’er blinked without responding.

Bleu soon came into the room and shut the door.
“How is she?”

“Awake, but doesn’t respond.”

She climbed onto the bed and touched her nape.

“Hm.. it’s progressing alright. Alright, Avner, from hereon it’s quite crucial so I’ll have to watch over her full time for today. Are you okay with accompanying Cain for the time being? As for your work, I don’t think you have any leeway. Could you ask for a leave?”

“Pu’er is the one who approves that sort of thing normally..”
“Then inform your office that the two of you aren’t coming. Tell them you’re taking care of Pu’er.”
“What nonsense is that? Are you trying to raise a flag?”

That would signal to everyone that the boss and I have a ‘thing’ with each other. The troubles that come with being a part of the ‘alternative’.. really now, it’s annoying.

“No. It’s better if people knew about it. Because after this you’ll become her master.”
“Huh?”

“You’ll have to make her recognize you. Remember how I said a side effect of Seraphication is becoming a puppet?”
“You didn’t tell me that..”

My boss will become my servant.. that sounds like a good title for a comedy skit.

“It’s not that she’ll become your slave. She just needs someone she can tether to in times when her mind wanes.”
“...”
“It’s too late to turn back. I’ve been preparing the two of you for this since I knew of the threat.”

“...”

So Bleu really is Mother Aphrodite.

===

It’s been two days since it began. Pu’er condition has gotten better, though, it’s unknown when it’ll stabilize.

And for the past two day, Pu’er has been living like a vegetable. Everything from feeding, to bathing, to even toileting required external assistance.
It’s like having an adult baby.

Fortunately for me, I have the capable Bleu to manage Pu’er. Unfortunately for me, I had to help the capable Bleu with Cain’s potty training– and everything else like the procurement of food and household chores.

It’s horrible.

But dad proficiency +1.

It’s the late afternoon, Pu’er lying outside on the living room couch staring at the ceiling. I was seated nearby listening to a podcast with an earbud in one ear. Cain and Bleu are in the kitchen, apparently she wants to teach Cain the value of cooking.

“Where is this..”
“Hm?”
Pu’er sat up all of a sudden.

She locked eyes with me.

“Master?”

“Wait.. I’m.. not your master..”
“Not my Master? Who is my master?”

“No one is your master..”

Bleu, help!
She cocked her head to one side.

“Then I have no master.”

“Yeah..?”

“I’m free?”

“Yes. You’re free.”
She nodded.

“Pu’er, do you remember anything?”
“Remember? I remember that I’m Pu’er. What else?”

“...”
This is..

It’s like she regressed to childhood or something.

“You wait there for a second, I’ll go get Bleu.”
I got up and was about to go to the kitchen when she held my sleeve. My heart skipped a beat.

“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to find the doctor.”
“Doctor?”
“Yes. Doctor Bleu.”
Pu’er nodded as if understanding. Nevertheless, she didn’t let go. Her fingers are still pinching the hem of my clothes.

Together we walked to the kitchen

“Mispeer is up!”

I saw Cain with hands covered in minced meat.

“Oh? Avner, quickly accept her.”

“Accept her?”
“You’re her master.”
“He said no one is my master though?”

Bleu expression froze up. I don’t know why I felt a chill seeing her reaction. It’s the first time I’ve seen Bleu like this.. did I screw up bad?

Bleu heaved a deep sigh, and in a deep tone, she said.

“Pu’er, he’s your master.”

“He’s not my master. I am free to choose.”

I did something wrong. I definitely did something wrong here..
“Cain, could you give me a moment. Stay here, I’ll be right back very soon alright?”

Saying so, Bleu washed her hands and dragged the both of us out of the kitchen.

Bleu grabbed my hand and Pu’er hand, and linked them.

“He’s your master.”

Pressing them together– feeling the warm touch of Pu’er palm, she said.
“Avner is not my master. He’s a demon.”
“It doesn’t matter. The first person you see should be your master.”

“According to said person, I am free to choose who I deem master.”
Bleu’s trembling hands transmitted to us.

She lowered her head, her brows knitted.

My heart felt like it’s being squeezed to the point of bursting.

“Bleu.. I..”
“No. Don’t apologize. I should’ve made the instructions clearer.”
“...”
“Make her submit to you. That’s the only option you have left.”
“What?”
“What are your criteria for a master, Pu’er. Tell me.”

Yet again, instead of blaming me, instead of wallowing, she had already chosen to chart another course.

I.. can’t believe I’m causing her so much trouble..

No. Yes. I’m at fault, I have to step up and take responsibility, but I can’t let guilt override my actions. I need to be steadfast, like Bleu. Decide on the contingency plan fast, act faster.
“Someone worthy of my heart.”

“What kind of person is worthy of your heart,” I asked.

“That’s my criteria. The person who finds the answer to this is worthy to be my master.”

“Got it.”
“Avner. You can’t let anyone else secure her before you do. Got that?”

“I understand.”

“Good. Pu’er, you too. Make sure not to allow yourself to accept a petty master.”

“Avner is a petty man.”
“...”

Holy moly. You wanna go?!

“Handle this yourself,” Bleu squeezed our hands before leaving for the kitchen.

Pu’er and I stood there with our hands clasped together.

I looked at her. Her indifferent face somehow resembled Bleu’s though now it had a unique charm to it.

“Do you feel weird?”

“No. I’m alright.”
“If you’re going to go back to work tomorrow, will you be able to do so?”
“Of course I would.”
“Okay.”
I let go of our hands.. or tried to. She wasn’t budging.
“Pu’er?”
“Yes?”
“No. Nothing.”

I think it’s alright if we stayed like this for a while.

Makech
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