Chapter 23:

0.23. Results

We Got 'Shipped' by the Goddess


Bleu is massaging Pu’er’s back. Hidden from the normal senses is how Bleu is injecting trace amounts of controlled mana into Pu’er to slow the spread of the ‘fire’.

While they were doing that, I’m sitting here watching over this wretched kid.

He takes after his father at least.

“What are you drawing?”
“This is uncle Avner.”

“...”

“This is mama Pu’er, this is aether Bleu!”

We look like 3 Van Goh’s alien, apparently..

He added the final touches before quitting the drawing app. Then he simply said:

“I miss papa.”
Questions I failed to consider previously came to mind. When will Bleu return Cain to Leo? At first she said Cain would only stay with us during the day but.. it’s been a week since Cain hadn’t left the house to meet his own father. What’s going on exactly?

“Bleu.”
“Yes?”
“About Cain, is there anything happening at Leo’s side?”
“No. It’s just I took it upon myself to at least train him to a level of independence before returning him. Moreover, didn’t I say that I would have him here for Pu’er development?”
“My development? What does that brat have to do with my development?”
“Otherwise you’d have no reason to complain. It’s during this period of time when we need to stimulate your emotions.”
“Is that how it works?”
“Yup.”
“Isn’t Leo worried? Did you tell him about this?”
“I did. If you’re concerned, just know that I normally bring Cain to visit his own father when you two go to work.”

“I see..”
“I miss papa. Aether Bleu, when are we going to see papa?”

“Tomorrow.”

Because Pu’er and I normally take one car, Bleu is free to use the other.

Sometimes I wonder where the Goddess gets her money? Is she being paid to babysit Cain?
“I pawned some gold for cash a few months ago. You don’t need to worry so much about my finances.”

Oh. As expected of a Goddess.

===

Pu’er was back to work on the 3rd day. Her condition had stabilized to a level. Nevertheless, it is still important that she doesn’t trigger a fallout, otherwise it might agitate her current state.

Bleu said to wait at least two weeks before it was safe for Pu’er’s new form to show.

To be honest, I’m curious to see what this ‘Seraphication’ has done to her, in terms of strength and battle ability. Another question is: is she still an angel? Or does the class system go away? Her crown has obviously undergone a qualitative change– not only does the design have greater labyrinthine, there is also a halo and light fragments spinning around it. It will continue to evolve until Pu’er matures as a Seraph.

Makes me curious if you could do something like this with demons.. not that I would want to put my life at risk for the sake of a little more strength um..

“Morning.”

“Morning.”

Kouhai doesn’t look so well today. Was it because of what happened yesterday?

“Is it still bothering you?” I asked, watching hir first put hirs bag down before taking a seat.

“Avner. Are you free later in the evening?”

Xe just dropped my ‘mister’ title. What’s up with that?

“You want to have dinner?”
“I want to talk to you in private. So yes.”

Considering everything that has happened..

“I’ll need to talk to them about this first.”

I can’t just leave Pu’er to her devices. In case of anything, either Bleu or I should be nearby.
“That’s the thing I don’t get.”

“Hm?”
“What is your goal? Who is that girl?”

What is my goal? To protect Pu’er until she stabilizes. That’s not something I can tell someone that isn’t part of the ‘alternative’.

“Some things are best left unknown Lianne.”

“Why are you treating me like this.. I thought you trusted me..”

“Lianne. I can’t explain it to you even if I wanted to. It’s not about trust.”

“Fine.. just.. at least spare some time so we can have a meal. If not today then some other day.”

With a harrumph, kouhai got down to business.

Work from the past two days, in the absence of Pu’er and I, have been managed directly by the boss. Though I have a lot of catching up to do, I think I should be able to get back on track in a few days.

===

<Caroline Swann>

It was the end of a church ceremony. Members of the conglomerate, after singing the final hymn, began pouring out of the hall.

It was incredibly packed, deafening whispers echoed throughout. Amidst the crowd, there were two individuals who remained seated.

Darwin and Caroline– the demon who attacked Pu’er last time.

Caroline checked the time on the phone.
“How much longer until the war?”
“Among the subjects we’ve procured, we had 7 more successful results. Now we have 18 Seraphs we can mobilize.”
“I know that.. I want an estimated time.“

“Sometime this month is what I know from Her Grace.”

“You know, I have a holiday plan with my family coming up. If somehow the war happens while I’m away.. you guys just have to deal with it.”
“We understand that..” Darwin sighed.

“Still.. to mobilize 18 Seraphs. I think we should be able to take over the entirety of Alska. Miss Victoria sure has the guts..”

Part of being in the ‘alternative’ is what is called a territorial dispute. At the moment, half of Alskan territory is owned by angels, the other half by demons.
Miss Victoria, with the support of investors in the demon realm, is heading the plan to claim as much territory as they can. Darwin and Caroline were partners in crime.

Why exactly is there a need to claim a territory?

Territories, otherwise known as ‘zone’, are divisions that further breakdown a nation. And the center of these known zones is a core which needs to be captured, then protected. The benefits of owning a territory is simply the ability to access more complex system functions, and to serve as reassurance for demons.

Why would anyone want to live in enemy territory, right? That was the line of thought.

As for why someone like Darwin, and angels was working together with the demons– it’s really individual preference.

“That girl I had to deal with last time. I don’t think she’s coming to church anytime soon.”
“She’s not replying to me either.”

Darwin checked his texts. It clearly states here that the messages had been read, but not replied to.

“Don’t we have to approach her the moment she turns? Otherwise she might fall into someone’s control? If I’m not wrong she has a demon protecting her rear?”
“I only thought of that possibility when the deed had already been done. If it is true that she already fell into someone’s hand.. we can only depend on resonance between the Seraphs to pull her to our side. Nevertheless, I don’t believe someone without the proper artifact, like the one owned by Her Grace, can keep a Seraph tame.”
“Resonance? I have no idea what you’re saying..”
Artificially assembled Seraphs regarded the first person they see as their master. It’s during that small window of time right after their metamorphosis where one has to introduce themselves as their ‘master’.

Another natural phenomena was how these artificial Seraphs tended to group together. At least, from what Darwin observed.

“We’ll visit her next week and see how things will go.”
“Somehow, I feel like we’re the bad guys..” Caroline muttered.

Only when the procession venue became less crowded that the two got up and made their way out.

The subjects they selected for the Seraphication were all members of this church. They willingly accepted the offer, but of course, most of them came to regret their choice.

Either the subject fails and dies, or succeeds and becomes a puppet.

Death, as in, they lose their identity in the ‘alternative’, forgetting everything about themselves as angels and demons. Puppet, as in, not realizing how they’re being manipulated.

“Actually, what date are you planning to visit her? If we’re not careful we might just turn into minced meat. We’re talking about a Seraph here.”
“I’ll leave that up to you.”

“...”
Which basically translates to: invite me to the party once you’ve initiated a fallout.

“Can I borrow 2 Seraphs? I don’t want to die.”
“I’ll ask Her Grace about it.”
Heaving a sigh, Caroline looked towards the gates.

If someone said that Darwin was secretly a Seraph, she would believe it. Caroline couldn’t understand what he would call their leader ‘Her Grace’, other than that it was his way of bootlicking the demon.

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