Chapter 21:


Draconia Offline

“You own a building in Prague?” I’m genuinely surprised. I thought she’s based only in Berlin where her mansion and company’s headquarters are. Is she even richer than I’d have ever imagined?

“Just one skyscraper,” he waves her hand. “I have my branch office there.”

“Just—one—fucking—skyscraper,” Fefnir is pausing every word and shaking his head in disbelief.

“And we can have it?” I’m astonished.

“Yes, and it’s situated really well,” she nods. “Prague is in the middle of Europe so it’s easy to get there from all parts of the EU. And the Bohemian government isn’t as bureaucratic as the German one.”

“What about the local employees?” Erik is concerned.

“Some of them will stay and help us, others can work from home or if they wish so, transfer to other branches,” Liana explains. It looks like she considered it through and through. “The building has seventy-two floors so we can easily divide it among all four races.”

“So… when are we relocating?” I ask.

“In four days so that everything is already prepared for us when we arrive,” Liana says. “The employees there have until tomorrow to decide whether they want to stay or not so those who stay will really be willing to help us.”

“How many people do you expect to stay?” Fefnir is curious. “What if most of them quit or work from home?”

“Actually, I’m counting on it,” Liana smirks. “We need a few local people who know how to run things but as for the rest… well, we need to give Draconians jobs.”


Liana tried to keep it secret for now but the news is out in just a few hours. Some employees facing a tough choice must have babbled about it, no doubt. Liana isn’t that mad about it because she expected it but she still makes a dark comment that when she finds out who breached their contract, no severance pay for them.

In the meanwhile, several cars and one bus arrived to Liana’s mansion, more Draconians asking for her protection. Some people have fled hospitals when they should have still been resting or have just a few days until their full transformation so Julia is very busy.

Those four days fly by very quickly and suddenly we’re packing. Everyone is bit nervous about it and excited at the same time. We’ll have official headquarters!

“Oh, damn,” I grab my luggage but it’s too heavy for my new body. It’s still weight I should be able to carry but I can’t exactly put the backpack on my back anymore.

Erik wants to carry it for me but one of the bodyguards takes the backpack without asking. Over the last couple of days, I discovered that my protectors are named Kristoff, Uwe, Karl and Stefan. I was trying to befriend them but it’s hard to make a conversation.

I don’t feel any repulsion towards Draconians from them so I guess that’s just the way they are, professionals to the core. Liana must be paying them a lot. Fortunately, I gradually got used to their constant presence so their human minds don’t disturb me anymore.

“So how do we actually travel to Prague?” I ask Liana when we meet her in the entry hall. Fefnir, Ingri, Emi and Julia are also there, surrounded by suitcases.

“By a helicopter, of course,” Liana says as if it’s the most common means of transport. “We can’t go by cars, the police would certainly stop us.”

Erik smiles and I know why even without touching him. He really misses flying.

“Is there any possibility I can pilot it?” he tries, hopeful.

“Not this time, sorry,” Liana shakes her head. “We can’t take any chances, my pilot is an ex-combat specialist so should something happen…”

“But we don’t really expect the government to halt us in the air, right?” Ingri gulps.

“We don’t but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared just in case,” Liana acts confident but I can feel she’s a bit worried. “I announced that we’ll do a short broadcast when we arrive.”

“Broadcast?” I don’t understand. “Why?”

“If we’re streaming live, the whole world will be watching,” Liana explains. “The government won’t try anything funny if they know that. They can’t risk a civil war should something happen to us.”

“C-civil war?” I stutter. “Is that really in the cards?”

“Aefener,” Liana sighs and resists rolling her eyes. “Look at us, two race rulers and two viceroys are travelling. We don’t have our own government just yet but our people will still riot for us if we are hurt or abducted.”

I turn pale and grab Erik’s hand. I have to berate myself for being so slow. Get it together, me! Things are getting serious, this is no game. Celestials don’t address me as His Majesty just for role-play anymore.

We step outside and our ride is waiting for us on the heliport—a huge helicopter that evidently isn’t just for casual transport. I unexpectedly stop in front of the door and shiver.

“Ryuu?” Erik tils his head, confused.

“I… I’d rather not use it,” I say, confused myself. All my friends turn to me, only Liana is still held back, discussing last-minute details with her employees.

“But you can’t be afraid of hights! I mean… you’ve never been and now you’re a winged person,” Erik is shocked.

“I’m not afraid of hights. I’m not comfortable with…,” I’m looking for the right word. With what exactly? Why do I feel dread?

“Aefener, is everything okay?” Liana finishes her talking and gets to me because she notices we all stopped for some reason.

“Do you feel like flying that thing?” I ask her and point towards the helicopter.

“What are you talking about?” she frowns and properly looks at the machine. I expect her to laugh at me but she shivers as well.

“Miss Richter, Ryuuto, can you describe the feeling?” Julia switches on her doctor mode immediately. “If it’s not hights then… confined spaces?”

“It… looks like a can,” I can’t help it. “I’d rather fly there with my own wings.”

“Which isn’t possible yet,” Erik encouragingly holds my hand. “And please, don’t call this beauty a can, you’re hurting her feelings.”

“Actually… I also don’t feel like riding it,” Ingri speaks up, her voice trembling. “It’s not confined spaces in my case, I might be actually afraid of heights now. It just feels so unnatural to be high above the ground… without soil.”

“Fascinating!” Julia is excited by this new discovery instead of sympathetic. “And it’s understandable when one thinks about it. The Earthborn would feel nervous without nature, enveloped by metal to which they can’t connect while Celestials probably won’t trust flying machines because they’re able to fly on their own. And when their wings grow really big, they will hate small spaces.”

“I can still do it, just feels weird, that’s all,” Liana puts on her brave face and confidently steps into the helicopter.

“Come, Ryuu, it’s going to be okay,” Erik nudges me inside.

But Ingri still nervously steps in one place. I notice her feet are bare. She hesitantly takes the first step but hisses when her feet touch the metal.

“Damn, can you carry me, Fefnir?” she pleads.

Fefnir nods and kindly picks her up. I realise I haven’t seen her wearing lolita shoes that fit her outfits anymore. Is it uncomfortable for her wearing high heels and thick soles now? It’d make sense, the Earthborn have their main sensory tentacles in feet and palms. And some metals can even be poisonous to them.

I stretch my hand towards her because I feel she’s even more afraid than me and Liana. It’s not only heights, unlike me she has never flown in a helicopter before. She grabs my hand with gratitude and we’re finally all inside.

“Good morning, crew. My name’s Clara and I’m your pilot,” a woman in her thirties greets us enthusiastically. She has short blue hair and is wearing a pilot overall.

“Please fasten your seatbelts and we’ll be off,” she smiles at us, not a hint of repulsion in her mind. “The flight will take forty-six minutes and I’ve taken this route many times before so no worries.”

Her positive energy is contagious and we feel a bit better about the ordeal. A slight problem arises with fasting our seatbelts, though. It’s obvious our new bodies just don’t fit the chairs. Fefnir struggles to even sit properly with his bulky tail. And me and Liana whine that it’s squeezing our wings.

The helicopter takes off. I remember the feeling when I was lucky to get a ride with Erik but this time I don’t enjoy it. It’s loud, shaky… not elegant at all. I get goosebumps under my feathers. I want to be able to fly so much! And now!

However, while Liana and I are only uncomfortable but we still generally love flying, Ingri is much worse. Her skin is already light green but I notice she turns even greener… and not because of her transformation. And then she pukes all of a sudden.

“Dammit,” she swears. “The Earthborn and flying… what a horrible combination.”

“Ugh!” Fefnir comments because she almost threw up on his shoes.

We should be safely in the air by now because the helicopter isn’t shaking anymore so I unfasten my seatbelt and pass her my water bottle. She gratefully takes it and gulps, desperately trying to clean her throat.

Ingri, do you want me to sit next to you and hold your hand? I can try make you feel better, I touch her and ask telepathically because several bodyguards are riding with us.

P-please, I feel really nauseous, she answers.

Erik gets the gist of our unspoken communication right away and switches the seat with me. I grab her hand, hoping it doesn’t look weird in front of the guards. But I think it doesn’t, they must think Ingri is just nervous and needs someone to support her.

“Ryuu, the seatbelt,” Erik fastens me again.

“Ouch, do I have to? It squeezes my wings,” I protest.

“It’s only forty-six minutes, deal with it, please,” he says.

I focus my attention on Ingri instead. I connect to her as best as I can under these circumstances so that the bodyguards aren’t suspicious. I’ve never connected to her before, not deeply at least, but her mind is open to me. Her vertigo hits me, she’s feeling really sick. It’s as if her very Earthborn nature is fighting against being so high above the ground.

I try to calm her mind and her stomach as well. It’s no easy task because I can’t exactly influence her body functions but everything comes from the brain anyway so I try to soothe that. In the end, I’m half successful. Ingri is still feeling sick but not like puking anymore.

If you want to talk to me telepathically, just focus on what you wish me to hear, I tell her because I feel she wants to communicate with me but her thoughts are too chaotic.

D-do you hear me? she asks hesitantly. I know that you do it with Erik all the time but it’s just so strange.

Yes, I hear you. Do you feel better now? I can feel your Earthborn nature is struggling.

Struggling is a weak word, she laughs in her head. More like totally freaking out. The Earthborn are the exact opposite of Celestials when it comes to flying and magic.

I keep holding her hand the whole journey. She lets me explore her mind so I can compare it to Erik’s. And I have to admit that Ingri really doesn’t think like a human anymore—the contrast is obvious. It’s not that she doesn’t have common wishes and desires anymore; she just thinks about them differently and her perception of the world is influenced by new advanced senses.

Even with me soothing her, Ingri can’t help puking again when the helicopter lands with a shake. I hastily unfasten the uncomfortable seatbelt and pass her my water bottle again.

“Ugh, what happened here?” Clara the pilot sighs when she stops the helicopter completely and comes to check on us. “We didn’t hit any turbulence.”

“Sorry, the Earthborn and flying seem to be a terrible combination,” Ingri says apologetically.

“I’ll send someone to clean it. Don’t worry, Clara,” Liana waves her hand, quickly unfastens her seatbelt as well and spends a few moments stretching her wings to the sides.

We finally get off but that doesn’t make Ingri any calmer. She starts shivering when she realises how high we are. Me and Liana, on the contrary, become ecstatic. The wind is blowing into our feathers and it’s blissful.

“No wind magic here,” Erik warns me just in case because he notices I’m stretching my wings and my eyes look dreamy.

“Follow me,” Liana points towards the door. Ingri runs off to it while I don’t feel like going inside at all so Erik has to pull me by my hand.

There are several elevators so we divide into fours. I expect to ride with Liana but my bodyguards board the cabin instead. Am I really in danger even here? Liana takes Ingri and also two bodyguards and Fefnir goes with Emi and Julia.

“Oh,” I realise I’m starting to feel claustrophobic the moment the door closes.

The cabin is quite spacious but I still feel suffocated. My wings aren’t that big yet but they’re slowly starting to take their space. Ingame, Celestials didn’t feel comfortable in rooms where we couldn’t spread our wings fully. This will soon become an issue in the real world as well. Fortunately, we get off quite quickly.

I’ve never been in these hyper-modern buildings before so I’m looking at everything around. Four local employees are waiting for us, evidently nervous. I can feel how strange it is for them to see their boss all changed. But she’s still wearing a brand suit and has the same authoritative conduct they’re used to so they relax a bit.

“Aefener, this is Thomas, he’s the building manager,” Liana introduces the first person to me, a young-looking man with a beard. “Tomas is taking care of everything that has to do with local facilities and maintenance.”

“Nice to meet you,” I try to smile at him and I’m pleasantly surprised that he tries to smile back. I feel warm understanding from him; does he have a transformed person in the family?

“Diana is the head of security,” Liana continues with a tall lean woman with black shoulder-length hair. “She’ll be taking care of our safety.”

I greet her as well and also don’t feel any bad intentions from her.

“Martin is the new IT manager,” Liana continues.

“The previous one transferred,” Martin says and is the only one confidently offering his hand.

I hesitantly shake it. The touch lasts only two seconds but it’s enough for me to discover that Martin has been waiting for promotion for three years so he was actually glad that the guy before him quit. I also find out that one of his friends is the Dragonkin now.

“And last but not least, Anna,” Liana ends with a lady in her fifties in a perfectly tailored suit. “Anna is the deputy administrator.”

“Miss Richter, we’re honoured to have you here,” Anna shakes her boss’s hand.

“I’m sorry that it has been so sudden and pushy,” Liana smiles apologetically even though her tone doesn’t give a hint of regret. “I’m really glad that you four stayed. I need people I can trust more than ever before.”

“Let’s accommodate you first,” Thomas takes the initiative. “Your apartment is ready, Miss Richter, and as you requested we had also prepared the best guest rooms for your esteemed companions. For others, we have room-sharing. Also we’re ready to broadcast whenever you need. Please, follow me.”

Me and Erik get an apartment right next to Liana’s because she insists on having me close. Ingri gets one on the same floor as well since Liana is responsible for her. Emi takes the last one and Fefnir has to go down one floor. Liana deemed him to be the only person who doesn’t need supervision.

“Oh, neat,” Erik is pleasantly surprised by our apartment. It’s huge, sunny and luxurious. We have our own bathroom, living room and bedroom with a proper double-bed.

“Take a shower or whatever and let’s meet in an hour in the main conference room,” Liana says. “The bodyguards will show you the way, don’t worry. I’m going to take care of the broadcast.”

“Okay,” we nod in unison and close the door behind us. We’re finally alone.

“Is it soundproof?” Erik is curious.

I look at the door and the structure of the walls. They look pretty much the same as in my old apartment.

“No doubt,” I confirm. “The door definitely is and so must be the rest.”

“Neat,” Erik repeats enthusiastically. “The view is amazing, too.”

“It really is,” I smile, use that he’s absent-mindedly staring from the window and hug him from behind. I stretch my wings and envelope him.

“One can get used to that,” he purrs happily in my warm feathers.

“Then get used to that, my wings will only get bigger,” I tease him.

We keep cuddling for a while until we decide what it would be a good idea to change clothes and take a shower. The bathroom doesn’t disappoint either. It’s four times larger than the one in my home and has a shower and a bath tub. I’d go for a bath but we don’t have that much time right now.

“Together?” I wink at him.

“Definitely,” he grins back.

Over the last couple days, I got used to my new hygiene requirements. Shower in the way that my wings won’t get soaked and use a wet washcloth to clean my feathers only if needed and exactly where needed.

We do our best to restrain ourselves but our innocent shower eventually transforms into cuddling. I’d like to examine to which extend my telepathy influences Erik in situations like these but at the same time I’m not able to focus when he’s making me feel so good.

“Shit, we’ll be late,” Erik panics when he spots the time. I’ve never been in a bathroom with a clock before but this apartment has everything above standard.

We quickly dry ourselves and take clean clothes out of hand luggage. I feel a bit inadequate suddenly when I realise that the employees in the building and even Liana are dressed so smartly while I have only hoodies, t-shirts and normal pants. Liana did send someone for the rest of my things and even for Erik’s but that doesn’t change the fact that I don’t own anything decent.

“How come you look so elegant?” I envy Erik because he changes into nice dark blue trousers and a shirt.

“Because I actually spend some money on clothes unlike someone here who wears only gaming clothes out of which most of them come from promotional events,” he laughs.

“Do I look too inappropriate?” I worry because I put on casual grey slim pants and an oversized hoodie.

“You look cute in everything but if it bothers you, we can buy you something new,” Erik says. “Actually, Liana might insist on that very soon. You know… to make you look presentable.”

I sigh. I’ve never worn a suit and I think it wouldn’t look good on me anyway—not the right figure for that kind of thing. Erik would look amazing, though. He already does.

“Don’t worry about it now, let’s go.”

The bodyguards lead us back to the elevator and we go down three floors. We reach offices that are partly open space, partly private rooms. And one big conference room that’s our destination.

“You’re late,” Liana berates us when we finally arrive.

We apologise and sit on empty chairs. Emi is sitting in front of us, winking at me and cleaning dirt from under her claws. Fefnir is sitting a bit stiff and has a serious expression while Ingri still looks uncomfortable. Julia is whispering something to Hana.

“So,” Liana coughs. “I hope you like your rooms because it doesn’t seem like we’ll be coming home any time soon. Even though protecting Aefener is our priority now, we’re all public figures so I assigned bodyguards to each of you.”

Emi breathes in, wanting to say something, but Liana stops her.

“Yes, I know that you don’t want them, Emi,” Liana is understanding. “But you’re a race ruler. Until you can be protected by your people, you need my security. There are too many threats to us out there.”

“And we’re safe here?” Emi is doubtful.

“For the time being,” Liana nods. “This building and premises are my territory, the EU can’t just barge in. Of course, our goal is to be acknowledged as an embassy.”

Liana sure doesn’t lose any time. I was glad to take a shower and she’s already thinking so much ahead. Why would she want to answer to me? She’s so much better in every aspect. Except for magic, maybe.

“And how do we accomplish that?” Fefnir frowns.

“Lots and lots of negotiations with the United Nations, the EU and the Czech government,” she says. “But I believe it’s doable.”

A knock on the door, Liana invites them in.

“Miss Richter, sorry to bother you but she insists,” Anna the administrator pleads her boss. “There’s a limit to how much I can stall her.”

“Stall who?” I ask because I feel poor Anna is really anxious.

“Bauerova,” Liana sighs.

For a moment we don’t understand what she means.

“W-wait a minute,” Erik gasps for breath. “Do you mean to tell us that you’ve been ignoring the Czech Prime Minister?”

“Not ignoring her, just postponing a bit,” Liana rolls her eyes. “Damn, she’s as persistent as ever.”

“What, you know her personally or something?” Fefnir narrows his eyes.

“We’re not friends but yes, I do. We’ve attended university together,” Liana explains. “We’re more like rivals, really.”

“Well, I guess it’s only understandable she wants to talks to us now that we relocated into her country,” Emi shrugs.

“I know, it’s just that I wanted to have this briefing with you guys first,” Liana sets things straight. “Before we face her, we must be clear on how we want to proceed.”

“Miss, what should I tell her? She’s getting angry,” Anna is nervously stepping in one spot.

“Arrange an official meeting with her tomorrow morning,” Liana decides. “She can bring whoever.”

“She… insists on meeting today,” Anna gulps because it’s her who has to convey it.

“Well, that’s her problem,” Liana waves her hand.

“O-okay,” Anna nods and leaves. Damn, can Liana really dismiss the Prime Minister like that?

Then we call the other race rulers. While they don’t have Liana’s resources, they’re trying to do something similar to us—acknowledging their safe havens as embassies for the transformed.

“Is money an issue?” Emi asks Twyla and Werden.

“It’s surprising but not really,” Twyla smiles. “There’re some rich people among Draconia players backing us up. Of course, nowhere near Liana’s level.”

“Earning money, another problem to think about,” Fefnir ponders.

But not right now, we decide that getting our humans rights back and protecting our people is an absolute priority. Liana assures us that we don’t have to feel bad about borrowing her money for the time being. She’ll find some ways how to get them back eventually. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to ask the EU for financial aid. It’s in their own best interest to help us and prevent potential civil war.

When we finish for the day, it’s past ten already. We had some sandwiches during our meeting but we’re all starving. Hana assures us that she had ordered us room service and dinner will be waiting for us in our apartments.

“Hana is amazing,” Erik exclaims when we return to our new home and we find two pizzas waiting for us—a ham one for Erik, cheese for me. We ravenously gobble everything and fall asleep immediately after that, too exhausted to even cuddle.


“W-what?” I yawn, opening the door someone was urgently knocking on. “What time is it?”

“Your meeting is at ten,” Uwe the bodyguard reminds us. “Miss Richter told us to wake you up at nine at the latest.”

“It’s nine already?” I’m suddenly wide awake and hear Erik behind me swearing.

“Also, these were delivered this morning,” Uwe points at several boxes and pushes them into the entry hall together with our luggage.

“Ehm, thanks.”

Uwe happily nods that he accomplished his task and closes the door, giving us space to get ready.

“What’s inside?” I curiously inspect the boxes.

“There’s a note,” Erik notices and grabs a hand-written card.

I made the designs myself. Surprise! ^_^

Wear them, I will hear no protests.

“Not a suit!” I whine when I open the first box. “I really don’t have the figure for them.”

“I think this one is for me, it’s too big for you,” Erik says, actually happy about the gift.

I sigh and open another box. It’s quite heavy. And I’m left speechless.

“Oh, honey,” Erik starts chuckling when inspecting the content. “I can’t wait to see you in this.”


There’s almost the exact copy of my royal attire from the game.