Chapter 30:

Wings Catching Up

Draconia Offline

I have the sweetest of the sweetest dreams. At least for a Celestial. In the dream, my wings are fully grown already and I’m flying across the country. It does resemble Japan a bit but since I don’t really remember it from my childhood, it looks more like an idealised image from some movie. But I don’t care about the terrain below me, I own the sky!

The wings listen to my every whim and I’m doing pirouettes. After one such acrobatic performance, however, I notice that the sky behind me is getting darker. That freaks me out and I’m desperately trying to fly away but it’s getting closer and closer by each second and not even my super speed can measure up.

I start coughing when the dark cloud swallows me as it’s suddenly very difficult to breathe. My wings stop listening to me and I’m falling. Down… down… into the darkness.


I fall into the blankets, still unable to breathe properly. My wings are pulsating with sharp pain and I have no idea what the hell is going on. Erik is towering over me with a scared expression on his face and is trying to calm me down. I clutch him around his neck and he pulls me up onto his lap. I scream when my wings change position and drop uncontrollably behind my back which gives me another blow of excruciating pain.

“Erik, my w-wings… I…,” my eyes water. “It hurts! W-what’s h-happening?”

“I don’t know, Ryuu,” he’s this close to panicking. “I woke up and found you levitating half a metre above the bed. I was trying to wake you up but then you screamed in pain and fell.”

Another throbbing sensation goes through my feathered limbs.

“Ouch ouch ouch,” I’m properly crying now. The pain is too much, not even my migraines can compare. I clutch him even firmer, like a tick-bug.

Erik stretches for his phone and quickly dials someone. He’s cursing himself that he didn’t ask our bodyguards for a phone number but he does have Julia’s.

“Wh… what?” I can hear Julia yawning. It’s the middle of the night after all.

“It’s Ryuu, something’s wrong with him,” he blurts out. “He was levitating in his sleep and then he woke up with immense pain in his wings. Come quickly!”

“Shit, shit, shit,” Julia is swearing on the other side and is apparently getting up. “Call your guards, get him to my infirmary.”

“I don’t have their number and Ryuu won’t let go of me,” Erik cries hysterically.

“Okay, keep calm, coming!” she says and ends the call abruptly.

You’re going to be okay, you’re going to be okay, he keeps repeating in his mind, sending me tons of love.

I want to believe him but the pain is maddening. It’s pure torture. I literally feel my wings expanding, bones growing and new feathers being formed in a hurry. And it’s taking all my mana, all my energy. Preferably, it would probably take my fat but as I don’t have any, the process is probably eating my very muscles.

And then the door finally bursts open and Julia with our bodyguards storm the bedroom. I would have never guessed that the time will come when I’ll be glad to see a doctor come for me.

To my embarrassment, I realise that I’m totally naked under the blanket. We always fall asleep with Erik in the middle of our deepest telepathic connection, making it impossible for us to put on pyjamas.

“I’ve seen something like Celestial nightwear in the wardrobe,” Erik says quickly.

Someone rummages our closet and three pairs of hands are trying to dress me. It’s extremely uncomfortable, especially when they’re pushing my wings through the holes but, in the end, they manage to dress me into a simple two-layered kimono.

Erik then takes me into his arms, Vermiel and Julia carefully grab my wings, one each, and they start transporting me. Every time my wings move more than a few centimetres, I whine in pain. And it’s especially torturous when they have to fold them in order to fit into the elevator. Because of me, only four of us can squeeze inside and the rest of the guards has to take another one.

I look in the mirror and, to my astonishment, find out that my wings are clearly bigger than a few hours ago; the contrast being even more apparent when compared to Vermiel’s wings.

Erik, what if my body can’t keep us with all these changes? I send my boyfriend a panicked thought.

It will, don’t worry, love, he tries to comfort me but he’s not calm himself so it doesn’t have the intended effect.

“W-WHAT?!” Vermiel flinches and drops my left wing he was holding.

“Ouuuuch,” I cry as my wing falls to the ground.

“What was THAT?” Vermiel’s eyes widen and he steps away from us in fear as far as the narrow cabin allows him.

“Did…,” Julia opens her mouth, “did he hear you?”

“B-but I wasn’t… I didn’t send the thought to him… I…,” I start coughing. Agitating myself further seems to only worsen my breathing difficulties. Is this how asthmatic people feel?

“I heard it as well,” Julia says, biting her lip. “I think you’re too hurting to control yourself.”

“WHAT WAS THAT?” Vermiel repeats, hysterically now.

“Damnit, literally the worst time for such a revelation,” Erik hisses. “But there’s no way around it I’m afraid. Vermiel, your Emperor is a telepath.”

“A t-t-te…,” Vermiel hangs out there, unable to finish the sentence. I feel he refuses to believe it even though he experienced the proof first-hand.

“Ouch,” I whine again. Julia is doing her best but she can’t possibly carry both of my wings.

“Deal with it later, Vermiel, help me!” Julia yells at him.

That wakes him up from the shock and he grabs my left wing again. His hands are shaking when he has to touch me again, though.

I’m sorry, Vermiel. Please, don’t be scared of me, I send him an urgent thought and try to put all my sincerity into it.

“We’ll explain everything to you, okay?” Erik implores him. “And don’t forget about your confidentiality contract.”

That calms him down a bit. He’s still freaking out in his mind but at least he decides to focus on the task that’s before his nose. Also, he seems to take the confidentiality contract deadly serious. How much is Liana paying him for this job? Or is he doing it out of pure loyalty?

The elevator door finally opens and they carry me out. The corridor is totally empty and the lights are switched off. Is he late at night? Or early in the morning?

“Careful, careful,” Erik mumbles when they’re putting me through the last door. How cumbersome we Celestials are when we can’t move.

“Not on my back!” I say, alarmed, when they put me on the hospital bed.

“I wouldn’t even think of that,” Julia assures me. “On his stomach, please.”

Erik and Vermiel turn me around and the idea of being lied down on my ribs isn’t appealing either considering I can hardly breathe. But I calm down when I find out that the bed is soft and Julia quickly turns on heating, telling me that I’ll be warm in no time.

I push my chin into the pillow to silence another lament when she stretches my wings to the sides. I expect to be uncomfortable because regular beds are too small for Celestials but then I hear a noise of something being pulled out from under the bed and my wings are suddenly resting on padded mini tables.

“I had this custom-made, the maintenance installed it only yesterday,” Julia announces proudly. “It’s a bed with wing-rests for Celestials. I’d have never guessed it comes in handy so soon. Let’s get to work then,” she says with a determined tone and starts with thoroughly inspecting my wings with her bare hands. “Hmm, no inflammation, that’s good.”

“That’s good,” Erik murmurs after her in a trance and is clutching my hand.

“X-rays then, step aside, please,” she manoeuvres my boyfriend and Vermiel to the side and pushes a huge globe-like thing above me.

Everyone is totally silent while the reading is being taken. I’m shaking and hope that it won’t influence the scan much but modern technology wins, I guess.

“Uff, Aefener’s wings are eight centimetres bigger since last measuring three days ago,” Julia announced, dumbfounded. “No wonder he’s in so much pain, not even a miraculous mana circuit can compensate for that.”

“A growth spur?” Erik guesses. “Why now? Why so out of the blue?”

“No idea,” Julia shakes her head.

Suddenly, my stomach rumbles loudly. I also complain about the position so Erik slowly lies me on my right side, Vermiel helping with my wings.

“As I thought, he desperately needs nutrients,” Dr Stein says. “Hey, you, go to the cafeteria and bring the biggest smoothie you can find,” she turns towards one of my guards who steps nervously in one place near the door. “I don’t care you’re not a cafeteria staff, just go! Your Emperor needs to eat.”

The Celestial runs off while Julia starts rummaging her medical closets, looking for something.

“Great, got it,” she takes out a huge container, open in and puts five spoons of yellow powder into a cup. Then she pours water and stirs it. “It’s a protein drink, plant-based,” she explains. “Erik, Vermiel, pull Aefener up, he has to drink it.”

Another forced movement of my body, struggle, but I successfully end up leaning against my boyfriend’s chest. Vermiel is helping to hold my wings in one position while Julia puts the cup to my lips. I don’t feel any appetite, to be honest, but I know that I have to eat. I slowly sip, surprised that it actually doesn’t taste bad at all so I start gulping more willingly.

“Vanilla flavour,” the doctor smiles. “I ordered it specially for Celestials and the Earthborn. Thanks to Liana, I don’t have to be careful about the budget so I order only the best quality stuff. You wouldn’t believe how many malnourished Earthborn I had here over the last few days.”

I’m gulping slowly, savouring each mouthful. I instinctively feel that I really need this. My appetite returns and I’m actually looking forward to that smoothie. Fortunately, it arrives shortly after I finish my protein drink. It’s not fresh, the guard probably just grabbed the first bottle he could find on the counter but when I start swallowing hungrily, it’s like I’ve never had anything better in my entire life.

I over-stuff myself but this time I’m not afraid that it’ll give me a stomach ache. I already feel that the food is being digested as my body needs all that energy for the wings. I get awfully drowsy right after that and I fall asleep while still leaning against Erik.


I sleep so deeply that I don’t have any dreams. Or I don’t remember then. Maybe it’s for the best, I’m still shaken by that dark nightmarish cloud swallowing me. At first, I think that it’s hunger that woke me up but it turns out there’re too many turbulent emotions around me.

“Oh, he’s finally up!” Emi exclaims excitedly.

“You had us worried, Aefener,” Liana is sitting next to my bed, caressing my wings that are lying quite comfortably on the padded side table.

“Worried?” I mumble, still very sleepy.

“You were sleeping for twelve hours straight, we couldn’t wake you up,” she explains. “Julia was even considering calling an ambulance at one point.”

I force myself to fully open my eyes and I blink several times. It’s too damn bright. Celestial eyes can handle even the brightest sunlight but it’s still uncomfortable to wake up into the artificial hospital light.

“How do you feel, hon?” Erik kisses me on my forehead.

“Better,” I say hoarsely and realise that there’re two tubes on my face, leading into my nostrils.

“You had difficulties breathing so Dr Stein put you on oxygen,” Erik catches what I’m thinking about.

“Thanks, I really feel better now,” I answer and I’m not lying, I do feel better. I’m still extremely weak and my wings are hurting but it’s not so excruciating anymore.

“I reckon your mana circuit finally caught up with the sudden acceleration and continues compensating to a certain point,” Julia ponders.

“Snack time,” Erik pulls me up carefully, Liana helping with my wings.

I look around, the whole gang is here. Fefnir is standing in the back with folded hands and looks grim. Emi is sitting next to him, her tail nervously waggling to the sides. Ingri was probably crying for me because her eyes are puffy but now that I’m awake, she’s relieved.

I notice Vermiel at the door and he’s whispering something to Miruel who’s standing closely next to him. He looks tired and I feel guilty that he couldn’t have gone to sleep because of me. He knows… he knows about me. Another person… and it happened by accident which is scary. What if I do it again? Can I trust him? I barely know him.

My eyes meet with Miruel’s and she timidly averts her gaze. Don’t tell me she knows as well? She feels way to strongly when looking at me. I want to ask Liana about it telepathically as she’s still touching me but Erik suddenly stuffs a sandwich into my mouth so I have to focus on chewing.

“So…,” Emi stands up and steps closer but not too close to Dr Stein as she’s still far from overcoming her fear of doctors. “When will our Aefener be able to fly?”

“Obviously much sooner than we originally predicted,” Julia says. “The most optimistic prognoses for Celestials estimated at least half a year and that’s for high-levels whose transformation is faster. But now… at least in case of Aefener… a month maybe?”

I’m actually shocked. A month? For real? I’ve been looking forward to flying, of course, I was never so thrilled for anything as much before in my life, but isn’t it too soon? It seems so close now, maybe too close.

“Hm? I thought you would be happier about it,” Erik is confused and caresses my feathers to comfort me.

“I… I am,” I gulp a piece of sandwich. “It’s just… I realised it’s almost here and it’s a bit frightening, to be honest.”

“We’ll find a way how to make it safe, don’t worry,” he assures me. “Are you afraid of falling when testing it out? We can put out some nets or soft mattresses.”

“Not really, no,” I shake my head. “It’s just that flying probably won’t be as carefree and fun as it was ingame when the world out there wants to get me and everyone has a smartphone to document my every move.”

“Right, forgot about that,” Erik slaps his forehead.

“Are you able to tell if my wings are starting to grow more quickly as well?” Liana asks Julia rather impatiently. “I sometimes feel strange tingling in them.”

“The speed of your growth is definitely getting faster,” Julia nods. “We should see in upcoming days.”

“Is it out?” I’m afraid to ask but I have to.

“Not confirmed yet,” Ingri speaks up since she acts as our public opinion monitor. “But you’ve been locked here for twelve hours, Aefener. We tried to come up with some cover story but the residents noticed that we’ve cut out the entire part of this floor. Your guards are patrolling in front of the infirmary and no one is allowed inside so it’s kind of obvious that something’s wrong with you.”

“Now what? Is Ryuu indisposed for the time being?” Erik asks when I finish the sandwich. “How do we cover that? We have another meeting with the officials tomorrow, right? There’s no way he’ll be fit enough to attend.”

“I feel much better after I ate,” I pull his sleeve.

“But you’re still not strong enough to even walk, are you?” he raises his eyebrows.

“We have too much work, I can’t lazy around,” I shake my head. “If you would be so kind to carry me, I can work at least on my computer.”

“Ryuu,” Erik sighs.

“Your boyfriend is right, you should rest,” Julia agrees. “Do you even realise how fast your wings are growing right now? It should be physically impossible.”

“Just as magic was thought to be impossible,” Emi comments.

“Anyway, Aefener stays here under my constant supervision,” Julia says strictly. “I’ll monitor also all of you. Should you start experiencing any abrupt changes in your transformation, call me immediately. Immediately, do you understand?” she looks sternly at Liana. “I understand that you have lots of work but overworking in your fragile condition could have bad consequences.”

“Understood,” Liana surprises me by nodding obediently. It seems Julia has earned her trust and my Viceroy now believes her judgment. “Your condition might not be as dangerous as Aefener’s considering his special genetic pre-requisite but don’t overestimate how much you can manage. Your body is still developing.

“Li, do they…?” I pull Liana’s robe to make sure how much Vermiel and Miruel know. I mean… Julia did mention that my genetics is special in front of them.

“We told them while you were passed out,” my Viceroy confirms. “Sorry, Aefener, we didn’t have a choice. And it’s better if they know anyway, it’s bothersome not being able to speak freely when they are around and they will be around a lot from now on.”

I look at my Celestial guards again. This time Miruel doesn’t avert her eyes. She even tries to smile at me. So they’re fine with me being a telepath? Really? Did they come to terms with it so quickly?

Julia gives me another protein shake and I’m starting to feel drowsy again after I gulp everything. But we still have that meeting tomorrow, I need to help out. I need to…

“Silly, don’t fight with it, sleep heals,” Erik berates me dotingly and carefully lies me back on my side.

I listen to him and my eyes close. This time I dream about the blue sky again. Only now I know that it will become reality very soon. And my Celestial nature is overjoyed.