Despite my vehement protests, Julia forced me to stay in the infirmary for observation. Normally, I’d hate every minute of it but because I’m sleeping 80% of the time anyway, it’s passing quickly. My breathing got better as my lungs keep adjusting so after three days, I don’t need the oxygen mask anymore. I’m still hurting a lot and feel weak, though.
Of course, my absence didn’t go unnoticed. Firstly, I’m not seen in public. Secondly, Julia’s infirmary is currently off-limits so another place had to be designated as a medical room. Thirdly, the Royal Guards are patrolling in front so it’s obvious who’s inside. We had to shoot a video in which I was explaining my medical condition, imploring all Draconians to be careful about their progressing transformation.
Erik stays by my side the whole time except for showering or going to stretch his legs briefly. I’m telling him that I’m fine with Julia and my guards around but he still refuses to leave me for too long. He argues that he can work on his computer from the infirmary. To be honest, I feel guilty to sleep all the time while everyone else is working so hard.
“You’re not lazy, you’re recuperating,” Erik is assuring me but I still feel useless.
Obviously, I missed another super important meeting with the Prime Minister and the EU officials. Liana briefed me afterwards and tried to sound like it wasn’t a big deal but I could sense from her that my absence was felt. Ingri told me later that Celestials were really nervous that their Emperor wasn’t present.
I don’t know what to make out of it. While I’m now fully accepting my Celestial nature, reasoning of other Celestials is sometimes eluding me. I feel completely Celestial now, slowly coming to terms with all those new emotions and perception, but I still don’t see myself as the Emperor. I can tell that everyone’s mana capacity and magic proficiency is much lower than mine but I see no objective reason why it should be me leading our race.
“I looked it up, it’s actually in our lore as well,” Liana says after I proposed again that she should become the ruler instead of me and she refused without even thinking about it for a second.
“What is?” I hiss in pain because Julia is stretching my wings again in order to scan them and make sure my bones are growing how they should.
“Why you might be so reluctant about it,” she explains. “The position of the Celestial Emperor automatically goes to the strongest magic caster, who is therefore considered to be the incarnate of magic itself, but it doesn’t have to necessarily mean that person has to be good at politics and running the country on the practical level.”
“I don’t think our ingame lore influenced my thinking that much,” I oppose.
“Yet, you were always behaving like the true Celestial Emperor,” Liana points out. “Leaving all mundane work to me and rather focusing all your energy on conquering dungeons and going on the craziest and longest quests. Always with your head in the clouds. Exactly like our lore says—it’s the Viceroy who takes care of the practical stuff.”
“I… guess,” I have to second that whether I want to or not.
I’m finally discharged after five long days. While my sped-up transformation is still weakening me considerably, Julia eventually confirmed that I’m in no danger and can be released into home care.
“You should look after Liana now,” I say to Dr Stein while the guards are taking all my stuff Erik brought to the infirmary back to our apartment. “She’s not feeling good today and just puts up a brave front as always.”
“You feel that?” Julia asks openly because Erik made sure it’s only Vermiel and Miruel inside helping us. “But she’s so far away.”
“I told you already that walls don’t block my ability,” I remind her and look at my new Celestial guards who eagerly gobble every bit of new information about me.
Since yesterday, they also started wearing Celestial robes. I’m surprised they got theirs so quickly, considering the crazy current demand for special custom clothes as all Draconians wish to wear something that would really suit them. Liana must be overpaying freelance manufacturers.
Ingri did an excellent job as always coming up with a design that is both in a distinctive Celestial style, yet practical—at least in terms of highly impractical Celestial fashion. While it looks like a typical Celestial long dress, the skirt is cut at the sides, it’s a bit shorter and has pants underneath.
However, when I asked for similar garments, Liana told me that it simply won’t do for the Emperor and that was the end of discussion. I think it’ll never cease to amaze me how much our mentality has changed. The big changes are obvious, it’s the little things that astonish me the most.
It’s clear that others completely forgot how they were thinking before but somehow I can still relate to my previous human thinking even though I don’t think like that anymore. I hope that it’s only thanks to my connection with Erik but I suspect it’s because I wasn’t quite human from the beginning.
“Ready to go, Your Majesty,” Muriel announces and interrupts my pondering. “We shouldn’t meet anyone.”
I frown a little. I didn’t ask them to vacate all corridors for me, even though, admittedly, I’d feel embarrassed being seen carried by Erik in public. But Liana insisted it wouldn’t do us any good if the Celestial Emperor was seen in a weakened state.
“Off we go then,” Erik takes me into his arms.
I quickly fold my wings as I’d literally drag them over the floor at this point. It’s strange how much they’ve grown in such a short period of time. And it’s even weirder that it feels natural and I do enjoy their new size. To be completely honest, my Celestial nature is craving huge wings. The bigger, the better. Is it going to be a Celestial quirk?
I also like your wings big, Erik catches what I’m thinking about and sends me a passionate emotion together with a dreamy vision of two of us in bed.
I can’t help blushing. Erik developing a fetish for my wings is a dream come true. At first, he thought of them as simply being cute but lately he’s really beginning to see them in an erotic way. As a Celestial would. Just how lucky I am to get such a fine boyfriend?
The best boyfriend out there, he smirks in his thoughts and adjusts his hands because he can feel through me that he’s squeezing my wings a bit.
There’re more guards when we step outside the infirmary waiting for us. I spot two Celestials whose names I can’t recall, both of them wearing the same robes as Vermiel and Miruel. And also a Clawfang and a Dragonkin. No humans. Wait a sec, six? Why do I need that many inside Liana’s skyscraper?
Erik catches my thought again and gets anxious. He desperately tries to think about something else in order to distract me. I decide to push him when we step into the elevator.
“Did something happen to get me so many guards?” I ask openly and direct my question also to Vermiel and Miruel.
They both chew their lips, apparently nervous. I stretch my hand and touch Miruel who’s standing just a few centimetres away from me since the elevator is quite full because of my wings. Only a second later I realise, to my stupidity, that I’ve never connected to her before as my sudden attempt scares her shitless. She flinches and looks horrified.
“Oh, sorry, Miruel,” I apologise quickly. I also realise that I did something totally rude, imposing on her privacy like that. “Really really sorry,” I say again. “I sometimes forget because it’s so automatic with Erik. Please, do tell me what’s wrong.”
She takes a deep breath, calming herself down. I wonder… would people feel violated when I read their minds without permission? I have to be more careful. More considerate. I can’t help catching their emotions but I can prevent reading their thoughts.
“It’s getting worse and worse each day,” she finally answers.
“Cyber attacks on the skyscraper’s network… and attempts to get into the building without a clearance,” she says. “Just this morning our security prevented another intrusion.”
“Another? They were more? Why don’t I know anything about it?” I’m super confused now.
“Liana didn’t want to stress you,” Erik explains. “Besides, it’s Fefnir’s job now. He became the head of our security.”
“When did that happen?” I widen my eyes.
“Just two days ago,” he says. “I mean… we’re still cooperating with human guards, of course, but Draconians were too hard to handle by human staff. They seem to work side by side with them quite fine but they just weren’t listening to orders if made by a human.”
“Did a lot of things change while I was out?” I ask, a bit apprehensively now. Normally, it’d only be five days but a lot can happen when everything’s so turbulent.
“Nothing dramatic I think,” he says and we reach our apartment.
“You call that nothing dramatic?” I don’t believe my eyes because our flat is full of boxes and several Draconians are unpacking them.
“Well, it’s the stuff from our previous apartments, I had it moved here,” Erik explains and puts me on the sofa in the living room. “It’s not like we can ever come back, right?”
I want to oppose something but I’m distracted by the softness of the sofa. I give it a closer look to discover that the sofa is brand new. It’s much larger so I can fit even with my wings. And it seems the back-rest can be put down. Neat.
“You like it? I ordered it, anticipating you won’t fit onto the old one,” Erik grins.
“I do,” I admit and curiously look around.
Too many unknown people in our apartment! There’s a Dragonkin bringing even more boxes and three Celestial unpacking. I see one taking out my favourite figure from Dragon Age and putting it on a shelf. Was that shelf even there before? Did they redo the apartment while I was lying in the infirmary?
“Erik, what the hell?” I can’t wrap my head around it.
“Well,” he smiles but it’s cringy. He’s afraid of my reaction. “It was supposed to be a surprise but we couldn’t finish on time.”
“Ryuu,” Erik says slowly, “we have to stop treating it as a hotel suite. This is our home now.”
I’m left speechless. Of course, I knew that there’s no chance I’m coming back into my old cosy apartment but because of all those things happening, I had no actual time to think about how we’re going to live from now on. I didn’t realise that… I’ve moved together with Erik. For real.
“You hate it,” Erik gets pale when noticing my confused expression.
“N-not hate,” I shake my head violently. “It’s just that I didn’t give it a thought before. But we kind of are living together now, aren’t we?”
“Forced by circumstances. Do you dislike it?” Erik gets saddened.
“It’s not that,” I shake my head again to dispel his doubts and take his hand. “But everything’s happening so quickly.”
“Your Majesty, where do you want to put this?” a Celestial woman suddenly asks, holding my VR headset.
“Oh, I can’t use it anymore, can I? It’s made for a human brain,” I realise. “Do you want it, Erik?”
“Nope, I hate VR,” he says flatly. “Maybe we should do some decluttering? We need to squeeze two apartments into more, after all.”
“True,” I nod. “I’m not giving up my retro games, though.”
“Nerd,” Erik teases me. “Thank you, Luviael, leave the stuff you’re not sure about in the boxes, we’ll go through it later.”
“As you wish, Royal Consort,” the Celestial woman, Luviael, gives me a long inspecting look. How did Erik make friends with her? When? Who is she anyway? And why is she looking at me like that?
“Ehm… is something wrong with my face?” I get flustered.
“I’m just astonished you look exactly the same except for the colour of your hair and eyes, Your Majesty,” she says.
“Eh?” I’m lost.
“You don’t recognise me, do you?” she sighs. “Thought so.”
“Sorry, should I?” I study her face properly. Now that she’s talking about it, her features do seem familiar.
“We had Introduction to Contemporary Literature together,” she helps me, disappointed that I have no idea. “I was sitting two rows in front of you.”
“Oh!” I do recall her now.
I still don’t know her name because, knowing my social anxiety, I probably never asked but I can at least tell she was my classmate at university. Her original black locks are dark blue now and she has grey patterned wings but she retained her brown skin and curly hair. She’s also wearing a Celestial robe, a very pretty one with flowers.
“Who would have thought that my classmate was my Emperor,” she laughs. “What a small world, right?”
“Really,” I try to smile back. “So your name is Luviael?”
“Yep,” she grins. “It’s a bit strange considering I know you from school but I’m honoured to serve you nonetheless, Your Majesty.”
“Serve?” I tilt my head, confused.
“Her Excellency named me your adjutant,” Luviael announces proudly.
“Ehhh…,” I’m dumbfounded. “What does it even mean?”
“Your personal assistant?” Luviael offers an explanation. “Lady Liana has Ingri, you also need someone to take care of your agenda and quarters.”
I have to try hard to not to burst laughing. Did she just call our apartment quarters? But wait, is Liana deciding things concerning me without me again? It seems I need to have a serious chat with my Viceroy.
“Anyway,” Luviael coughs. “Don’t hesitate to come to me with any request, okay? The budget is really generous, it’s no problem to order anything for your new home.”
“Right, let’s make it cosy here,” Erik is enthusiastic while I stay confused.
“What budget?” I narrow my eyes.
How many things have changed during those five days while I was indisposed? It’s like I’ve come back into a different reality in which Celestials act as if the skyscraper is the Royal Palace or something. And I’m the only one who doesn’t know how to play this game.
“The Royal budget,” Luviael answers in a tone indicating it should be obvious. “Money to finance your home, personal guards, servants, clothing and everything else needed for perfect representation.”
My wings drop on the sofa. Is she serious?! I was half-joking thinking that but it turns out I might be right? They really are considering our apartment to be Royal quarters? My old classmate really wants to become my adjutant?
I analyse her feelings and find no doubt in her mind. I quickly focus on the others in the room, my bodyguards and people unpacking. And I find out, to my bewilderment, that none of them is taking it just as a temporary job they’re forced to do for the time being. It’s as if they naturally assumed their roles and they even feel proud about it. Role-playing in real life. Except it isn’t role-play anymore.
“Ah, your lunch is here,” Luviael waves at an Earthborn who arrives with a food cart.
I don’t feel like eating right now but Erik doesn’t take no for an answer and puts a tray on my lap. As I watch the hustle and bustle around me, slowly munching, my anxiety rises. The guards are plugging some devices above all doors, two Dragonkin keep renovating the apartment in front of my eyes and Celestials are frantically tidying up.
Erik, let’s hide in the bedroom, I say and don’t have to touch my boyfriend because he’s leaning against my wings.
I’m afraid they’re still putting together our new bed, he has to disappoint me.
You ordered that as well?
Well, obviously, he pokes my wings that are becoming really big at this point. How else would you fit there? I don’t want you waking me up in the middle of the night, whining that your wings are uncomfortable or having your feathers in my mouth.
I force myself to eat another dumpling because Luviael is watching me with an expression saying that she’s going to report to Dr Stein. Because I’m chewing, it doesn’t look suspicious that I’m not talking. I have to be careful, I don’t want to reveal my secret to another person I don’t know. We were lucky that Miruel and Vermiel turned out to be loyal and reliable but we don’t have to be as lucky next time. The more people more, the bigger the danger someone won’t keep it secret.
“Great, I’ve been waiting for that,” Luviael beams at a Clawfang who brings two more boxes. Only this time they don’t look like moving boxes but regular post. The wolfish Clawfang stares at me intensely until Luviael notices, rolls her eyes and throws him out after thanking him.
“These go into the wardrobe,” she orders a rather young Celestial woman who’s been sorting my books.
I realise it feels strange that someone is touching my stuff like that. As if I’m not able to tidy myself. Well, to be honest, right now I’m still rather indisposed but who says it has to be finished in one day?
“Luviael, that’s enough,” I speak up. “Put the boxes into one corner, we’ll go through them when I feel better.”
“You won’t have time when you recover, Your Majesty,” she replies without even looking at me and disappears into our bedroom.
“If she’s my adjutant, why won’t she listen to me?” I complain to Erik.
“Not sure how it works with Celestials,” he shrugs and passes me another dumpling. “Does the Celestial Emperor hold absolute power?”
I have to think about it for a minute. I left everyday mundane agenda to Liana but when it came to important things, my decision was necessary because the system was set like that. However, concerning things like running the Royal Quarters and official representation, even I was bound by merciless court etiquette. And I hated it, to be frank. Shit, so that got transferred to real life as well?
I can tell your thinking has changed but it seems you retained a certain level of detachment when compared to other Draconians, Erik switches to telepathy again. Just watch them—they’re desperately trying to change everything around them to suit their current mentality. In this case, it means to provide for their Emperor.
Just how intricate is our transformation? Will it effect all aspects of life? We’re becoming Draconians through and through, even importing our fictional culture, and nobody thinks twice about it anymore.
“What do you think?” Erik puts me down on our new bed.
“Oh, it’s one of those,” I suspiciously squeeze the mattress. “I’ve seen it only in movies.”
It turns out that Erik ordered a huge round bed. I’ve always considered it highly impractical and only for a show but now that I think about it, the shape might be ideal for Celestials. I try various positions and even spread my wings to both sides while lying on my stomach. It’s very comfortable, I have to admit that.
I sit up again to inspect the rest of the room. The previous regular wardrobe is gone, now two whole walls were re-designed for storing our clothes. The huge bed takes most of them room, making is a bit cramped, but because of its unusual shape, there’s still room for two bedside tables.
“Thank you, everyone, but can you go now? We want some privacy,” Erik says with gratitude but also impatience. Luviael tells us again to call her if we need something before finally closing the door behind her.
“I can feel them in our living room,” I frown. “Didn’t you mean out out?”
“They have to finish their work,” Erik says and throws an extremely soft blanket at me. “So do you like it or not?”
“I do,” I smile, this time sincerely, and wrap myself in it. It smells brand new.
“And you do realise that we really live together? As partners I mean, not flat-mates,” he continues, more uncertain now. “Oh, Ryuu, I’m so sorry. I wanted to do it properly. Date for real for a while, then asking you to move in together. And all those other things like going to Ikea together to pick our new furniture, argue about what colour to paint our walls and…”
“You’re a such romantic,” he amuses me and my heart melts. “Yes, I do realise that we live together as partners. I might be a bit slow in these things but I love living with you. I love… you.”
He surprises me because he blushes. And he’s not the type to blush. He must feel my love for him all the time when we’re touching but I guess it’s still ultimately magical to say these words aloud.
“I adore you,” he pushes me onto our new bed and enjoys that he doesn’t have to be careful with my wings falling over the edges anymore when I fold them a bit.
My first reaction is to resist him because I don’t like being on my back for obvious reasons so I’m twice as astonished that I don’t mind. The mattress is really soft and even though my growing wings are still highly sensitive, it seems lying on them for shorter periods of time won’t be impossible anymore. They got stronger. Much stronger and sturdier.
Realising one problem disappeared, Erik grins victoriously and leans over me. He was missing having me like that. I gladly give in and let him make up for those five days of abstinence.
“I’m sorry but I have to say it. Liana, you dumb!” I berate my Viceroy.
“Uhm,” she whines, not able to defend herself and not even wanting to because she knows that my anger is justified.
She’s lying in her bed, curled underneath a blanket, her black wings poking out.
“Passed out!” I continue berating her. “What were you thinking coming to work when you weren’t feeling well?”
“I thought that I can manage somehow,” she mumbles and whines again because I pull one of her feathers.
I shake my head and look at Julia. She just shrugs and sighs theatrically. There’s no fixing our always overworking Liana.
“It’s because the others are still working,” she finally manages to come up with an excuse.
“The others aren’t Celestials,” I remind her.
It’s been six days after the growth of my wings started accelerating and the transformation of the rest of Draconians began to speed up as well. People whose previous VR compatibility was high have it very turbulent again while those with lower levels more gradual. But overall most people are, fortunately, copying quite well. It’s only high-level Celestials who are really struggling and have to be taken care of.
“How come she doesn’t have to in the infirmary?” I realise that Dr Stein didn’t insist on that in Liana’s case.
“Because she doesn’t have any difficulties breathing,” Julia says.
I frown. Why do I always have it worst? Fefnir seems totally fine, Emi just complains a bit that her feet are hurting and she can’t run as fast and Ingri is totally fine.
“Soo sleepy,” Liana suddenly yawns.
“Right, let her rest, Ryuu,” Erik nods. “Mrs Hana will take care of her.”
“N-no, don’t go,” Liana surprises me by catching my sleeve. It seems she’s done with being brave, at least in front of us. We’re the lucky few who see her vulnerable part. The part she’s hiding from the world for which she’s the Laura Richter there’s no messing with.
I don’t want to stay with humans only, she sends me a desperate thought. I know that it’s irrational—Hana is my trustworthy housekeeper—but… I just…
I know. Don’t worry, I’ll stay then, I assure her, honoured that she trusts me so much.
“Erik, let’s stay a little longer,” I say aloud. “Liana doesn’t have an amazing boyfriend who would stay with her no matter what. Hana is great but she won’t… you know… she’s not Celestial.”
Erik sighs because he was hoping to have me for himself today but he understands. Besides, he knows perfectly well that there’s no ulterior motive between us. Liana is my best friend and my Viceroy.
She’s might not be my lover but I realise my love for her isn’t any smaller than for Erik. My bond with her was growing stronger and stronger without me noticing until it got to the point it’s become unbreakable. A bond of friendship so strong I’d have never thought it possible. A bond of Celestial friendship that goes beyond any human emotion.
“Ouch,” Liana cries and her wings cringe in a spasm.
I don’t have to think about what is the right thing to do. I lie down beside her, cover her with my right wing and hug her tight. I try to alleviate her pain and I’m surprised how easy it is. I connect to her fully, the way I do with Erik. A bit differently, of course, but fully for the first time.
Her mind is open and she willingly lets me in. And I finally discover how it feels like to rest in a mind of another Celestial. A mind that’s like my own.
“What do you mean it’s gone?”
“Just gone… missing…”
“From your drawer that was supposed to be locked?”
I reluctantly open my eyes. Fortunately, Liana is sleeping deeply due to my attempts to soothe her so she hasn’t woken up.
“You’re too loud!” I complain. “Take it outside!”
“Ryuu,” Erik caresses my left wing. “Your feather is missing.”
“I locked it in the drawer in my office,” Julia leans over Liana and takes her temperature. “But it’s gone since this morning and the lock is broken.”
“Why would someone steal my feather?” I frown and finally sit up. “Didn’t the security see anything?”
“Most of the security is focused to this floor now that both you Liana are here,” Erik says. “But they’re looking into the security footage as we speak. Hopefully, we should know something soon.”
“Hmm, is it such a huge deal?” I ask because I can feel that both Erik and Julia are too aggravated. “It’s just one feather and every Celestial has thousands of them.”
“It means that someone actually managed to breach our security,” Erik answers rather irritably.
“And potentially take it for DNA testing,” Julia adds darkly and finishes checking on sleeping Liana. “The base of Celestial feathers, calamus, does provide enough for a DNA sample.”
That takes me aback. I haven’t realised that my feather would contain my DNA or I would never give it away.
“Can they discover that my DNA is different somehow…?” I gulp.
“Hard to say,” Julia shrugs. “The scientists have yet to fully sequence the DNA of new races.”
“EXCUSE ME!” Fefnir bursts into the bedroom and he’s so noisy while doing so that I have to try hard to keep Liana sleeping with my telepathy. She needs rest, desperately.
My first reaction is to scold him but I’m shocked by the change he’s gone through in that past week I haven’t really seen him. His skin was completely covered with scales before but they seem even tougher now, like nothing could ever harm him. Could he be bulletproof now?
His horns are growing rapidly and make Fefnir look truly formidable but the biggest and the most noticeable change are his legs. These just aren’t human legs anymore. And he isn’t wearing any shoes as he probably doesn’t need them anymore and none would fit his enormous clawed feet anyway.
Fefnir catches that I’m staring at him but this time he doesn’t offer a cheeky grin. He looks dead tired, probably both from overworking and exhausted by the speed his body is changing. But he’s holding up fine—exemplary Dragonkin resilience.
“Sorry, Aefener, but can you work now?” he says without any greeting. Even his voice is a bit different. Lower. Inhumanely hoarse. “We could really use your help. We just can’t be missing two Celestial rulers, your race is in total disarray and the EU delegates don’t want to start another diplomatic session without at least one of you present.”
“I think I can… with Erik’s help,” I say quickly because I can tell Julia disapproves and is about to voice her opinion.
“Great, let’s go!”
“Ten minutes, Esteemed Viceroy,” Luviael, my new adjutant, has to forcefully squeeze to the front because Fefnir is taking a lot of space. “His Majesty isn’t dressed properly.”
“What are you waiting for then?” he clicks his tongue and even that sounds completely dragon-like.
Erik looks at me and I look at him. He doesn’t have to be a telepath to be able to guess that when our phlegmatic friend is nervous, something must be seriously wrong.
I want to try walking on my own, I do feel quite good after the nap, but the moment I step on the carpet and want to stand up, I’m surprised by the sudden increased weight of my much bigger wings and wobble. Erik catches me immediately so I don’t end up on the ground but I don’t manage to fold my wings on time so my feathers are everywhere.
“Uh, s-sorry,” I mumble because I brush everyone in my vicinity. “I still can’t get used to how big they are now.”
“Don’t be, I was rushing you too much,” Fefnir forces himself to calm down and gently pulls my wings up while Erik is trying to somehow get me into his arms. I can’t help admiring how the Dragonkin are able to control their emotions like that.
“Celestials… totally cumbersome,” Erik jokes when he finally manages to collect me.
“Julia, will you…?” I look at the doctor.
“Of course,” Dr Stein nods. “I won’t leave Her Excellency’s side. Don’t worry, Your Majesty.”
The sudden change in how she’s addressing us feels unnatural but I’m the only one who feels that way. Erik doesn’t even notice it because he’s too busy holding me and the others think it’s normal. I guess Julia has to call Liana politely like that because my Viceroy hates being addressed by her human name but why did she switch it with me as well? I thought we’re on familiar speaking terms.
But I don’t have time to ponder, it takes just a minute to transport me from Liana’s apartment to ours and before I even manage to open my mouth, Luviael and one other Celestial woman I saw arranging things around the apartment are suddenly dressing me. Erik is shocked as well because he’s pushed aside. Fefnir nods at him, tells him something I can’t hear and they disappear behind the door.
“S-stop, I-can-do-it-myself!” I protest, cutting every word.
But they don’t listen and keep stretching my limbs as they need them for the robe. It’s impossible to ignore how eagerly they’re touching my huge wings—caressing them, thinking I won’t notice their hands linger there for far too long. They even do my hair, carefully arranging a hairpin. Oh, so my hair is long enough for it now?
“You’re so beautiful, Your Majesty,” they flatter my when their work is done. “Ready to rule.”
I puff but that’s pretty much all I can do. When Erik comes back, it’s evident that he’s still irritated that some strangers were touching me but he has to admit that he’d be never able to dress me so quickly and do my hair on top.
I fold my wings properly, adjusting for a minute to their new weight. I catch my reflection in the mirror that’s attached to the wardrobe and they look even bigger than they feel. For such a thin person, I’m starting to take a lot of space.
“Can you just hold me steady?” I ask Erik. “I think I can walk by myself if you support me. I don’t want to vacate the halls again because I’m coming through. I really do feel much stronger today and I need some exercise.”
“Sure,” he nods and offers me his arm. With the help, I’m able to slowly walk just fine.
However, we don’t even reach the end of the corridor when Fefnir stops us and is frantically talking to someone on the phone. He’s getting more and more anxious by each passing second and just as I’m about to ask him what’s wrong, the elevator opens and Emi jumps out.
She’s also undergone a significant change, especially her legs that are becoming truly animal-like. She’s not wearing shoes either.
“Emi, what…?” Erik frowns because the Clawfang Alpha is hissing angrily.
“Intruders got in!” she exclaims and her fur is standing. “Some bastards pretended that they’re the catering service, forged the clearance and all. We noticed too late, let them in and now we have no idea where they are!”
“You think they’re here to hurt us?” my heart skips a beat.
“What else,” Emi grunts. “Aefener, we need your…,” she stops herself in time. There’re too many people around us who don’t know my secret.
“R-right,” I nod tensely.
Of course, they need a telepath. Luckily, they have one. I can finally be useful.
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