Chapter 38:


Draconia Offline

I’m lying in our bed, thinking about what Liana said and how naïve I was. Everyone around me has changed more than I realised. My naivety is even more mortifying because I’m a telepath. I should have known better. Explored the minds of my friends properly. Was I too focused on Erik that I couldn’t see it? Too hooked on his humanity I now lack?

Humans are mostly scared of us because we look totally alien to them but they’re scared for the wrong reason. They should be scared because of how differently we think now. We’re not monsters but there’s nothing human in us left.

I slowly stretch my wings to relieve the soreness. Not even our new huge bed is enough to fit me anymore and the bedroom feels cramped to me. I don’t feel claustrophobic only because the windows are big enough to give me a sense of space. I realise how desperately I want out. No, not just out. I long for the sky.

“The bath is ready, hon,” Erik returns to the bedroom, already half-naked and a total eye-candy.

“You’re the best,” I smile at him even though I don’t feel like smiling. But I do because he’s here and he’s the reason I’m able to smile like that at least for him.

I carefully fold my wings and bravely suppress hissing when I try to fold my injured wing as well. I shouldn’t be in any danger of reopening the wound now but it still hurts like hell whenever I do any movement. It’s really crippling for a Celestial to have a wing injured.

Erik kindly offers his support and for a while we’re struggling to push my partly folded wings through the door. The bath is another struggle. While it’s big enough for two people and I’m as skinny as it gets, it’s impossible to get my wings inside to wash them properly. I have to leave them hanging out which means that I can’t even lie down to relax.

“Luvi said our new bath should arrive soon,” Erik catches what I’m thinking about while frowning in dissatisfaction and hops in after me. “They ordered the biggest jacuzzi possible which means we’ll lose the shower but it should be worth it.”

“Sorry, I know you prefer showering,” I mumble apologetically. All those adjustments are being made because of me, my servants don’t consider Erik’s needs at all when it comes to our apartment.

“They’ll install the shower tube and everything, we’ll just lose the shower stall,” he waves his hand, gesturing that he doesn’t mind, and pours a bubble bath product into the water.

I change my position and hug him. My wings clumsily fall to the sides over the bath’s edge and water splashes onto the ground. I don’t want to give the maids more work cleaning after us but I’m just not able to manoeuvre my huge wings in such a small space.

“What is it, Ryuu? Do you feel uncomfortable?” Erik caresses my hair.

I don’t say anything and just keep hugging his naked body—his human body that’s so different from mine. Regardless of how we originally started, we have an interspecies relationship now. I don’t think Erik would be capable to handle it if I changed into any other race so I’m lucky he’s okay with my wings. Gosh, he even developed a fetish for them, how lucky I am!

I guess Celestials stayed aesthetically pleasing to humans because humans fail to recognise how different apart from our wings and eyes we really are. I don’t think Erik fully realises it either. He’s excitedly touching my body that didn’t change that much from the outside if I don’t count the total loss of body hair (not that I had much of that from the beginning) and still considers me rather human.

Yet, my bones are hollow now. My metabolism is super-fast and every calorie taken transforms into mana. I don’t need to use the toilet that often either. My lungs are able to take more oxygen from the air than a trained Himalayan sherpa. My mana is repairing my cells all the time, granting me miraculous longevity. I have an entirely new system in my body, a mana circuit, and nobody knows how it works. There’s nothing human in me left. I even stopped thinking like a human.

“Shush, you’re still you and that’s what I love,” Erik feels my emotional state and kisses me in comfort. And I kiss him back.


“My Emperor, I was so scared when I heard,” Gotrid is overjoyed that we finally have a chance to speak again. I still don’t feel strong enough to work properly but I can at least talk to people online and encourage those who are far away and not in a good environment.

I haven’t seen Gotrid for quite some time. While we’re communicating with Celestial communities all over the world every day, there’re so many that it’s impossible to speak to everyone via a videocall on a regular basis. But I always find time for people I personally know from the game and ask how they’re doing.

The only problem is that they stopped seeing me as their friend and completely switched to treating me as their Emperor. Gotrid was using my title ingame to teasingly flirt with me but there’s not even a hint of tease when he calls me ‘my Emperor’ now. This is my new reality, I should probably just get used to it.

“You look good,” I give him a smile and study his wings. They’re growing slower than mine and Liana’s but still getting bigger at a steady speed.

“Thanks, I just love them,” Gotrid happily flutters his feathered limbs and proudly presents them in their current size.

A shiver goes down my spine. Something within me reacts wildly and I’m really grateful that Erik left to stretch his legs because whether I want to admit it or not, it inevitably arouses me. I don’t know if it’s because Gotrid is my type or because I just love the sight of nice wings, most probably the combination of both, but I can’t help it. My Celestial libido is at fault here.

“How are things in the States?” I have to try hard to suppress that feeling and calm down, not letting anything show on my face.

“Well, turbulent,” he shrugs. “Our first European embassy getting attacked made the situation even worse.”

“How worse?” I’m almost afraid to ask.

“Her Excellency didn’t tell you?” he tilts his head. I don’t want to say that I’m still pissed at my Viceroy and haven’t spoken to her since, but Gotrid immediately continues. “Naturally, Draconians were raging when it appeared in the news. Oh, Your Majesty, you were so godly in that video! You saved everyone!”

“Thanks,” I blush. “And the public opinion? Sorry, I don’t know much, Julia ordered absolute rest so the gang doesn’t want to tell me anything solid.”

He becomes serious in an instant.

“Thankfully, not many people approve of such brutal attack. Not even those who are totally against us,” he says. “They know that it takes just a spark and there could be a civil war. For instance, if one of the rulers was killed. Even you just getting hurt is a big deal. Celestials are angry, seriously angry. And other races also aren’t indifferent.”

“B-but… they aren’t doing anything?” I swallow. “I wouldn’t want it.”

“I know and they know as well so they stand by,” Gotrid doesn’t dare to lie. “And they’re training like crazy these days, including me. Look,” he conjures a level 2 flame with ease.

“Oh, nice!” I praise him.

“We want to be able to protect ourselves,” he says and lets the flame dissolve. “And we also want to be ready when you’ll need us, Your Majesty.”

That takes me aback. Need? For what?

“Most of us in the US are just waiting for the government to lift the ban on Draconians travelling,” he continues, not noticing my bewilderment. “The truth is, we long to be where our Emperor is. How can you not know, Your Majesty? It’s our Celestial instinct to flock to our ruler, the embodiment of magic.”

“I’m no embodiment of anything,” I blurt out. “And I had no idea about it.”

“I think the Viceroy wants to protect you from that for as long as possible,” he ponders. “She’s not telling you everything, especially now that you’re recovering after such a serious injury. How does it feel to have…?”

“Horrible,” I say and slowly pull my right wing closer to the camera. “It’s totally crippling for a Celestial. Be careful, okay? Don’t let anyone to hurt your precious wings.”

“I won’t,” he says confidently. “I can protect myself now.”

The door opens and Erik appears, his hands full of snacks. I refused to see it before but his jealousy is really obvious every time I’m talking with Gotrid, I can see it clearly now. I think he suspects Gotrid is my type. Well, he’s right about actually that but that doesn’t mean anything. I love Erik. Only him. I say goodbye to Gotrid and end the call.

“Is he okay? The situation isn’t good in the States,” Erik says with a rather fake interest in his apparent rival and tosses the snacks on the bed in front of me.

“Holding somehow… training,” I answer vaguely on purpose and look at what he brought.

While he was trying to fetch some healthy sweets, they’re still sweets. Not that I’m afraid of diabetes, Celestials burn sugar into mana without any side effects. I take a banana protein bar and bite into it. My dizziness wore off this morning when I woke up which also raised my appetite.

“The situation is crazy out there,” Erik says while watching me nibbling, content that he doesn’t have to force me. “More and more Draconians are flooding, trying to find a job and shelter here. Every Celestial I met was asking about you so I had a hard time to even get to the cafeteria. People were taking photos all the time and the guards were busy just keeping them off me.”

“Well, you’re my partner,” I swallow and slowly bite again. “The Royal Consort.”

“I know and I was prepared for a lot of attention. But I’m still surprised how crazy it is,” he sighs. “Not that I’m complaining,” he adds quickly. “I signed up for this.”

His phone starts ringing when I’m reaching for an oat bar.

“My parents,” he prolongs his face when he glances at the screen. “They’ve been texting me nonstop, especially after that attack.”

“Take it,” I nudge him. “Your parents are cool and they love you. They deserve to know what’s happening with their son face to face, not just via texts.”

“I know they are… it’s just…,” he looks at me, a request reflecting in his eyes. “Would you mind if we talked to them together?”

I stop eating, the bar halfway to my mouth. Wait a second! T-talk together? As if…?! Does that mean I’m about to officially meet them for the first time? Is that what it is? I’m suddenly so nervous! What if they hate me for taking their son? What if they disapprove of our relationship? Blame me that their son is all over the media, becoming a world-class celebrity basically overnight?

“Don’t worry, you look beautiful even in your sleeping kimono,” he kisses me on my cheek, misinterpreting my worries, and without actually waiting for my decision, he picks up.


Erik’s parents appear on the screen and freeze when they realise that their son isn’t alone.

“The Celestial Emperor!” Erik’s mother gasps for breath. She has the same eyes as him, how cute.

“Hello, it’s really nice to meet you,” I greet them timidly and look at Erik’s father. Oh, so now I know from whom Erik inherited his adorable unruly hair. “You can call me Ryuuto or Aefener, whichever you prefer. I know that Draconians refuse using their human names but I don’t mind.”

“Mom, Dad, I’m okay as you can see,” Erik says eagerly. “But Ryuuto was injured while protecting me… protecting everyone. But I guess you know about that from the news.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Erik’s mom says extremely politely, evidently not wanting to offend me in any way.

“Just my name is fine, really, Mrs Anderle,” I try to give her my best smile but I see how my golden eyes unnerve her. It doesn’t help that I’m hugging Erik with my left wing either.

“How are you?” Erik tries to divert their attention. “Is the press and the EU still giving you trouble?”

“It calmed down a bit but it’s still crazy,” Erik’s dad sighs. “Thanks for those bodyguards you hired us.”

Oh, so Erik had to get bodyguards for his parents? He never mentioned that. I was naïve again and I didn’t realise how inconvenient our relationship must be for them. My Grandma seems to enjoy the attention but she isn’t exactly sane.

“I’m not saying it’s easy,” Erik says honestly. “But I don’t regret anything. I’m serious about Ryuuto and he is about me. It doesn’t matter to me who or what he is now.”

“I can see that, hon,” Erik’s mom nods understandingly. “I guess more parents are going through the same—their kids suddenly dating another species.”

“Only you had to choose to date the Celestial Emperor himself,” Erik’s dad sighs but plays it into a joke.

Erik’s parents are genuinely good people, I can see that clearly. They’re concerned for their son’s happiness but at the same time they give him freedom to make his own choices. Naturally, they’re worried sick but they aren’t questioning him or our relationship.

“And I wouldn’t exchange it for anything,” Erik says confidently and clutches my hand.

“Well, His Majesty is definitely your type,” Mrs Anderle grins, breaking the tense atmosphere.

“Most beautiful, right?” Erik smirks and kisses me on my cheek. “Universal androgynous beauty.”

“Y-you,” I turn red and now it’s me who decides to divert his parent’s attention. “Mr and Mrs Anderle, if you need anything, please don’t hesitate to contact me, okay? I can give you money and protection.”

“That’s really kind, Your Majesty, but we’re fine,” Mr Anderle says confidently. “We’d welcome to finally meet the person our son is crazy about, though.”

I think my heart just skipped a beat. Oh my God, it’s here! They want to meet for real! And it doesn’t seem they say it out of being polite, they genuinely want to get to know me. Come on, don’t look rude, me! Invite them!

“That can be easily arranged,” I nod eagerly. “Just say when you’re free and my people will come to fetch you.”

Are you sure, Ryuu? Erik asks me in his thoughts, a bit panicky all of a sudden. It’s a big step, you’ll get to know my family. I promised you that we’ll take it slow and I mean to keep that promise.

I am sure, I answer quickly and I’m surprised myself that I wish for it so much. Erik’s parents seem so nice, unlike my Gran. I can only guess how pleasant it must be to have a functional family.

“We’ll text to Erik then,” Mrs Anderle agrees and looks both nervous and excited about meeting me.

We end the call short after that and I suddenly get anxious. I’m really going to meet my boyfriend’s family, it’s official! This is what couples who are serious about each other should eventually do, right? It’s completely normal, right? I shouldn’t be freaking out, right? Or should I?

“What if they’re going to hate me?” I voice my biggest worry.

“Oh, they’ll love you,” Erik assures me. “My parents are neither homophobic nor racists. They’ll come to term with you being a different species. I think that if you were literally anyone else than the Emperor, they wouldn’t see any issue. By the way, am I royalty now as well or do I have to marry you for that?”

I forget to breathe for several antagonising seconds of total astonishment. Did I hear right? Did Erik just casually mention marriage just now? In connection to me? Are wonders not going to end today?

“Oh, I guess I did,” he scratches his freshly shaven chin. “I hope I didn’t scare you. I’m fine taking things slow. I really am. And we know each other only for a year so there’s no rush.”

“N-no, that’s not it,” I shake my head violently. “It’s just… are you really thinking…?”

“Well, one day?” he takes my hand and kisses it. And then he smirks because he can tell that I’m panicking and feeling embarrassed. But I’m exceedingly joyful as the same time.

“When the situation calms down and we have more time for each other,” he continues because I’m still not able to put together a coherent sentence.

My imagination runs wild and I try to imagine that. Me and Erik truly living together, buying a house somewhere remote so that I can go flying without worries. Having a proper household, maybe even adopting a pet. Spending days together, happy about the most mundane things. Growing o---

Erik’s eyes widen because he catches what I’m thinking about.

“Oh, Ryuu, that’s a really sweet dream, but…,” he bites his lips and his initial enthusiasm gets colder.

“But,” I lower my head. “Not happening, right? We won’t grow old together. My own race won’t give me up so that I can live in peace somewhere just with you. The government won’t stop being interested in me and the media won’t stop chasing me.”

“I’m afraid not,” he gently caresses my hair. “But we can be happy wherever if we decide it so.”

And then we start kissing and there’s no more room for talking or being sad.


“I’m sorry,” I say to Julia when she comes again to check up on me. “I shouldn’t have thrown you out. You’re taking care of me and I was…”

“Nah, that’s okay,” she waves her hand and opens her medical suitcase. “And I should have asked for a permission to be experimenting with your samples anyway. I guess I just couldn’t resist.”

“Still trying to become famous through Draconians?” Erik asks a little bit too bluntly and venomously. He’s quite fond of the doctor but he has no illusions about her motivation.

“I already am famous, Erik,” she looks at him, not offended at all. “I’m His Majesty’s private physician. A lot of doctors would sell their soul if they could have my post and the salary. And the publicity. I attained it all and I don’t desire more. Now I just want to be useful to you.”

By all standards, she should feel content and proud of herself but I don’t feel anything like that coming from her. On the contrary, I perceive deep sadness and frustration.

“Julia,” I say softly. “Why do I feel that you’re not as happy as you should be considering you got everything you’ve ever wished for?”

She looks at me and her expression grows darker. At first, she’s hesitant to tell us the real reason but then she sighs and decides to open up.

“Because I can’t make that one person happy with me and I never will,” she drops her usual confident attitude and suddenly there’s a heartbroken woman sitting in front of us. “My father told me that I’m playing friends with freaks and that he’s ashamed of me. His idea of researching Draconians is dissecting you, not helping you.”

My heart aches for her in that moment of sincerity. I want to console her somehow and express my endless gratitude. I decide to try Erik’s strategy that always seems to work with me and I hug her. I hope I’m not too stiff and that she’s not against connecting to me right now but she hugs me back and is really grateful for that.

I gently touch her mind and try sending her comfort while enveloping her in my wings. I can’t really send her love the way I do with Erik but I like her a lot so I send her that. Oh, I realise that actually befriended a doctor! Not bad for a person with phobia of doctors and hospitals, huh?

“I understand why Erik is so addicted to it,” she whispers after a while in my feathery embrace. “It’s really pleasant. Okay, I feel much better now, let’s take those stitches out, yes?”

I’m certainly not looking forward to that but I bravely stretch my right wing towards her. Julia carefully takes of the bandages and gasps in surprise.

“W-what is it? Something bad?” I’m startled.

“N-no, not bad,” she shakes her head. “But it seems your body has already expelled the threat on its own. Look!”

She shows me the bandage and there’s the threat in several pieces sticked to it.

“And your calamus is regrowing nicely,” she carefully massages the injured spot. “It’s healed but the muscle will be sore for a few more days. Try stretching your wings fully for me, please.”

I do but as I do so, I accidentally hit the glass on Erik’s end table. Before I manage to react, it shatters against the ground. At least there wasn’t any water in it.

“It’s soooo cramped in here!” I complain grumpily and stretch my wings even more. Now I hit the wardrobes.

“Okay, that’s… well,” Julia is staring at my huge wings. “Even bigger than I thought? Well, maybe not by inches but seeing them like that in reality… mind-blowing.”

“He feels uncomfortable lately, doc,” Erik mentions.

“I would imagine so,” she nods. “His wing muscles need exercise and it’s too small for him here to stretch properly. Does your back hurt, Your Majesty?”

“Quite often lately,” I complain. “The wings are heavy. I should keep them moving.”

“But you certainly didn’t fly all the time ingame?” Julia asks, concerned that I don’t get nearly enough exercise.

“Not all the time, of course, but a lot,” I say. “And Celestial building ingame were much more spacious. The architecture mirrored our needs.”

“The Dragonkin have similar problems,” she notes. “Their bodies are big and bulky so they don’t fit human furniture as well. Celestial bodies are tiny and slender compared to them but your wings certainly make up for it.”

“Clawfangs and the Earthborn seem rather fine,” Erik comments.

“Only seemingly,” Julia shakes her head. “Clawfangs often feel too hot because of their fur and get restless when they have to stay still for too long. The Earthborn need to connect to the nature on daily basis or they don’t feel well. You don’t have it easy, neither of you.”

Then she scans my chest and announces that my ribs are almost fully healed.

“Tomorrow I’ll allow you to start working lightly,” she says. “Please, give it one more day and stay in bed.”

“Liana isn’t resting at all,” I frown. “Her wings are also growing rapidly.”

“Her Excellency’s wings are still growing slower than yours, she isn’t so tragically underweight and wasn’t shot recently,” Julia switches into her strict doctor mode. “Actually, it was her who insisted I order you absolute rest. I get it that you’re still angry with her for telling your secret without consent but she always has only your best interest in mind. She really does.”

I know that. I can feel it from her, of course. I can’t help feeling disappointed, but, strangely, I still trust Liana immensely. She’s my Viceroy and it somehow resonates with my Celestial Emperor’s nature. I can’t explain it. It’s like a bond that’s impossible to severe. Different from the one I have with Erik, but not less valuable.

“Rest a lot and eat a lot today,” Julia concludes. “If you feel energised in the morning, you can go to work but don’t overexert yourself and take regular breaks, okay?”

“Roger,” I nod obediently. I might be the Emperor but there’s no opposing my doctor.


“Are you sure you feel strong enough?” Erik asks me for the sixth time already this morning.

The feathers around the injury aren’t fully grown yet but at least there’s white fluff covering the spot so I don’t feel self-conscious by showing up in public with my wing skin bare which turns out to be really embarrassing for Celestials.

“Yes, I am,” I answer patiently and let the maids dress me in the royal attire.

I notice that it’s a new model and looks even more expensive than my current robes. I get that my Viceroy is ultra-rich but should we waste money like that? The maids have to touch my wings when they’re gently pushing them through the holes in the dress. Their hands are trembling when they do so, being aware now that I can read their thoughts.

Cien, a Celestial woman with brown wings and long blond hair, can’t be much older than me. Yet, I can feel the rift between us. She doesn’t see me as her peer; she sees me as her Emperor and nothing else. Even if I wanted to be familiar with her, she wouldn’t allow it.

Ayala, a Celestial woman with sandy wings and short blue hair, is around the same age as Liana. I wonder what she was doing before the Great Evolution and whether she doesn’t mind becoming my maid. While I doubt Liana would assign me anyone whose profession could have been more useful elsewhere, Ayala doesn’t look like someone not interested in career. Her visage is perfect and expression serious.

This hairpin or that one that’s brand new? Ayala is pondering in her mind. The older one looks better with His Majesty’s violet robe but this one has such a nice semiprecious stone.

Cien is also thinking frantically: Did his Majesty lose some weight again? Does the doctor know about it? Should I report it?

“Please, don’t,” I answer her aloud. “I’ll eat more, promise.”

Cien flinches and lets go of my feathers she was carefully pushing under the fabric. Ayla also stops working and stares at me, panic-stricken.

“S-sorry,” I cough. “But Liana did tell you that I can hear your thoughts upon direct touch, right?”

They both nod but that doesn’t make them any calmer. I guess actually experiencing my telepathy is shocking even if one knows about it.

“I won’t intrude your privacy,” I assure them. “But you have to know that I can perceive your strongest current thoughts when you’re touching me.”

They nod again, tiny bit calmer now, and resume their work. I glance at Erik who is dressing by himself. He was also offered assistance in the beginning but he refused resolutely and the maids respect that. No such luck in my case.

It’s quite ironic, to be honest. They want me to decide things that can influence the whole political and social scene, yet I’m not allowed any personal freedom. The maids basically overtook our apartment, the Royal Guards won’t let anyone enter this floor and my timetable is in Luviael’s hands.

You look lovely, hon.

I almost jerk when Erik suddenly sends his thought to me, testing our new strengthened telepathic connection.

Don’t startle me like that, moron, or we’ll leak our secret, I berate him, trying hard to keep my face emotionless and letting Ayla style my hair.

Sorry, but I’m too excited. We can do so many things with it! And how far can we reach I wonder? Let’s test that asap!

I resist sighing. Yep, he’s too excited. I would be too, if only I wasn’t afraid of more migraines. Not that I’m thinking about it—I haven’t had one for almost a month now. Either I’m getting better at controlling my ability or it’s because Draconian minds aren’t hurting me and I’m mostly surrounded by them.

“Done, you look so regal, Your Majesty,” Ayala compliments me and steps away.

“Thanks,” I appreciate and look at myself in the mirror.

I see me. Just me. Me in a fancy dress with a fancy hairstyle and a golden hairpin. It seems as if I’ve always looked like this. But I know I didn’t. I remember my old self—black hair, black eyes, no wings. It’s like a very distant memory, though. I can’t imagine life without my wings anymore. Even if they weight quite heavily on my back and I’m clumsy and cumbersome because of them, I wouldn’t give them up for anything. I’d rather die.

I guess that may be part of the reason why Celestials die instantly when our wings are injured beyond healing. We just give up on life. There’s no point in living for us if we can’t roam the sky ever again.

“Enthusiastic to go back to work?” Erik clutches my hand, interrupting my pondering.

“Enthusiastic or not, they need me,” I say. “I can feel their nervousness all the way up here. I think something’s going on.”

I side-glance at my maids who are gobbling every word. I’m still pissed at Liana for telling them my secret but I have to admit that it’s pleasant not having to hide it all the time. At least in our apartment we can speak freely. And I like their minds.

“Thank you, Cien, Ayla,” I say when they see us off to the hall. “I’d like to get to know you better when there’s time.”

They beam at me, happy that I’m interested in them. For a moment, a warm sensation overcomes me. Is that… love that I’m feeling? It’s much different from my affection towards Erik, of course, but I realise that I do love them. In a different way, naturally, but I do. And I don’t even know them that well. I love them because they’re Celestials. My race I’m supposed to protect.

Erik catches what goes through my head and his grip tightens. Am I thinking too alien in this moment? Too Celestial? I have feelings I can’t explain. I touch his mind to absorb some humanity from him but it does nothing. I still like that feeling but it doesn’t influence me anymore. Should I panic?

“No reason to,” he shakes his head. “I love you as you are, nothing essential has changed for me. Besides, you weren’t completely human from the beginning, right? And I still fell in love with you.”

He’s hinting at my telepathy aloud even when they’re six guards joining us outside the apartment. I take a deep breath, having to digest that we can really speak freely. My anger at Liana lessens a bit. She was probably right. If it was up to me, I wouldn’t be brave enough to tell them for quite some time and all that secrecy was becoming bothersome.

“We’re not going down there, Your Majesty,” Miruel gently stops my hand as I’m about to hit the button for the 37th floor.

“I just was to grab some sandwich,” I tilt my head, confused.

“Your breakfast will be served in the office,” she says. “We can’t go to the cafeteria, people would go crazy if they saw you.”

“Oh, right,” I murmur and try not showing on my face that I’m annoyed.

So now I can’t even visit cafeteria without making a ruckus, is that it? How far will this go? Do they even realise that they’re literally putting me in a cage in their efforts to protect me? Can I even get used to such life? I don’t want to drag Erik into the cage with me.

The door closes and the elevator feels even more cramped than usual. My wings are almost their full size now and the others are also slowly entering their growth spur. We’re all touching whether we want to or not and the tiny space is full of feathers. I twitch my wings, feeling totally uncomfortable, and accidentally hit the wall behind me.

“Calm down, Ryuu,” Erik pushes me to his chest in order to make the gap between me and the two guards wider. It doesn’t help much.

My head spins and I feel nauseous all of a sudden. Did the elevator shrink? Aren’t the walls a little bit too close? I get chills and my wings start trembling. My heart begins to beat faster, resembling a panic attack. But I know that’s not the case. It’s one of my racial weaknesses that hits me full force.