Chapter 39:

Political Relations

Draconia Offline

“We’re here, love,” Erik says encouragingly. I’m holding him tight, not willing to let go just yet.

I slowly open my eyes and because the elevator isn’t moving anymore and the door opens, my head stops spinning. I sigh out, relieved. I’m used to feeling dread during my panic attacks but there’s usually some trigger I can identify and logically assess later. This time, however, was different. I got hit by claustrophobia just because I’m a Celestial and that’s supposed to be our racial weakness.

But a rather understandable weakness, hm? Erik caresses my feathers. Considering how huge your wings are, it’s no wonder you don’t feel comfortable in narrow spaces. It sounds logical to me.

I want to reply something but I’m interrupted by an overly cheerful and annoying voice of a person standing in front of the elevator.

“Good morning, Your Majesty! I was told you’re coming so I’m waiting for you. Oh, are you okay? You look pale.”

It’s the EU ambassador Dubois, literally the worst person to see me in such a vulnerable state. He’s staring at me while I’m still desperately clutching Erik and there’s a spark of recognition in his eyes. He must have studied everything about Draconian races so he put two and two together quickly. While I can’t read his thoughts without touching, I can tell that he’s making a mental note that I became claustrophobic.

“I’m fine,” I try to sound confident but I know that I’m failing. At least I finally let go of Erik and grab his hand the normal casual way.

We step out of the elevator, me making an effort of not obviously running away from the confined space.

“Your Majesty!” Luviael appears from behind the door and hurries towards us, her wings fluttering behind her. “My apologies that I wasn’t waiting for you in the morning but we’ve been so busy! The conference starts in half an hour!”

“What conference?” I freeze.

“The world political leaders are meeting today,” Luvi explains and chews her lip. “Sorry that I didn’t tell you beforehand but… well… you wouldn’t be able to prepare for it anyway and it would only stress you unnecessarily. Her Excellency wanted you to have a goodnight’s sleep at least.”

“It stresses him now,” Erik rolls his eyes.

“Your Majesty, can I join you for breakfast?” Dubois is suddenly standing next to me.

So close that his arm is touching my wing. He’s doing it on purpose, he wants to make me feel uncomfortable. Luckily, I can’t read his thoughts because the layers of fabric that make his suit are in the way of direct touch but it still gives me goosebumps when his emotions intensify. I don’t think Dubois means us harm, I can feel he’s here to keep peace between humans and Draconians, but that’s where his kindness ends.

There’s an egoistic person behind that fake smile. If I didn’t demonstrate my powers, he’d be definitely looking down at me. But I did, twice, so he’s wary. My Celestial Emperor’s nature reacts wildly. I can’t let him play with me!

“Personal space,” I hiss and my guards step between us.

I have no doubt that they were meaning to do so even without me saying it. Can it be a good thing that they know about my telepathy after all?

“No touching His Majesty without permission,” one of the guards says and her golden eyes are piercing the ambassador.

“Oops, I sincerely apologise,” Dubois bows but there’s a hint of smirk revealing that he did it to test our reaction.

Ryuu, your feathers are all puffy, Erik points out. Don’t give that bastard any satisfaction seeing you flustered.

I force myself to calm down and my feathers flatten. Celestial wings mirror our emotional state, especially anger and irritation. It’s wrong to consider them simply as our additional limbs. They mean so much more to us.

I catch Dubois studying my right wing—especially the part where my feathers are clearly missing and there’s only soft white fluff covering my skin for now. Can he tell I’m bashful about that? I do try to keep my right wing protectively a bit more out of the way than the left one.


Out of the blue, Ingri lands on my chest but very lightly, aware of my barely healed ribs. I’m glad for that distraction and I’m really happy to see her after so many days. I hug her back and momentarily connect to her mind. I don’t go deep or for any specific information because I value my friends’ privacy but I just peek a little to make sure she’s okay.

She smiles because my concern moves her and she leans back. She looks more than okay, she’s literally beaming. She’s changed the colour of her eyes again, now they’re unnaturally violet. Her skin colour is a different shade of green and the backs of her hands poking out of her dress are covered in something resembling tiny scales but much softer than Fefnir’s.

“Can I?” she asks and shows me her fingers which begin to sprout tiny roots on her command.

I nod and let her connect to me the Earthborn way. Her race are no telepaths, of course, but they can connect to living organisms in order to assess one’s health and genetics. The sensation is much different from my telepathic connection. I can feel her analysing my body but I don’t feel her inside my consciousness.

“You should still rest more and eat a lot but you’re mostly fine now,” she evaluates skilfully. “I was practicing my healing skills but Julia didn’t want to let me try it on you.”

“Because you’re still not in perfect control,” Fefnir also makes an appearance, probably because he could hear the ruckus from the hall. “That last guy you practiced on puked after one of your attempts to heal him. That’s why Julia didn’t let you anywhere near Aefener.”

“You could still come just to talk?” I wonder because I didn’t see her at all during my recovery which I thought weird.

“It turns out I can’t help it,” Ingri blushes which creates a nice pinkish colour on her otherwise green cheeks. “When I smell someone seriously hurt, I want to connect to them and try healing them. It’s an instinct. I visited you in the infirmary, of course, and Fefnir had to tear me away from you.”

“Oh, yeah, your rooty tentacles were all over him,” Fefnir laughs.

“But I’m starting to get the hang of it,” she announces proudly. “I’m training hard every day on minor injuries and I’m successful more often than not.”

“Still, there’s no way we’re letting you train using our Emperor,” Liana emerges as the last one. She’s wearing a more ceremonial-looking robe and her black wings are bigger again. She approaches us slowly, reluctant to face me.

“Words can’t express how glad everyone is that you’ve finally recovered, Your Majesty,” she says so extremely politely that it’s unnatural.

I widen my eyes. Did she just call me by my official title? I quickly analyse her feelings. While she still adamantly stands by her decision, she feels guilty about it at the same time. She’s really afraid that I don’t trust her anymore. I’ve never seen her this anxious over a personal matter before. Liana, my exceedingly competent Viceroy and a dreaded multibillionaire businesswoman, lost all her confidence when facing me.

Well, maybe she should have. She did betray my trust after all. But for some reason, I just can’t stay angry with her when she’s looking at me like that—when she’s feeling like that. She did what she did because her thinking process is Celestial now. Because I’m the Emperor and she’s the Viceroy. I stretch my wing and touch hers.

Please, use my name, I say. Not many people do these days.

She can’t nod because Dubois is watching us but she blinks slightly and asks me to join everyone for breakfast. We enter a smaller area that’s situated next to the meeting room and it turns out it was transformed into a refreshment place. There’re several tables with delicious-looking treats and Ms Ortega is here already, pouring herself coffee.

She greets me with a bow and a smile. I’m relieved when Dubois joins her but he’s still watching me intently.

“Some cheese canapes?” I suggest because the table holding them is on the opposite side of the room. Erik lets go of my hand, knowing that I need to talk to my Viceroy.

Liana nods timidly which is totally out of character for her. She’s supposed to be the one person who’s not afraid to blatantly berate me, despite my status.

We approach the buffet table, turn our backs to the EU ambassadors and I spread my left wing to hug her. That creates a very handy enclosure since Dubois can’t see our expressions through all those feathers.

“Oh, I love Roquefort cheese,” I say loudly and stretch for one of the canapes.

“Me too,” Liana plays along and quickly stuffs one canape into her mouth as well.

We keep eating as part of our breakfast and disguise while, in reality, the most important thing is happening in our minds.

Aefener, I… I’m really sorry, she blurts at me. I realise why you’re angry with me but at the same time I couldn’t help myself. I did was I thought was best for you and our species. I’m not able to differentiate between the two anymore. You’re our Emperor and that means everything.

I know, I sigh, trying to send her some comfort because I’m not angry at her anymore. Telling my closest servants was a good decision, I see that now. Only, next time, consult me first, will you?

Sorry again, I really am, she says and her wings shiver. I’m trying but I can’t think human anymore. Do you still trust me?

With my life, I say simply and convey the rest through my feelings.

She finally relaxes.

We’re not even remotely human anymore, are we? she ponders. Our relationship isn’t ordinary friendship. I’m your Viceroy, you’re my Emperor. It goes beyond anything I’ve experienced before. We love each other but there’s nothing human about it.

I realised it this morning, I say slowly, surprised myself how calm I feel about it.

Realised what?

I love all Celestials unconditionally, Li,” I smile and I don’t think I’ve ever smiled so sincerely. Is this how I’m supposed to feel as their Emperor? I want to protect all Draconians, of course, but when I think of my race in particular… my chest gets warm.

I think that’s how it should be, she agrees and also manages a sincere smile.

Then we don’t talk anymore and focus on eating because we’re super hungry. We’ve conveyed to each other everything that was necessary and things between us healed. Now we both feel a surge of joy and inner peace which stirs our appetite.

“What about leaving something to me?” Erik grins, noticing that we’re fine again.

He pushes himself around my right wing and we ravenously decimate all remaining canapes. We don’t have to be afraid that we won’t leave anything to the others because meat and vegan canapes are on different tables.

“Your Majesty, Your Excellency, the meeting starts in five minutes,” Luviael informs us urgently, barging into the room because she disappeared for a few minutes after she greeted me, probably arranging some things. “The EU and the UN are connected already, waiting just for our participation.”

My hand holding a doughnut I planned for a dessert freezes halfway to my mouth. Did she just say both the EU and the UN? No wonder everyone felt so nervous whether I’ll be able to work today. Naturally, I get anxious but not as much as I’d expect. My relationship with Liana is mended and I have her full support. With her by my side, I’m not afraid of anything.

“Eat it, love, you’ll need energy,” Erik forces me to finish that doughnut.

“Please, prepare our coffee and bring it inside,” Liana says to a Clawfang I’ve barely noticed and who is standing behind the tables.

He’s wearing his racial fashion but with an apron on top. Is he a waiter? Now that I think about it, I don’t really see any humans around if I don’t count my partner and the EU ambassadors. I get it that we have to give as many jobs to our people as possible but is it wise cutting humans out? I don’t have time to ask Liana about it, though, because Luviael hurries us again.

“Oh, is that…?” I’m nicely surprised when we enter the conference room and there’re different chairs. And it’s obvious they’re adjusted for beings with wings because they have gaps between the arms and the backrest.

“Got delivered yesterday,” Liana is just as happy about it. “These are for Clawfangs and the Dragonkin,” she points towards slightly different variants that take into account people with tails.

“They’re starting to manufacture them?” Erik is also impressed. “So soon?”

“Barely starting,” Liana shakes her head. “We got them as prototypes from the company my AstraTech is on friendly terms with. We’re supposed to test them and give feedback.”

“Sweet,” I enthusiastically sit down right away. I toss a little to find the most comfortable position and carefully push my wings into the backrest. “Oh, it’s more than okay!”

“A regular chair is fine for me,” Erik comments because both chairs next to me are made for Celestials.

“Ehm, Erik,” Liana chews her lip. “Would you mind sitting there?”

Erik looks at his designated spot and frowns. It’s two seats away.

“Yes, I’d mind that actually,” he retorts.

“The thing is,” Liana sighs, “we need Aefener to sit next to me and Luviael so that… you know… we can advise him,” she can’t say anything aloud because Dubois is following us like a shadow.

“Oh,” he finally understands and I do as well.

They want to be touching me during the meeting, advising me telepathically so that the delegates won’t notice my lack of knowledge and experience.

“Okay then,” Erik sits in his chair obediently but I can tell he’s grumpy. Moreover, Dubois sits right next to him which makes Erik wrinkle his nose. Dubois gives him a smirk, gleefully realizing that my partner has been deemed a mere bystander for the duration of the conference.

We’re all gradually sitting down, filling the seats. One remains empty, though.

“Where’s Emi?” I realise only now that she’s not here. I quickly focus my mind but I don’t feel her in the skyscraper.

“Resolving some Clawfang issue in Vienna,” Liana says as if it’s not a big deal even though her emotions betray her. It is a big deal apparently. “She had to leave yesterday evening.”

“Nobody told me about it,” I murmur, irritated. “How come she can leave but I can’t?”

“Starting in ten seconds!” Luviael announces so I don’t get my answer.

How come she can leave but I can’t? I repeat my question telepathically. There’s not that much space around the table so I’m touching Luvi’s and Liana’s wings whether I want to or not and it doesn’t look suspicious.

Not now, Aefener, Liana shushes me.

The holographic projector switches on and we’re connected to both the European Parliament and the United Nations General Assembly. The overall view of the halls appears on our screens while speakers will be projected as a hologram in the middle of our table. It’s the EU President Dwayne Bennett who starts the meeting and whose bearded face appears as the first speaker.

“Your Imperial Majesty, Your Excellency, Your Dominance,” he addresses me, Liana and Fefnir. “Thank you for accepting our invitation on such a short notice. It’s a pity that Supreme Alpha can’t be present but we understand that she’s needed elsewhere. The Austrian Chancellor is also absent, trying to resolve the current situation with her assistance. And sadly, the US President couldn’t make it either but, fortunately, he gave us his vote beforehand.”

What situation? I ask Liana urgently, really upset about. They should have informed me, not to keep me in the dark so that I could be resting peacefully. Now’s not the time for resting.

Two packs of Clawfangs started to fight against each other over the supremacy Vienna, she explains quickly. Don’t let anything show on your face, Aefener, we’re streaming live. The whole world is watching.

“And we’re honoured that His Supreme Dominance, Her Majesty and His Majesty joined us as well despite different time zones in Russia and Brazil,” Bennett welcomes Deminas, Twyla and Werden who just got connected.

I realise how hard it must be to organise such an event globally. For some people, it’s dead of the night. We’re lucky that it’s morning for us in Bohemia. Did Bennett organise it at the time favourable for us on purpose, hoping I’ll be able to attend? The whole world knows that I was injured and that I was out of the picture for a while because of my recovery.

I devote a few moments analysing how my foreign friends have changed when they appear on our screens. I haven’t seen them since my injury. While I was allowed to work lightly after I got better, it was just Celestial networking I was allowed to do. Deminas looks truly formidable, really like a humanoid dragon. His head horns are huge and I bet he can spit fire without any problems.

Twyla and Werden kept experimenting with their body augmentations but they’re still recognisable. I guess they aren’t changing their faces on purpose so that people can still easily recognise them. The Earthborn navigate mostly through smells so face features mean nothing to them, similarly to Clawfangs, but no such luck online.

“It seems we’re all present now so we can start,” Bennetts clears his throat. “First of all, I’ll give word to the Secretary-General of the UN,” he steps away from the lectern and his place is taken by a woman in her fifties with short black hair, brown skin and piercing eyes.

Her name’s Myren Duke, Liana tells me because she can feel that I have no idea who I’m looking at. I was never interested in politics before.

“The Security Council took a vote and decided that races of Draconia will be acknowledged as distinctive nations globally,” Mrs Duke says dryly without any ceremony, reading from the datapad in front of her. “This gives them no right to claim a land but they can establish their embassies after they negotiate with a host country. These embassies will be then considered their soil within that country.”

Yes!!! Luviael shouts in her mind but on the outside her expression is unreadable. Liana doesn’t react at all and keeps listening. It’s too early to celebrate.

“Race rulers, their deputies and other recognised representatives will attain diplomatic immunity,” the Secretary-General continues, no less dryly. “Also, local governments are encouraged to help protecting race rulers they’re hosting in their country. While Draconians are allowed to protect themselves in danger using their new powers, they are still susceptible to the law of the country they reside in. However, the country may choose to hand potential offenders over for the custody at Draconian embassies.”

That’s good, isn’t it? Erik’s voice echoes in my mind. I almost twitch. I was so absorbed in the speech that I forgot we don’t have to be touching anymore.

I hope so? I answer him, making sure I don’t send that to Liana and Luvi. Diplomatic immunity basically means that I won’t be prosecuted for killing those intruders, right?

You wouldn’t either way, hon. Is it still bothering you? You did what you had to and everyone knows that.

“Thank you, Mrs Duke,” Bennett takes over again. “I’m sure you’re all eager to hear what we’ve found out about that terrorist who survived. The Europol finally finished interrogating him. Sorry for the delay but he was beaten up pretty badly and couldn’t talk for a few days. We also had to investigate if what he said is true.”

Everyone gets tense, waiting for the answer. Luvi holds her breath, Liana appears calm but that’s only from the outside. Fefnir clutches his fists.

“We uncovered that he’s part of the organisation that calls itself the Devotees of Apostles,” Bennett says slowly with emphasis on perfect articulation. “They’re a Christian sect that has been gaining many followers recently, mainly in Europe, North America and parts of South America.”

Do you know them, Li? I have to admit it doesn’t ring a bell, I ask my Viceroy for advice.

Nope, I’m in the dark here as well, she answers.

“How could some sect manage to breach our security?” Liana asks aloud. “I have the best encryption protocols and the best people on the job.”

“I’m guessing their follower was secretly working for you,” Bennett suggests. “Run a thorough check on everyone’s background. The collaborators is probably out already but we might be able to trace them if we know their identity.”

“I never ask about my employee’s beliefs, that’s personal,” Liana murmurs. “It’s my company’s policy not to mix work with spirituality. But it’s still weird. We haven’t accepted any new human employees since we relocated.”

“They could have been a follower way before that, keeping it to themselves,” Luvi says. “Normally, they would have no reason to reveal it or act violently. But imagine when you’re a devoted believer and then your boss literally changes into an angel-resembling creature and brings a bunch of non-humans with her.”

“We think that might be the case,” Bennett nods. “We’re currently investigating the Devotees of Apostles but so far they’re refusing responsibility, claiming it was an action of one independent branch. However, we’ve traced some suspicious funding transactions so we’ll look into that.”

“Are there more groups like that?” Twyla asks, her voice trembling. “People who seriously want to hurt us just because we’re abominations in their eyes?”

“I’m afraid so,” the EU President says and doesn’t look so smug today. I guess he finally realised that antagonising us isn’t a good idea and that he has to start taking new Draconian governments seriously.

“We’re still working on organising our people so we kindly ask for your help and protection,” Liana makes an official request because now seems to be the right time for it.

“Of course, and we kindly ask for your cooperation,” Bennett also makes a request. “It seems the new races really listen to their rulers. Nobody wants public unrest and civil war. We’ll do anything in our power to prevent that.”

“I assure you Emi won’t let her people wreak havoc for much longer,” Liana claims confidently. “They have to listen to their Supreme Alpha. The only problem is that Clawfangs want their ruler to be close and so do Celestials. The current fragmentation of our people isn’t helping the case.”

“What are you suggesting then?” Bennet frowns.

Say it, Aefener, they need to hear it from you, Liana nudges me under the table.

“We want complete freedom of movement again,” I blurt out and can only pray that’s what Liana had on mind because she didn’t have time to elaborate.

“You have it… within the EU,” Bennet says carefully.

“We want it internationally,” Deminas specifies sharply and I’m glad we’re not the only ones talking. “Allow Draconians to form communities. That way we rulers can control them better and they won’t be as nervous when living alone among humans.”

“I’m afraid that’s something we have to discuss in more detail and can’t decide immediately,” Bennett refuses. “The US President couldn’t attend the meeting and we need him for that kind of decision because I suspect you’re mostly talking about the freedom of movement in the USA.”

Deminas opens my mouth again but Bennett continues.

“We actually wanted to arrange a face-to-face international conference,” he says. “It would take place in the UN headquarters in… let’s say… a month?”

“You expect us to travel to New York?” Liana doesn’t like the sound of that.

“Whatever place we pick, the delegates will have to travel,” Werden speaks up and sounds a bit grumpy. “Don’t presume everything moves to Prague just because you two are there, Liana. Or would you rather arrange the meeting in my home country? Or in Deminas’s?”

“We’ll take care of your safety during travel,” Bennett tries to persuade us. “You’ll all be treated royally, given utmost importance and the best security in the world.”

“I agree with Mr Bennett’s proposition,” Deminas says. “We should get to know each other personally, not only via screens. I get it that you’re afraid to travel, Liana, I really do, but we don’t have a choice. Some matters can’t be decided online and call me old-fashioned if you will.”

Liana still looks somewhat unconvinced but she nods in the end. Deminas is right, there’re certain things that can’t be conveyed via screens and if we’re officially acknowledged as nations, we should visit the organisation which granted us that right.

Of course, I’m scared shitless about meeting the most prominent political figures of the current world in person but I realise there’s no avoiding it. Because we became those as well. I look at Erik, pondering whether I should take him with me or keep him safe here.

Of course, I’m going, Erik says and it’s only a hint of his slightly raised eyebrow that gives away his irritation that I’m even considering leaving him behind.

Bennett takes for granted that we’re coming which starts the overall discussion in both the EU Parliament and the UN General Assembly. Delegates are taking turns, commenting on the situation in their countries and raising issues that need to be addressed. Then Werden speaks up and it’s almost a ten-minute monologue.

I didn’t know the situation is so bad in Brazil, I tell Liana. Why did no one mention it?

I’m making sure Erik can hear our inner conversation as well.

Because everyone is too busy with their own country, she replies. At least there’s no ban on travelling for Draconians in South America.

Is it especially bad for our race? Because we resemble angels too much?

I’m afraid so, Your Majesty. Now it’s Luviael who answers me, happy to test my telepathy. While the Dragonkin are definitely the most monstruous-looking and the Earthborn the most alien, the public is mostly unnerved by us. Celestials carry that religious reference stigma. People look at us and see angels whether they want to or not. And we can do magic on top.

“Our needs must be acknowledged,” Twyla demands sharply. “The Earthborn have to connect to the soil and have proper sunlight every day. Yet, humans disregard that and torture us by long hours inside.”

“That certainly needs addressing,” the Director-General of the World Health Organisation agrees (thank God for name tags) and the delegates go into a lengthy debate about that.

So many faces and names. So many highly accomplished politicians I’ve seen only on the news not so long time ago. Will I fit in? What if I make a fool of myself in that conference? Won’t it damage our reputation?

Me and Luvi will teach you all the basics until then, Liana assures me. Don’t fret, you’re actually expected to make blunders. Everyone knows you were just a student before so it’d be weird if you were too perfect right from the start. We just have to make sure they won’t eat you alive that’s all.

I’m still nervous about it. I’m anxious. I… shouldn’t I be scared shitless and panicking right now? I do feel really worried but, surprisingly, I’m not that scared. Is it because I can rely on Liana? And also Erik and Luvi. Or is it something else? I feel miserably underqualified for the job but at the same time… I’m the Celestial Emperor. I feel like the Celestial Emperor.

I willingly embrace that feeling and my wildly beating heart slows down. I look at all those delegates on the screen in their fancy suits and catch myself thinking that they’re only humans. What can they actually do to me? Nothing. They act high and mighty but they’re scared of us. They won’t dare to touch me or my friends or they will antagonise millions of Draconians all over the world.

I glance at Erik and he winks at me. I shiver when I realise what I’ve been thinking just a second ago. Only humans? If I really meant it, would it include my boyfriend as well? Do other Celestials also think like that about humans? I suppress that feeling. Being confident and proud of my race is one thing but belittling others is something I’ll never do.

“Let’s end here for today,” Benett concludes the meeting after three hours that passed in a blink of an eye. “After lunch, we’ll have our separate work groups either online or in person. I believe everyone should have got their assignment beforehand.”

Liana and Luvi nod so I guess they know everything. They’ve been working really hard during my absence, Liana despite her ongoing growth spur that might not be as turbulent as in my case but it still takes a lot of energy. And I guess Luvi’s growth spur is starting as well, her wings seem much bigger.

“That went surprisingly peacefully,” Luvi breathes out, relieved, when the streaming is turned off.

“No, that was as careful as it gets,” Liana shakes her head. “They were afraid of any potential misstep so they gave us something to make us happy but at the same time they refused to go deeper until they think it through and bend conditions to their advantage.”

“The President is extremely cooperative, Your Excellency,” Dubois stands up from the table. “But you can’t expect to arrange everything through the screen as His Supreme Dominance pointed out. It might work in AstraTech which relies heavily on VR meetings, as I was told, but no such luck with the EU and the UN. We prefer to keep things more traditional and nurture personal contacts.”

Oh, I completely forgot that Liana, or Laura Richter as is her human name, was quite a hermit. AstraTech was indeed famous for dealing with most of the things online and their owner and CEO wasn’t seen much in public. That’s why I didn’t even recognise her when we first met. She was considered one of the most eccentric rich people in Europe.

“I know,” Liana coughs, not showing any embarrassment. “We can’t connect to the VR anyway, it’s made for human brain.”

Dubois wants to reply something but Ms Ortega reminds him that they’re supposed to talk to the EU in private. No doubt to give their full report. They leave even if it’s evident that Dubois doesn’t want to and his college has to force him. If only everyone was as amicable as Ms Ortega. She still has the best interest of humans in mind but it doesn’t mean she has to see us as monsters.

“So what’s on our schedule now?” I ask my adjutant when it’s just us in the room. Erik stands up and starts massaging my shoulders. I love him for that. He always notices when my back is becoming sore.

“Meeting the Czech Prime Minister for lunch,” Luvi says as if she’s telling me what’s on the menu. Absolutely unperturbed.

Is this going to become a completely normal occurrence from now on? I didn’t only become a Celestial, that would actually be fine. No, I had to become the Celestial Emperor and get all those responsibilities that come with it.

“Oh, and Mrs Bauerova mentioned that she’s bringing her nephew,” Luviael adds.

“Her nephew?” I tilt my head, not quite understanding why she would do that.

“You forgot?” Liana sighs. “He’s also a Draconian now. A Clawfang.”

“I thought his family was supportive? Bauerova certainly is,” I say. “Why does he need to come?”

“Oh, he doesn’t need a refuge, Aefener,” Liana corrects me. “Everything is about politics and influence. Bauerova, however friendly she might be, means to plant him into our government to gain influence. I have no doubt about that.”

“And we’ll let her?” I frown. Shouldn’t we stand strong or something? Not let them play with us?

Fefnir starts laughing and it’s croaky. Then he stares at Erik, probably thinking my boyfriend is influencing me too much because it should be obvious to me.

“Aefener, Bauerova is making a huge misassumption,” Fefnir reveals his spiky teeth. “She thinks she’s planting a spy while, in reality, it’s us who will benefit from it.”

“How come?” I’m still lost.

Fefnir grins.

“Because he’s a Draconian so there’s no way he will stay loyal to humans. As simple as that.”