Chapter 42:

The First Flight

Draconia Offline

It’s pure instinct—I just know how to fly. My wings listen to my every whim, the wind cooperates and I get a dopamine rush. I’ve never felt so joyful in my life, so free. All my worries disappear and my perception clears.

The world around me becomes exceedingly colourful and sharp when my Celestial eyes adjust to the bright sunlight. I see everything in full detail and my eyesight reaches to exceptional distances. No other race has a better vision than Celestials and I feel proud about that.

I’m flying full speed while trying various air acrobatics. I’m not afraid of blunders. I trust my body and the air. I thank the game for being overly realistic because I know exactly what I’m doing. My wing muscles are new but my brain knows how to make them do what I want.

I feel high. Intoxicated. Just like during the deepest telepathic connection with my beloved. Maybe even more so. I play with the air and it listens. Whatever my body isn’t capable of I can compensate with my racial element. It’s so easy, so obvious. I’m a pure Celestial now and the sky belongs to me.

My impractical formal robe gets in a way but I can’t drop even a single layer, afraid I might be cold. Why didn’t we think of it sooner? We need to start designing robes for flying right away! For now, I just try to hold the fabric with telekinesis.

I don’t know how long I play, experiment and just enjoy being in the moment but my body gets tired eventually. My rational thinking finally kicks back and I recall what I’ve done. I broke the glass and run away. Or flew away to be precise. Damn, Liana must be furious and Erik worried sick about me. I have to return.

I stop myself and hover while looking around. Dread overcomes me when I realise that I have no idea where I am. Sure, I’m still somewhere above Prague but I don’t recognise this district. And now that I think about it… where is Liana’s skyscraper anyway? We were transported there by a helicopter and it didn’t even cross my mind to find out in which part of Prague it is. Google is my friend then.

I slip my hand into the robe and find the inner pocket… empty. Shit shit shit! I must have left my phone on the desk! What now? There must be hundreds of skyscrapers in Prague and I’m too exhausted at this point to check them one by one. I just need the Internet for a minute and google AstraTech’s properties.

But what should I do? Should I just land and ask someone nicely if I can borrow their phone? Or find the nearest tourist centre? Would it be safe? What if people go crazy? But I have no choice, my wings are too tired. I have to rest. Where would the best spot be? I look below and the streets are full of people. They’re tiny but with my keen eyesight I can tell they’re staring up and pointing their phones at me.

I push myself for a bit longer and fly into a less populated area. Oh, a park! Ideal. I’m a bit nervous about safe landing so grass is perfect for that. I steer myself downward, carefully slowing down and measuring the distance. And then I land, my feet meet the ground. It was a bit clumsy but that’s to be expected for my first time.

Only know I fully realise how much I overdid it. I’m panting, my muscles are sore and I feel like after running a marathon. I might know how to make my wings listen to my every command but my body needs training. I don’t have much stamina yet.

“Oh my God! Is that…?”

I turn around and there’s a young couple just a few metres away from me. They’re staring, of course, and taking out their phones. Phones!

“Hello,” I address them in a friendly way and try to smile. “Could I borrow your phone for a minute, please? I have no idea where I am, to be honest.”

“It’s really him—the Celestial Emperor!”

“Record it, we’ll be famous!”

The couple is staring at me in disbelief, a bit afraid but mostly curious. It’s strange to feel humans and no Draconians for a change. They mean me no harm but I’m still wary. Because they look at me and see a non-human spectacle. They see someone very distant they know only from the media and who doesn’t seem like a living feeling being to them. And that’s potentially dangerous.

“Could you tell me where I am, please?” I repeat my question politely and patiently.

“S-Stromovka,” the woman finally blurts out.

Okay, quite a city centre. Still, what I need to know is where to find AstraTech’s skyscraper.

“Would you be so kind and lend me your phone for a minute? Or google something for me? I flew a bit irresponsibly and now I have no idea how to return,” I say as nicely as possible.

“Flew… for real,” the couple is gaping at my wings, the woman taking countless photos of me as if it’s not rude at all.

Naturally, I’m starting to attract attention of every passer-by and in just a few moments I’m facing a crowd of people. Their turbulent human emotions freak me out. I can handle a few of them without problems but not dozens. The remains of dopamine rush fades away and the migraine returns. Even more people are coming from all directions. Running towards me. Taking photos, shooting videos.

These people won’t help me and I’m this close to developing a panic attack so I decide to flee. I stretch my wings to fly away but I wobble because my head starts spinning. I haven’t had a migraine since I moved to the skyscraper so now I get one super strong to make up for that.

The humans are suddenly everywhere around me and some of them are brave enough to come really close. They’re stretching their hands, hoping to touch my wings. I jerk away but there’s nowhere to retreat. I’m surrounded and flying is out of question with my worsening nausea and wings totally exhausted.

“Oh, he’s really beautiful!”

“Yeah, but he’s the king of those freaks!”

“What is he doing here anyway? No matter, I need a selfie with him!”

“He’s really androgynous, isn’t he? Are we sure he’s male under all those layers of fabric?”

“An angel!”

“They aren’t real angels, you know.”

“Hey, try to fetch one of his feathers! It’ll auction for a fortune!”

A first hand touches my wings. Then another. And another. My head explodes with pain and I almost puke. My instinct screams to throw them away with telekinesis but what if I hurt someone? I’m the guarantor of the fragile peace between humans and Draconians. I have to set an example. Should I just endure it?

I whine when a hand pulls one of my feathers in an attempt to rip it out. My eyes water and I stagger. I reconsider, prepared to defend myself at this point but the migraine is preventing me from concentrating my mana into a spell. The world is spinning too much and I can’t focus properly. I… I’m completely defenceless.

“P-please… let me… don’t…”

A panic attack overcomes me and numbs my legs. Desperate, I go down on my knees and envelope myself in my wings. I have no idea what to do. Are they going to hurt me? The couple was harmless but in numbers and anonymity people can do the craziest things. Their emotions are tearing my brain apart and excitement transforms into something more sinister.

And then someone manages to rip the first feather. I scream in pain but that doesn’t stop another person from ripping the second one and giving me a full dose of their hateful feelings towards Draconians. The curiosity is gone entirely. My stomach turns upside down and I puke.

Was Emi right this whole time? Is it impossible for us to coexist with humans? People like Erik and Julia might be just a rare exception. I don’t want to hate humans the way Emi does but I might develop a trauma all the same when I lose the third feather.

But then I hear humans shrieking and the crowd starts to disperse in panic. Was someone kind enough to call the police? Am I saved? But something’s wrong. This is no police force. Humans are being thrown away from me mercilessly by both magic and raw strength. The minds of my saviours are Draconian.

I don’t get to analyse the situation more, though. The emotions all around me intensify to intolerable levels and my brain shuts down.


I wake up lying quite comfortably under a warm blanket but I know immediately that it’s not my bed. The minds in my vicinity are all Draconian but I don’t recognise any of them. At least my migraine mitigated so I can think clearly again. But where am I? Definitely not in Liana’s skyscraper. I try to move a little. I lost three feathers but it seems I’m otherwise unhurt.

“Are you awake, Your Majesty?”

Someone gently pats my shoulder because I’m all snuggled under the blanket. Reluctantly, I peek out. There’s an Earthborn woman with dark green skin and red hair I’ve never seen before. She smiles at me encouragingly and touches my arm. Her rooty tentacles curl around my wrist.

“I tried to heal your migraine but with no result,” she says sadly. “I can’t find the source of it. I’m sorry, Your Majesty, I’m still so unskilled.”

“W-where am I?” I rub my eyes.

“In a safe hideout,” another voice speaks up. A bulky Dragonkin is standing next to the Earthborn lady. “We had to get you away from the riot, Your Majesty.”

“A riot?” my heart skips a beat. “How long was I out?”

“Two hours,” the Earthborn woman says. “Long enough for the videos to go viral across the globe. More than ten people were filming what happened to you. Those idiotic humans had no idea what they were doing when they ripped your feathers.”

“But it was bound to happen sooner or later,” the Dragonkin shrugs resignedly.

“What to happen?” I don’t understand and try slowly sitting up. “Ohh,” my head is still spinning.

“For humans to finally show their true colours,” he says with an ominous grin while the Earthborn lady helps me sit up.

“Who are you? How did you know where to find me?” I ask and fold my wings close to my back.

“Fortunately, we were in the vicinity when the first messages of your sudden appearance started trending on social media,” the Earthborn woman explains. “We hurried immediately to your rescue. We’re one of many local communities of Draconians that decided to stick together for safety reasons. My name’s Iyapa.”

“Zirand,” the Dragonkin seconds.

“Thank you for saving me,” I whisper, not wanting to imagine what might have happened to me if they didn’t show up. “I need to go back or it might develop into a political catastrophe. Did you contact the AstraTech’s skyscraper already? Are they on their way to fetch me?”

“No,” Zirand shakes his head and is looking at me strangely. “Not until you learn what’s really going on.”

“W-what? What are you talking about?” I blink, confused. “You want to keep me here? I order you to release me at once!” I try my Emperor’s influence but I know my voice is too weak for that because of my migraine. “Ouch,” I massage my temples.

“We won’t hurt you, Your Majesty, calm down,” Iyapa tries to envelop me into her roots again but I jerk away.

“Did you save me just to abduct me?” I accuse them even though I don’t feel bad intentions from them. I can feel lots of hate towards humans, though.

“We’d never hurt you, Your Majesty!” Iyapa repeats urgently. I relax a bit but not because of her words—because I can feel her sincerity behind them.

“We just want to show you a few things before we contact the embassy,” Zirand says and hands me a tablet. “Play the video, please.”

I frown at him but take the tablet and push the play button. At first, I have no idea what I’m watching but when it finally comes to me, shiver goes down my spine. It’s a compilation of various videos showing how Draconian are being cruelly mistreated by humans all over the world.

“B-but…,” my voice trembles. “I… we… we were trying so hard to prevent that!”

“I know you were,” Iyapa says, broken-hearted. “If it weren’t for your influence, Your Majesty, it would be much worse than that. We suspect human governments are censoring the Internet and the media, meticulously deleting all evidence. But it’s impossible to filter everything with the sheer amount of information being posted online.”

“How could we not know? How do you know?” I ask and wipe a tear that escaped my eyes.

“Well, we’re not dealing with politics 24/7 so we have time for other things,” Zirand explains. “And we’re in contact with common Draconians who have to go out at least sometimes and are struggling with money because they lost their jobs. It’s hard to imagine how the little folk live when you’re meeting only rich influential Draconians who are forming governments all over the world.”

He’s right. Absolutely right. We got too isolated in our skyscraper, especially me. They isolated me. Maybe not for this purpose but the result is the same. I lost a healthy contact with common Draconians. Geez, they won’t even let me go to the cafeteria anymore. I have to do something about that as soon as I return.

“We want to show you around the building if you’d be so kind and cooperate,” Iyapa asks me gently. “Are you well enough to walk?”

“Hopefully,” I nod and try slowly standing up. My head spins but sleep helped a lot and I’m able to walk slowly. “What is this place?” I look around, realising only now it’s not really an apartment. It’s too battered, old and badly equipped.

“A squat,” Zirand sighs. “We’re sorry to bring Your Imperial Majesty to such a place but you need to see how most of us who were disowned from our families live.”

He opens the door leading into a spacious hall. It turns out to be an old office building or something like that. My eyes widen because it’s full of Draconians—all ages and races. Their eyes fixate on me the moment I show up and the hall gets unnaturally quiet before an uproar erupts.

“His Majesty is awake!”

“It’s really him!”

“Is he okay? He doesn’t look okay.”

“Thank God Zirand and the gang rescued him in time!”

I’m taken aback but Iyapa puts her hand on my shoulder. “Your Majesty, could you talk to them? They need encouragement more than anything.”

Before I manage to answer, I’m seated on a stool and the Draconians flock around me. I have no idea what to do because everyone starts pushing and for a second it resembles the human crowd that scared me so much.

But then I calm down. There’s no malice in their minds. They’re pushing to get closer but not a single person here wants to hurt me. It’s pure curiosity. And hope. They look at me and see hope. I study every single one of them and my eyes water. These people lost their homes, families and jobs. They’re homeless.

Their clothes are still human with adjustments as they don’t have any money for expensive Draconian fashion on demand. They left with just a backpack and found others in the same situation. Strong in numbers but hiding. How many hidden communities like these are there all over the world? Do we have any connection with them? Does Liana know? Did we possibly neglect a huge part of our population?

“I’m sorry,” I’m crying at this point. “I… I had no idea it’s that bad.”

But nobody’s blaming me, they’re genuinely overjoyed to see me even though I was living in safety and luxury, oblivious to what’s really happening to common Draconians. I nod that it’s okay to touch me and suddenly there’re countless hands on my wings. But I don’t mind. Their touch is gentle and something like ripping my feather as a memento doesn’t even cross their minds.

Surprisingly, my migraine gets much better after just a few minutes. I’m surrounded by more than three dozen people but it doesn’t hurt my telepathic brain. On the contrary, it relaxes me. These are my people, everything’s okay. My head stops spinning and my mana harmonises. I’m able to cast spells again.

“Anyone need healing?” I offer. There’re around ten Earthborn within the crowd but they don’t look like high-levels.

“Opal was assaulted when trying to get some money out of ATM yesterday,” someone shouts because the person in question seems too shy to approach me on their own. The crowd pushes them to the front.

It’s a Dragonkin female, quite small for her race. Is she still a teenager? She can’t be more than seventeen and the Dragonkin mature slowly according to the lore. Humans see her as a monster, I guess that’s why she was assaulted, but she’s actually really cute by the Dragonkin standards. Fefnir would certainly go crazy about her.

She hesitantly puts her right hand forward—her wrist is sprained badly. I didn’t train healing, I managed only once before, but somehow I know that my wish to help these people is enough. I gently take her scaly hand into mine and form an intricate transfiguration pattern around her wrist. I release my mana and the pattern locks onto her skin.

“It’ll be slowly healing your hand for twelve hours,” I say. “Sorry, a level 15 spell is the best I can do so far but your wrist should be okay when the symbol disappears.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Opal bows to me, full of admiration and gratitude.

“Anyone else?” I look around.

Three more people are pushed in front of me with injuries inflicted by humans. I put a healing spell on all of them, hoping I’m easing their suffering at least a bit.

“You can’t go to hospital?” I ask, quite tired now after four spells that are significantly higher than what my untrained body would by normally able to handle.

“Not without valid health insurance,” Zirand shakes his head. “Which we lost with our jobs. And we’re also afraid to go there. Some of those videos we showed you were from hospitals.”

“Please, don’t!” I notice Iyapa was holding her phone the whole time, recording my deeds.

“The world deserves to know how kind you are,” she says with a smile and hits post.

“Why didn’t any humanitarian help reach you?” I sigh out. “Didn’t you ask for asylum in the skyscraper?”

“We’re not as unfortunate to ask for charity,” Zirand says proudly. “Besides, the embassy is employing only those who can be most useful these days.”

“Most useful?” I clutch my hands. “Who decides that?”

“We get it, Your Majesty, we really do,” Iyapa says understandingly. “The embassy can’t go over a certain capacity and none of us here has qualifications relevant to running the new government. All manual jobs were taken weeks ago. Don’t blame the Viceroy, I’m sure she’s doing her best.”

I’m sure she is but is it enough? Nothing we’ve accomplished so far seems enough. Not when people like Iyapa and Zirand have to hide. I decide to talk to these people and get to know their circumstances. I shiver when I realise that if I wasn’t the Emperor or didn’t have Erik, I could end up here with them. Or die when my wings were coming out.

I carefully listen to every single one of them and I’m putting together a picture in my head. Such diverse life stories. They all come from very different backgrounds, education and even faiths. Yet, they’re here now together, scared but united.

“Are you hungry, Your Majesty? You must have spent a lot of mana on healing,” Iyapa asks me, concerned, after the fourth group I talk to. I’ve lost a track of time completely. How long have I been here anyway? Damn, Erik must be worried sick!

“I’m okay, don’t waste your rations on me,” I shake my head and take a hand of a young Clawfang woman who comes in front of me as part of the fifth group. She’s a fox, the same as Emi, but with differently coloured fur.

I connect to her just as I did with the others but this time I freeze. I feel two minds inside of her?! One that is her own and the second one… still unconscious and tiny. Wait a minute! Does that mean…? NO WAY!

“You’re pregnant!” I blurt out in shock before I realise I can’t justify my claim without revealing my telepathy to them.

The woman opens her mouth and stares at me.

“I… I missed my period this month but I thought it’s just stress…,” she’s looking at me in disbelief. “Am I really…? How do you know?”

I slowly slip my hand onto her stomach. There’s no doubt. She’s carrying a baby. And it’s a Draconian. I notice a Clawfang vulpine male stepping nervously behind her. I bet he must be her partner. They look like a nice couple.

“Your Majesty, if it’s true,” Iyapa gulps excitedly and connects to the Clawfang woman the Earthborn way to confirm it. “Our races have future! We’re fertile! How did you know, though? Celestials don’t have any skills for medical assessment.”

“She can’t stay here. She needs better accommodation, proper nutrition and medical attention,” I say, ignoring her question. “I’m taking her with me to the embassy. Her partner can come as well, of course. As for the rest of you…”

But I don’t get a chance to finish that sentence. The door bursts open and the Royal Guards storm the place. Draconians standing all around me are pushed away with a telekinetic wave and just a second later I find myself being held firmly by Vermiel.

“W-wait!!! They didn’t hurt me or anything,” I gasp for breath. “They saved me from humans.”

“Saved you just to abduct you, Your Majesty!” Vermiel is furious with anger and commands the guards to apprehend everyone. He looks furious and is leaking his mana menacingly. When did he learn how to do that? Fortunately, the locals don’t struggle so there’s no fight whatsoever.

“How did you even find me?” I’m trying to shake him off but his grip on my arm is iron.

“We’ve tracked the source of the last video featuring you. Her Excellency hired the most expensive hackers from God knows where,” he says impatiently. “Hey, who’s the leader here? Explain yourselves! Why didn’t you contact us immediately if you claim to have saved our Emperor?”

“We have no leader,” Zirand wheezes, behind held down on the ground by one of the guards. It’s not like Celestials have physical power to hold a Dragonkin like that so I bet the guard must be pressing him with telekinesis instead. Besides, Zirand isn’t struggling.

“We protected His Majesty,” Iyapa adds quickly. “And we were meaning to contact you after we show him what he needed to see. You’ve locked him up away from common people. Ordinary Draconians have no means to speak to their rulers directly.”


Erik appears in the door and hurries to me. Vermiel finally lets go of me and I hug my boyfriend tight. His emotions and thoughts pour into me and make me feel extremely guilty. I ran away, there’s no other word for what I did. I ran away and left him behind.

Never do that again! Erik is berating me in his mind, totally mad at me. Do you have any idea how scared I was?

I actually have a very good idea because he shows me his memories of the last couple of hours and his overall emotional state. I watch my escape from his perspective. The way I didn’t even look back when I shattered that glass—that was especially heart-breaking for him because I forgot to consider him.

I also browse the memories of first minutes of absolute panic with everyone going crazy and frantically trying to find me. Then horrified Erik seeing that video of humans ripping my feathers followed by several hours of not knowing where I am. Harrowing experience.

I’m so sorry, I couldn’t think straight, I apologise feebly. I couldn’t help myself, everything was in a haze since this morning and when I saw an opportunity… I… just had to do it. I’m a creature that belongs to the sky, Erik.

I know, love, I know, Erik kisses me deeply in front of everyone. We were torturing you, weren’t we?

“Your Majesty, what do we do with these people?” Vermiel asks, suspecting I’m talking with my partner telepathically.

“Release them this instant,” I frown. “That’s an order.”

The guards listen to me and let the Draconians stand up. The situation calms down and everything becomes almost tranquil. I grab Erik’s palm and lead him to Iyapa and Zirand. I won’t hide that those humans in the park traumatized me but I need to show the Draconians here that not all humans are bad.

“I’ll never start hating humans,” I say to them. “My boyfriend is human and he’s the most brilliant person in the whole world.”

“I bet he is if he won the Celestial Emperor’s heart,” Iyapa surprises me by smiling kindly. “We just wanted you to see the everyday situation of common Draconians. It’s up to you how our rulers will deal with it. We trust your judgment.”

“And I promise you to do something about that,” I nod. “I’ll work even harder for your sake.”

“You’re already working hard,” Erik nudges me.

Then I hug Iyapa, Zirand and everyone who’s brave enough to approach me. I can’t take all of them with me because it’s not just this one group. It wouldn’t solve anything and they’re too proud for charity anyway. How many groups like these are in Prague? Across the world? We need to address the issue globally.

“Those two come with us, the lady is pregnant,” I say to Vermiel, pointing at the Clawfang couple.

“Pregnant?!” Vermiel opens his mouth, shocked. “And the baby is…?”

“Also a Clawfang,” I confirm. “It’s the first Draconian pregnancy, Julia and Noage have to see it and take good care of her.”

“Your Majesty!” Iyapa calls after me when we’re ready to leave. “How did you know she’s pregnant?”

I turn to her.

“It’s the Emperor’s job to know certain things,” I smile mysteriously.


“Nope, absolutely not! Give me a phone with GPS and I’ll fly back,” I refuse to get in the car. There’re are six SUVs parked in front of the squat.

“That’s out of question,” Vermiel hisses through his teeth. “We’re not letting you out of our sight ever again.”

“Love, it’s almost dark already,” Erik points out. “However miraculous your eyesight might be, you don’t have night vision, do you?”

I’m puffing when Erik pushes my wings inside. I have to sit in the middle and squeeze my wings to the sides and it’s still almost impossible to close the door. In the end, Erik has to sit next to the driver while Vermiel and the rest take another car. The windows are blackened so we don’t have to be afraid someone will see I’m inside even though six luxurious SUVs are hardly inconspicuous.

“I know it’s uncomfortable but bear with it,” Erik takes a tip of my right wing onto his lap because my feathers are everywhere. He starts petting to calm me down.

The journey back gives me a good opportunity to finally see the streets. A spot a few Draconians from time to time but it seems most of us still don’t go out unless it’s absolutely necessary. Police cars are patrolling but they don’t exactly go to side streets for pedestrians where bullying can happen.

I enjoy Erik touching me and I apologise to him again and again. How would I feel if Erik suddenly disappeared on me? Awful, scared, worried sick. And I made him feel like this for several hours. I couldn’t help myself, I just had to spread my wings, but it isn’t an excuse I can give to him.

As expected, uproar breaks out when we finally reach the skyscraper. Liana, Ingri, Fefnir and Julia are waiting for me at the reception and I get a scolding of my life. Liana is shouting at me, furious, but she’s also hugging me tight, crying and feeling relieved.

“I’m sorry for running, ehm flying, away,” I say. “But you can’t keep me locked inside, Li, I’d go crazy. You’ll see yourself when your wings are fully grown.”

“I know,” I feel her tears on my face. “We should have gone differently about it instead of torturing you. But never do that again, understood? My heart wouldn’t take it second time.”

“I think I’ll need to fly very soon,” I say carefully. “Once my wings get unbearably restless, it might cloud my judgment again. I don’t want to promise you something I won’t be able to keep.”

“I’m already preparing observatory drones for you,” Fefnir pats my left wing, grinning that I’m back safe and sound.

“And you seriously need to master that shield spell,” Ingri reminds me and has to push Liana away so that she can hug me as well.

I’m scolded a bit more but otherwise everyone settles on simply being happy that I’m back.

“I’m fine, really,” I say because Julia wants me to go to her new infirmary. “I lost three feathers but I’m otherwise unharmed.”

“Once someone stupid enough puts them on auction, we arrest them,” Liana says darkly. “And ripping Celestial feathers should be classified as harming us, Aefener.”

“By the way, who are these people?” Liana asks, looking curiously at the Clawfang couple stepping nervously a few metres behind us.

“Oh… what are your names again?” I realise I didn’t even ask.

“I’m Brina,” the woman introduces herself and is looking around her with astonishment. AstraTech’s skyscraper is very luxurious and super modern.

“Tai,” the man seconds. “Thank you for taking us in, Your Majesty.”

“When Emi returns, I’m sure she’ll make you part of her personal pack,” I assure them. “Julia, can you take care of Brina? She’s pregnant.”

As expected, everyone widens their eyes. Julia, no doubt thinking she’ll drag me into her office to check up on me just in case, loses all interest in me and hurries to Brina instead.

“Which month? Are you sure? Is this the father? Oh my God, that changes everything!” Julia hurls a crazy amount of questions in just a few seconds and grabs Brina’s hand.

Brina almost jerks away. She evidently doesn’t like to be touched by a human. She’s not exactly hateful towards them but she’s reluctant to trust any which is only understandable.

“I didn’t know, His Imperial Majesty told me,” she says shyly. “Seven weeks I guess? I missed my period.”

“His Majesty told you,” Julia eyes me, realising I must have discovered it thanks to my telepathy.

“Don’t worry, Brina, the doctor is my friend,” I try to encourage her because she looks at Julia with doubts. “She’s taking care of me so you’ll be in good hands.”

Brina finally nods and lets Julia take her away. Tai follows, of course.

“Aefener,” Liana surprises me by hugging me again. She’s also progressing with her quest for more openness, at least towards me and the gang. I’m glad for that.

I can’t do it without you, she finishes in her thoughts. I felt unfocused and lost without you by my side.

But you’re the Viceroy, should something happen to me…

Don’t be ridiculous, she clutches a few of my feathers. I’m not fit to become the Empress. Firstly, I don’t want it. Secondly, it could end up catastrophically for humans—I’m not as kind as you. Thirdly, I’m not strong enough to assume the position of the embodiment of magic.

The third point is disputable, I object.

Only you think that. It’s quite ironic.

Suddenly, I feel Liana’s phone vibrating in her robe.

“Sorry,” she sighs and digs into her kimono belt. “It’s Luvi, I bet she’s dying to know if you’re unhurt. I let her take care of the Royal Office while we were waiting for your arrival downstairs.”

She picks it up and puts the call aloud so that I can hear as well.

“Our Emperor is okay, Luvi, relax,” she tells my adjutant. “He’s standing next to me.”

“Thank God,” Luvi breathes out in relief. “Come to the office quickly!”

“Is something wrong?” I notice the urgency in her voice.

“Very very wrong,” she says anxiously. “The reactions of Draconians are ten times worse than we’ve anticipated even in our wildest speculations. Almost everyone has seen that video in which you’re surrounded by humans and they’re ripping your feathers and pushing at you while you’re not even defending yourself. Draconians of all races are furious. Crazy mad.”

“What does that mean?” I freeze and my wings starts to tremble. I suspect. But I don’t want to even suspect such a thing.

Luviael says just two words but it’s enough to freak everyone out.

“Civil war.”