Chapter 49:


Draconia Offline

I wake up being carried in Erik’s strong arms. I blink a few times, confused what’s happening. The last thing I remember is connecting to Liana.

“You fell asleep in her apartment,” he tells me, a sad expression on his face. “She said you didn’t feel well after meeting my friends. Oh, Ryuu, why didn’t you say anything?”

“I didn’t want to spoil your fun,” I murmur. “You were so relaxed around them.”

“Sorry, I know that Tom can be a jerk sometimes and Mary pries too much,” he apologises for their behaviour with a deep sigh. “But those are the only friends I have left. Were they really that horrible? Please, tell me. I’m not interested in keeping them if they’re fake.”

“That girl with ginger hair and the tall guy were okay,” I say cautiously, not wanting to hurt his feelings. “They’re genuinely caring for you.”

“Only two, huh?” he’s disappointed. “But… I kind of guessed.”

I’m heart-broken. I don’t want him to feel this way. He deserves to be happy for everything he’s doing. He’s so amazing. Why can’t his human friends see that?

“Ehm… I can walk just fine, Erik,” I remind him.

“I’m well aware,” he smirks and doesn’t release me.

“My wings are wiping the floor,” I whine.

The guards open the door for us and we enter our apartment. I eye the clock and it’s 20:30 already. Damn, why didn’t Liana wake me up?

“You were exhausted,” Erik answers my unvoiced question because I’m sending him my thoughts again. It seems my mental blocks reset when I fall asleep. “Were five humans at once too much? You don’t have a problem with politicians so I thought you’d be okay.”

“I don’t touch our political guests,” I remark. “It was those handshakes that made me nauseous. Their thoughts weren’t nice.”

“Liana scolded me about that already. Sorry, I didn’t realise it’s against the protocol. And that it can hurt you so much.”

“That’s actually the only formal thing I like about being the Emperor,” I manage a smile. “Politicians can’t touch me so it’s not weird that I’m avoiding physical contact. Let’s go straight to bed. Please?”

“Nope,” he refuses and puts me on the sofa. “You have to eat your dinner first.”

“How do you keep track of these things?” I frown but I’m moved by his doting.

“How can you not keep track of whether you’ve eaten or not?” he rolls his eyes in response. “Don’t you feel hungry?”

“I do,” I shrug. “But I’m used to ignoring it if I don’t feel like eating.”

“Don’t feel like eating even when hungry,” Erik does a facepalm. “Hon, you’re just impossible sometimes.”

“Maybe,” I pull him down next to me.

I hope to cuddle with him for a few minutes but our dinner is brought almost immediately.

“Let’s have it like the old days,” he suggests and grabs the screen’s remote controller. “Cien, can you make us some popcorn? Every calorie is good for our Emperor.”

“Of course, Royal Consort,” she bows and runs off to fulfil his request.

“A movie night?” I make myself comfortable.

“Yep,” he nods with a smile. “Eat as much as you can and don’t be afraid to fall asleep on my shoulder any time. I suspect you’re not in the mood for anything else anyway.”

I never stop to be amazed by how thoughtful Erik is and how well he knows me. And I have to widen my smile when he chooses an animated comedy with cute animals to lift my spirits. I obediently eat my dinner and snuggle to him. We eat the popcorn and even though I wanted to stay awake till the end of the film, I do fall asleep on his shoulder as he predicted.


“No touching at all?” I want to assure myself I heard right.

“No touching at all,” Vermiel confirms. “It should have been like that from the beginning but we were being too lenient towards our own people. It won’t happen again, that incident was the last straw. Her Excellency reminded everyone that the royal protocol applies even to Celestials.”

“But I can still talk to them, right?” I ask because I’m not sure what I can and can’t do anymore.

“Of course, but you have to initiate it yourself,” Vermiel explains.

I sigh. Nothing is even remotely casual anymore. We’re playing the royals and the commoners and, for some reason, everyone’s really into that. Even Erik lately. Except it’s no roleplay anymore. It’s our new reality.


“I’m not coming back,” Emi says, chewing her lip. We’re supposed to be enjoying our short coffee break. Instead, Emi blurted at me something I fail to understand.

“W-what?” I keep staring at her with my mouth open. I can feel her emotions but they confuse me. She’s both sad and excited at the same time.

“After the conference, I’m not coming back to Europe,” she elaborates. “I’ll fetch my Beta and together we want to roam North and South America, visiting our people across the continent. I’m taking Rien with me but Brina and her partner will stay. Brina is in no condition to travel and we need to keep her safe to make sure the very first Draconian baby is healthy.”

“B-but…,” I’m lost for words. “When did you decide that?”

“Aefener,” she takes my hand on purpose so that I can read her mind. “I’ve been thinking about leaving for quite some time now. A skyscraper isn’t a place suitable for Clawfangs. Celestials might be content here and the Dragonkin don’t mind any habitat but the Earthborn feel about it the same way as us. Some even left already. They need the nature, not concrete, glass and marble.”

I analyse her feelings and thoughts in detail because she’s allowing me to: her growing frustration by being contained inside for most of the day; her frustration with administration and politics; her desire to be free and explore; her desire to just run.

I actually don’t mind my work that much but I can certainly relate to her desire for freedom. The Clawfang society is very different, a total opposite of the Celestial one. They respect their Supreme Alpha but they aren’t fanatical about it and the ruler position isn’t irreplaceable. Besides, Emi isn’t the face of Draconia and wanted as patient zero. She can attain freedom and her pack should be able to protect her just fine.

“I’ll miss you terribly,” I say sincerely.

“But you’re happy for me,” she grins because I channel my feelings to her.

“I am,” I nod and finally smile. “Run around the world for me, will you?”

“Oh, Aefener,” she sighs, saddened all of a sudden. “You want to be free as well. You long for the sky. Why are our races so different? Your people are crazy, you know that, don’t you? But you love them nonetheless.”

“I love them nonetheless,” I repeat because it’s true. Is it because it’s coded in my Celestial genes? Because I’m their Emperor? Because I’m a telepath? All of it combined?

“Don’t worry, we’ll stay in touch,” Emi rubs my feathers. “Okay, as a farewell gift, I’ll allow it this once.”

“I can?!” I shriek happily.

“Just this once,” she confirms.

I slowly stretch my hand and carefully touch her adorable vulpine ears. They’re so fluffy! I caress them again… and again… and again… Emi rolls her eyes but she lets me touch her even fluffier tail.

“Sorry that I didn’t let you do it earlier, especially when I’m petting your wings all the time,” she points out.

“I know it has a totally different meaning to your race,” I understand. “Thanks, Emi. Be careful out there, okay?”

“Careful isn’t in my vocabulary but I’ll have my pack so I should be safe,” she assures me and lets me pet her some more.


“Ingri,” I ask later that day. “Emi told me some Earthborn left the skyscraper recently. Is it true?”

“Oh, that,” Ingri looks up from her graphic tablet. Is she designing more clothes for Draconians?

“Sorry, I didn’t tell you because it wasn’t important. Yes, so far several Earthborn left. They couldn’t take living here anymore. I mean… don’t get me wrong, they were really grateful for everything, but they wanted to live closer to nature.”

“What about you? We really value your work but if you ever feel like…,” I’m almost afraid to finish that sentence.

“I’m fine,” she shakes her head. “I can go to the nearby park every day and once a week I visit my parents’ garden. Besides, I’d never give up my designing work for Draconians. I’m an Earthborn but it doesn’t necessarily mean I want to live in the woods now.”

I’m glad she feels that way. Being a certain Draconian race is extremely deterministic already but it can’t influence everything. An Earthborn doesn’t have to be only a healer, an eco-warrior or a gardener. A Celestial doesn’t have to become a mage by trade. We’re influenced by our genes much more than humans but we still have a choice.

Except… I might be the only one who doesn’t.


“So,” Fefnir is bumping his huge scaly fingers against the table.

“So,” I’m staring at my feather lying on a tray as if it was a relic. “One was found?”

“That idiot tried selling it on eBay,” Fefnir rolls his eyes. “We contacted the legal authorities and they apprehended him for an assault. As for the other two… we tracked one being auctioned on the dark web but it slipped between our fingers. I’m afraid a new owner has it now. The third one didn’t emerge yet.”

“What will you do with it?” Ingri is longingly eyeing the ripped feather.

“I don’t know, shove it into a wardrobe?” I shrug. “It’s just a feather. We wanted justice for the principle, not for the object itself.”

“Could I have it then?” she smirks and stretches her hand towards the tray.

“What for, dear?” Liana purses her lips and softly slaps her assistant’s hand because she suspects Ingri would use it in her creative fashion projects.

“How much was it worth anyway?” Erik asks curiously.

“The bidding started at 10 000 Euro but who knows how much it would make in the end,” Fefnir says.

I wrinkle my nose. Seriously? They’re making me into a collectible? Are humans nuts? I get it that my white feathers are unique but aren’t they taking it too far? It’s just a feather, an equivalent to hair or fur. It’s not like it still contains mana or…

I take the feather into my fingers and caress it. Strangely, it feels too lively. Is it not just a dead body tissue in its essence? What is that vibrating feeling I’m getting? Wait a second… could it be… that my torn feather still contains some of my mana?! But that’s impossible, it was proven already that while mana does get out of a Celestial’s body through wings, it’s being generated in our spine.

But then I remember that moment when I was angry at Liana for limiting my freedom. I didn’t have time to think about it after that but I did feel mana filling my every cell. I levitated by body without activating a spell. I just let mana out of my pores.

“Are you listening, Aefener?” Liana nudges me. “Do you want to donate your feather to Julia or not?”

“No, it’s mine,” I say quickly, maybe too quickly, and hide it into my sleeve.

I need to experiment to find out more but I don’t have the nerve to tear another one from my wings. I don’t think any Celestial is able to tear their own feathers. Erik raises his eyebrow, sensing that I have an ulterior motive with the feather, but he doesn’t say anything.


I know that I lost my privacy but it seems I still underestimate the extent of the problem. Now that I actually need a few minutes just by myself, I discover how difficult that is. If I’m not working, I’m with my friends or I’m with Erik. Even when I’m in our apartment, my guards are always present. They don’t go into the bedroom but Erik never leaves my side during our leisure time because for him leisure means being together.

Not that I mind but I really need some alone time to analyse my ripped feather properly. It takes one whole week to finally find an opportunity and seize it. I finish my magic training a bit earlier and I know that Erik is still hitting the gym at this time. I go home as quickly as possible without raising suspicion that I’m up to something and, once inside our apartment, I tell my guards that I want to take a nap.

Just two weeks ago they would be nervous to leave me without supervision in a room with a window but since I’m behaving nicely at my flying sessions, they let me have my tiny privacy. God! I didn’t realise how I miss some quality me-time when the door closes and I’m finally alone.

I let out a happy shriek and spend a few moments just rolling over on our huge round bed. It’s tiring to act always so serious and dignified in front of people because that’s expected of the Emperor. I stretch my wings, envelope myself in them and continue happily rolling over and cuddling my feathers. I thoroughly enjoy being ridiculous.

Then I remember my mission and, too lazy to get up, I open the wardrobe with telekinesis. I hid the ripped feather under my spare night robe and I feel it’s calling me somehow. Normally, Celestials need a visual contact with things we want to levitate or have a very concrete image of where it is and how it looks like but I don’t need any of that. I just feel it because it used to be a part of me.

The feather slips from under the night robe and lands safely on my palm. Ok, so how do I go about it? How do I analyse it? I’m no Earthborn. But the Earthborn can’t sense Celestial mana anyway. I need magical detection of some kind.

I close my eyes and try feeling the mana inside of the feather as if I would with Celestials when they ask me about their mana capacity. Oh, I wasn’t mistaken, it’s there! Despite being torn from my wings weeks ago, the feather still contains a tiny portion of my mana.

But what does it mean? Is my magical energy being generated differently from other Celestials? Is that what makes me the embodiment of magic? I switch my focus to my own body. I try to feel what I felt during that incident when I was angry with Erik and Liana.

From Liana’s point of view, it must have looked like I used a normal levitation spell because she didn’t press me about it afterwards but I know I didn’t. I somehow poured mana out of my pores and that’s what made my body float. But how?! I envelop myself in my wings again and fall on the side. How? How? How?

I feel Erik’s telepathic imprint approaching long before he opens the door so I manage to hide my feather back into the wardrobe and pretend that I’m napping. I’m not ready to share my discovery yet. I want to find out more first.

“Tired?” Erik pokes my wings because I’m unwilling to open my cocoon. “What about taking a shower?”

“Too tired for that,” I grunt.

“Come on, I know you Celestials don’t sweat much but you skipped yesterday,” he pulls me out of bed for my sake.

“I just don’t like bathing when I can’t spread my wings comfortably and the shower booth makes me claustrophobic,” I complain but I’m already in the bathroom and Erik is taking off my robe.

“Liana assured me that they’ll be remodelling our apartment during the conference,” she says. “With Emi leaving, we should get more rooms.”

“They can manage that in a week?” I’m doubtful. “What are they planning to do anyway?”

“Well,” Erik smiles mysteriously. “I saw the blueprints and helped them choose new furniture. It’ll be marvellous, trust me.”

“When did you manage that?” I tilt my head.

“I was pretending to attend a meeting with officials while I was secretly meeting designers,” he smirks. “It was possible only because we try to be separated more often and you don’t examine me telepathically that much lately. But I’m saying no more, it’s supposed to be a surprise.”


“Why are you nervous? You should be excited!” I don’t understand why Liana starts trembling the moment we step outside.

She’s dressed in a Celestial flight robe and ready to go. Her body is definitely ready to go. She woke up this morning and I sensed it right away. Her transformation is finished. But she doesn’t seem that thrilled about it now that it’s actually happening.

“Li, what’s wrong? Are you afraid?” I hug her because she flinches when the wind blows into her feathers.

“You’re the embodiment of magic so you can’t know,” she retorts a little. “It’s not as effortless for the rest of us.”

“Effortless or not, it’s in your genes and innate instincts,” I comfort her. “Besides, you have me. Should you lose control, I’ll catch you.”

“I know you will,” she sighs out deeply to calm her wildly beating heart.

“You’re more excited than scared,” I assure her. “Your over-analytical brain just can’t tell the difference.”

I push her away, smile mischievously, stretch my wings and fly up.

“Catch me if you can,” I mock her.

It works like a charm. She can’t resist seeing me flying and she can’t resist a challenge. Her instincts kick in, she spreads her mighty black wings and with a few flaps, she’s in the air.

“I’m flying!” she lets out a joyful shriek.

“Come and get me then,” I wink and do a sharp turn.

I’m not going full speed on purpose so she’s able to follow me. She might not be as natural at flying as me but she’s still managing without problems. After a few minutes, she finally starts to trust her body and stops thinking so hard about every movement.

She’s much better than me at handling the adrenaline rush, though. I don’t think I’ve ever felt such pure happiness from her but she stays rational and fully in control. I guess we’ve pretty much confirmed that it’s only me who gets crazy. Oh, well.

“Aefener, it’s so… so…!” she shouts at me joyfully. Even the dignified Viceroy can’t keep her act when flying.

“Trust your wings and try some acrobatics,” I suggest.

I fold my wings and start falling. After five hundred meters or so, I stretch my wings again and perform a flip. Liana tries to copy me but she stretches her wings after just a few seconds of free fall. She doesn’t have the nerve… yet. But she will.

We fly around, Liana testing what her body can do, me mostly watching over her. She panics one time when her flip doesn’t work out so I create a soft airy cushion around her.

“Thanks,” she appreciates when she stabilises herself.

“You wouldn’t fall either way, your wings would always react, but I know it’s unnerving,” I say. “Do you want to experiment a bit more? Try whatever you wish, I’ll be watching you and be prepared with a safety airy net.”

“Okay, I trust you with my life then,” she smiles and continues testing her flying abilities while I hover in a safe distance.

Her words are heart-warming. She trusts me with her life. I do, too. And it’s beyond amazing to be able to fly with someone. To share this moment of pure happiness and relaxation. Too bad I can’t share it with Erik but Liana’s presence is just as valuable to me.

After she tries everything she can think of in the moment, we test for speed. We’re extremely fast already but I’m sure we’ll become even faster when our wing muscles grow stronger thanks to everyday exercise.

“Damn, are we that far so soon?” Liana grumbles because our bands vibrate.

“Now you can see how it feels,” I comment.

“I know, Aefener, I know,” she sighs. “But we have to limit you somehow or you would fly away who knows where.”

“Will you reconsider now?” I ask, hopeful. “Two kilometres are nothing to us.”

“We will,” she promises. “But wait until more of us are able to accompany you, okay?”

Liana gets exhausted after forty minutes whereas I’d be able to fly for much longer. I’m happy to see that I developed some stamina but I land with her because it would be weird not to. Now that I tasted what flying with someone feels like, I can wait to enjoy it again tomorrow.


Gotrid (15:36)
My Emperor, I hope I’m not imposing by writing you a personal message.

I’m staring at my phone’s screen. I’ve been speaking on the phone with Gotrid several times before but it was never really private. We were always discussing the situation in the States. I look around but Liana’s hard at work and Erik isn’t even here.

I can just casually reply, right? Actually, I don’t care about some stupid royal protocol, I’m more concerned about Erik’s reaction should he find out. He’s jealous of Gotrid because he symbolises everything he’s so afraid of.

I freeze in a moment of sudden clarity. Isn’t that exactly what our psychologist Zetraya was talking about? One of the signs of unhealthy co-dependency? Am I holding back because I don’t want to make Erik angry? Am I letting myself be limited by him because I fear his reaction?

I should take another step, progress a bit more again. I shouldn’t be afraid to talk to men just because it makes my partner jealous. So I decide to reply. It’s not like I’m cheating, Gotrid is a just a friend. A bit teasy but a friend.

Aefener (15:38)
Not at all. Are you okay?

Gotrid (15:38)
I couldn’t have been better. I’m seeing my Emperor in just a week!

Aefener (15:39)
I’m looking forward to meeting you in person, too. And our other guild members in the States.

I send that message, a bit nervous that he might misunderstand. I do genuinely look forward to seeing him but I don’t want to give him a false hope. Even though his teasing was mostly for fun until now, something tells me he pursue me for real if he was given a chance. And if I was single, I would see nothing wrong with that, he’s my type. But I’m taken. I already have a partner I love immensely.

Gotrid (15:40)
How are the preparations going? The Celestial community here can’t wait to finally meet our Emperor.

Aefener (15:41)
A ton of work as expected. A lot of studying. Liana is crazy about our safety while I can’t imagine being on a plane for ten hours. I just wish we were able to fly over the sea with our wings. Maybe one day we will be?

Gotrid (15:42)
We’re not migratory birds, Your Majesty. :D By the way, I have happy news and that’s actually why I texted you in the first place.

I wait for a few seconds to see what news that is and Gotrid sends me his selfie… in the air!

Aefener (15:43)
Oh, you flew! Congrats! How did it feel?

Gotrid (15:42)
Amazing, of course. :) I can’t wait to be able to fly with you, my Emperor. I already asked Her Excellency if it’s okay and I got my approval. Let’s play some games!

I think my heart just skipped a beat when I imagined Gotrid’s fully grown gorgeous wings and me playing fetch with him. That doesn’t qualify as cheating, right? It’ll be a friendly flying session with my friend, nothing more.

“Are you working, Your Majesty?” my adjutant coughs all of a sudden.

I twitch, surprised that I was caught, and the phone slips from my fingers. I want to catch it with telekinesis but it happens too fast and my poor phone lands with an ominous thud.

“Oh, no!” I cry and grab it from the ground. It must have fallen especially unfortunately because despite the fortified glass, it’s broken. I try switching it on again but the screen remains dark. Something within it must have snapped.

“Don’t panic, Your Majesty,” Luviael hurries to me. “You had everything in the cloud anyway, right?”

“But I had this phone for years, it has sentimental value,” I whine. “I bought it with my first money from gaming.”

Luviael is looking at me as if I was crazy or something. I guess I am. Nobody has the same phone for six years.

“I understand,” Luvi says when she digests it. “But accidents happen. Besides, buying a new one is a good opportunity to finally set it for your new Celestial identity.”

“Oh, that,” I realise that I’ve still been using my old human account. Our IT department checked my phone for viruses and put in the best encryption possible but that was it.

“Li? Do you have a spare you’re no longer using? I’ll be fine with that,” I ask my Viceroy.

“Just buy the latest Nebula, Aefener,” Liana sighs. “Some Celestials noticed how old your phone is and were asking me why our Emperor isn’t using something that would suit his status.”

“But those cost hundreds of euros,” I shake my head. “I can’t wait for my next salary to come, I need something immediately.”

Both Liana and Luviael glare at me to the point it becomes awkward.

“Did you spend all your money already?” Liana frowns, confused. “I’m sorry, is your salary not enough? You should have said so.”

“Oh, no, it’s more than generous,” I assure her. “It’s just… I sent some money to my grandmother so that I don’t have to feel obligated to her anymore and the rest… well… the Thai embassy needed money to rent their own place and then I wanted to support homeless Draconians in Bohemia… and it kept piling up.”

“You gave all your money away?” Liana gasps for breath. “Did you actually keep at least something?”

“Not really,” I shrug. “What use do I have for it anyway? My rent is free, my food as well and my maids apparently buy me new clothes without me even asking for it.”

“Naturally, I gave them some budget,” Liana nods. “But seriously, Aefener, the salary is meant for your personal usage.”

“I still have my own money from donations,” I remind her. “It keeps pouring for some reason even if I don’t stream anymore. So I put it to good use.”

“Of course, it’s pouring in, Ingri is keeping your Vortex account active,” she explains. “Where do you think we post the videos of you flying and such?”

I frown. I gave up on social media weeks ago because I thought it wasn’t needed anymore but I had no idea Ingri is still taking care of it. I quickly look up my profile on the computer but I don’t log in. I want to see how it looks like to a regular visitor.

I widen my eyes when I discover that the gallery is full of my photos from various occasions. Most of the time I wasn’t even aware I was being photographed. Admittedly, I look quite okay in those photos, at least Ingri picked the best angles, but that doesn’t mean I’m not angry about it.

“What the hell, Li?” I click my tongue and turn the screen to her. “You’re taking photos without my consent?!”

“You gave your consent,” she raises her eyebrow. “When you were signing the employment contract, remember?”

“I bet he didn’t read it,” Luvi rolls her eyes.

“I didn’t read it because I didn’t expect there to be a catch,” I accuse her.

“Consent to promotional materials isn’t a catch, Aefener,” Liana explains patiently. “Have you never noticed Erik adjusting your robe during meetings or seating you differently? Anyway, I don’t want you financing things outside our official procedures.”

“Why not?” I don’t understand. “It’s my money and I can do whatever I want with it.”

“Practical reasons, Aefener,” she says. “We need to keep things in balance. Draconians can’t depend on a few rich of us to support them or they won’t make an effort. Sure, now we have to fund things from our own pockets because it can’t be avoided but we need to build a working economy as soon as possible.”

“You can still donate your money if you wish so, Your Majesty,” Luviael sets the record straight because I keep frowning at my Viceroy. “But it has to go through official procedures. We have to prevent Celestials calling you outside working hours and begging you for money.”

“Outside working hours,” I murmur, remembering that one occasion with the Thai embassy that made my partner especially pissed. “Did Erik complain?”

“He did and he was right to do so,” Liana looks at me apologetically. “Don’t you think I’m not aware that I’m overworking all of you. Erik has been pressing me about free weekends and he has a point.”

“Oh, he told you already?” I bite my lip. “We want Sundays off. We all should get at least one day a week free or we’ll collapse. I feel the tension rising around me, everyone’s at the verge of burnout.”

“I know,” she admits. “I promise to do something about our workload after the conference, okay?”

“Deal,” I nod, satisfied for now.

I didn’t expect it to go so smoothly. Liana is the hardest-working person I know but it turns out she’s a reasonable boss. I have to smile when I realise that despite being the Emperor, meaning her superior, I do consider her to be my boss when it comes to work.


The following days are strangely monotonous and hectic at the same time. We’re busy with preparing for the conference but the routine is the same every day. I wake up at seven, Erik sees to it that I eat healthy breakfast, we work until 11:30, then there’s our flying session, lunch, Liana and Luvi give me lessons on politics, we have our mandatory magic training and I return home at six, dead tired.

I’d like to have another appointment with our psychologist Zetraya but there’s simply not enough hours in the day for that right now. Besides, Erik doesn’t seem enthusiastic about it. I suspect he’d prefer a human psychologist. It’s a predicament. I know I wouldn’t be able to open up to a human and he’s not able to open up to a Draconian.

I suggested we should attend sessions separately then but he was totally against that idea. Moreover, Liana didn’t approve of hiring a human, claiming humans can’t be trusted with relationship issues of the royal couple which made Erik furious with her. He’s very sensitive about calling humans untrustworthy. A dead-end.

Good news is that more and more Celestials are able to fly by each passing day. Miruel and Taranah just seven days after Liana, Vermiel two days ago and Luvi’s transformation finished today. Celestials are enthusiastically sharing their videos and, naturally, it’s trending on the Internet.

“Okay, we will try to go further today,” Vermiel allows while giving instructions to the guards whose transformation has also finished. He finally assessed that our protection is adequate with these numbers.

Erik is here to see me off today. He hasn’t come to my flying session recently, being too busy with his own work. Or at least I thought that’s the main reason. I’m not so sure about it anymore. He’s happy for me but it starts to seriously bug him that he can’t accompany me. He knows how I love sharing the sky with my Celestial friends so it makes him twice as sad that it’s the only thing he can’t share with me.

“I share other things with you,” I whisper to him a second before I kiss him. “Things I can’t share with them. It’s not any less valuable.”

“I know,” he admits but my reassurance doesn’t mitigate his insecurity.

“Aefener!” Emi appears on the roof which is totally unexpected. Clawfangs might not hate heights as much as the Earthborn but they aren’t fond of them either.

“I want you to have it,” she says, takes my hand and puts her favourite tennis ball on my palm.

“Emi, I… I can’t help feeling that this particular ball is somehow important to you,” I chew my lip. “I can’t take it.”

“You bet it’s important,” she grins. “I found it in the woods when I was running from that damned hospital. It helped me pass time while I was waiting for rescue and keep my sanity. It travelled all the way from Kazakhstan with me. I insist you keep it as a farewell gift. Not as a memento somewhere in a drawer, though. Put it to good use! Play with it and wear it out!”

“Okay, I will,” I clutch the ball in my hand, grateful. “Actually, we plan to try some aerial games today for the first time.”

“What a great debut then,” she nods approvingly and runs back inside with a loud laugh.

“We’re ready, Your Majesty,” Vermiel announces.

I kiss my boyfriend one more time and we take off one after another. We have enough airworthy Celestials to form a proper squadron now. Or should I call it a flock? I’m sure Liana would hate that analogy, Celestials don’t like being compared to birds.

Miruel and Vermiel insist we should practice flight formations so we do that for half an hour. Then I lose patience, imbue Emi’s ball with a levitation spell so that it won’t fall onto someone’s head accidentally and throw it with an air thrust as far as I can.

The moment I chase after it, my companions lose their focus on neat formations and can’t resist a challenge. We play to our hearts content, flying freely above the whole city and return only when we’re totally exhausted. Exhausted but happy.


I’m staring at our luggage the maids prepared for us. It’s finally here. Tomorrow, we depart for New York. Liana and Luvi claim they managed to teach me all the basics but I’m still nervous. Our guards are confident that they should be able to protect me even from a direct attack because they mastered spells up to level 10 but I’m still anxious. So many things can go wrong.

“It’ll be okay,” Erik comforts me, sensing my inner turmoil. “We’ll do our best and the rest will work out somehow.”

“I don’t think I’ll be able to fall asleep,” I say, shaking a bit.

“I’ll gladly exhaust you then,” he smirks and pushes me onto our bed.

I submit to him willingly and completely. I finally relax. In times like these, I have no doubts. He’s the love of my life.