Chapter 55:

Defining Moments

Draconia Offline

I didn’t realise how many mental blocks I subconsciously built over the years until I lost them. I perceive everyone’s emotions much more sharply than ever before and reach much further. Did I limit my ability on purpose to keep my sanity? I whine because my head is pulsating with a migraine strong as hell. My friends are panicking and their disturbed emotions are making my headache even worse.

Werden and Twyla have both their rooty tentacles connected to my arms and I can feel them evaluating my condition. It seems there’s nothing they can do to mitigate my shattering migraine as they have no idea how my telepathy works in the first place. But I appreciate their attempt, I’m really lucky to be surrounded by good friends.

I slowly open my eyes but close them again because the room is too bright. I’m disoriented so I call for my beloved telepathically which is always easier for me and super easy without any blockers. Erik and Gotrid jump to me and push the Earthborn rulers aside. For once, they don’t fight with each other.

I connect to them the moment they touch me. Erik was always my lighthouse, my security blanket. And Gotrid as well now. I find refuge in their minds I love so much and that will never overwhelm me even when I’m hurting. How could they? I’ve accepted them into my mind unconditionally. I gobble their love and give them my love in return.

I feel better after a while so I try opening my eyes again. Someone has adjusted the light so it doesn’t sting anymore and my head stopped spinning at least. Erik and Gotrid are leaning over me, their eyes teary. I discover that I’m lying on an outstretched sofa in one of the lounges. All my friends are here, nervous and worried.

“Aefener, are you with us again?” Liana hugs me, not minding that she has to squeeze between Erik and Gotrid. “How are you feeling? What happened? Where you overwhelmed? Oh, I should have let you rest after all!”

“Li, there was a man,” I say hoarsely but urgently.

“What man?” she tilts her head. “Are you running a fever? We have to get you to bed.”

“No, listen!” I clutch her robe. “A Japanese man, he was standing near to the balcony with that woman who was recording for Ichikawa. I found out that I couldn’t read his emotions at all and when he noticed I’m watching him, he attacked me with some kind of telepathic pressure. I wasn’t prepared to defend myself so I fainted.”

“A Japanese man? Attacking you telepathically?” she gasps for breath. “Can you show me what he looked like?”

I take a deep breath a project a memory of him into her mind as well as Erik’s and Gotrid’s.

“Aefener, he’s Japanese… evidently a telepath… and looks about the right age,” she gulps. “Do you think he could be…?”

“My father?” I finish the sentence and a shiver goes down my spine.

“Love,” Erik kisses me to calm me down. “Maybe we can still catch him if we notify the security. You’ve been out only for ten minutes.”

“And tell them what? That the Celestial Emperor has been telepathically attacked?” Deminas steps forward. “We have to be smart about it. Everyone in that room saw Aefener going down with a nosebleed without any apparent reason. There will be lots of questions.”

“What are you suggesting then?” Emi asks impatiently and her tail is waggling wildly. “That man, father or not, attacked Aefener so he won’t be sticking around. And I don’t think the Japanese Prime Minister has any idea who that man really is, Aefener would feel if he was lying about the ongoing investigation.”

“Ehm, guys?” Erik clears his throat. “Actually, I think that I might be the best person for the job. I’ll return to the banquet, calm everyone down by some cover story and try to ask around if anyone might know that man’s name. I think it shouldn’t be hard to convince Elizabeth and the Czech Prime Minister to help me out a bit.”

“Erik, it might be dangerous,” I don’t like that idea. “What if he’s still there and tries to attack you instead? He knows you’re my Consort. Everyone does.”

“That’s why I’ll kindly ask Emi to lend me some of her guards,” he says firmly. “Clawfang hearing is legendary. They can eavesdrop while protecting me.”

“Sure, I’ll assign you my best warriors,” Emi nods readily. “Aefener, show all of us what that man looked like.”

So I do. Emi’s Beta Gin almost can’t withstand me connecting to him and flinches away immediately but it takes just a second to send one image.

“We’re on it then,” Erik kisses me one last time but I catch his sleeve when he’s about to leave.

“Erik, should something bad happen to you,” my voice trembles. “Should you be hurt…”

“Nothing bad will happen to me, I’ll have Emi protecting me,” he assures me. “Just let me do it, alright? It’s high time I finally do something that isn’t politics or administration. Obviously, I hate to leave you when you’re so vulnerable but I can really make a difference and you have Gotrid now. I’m entrusting you to him.”

“Thank you, Erik,” Gotrid appreciates. “I’ll do my best. You do yours, Royal Consort.”

“Take care of the Emperor in my absence, Royal Consort,” Erik says and gently squeezes out his hand out of mine.

“What should I tell everyone about what happened?” he looks at Werden and Twyla. “Claiming that Ryuuto has a bad blood pressure won’t cut it I’m afraid.”

“What about mana imbalance?” Twyla suggests. “We can say that Aefener’s mana capacity keeps growing rapidly which makes his mana circuit sometimes unstable. Humans won’t have any means to prove it wrong.”

“That’s actually a bullet-proof idea,” Liana agrees, relieved. “Aefener’s mana capacity does keep growing rapidly after all.”

“It does?” Erik is surprised.

“You can’t feel it, Erik, but we can,” Gotrid says. “His Majesty’s mana capacity is tremendous. Monstruous even.”

“Hey,” I nudge his arm. “I don’t like that word. Erik, be careful!”

“Love you,” he smiles at me before he leaves with Emi and her pack.

Gotrid helps me sit and hugs me in his stead. I’m really grateful that I have them both. If I didn’t, Erik’s plan wouldn’t work because he would never leave me when I’m weakened like that.

“Can you please destroy this, Deminas? With fire I mean,” Werden hands the Dragonkin Patriarch a bloody handkerchief that was apparently used to stop my nosebleed. “We can’t let anyone get a sample of Aefener’s DNA.”

“No prob,” Deminas flushes fire into his hands and the handkerchief is soon just a smouldering trash. And he did all that on his palms! Fire-proof skin for real.

After that, he and Fefnir leave as well. If we want to pretend that nothing serious happened to me, it has to look like it.

“How do we get His Majesty into the hotel?” Gotrid scratches his chin. “He’s too weak to fly and going by car in his current state is impossible. It would make his headache even worse.”

“I could put him to sleep like I did before when he had a migraine. Deep sleep should help him recover and he won’t feel humans in the city when he’s sleeping,” Werden offers but for some reason that makes me angry, he’s talking to Liana, not me. And Liana is nodding?!

Without actually waiting for my answer, he stretches his hands to me.

“N-no!” I protest but Werden’s roots are already piercing my skin.

I panic because it seems my protest won’t be noticed in time so I instinctively push him back in my mind the way I pushed away my presumed father. I wasn’t successful back then but Werden doesn’t guard his mind, he simply doesn’t have the ability to do so.

And it works. Werden jerks away and releases his tentacles. He gasps for breath and looks at me both exceedingly curious and a bit scared.

“Hey, what the hell?” Gotrid reacts just a second later and envelops me into his wings protectively.

“W-what happened?” Liana blinks.

“He pushed me back,” Werden comments and massages his roots. “Not with telekinesis, with telepathy. I was about to connect to his body but I was kicked out. Literally.”

“You’re not tranquilizing me again!” I retort, my feathers all puffed with anger.

“Sorry, I just wanted to help with your easy transport,” Werden murmurs apologetically and gracefully lets Twyla pinch him for that.

“Seriously, Your Excellency?” Gotrid finally confronts Liana, the scary Viceroy he’s so afraid of. Well, he isn’t anymore. She’s just lost some of his respect.

“I know that His Majesty can’t decide anything about his own protection but don’t you think that tranquilizing him against his will is going totally overboard?” he’s furious and annoyed with her.

Liana bites her lip. It seems it didn’t occur to her that they were talking about me as if I wasn’t even present. She sits on the sofa and lowers her head.

“Sorry, Aefener, I just couldn’t stand seeing you hurting so much,” she apologises sincerely. “My Celestial instincts kicked in too strongly, I was only thinking about how to make you feel better as quickly as possible and this seemed to be the solution.”

“The best way for me to rest is in the minds of my partners. If you took a second to actually ask me, I’d tell you,” I hiss.

“I’m really sorry,” she repeats and caresses my feathers to make me fully feel that she regrets it. “Still, how are we going to transport you? You’re in no shape to fly and the car is out of question.”

“Your Excellency, we can try a levitation platform we’ve been testing,” Vermiel who is guarding the door suggests. “It should hold two people without any problems. We can keep casting it during the whole flight and Gotrid can hold His Majesty.”

“Okay, let’s try that,” she agrees quickly in order not to make me mad with her again. “Gotrid, can you carry Aefener?”

I’m worried if Gotrid is going to manage. I might be very skinny so Erik has no problem holding me but Gotrid has a fragile Celestial body. But he lifts me without any issues, supporting my weight nicely with telekinesis. So that’s one less thing to worry about. I love being held by my beloved.

I fold my wings as much as possible so that I don’t wipe the floor. The guards spread their wings and march with me in their centre so that nosy onlookers can’t see me. I can hear Liana talking to Ms Behera in the hall but I don’t make out the words and, to be honest, I don’t care. My head is killing me right now and only focusing on Gotrid mitigates my suffering.

Gotrid? I send him my thought.

Yes, my Emperor? he isn’t startled this time.

I love you, I say simply but convey all my feelings for him.

“Oh,” he sighs out and squeezes me closer to his chest. His wings start shaking but he keeps holding me firmly so I’m not afraid of being dropped.

I surprised him but I did tell him yesterday, right? Or… not explicitly? Now that I think about it, maybe I didn’t?! Did I just presume he must feel it from me? Again, it turns out that I’m relying on my telepathy way too much. There’re certain things that are better said aloud.

“I love you, Gotrid,” I whisper into his ear and enjoy how totally flustered he becomes.

It makes me forget momentarily about the dread I just can’t shake off—that the man who attacked me really might be my presumed father.


In the end, the levitation platform was fairly easy to cast and maintain. It was basically one big transfiguration symbol one could step on and be carried. It’ll definitely have to try it out with Erik when we return to Prague. Gotrid sat down for a better stability and put me on his lap. This time there were no drones from the media but he still wrapped me into his wings to hide me from curious army eyes.

I dozed off in his warm embrace and woke up when he was gently putting me down on our bed and taking off my ceremonial robe.

“Is Erik okay?” I ask immediately.

“He is, Vermiel told me just a minute ago that they got a call from Emi’s guards,” he assures me and his fingers tremble when he reaches my sateen under-robe. He doesn’t dare to go further.

I look around and discover that we’re alone. The guards are forbidden to enter the bedroom and the maids must have left before I woke up. Gotrid probably sent them away, wanting to take care of me himself. I feel Liana in her own apartment, no doubt working remotely with the rest of our friends who stayed at the banquet. It really is just the two of us. For the first time ever.

“Oh,” Gotrid realises the fact just a moment later and blushes.

It’s impossible to become physically aroused when my head is killing me but I suddenly feel excited for Gotrid’s mind. I did connect to him yesterday but that was together with Erik so my attention was divided. A private time with my new partner—that’s certainly something that could make me feel better.

“Your Majesty, I’m fully at your service,” Gotrid blurts out. He wants to sound confident but his voice is shaking. So are his wings. “If you need a relaxing massage…”

“Say my name,” I purse my lips.

“My Emperor Aefener,” Gotrid tries, desperate.

“Just-the-name,” I insist.

“But it’s so… intimate,” he gulps. He caresses my feathers and gets goosebumps.

“Gotrid, I’m almost naked and you have a problem pronouncing my name?” I have to roll my eyes.

“You’re still my Emperor, though,” he murmurs nervously.

I sigh. Is this how all Celestials see me? Is that why people like Luviael and Taranah have such a problem being familiar with me even after we become quite close? Why even Liana is struggling sometimes? It seems I won’t be able to do anything about them but at least I won’t allow official titles when it comes to my lovers.

“First and foremost, I’m your partner,” I take his hand. “But right now my head is killing so unless you want to help me with that, I’m off to sleep. Your help can start with pronouncing my name.”

He turns completely red and for a long moment, he can’t say anything. Then it finally comes out of his mouth—soft, full of love, gentle and shy.


Now it’s me who gets goosebumps when I hear my Celestial name being pronounced like that. It’s similar to Erik pronouncing my human name but at the same time it’s totally different.

“C-can we really?” he refuses to believe it. “I feel your pain, you should rest.”

“I do feel weak and dizzy but I’m probably the only person on Earth whose migraine gets better with sex,” I encourage him.

“My Emperor…”

I poke him.


And then we don’t talk anymore. Some things are better said aloud and some, if you’re a telepath, are much better conveyed with feelings. I delve into Gotrid’s mind and our mutual love allows me to establish the deepest telepathic connection. The type of connection I share only with my partner… now partners.

Too bad Gotrid can’t withstand the connection for too long because he’s not used to it yet and falls asleep quite early. But that’s okay, our bond has been established and he deserves to rest. I cosy under his wing and follow him into sleep, not wanting to think about anything but him.


Erik returns around midnight. He’s quiet but his emotions wake me up. He’s feeling extremely sad and insecure seeing me and Gotrid lying like that. We’re both naked so he easily deduced that we had our first sex while he was hard at work investigating.

“Erik,” I whisper and throw myself into his arms. Are you okay? I switch to telepathy so that we won’t disturb Gotrid.

Totally okay, I just talked to people. How are you feeling? he caresses my hair, sensing that my head is still hurting even though I feel much better. I managed to put up some mental blockers when I was recovering connected to Gotrid.

Sorry, is it hard for you? I worry because I can’t help noticing his emotional state when he’s looking at sleeping Gotrid.

I won’t lie, it is, he admits openly. But I can see that he did a very good job while I could go on a mission, knowing there’s someone I can entrust you to. We’ll be much more flexible from now on.

You know I don’t care about being flexible, I slowly unbutton his shirt. You’re trying to rationalise it but you don’t have to. It’s still very new to you, take your time.

That’s not important right now, he shakes his head and takes off his pants. You were attacked, love. I’m just glad you’re okay.

Did I cause a scene? What did you find out?

A huge scene but, fortunately, our cover story was believable enough, he says. The American President was happy to see you vulnerable until he was told that it was because your mana capacity is growing rapidly. You should have seen his face.

And the investigation on that man? I gently grab Gotrid’s left wing and put it behind his back so that there’s space for Erik.

Apparently, his name is Haruto Takeda, he reveals. We thought it might be fake but Fefnir checked it and his name together with a photo came up. He’s the owner of Azuchi which is a huge financial conglomerate. Takeda is a big fish in Asia, somewhat similar to Liana. He didn’t come as part of the official Japanese delegation, though.

Did you…? I’m almost afraid to ask.

Have a chance to confront him? No, he was long gone. Nobody has any idea where he’s staying. For someone this rich, he might have a private property in New York.

It’s for the best, I’m actually relieved. He managed to immobilise me so he must be extremely dangerous. Erik, I… I don’t want him to be my father.

Dread overcomes me again. If that man indeed is my father, then he’s someone who has no problem hurting their own child. Moreover, it’s weird to imagine that might be my alternative surname. Ryuuto Takeda. But Celestials have no use for surnames. I’ll always be just Ryuuto to Erik and Aefener to everyone else.

Even if he was, our parents don’t define us, he kisses me. We’ll protect you from him if it becomes necessary.

Does Takeda have any connection to Nebula? I ponder.

Fefnir is still investigating that. The Dragonkin don’t have to sleep so many hours but Celestials do. And you’re still having a severe headache, hon. Let’s call it a night.

Gotrid won’t be woken up easily, I say innocently and poke his chest. He’s recovering from our telepathic connection.

Ryuu, you don’t have to force yourself for my sake just because you did it with Gotrid, I’m fine with it, he assures me even though just that innuendo makes him excited immediately. Are you even in the mood considering what happened?

Exactly because of what happened, I say. Erik, that man, my father or not, must be planning something. He wanted to test me… see if I’m ready. We don’t know what the future holds… how much time for each other we might have since I’m the Celestial Emperor… and…

“I know,” he whispers.

His hand finds the sweet spot between my wings and stars rubbing it. I reach for his. We have to use every moment we have and devoting our time to love seems to be the only thing that makes sense.


“In a normal situation, I’d recommend Aefener should still rest today,” Twyla is frowning. Liana asked the Earthborn rulers to check up on me in the morning but since I’m still pissed at Werden, only Twyla came.

“I’m quite fine,” I insist and impatiently flutter my wings. “I need to stretch my wings anyway.”

“Quite isn’t totally fine,” Erik disagrees.

“A minor headache is nothing new to me, I can work,” I say confidently. “I’m used to it.”

“Love, we don’t want you being used to working with a headache,” Gotrid caresses my feathers.

I blush when being addressed like that. Gotrid finally switched from my official title to my name and cute nicknames and since it’s still very fresh from his mouth, it’s making me embarrassed and moved. Also, I still haven’t restored most of my mental blocks so I feel everybody’s emotions much more sharply. Especially my lovers’.

“I’ll rest properly after the conference. Maybe I can finally take some days off?” I look at Liana hopefully.

“Of course,” she nods. “But, Aefener, are you really up to it? I won’t force you this time, just tell me. I think we can manage a day without you.”

“What if Takeda shows up again?” Gotrid worries. Erik briefed him about his findings immediately when we woke up.

“He won’t,” Liana is quite certain of that. “He must suspect that we know what he looks like and what he’s capable of. And that we’ll be protecting our Emperor from him.”

“So can I go?” I stand up and wave at Ayala and Cien to dress me up. “You can’t leave me here. As the Emperor, I’d go crazy knowing that you’re discussing such important things without me.”

“Okay, but I’ll be checking up on you today,” Twyla gives a condition. “You have to eat a lot and take a nap after lunch, is that understood? Gosh, you skipped dinner yesterday, didn’t you? Again!”

“How do I take a nap at the conference?” I don’t understand.

“Aefener, you’re the Celestial Emperor, the organizers will fulfil your every whim,” Liana says as if it should be obvious. “Just say that you’re tired and ask for a private lounge for an hour. Your mana capacity is developing rapidly, remember? Let’s just continue with our cover story.”

We arrive at the hotel restaurant and the room grows unnaturally quiet the moment we show up. Everyone is craning their neck to take a better look at me. I guess I must have caused quite a scene, going down with a nosebleed. Emi and Deminas offered to lend me some of their guards in case I’m in danger from my presumed father but I refused. It would look too suspicious.

“Your Majesty, are you feeling well?” Elizabeth is the first person brave enough to approach us and address the elephant in the room.

“Much better, I was just fatigued,” I try to sound easy-going. “My mana circuit was imbalanced, that’s all. Sorry if I startled you, Celestials have delicate bodies and me especially.”

“Oh, I’m so relieved. Could I steal your partner?” she asks innocently.

Hon, she might have some important information for us, Erik quickly sends me his thought. She helped me a ton yesterday.

What did she think she was helping you with?

Looking for your relatives in Japan so I was only half-lying. Don’t worry, we can trust her, he assures me, kisses my hand and goes to sit with the Czech delegates. It doesn’t look weird, he’s just networking like everybody else.

“Your Majesty, Lord Gotrid,” we’re approached by two Thai delegates immediately after that. Elizabeth broke the ice. “Could we sit we you?”

“Of course, Mr Suwan, Mrs Nguyen,” Gotrid answers. “My love, I’ve got to know these nice people yesterday, they want to thank you for sponsoring the Thai Draconian embassy.”

I’m amazed by Gotrid. He evidently didn’t lose any time yesterday and socialised like crazy. Well, he’s much more extroverted than me, that’s for sure. And he has incredible charisma while not being scary at all. I bet the delegates consider him to be a friendly approachable Celestial—their bridge to me, similarly to Erik.

I silently sigh. I don’t understand why everyone thinks I’m apparently super scary. I’m shorter and much skinnier than Gotrid. My facial features are soft and my wings a level fluffier that most Celestials which makes me look cute I think. I don’t look intimidating when it comes to my looks alone, yet I make everybody nervous.

Except you are intimidating, Gotrid resists laughing aloud and laughs in his head instead. You look exactly like a heavenly angel whereas the rest of us are just people with wings. Your colours, androgynous features, beauty… that’s what makes them nervous when they look at you.

What a strange turn of events. I was always self-conscious about my appearance, trying to hide my weirdness my whole life. I used to think that my looks might appeal only to the small niche group of gays who are into androgynous guys. But now it seems that with some promotion and my white wings and long silver hair, I’m pretty much considered to be a universal angelic beauty.

We sit with the Thai delegates and I’m given a ridiculous amount of food by Cien. Her serious expression doesn’t allow any protests so I obediently dig in. Gotrid merrily chats with the Thai ambassadors and the atmosphere is quite relaxed. If I wasn’t constantly thinking about that man being possibly my father, I would even enjoy myself.

I don’t think Takeda will show up after what he did to you yesterday but just in case, I’ve told the guards to be on the highest alert, Liana brushes my wing when we’re standing up after breakfast. If you feel something’s wrong, tell us immediately no matter how weird it might look, okay?

Okay, I agree and catch Erik by his sleeve when he wants to leave with Emi.

“We were testing a levitation platform yesterday because I was too dizzy to fly,” I tell him. “Do you want to try it and come with us?”

“I’d love to, Ryuu, but we’d better experiment back at home,” he shakes his head and kisses me. “Even though I trust you with my life, I don’t want to risk puking. Or ruin my hairstyle. See you in half an hour, love.”

“This is what you share with me, Aefener,” Gotrid clutches my hand and grins, excited for the flight.

The flight provides some relief but I can’t shake off uneasiness. If that man is my father, does he mean to hurt me? Hurt Draconians? How would he even know I’m his son if my Mom was keeping me secret? Although, I guess it’s easy to make a connection since Mom never married and my human surname is public knowledge. It might have been him who stole my feather weeks ago and he could run a DNA test to confirm if we’re related.

“My love!” Gotrid shouts at me because I’m obviously distracted. “You’re thinking too much, just enjoy the moment!”

He’s right. Whatever I’ll be facing in the upcoming days, I have these precious few minutes to just fly. I alter my speed and fly up and down around Gotrid playfully. We don’t have time for another aerial dance but this doesn’t hinder the squadron. I’m happy to see that Liana joins us. She needs to relax as much as I do, maybe even more.

We arrive to the venue on time and Erik is already waiting for me because they left in advance. Flying is much quicker that going through the traffic after all. I run to his embrace and cameras flash. I don’t care if it improves my image or whatever, I’m just happy to be reunited with him.

When we get to the hall, we have a brief and unpleasant encounter with the American President. First, he looks at Erik who is holding my hand, then at Gotrid who is casually caressing my right wing. Delgado’s expression shows absolute disgust. I don’t know what he hates more—the fact that I’m openly gay or that I have two partners.

I decide not to give him any ground. I’m well aware that he won elections with his ultra conservative homophobic agenda so queer people in the States don’t have it easy. Gotrid went through hell. More of a reason to just shove it into his face. I have two amazing partners and I’m proud of being gay.

“Good morning, Mr President,” I greet him enthusiastically. “I hope I’m not late. It’s not easy to accommodate two demanding partners so I tend to sleep in.”

Erik and Gotrid almost burst laughing when Delgado turns red. Liana resists rolling her eyes at my remark but I feel that she’s glad that I’m not afraid to tease one of the most powerful people in the world. I kiss my partners goodbye in front of him and claim my seat.

The talks are going rather well. The US government is still in a strong opposition towards us but we gained support of the European Union and other race rulers also promised to cooperate fully in Europe so other countries gradually soften up.

I’m starting to think the whole conference will go smoothly and we’ll achieve most of our goals when I suddenly get goosebumps under my feathers. It’s as if something is wrong… very very wrong. I quickly scan the building telepathically but I find nothing at all. No terrorist planting a bomb, no immediate danger in our vicinity.

Yet, all my instincts are screaming. My wings twitch, demanding to be spread. It’s not about running away, though. I get an adrenaline rush as if my body is preparing itself for a battle. Am I going nuts? Did I have too much caffeine in the morning?

But then I look around and notice that all my friends also seem uneasy. Deminas even stood up and startled people sitting around him. Emi is anxiously scratching the table in front of her and Twyla with Werden released their roots.

“S-sorry, what’s the matter?” the person currently speaking stops because the delegates start murmuring, pointing at us.

Vermiel with the rest of the guards run to me, bewildered. They have no idea what’s happening but they form a protective circle around me and Liana just in case. Soon after that Gotrid bursts into the hall, followed by a totally confused Erik. In a second, Gotrid is holding me in his firm embrace.

“Ryuu, what the hell is wrong with all Draconians?” Erik asks anxiously.

“I… I don’t know,” I gulp. “But something is happening… something bad.”

Humans in the hall start to panic. In any other situation, they might have thought that we’re plotting something but they can see that we’re genuinely scared. And that makes them even more panicky.

I use that Gotrid is shielding me from curious onlookers with his wings and close my eyes to concentrate better. I found nothing in the building but what about outside? But then I realise that whatever it is I’m sensing, I’m not detecting it with telepathy because the others feel it as well. It’s like vibrations in space itself.

“Someone, put it on the projector!” a French delegate shouts and is waving his hand holding a phone. When no one from the organizers react immediately, he runs to the lectern, connects the phone himself and switches on a huge 3D projector.

It’s one of those online streaming news services that regular people can contribute to and news with most watchers get to the main channel. This one is showing a street in New York with terrified people running away.

There’s something monstruous chasing them but even if the cameraperson’s hand is shaking, I can make out the blurry image. My heart skips a beat and everyone gasps for breath. But only my friends’ eyes widen in a dreadful recognition.

It’s the heligorr, a monster from Draconia Online.