Chapter 65:

The Call of the Distant Homeland

Draconia Offline

I end the phone call with the Japanese Prime Minister and collapse in the chair. There’s something deeply crushing and frustrating about not being able to do anything. Erik and Gotrid are caressing my wings, comforting me that there’s nothing I can do. But I can’t help feeling I should be able to do something.

“You’re doing it again,” Erik frowns. “You’re putting all responsibility on your frail shoulders.”

“I can at least try reaching out to local Celestials?” I suggest eagerly.

“It’s too late for that,” Gotrid shakes his head. “They either feel it because they’re in the vicinity so they’re heading there as we speak or they are too far away to intervene.”

It’s hard to describe how I feel right now. New York was the first, I didn’t have time to think about it when we went to the battle. Greece and Korea were over quickly and it happened when I was sleeping. Prague was a personal thing, it’s my home. But Japan is my birthplace, it’s also a personal thing.

“We were too slow establishing battle units,” I regret.

“No, we weren’t,” Erik strongly disagrees. “These attacks started just a few days ago. I know it feels much longer but it’s been barely a week.”

I shiver when the Prime Minister sends us the live video stream from one of the police drones that are monitoring the situation. Local Draconians showed up after all but it’s obvious they lack a commander. Their attack patterns are chaotic and they don’t cooperate effectively. At least there’s no tripoderra but two heligorrs and at least two dozen filandras are giving them a hard time.

“I can’t watch it,” I bury my face in Gotrid’s wing because one Clawfang gets badly injured by a heligorr’s claw.

“More Draconians are arriving,” Gotrid comforts me. “There are many high-level players in Tokyo, they’ll be fine.”

“But why Japan right after Prague?” I shake my head. “It can’t be a coincidence. Is my father sending me a message or something?”

“We still don’t know if he’s responsible for these rifts opening,” Erik reminds me. “There’s no technology to do that.”

“There wasn’t technology for transforming millions of players into fantasy races either,” I oppose.

We continue watching the streaming but it’s unnerving to observe. If I was there, the battle would be over already. Instead, the first heligorr goes down after hellishly long thirty minutes and many Draconians got injured in the process. The second heligorr takes even longer because filandras started going after humans so local Draconians had to divide their forces.

“See? They could do it,” Erik celebrates when all the monsters are finally eradicated.

They could, fortunately, but I’m afraid the price for that was too high. There will be many casualties—humans and Draconians alike. Unless we seriously level up and get organised, these attacks will get out of control. And what if stronger monsters start appearing as well? Heligorrs and tripoderras were only low-level monsters in the game. Not even I could defeat a manticore with my current level.

“We have to…,” I get up from the chair but the moment I straighten, my head spins. I wobble but Erik and Gotrid hurry and catch me in time so I don’t end up on the floor.

“Love, you’re exhausted,” Gotrid is worried. “You shared too much mana with me.”

“I’m okay, just tired and hungry,” I murmur wearily.

“Why didn’t you say something?” Erik sighs.

“Give me a sandwich and I’ll be fine,” I wave my head. “With Liana out of the picture, I have to…”

“You’re going to bed, Your Majesty,” Luviael speaks up and purses her lips similarly to Liana. It seems she learned more than politics and administration from her mentor.

“Nonsense, there’s too much stuff to…”

But Vermiel is already telling the guards to open the door for me while Luviael calls Taranah to help her out. Gotrid smirks and takes me into his arms, using all the necessary force because I struggle with him.

“It’s no use,” Erik chuckles and helps carry my wings. “The Emperor needs to rest and that’s final. You know you have to listen to us in these things, love.”

“Your Majesty, put your trust in us,” Luviael pleads. “Your doctor is right, we can’t keep overworking you like this. A functional government can’t stand on two people alone. We’ll do our best until newly appointed ministers arrive and we establish proper departments.”

“You heard her, they’ll take care of it,” Gotrid says impatiently. “You would only worry, worry, worry even though there’s nothing you can do about Japan right now.”

We cross the corridor and the guards have to constantly assure the onlookers that I’m just tired so that there’s no panic erupting. I usually love being held by my partners, I just don’t like having so many witnesses.

“Seriously?” the maids get angry the moment they see us entering our apartment. “Why didn’t you come right after the battle? We were waiting for you, we had food prepared.”

“There’s been an emergency,” I explain quickly because nothing good ever comes from angering my maids. “Didn’t you hear about Tokyo?”

“We did. So?” Ayala clicks her tongue. “Let your subordinates take care of it.”

“See?” Erik winks at me. “Things are slowly changing, they realised you can’t be expected to deal with everything that comes up on your own.”

“You did the maximum you could today, hon,” Gotrid says, putting me on the sofa in our living room. “Now’s the time to rest. You deserved it.”

“I have an idea,” Erik murmurs more to himself than to us and runs off somewhere.

Gotrid raises his eyebrow but he takes it as an opportunity to cuddle with me privately. To be honest, I’m not in the mood for cuddling right now. I can’t stop thinking about how many people died in Tokyo during the attack and the potential consequences. Gotrid is considerate of that and changes his efforts to petting my wings. That’s always pleasant for a Celestial no matter what.

“Love, don’t fall asleep yet,” he has to tickle me when he notices that my eyes are closing. “I know you’re tired but you have to eat something before we let you sleep.”

“Let’s… leave it… for breakfast,” I yawn.

“Aefener,” Gotrid whispers into my ear which makes all my feathers stand up. He rarely uses my name so it’s much more precious. I open my eyes again only to find him leaning over me, preparing for a kiss.

“Dinner is ready, Your Majesty!” Ayala interrupts us at the worst possible moment. Gotrid looks at her with a killing intent but she only grins and leaves the door open.

Erik is waiting for us in the dining room and I finally understand why he left so strangely. The light in the room is dimmed and there are candles on the table. If he wanted to create a romantic atmosphere in just a few minutes, he certainly succeeded.

“And the bath will be ready by the time you finish eating,” Cien reports proudly.

“Oh, the bath?!” my eyes sparkle. So far, I only took a quick shower in our new bathroom but the jacuzzi was there, hard not to notice.

“But dinner is a priority,” Cien says. “Please, eat as much as you can, Your Majesty.”

I nod but I’m a bit apprehensive hearing that, to be honest. It’s not that I don’t like eating, I just don’t like eating certain kinds of food and I absolutely hate overstuffing myself. But when Ayala takes off the lid with a huge smile, she reveals a dish I could eat anytime and in huge quantities (huge for me, at least).

“A pizza!” I celebrate and smell it. It’s heavenly.

“Baked freshly in the skyscraper,” Ayala smiles. “Her Excellency wanted to make a surprise for you, she bought a pizza oven for the kitchens.”

“This is really the best!” I appreciate it and take a slice immediately. For a moment, I forget all my worries and just gobble.

“Enjoy, love,” Erik bites into his own ham pizza. Gotrid and I got a cheese one as only Erik can digest meat.

I manage to finish the whole pizza and even take small a bowl of salad. I’m very full but not totally stuffed so I still feel fine.

“We should have a romantic evening more often,” Erik comments after the plates are cleared and we get a glass of wine. “Let’s make it a weekly thing, not a rare occurrence.”

“Agreed,” Gotrid seconds and, for once, they agree with each other.

I notice that while Erik got his glass full, Gotrid and I received barely a half. Even in the evening during leisure time Celestials stay away from alcohol. Not that I’m complaining, half a glass is quite enough for me. An intoxicated caster could be very dangerous and my alcohol tolerance was very low, to begin with.

“Now’s my turn,” Erik gets up quickly and before I can do anything, he takes me into his arms.

I have to ostentatiously roll my eyes. I just got a little dizzy because I should have eaten something the moment we returned from the battle. I’ve just eaten a ton so I feel much better already, yet I’m still considered to be incapable of walking on my own.

“Erik, I slayed a huge spider-like monster today,” I remind him.

“So…?” he tilts his head and is chuckling.

“Forget it,” I sigh resignedly and let myself be carried to the bathroom.

It turns out the lights are dimmed even here and the bathtub is clad with candles. Romantic! I’ve never tried a jacuzzi before so this is my first. But I don’t care about what it can do, I just want to comfortably fit inside and properly wash my wings.

Gotrid and Erik spend quite a long time undressing me, savouring each layer. Then I finally jump inside and it’s pure heaven. The bathtub is big enough for a Celestial! Well, maybe not for long because my partners follow me, of course. Suddenly, I feel a bit cramped again. But it’s a good kind of cramped since I’m squeezing between my beloved.

“Foam?” Gotrid passes me a bottle.

“Oh, please!” I grab it and apply a ton of the product into the water. “This is so nice!” I start putting the foam on my feathers and massaging my wings.

“Let me, hon,” Erik moves behind me and takes over the massage. Gotrid quickly joins as well so they both have one wing to take care of.

“Did I get two partners exactly for that? Maybe I did,” I joke, thoroughly enjoying the procedure and, for a moment, I forget about the world.

We spend the evening cuddling in the bath, then continue doing so in our bedroom. With my stomach pleasantly full and my wings nicely clean, tiredness went away momentarily so I’m up to some bed adventures.


“Are you okay, Li?” I worry because the first thing I notice when I enter the Royal Office the next morning is Liana feeling pissed and flustered.

“That moron was standing in front of my bedroom the whole night,” she complains loudly which isn’t normally her style.

“You mean Soren? Well, he’s in the Royal Guard now so his task is doing exactly that,” I don’t understand the problem.

“I didn’t think he would be guarding ME!” she cries. “He saw me in a night robe and with my bed hair!”

Gotrid and Erik chuckle so Liana stares at them with her eyes narrowed.

“I wanted to re-assign him to you but Vermiel told me he has all posts full already,” she continues ranting. “Apparently, every Celestial with that aspiration tries hard to get into the Royal Guard to serve you directly.”

“Naturally, it’s the highest honour,” Gotrid says matter-of-factly.

“It seems to me Soren volunteered to become your guard,” I giggle. “Do I sense a crush developing?”

“Don’t be ridiculous, that guy just wants to torment me for the weeks I’ve been ignoring him,” she grunts. “He went to sleep after his night shift so I’m rid of him for now but he will come back for sure!”

“Some torment can be good,” Gotrid winks at me. “After all, I got my Emperor by being daring and persistent.”

“I’d call it obnoxious,” Erik coughs.

Liana rolls her eyes and tells us to stop messing around and start working. As expected, there’s a ton of work waiting for us after yesterday. I have another phone call with the Japanese Prime Minister who obviously didn’t get any sleep, judging by his weary expression.

“Thirty-six people are dead,” Ichikawa announces grimly. “The Draconians did what they could but they came too late and weren’t well organised. People in Prague are lucky to have you, Your Majesty.”

“We have to speed up establishing patrols,” I say urgently. “As we said at the conference, we need professional combat forces, not random volunteers. Have you managed to secure suitable spots across the whole country yet?”

“Not yet,” Ichikawa admits. “The logistic of such a task is challenging but my people are working on it as we speak.”

“My call for arms was answered by many Draconians,” I try to sound positive. “We’ll have working combat units soon.”

“But we also need Celestials… every country does,” the Prime Minister bites his lip.

“Of course, I promised to fully cooperate,” I don’t understand what he’s talking about.

“So you’ll ask them to stay in their respective countries?” Ichikawa is afraid to meet my eyes. “I mean those countries that didn’t refuse Draconian help.”

“Wait,” I raise my hand because I finally catch his drift. “Are you telling me that Celestials are leaving Japan?”

“You didn’t know?” the Prime Minister blinks. “It’s literally an exodus. Now that the UN guarantees that Draconians can cross borders, many Celestials decided to flock to Bohemia where their Emperor is. To you. Japanese social media is full of photos of Celestials waiting for flights to Europe.”

“Li!” I call my Viceroy who’s overhearing our conversation from the other table.

“Investigating it!” she calls back in a panic because not even she anticipated such an outcome.

“I’m sorry, Ichikawa-san, we didn’t know. We were busy after yesterday’s attack,” I apologise. “I’ll try imploring my people to stay and protect Japan.”

“Your Majesty,” Ichikawa takes a deep breath. “I know that what I’m about to ask you is very bold of us but would you consider visiting Japan as our most honoured guest? Maybe Japanese Celestials wouldn’t be so eager to leave if they saw that you still perceive Japan to be your homeland.”

“Ehm,” I can’t answer right away because the sudden appeal startled me.

“Just for one week?” Ichikawa almost begs.

“We’ve recently returned from New York, Ichikawa-san,” Gotrid answers for me. “His Majesty needs to rest.”

“I’m well aware of that,” he says and lowers his gaze. “I also realise that you’re not a Japanese citizen, Your Majesty, so you have no obligation to us but surely you feel something towards your birthplace?”

“You mean the birthplace which refused to grant me dual citizenship?” I comment bitterly. “And deported me when I was just four?”

Ichikawa grows pale.

“Your mother was an EU citizen and she didn’t state who your father was when you were born,” he explains slowly. “We do allow dual citizenship but only if you could prove that at least part of your family is Japanese.”

I shudder. That would mean admitting in front of the whole world that Takeda is my father! I try to look like I need a few moments to think it through to discuss the matter with my partners telepathically without being suspicious.

Maybe it’s not such a bad idea? It could get him from hiding, Erik suggests carefully.

He might deny it, I doubt. Besides, do we want to contact him now? Everything is in a disarray.

You’ll need to face him one day, Erik reminds me softly.

No way, Gotrid disagrees. If Takeda publicly confirms that our Emperor is indeed his son, he might try to claim him.

Claim? Ryuuto is a legal adult, Gotrid, Erik snorts.

The Japanese are very conservative when it comes to family matters, Gotrid opposes. Whatever that Takeda guy is planning, it’s obvious he needs our beloved for that and this could serve as a perfect pretence.

“I’ll consider visiting Japan,” I say loudly. “I might not have any obligation to you but you’re right that Japan is my birthplace. Don’t bother investigating if I’m Japanese enough in the eyes of your immigration law, it’ll be a strictly diplomatic visit.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Ichikawa’s face brightens. “If there’s hope you’re coming in foreseeable future, Japanese Celestials will think twice about leaving. Thank you, thank you!”

The phone call ends and I have a dark premonition and screwed up big time. The Japanese don’t understand hesitation the same way Europeans do and my thinking is European.

“Yes, I’m afraid the Japanese government is taking our visit for granted,” Liana notices my expression and switches into the teacher’s mode. “You still have much to learn, my young political padawan.”

“You’re not mad?” I sigh.

“Anything that helps us gain political influence and is seen in a positive light is good,” she shrugs. “Besides, don’t you want to visit your homeland?”

“I’ve always wanted to,” I admit. “But as a tourist and to do touristy things.”

“I’m afraid there’s no such thing as a monarch or a president of another country visiting as a tourist,” she has to disappoint me.

I sigh. Another thing that’s never happening. Being the Celestial Emperor brings only limitations and almost no perks except for money and influence.

Only you’re not interested in money and influence, Erik comments in his thoughts, amused.

“Li, can I leave to visit our wounded?” I ask because I’m not sure if I’m needed right now or not. “I have no doubts they have the best possible care but I’m still worried about Gwyn’s wing.”

“Sure, go,” she allows. “Your visit will boost their morale and I need to contact and interconnect our Japanese communities which will take some time.”


“Your Majesty, you didn’t have to bother,” Noage greets me when I enter the infirmary. “Everything’s under control.”

“Just checking up, it’s no bother,” I assure him and look for Julia. I feel her but I don’t see her because she’s hidden behind a curtain, tending to someone.

“Your Majesty!” Gwyn calls to me enthusiastically, only a second later realising that it might be considered rude. She turns red. Her bed is positioned next to the window with respect to her Celestial preferences.

“Gwyn, how are you?” I hurry to her.

“Quite well actually because my Emperor is concerned,” she’s all smiles and points towards her wing that’s fixated in a special cast. “Doctor Noage made it for me. He’s also giving me something for the pain so it’s not so horrible.”

“Healing is the easy part,” Noage says. “The hard part is what comes after. Gwyn will need rehabilitation and won’t be able to fly for at least two weeks.”

“Gwyn, do you promise to rest properly?” I implore her.

“As you command, Your Majesty,” she nods eagerly.

“I don’t command, I’m asking you,” I sigh. “Now, let me apply a healing booster.”

Erik and Gotrid both roll their eyes at the same time because Gwyn looks blissful that I’m going to personally apply another healing spell. I try not to pay attention to her rather fanatical feelings towards me and I channel my warm healing energy into her wing.

“I’ve just shortened your recuperation a bit,” I wink at her. “But the rest is up to your own body I’m afraid. Proper recovery is still a natural process even for Draconians.”

“You straightened the bone nicely, Your Majesty, that’s more than enough,” Noage assures me. “Not even an Earthborn could do better.”

“I wouldn’t dare to straighten a bone of any other race,” I admit. “With Gwyn, I followed her mana circuit and harmonised that into its original shape.”

“Fascinating,” Noage takes a mental note. “So there are aspects of Celestial healing arts that are working only within your own race.”

“I think so?” I confirm hesitantly. “I also felt that Gwyn’s mana circuit was cooperating with me when I was applying the spell.”

“And does it also…”

“Noage!” Julia appears from behind the curtain and berates her colleague. “His Majesty didn’t come here to be questioned. If you’re writing a research paper, ask any other Celestial.”

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty,” Noage bows and runs off to check up on a Dragonkin with a badly scratched hand.

“Everything okay there, Jul? Do you need my healing?” I ask and eye the curtain.

“Oh, no, there’s no need,” Julia waves her hand. “This patient is perfectly healthy, it’s only morning sickness.”

“Morning sickness?” I tilt my head.

The curtain fully opens and a woman steps out—it’s Brina, the pregnant Clawfang I saved from the squat. I wanted to ask about her several times but I was always too busy. I’m happy to see her now.

“Your Majesty, good morning,” she greets me and bows. “I’m sorry to occupy the doctor unnecessarily when she’s supposed to take care of the wounded but I got very dizzy all of a sudden. I wanted to make sure everything’s okay with the little one.”

“Is it?” I look at Julia, a bit panicky.

“Perfectly healthy,” she repeats. “Brina’s pregnancy is just more turbulent because she got pregnant before her transformation fully finished. It should be okay from now on.”

I study Brina and notice that her belly is protruding a bit. Isn’t it too fast? Or normal for a Clawfang? What month is she in anyway?

“I think Clawfang pregnancy will take only six months,” Julia answers my unvoiced question. “We don’t know much yet but Brina is so kind to come every week for observation and some unintrusive testing.”

“The very first Draconian pregnancy,” Brian caresses her belly and smiles. “We were trying to keep it secret for as long as we could but ever since my belly started showing, we obviously couldn’t anymore. Now doctors and scientists from all over the world are begging me for an examination.”

“If you’re being harassed by them…,” I start but she shakes her head.

“It’s okay, my partner is very protective and so are all the Clawfangs who didn’t leave with our Alpha,” she says. “Thanks, doctor. Thank you for your kind concern, Your Majesty.”

I’m worried that she’s still a bit dizzy but it turns out two Clawfangs came to pick her up.

My phone buzzes—Liana is texting me to come back to the office because Japanese Celestials want to speak with me and no one else. It’s like my homeland is calling me, telling me that it’s high time I return and reconnect with my roots. I’m starting to feel excited about it but I can’t shake off the creeping dread in my subconscious. Because visiting Japan also means facing my father.