Chapter 66:

We’re Family

Draconia Offline

“Yes, it’s true, I’m coming,” I confirm but I’m not particularly happy about it. I want to visit my homeland, I really do, but I don’t want to be forced into it like this. Unfortunately, there’s no other way. Japanese Celestials were preparing to leave and only my coming over could stop them.

“That’s the most wonderful news, Your Majesty!” Gavreel celebrates and Celestials squeezing into the camera’s scope around him are also overjoyed.

Gavreel is a Celestial in his late thirties with grey wings and long blond hair who’s been acting as my sort-of deputy for Japan. I haven’t had many opportunities to deal with him personally, it’s been Liana’s job up to this point, and I also don’t know him that well from the game because he belonged to a different guild.

But he has a great resumé with twelve-year experience in salesforce so we decided to appoint him our future Minister of Commerce. He was actually the only Japanese Celestial who was directly invited to join our inner government. Little did we know back then he intended to bring all Japanese Celestials with him.

“We’ll start to prepare for your arrival right away,” Gavreel continues enthusiastically. “Forget about booking a hotel, you’re staying with us!”

“Do you have proper accommodation for our Emperor?” Liana interferes, frowning. “It has to be a secure area, a random apartment won’t do.”

“One of us is offering her mansion in Osaka,” Gavreel boasts. “It’s perfect. We’ll secure it beforehand so you don’t have to worry, Your Excellency.”

“Seriously, how many more players are millionaires? What are the odds?” Erik grumbles.

“Sunako-chan isn’t a millionaire, Royal Consort,” Gavreel sets the record straight, unperturbed by Erik’s rudeness. “True, her family has noble origins reaching to the first shogunate but they are nowhere near our Viceroy’s level. In their case, it’s more about keeping tradition than wealth.”

“Chan?” I get curious about the name suffix because the Japanese language usually uses it for children.

“She’s only twelve,” he explains quickly.

“Wasn’t the game 16+?” Erik narrows his eyes.

“Poor Suu-chan used to be bedridden so she got an exception. She actually spent most of her life in VR,” Gavreel reveals. “But the transformation healed her completely, it was a miracle.”

“The transformation healed her?” I widen my eyes, pleasantly shocked.

“You didn’t hear about it from the media because her family kept it secret. Anyway, Sunako-chan is really looking forward to meeting you, Your Majesty” Gavreel smiles. “You should have seen her when she flew for the first time considering she couldn’t even walk before.”

“But Osaka is too far from Tokyo,” Liana opposes.

“So what?” Gavreel shrugs. “His Majesty will be crossing the globe, surely the Prime Minister can travel to Osaka.”

“He’s right, let Ichikawa come to us,” Gotrid agrees. “We should make it look like our Emperor is benevolent, not compliant.”

“Okay, send us the blueprints of the mansion,” Liana concedes.

“It’ll be much safer than a hotel,” Gavreel assures us. “Oh, Your Majesty, we’re so looking forward to your arrival. You have no idea how isolated we feel without you. I know that you’re from Prague and an EU citizen but there’re more Celestials living in Asia than in Europe. If you’d only consider moving your headquarters to Japan, we’d take care of everything.”

“Ehm…,” I don’t know how to instantly respond to that, the sudden proposition caught me off-guard.

“That’s not the topic right now,” Liana clicks her tongue.

“You’re right, it isn’t,” Gavreel admits but I have a feeling he’ll bring it up again.

“Start preparing for His Majesty’s arrival, I want detailed reports every day,” my Viceroy summarises and ends the phone call.

“Seriously, can you believe this guy?” Gotrid rants. “It’s not up to him to even suggest such things. Whether we move in future or not is your decision entirely, love.”

“It is?” I blink.

“Of course,” Liana rolls her eyes. “Do you think I’d bother securing us a building in Prague if it wasn’t your wish to set our headquarters here? It would have been much easier for me to vacate one of my facilities in Berlin.”

I must have been staring at her for too long because Erik pokes me.

“The mighty Emperor or not, you’re still so cutely slow in these things, hon,” he laughs. “Don’t feel pushed into the corner by the Japanese, they can’t make you do anything.”

“O-okay,” I nod hesitantly.

“You’re too kind, my Emperor,” Gotrid melts and feels the urgency to kiss me on the spot. So he does.

I expect Liana to sigh at us because she’s the type who hates open romance advances at the workplace but she just waves her hand and continues with work. There’s a lot of stuff we need to process before we can even think of going to Japan.


“Ryuu?” Erik sits next to me on the sofa while I’m sipping tea and actually relaxing. “Sorry, are you reading?”

“Trying to,” I look up at him from my book. “I wanted to read this volume for months now.”

“Just a quick question then,” he says. “My parents would like to visit, can I invite them on Sunday? I asked Luviael and she’s willing to clear our schedule.”

“Oh,” I bookmark the book. “They know about Gotrid, right?”

“The whole world knows, honey. You’re the only openly polyamorous statesperson,” Gotrid reminds me.

“Of course, they can come,” I nod. “What about lunch? Last time it was only coffee, I want to impress them.”

“As if your mere presence wasn’t impressing enough,” he shakes his head, amused. “I just hope Gotrid will behave.”

“Talking about me?” Gotrid appears, smelling of soap and his wings still a bit wet.

“My parents are coming this Sunday,” Erik announces rather dryly.

“Really? Nice!” Gotrid celebrates. “Am I invited as well? I’m dying to meet them.”

“Well,” Erik bites his lip. “I’m afraid it would be only appropriate considering we’re literally sharing a bed. Besides, they told me explicitly that they wish to meet you.”

“A bed with our lovely Emperor between as a divider,” Gotrid jokes but then he becomes more serious. “Do you think they will accept me? A lot of people who are totally okay with gay stuff aren’t fine with polyamory.”

“That remains to be seen but I think they’ll be okay in the end,” Erik shrugs. “Concerned how it will work out for us, sure, but they never meddled in my affairs.”

“Ehm!” I cough. “I was actually reading before you two came.”

“We should give you some space,” Erik agrees.

“Anyway, I don’t want you to have me as your 24/7 job you can’t quit,” I murmur.

“You’re not a job, silly,” Erik shakes his head and leans in to kiss me. “But I’d appreciate hitting the gym, you’re right. You’re lucky that Celestials are totally fine with just flying and that’s it when it comes to exercise.”

“I don’t want to leave my Emperor, I didn’t have nearly as much time with him as you did, Erik,” Gotrid frowns.

“Then stay but respect that Ryuu wants to read,” Erik purses his lips and gets up. “I won’t freak out leaving you alone with him, I’m beyond petty jealousy.”

I feel a burst of admiration towards him. Erik was always an amazing person, his only flaw was jealousy. But he’s overcoming that willingly, just how amazing is my partner?

“Ryuu, your emotions are leaking out again,” Erik warns me.

“Oh, dammit,” I take a deep breath to calm down.

“So it wasn’t a one-time thing when we had sex? You’re able to project not only your thoughts but also your emotions now?” Gotrid is curious.

“Ryuu was always able to do it. Once he got really angry at me and Liana for restricting him too much and let us feel his anger,” Erik recalls.

“The problem is I’m not able to control it,” I sigh.

“Yet,” Erik emphasises. “You’ll get the hang of it, I’m sure. Ok, I’m off to the gym then.”

When Erik leaves, I realise this is the first time I’m left completely alone with Gotrid. Not counting the guards, naturally. I half-expect him to take an advantage of that but he’s sitting patiently at the other end of our huge sofa.

“Didn’t you want to read?” he smiles at me. “Go on, I won’t disturb you. I’d love to pet your feathers if you allow me, though.”

“Okay then,” I spread my wings and look down at my book again.

It’s the fourth volume of the series I really liked before the Great Evolution. I remember looking forward to the next instalment. It’s comforting to discover that I still enjoy the same hobbies.

I get through a paragraph when Gotrid’s hands find my feathers. It’s pleasant but a little distracting. I can’t help not perceiving Gotrid’s emotions but at least I can block catching his thoughts. A few pages into reading I finally relax. Gotrid is craving to touch me but he stays quiet while doing so, respecting that I wish to read.

It’s the little mundane things I miss so dearly. The things I haven’t had any time to do ever since becoming the Emperor like simply reading a book and chilling. With the situation in the world not calming down anytime soon, I have to take whatever I can get—tiny chunks of leisure time between now and then.


“Do I look okay?” Gotrid asks nervously.

“Your right sleeve is crooked,” I fix it for him. “Calm down, if the Anderles are going it be angry at someone, it will be me. I got Erik into a polyamorous relationship.”

“Ehm,” Erik clears his throat. “You’re panicking, both of you.”

“Naturally,” Gotrid shrugs. “I need to make a good first impression.”

I wanted to book one of those fancy conference rooms we use for our diplomatic guests but Erik refused that idea straight away, arguing they wouldn’t feel at ease there. Besides, he wants to show them our new apartment we can finally proudly call home so it was decided we’ll eat in our dining room.

“Your Majesty, the Anderles are here,” Cien enters the bedroom to announce their arrival. “Lord Gotrid, your feathers are all puffy.”

“I know,” he cries. “I can’t help it, I’m too nervous.”

For once, Erik doesn’t make any mean remark and even looks at his rival with sympathy.

“Don’t worry, my parents are super nice,” he makes a rare effort to comfort down. “The worst that can happen is that they won’t be thrilled about our polyamorous relationship but I’m an adult and it was my decision. They’ll respect that.”

That finally calms Gotrid down a bit and his feathers flatten.

You’re the best, I send Erik a private thought.

I know, he smirks.

I take Erik’s hand, then Gotrid’s. I send them both my love and take a bold step. With all of us feeling more courageous, we appear in front of Erik’s parents who are waiting for us in the lobby.

“Your Majesty,” they bow the moment they see me.

Erik runs to them, hugging them tightly. They hug him back happily and I hope it’s a good sign. When they separate, there’s silence for a second or two because the Anderles stare at my new partner, studying him literally from head to toe.

“Mr and Mrs Anderle,” Gotrid gulps. “It’s my pleasure to meet you, my name is Gotrid. Please, call me that, I don’t need fancy titles from you.”

“Pleasure,” it’s Mrs Anderle who offers him her handshake first if a bit stiffly.

“And mine,” Mr Anderle follows cautiously but there’s no distaste in his mind.

To be honest, I get a bit envious. How come Gotrid gets to touch them while I can’t? What kind of stupid court rule is that? I want to break it! Badly! But I don’t want to scare them so I hold back.

“Lunch should be ready in thirty minutes, let’s tour our new apartment!” Erik suggests enthusiastically to avoid another awkward silence.

“Can we?” Mrs Anderle bites her lip, not wanting to intrude.

“Please, you should see where your son lives,” I smile encouragingly. “All doors are open to you.”

“Let’s go then!” Erik pushes his hesitant parents inside.

“Wow, Erik, it’s huge!” the Anderles are genuinely impressed by our living room.

“What can I say, I’m dating royalty,” he grins boastfully.

I let Erik lead, staying behind with Gotrid while the Anderles are being gradually shown all the rooms, including our bedroom and the walk-in closet. Especially the walk-in closet.

“Your dream came true, you’ve always wanted one, darling,” Mrs Anderle laughs.

By the time they’ve seen everything, Ayala calls us for lunch. The dining table is nicely decorated for the special occasion and the Anderles are very interested in Celestial chairs. The starter is served, my favourite cheese cream on a biscuit.

And then I realise our huge error. We wanted to impress them so desperately that we forgot we might embarrass them while doing so! The Anderles clearly have no idea which cutlery to use first and are starting to panic.

“Don’t worry, I’m still hopeless at it myself,” I say quickly, trying to save the situation. “My Viceroy told me a hundred times it’s this little thing but I still prefer a normal fork.”

To demonstrate, I take a normal-sized fork and eat with that. The Anderles relax and follow my example.

Thanks, Erik sends me a quick thought. We were so stupid, my parents don’t know any of this stuff that feels so normal to us now.

“Mr and Mrs Anderle, I need to ask you,” I say slowly when the staff brings us soup. “Do you feel safe in your apartment? Is there anything I can do?”

“The media don’t bother us as much anymore,” Mrs Anderle replies, taking the same spoon I grab. “We’re firm about not giving any interviews and they seemed to finally understand that.”

“Going outside is a different matter, though,” Mr Anderle sighs. “We get way too much attention wherever we go.”

“I’d like to assign you Celestial guards as well,” I reveal carefully. “I’m sure you heard about my grandmother.”

“The news was full of it,” Mrs Anderle nods slightly, guessing where this is going. “You think we might be in danger?”

“I want you protected, Erik’s family is my family,” I clutch Erik’s hand on the table. “I totally understand you probably feel suffocated by being guarded all the time but it’s for your protection.”

“Mom, Dad, what about taking a trip?” Erik suggests. “You’ve always wanted to visit Bali. We could book you a holiday house on a private beach.”

“We still have our jobs, hon,” Erik’s Mom shakes her head. “You know I love my designing work.”

“It would be just a short trip to escape Prague for a while, not permanent relocation” Erik tries to persuade them.

“Let us think about it first,” Mr Anderle purses his lips and I gather he’s the type of person who hates being pushed into things which I can totally relate to.

We continue with the soup and the room gets quiet again. It’s obvious the Anderles aren’t sure if talking is permitted when dining with the Emperor so Gotrid takes an initiative.

“I heard you’re a software engineer, Mr Anderle,” he says politely. “What kind of projects are you engaged in?”

Mr Anderle looks up at him. He’s nervous about talking to my new partner but I don’t catch any more than that. The Anderles don’t hate Gotrid by default just because they might think he’s a rival stealing me from their son. They obviously aren’t thrilled about polyamory but they came here with their minds open which is all I can ask of them.

“The company I work for makes software for medical equipment,” he answers. “It’s a demanding but very fulfilling job. What were you doing before the Great Evolution, Lord Gotrid?”

“Just Gotrid, please,” Gotrid gives them both his biggest smile I love so much. “I was a manager in an advertising agency. Nothing that would literally save lives like your job but I liked it and was good at it. You’ve just mentioned that you’re a designer, Mrs Anderle?”

“I plan weddings as a freelancer,” she reveals and, as an attempted joke, adds: “Maybe I’ll design your wedding one day, Your Majesty?”

Gotrid tilts his head, not quite understanding. I do but I’m surprised by how alien that very concept seems to me now. Erik coughs, giving his parents a signal that it’s not the right topic for Celestials.

“Y-you don’t have…?” Mrs Anderle is taken aback. “I’m sorry to assume… oh, that’s so embarrassing. I apologise, Your Majesty.”

“That’s okay, not many humans know about it,” I wave my hand. “Weddings aren’t a Celestial tradition.”

“So how do you…?” Mr Anderle is brave enough to ask.

“It isn’t that different, only there’s no official ceremony,” I explain. “We do have courtship aerial dances, though.”

“Oh, that,” the Anderles stare at Gotrid and I have no doubt they saw that video from New York in which Gotrid was blatantly seducing me in the air.

The main course arrives, vegetarian for me and Gotrid, meat for Erik and his parents. I expect to crave their nicely baked fish but my mouth doesn’t salivate at the sight of their meal. It seems I’ve finally overcome that craving. On the contrary, the idea of putting dead flesh in my mouth is downright disgusting. I happily dig into my chickpea salad with baked beetroot and very good salty cheese on top.

We’re making small talk between bites, the Anderles tiptoeing around my new partner as the hottest topic.

“Your Majesty, the desserts and coffee will be served in the living room,” Ayala announces when we finish eating.

“Brilliant,” I appreciate and stand up.

The Anderles quickly stand up as well and I barely resist sighing sadly. There’s no such thing as being informal in front of the Emperor even when it’s a relaxing Sunday lunch. Only my partners can act informal towards me.

We move to the living room, me sitting in the middle of the sofa with Erik to my right and Gotrid to my left. The Anderles take the armchairs positioned in front of us. The room is pleasantly warm, there’s a faint sweet fragrance in the air and quiet ambient music playing. Perfect.

“Mr and Mrs Anderle,” I address them in a gentle voice and hope that the fact both Erik and Gotrid started caressing my wings right away isn’t too much for them. We need to finally discuss why they decided to visit in the first place.

“You don’t need to justify yourself to us, Your Majesty,” Mr Anderle is quicker than me. “You’re the Celestial Emperor.”

“I think I do need to,” I insist. “Erik is your son and I’m sure you’re worried about him. Please, speak openly and honestly. Say what’s really on your mind. Forget for a second who I am and consider me simply to be Erik’s partner.”

The Anderles take a moment to absorb what I’ve just proposed. Then Mrs Anderle speaks up.

“We would be lying if I said we aren’t worried about our son,” she starts slowly but bravely. “Polyamory is a concept we’re not very familiar with. Please, don’t think of us as bigoted, my husband had his share of boyfriends at university.”

“You had, Mr Anderle?” I blink, a bit shocked.

“Bisexual,” he points to himself and grins. “I thought Erik told you.”

“I’m afraid he omitted that part,” I nudge my beloved.

“Sorry, it never came up in a conversation,” Erik shrugs. “I didn’t think it important.”

“The thing is,” Mrs Anderle takes a deep breath. “Polyamory isn’t really about gender or sexual orientation, it’s about commitment. Frankly, we’re afraid our son might suffer in such a relationship. We’re afraid you won’t give him the attention and love he deserves.”

“Besides, does Erik even love Gotrid as well?” Mr Anderle asks sharply. “I know a thing or two about polyamory and this is clearly not the case.”

“Mr and Mrs Anderle, I realise we Celestials perceive relationships differently, especially when it comes to our Emperor,” Gotrid says patiently. “But our commitment isn’t any shallower just because our Emperor is permitted and even expected to have more partners. And you’re completely wrong about one thing when it comes to commitment.”

“Which is?” they don’t understand.

“We’re not His Majesty’s boyfriends, we’re his Consorts. And that translates as husbands in human analogy,” Gotrid explains. “The fact we didn’t have a ceremony to testify that doesn’t diminish the truth.”

Erik’s emotional state suddenly drastically changes. I look at him in alarm, trying to figure out what’s going on. And then it hits me—Erik didn’t realise we’re husbands! It’s exactly the absence of an official ceremony that confused his human thinking.

Ryuu, h-husbands…? Really? Erik has to do his best not to let amazement show on his face.

Oh, Erik, I’m so sorry, I start apologising frantically. Do you need time to process it? Do you hate that mere idea? I honestly didn’t realise you didn’t realise. Seriously, am I really a telepath?

Erik doesn’t reply but another powerful emotion stirs inside of him. At first, I’m afraid the commitment is suddenly too big for him to digest, much more than he asked for. I’m scared I did something without his consent which freaks me out because it’s the last thing I’d want to do. But Erik’s shock quickly transforms into joy.

“You heard him,” Erik says proudly. “I’m not just Ryuu’s boyfriend, I’m his lawful husband. I’m sorry we didn’t inform you, Mom, Dad, but it happened so naturally and there wasn’t any ceremony to invite you to anyway.”

The Anderles stare at us for almost a whole minute before Mrs Anderle manages to let out:

“So His Majesty is part of our family now?” she says in a daze.

“Ryuu, my mom is your mother-in-law now,” Erik nudges me, grinning. “And my Dad is your father-in-law. That certainly gives things a new perspective, huh?”

“Erik, are you happy? Genuinely happy?” Mrs Anderle chews her lip.

“There are challenges in this unusual relationship, I’m not hiding that,” he answers confidently. “But love Ryuuto and Ryuuto loves me. He also loves Gotrid now and it’s not making our love any smaller. Polyamory might not always work for humans but it’s natural for the Celestial Emperor. I’ve never felt neglected just because I’m not the only partner Ryuu has. If anything, my sweet Ryuu is even more eager to prove his love for me than ever before.”

That finally persuades the Anderles—we reached a mutual understanding. I’m truly blessed that Erik’s parents are so open.

“Desserts?” Erik points at the table because nobody has touched their cheesecake yet.

“Oh, please!” Mrs Anderle picks up hers, craving sweets now that the tension is over.

Erik eats only half of his cake because he’s trying to stay away from excessive sugar. He waits until I finish mine and feeds me the rest of his dessert. The Anderles are watching our lovey-dovey interaction with relief.

“See? There’s nothing to be concerned about,” Erik assures them.

“Oh, you have a balcony?” Mr Anderle notices only now. “Could we maybe drink our coffee there? I’ve never been on a balcony so high.”

“That depends on whether our Emperor will behave,” Gotrid chuckles. “See, the thing is that our sweet beloved can’t be trusted with balconies, windows and such. His desire to fly is crazy.”

“I will behave,” I puff.

For a moment, the Anderles don’t know what to make out of it. Then the corners of their mouths twitch into a smile. They may not be able to address me by my name but at least they don’t have to be so wary around me all the time.

“Ryuu,” Erik warns me because the moment the guards open the door to the balcony and I feel the fresh air, I have an automatic tendency to spread my wings.

“I know, geez,” I retort and fold my wings back. “It was just a reflex.”

We make ourselves comfortable using pillows and blankets and the maids move our coffee and cakes. We spend the afternoon engaged in a pleasant conversation and the Anderles ask Gotrid a ton of questions.

“They did? That’s horrible!” Mrs Anderles is downright outraged when Gotrid tells them his parents disowned him. I feel they are slowly warming up to Gotrid, especially after hearing his life story.

And then it’s time to say goodbye. I’m overjoyed the Anderles accepted Gotrid so well and the Anderles are relieved they could confirm for themselves that Gotrid is a decent person. As the Anderles are about to enter the elevator, Erik’s Mom turns around rather wildly.

“This will be a serious breach of protocol but screw it, we’re family now!” she says cheekily and… hugs me tight.

I feel my guards and maids panicking but I don’t care. I hug her back and gobble her kindness. My mother-in-law. I love how it sounds.

“It’s okay, you can touch my wings,” I tell her, melting in her embrace.

“I can certainly see why Erik never has enough,” she laughs. “Your feathers are so soft and nice to pet, Your Majesty.”

“Mooom, that’s enough,” Erik cries because Mrs Anderle is petting my wings all over.

“So what,” she shrugs and finally lets go. “I’ve always wanted to do it. Celestial wings are so inviting and His Majesty’s especially.”

“Won’t I get a hug?” Erik pretends to be offended but he’s smiling.

Mrs Anderle hugs him as well, of course, and then looks at Gotrid.

“Oh, come on, you’re no longer a stranger,” Mrs Anderle embraces Gotrid as well, surprising everybody. “I’m sorry your family is so bigoted, Gotrid. Rest assured that we aren’t. It might take some time but we’ll come to terms with your unusual relationship arrangement eventually.”

“Thank you,” Gotrid whispers and his eyes get wet.

Mr Anderle doesn’t go for a hug but he nods at Gotrid approvingly and offers him a handshake. When the door closes after them, I also feel my eyes getting wet. They’re the family Gotrid and I never had. Words can’t describe how happy and fulfilled we feel right now.

“Cien, do we still have the rest of the day free?” I ask my maid.

“You do,” she assures me and then adds: “Unless you want to see the newest breakthrough in the Dragonkin crafting?”

“What breakthrough?!” I get excited.

“Love!” Erik and Gotrid purse their lips at me at the same time.

“Right, right,” I force myself to calm down. “It can wait until tomorrow. I bet my Consorts have an entirely different program in mind for the evening.”