Chapter 22:

Night Talk

The World's Savior is a Deviant?!

“...So that's the gist of it.” I took a seat by the indoor fountain and waited for the other two to respond.

Raze let out a wistful sigh, obviously annoyed with our current predicament. I was as well, though I kept it to myself. 

“There's no way in hell that canon is full for today! I call bullshit! Massive Bullshit!” He leaped onto one of the king-sized beds with his shoes still on and sat down with his arms crossed. His glare was so intense it could melt ice.

“I don’t see the problem,” Lyra added cooly. She took her own seat on a chair, her tail barely squeezing through the empty space. “She said that we can leave first thing in the morning. I don’t see the harm in staying the night in a nice room they provided as compensation.”

"Yeah. There is really no problem." I nodded in agreement while stretching out my arms and wings in tandem. “It's fine to take a night off and let us recover.”

Raze scowled. “We haven't even done anything yet! I lost a few rounds of shitty jeopardy, you probably gambled your way into a pass, and the scorpion got shoved out of a circle by a fatty.”

“I would have easily beat that large human in one-on-one combat,” Lyra scoffed at Raze’s claim. It was rather out of character. She's just prideful, I guess.

“Either way,” I brought us back to the matter at hand, “let’s just take it easy and rest. Okay?”

Raze snorted as he kicked off his shoes. “Why are women so damn lazy? You know I was the only one that did something today with learning that ginger’s special move.”

"......" I pouted. I hated when he talked like that. Even if he had accepted me, his tolerance was still low for just about everything I or Lyra did.

“One of these ‘lazy women’ acquired the ticket that you yourself failed to acquire." I couldn't see my expression, but I felt very smug as I poked fun at him. "What can you say to that? You are a shrew man—Raze Havok!”

"I don't wanna hear that from you." He flung a sock at each of us.

Lyra carefully plucked the sock that Raze had thrown at her cheek, letting it drop listlessly to the floor. Her composed attitude only slightly changed along with her stoic visage. I would have been a lot more furious, but Lyra endured his childish antics.

 "I will be turning in for the night. Komoria, I know you would be fine with sharing the other bed because he is the alternative...” Her eyes darted over towards Raze with a face of dissatisfaction. “but it's fine. You take the bed and I will descend into slumber on the floor.”

I stood up from my seat. “Wh-what are you t-talking about, Lyra? A sweet and earnest girl—even one as sturdy as you—should never have to sleep on the floor.” I snuck a peak at Raze’s expression, but he didn't even seem to hear my statement. He was engrossed in the scanner, tinkering around with its interface or something like that.

Lyra walked over to me and placed a hand on my shoulder. “Us Azurespine prefer to sleep in our beast forms. And to be frank—nothing makes us happier than to lay coiled around by our tails on a wide and plain ground.

“O-oh. Are you sure….? I feel kinda bad to have this huge place to myself.” It didn't feel right to treat my friend that way. 

She shook her head to reassure me before pointing to her tail. “How do you expect me to sleep with this? If I slept sideways, I would run the risk of piercing you or rolling off the bed. I am used to it so it is no issue—I assure you.”

She thrust a finger at the busy Raze. “You should be grateful for having such a superb ally like her.”

Raze looked up but avoided eye contact. “Eh? The only good things about her are insane luck when it comes to games and healing magic. She's also a tan buxom beauty by my world’s standards. Any horny guy could get behind that—perhaps even me. Heh-heh-heh.” No one joined him in his obnoxious laughter.

"......" I instinctively hugged my chest. I didn't feel a lustful gaze from Raze, but I didn't like the fact that he thought one of my best features was my boobs. Lyra also gave him a reproachful gaze.

“Hey, hey. What's with the look of disgust? No need to get defensive. Ain't a woman on this planet that could entice me. I’m just saying objectivity—that's one of your best qualities.”

I didn't know I was repulsed by his comments. It actually didn't bother me too much for some reason... Must be a reflex.

"Just be silent already!" Lyra hissed on my behalf. "Somehow your poison tongue is always worse than my own venom."

Raze only stuck his tongue out and descended into the bed sheets.

Some time went by after that. I took a look at some new things that were added to my status card while Raze was deep in a novel that was lying on the kitchen counter. Lyra was curled up like a dog in the corner in her cobalt scorpion form.

She had no expression when she was a monster, but she seems to be having a good sleep. I smiled. Even with the commotion earlier, I was still feeling a lot better than yesterday.

I looked back over to Raze. “I didn’t expect a meathead jerk like you to be the reading type.”

He took a few seconds before opening his mouth, his eyes focused on a page. “...I don’t really care for it, but it's nice to pass the time since we are stuck in this shitty place for the night— Shit!.”

He slammed down his book on the blanket. It startled me. “Wha-what is it?!”

He looked at me with madness in his eyes. “I forgot to do my two other deeds. FUCK!”

He was about to stand up when I stopped him. “Settle down. If you help me, you should be able to get those cleared with ease.”

He stared at me with disbelief, as if what I said was the most cryptic of answers. “Help you?” He raised a brow, uncertainty flaring within his voice. “Well, I guess that would be fine since I don’t want to head out again and put all this shit on.” He gestured towards the assortment of armor and clothing at the end of the bed. He was in a white t-shirt and cotton pants so he wouldn't sleep uncomfortably. He didn't care, but I insisted. No one should have to sleep in an uncomfortable situation. Right, Raze?

“So….,” He sat crisscrossed on top of his bed covers, “what did you want my help with?”

Ah, how rare! His eyes had a bit of seriousness to them. Was the Raze I always saw just an act? Was this the real Raze? I wanted to know, but I didn't press further for fear of him returning to his usual self. I could find it out with time. For better or worse, our fates were intertwined.

“Well…” I rocked myself back and forth on the bed, trying to keep my thoughts together. It took a bit of time to muster enough confidence before finally saying: “...I guess let's start with my village.”

“Ah…” Was all Raze could get out of his mouth when he appeared at my grim visage in the dim lighting. At least I had his full attention.

I took a deep breath. “As you know or—don' don't think you listen to others very well anyway— Cough, cough!” I choked on something in my throat. It went down smoothly soon after. “Anyway....when I first joined you on this ‘trip’, I was told my family would be free from an ancient curse. The curse part doesn't really matter—especially now,” I muttered bitterly. “The important part was that I was supposed to do all of this to not only save Edenora like you but also save the Vatre tribe.”

‘I, uh...knew you had a reason, but I wasn't exactly sure or...cared. Still….” He avoided eye contact again. “I’m...uh, sorry about all that—yeah.” He slumped down in bed as if this short conversation had drained him of all his energy. “You still seem rather calm. Or is this one of those things where you were actually really mad under the surface, but did a really good hiding it?”

I let out a long wistful sigh. “You actually thought about my situation for once. It makes me really...happy. But, no, I’m not sad about it—not anymore. I had a talk with Lady Endina that helped calm me down a lot.”

“” He was really trying to keep up the conversation without being offensive. So there was this side to you too, Raze? Or is it Lady Endina's doing?

“That's not all we discussed, but she said there's a special item hidden inside the Lord of Calamity's vault that was created with temporal manipulation in mind. S-so….i-if we can r-reach him….then maybe…” My voice trailed off, the words retreating down my throat like a snake recoiling back into its hole.

“You don’t have to say more... I get it...I think. Well, I never had a...strong relationship with most of my family, but it would still hurt greatly to see them gone…. Something inside me is saying that I have had a similar experience…” He put his hand to his head in pain. “I just can't seem to remember that much about my family for some reason…”

“It's alright,” I assured him, “we can figure it out—together.” I somewhat internally cringed at my words, but it just felt...right.

“Heh, your right. I can't believe you asked for my help, but I'm the one that is getting something out of it.” He sulked in the darkness. The candles had run out, but I had no trouble seeing once with nocturnal vision.

I giggled. “I really love this rare side to you, Raze. It really makes you seem like a different person—someone I can rely on and expect the same in return. Strange, right?”

“Whatever.” He reeled his body back and put his hands behind his head in the resting position. “My personality is just going through a rough patch. I may have been more like this back in my world.”

“Oh?" I said with a large grin. "So you weren't always a scumbag savior? What a pleasant surprise.”

His cheeks took on a slightly peachy tone. “Zip it. I don't wanna hear it from you... But, yeah—I was apparently a lot different in my past, but I just don't remember a lot of it besides my amazing hobbies.”

I let my body go loose as I sprawled out over the bed and placed my hands under my chin like a child interested in hearing a bedtime story. “Hmm. So what exactly do you remember?”

I decided to test my luck and press him for details. He didn't even seem angry or annoyed—just embarrassed.

“Eh… it's bits and pieces, really. I remember that I loved to play these awesome things called video games. They aren't in this world, but they were something similar to the games you are good at.”

I playfully rolled myself upside down on the bed. “Interesting. Tell me more,” I asked. Especially about these games similar to mine!

He put a hand to his chin, something he only did when he actually gave something some thought. “I know I had a shitty father that forced me to work a job all throughout school. I think he took most of the money I made to pay off his stupid debts or something. He really was the worst. It was always just me and him and school sucked too. There may have been someone else there as well, but clearly, my life sucked.

“I have heard about the concept of 'school' from other humans, but it's a rather foreign concept to us beast-kin. We are raised through trials, games, and combat. Literature was my only escape from it.”

“Yeah, it’s pretty uptight and pointless really. I think I even had to wear a uniform at my academy...Erg— FUCK! OW!” He clutched his head again, gritting his teeth in pain.

“You don’t need to force yourself, just tell me what you do remember,” I spoke in a calm and soothing voice so as to not upset him. I was pretty curious about his past and what stuff—especially those "video games."

"I didn't have any friends at school and I didn’t really focus in class either. I spent my days focusing on working and enjoying my life in a fake world.”

“That...doesn’t sound too pleasant.”

Raze innocently shrugged. “Eh. It's in the past and unlike you—I don't have a reason to change it.”

“That's true….” My voice dried up again. I guess this serious topic was coming to an end. However, I still had more to ask.

“Say, Raze, do you really think I’m only good for my magic luck chest size? I can see why you would think tha—”

“Nah, I didn't mean that.”

Huh? He answered so fast! I could feel my heart beating faster and faster. Was I nervous...? Or was I just relieved that he didn't hate me? Either way, I was starting to feel like I had entered a volcano.

I waited for him to continue, my pulse containing to hasten as the silence permeated between us. He made me wait around ten...slow...excruciating...heartbeats before he finally continued.

“I just wanted to keep the scorpion off my back and I was maybe just a little...jealous.”

“Wah?!” I yelled, probably stirring Lyra. “You?! Jealous???!!! Am I in a dream right now?!”

He shrugged once more. “I’m not foolish to throw aside my emotions, I just prefer to not really talk about ‘em, you know? That kind of stuff makes me feel weird. But yeah, I don’t wanna admit it, but you have really done a lot of work for our group so far. You have patched up my body more times than I can count. You killed that nasty eldritch freak and the band of cow bandits as well kept me alive versus that fatso, Archevaz. You even defeated that fish guy in Blackjack.

Maybe I was really dreaming. Raze would never say all these nice things about me. Especially to my face. But if this is real life... Where am I going with this?

“Bor—The Angler,” I corrected as I warred with my inner self.

“Yup—that guy. Anyway, I’m not really good at this shit and I thought I would detest having a busty animal girl be my companion, but it really hasn't all been that bad. I can't even tell you why I prefer being around dudes since I totally don't swing that way.”

I rolled my eyes and formed a wry smile. Hehehe. He keeps mentioning my boobs, hehe…

“T-thank you. I’m going to do my best to be as useful as I can for our next trial. I even learned a few new tricks that I’ll show you later.”

“....” The only reply was silence.

“Raze?” I whimpered. “What happened?”


His obsessive snoring hit my ears like cold water. It really brought me out of my reverie. But it wasn't a dream—right? Right?

“We did have a good talk—I think. So thank you for that.” I gazed happily at his slumbering form. A felt a sort of bewitching smile appear on my lips. At least—that's what I thought it was. My heartbeat gradually began to decrease, but that really did beg the question: why had it been going so fast? Surely I wasn't lovestruck after such a sublime discussion. I'm not that easy...I think!

Ignoring my the potential maiden-in-love images that swirled around in my head, I tapped the side of my head where my condensed scanner lived. The purple holographic display gleamed faintly in the darkness. It had an extra feature that had been added recently which was a makeshift mirror. Lady Endina knew how I liked to present myself and I had lost my own small mirror when we left our belongings outside the Imp City. Yup, I really did have a coquettish grin! Mom said it runs in the family, but I'm far too young to be thinking about... Hmm?

I gazed at my own reflection. The bags under my eyes weren't terrible, but my lack of sleep from yesterday was shockingly apparent.

I’m glad no one said anything.

Then I noticed a thin red warmness caressing my cheeks. It faded not long after, thankfully. If Raze saw that face, he would point and laugh...right? As a self-appointed enemy of women, would he really appreciate someone like...

Komoria! Stop! Don't play his games! 

I gave my cheeks a good slap. Thankfully, the two of them were still asleep. 

I was probably just thrown off by Raze’s surprisingly kind and empathetic words. It was a complete parallel to the foul-mouthed and hot-headed boy I had traveled with for the past week. Wow, so much had happened in this past week... 

Speaking of weeks, we could really use more than a day off.

I’ll bring that up later, I decided.