Chapter 86:

Ryuuto No More

Draconia Offline

Erik and Gotrid follow me into the meeting room without saying anything. I’m still projecting my love to make them feel comfortable, but I closed off my thoughts from them completely. I know that it’s hurting their feelings, but I can’t afford to be distracted.

Liana doesn’t meet my eyes even once and keeps her head down. Even though I don’t need direct touch or eye contact to read her thoughts because I’m perfectly attuned to her, I decide not to pry and respect her privacy.

I feel careful enthusiastic anticipation coming from the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence. They suspect that I’m going to say something extremely important and sensitive. I seat myself in the best chair available and order the guards to keep the rest of the Japanese delegation outside. They protest, but Ichikawa waves at them and the door is closed.

“The information I’m about to share,” I start, giving them both a strict gaze, “is for the Japanese government only. Is that clear?”

“Perfectly clear, Your Majesty,” the Prime Minister nods and nudges his colleague. The Minister of Defence nods after a few seconds, his expression tense.

“Hayashi-san was right, we aren’t telling you the whole truth,” I admit, but my tone isn’t apologetic. I’m just static a fact. If I have to learn that I don’t need to explain myself, I’d better start practising right away.

“About…?” the Prime Minister gulps because there are so many mysteries still left unsolved. It can be any of them.

“We do know who my father is,” I reveal, “and you do as well, you just didn’t make that connection, Ichikawa-san. There’s no shame in that, I wouldn’t know either if he didn’t tell me himself at the UN summit in New York.”

“Wait, it’s someone I know?” Ichikawa widens his eyes. “Who?”

I take a deep breath. I’m putting my trust in these two politicians I barely know. It’s a gamble, but I’m willing to take that risk.

“Haruto Taketa,” I say simply.

Ichikawa and Hayashi exchange panicked glances and their distress doesn’t come from the fact that they both know the person in question and failed to make that connection. There’s something more to that. It’s almost as if they are genuinely afraid of him.

“Are you sure, Your Majesty?” Ichikawa’s voice is tense.

“He arranged for my severed feather to be stolen to do a DNA testing,” I nod. “There’s no doubt.”

“So you’re Ryuuto Takeda, the only heir to the Azuchi Group?” Hayashi shakes his head in disbelief. He certainly didn’t expect that when he accused me of my father being involved.

“I’m the Celestial Emperor Aefener,” I correct him. “But yes, I guess I am also that.”

Ichikawa and Hayashi look at each other again and I notice that they start sweating.

“That’s all we know, though,” I conclude as I have no intention to tell them about my telepathy.

“Why telling us now?” Hayashi narrows his eyes.

“I hate to admit it, but we lack resources so our investigation didn’t uncover anything that isn’t publicly known,” I sigh. “As for why I’m coming out with it now… well, let’s say you persuaded me with your honesty, Hayashi-san.”

The Minister of Defence studies me for a second, and then his pursed lips relax. It seems I finally managed to gain his trust.

“Ichikawa-san, I might be wrong, but I noticed that the name of my father startled you,” I choose my words carefully to avoid suspicion.

“It did, I won’t hide that, Your Majesty,” the Prime Minister says openly. “Azuchi Group and their CEO in particular have quite a history with the Japanese government.”

“Bad history?” I lean forward.

“It’s more complicated than that,” Ichikawa shakes his head. “Could we please ask for some time to discuss the matter with the rest of our government? I’m afraid that Haruto Takeda being Your Majesty’s father changes a lot of things.”

“I understand, take all the time you need,” I allow. “Tell whoever you need within your government, but I ask for your discretion.”

“We won’t fail your trust, Your Majesty,” the Prime Minister assures me.

The meeting room grows unnaturally quiet when the Japanese ministers leave because Liana is too shaken to speak up without permission. I use quiet time to think for a moment. What if the Japanese will need to know about my telepathy to follow up with the investigation? Am I prepared to tell the world and face the consequences? Will that make my father and the Divementis angry? I hope it won’t come to that.

“Love?” Gotrid pulls my sleeve gently, not sure if he can interrupt me, but I’ve probably been quiet for too long.

“I’m tired,” I sigh because exhaustion overcomes me like a wave now that the adrenaline is gone. I realise that my head is pounding slightly. “Li, see to it that all our guests leave the mansion and we will talk after I take a short power nap.”

“As you wish, Your Majesty,” Liana bows and goes to fulfil my order. I hate to see her being afraid of me and using honorifics instead of my name, but changes need to be made. I was soft for too long.

“Hon? Would you open up to us again? Your head is hurting, isn’t it?” Erik helps me stand up.

“A bit,” I confess. “But don’t worry, I’m just tired.”

They both bite their lips at the same time. Seriously, how can they be so different in almost everything, but, at the same time, so similar when it comes to taking care of me? They suspect I’m not telling them something, but they don’t push me about it which I really appreciate.

We walk to our suite in silence, but when it comes to me lying down, I open up to them a little and we snuggle which brightens their mood. I connect to their minds and I hope that my father doesn’t monitor all my sleep and he will let me have this brief period of rest I desperately need.


I wake up with Noage’s rooty tentacles stuck to my forearm. I fell asleep the moment I closed my eyes and it seems my short power nap wasn’t so short after all. I don’t remember dreaming about anything, did my brain shut down completely?

“Sorry about that, love, but we couldn’t help being worried sick,” Gotrid apologises because I frown at him. “Something’s going on with you.”

“I was just tired,” I insist, annoyed that they called Noage on me.

However, I know that I can’t do anything about that. I can be all scary in the court, uncompromising when it comes to politics and nobody can question my decisions, but even my power and influence have limitations. Just as Celestials have to obey my orders when it comes to the ruling, I have to obey when it comes to my health and protection because it’s the Celestial priority and the highest state interest to protect their embodiment of magic.

I can be angry about it all I want, but, for some strange reason, I’m never able to effectively protest. It’s as if they hold some mysterious power over me. I suspect it’s somehow connected to my complete inability to use my powers against my people. Something in my mind just blocks me. Is it because of the racial behavioural programming the Divementis instilled in us? Or just something that developed unexpectedly?

I slowly sit up, but it seems Noage has no intention of letting go of me.

“Enough, I’m okay,” I click my tongue.

“No, you’re not,” Noage is adamant. “You haven’t been sleeping well lately, Your Majesty.”

“It’s just this different time zone, doesn’t it usually take people a few days to get used to it?” I try to reason with him. “Or did you find something else wrong with me?”

“Well, no,” he admits reluctantly. “Just serious sleep deficit.”

“See?” I dramatically roll my eyes. I was never good at acting, but I have to do my best now. I need to meet my father in my dreams again and they can’t interfere.

Gotrid sighs and nods at Noage that he can let go of me now. I massage the place where Noage’s tentacles pierced my skin, but there’s barely any trace left. The Earthborn produce some kind of substance that closes the skin extremely quickly after their intervention.

“Celestials weren’t sure what to do while you were napping,” Erik informs me. “Liana refused to take the initiative and the Japanese government is still in a session.”

“What’s the time?” I ask.

“Three already,” Gotrid says. Oh, I was napping for four hours? No wonder I worried them.

“We can’t do much until the Prime Minister’s cabinet decides on their course of action,” I shrug. “We may as well just continue with our tasks.”

“A late lunch is such a task, you skipped a meal again,” Erik reminds me. “Nobody in the mansion has had lunch yet. It was supposed to be a special course for the delegates so it somehow felt weird to eat it separately.”

“Cien, go tell the staff that I’ll dine with my subjects in fifteen minutes,” I tell the maid who’s patiently awaiting my orders.

I stand up, stretch my wings and nod at Ayala to adjust my robe and hair.

“What will you do about Liana?” Erik asks carefully.

“Do?” I don’t understand the question.

“The Viceroy didn’t take your scolding well, love,” Gotrid explains. “She did just what you asked of her directly and then hid in her apartment, leaving Celestials second-guessing. They think she’s in your disgrace now.”

I feel a wave of sympathy towards her. Maybe I was too harsh? Did I humiliate her? But then I realise what I set myself to do. I did what I had to do, kindness wouldn’t be beneficial in that particular situation. I have to show my subjects that while I’m forced to comply when it comes to my protection, I won’t tolerate them questioning my decisions.

Celestial society isn’t based on democracy, I have to finally let go of that human idea. The Emperor rules with absolute power and appoints people he trusts to take care of lower levels of the government. My subjects are here to advise me, nothing more. Whether my kind personality likes it or not, I’m the embodiment of magic and they aren’t my equals.


My father was right, I’ve been kidding myself all this time. I can’t have both. I should stop pretending that there will be a time when everything will work out and the world will leave me be. There won’t be a future for me and my partners in which we can eat pancakes without a care in the world.

“Hey, Ryuu…?”

I was never human and now I’m not fully Celestial either. My father said that there has never been a Divementis hybrid before. What that makes me? My body is mostly Celestial and my feelings towards my people are fiercely protective. Half-Divementis or not, I’m the Celestial Emperor and making sure my race has a future will always be my life purpose.

“Ryuuto!” Erik grabs my chin and forces me to look at him.

I have no idea why he’s addressing me like that. Then it finally comes to me. Right, Ryuuto was my human time. It seems so distant now. I no longer automatically respond when he calls me like that. I still like that name because it’s coming from him and because my Mom named me, but it’s only nostalgia talking. I don’t identify as Ryuuto anymore. I’m the Celestial Emperor Aefener.

“I was lost in thoughts,” I try to smile at him, but he isn’t fooled. He senses the change in me. He’s studying my face and gets startled when he realises that I’m looking at him as fondly as ever, but there’s no recognition in my eyes when he uses my human name.

“I’m sorry, Erik, there’s nothing human in me left,” I feel my eyes getting wet. I can still allow myself to be vulnerable in front of them. I don’t have to put up a stiff upper lip in their presence.

I don’t feel sad for myself, though, I no longer identify with my previous life. I feel sad for my partner. Erik is the only human in the court and his position isn’t easy. While Celestials treat him with utmost respect, he misses his kind and an occasional coffee with Elizabeth isn’t enough. He’s just as trapped as I am.

Words can’t describe how much I love my partners so I use telepathy instead. I channel my emotional state to them, only hiding the truth about the secret training with my father.

“Silly,” Erik kisses me so gently that it stops my tears. “You should have told me that you want me to use your Celestial name. I thought you liked me calling you Ryuu.”

“I like it from you,” I assure him. “But today I just couldn’t respond anymore. I didn’t recognise my old name.”

Erik sighs heavily, but he isn’t sad about the name. He’s sad that I was hesitant to tell him. He leans close to my left ear and whispers:


Shivers go down my spine and spread through my wing bones, making all my feathers stand up. I thought that I loved Erik calling me Ryuu, but it turns out that him calling me by my Celestial name is incomparably more intimate. Still, I feel like I want to keep my previous name as something special I only share with him—a playful nickname we use only in private perhaps?

“My Emperor,” Gotrid, not wanting to be left behind, whispers to my right ear. Everybody else calls me that, but only he can make these two words sound erotic.

My tense body finally relaxes. Sitting on a throne and making difficult decisions suddenly doesn’t seem so hard when I realise that I have them standing by my side.

“Your Majesty, everybody has gathered in the throne room already,” Vermiel reports from behind the door because he suspects that we’re cuddling.

“Not everybody,” I gently push Erik and Gotrid away. “Liana is still sulking in her apartment.”

“Well, the Viceroy wasn’t sure if you want to see any more of her today,” Vermiel says.

“Nonsense, I just had to discipline her, that’s all,” I shake my head. “Tell everyone that I’ll come in a minute. It seems I have to personally drag my Viceroy out.”


“Your Majesty,” Liana’s guards bow to me when I appear in front of her suite.

“Open,” I say simply and they do.

I confidently enter Liana’s lounge, but she isn’t there. Then I notice two voices coming from the bedroom—Liana’s and Soren’s. Oh? The mighty Viceroy who’s always on her guard let Soren into her bedroom? Unlike me, the guards don’t have to follow her every step so she has much more privacy than me. Letting Soren inside means that she trusts him and doesn’t consider him to be only her bodyguard.

“Are things between them finally…,” Gotrid smirks, but I shush him.

It might not look very regal, but I sneak closer to the bedroom door, not ashamed of eavesdropping. Erik rolls his eyes, but he’s just as eager to find out if something is going on between them. However, after just a few words, it becomes evident that they’re talking about me. Damn, Soren, when will you finally make a move on her? Liana is too dumb in this area, but she obviously likes you!

“What if His Majesty hates me now?” Liana sulks and I feel that she’s really miserable. I sigh. I didn’t mean to crush her spirits, that was never my intention.

“That’s impossible, the Emperor loves you. Everybody sees that,” Soren tries to comfort her. “You just said something you shouldn’t have so he was forced to discipline you.”

“I was so stupid,” Liana cries. “What was I thinking? Questioning the Emperor’s decisions, moreover in front of our guests. I deserved much worse, His Majesty is still too kind.”

“That’s what we adore about him, don’t we?” Soren points out. “Only someone like him can keep our racial vices in check. If it wasn’t for him, we would be at war with humans already.”

I want to keep eavesdropping a bit longer because it looks like Soren might find some courage and hug her eventually, but then Liana mutters:

“Maybe it would be for the best if I resigned and became a regular state official. This wasn’t the first time I was questioning the Emperor,” she laments. “I’m too egoistic to be the Viceroy.”

That finally forces me out of hiding and I open the door with a loud thud, startling both of them.

“Absolutely not!” I shout, horrified. “I won’t accept your resignation, don’t you even think about it, Liana.”

“Your Majesty!” Liana and Soren jump from the bed and drop to their knees.

“Have I ever said that I don’t want you to be my Viceroy?” I purse my lips and spread my wings as much as the room allows.

“N-no,” Liana whispers. “B-but…”

“I see that you realised your mistake and regret your actions,” I observe. “I forgive you and that concludes the matter. We have a ton of work to do, stand up.”

Liana dries her eyes and slowly gets up. She wobbles, so I take pity on her and go for a comforting hug. It wasn’t my wish to devastate her like that, but, with her stubborn personality, I had to use harsh words to penetrate her thick skull.

“Li, you dumb,” I caress her wings. “I value your advice and opinions, but there is a huge difference between advising me and questioning my direct orders.”

“You’re right, I was dumb,” she says and I can feel her tears wetting my shoulder.

We stay in a feathery embrace for a few long moments until she collects herself. Something significant has changed, though, and our relationship will never be the same again. She might be the person I trust the most to be my deputy and I do love her, but I understand now that I’m the Emperor and she’s my Viceroy. I accept that there are certain things I have to sacrifice to be a good ruler—familiarity with my subjects being one of them.

“You’re beaming with undeniable authority, Your Majesty,” Liana finally manages a smile.

“I had to grow into it,” I smile back at her. “I have to admit that I took my time and I was in denial for months. But that’s over now, I assure you.”

The solemnity of the situation is ruined by my loudly grumbling stomach.

“Let’s go for that lunch, I’m starving,” I whine and we hurry to the throne room in an elevated mood, knowing that everything is mended between us.


I can’t say that I suddenly became thrilled about sitting on the throne, but I don’t mind it that strongly anymore. Managing a race of conquest-hungry magic casters will require all the effort I can muster and if they want to see me sitting on the throne, so be it.

“I don’t plan to tell the Japanese about my telepathy,” I assure everyone present in the throne room. “However, telling them about my father was necessary. Now that they have a clue, they can finally investigate properly. They have the resources we lack.”

There’s a rustle of fluttering wings in the hall. Everybody is nervous about that.

“What if they somehow find out on their own, Your Majesty?” Vermiel voices his concern on behalf of everybody.

“If they will, I do not doubt that you will protect me,” I answer simply, being well aware of what kind of reaction that will provoke in Celestials.

“Of course, we will,” Vermiel drops on his left knee in front of me.

“Rest assured, my Emperor,” Miruel and Sareash hurry to do the same.

It’s strange to think that just a year ago, telling anyone about my telepathy was my biggest fear. First, I told my friends which was a huge leap for me. Then I told all my subjects and it was the most liberating thing I’ve ever done. I don’t think it’s smart to tell the whole world because politicians would be too nervous to deal with me but, should it get out, I’m not nearly as terrified as I used to be.

I meet Sareash’s eyes to test if I can read her thoughts without direct touch the way I did with Minister Hayashi this morning. I’ve been able to project my thoughts to Celestials for quite some time now, but reading anyone besides my partners still required a contact.

His Majesty has nothing to be afraid of. He has us protecting him.

So I can do it, it wasn’t just a whim. Is it a result of my father’s brutal training? Or did I develop it naturally? I hope it stays with eye contact. I don’t want to be hearing everyone’s thoughts all the time, I’d go crazy for sure. When should I tell them? What if it makes my subjects anxious?

I’ve been probably staring for too long because Sareash timidly looks down which breaks the connection. I have to find a way how to prevent unwanted mind reading. The Emperor can’t be afraid to look people in the eyes and I don’t want to be reading everyone just by looking at them. For now, I’ll have to try focusing my attention on people’s foreheads or noses.

Suddenly, I feel a strange tingling sensation in my feathered limbs. All my instincts start shouting that I should spread my wings and fly in the direction it’s pulling me towards. There’s no doubt—another monster attack and near.