Chapter 87:

The Enemy at the Gates

Draconia Offline

“But we don’t feel anything, Your Majesty,” Guard Captain Vermiel is confused and he’s not the only one. Everyone in the throne room is whispering to each other, anxiously fluttering their wings.

“No monsters yet, a rift forming,” I try to explain.

“Love, how can you tell with such certainty?” Gotrid stands up and clutches my hand.

“I just feel it,” I admit that I have no rational explanation. “Just as you feel cardinal directions. It’s pure instinct I guess?”

“Your Emperor instinct?” Erik raises his eyebrow.

“My… other instinct,” I bite my lip, hesitating. This has definitely something to do with my half-Divementis brain.

“Your Majesty,” Liana bows in front of the throne. “Give us your orders.”

I study her for a moment. The shift in her is remarkable, but the shift in me is even more so. I have no doubts anymore. Half-Divementis or not, I am the Celestial Emperor. And right now, every fibre in my body is battle-ready. Celestials indeed are heavenly warriors by nature.

“Gear up, we’re departing in five minutes,” I order with no hesitation in my voice. “I know that there’s a battle unit in Osaka, but this is a perfect opportunity to explore the rift itself before it closes.”

“As you command, my Emperor!” the hall roars and, for the first time, it makes me feel truly good as the Emperor.

We rush to our apartment where the maids quickly help me and Gotrid into our brand-new armour that has yet to experience a battle.

“You’ll need to learn how to do it faster next time,” I tell them because we’re behind our scheduled departure by three minutes when they finish braiding my hair. This time I look at my reflection in the mirror with confidence. I love how I look in Celestial armour.

“We will, Your Majesty!” the maids bow.

I turn to Erik who’s nervously stepping by the door, feeling a bit left out. He knows that this is one of those things that he will never be able to share with me.

“You’re in charge, Erik,” I tell him and kiss him urgently. “The Celestials staying in the mansion will listen to everything you say as if that order was from me.”

“I know,” he nods resolutely. “I’ll hold the fort until you return.”

I kiss him again on the porch and spread my wings immediately after that. The Imperial Guard is already hovering above the mansion. I spot Liana and Soren at the very upper part of the flock.

“Your Majesty, you have to lead the way, we still can’t feel anything,” Miruel tells me. We’ve notified the local authorities. They will try to follow our formation and send the JSDF to assist us.”

“Follow then,” I say simply.

As always, I’m strategically positioned in the middle of the flock, but that’s okay because I’m sending them the direction where we should head through telepathy anyway. I feel that the rift shouldn’t be far because the mysterious pull I’m experiencing is super strong. So strong that I have no idea why they can’t feel anything. I set the speed to the highest the Imperial Guard can manage and we cross ten kilometres in just six minutes.

Listen, everyone, I address the whole Royal Guard. Our mission today isn’t to only defeat the monsters that come through. We have a unique opportunity to explore the rift itself. For that, I need you to protect me from incoming attacks as I won’t be joining the battle unless it becomes absolutely necessary.

“As you command, Your Majesty,” Vermiel shouts back against the wind. “However, we need you to respect that should the situation turn dangerous, we won’t hesitate to escort you to safety.”

Noted, I answer. There’s nothing I can do about it anyway. The highest Celestial priority will always be protecting their embodiment of magic.

It turns out that the rift is about to open in the suburbs of Osaka. Miruel immediately notifies the local authorities to start evacuating the area while I’m trying to pinpoint the exact location. It’s not that difficult in the end because the closer I get, the more unsettled I feel. And when I get goosebumps under my feathers, I do not doubt that we’ve reached our destination.

I conjure up a levitation platform so that I don’t have to be flapping my wings all the time and start slowly getting closer to the spot. Nothing is visible at first, but then the space itself starts bending. Fearing that monsters can start flooding at any moment, I stay hovering at the highest tip of the rift where the monsters shouldn’t be a threat after their immediate appearance. At least before they notice me and start spitting venom or something. Which, hopefully, will be deflected by my protectors.

“I thought we would be able to see through to the other side,” Gotrid lands on the platform next to me. “Maybe it’s not a two-way portal?”

“It’s collapsing already, I can feel its power diminishing,” I realise. “It won’t stay open for long. Whatever comes through stays trapped here.”

“How are you going to analyse it?” Gotrid scratches his chin.

“I’ll try sending my mind to the other side,” I tell him my plan. “If it’s a portal that connects two places and there’s life, I should be able to feel something.”

“Won’t that be dangerous?” Gotrid gets startled.

“This isn’t an astral projection,” I assure him. “I’ll search the space with my mind, but I won’t leave my body.”

“Do what you must then and leave your protection to us,” he says confidently and puts up a shield around us like a huge bubble.

I sit down in a meditation posture to focus better and half-close my eyes. The rift is connecting to somewhere unknown, but what if it’s actually the world of Draconia and the game was its exact replica? Is that what I should ask my father tonight?

I send my consciousness into the rift, trying to reach beyond the distorted horizon. I expect difficulties, but the minds of beings on the other side are already jumping to our dimension through the distortion, making it easy for me. I reach out to them. While they lack higher intelligence, I discover that they also feel pulled towards the rift. Some of them are entering right now!

“A heligorr incoming!” I hear Vermiel shouting alarm, but I try not to let it disturb me.

I reach further, but, sadly, I can’t see the alien dimension. I can only feel its inhabitants. And they are vicious, unlike anything I’ve seen before. Real monsters, not animals. I momentarily lose focus when something hits the shield Gotrid put up and several guards are sustaining. But the shield holds, so I close my eyes again.

I can feel that the rift is destabilising quickly so I have to hurry. The Divementis came from that dimension, I need to find out more. However, all I can feel so far are monsters. What’s making them so aggressive without a reason, though? Do they want to eat or just kill? I try to reach even further, stretching my telepathic range to its current maximum.

And then suddenly something pushes into my mind. It’s not testing my defence, it’s not curious. Whatever that is, it’s going for a kill. I put up a mental shield just in time when a telepathic surge comes through the rift. Luckily, my mental barrier blocks it successfully, but it still shakes me. Would I be able to stop it just a few days ago? I have a feeling that it’s thanks to my father’s torturous training methods.

What was that?! Is there a Divementis on the other side? But that force didn’t resemble my father at all. It wasn’t cold and calculative—it was a crude force and raw menace.


An inhuman voice echoes in my head. I’m pretty sure these were not actual words, but a mental interpretation of what that thing imagines when it comes to the race of my father.

What are you? I try to send him a message in a similar way.

How can you not know? the voice stops pushing, curious now.

How can I know when I’ve never seen you? I answer, hoping maybe that thing can be reasoned with after all.

I can see now that your mind is very young, the voice is surprised. How can a child defend itself against me?

I’m not a child, I retort. I’m the Celestial Emperor!

I probably shouldn’t have said that, but he offended me and my Emperor nature doesn’t take that well. Besides, I’m proud to be the Celestial Emperor. I won’t hide my identity.

Nonsense, Celestials are extinct and they were not telepaths, the voice argues. Are you a Divementis who was born on the other side? Did your people tell you nothing about me?

The telepathic pressure gets stronger again. That thing is trying to peek into my memories! I do the same as I did with my father—I push it away with my emotions. I expect to be half-successful at the very least, but that being pulls itself back almost completely.

You’re not a Divementis! it exclaims, astonished. The Divementis can’t project emotions.

I told you that I’m not, I say. I’m the Celestial Emperor.

Oh, I understand now! it laughs. You’re half-Divementis! But how is that possible? The proud Divementis would never stand so low to breed with lesser races. Are they that desperate?

What are you? I demand to know.

No answer. Instead, it starts pushing again. It’s testing all my defences, trying to find a way into my brain. I’m holding the best I can, but that thing has centuries of experience I simply don’t have. I’m afraid it will break through sooner or later.

“Love, your nose is bleeding!”

Gotrid shakes me, trying to get me out. That’s a fatal mistake because I connect to him automatically. When that being feels Gotrid’s consciousness, it goes after him instead. In a panic, I pull Gotrid to my chest and kiss him, trying to mingle our minds so that he gets the same protection I have. Gotrid doesn’t know what’s going on, but his default is to trust me completely so he doesn’t struggle with me.

That’s a pure Celestial mind! the voice roars. So the Divementis succeeded after all? They resurrected the ancient extinct races to oppose me?!

It’s too much, I feel my defences crumbling. It’s attacking me with everything it can and even though it’s not going for a kill but information, I can’t let it. However, all my amazing Celestial magic is useless in this battle of two minds. Is that what my father meant when he mentioned that magic won’t help me? Did he mean this?

But then I realise that powerful presence isn’t resonating within our world. It’s attacking me through the rift, but it actually can’t cross the border between our dimensions the same way I can. It can hurt me only because I’m sending my conscience out there. I pull back immediately and… I’m free! I can’t feel it anymore. Whatever that thing is, it can’t get through.

Naturally, it’s a huge relief, but I realise that I didn’t get out unscathed. My head is pulsating with an insane migraine, I’m extremely dizzy and my nose won’t stop bleeding. I collapse into Gotrid’s feathery embrace as my brain shuts down to escape the maddening pain.


I regain consciousness, but it’s not a pleasant waking up. My head is still hurting badly and everything is spinning. It seems that monstrous conscience from another dimension managed to hurt my very brain. Even connecting to the minds of my beloved is torturous.

Erik is holding me, trying to make me drink, but I spit everything out. I scream in pain because Noage is attached to my arm with his rooty tentacles and his presence in my mind feels like thousands of needles.

“Viceroy, we have to limit the number of people that can approach him,” I hear Gotrid saying. “His Majesty needs as little telepathic stimuli as possible.”

“We can’t risk reducing the guards,” Liana opposes.

“Then position them further away, make sure that the barrier stays impenetrable,” Gotrid suggests. “And talk to the residents not to occupy the garden in front of the Royal suite. I know that everyone is worried-sick, but their mere presence is hurting him.”

“Okay, let’s try that,” Liana agrees in the end and runs off.

“Love, you will be okay,” Erik kisses me on my forehead. “Noage says that you received a telepathic equivalent of a concussion, but you should recover.”

It takes a lot of effort to decipher what they’re saying, so I give up eventually. Even though every tiny telepathic wave is hurting me right now, I hug Erik and fall asleep.


I’m standing on an ancient stone platform. The world isn’t spinning anymore, but I feel my head hurting all the same. I’m sleeping, but it doesn’t bring me the usual escape from pain, probably because my brain is too active. Lucid dreams evidently don’t count. I collapse on the ground and curl into my wings.

“You met it,” my father appears next to me.

“It?” I repeat weakly, hugging my feathers.

He materialises a cushion and sits down next to me. He sighs and tries to touch my wings. When he sees that I get goosebumps and twitch, he stops.

“To be honest, I had no idea you would try sending your mind to the Draconia dimension,” he says worriedly. “If I did, I would warn you against it. You’re far from being ready. How did you get to the rift so quickly anyway?”

“I felt it forming,” I whisper and massage my temples, but as if that would do anything in a dream.

“You felt the rift before it tore the space apart?” he widens his eyes. “No Divementis has such acute senses.”

“Do I have to remind you that I’m a Celestial as well?” I frown at him. Having a discussion takes a lot of effort, but the pain is somewhat more manageable here so I can speak.

“All Draconians can feel the rifts, but not even a Divementis can feel a rift that hasn’t torn the space yet,” he shakes his head, astonished.

“What was that thing?” I just need to know.

“That, my son, was the enemy,” he explains with a sigh.

“The…?” I notice the solemnity in his voice.

“Yes, the one,” he nods. “The reason why we came to the Earth in the first place. The reason why we lost our home. The reason why four sentient Draconian races disappeared. They didn’t go extinct, they were annihilated.”

I want to ask more questions, but the pain gradually becomes unbearable. My brain is supposed to be resting, not being lucid.

“That Earthborn healer is right,” he peeks into my fresh memories because I can’t muster any strength to oppose him. “It’s a telepathic equivalent of a concussion. You need time to recover so I won’t be visiting you for a few days until you do.”

“Wait, I still have so many questions…!” I try to stop him, but his body is transparent already.

“There will be time for that. For now, focus on recovering,” he insists. “You being able to feel forming rifts is potentially a huge game changer, I have to discuss it with my people. In the meanwhile, don’t refuse treatment from that Earthborn doctor and let your Consorts comfort you. I know it’s seemingly more painful to connect to them in your current state, but I promise it’s going to speed up your recovery.”

When he disappears, my mind gets cloudy and I fall into blissful sleep where there is no pain.


I see little stars when I regain consciousness again. I hate the sensory symptoms a migraine often brings, it’s so disorienting. However, I find out that I feel a tiny bit better. Liana did limit the number of people in my immediate vicinity which is a huge relief.

“Love, please, just a few gulps,” Erik puts a glass to my lips. “At least to wet your throat, okay?”

I try drinking the water and this time I manage to let it slip to my stomach. My throat is very dry and I’m not dehydrated only thanks to Noage’s hard work.

“What happened after I fainted?” I whisper.

“If you worry about the monsters, they were eradicated quite easily,” Gotrid assures me. “Three heligorrs and two tripoderras got out, but the Osaka battle unit arrived just in time to help us. Thanks to your early warning, there were no casualties.”

“You collapsing with a nosebleed caused much greater panic, though,” Erik caresses my face tenderly. “The Celestials know that you tried to explore the alien dimension telepathically, but the world is left second-guessing.”

“Let them second-guess then,” I murmur, but I don’t have the energy to even wave my hand. Everything takes a lot of effort, even thinking. I feel so weird.

“Love, your mana is leaking!” Gotrid warns me.

“So…?” I say indifferently. I feel so sluggish. I can’t focus properly on anything. I can’t seem to keep my mana contained, I have so much of it.

“Not good!” Gotrid starts to panic at this point, but he has no idea what to do.

“Hon, you have to stop it!” Erik kisses me urgently.

The guards hurry inside, feeling my immense mana going berserk. The atmosphere gets heavy with my magical energy and lighter objects start levitating. I’m dizzy. So dizzy.

“Noage, do something!” Gotrid implores the Earthborn healer. “Put him to sleep!”

I feel a sting in my left arm and the world goes dark.


“It’s extremely dangerous for a Celestial to suffer from a concussion,” I hear Noage explaining to Liana whose presence I feel right next to me.

“How so? I thought our main weak spot is wings,” Liana is confused.

“That’s true, a mana circuit is connected directly to your wings, but it’s your brain that controls mana channelling,” Noage says. “While injuring your wings is very painful and heals slowly, a concussion can drive a Celestial out of control.”

“Our Emperor is waking up,” Erik informs everybody because he can feel my mind coming out of haziness.

I slowly open my eyes and find myself on Erik’s lap, leaning against his chest. This time connecting to him doesn’t hurt my brain, my father was right. His presence is comforting again. Despite lingering nausea and pain, I relax and melt into his embrace.

“I think it will be okay now, Noage, he’s calm,” Erik says to the Earthborn healer who’s ready to apply another dose of a sleeping substance should my mana go berserk again.

“Love, how do you feel?” Gotrid hurries to snuggle to me as well.

“A bit better,” I say weakly. “Did I damage anything?”

“Well, you did, but don’t worry about it,” he caresses my wings. “Is your head still spinning?”

“Not if I don’t turn my head too suddenly,” I say. “I feel so weird, though.”

“That’s a concussion in a nutshell,” Noage summarises and slowly lets go of my arm.

“Your Majesty, do you feel strong enough to tell us what happened?” Liana sits closer, tense. “According to Gotrid, you were attacked by some kind of alien telepathic force.”

“That sounds about right,” I confirm. “When my mind got into the other dimension, I encountered a powerful presence. It was telepathic like me, but, at the same time, not like me at all. It attacked me immediately, but I managed to defend myself against it. Then it got curious and we talked.”

“You actually talked?!” Liana opens her mouth. “What about? It speaks our language?”

“It doesn’t speak our language,” I set the record straight. “We talked through images and symbols. It’s hard to explain if you’re not a telepath.”

“What does it want?” Gotrid asks and his hands caressing my feathers tremble.

“I don’t know, the world dominance?” I sigh tiredly. “It sounds cliché, but I’m afraid that’s exactly what it wants. I suspect that it reached supremacy in its home world and now it wants to conquer ours. Luckily, I discovered that its consciousness can’t pass through dimensions the way I could.”

“Oof, that’s a huge relief,” Liana calms down a bit. “Still, you did something extremely dangerous, Your Majesty. I’m afraid we can’t let you repeat it.”

“Trust me, I don’t want to,” I whine because another wave of throbbing pain runs through my temples. “At least not before I learn how to defend myself properly.”

Cien enters the bedroom, bringing me a glass of protein banana smoothie. Erik and Gotrid are very patient with me, but I have to empty it whole. It takes me a few minutes and exhausts me completely. I had no idea that everything is so difficult with a concussion.

“If our Emperor comes from that dimension, it must mean that the inhabitants of that place are telepaths,” Liana is thinking aloud.

“I was born here,” I remind her and yawn. Drowsiness is overcoming me and I can barely fight incoming sleep. “Besides, four Draconian species are not telepaths, only my race is. And also, apparently that… thing.”

“What do you mean?” everybody looks at me, confused.

It’s becoming really hard for me to think clearly. What do they not understand?

“Love, what do you mean exactly by ‘your race’?” Erik clutches my hand.

I feel like I can’t avoid sleep for much longer. My head hurts too much, I feel so weak and information becomes a bit jumbled in my concussed head.

“The Divementis,” I whisper and my eyes close.