Chapter 89:


Draconia Offline

“Tomorrow, His Majesty has to rest,” Liana says before I can even open my mouth.

I frown. What gives her the right to answer for me?

“That meeting has to take place today,” I insist. “My father might visit my dreams tonight and I need to find out what the Japanese government knows about the Azuchi Group.”

“You’re still recovering, Your Majesty,” Gavreel supports Liana and he’s not the only one, everyone is nodding. “It’s not good to have an audience with them in your current state.”

I take a moment to analyse the mood in the room. It’s one of those situations when Celestials think that they can dictate everything to me. Any other time, my order would have to be obeyed without a debate, but not when I’m injured and they are concerned about my health.

Just as I have a blocker that prevents me from using magic against my subjects, they have some kind of releaser that allows them not to follow my orders if they are firmly convinced that it could hurt their embodiment of magic.

I hate feeling weakened and powerless. Ever since I fully accepted to be the Emperor, it became twice as hard for me. It means that I can’t be the ruler I need to be. Their overprotectiveness gets in the way once again. I naively thought that we were finally behind that, but apparently not. While I do understand their concern, I have to stand my ground. I came here to apologise for keeping the truth from them, not to have my direct orders questioned.

“Love, we’re just worried to let you work so soon after your injury,” Gotrid says softly because he can tell that I’m getting pissed.

“Do you mean to tell me that you won’t obey my direct order?” I click my tongue and everybody twitches anxiously. It makes me angry that they just won’t listen. I hate the fact that protecting me can get in the way of me protecting Draconians. Seriously, I’ve had enough.

I leak my tremendous mana on purpose to make them respect me. I hate doing it, but I have to. Being the Emperor also means making unpleasant decisions. It also means to put my subjects in their place if they’re reluctant to obey. They aren’t my equals to question me.

“While I do apologise for keeping things from you, I won’t tolerate you preventing me from literally doing my job as the Emperor. I’m your sovereign, not some treasure for you to lock up,” I say regally and I don’t even have to raise my voice, the room is absolutely quiet.

The Celestials shudder, but Liana is not wavering. She’s strongly convinced that she must, first and foremost, protect their embodiment of magic. I admire her determination, but she’s wrong in this case. I’m just temporarily weakened, not unable to rule.

I take a deep breath and project my frustrations with them into my mana emanation with an intensity I’d use to oppose my father. Everybody gasps for breath and falls to their knees. I realise that I overdid it when I notice the fear in their eyes. They aren’t telepaths, I can’t use the same intensity I’d use on the Divementis.

I pull my mind back, a bit scared by what I’ve just done. I’ve never used my telepathy as a weapon before. I didn’t know that I could. Sure, my father is capable of that, but me? No, I don’t want to! Still, it seems that while I can’t use my magical powers against Celestials, I can use my Divementis powers. I learned something valuable.

“I came here to apologise for not telling you everything and that takes care of it,” I purse my lips. “I’ll have an audience with the Prime Minister at three in the afternoon so excuse me for now, I need to rest until then. Erik, Gotrid, can you help me stand up?”

I look at my partners and only now it comes to me that I forgot to exclude them. They are gasping for breath just as everybody else, shaking. I don’t feel fear from me, but I did affect them all the same.

“M-my Emperor,” Gotrid lets out, his voice trembling.

I clutch my hands. I probably didn’t exclude them subconsciously because part of me was angry with them as well for being overprotective, but they didn’t deserve a full salve. They’ve been taking care of me nonstop for three days and it was them who was hurt the most by me hiding the truth.

I’m sorry, I sent them a sincere apology. I had to berate my subjects, but I was being unfair to my partners just now.

Erik manages to stand up, gently slips his arm behind my back and around my wings and pulls me up. He’s just as shaken as everyone else, but he doesn’t let it interfere with his care. Gotrid quickly joins him, helping with my wings.

That makes me feel twice as bad about it. They are giving me unconditional love all the time and I wasn’t even willing to confide to them about my dreamy encounters. Retrospectively, I’m sure that if I explained the situation to them properly, they would still be worried sick, but they would have supported my decision in the end.

Everyone in the throne room is so shocked that nobody stops me from leaving. Only the guards join me automatically, their training kicking in as a reflex. The tension is almost tangible and it makes my head pound.

Erik and Gotrid aren’t saying anything on the way to our apartment and I don’t force a telepathic connection. We should talk about things properly and I want to talk to them about it, but my headache returns. Noage forbade me to work for a good reason, I know that. The audience with my subjects was very short, but it still managed to exhaust me.

“Rest for now, love,” my amazing partners don’t mind that our super important conversation will get postponed and let me close my eyes.


When I wake up again, I’m happy to discover that the headache is gone. It was just from a strain so early rest helped. I sit up and find myself positioned between Erik and Gotrid. They are both sitting and while Gotrid is thoughtlessly caressing my feathers with one hand because my wings are occupying his lap, he’s reading something on a tablet. Erik is typing furiously on his laptop.

“You’re up, hon?” they manage a tired smile.

I bite my lip. I might be injured so I need rest, but my partners are working hard while taking care of me nonstop. I need to give them a break, but would they even listen? Would they stay in the apartment and rest while I go out?

“I’ll set the table for lunch,” Dalia says, stepping by the door and just waiting for me to wake up. I notice that she’s afraid to meet my eyes when I look at her. She wasn’t in the throne room when I let my frustrations and mana pour out, but every Celestial in the vicinity must have felt it all the same.

I resist sighing and decide to focus on my partners for now. We had so much work ever since we came to Japan and I feel that I wasn’t giving them the attention they deserve. But then again, we’re always busy so it’s no excuse.

I kiss them both and inspect what they are doing. Erik is writing a report for the Draconian government in Prague and Gotrid is reading various messages from our embassies all over the world, filtering them by their significance and sorting them out for me. If anyone thinks that Erik and Gotrid are just my spouses, they are so wrong.

“Ehm… do you want to talk about it?” I ask because I feel that they are giving me space.

“The Viceroy and the Celestial Council needed to be put in their place,” Erik shrugs. “And we feel from you that you regret including us.”

“Still, I’m really sorry,” I kiss them again. “I should have controlled myself better.”

“We’re also toxically overprotective of you,” Gotrid admits. “We deserved some of that.”

“No, you deserved my trust,” I shake my head. “I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you. It’s true that you tend to be overprotective, but I’m sure that if I explained the situation to you properly, you would have backed me up.”

“Did your father advise you against telling us?” Erik suspects.

“He did,” I confess. “I don’t know why I listened to him. It seemed like a good idea back then, but, looking at it now, I feel manipulated by him.”

“What’s your opinion on him so far?” Gotrid is curious. “Your very first encounter ended up with you bleeding out of your nose and fainting and he was training you using torturous methods.”

“Honestly, I don’t know,” I say frankly. “I thought that he was dangerous and he is, but he showed mild concern for me during our last dreamy encounter.”

“Don’t trust him easily,” Erik warns me. “Your mother did everything she could to hide you from him and the Divementis.”

“I know that,” I nod. “It’s just… it might not be as black and white as we thought.”

“What about that Wikipedia-like place you mentioned?” Gotrid recalls.

“I couldn’t access it again,” I sigh. “I need to have another lucid dream, but I have no idea how to induce one on my own.”

“Hmm, is it in your brain?” Erik gently pokes my head. “Do you have an entire alien encyclopaedia in there and you just don’t know how to access it?”

“I doubt that,” I have to disappoint them. “Maybe my father had to plug me into the Divementis telepathic network or something when he visited me in my dreams for the first time.”

“Every time we discover something, there are only more questions,” Gotrid laments and plays with my feathers.

“Also, sorry to scare you like that,” I add because there’s one more thing I want to apologise for and I don’t want to brush it off as nothing. “Did I overdo it?”

Gotrid and Erik look at each other and come to a mutual understanding even without telepathy. They decide that honesty is always the best approach.

“It’s not pleasant, but we can endure your Emperor’s wrath,” Gotrid says slowly. “However, what you did back there… You did include your mana emanation to make us feel that you’re indeed our embodiment of magic, but that telepathic pressure you applied…,” his voice dies out and he looks at Erik for help.

“There wasn’t anything even remotely Celestial about that,” Erik finishes for him. “Let’s just say that if anyone still had some reservations about fully accepting that you’re half-alien, that problem ceased to exist.”

“That bad, huh?” I chew my lip.

“The thing is,” Gotrid finds words again, “you’re not just the Celestial Emperor. You’re also a Divementis and we have yet to come to terms with that. We Celestials understand our Emperor’s wrath, but what we have experienced back there was something totally alien. No wonder everyone was so scared.”

I lower my head, saddened. I might have produced the intended effect, but I overdid it. I wanted to subdue the Council with my Emperor’s wrath, not scare them shitless with my Divementis powers. I want my subjects to respect me, not fear me.

“They will get over it,” Erik gently pushes my chin up. “You did it because you were desperate to get your message finally across and they know it.”

Erik puts away his laptop and lets me on instead. I hug him, envelop him in my wings and Gotrid embraces me from behind. We stay like this for a few minutes, simply enjoying our intimate connection. They’ve been experiencing my Divementis half all this time and if they are fine with it, I don’t care what anyone else thinks.

“You’re both exhausted,” I murmur. “You’re taking care of me nonstop and working at the same time. Stay here and rest, I’ll manage without you. I took a very good power nap so I should be able to walk for a few dozen metres without getting dizzy.”

“And missing such an important meeting? I don’t think so,” Gotrid tickles me under my feathers.

“I could order you so,” I warn them.

“For the record, I’m not a Celestial so I don’t have to listen to you,” Erik smirks and joins Gotrid in tickling me.

“Oof, you!” I burst laughing. They certainly have their way with me. “Okay, you win, but we’ll call it a night early today no matter what the Japanese government comes up with.”


The atmosphere in the mansion hasn’t become any more relaxed while I was napping and everyone is extremely nervous around me. The maids and the guards keep their expressions strictly professional, but their movements are mechanical and they are afraid to meet my eyes.

The Celestials I encounter on my way to the throne room are bowing to me a bit too deeply and the usual excited chatter is gone entirely. It seems that the final realisation that their embodiment of magic isn’t purely Celestial hit them hard. The Emperor is considered to be magic itself so they’re used to me doing miraculous stuff, but they tasted a full salve of my alien part. I hope that they will recover quickly because their current emotional state is suffocating.

They will come over it eventually, Gotrid and Erik keep assuring me. In the end, I’m glad that I have them by my side and didn’t leave them in our apartment. Despite always being surrounded by dozens of people, it’s not the same as being in the company of my beloved. Not even the maids come close to the comfort they provide me with their mere presence.

“Your Majesty, the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence arrived five minutes ago,” Luviael announces when I sit on the throne and she’s also afraid to meet my eyes. She keeps staring into her tablet. “Her Excellency went to fetch them.”

“Thank you, Luvi,” I appreciate and look at the Celestials standing by the sides of the hall. Everyone is fluttering their wings nervously, but otherwise, they stay absolutely quiet. “I would like to talk to the Japanese representatives in private. I’m afraid that they won’t open up easily with too many Celestials present.”

“As you wish, Your Majesty,” Gavreel obeys even though I can tell that he would like to oppose that. Still, with so many guards staying with me no matter what, he can’t say that I’m not properly guarded.

I’m surprised to see that the Japanese delegation consists of only two people this time—the Prime Minister and the Minister of Defence. And they are both as tense as it gets. Whatever they are about to reveal to me, it’s definitely no small matter.

Naturally, Liana arrives with them as well and I study her emotional state. She looks into my eyes confidently and a bit defiantly, but I’m actually glad for that. The Viceroy, of all people, should be someone who isn’t afraid to give me honest feedback if need be. I can’t have her be afraid of me.

Do you feel strong enough, Your Majesty? Did you manage to get some rest? she asks in her thoughts, knowing that I can hear her if she focuses on it.

I did, I assure her. Please, don’t worry, I feel much better.

It’s my job to worry about Your Majesty’s health, she retorts slightly.

I know, Li, but I’m fine, I reassure her. There’s a huge difference between me being unable to rule and just being temporarily weakened. You need to learn how to distinguish between those two and let me do my job when it’s the latter case.

That’s hard to do when my Celestial instincts panic in both cases, she pouts but shows the ministers where to sit without letting nothing show on her face.

“Your Majesty, are you okay? What happened?” the Prime Minister Ichikawa asks with genuine concern. “You fainted during the battle without any apparent cause and shocked the whole world.”

“I was trying out a new spell,” I quickly come up with a cover story. “I thought that I could close the rift before more monsters came through. Unfortunately, I overestimated my current strength, channelled too much mana and fainted as a result.”

“Oh, so that’s what happened?” he’s visibly relieved. “But it is really possible? Closing rifts with Celestial magic?”

“That remains to be seen,” I shrug. “However, that’s not what you came here to discuss today.”

“It’s not,” Ichikawa nods and looks at his colleague, the Minister of Defence Hayashi.

“Let’s cut to the chase,” Hayashi coughs to clear his throat. “Your Majesty being the son of Haruto Takeda is a much bigger deal than it might seem. What do you know about your father, Your Majesty?”

“Not much,” I admit. “I saw him for the first time at the New York conference. When he approached me for the second time, he confessed that he’s my father.”

“Are you absolutely sure?” Hayashi narrows his eyes.

“He stole my feather from our Prague embassy and did a DNA testing. He told me himself,” I explain. “I have no reason to believe that he’s lying.”

The Japanese representatives look at each other nervously and visibly twitch in their seats. Why is it such a huge deal for them? Do they suspect that something around Haruto Takeda is off? I can feel that they became even more anxious after I insisted that he is indeed my father.

“Our dealings with the Azuchi Group have always been quite unusual,” Ichikawa says slowly. “The Azuchi Group helped Japan tremendously when rebuilding the country after the Second World War and they also helped when the Great Financial Crisis hit, but they didn’t lend us money for free, of course.”

“They wanted political influence?” I take a guess.

“Among other things,” the Prime Minister nods. “We promised the Azuchi Group total independence in their business and research. That’s why it’s almost impossible to investigate them. All their premises have the same status as foreign embassies so we can’t just barge in.”

“You brought Haruto Takeda to the New York conference,” Liana points out. “Aren’t you on friendly terms?”

“Hardly,” Ichikawa laughs nervously. “He just let us know that he’s coming so that we would issue him a diplomatic permit. At that time, I thought that he just wanted to be present at a historic moment, but now we know the real reason—he wanted to meet his son.”

The Prime Minister pauses for a moment, hesitating.

“You can speak freely, it’s only the Viceroy and my spouses present and the guards are sworn to absolute secrecy,” I say amicably. “If the information you’re about to disclose to us is strictly confidential, I promise to keep it that way.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty, we appreciate it,” Ichikawa is relieved, but it’s still evidently hard for him. “The reason why we needed time to discuss the matter was that just a year ago we would never even consider telling anyone else about it. However, the situation has changed drastically with four new races suddenly emerging.”

“The seemingly impossible became possible,” Hayashi continues. “Our wild suspicions are no longer suspicions and it all makes sense now. Long story short, we’ve always suspected that Haruto Takeda and the people around him aren’t… ehm… human. Every time the Japanese government wanted to stand up to the Azuchi Group’s growing influence, they showed us what they can do to intimidate us.”

That revelation lies heavily for two reasons. First, the Japanese government has always suspected that aliens are living in their country and influencing politics from the shadows. They suspected it long before the Great Evolution, maybe for decades. Did Japanese leading politicians get to experience the Divementis telepathy first-hand?

Second, if I still insist that Haruto Takeda is my father, I will openly admit that I haven’t been human to begin with. What a predicament. Hayashi and Ichikawa are piercing me with their gaze, waiting tensely for my answer.

“We checked the security cameras from that day,” Ichikawa adds and his voice is trembling. “You clearly didn’t have a chance for direct contact with your father back then, Your Majesty. How exactly did he approach you? Did he maybe use some… extrasensory means of communication?”

I freeze. Do they know about my father being a telepath?! I certainly didn’t expect that, but it explains why they are so nervous in my presence. They suspect that I might be one as well. I look at Liana and, for once, she looks as if she lost the ground beneath her feet. She’s just as shocked as I am. Then I look at Gotrid and Erik and they aren’t able to keep an expressionless face either.

I take a deep breath and quickly weigh my options. I have only two: I either come up with a lie or come out. I know that it’s extremely dangerous to come out as a telepath to the humans who represent a government, but the alternative goes against my feathers. I want the Japanese to be our close allies and a quality relationship can’t be based on lies and half-truths. I’ve learnt that the hard way.

Li, Erik, Gotrid, I want to put my trust in Ichikawa and Hayashi, I send my decision to Liana and my partners to prepare them a few seconds before I say it aloud. I’m tired of lies. I’m tired of hiding. I’ve had enough.

Do what you think is best, Your Majesty, Liana surprises me with unconditional support.

Don’t worry, hon, the Imperial Guard will protect you, Gotrid says confidently.

We love you no matter what, Erik adds to give me courage.

“Yes, he did,” I slowly answer Ichikawa’s question. “We talked telepathically.”

Ichikawa and Hayashi widen their eyes and gasp for breath. I bet they thought that I would deny it. It seems a part of them hoped that it was not true. Hearing it so clearly confirmed must be mind-blowing.

“S-so… you really are Haruto Takeda’s son,” the Prime Minister starts shaking, probably imagining all those things I can do apart from magic. “And you inherited his… ehm… special powers?”

“Yes, I’ve always been half-alien and a telepath,” I nod, trying to keep the information simple in order not to overwhelm them. I can sense that they are on the verge of a panic attack. Seriously, what did Taketa do to them to make them so scared?

“You knew from the beginning?” Hayashi wants to accuse me, but it comes out weak. He wants to look brave, but he’s just as panicky as his political colleague.

“I was born a telepath, but I didn’t know what I was until my father approached me,” I set the record straight. “My Mom was a VR developer at Nebula and that’s where she must have met my father. However, I was really just a kid back then. I didn’t know more than you when the Great Evolution started.”

“Really? Nothing at all?” Ichikawa makes sure.

“I have no reason to lie to you at this point,” I say. “In fact, it turns out that my Mom didn’t tell my father that she was pregnant on purpose. She wanted to protect me from him. I was sent to Europe and was kept in the dark about my origin until now. All I knew was that I wasn’t completely human.”

“Still, it’s too much of a coincidence that not only you played Draconia Online, but you became the Celestial Emperor on top,” Hayashi frowns.

“Is it?” I shrug. “Recently, I’ve realised that I have a faint memory of possibly testing an early version of Draconia Online when my Mom was still alive. I do remember playing a game in which I had wings. My perfect immersion ability most probably comes from the fact that my brain had a chance to adapt to VR while it was still developing. Also, my Mom studied behavioural psychology. She may have conditioned me to stay interested in games and Draconia Online in particular.”

“Your mother was preparing you to become the Celestial Emperor from the beginning?” Ichikawa opens his mouth.

“My Mom’s intentions are still unclear,” I shake my head, “but it’s possible. She might have thought that I would be able to protect myself better if I was both a telepath and a magic caster.”

“Who else knows about Your Majesty’s family background and special ability?” Hayashi is curious.

“Only Celestials and race rulers,” I inform them. “You’re the first government in the world I decided to disclose this information to and I hope that you won’t betray my trust. The world hardly came to terms with four new races and monsters appearing and isn’t ready for telepaths.”

Ichikawa and Hayashi look at each other, but their resolve is stable.

“We understand, Your Majesty,” Ichikawa nods solemnly. “We deal with Taketa and his people regularly, but we’re still freaked out every time, knowing that we’re facing real telepaths. If other governments or the general public found out… well, let’s say that we’re perfectly aware why you keep it secret and we’re honoured that you decided to tell us.”

“I hope that you won’t be afraid to deal with me from now on,” I voice one of my concerns. “I assure you that I’m not like my father.”

“Is your telepathic power weaker because you’re only half-alien?” Hayashi asks a bit too eagerly.

“Not necessarily, but it’s different,” I set the record straight. “For instance, I’m also an empath. I can feel people’s emotions while my father can’t. You could say that my power is more empathic while my father’s power more aggressive.”

“You can feel other people’s emotions?” they are taken aback. “All the time?”

“It’s an extra sense I can’t turn off,” I admit. “It gets overwhelming at times, but I’m glad that I have it and you should be as well.”

Both Ichikawa and Hayashi tilt their heads in confusion.

“What His Majesty is trying to say,” Liana says rather dramatically, “that all those times His Majesty prevented a conflict between humans and Draconians was mainly thanks to his empathic ability. He doesn’t want to feel anyone suffer unnecessarily. A pure Celestial Emperor that would be exactly according to our lore would never be so kind, understanding and benevolent.”

I cough because I don’t want the conversation to turn into Liana blatantly praising me, it’s embarrassing.

“Anyway, could you please tell us in a nutshell when the Azuchi Group first approached the Japanese government and your dealings with them so far?” I ask.

Ichikawa nods and starts by telling us how the Azuchi Group first emerged in the second half of the twentieth century as a manufacturer of computer parts and quickly became the leading power of innovation. Before anyone knew it, they were the richest corporation in Japan that generously offered their money to rebuild Japan after the war. The Japanese government took it and got caught in their web.

Ichikawa also reveals that the knowledge of the Azuchi not being human gets passed from the Prime Minister to their successor and that only a very limited number of people in the government who deal with them directly know about it. With a heavy heart, he tells us that every time a new enthusiastic Prime Minister tried to oppose them, they openly demonstrated their power.

“You never sought help from your allies?” Liana frowns.

“And tell them what exactly?” Ichikawa sighs. “That the Japanese government is being influenced by telepathic aliens? We would be laughed at. Besides, and I hate to admit that, the Azuchi Group has been helping Japan so tremendously that most of my predecessors were more than happy to give them what they wanted. Moreover, they never mess with our state affairs too excessively so turning a blind eye to their operations has never been a problem.”

“Money can buy many things,” Liana notes from her own experience. “An eccentric billionaire can get away with almost anything and having aliens living in your country doesn’t seem like such a big issue if they’re sponsoring your country’s technological advancement and pay taxes.”

We stay quiet for a while. Liana pinpointed it well. After that, I answer a few more questions before it’s time for Ichikawa and Hayashi to leave. They are still shocked that the Celestial Emperor is a confirmed telepath, but I can feel genuine trust slowly brewing between us. Still, it’s obvious how relieved they are that the court protocol doesn’t allow them to shake my hand when saying goodbye.

“That went well,” I say, no sarcasm intended, and turn to my partners. “How about we take a bath to finally relax and…”

I notice that something’s wrong with Erik only when I see how pale he is. I was so focused on the meeting and ensuring its success that I completely forgot to pay any attention to my partners who had just been listening and giving me their quiet loving support as always. I did notice how tired Erik had been, but I was comforted by his confidence so I disregarded it.

In that second when I see Erik collapsing, it all comes to me: I just might be the worst telepathic partner ever.