Chapter 20:

Chapter 18: Perspective

Your Healer

Chapter 18: Perspective

“Good morning. I hope you all slept well. As I mentioned yesterday, we won’t enter the dungeon today. Except for Wace, who continues to try fixing the headsets with Nada.”

Luna looked awfully tired during her short briefing. I kind of felt sorry for her. I talked to Miko yesterday about the status of the mission, and she assured me that the developments were horrible for the first day.

She could imagine that the current crew would not finish this mission, and they would send in more experienced mages. That would most likely mean that Nada and Alex would leave and that I get degraded to a standby healer waiting in the camp.

"You are free to do as you please today. Perhaps you can check outside the veil to see if there are any suspicious people around, but otherwise, I have no tasks for you."

With a big sigh, Luna started walking back into her tent. Wace and Nada disappeared into her place again. Krystoff, Alex, Miko, and I stayed in the meeting room for the moment.

"Hey, Krys, did you see anyone leave the forest before us?" Miko broke the silence and looked at him as if she was annoyed by her own question.

“Obviously not.” Wow, he seemed even more bothered by it. Was it because she gave him a nickname or because he just couldn’t stand her attitude? Maybe both.

"Krys sounds kind of cute. Definitely better than your full name." Alex said with a giggle, stroking his back briefly as if to console him.

"Thank you. Most of my colleagues and friends call me that. You're welcome to do the same."

The mood immediately seemed a bit more relaxed. I had already feared that Miko still had some sayings in store, but she seemed similarly thoughtful as yesterday in the forest.

“How do you feel, Kayla?” Krys asked.

"Everything is fine. I'm glad that no one has been hurt so far." I smiled at him and turned my gaze to Miko. I wanted to signal to her that I wanted to leave without saying it.

It's not that I dislike talking to him, but I hate those questions, that petty small talk about how I feel. And I knew Miko was aware of that. I want to believe that was why she took my hand and walked off, "We're going to check the veil. See you later."

I smiled happily at her and batted my eyelashes, even though she let go of my hand as soon as we had left the tent.

“Stop looking at me like that. I was just saving myself. This dude had something special about him as he survived his last mission. After he brought you a bunch of flowers, my image of him got worse already, but he is slowly getting on my nerves. He does nothing but look around and act like he cares about everyone, while it's clear that he's totally struggling with being back in the place where so many of his friends died.”

So she had more to say, and I'm glad she decided not to say any of it to his face. I was already used to Miko venting her frustrations, and most of the time, she wasn't even wrong with what she said.

“I don't know to whom he's trying to prove something.” She sighed.

"Maybe to himself, but I don't think we're in a position to judge him. We should focus on ourselves." I tried to smooth the waters; it wouldn't do us any good if Miko threw everything at him at some point.

“You sound like you are my mother, but I guess you are right.” She hates to agree with anyone else, so I enjoyed this little victory.

"Now that you mention it, have you called Lilith yet? Maybe we can ask her what she thinks about that gate." I was sure she would know something.

"I wrote her, but... hey, she's not my mother!" she pouted for a moment, then pinched my side and started to grin. "Maybe we should ask her."

How can every facial expression one person shows look so freaking adorable? If possible, I would look at her all the time... 24/7.

“Can you please stop looking at me like that? It is kind of creepy.”


“What do you mean? No?”

"I'm not going to stop looking at you like that!" Now, it was my turn to act unreasonably.

Suddenly, she grabbed me by my hoodie and pulled me close, our faces separated only by a nose length. She whispered, "Please stop," With a terrifying expression.

I only let out a shrill squeak. I wasn’t ready to be that close to her.

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this rough handling a little too much.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be so rude." Miko said.

Why was she apologizing? If anyone had to do that, it was me.

"No, I'm sorry, and if I do anything like that again, you're welcome to grab me by anything you can grasp with your hands."

“You’re weird.”

“I know.”

I began to laugh until I noticed that she looked troubled.

"Is everything okay?" I felt my heart sink into my boots.

"Kayla... when the mission ends, I want to talk with you about us. I'm not so sure what you are hoping to get out of a deeper relationship with me, and I don't know what I really want from you right now."

Oh... wow.

I didn't know what to say. This conversation got very serious very quickly. Until now, I was just enjoying the fluffy feeling of being close to her, and yes, I made dozens of comments and little hints that I wanted more than friendship. But there wasn't a single moment when I actually believed in starting something romantic with Miko.

Aside from the fact that I had never had a relationship with a girl, I thought it was impossible that Miko could ever feel the same way about me.

I remembered how I got together with my ex-boyfriend. We met at one of my jobs, and someday, he started waiting for me after my shifts. Another day, he asked me for my number and suggested hanging out together. I felt he was interested in me, but I simply thought it was nice to have someone around at that time.

After spending almost every minute of our free time together, he asked me to date him. It sounded like a legitimate request. I experienced many firsts with him, and while my memories are somehow positive, I never felt like I was the initiator of anything. I was glad he wanted to spend time with me, but I rarely thought I needed him.

Slowly, I realized that my relationship with Miko was not so different. Only this time, I played the role of the person who wants more, and Miko is the one who feels obliged to think about how to return my feelings.

"Sounds like a good idea," I said, and decided to act a little more professionally from now on, at least until the mission was over.


I spent my morning searching the archives for entries on village-building monsters. In the process, I emptied an entire pot of coffee in record time, which led to me having to go to the toilet.

On my way back, I wanted to check on Nada. I knew Wace was helping her, but that's exactly why I wanted to be on the safe side; no female, young or old, was safe from his charms.

“Hey, how are you guys doing?” I entered her tent without any warning. This led to the gruesome discovery I made. Nada was lying on her bed; Wace was bent over her, holding her by the arm. I just heard her say something along the lines of "Please don't."

"What's going on?" I shouted. It took a lot of self-control to not beat Wace up and throw him out immediately.

"Nothing! We're just messing around!" Nada jumped up and looked at me with the blush of the century. Her head was redder than any tomato.

“She looked stressed, so we played around.”

"What kind of game were you guys playing? Oh, never mind, don't tell me, I don't want to know. I'm glad you're enjoying yourselves. I have to get back to work."

I didn't suspect Wace of having done anything serious. Still, I had to admit that this situation looked wrong on many levels.

“Luna, wait for me. I’m coming with you.” Wace followed me outside.

“You can't scare me like that.”

“She discovered the truth about me.” He sounded kind of proud.

“I don't want to deny her success, but it's not that difficult to guess.”

“Are you jealous?”

“About what?”

“That I played with someone else.”

"Ah, I didn't know you were just playing with me then. I'm glad we're not doing that anymore."


Some minutes earlier

"I give up. I can't find anything. We've completely disassembled and reassembled all the parts." I thought out loud and let myself fall onto my field bed. I heard the rustling of my tent door and raised my head to see Wace with something in his hands.

“You want some ice?” he asked, smiling at me with his shining white teeth.

“Obviously.” It was super hot outside, and except for Kayla, we were all pretty lightly dressed. Not that I had much to show, but I was still hopeful to grow in the right places.

Despite my rather plain appearance, I had the feeling that Wace was staring at me. I didn't suspect that he was some kind of pervert. Maybe I should just ask him what was so exciting about watching me eat a popsicle.

“You want a lick? You keep staring in my direction.” I tried to address it rather subtly and added a nervous chuckle at the end.

“I am actually looking at you.” He smiled charmingly, not that I really knew what a genuine, charming smile looked like.

“May I ask why?”

“It is just a joy to watch people enjoy simple things.”

I didn't feel like he was lying, even though his joyful hobby was kind of creepy to me. I knew some people enjoyed sitting in a coffee shop all day, watching people walk around. Still, our one-on-one conversation made me a little uncomfortable at the moment.

“You are very exciting to me. Somehow, you manage to look me straight in the eyes all the time.”

Of course, I looked into his eyes. They were simply fascinating. His bright yellow iris, in combination with those sharp pupils, were just too beautiful not to look at.

I was already used to seeing red eyes. My own eyes dyed that color when I used magic.

But it was true that I and Krystoff were the only ones who looked him in the face for more than a second. The other girls acted like shy maidens around him. Apart from the necessary interactions, I got the feeling that they avoided him.

“Do you use some kind of magic to seduce women?”

“Where does this question come from?” he chuckled.

"I was just combining what I observed the last two days.”

“What a smart girl you are. But you are wrong. I’m not using magic.”

“But you do something?”

“Not voluntarily.”

Since he wasn't sparkling in the sun's light and I had already seen his reflection, I was pretty sure he wasn't a vampire. But I got the feeling he wasn’t human either.

"It's my odor. The smell of my body triggers a biochemical reaction that makes women crave for me."

Crave for him? Ah, yes, I guess I know what he means.

"And I'm immune?" I didn't want to look the truth in the eye.

"No, you're just still a kid." He smiled as if he pitied me.

I wasn't sad about not turning into a wild, urge-driven creature in his presence, but having been surrounded by adults all my life, my personality didn't match my appearance. So, it felt strange to be called a child.

“So, you aren’t human?”

“I’m partly human. My mother was one, my father wasn’t. I really don’t want to go into detail.”

I could not hide my excitement; I knew about the existence of the non-human creatures. However, compared to mages and witches, they were a real rarity, and one was sitting across from me.

"All right. But you've got me curious. You don't look any older than twenty, but you're a lot older, right?"


“Come on, I won’t tell anybody, pleeease.”

“Take a guess.”

“I don’t know, maybe around one hundred?”

“Oh, I am flattered.”

"I'm older than that. That's all I'm going to tell you. And don't ask me how that's possible before you're grown up."

“I can imagine quite a few things.”

“Please don’t.”

“But do you have to do it to survive?”

“I said I won’t talk about it.”

“So, you do.”

"Actually, I eat little cheeky brats to satisfy my hunger."

He jumped up from his chair and stopped right in front of me. His quick movement startled me, but I wasn't afraid. He was playing with me, and I felt safe.

Everything he told me might have been a lie; maybe he was just a creep in the end, but I wanted to believe him.

“Oh, no, please don’t eat me!” I screamed with a big smile on my face.

"Too late," he whispered and grabbed my arm, moving his mouth slowly towards it, pretending he would bite it off at any moment.

I fell on my bed and averted my eyes as if afraid to look death in the eye.


"Can't you just tell me who these humans are?"

My father was stubborn, so I could imagine his answer. But I never grew tired of asking him.

“It's better if you find out for yourself. After all, you could already figure out the origin of the dungeons.” His deep voice rang through the throne room.

He was right. One principle he had taught me was that I should never trust any information that I had not obtained myself. That made my life more challenging than it had to be, but as the princess of a small kingdom, I had to learn things the hard way to be ready to rule one day.

I wasn’t really looking forward to becoming queen. But my mother was dead, and I was my father's only child, so it didn't make much sense for me to imagine another future.

This is precisely why I enjoyed exploring the dungeons in our kingdom so much. And my first attempts at leading a troop worked out exceptionally well. At first, I had difficulty communicating with the goblins and orcs, but they executed my strategies quite nicely.

Only the question that kept me busy the most, I could not answer yet. What were human mages doing in these dungeons? It was clear that they entered through another portal, and I would be lying if I said that the thought of going through one of those gates didn't excite me. But I was not so stupid as to run into the arms of our enemy.

Okay, our enemy sounds a little misleading. Neither the goblins nor the orcs come from our kingdom. It was not us who created this dungeon. I still doubt that anyone knows that I am pulling the strings, let alone that they know I even exist.

And if you ask me, it can stay that way. I wasn't keen on fighting them. Yes, I suggested killing them yesterday, but only to move forward, not because I'm some kind of battle-hungry monster.

Speaking of hunger, I haven't had breakfast yet. I usually eat first thing in the morning together with my maid, who is also my best friend and also acts as my bodyguard. But today, she headed straight to the dungeon while I was still asleep. Somehow, she had a better connection with the goblins, not that I want to call her simple-minded, but she just knows how to talk to them.

"Did you have breakfast yet?" I asked, looking at my father with a big smile. We rarely ate together; he was just too busy, so it was hard to find time for me. And lately, I have also started to train more and more to become a great leader like him.

"Not yet, as a matter of fact. Will you have the mercy to dine with your old man?" he made it sound like I was actively trying not to, but that was obviously a joke... I hope.

Our little conversation was then interrupted by a firm knock on the door behind me. I sighed, expecting someone who urgently needed to speak with my father. I prepared myself for a lonely breakfast in my chambers.

“Come inside.”

The door, which was much bigger than me, was slowly pushed open. I wasn't hiding my annoyance; you could read it right off my face. But the second I recognized the person who entered the room, my mouth opened in amazement. Her beautiful, long white hair was unmistakable.