Chapter 91:

Double Royalty

Draconia Offline

I instinctively hold my breath, even though there’s no actual air in this dreamy dimension. What did my father just say? Did I hear right? Me, a Divementis prince?

I stare at my father, then at those three Divementis who came to accompany him today. Who are they anyway? Did they invade my dream just to confirm that I’m indeed what my father claims I am? I have no reason to think that he would be lying, but still… it’s hard to believe.

“You know that he’s mine, you saw the results of the DNA test,” my father says calmly and gives me a strange look. It’s not a disgusted or disappointed look, though. There’s a hint of… pride? No, my eyes must be playing tricks on me.

“That may be, but he’s still a half-breed that shouldn’t exist in the first place,” one of the Divementis looks at me with contempt. “Besides, he has no claim to the throne if he can’t even access the Archive.”

“Actually, he can,” my father answers with a victorious smirk. “I let him roam the dreamscape on his own a few days ago to see what he would do and not only did he discover the Archive, he managed to access it. The system even recognised him as the Supreme Administrator as if it was me.”

That leaves the three Divementis speechless. It’s obvious they didn’t expect that. My father moves closer to me which makes me flinch. I want to say something, but I just gasp for the illusionary air instead. All of this is… too unreal.

“His looks might be Celestial, but his brain is that of a Divementis,” my father continues. “He learns quickly, just as someone from the royal bloodline would. He even managed to defend himself against our Enemy which isn’t something an average Divementis would be able to do.”

The three Divementis look at each other, frowning.

“Aefener needs to stand before the Divementis Council first,” another Divementis insists. “Even if he’s Your Majesty’s son, there are procedures to follow if we are to accept him.”

“You will address him by his rightful title,” my father clicks his tongue.

“His Highness Prince Aefener,” the Divementis makes a correction, not daring to disobey their sovereign. That title feels wrong somehow. I’m not a prince, I’m an emperor!

The three Divementis give me their last scrutinous look, then bow submissively and disappear with a flicker. It’s only me and my father now. We stay quiet for a while—my father considering his next words, me trying to calm my wildly beating heart and trembling wings.

“I understand this must be a huge surprise for you, Aefener,” he addresses me by my name for the very first time and tries to slowly cut the distance between us. “It’s true, I’m no ordinary Divementis. I rule whatever is left of our once glorious empire.”

“What’s your name?” I ask. I realise only now that I actually don’t know. I know only his fake human name.

“Althorion Lorthane Serthorius Dralthor Morvandus,” he articulates carefully, using the Divementis pronunciation that doesn’t sound alien to me at all.

“Ehm…,” I bite my lip because I forgot it immediately.

“Your mother called me Orion,” he benevolently gives me a shortened version. “She found it funny to call me after a star and that part is in my first name anyway so I didn’t mind. Still, I would prefer you call me ‘father.’”

I’m sceptical about that, but I guess it would be weird to call him by the nickname my Mom used. I keep staring at him, unsure what to do or say. It’s difficult to process that my father isn’t only an alien from another dimension; he’s royalty on top of that. Does it make me a double royal I wonder?

“You earned to have another question answered when you managed to enter the Archive,” my father gives me a hint. “Ask away.”

I have so many things to ask. What’s the Archive? Who or what is the Enemy? How many Divementis live in Japan? How did the Divementis manage to transform so many humans into entirely different species? Does the Draconian dimension look the same as in our game? What’s expected of the transformed players? How do I fit in?

However, the question that leaves my lips has nothing to do with any of that.

“I want to know about Mom,” I blurt out. “How did you two meet? Why did you break up? Where were you when they deported me to the EU? And how was I even born in the first place when I’m being constantly told that human and Divementis genes aren’t compatible?”

“Okay, that will take a while,” he conjures an armchair and a sofa with a simple hand gesture. He takes the armchair and nods at me to take the sofa.

I slowly sit down and spread my wings comfortably to the sides. He’s being unnaturally considerate tonight and even took my wings into account when making this imaginary furniture. Still, I glare at him suspiciously. Who knows what he’s really up to?

“I had to be strict with you when we first met,” he says, noticing that I don’t trust him a bit. “I managed to covertly hire humans to steal your feather from the Draconian embassy, but my subjects suspected that I was up to something. When I told them that I wanted to personally attend the New York conference, their suspicions only grew.”

“You tried to hide the truth about me from your own people?” I narrow my eyes. “Why?”

“Because if I didn’t get to you first to test your powers, they wouldn’t have hesitated to kill you,” he says darkly. “Fortunately, I managed to confirm that you indeed inherited the Divementis royal bloodline.”

“What kind of sick test was that?” my face darkens. “You gave me a nosebleed and made me faint.”

“A normal Divementis would have died instantly from that attack, Aefener,” he sets the record straight, not sugarcoating it. “If I didn’t go for the most brutal test and didn’t promise to carry it out myself, the Divementis were prepared to abduct you after the conference.”

“W-what?” I flinch. “B-but…”

“A weak half-breed wouldn’t be allowed to live even if you are my son, the Divementis doctrine forbids diluting our gift,” he explains. “Only by proving to them that your telepathic powers are worthy of the royal bloodline, I could protect you.”

“How did you even know I would survive that?” I shake my head.

“I didn’t, but I hoped,” he says honestly. “Human and Divementis genes shouldn’t be compatible, we thoroughly examined that. Still, somehow you are here, despite all the odds. Amelia… she… Out of all humans, I hoped that if anyone would be strong enough to pass on my royal genes, it would be her. And I was right.”

“Yet, you abandoned her,” I accuse him and I take a deep breath. I’m still uneasy about the fact that he would kill me mercilessly if I wasn’t a strong enough telepath according to the Divementis standards.

“I assure you that I did not,” he insists, “and, for the record, I didn’t know that she was pregnant. As you already guessed, we’re telepaths, not empaths. Embryos don’t have thoughts, so I couldn’t know. Amelia didn’t know either at that time or I would have been able to read it in her mind. As for the reason why we broke up in the end, she didn’t agree with the course the Divementis wanted to take with Draconia Online and she had enough of hiding our relationship.”

“Hiding?” I tilt my head.

“Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that Celestials aren’t thrilled about you dating a human either,” he points out. “While you’re lucky enough that they do tolerate your lover, the same can’t be said for the Divementis, so we had to keep our relationship secret. Fortunately, I’m not as anxiously guarded as you inside our premises. We could make it work even if Amelia hated it.”

“Did you love her?” I ask directly because I just need to know. Do the Divementis even have the same idea of love?

“Do you seriously think I would bother to plan secret meetings and lie to my subjects if I didn’t love her?” he clicks his tongue, clearly offended by my accusation. “Amelia was the only person I have ever loved, despite her being human. She was really special and she wasn’t afraid of me at all.”

“But you still broke up in the end,” I say feebly.

“I let her go exactly because I loved her,” he states firmly. “My subjects started to suspect that something was going on between us. If she stayed any longer and we were found out… I fear that not even me, the Divementis Emperor, could have stopped them from harming her.”

I clutch my hands into fists and feel my eyes water.

“She still died,” I murmur. “Did you investigate the real cause?”

“Her body was claimed by the Japanese government,” my father sighs and I can see that it’s genuinely painful for him. “They suspected that the brain tumour was caused by her testing experimental VR headsets excessively.”

“And was that the case? I mean… really?” I gulp.

“Yes and no,” he shakes his head. “Even twenty years ago, VR headsets were perfectly safe to use. However, Amelia stole an unfinished copy of Draconia Online. After she left, she was testing the game for two years without the Divementis supervision and it initiated a genetic transformation of her body. The game was far from being finished at that time, though. Instead of a proper transformation, it gave her cancer.”

“I vaguely remember playing Draconia Online when I was a child,” I get startled.

“Your brain is half-Divementis, I suppose you were safe from side effects,” he calms me down. “Besides, Amelia couldn’t know. I bet she sincerely believed that she was reliving your migraines. Do you remember what race you played as?”

“A Celestial,” I say proudly with a tone suggesting ‘what else.’

“I see, no wonder you became the race ruler,” my father smiles slightly. “I won’t lie to you, Aefener. You being both the heir to the Divementis throne and the Celestial Emperor able to wield powerful magic is a big deal. You could help us win the war and make a real difference. That’s part of the reason why my people will be forced to acknowledge you. Losing you would mean losing a huge asset.”

“I’m not an asset, I’m a person,” I hate that he thinks of me that way. “And what did your people mean by standing before the Divementis Council?”

“That…,” my father starts, but I suddenly sense the familiar feeling of my imaginary body losing its form, “is the topic for another meeting,” he quickly finishes a sentence because my real body is inevitably waking up.


“Sorry, hon, we had to,” Erik apologises profoundly when I open my eyes and find out that it was them who interrupted my sleep.

“I was meeting my father, we had a super important conversation,” I snort.

“We figured as much, it’s ten already and you weren’t waking up,” Gotrid caresses my feathers to comfort me.

“So why did you…?” I frown, but Erik pokes me between my eyebrows.

“Because your brain isn’t resting when you’re having your dream encounters,” he says. “We don’t want you to collapse. We woke you up so that you can have a long afternoon nap. Hopefully, your father isn’t taking naps into account.”

I slowly sit up and rub my eyes. Erik is right, of course, I don’t feel well-rested. My body relaxed a bit, but my brain was working relentlessly. Maybe even harder than it normally would, these dream meetings sure are taxing.

“Did you learn something interesting today?” Gotrid asks and starts petting my wings because he can tell that I’m upset about being forced to wake up.

“Well…,” I bite my lip. The idea of hiding the truth from them again doesn’t cross my mind, but where do I even start?

“Yep, it’s evidently super important,” Erik guesses and gently kisses my right wing.

“I’d better call Liana and the Celestial Council should also know,” I consider. “Damn, they will freak out for sure.”

“Tell us first, we want to have a private audience,” Gotrid tickles me under my feathers. “In a nutshell is enough for now.”

“In a nutshell, my father is the Divementis Emperor which makes me a Divementis prince,” I say slowly, nervously waiting for their reaction. They just stare at me for a few long seconds. They expected something big, but not this.

“You’re kidding!” Erik opens his mouth wide.

“Oh, our Emperor is double royalty,” Gotrid celebrates because, in his shock, he fails to see the gravity of that revelation.

“Wait, but… wouldn’t that mean that the Divementis could try to claim you?” Erik starts to panic properly.

“That’s why my subjects will freak out when they find out,” I sigh. “Seriously, now that I think about it, maybe we should keep it a secret after all.”

“Nope, just nope,” Gotrid shakes his head as it finally comes to him. “That’s out of the question, love. The Imperial Guard needs to know so that they can take precautions.”

“I must agree with Gotrid on this,” Erik nods. “Until now, you’ve been meeting your father only in your dreams, but what if he tries to take you away from us?”

“I have both magic and telepathy, I’m confident that I should be able to protect myself,” I assure them.

“You can’t protect yourself in your sleep,” Erik argues. “We’re telling the Celestial Council and that’s final.”

“Oh, love,” Gotrid hugs me, “what if they try to get you by force?”

“Then we will show them what Celestials are capable of,” I say confidently. “Still, I don’t think it will come to that. My father might be many things, but he’s not stupid. The Divementis desperately need Draconians to become their allies.”

“We can’t rule out that they could try abducting you,” Erik snuggles to me as well. “Besides, I warned you not to trust your father easily.”

“He loved Mom, though,” I whisper. “I’m certain that he wasn’t lying about that. He might not be the dad of the year, but I don’t think he’s the villain here. The Divementis came to our dimension to hide from that monstrous thing that occupies their homeland.”

We stay in a feathery embrace for a few comforting moments until the Celestials waiting outside grow too restless and the maids quietly open the door.

“Your Majesty, are you okay?” Ayala asks anxiously. “It’s ten already, we were worried.”

Gotrid releases his wings, uncovering us.

“We will have breakfast now,” he says. “In the meanwhile, please tell the Viceroy to assemble the Council in advance.”

Ayala pales, sensing that something important must have happened. I must admire her composure in such situations. She doesn’t ask any questions and hurries to do her job. I stand up so that Ayala and Dalia can quickly dress me up.

“Your Majesty!” Liana is waiting for me in the lounge already when we emerge from the bedroom. “Is it an emergency? What happened? I called for the Council just as you ordered.”

“After breakfast,” Erik insists. “You know our Emperor has a bad habit of skipping meals or not eating as much as he should when he’s stressed. Let’s stuff him with food first and talk later.”

We eat in silence. Erik and Gotrid focus on encouraging me to eat while Liana is barely holding her questions bottled inside.

“At least tell me if it’s good or bad,” she cries after a while.

“Potentially both,” I admit and let Erik feed me a piece of pancake. “I met my father tonight again and a few other Divementis.”

“Other Divementis?” Liana bites her lip. “They didn’t hurt you, did they?”

“No,” I shake my head. “We talked and…”

“At the assembly,” Erik purses his lips and delivers me another mouthful. Admittedly, without his intervention, I wouldn’t have much appetite to eat on my own.

By the time we get outside, all Celestials in the mansion know that something is going on. I can feel their restlessness.

“Your Majesty,” Gavreel bows deeply when we reach the throne room. “Everybody is waiting for you.”

I nod and quickly walk across the hall to my throne. It seems that one day of my absence gave my subjects time to recuperate from my Celestial wrath. They are still extremely careful around me, but they can meet my eyes again.

I sit down, my beloved partners get seated next to me and start caressing my wings which are shaking a bit. I don’t care that it might not look regal. I really need it right now and appreciate that Erik and Gotrid aren’t embarrassed.

“My father visited me in my sleep again,” I say slowly, carefully articulating each word. “What I’m about to tell you will shock you, but I don’t want you to freak out. Please, sit down on the cushions.”

The councillors and guard captains look at each other, confused. Liana gives me a panicky look because my tone is even more serious than during breakfast.

“That was an order,” I add to make myself clear. Everybody sits down in a hurry and for a few moments, there’s only a sound of rustling wings.

“It turns out,” I say extremely slowly, “that my father isn’t just any Divementis. He revealed to me last night that he’s the Divementis Emperor.”

Everybody in the hall gasps for breath. I bet now they appreciate that I made them sit down.

“As you probably guessed, that makes me a Divementis prince,” I add simply, generously giving them time to let it sink in.

I look at Liana and I can tell that she’s freaking out in her mind, but she’s doing her best to remain calm at least from the outside. When the worst shock is over, she immediately starts to consider the consequences of me being both the Celestial Emperor and a Divementis prince.

“What else did your father say?” Liana asks sharply while everyone else is still trying to come to terms with it.

“We talked about my Mom and he confirmed that she indeed worked directly for the Divementis in developing Draconia Online,” I continue. “She left when still neither she nor my father knew that she was pregnant which explains why nobody suspected a thing. After that, she continued to keep my existence secret to protect me.”

“B-but…,” Gavreel speaks up, his voice shaking, “what if the Divementis raise a claim to Your Majesty?”

“I’m afraid my father already did,” I sigh. “However, it doesn’t have to be necessarily a bad thing. I could finally learn why and how the Great Evolution happened directly from the source.”

“Directly?” Captain Vermiel widens his eyes. “You mean entering the Divementis premises?”

“It might come to that,” I admit.

That causes an even bigger uproar among my subjects than the revelation itself. It seems that coming to terms with me being double royalty is easier for them than the idea of me possibly leaving them for the Divementis.

“I assure you that I consider myself to be, first and foremost, the Celestial Emperor,” I say firmly to calm the commotion down. “I might be half-Divementis, but I feel no responsibility towards them whatsoever. You are and always will be my absolute priority.”

“And if the Divementis try to take you away from us by force?” Gavreel gulps.

“They can try,” I hiss. “If we are to cooperate with them, it must be on equal footing. When my father reaches out to me again, I’ll make that clear to him.”

The assembly continues for three long hours. Liana wants to know the details of everything that happened in my dream last night and everybody voices their opinion on the course of action we should take. The Guard Captains go to reinforce the protection of the mansion immediately while our diplomats start coming up with strategies we could try when dealing with the Divementis.

Erik and Gotrid have to push really hard to give me that afternoon nap I was promised. I’m a bit apprehensive that my father will bother me every time I close my eyes, but nothing of that sort happens and I manage to get some rest. We return to our suite late in the evening after the whole day spent analysing, strategizing and debating.

“Love, if you don’t feel like it…,” Erik tries not to be pushy about tonight’s sex when it’s time for bed and the maids finally leave the bedroom.

“I do feel like it,” I assure both him and Gotrid. “I won’t let the Divementis ruin our nightlife. You are my beloved partners and I’ll make love to you every opportunity I get.”

“You’re all tense, love,” Gotrid notices, tells me to lower my wings and massages my shoulders.

I accept it gratefully, melting under his care. When I relax a bit, I fully connect with them to find out what they desire the most at the moment. I pity the Divementis for not being empaths. Reading one’s thoughts in such a precious situation like making love is only half the pleasure. I decide that I should consider empathy to be my biggest strength and, with that proud thought, I fall asleep.


Strangely, my father didn’t visit me that night. I wake up well-rested, vaguely remembering a nice dream in which I was flying above Prague, but that’s about it. I stretch all my six limbs and give Erik and Gotrid a morning kiss.

“Nothing?” Erik asks curiously.

“Nothing,” I shrug. “I guess they need time to discuss the matter. Who knows how the Divementis make decisions and whether my father is an absolute monarch or not.”

We get dressed up and have breakfast as usual. My appetite returns a bit and I eat without being forced. Liana comes to check up on me about the night and when I tell her that nothing happened, she runs off to take care of the morning agenda.

“What time does she wake up anyway?” I ponder.

“At least an hour before us,” Gotrid guesses. “Don’t let it bother you, hon. She must go to sleep earlier than us because she has no obligations in bed.”

“I hope that soon she will have,” I sigh, annoyed that Soren is taking his sweet time in asking her out properly. “It’s not obvious only to me, is it?”

“You mean Soren?” Gotrid chuckles. “Nope, the whole mansion has been gossiping and speculating about those two ever since we came here. It seems our otherwise sharp Viceroy is dumb when it comes to romance.”

“I heard that Soren did try to ask her out once already,” Erik recalls. “Liana misinterpreted it, though, so nothing happened.”

“That dumb,” I roll my eyes. “How do you know about it anyway? How come I didn’t hear any rumours?”

“Nobody dares to gossip in front of their Emperor,” Eriks smirks. “I heard it from Miruel who was guarding her that day.”

I puff, annoyed that I miss all the fun stuff just because Celestials are too shy around me. When we finish breakfast, we attend yet another assembly. The debate is much more productive today because everybody had some time to process yesterday’s revelation.

“Vermiel, I’m afraid that I can’t manage another day without flying,” I tell the Guard Captain after the assembly is over. “I haven’t been able to fly for several days now and I’m reaching my limit. Prepare the flock, we’re taking off in twenty minutes.”

“Is that wise, Your Majesty?” Liana overhears us. “We should be safe inside the shield, but outside…”

“Air is the Celestial element, we’re unsurpassed when flying,” I interrupt her. “The Divementis are dangerous, but they can’t do anything to us high in the sky. Besides, I’m seriously getting cramps in my wings, you can’t keep me grounded any longer.”

Liana resists sighing and nods, approving in the end.

“In twenty minutes then, I’ll join you,” she says and goes to change her clothes.

We return to our suite and I insist that the maids put my new armour on me instead of a much lighter sporty robe.

“We have to get used to flying with extra weight,” I explain. “Our wings need to get stronger. Dalia, can you tell everyone who’s going to accompany me to put on their armour as well?”

“As you wish, Your Majesty,” Dalia bows and runs off to relay my message immediately so that everyone has time to dress accordingly.

When we gather in the inner courtyard, I’m happy to discover that everyone present is indeed wearing their armour. I think that the guards would do so even without my order, but the same can’t be said for a few councillors who also decided to join me. They look uneasy wearing all that extra weight, but I don’t feel like being benevolent today. Their wings need to get stronger, it’s for their own good.

We fly up and most Celestials get anxious when we leave the safety of the shield. They quickly conjure their own personal shields, but everybody truly relaxes only when we reach the clouds. Nobody feels like playing an aerial game, though, which is understandable given the circumstances.

They would like to let me fly to my heart’s content, but it’s obvious that flying in the armour is quickly depleting their stamina. Naturally, the guards are in a much better shape than politicians, but when even Gotrid begs me to land, out of breath, I mercilessly comply.

However, as we’re descending, I suddenly feel that something is off. I’m not sure what that something is, but I decide to stop the flock anyway.

“WAIT!” I shout the command using both my voice and my telepathy.

“Love? Is something wrong?” Gotrid gets startled because he can’t feel anything.

I take a deep breath and momentarily close my eyes to focus better. If there were monsters nearby, others would be able to feel them as well. Maybe there’s a rift opening further away? Still, I get nothing, so it can’t be a new rift.

“DESCEND SLOWLY,” I shout another command.

As we get closer to the ground, my uneasiness only grows. It’s as if something is hiding from my senses and I mean both my telepathy and eyes. We descend even further and the mansion below us starts to be visible. At first glance, nothing seems amiss. The mansion is there and the shield is intact.

Yet, it’s as if there’s a void below me. It’s as if something is hiding right in front of our noses and we just can’t see it. I recall the time when I met my father at the New York conference. I noticed him only because I noticed a significant lack of something. I focus hard on that ambiguous feeling and, to my surprise, I start to recognise it. It’s not a void after all, it’s a Divementis mental shield.

I try to see with my mind rather than my eyes and the ease of that surprises me. It’s the same as when I became suddenly able to see my father’s real form—a matter of not believing in an illusion and giving things a fresh unbiased perspective.

The moment my thinking shifts, I can finally see it. There’s a huge Divementis cruiser silently hovering above the mansion.