Chapter 29:

Chapter 23: Growth

Your Healer

Chapter 23: Growth

“What time is it?” Miko asked out of the relatively small kitchen of her apartment where she was cooking us dinner.

"6 pm," I responded from the couch. I was playing one of the most addicting video games in years. It's basically an RPG, but you can spend real money to get new characters, and of course, I want them all... okay, the good-looking ones will suffice.

By the way, I've unofficially moved in with Miko. After the weekend together five weeks ago, including a trip to the swimming pool, I just haven't moved out again.

We just enjoyed being together. But apart from the fact that we spent a lot of time cuddling, we didn't really progress at all in the other activities that lovers do.

We kissed once because we thought we had to try, but Miko was so tense that neither of us enjoyed it very much.

And to be honest, if kissing doesn't work out, we don't need to worry about anything more intimate. But our relationship wasn't built on that in the first place, so we were happy anyway. Not that I'm not looking forward to exploring everything imaginable with Miko one day...

"Why do you ask?" back to Miko, questioning me for the time.

"Lilith asked us to meet her downstairs in about an hour. She has some kind of announcement for us. Judging by her voice, she has a new mission on her hands."

"You can tell that from just her voice? Can you do the same with mine?"

"Not yet, but I promise I will one day."

After Miko had finished cooking, we ate together and watched some TV, then we cleared the dishes and headed downstairs as we were asked to do. Arrived at the office we went into the meeting room, where Lilith was already waiting for us.

"Hello, lovebirds, I hope I haven't disturbed anything." She had figured out that we were a couple way too fast. I don't know how, but she just saw it in our eyes. At least, that's how she described it.

"Don't worry," I said with a smile while I felt Miko's violent aura right beside me.

"Please sit down. I have a lot of exciting things to tell you." Lilith seemed excited; her voice was rarely as energetic as it was now. Somehow, I had a bad feeling. What exactly was supposed to get someone like Lilith hyped up?

Miko and I sat down and eagerly awaited her big announcement.

"Ahh, I don't even know where to start." Lilith twirled some of her hair between her fingers.

“I just tell you the biggest news first. Our guild will participate in his year’s Dungeon Raid.” She looked at us with shining eyes but was met with a mixture of my confusion and Miko's annoyance.

I've heard of this term before. The Dungeon Raid was an annual event where different guilds traveled across the country together, clearing out one dungeon after another while competing against each other in different challenges. The event takes place from September to December to ensure a safe time over the Christmas holidays for the people.

Miko sighed loudly. She didn’t seem to be angry but kind of exhausted from the thought of participating.

"Why Lilith? You were never that interested in that raid." Miko was a lot more negative than I'd expected, but she knew Lilith a lot better than I did, so she had to suspect something.

Lilith started to giggle, "The Ministry has announced that there will be a new election for the King and Queen of Mages next year. And they will announce the candidates after observing this year's raid."

"So, you're using us and this event to present yourself?" I asked, genuinely intrigued because, to be honest, it all sounded very exciting. A big event for us mages and a new election. I couldn't even grasp how big these two announcements were now that I would be an active part of them.

“Kaaaylaa, stop looking like that. Your expression reminds me of our stupid guild leader.” Poor Miko wasn’t feeling any of that right now.

"The Ministry has said that they will release half of your magic-suppressing seals if you participate and the rest if you reach a rank above B."

"Those bastards." Miko sighed again and buried her face in both her hands.

I never quite understood how taxing it was for Miko to walk around with about 70% of her magic sealed. To me, she was still pretty damn strong, and I actually feared that her personality would change a bit after she got her full strength back.

It's not that I thought that she was an overpowered idiot, but I couldn't forget that she grew up as an orphan and was conditioned to fight for power from a young age. In some ways, she seemed far too stable for a person with her past.

However, September was still two weeks away, and apart from the general description of the Dungeon Raid, I knew absolutely nothing about it. So, I held my hand in the air and raised my index finger.

“Yes, Kayla, please,” Lilith said, looking at me with a satisfied smile.

"How can I imagine this raid working? What kind of activities can I expect to fulfill?"

"That's a good question. But I don't really have much of an idea. During the two raids I participated in, I spent time eating and drinking in the hotels we stayed at. Occasionally, I helped clear a few dungeons, but I wasn't anywhere close to being able to take a spot on the leaderboard to earn that nice bonus."

“You don’t expect us to rank in any kind of category, do you?” Miko returned from her double facepalm to ask another question I didn’t really understand.

"What happened to your ambition? You are an exceptional witch, and Kayla is quite the healer. You're both worth more than fifty of those losers from the other guilds."

Yes, we are

"But even if you were allowed to actively participate and use your time for something other than buttering up the bigwigs to get nominated, it will be difficult to achieve anything with three people."

“Amazing that you noticed,” Lilith said, grinning.

Noticed what? Hello? What are they talking about?

“I would like to introduce you to two new members of our guild. To be honest, I have outdone myself with these sign-ups.” Lilith suddenly started to sound like the manager of some sports club, but new members?

I always hated it when we got new employees, no matter where I worked, because of the danger of them destroying the harmony.

"Let me get the first one." Lilith skipped happily towards the door, leaving us alone for a few moments before returning to us. "Come stand by me so we can watch together how they walk in."

Oh man, my heart started racing. Lilith kind of acted as if we already knew the new members. I could definitely think of one or two people I'd really like to work with.

“Come inside,” Lilith called.

My eyes were glued to the door, I heard the handle move, and there she was. Our first new member.

To describe her in a few words... She was incredibly gorgeous. Long dark hair with purple streaks in it, and even her eyes glowed in a violet tone. And although she wasn't wearing her typical outfit or hairstyle, it wasn't hard for me to recognize Luna.

“Hah! That’s why you talked to Eliza after our mission!” I yelled into the room.

"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner, but there was a lot to think about before I decided to change guilds." Luna bowed slightly and gave us an apologetic smile.

I was so happy to see her. She was a great addition to our guild. Such a competent and lovely person. Ahh, I'm so stupid. I noticed she hasn't posted on social media since the end of our mission. With some brainpower, I could have guessed something like this, maybe?

"Welcome to our guild." Even Miko seemed pleased to see her joining. There was no longer a trace of annoyance in her expression.

Wait, was she maybe a little too happy to see Luna again? I guess it's nice to know that we have another strong witch with us, but Luna is also incredibly charismatic and pretty.

Is that jealousy? Because Miko smiles at Luna? Stupid me! This is totally pointless. Come bring on the next newcomer. I'll just look at them in the same way, and we'll be even.

Lilith clapped her hands and smiled with satisfaction at our reactions.

"I know it's hard to top Luna, but my second coup is even more exciting if you ask me."

More exciting than Luna sounded difficult, but I was ready to be blown away.

I heard footsteps coming closer. Whoever it was, it sounded like they were barefoot. I recognized the sound of walking across the floor without shoes and socks.

But the footsteps stopped in front of the half-closed door.

"Are you sure you want me to come in?" The voice sounded gentle, timid, and definitely anxious.

“Of course, if those two are mean to you, Luna and I will protect you,” Lilith said, and Luna smirked.

The person on the other side was breathing in deeply and slowly pushed the door open.

"No way," I spoke without thinking.

The white hair, the black horns, the piercing yellow eyes, the lilac skin.

"You are the demon we fought."

"Hello, my name is Kajsa, and I'm looking forward to working with you."

I heard Miko gulp.

"Give me one good reason why I shouldn't kill her here and now. You know she was going to murder Kayla, right?" Miko's tone was cold.

"Don't make a scene now. Just look at her. You know Kayla wouldn't be here if Kajsa had meant to kill her." Lilith was right; this demon was on another level, and yet here she was, joining our guild.

“I am sorry.” I was surprised that Lilith's words were enough for Miko to apologize.

Now, outside of a fight, I had time to study Kajsa's appearance a little more closely. She was about the same height as Lilith, and she, too, had features that made her beautiful in my eyes. Long lashes and those yellow eyes and irises in the shape of crosses, I had never seen anything like them. And even the clothes of our world fit her perfectly. I couldn’t stop staring at her.

A light punch in my side brought me back to reality. Miko looked at me, kind of mad? Ahh, I guess I fucked up.

"Thank you so much for being so open-minded. You're all great," Kajsa said and walked over to Luna in small steps until she was standing right next to her, only to lean against her. Somehow, the two of them seemed to be close, and not just physically.

“There is just one last announcement, and you guys are free to go. Actually, it’s more of a request or rather an order.”

Lilith seemed confused by her own words, but that was nothing new.

"Luna and Kajsa will be moving into the apartment upstairs. It's big enough for four people, and I'm sure it will be a good opportunity to get to know each other better."

Rest in peace twosomeness

"All right." Miko took that much better than I thought she would. But she was good at accepting things she couldn't change anyway.

And that's how we've gained two new guild members and roommates at the same time.

“Where did you live until now, Kajsa?” Miko asked as we helped them carry their travel bags into the apartment.

“Luna was so kind to let me sleep on her couch for the last weeks.”

“And how do you like it here?”

“What do you mean?”

“You aren’t from this world, aren’t you?”

Luna and I just listened to their conversation. Miko was asking questions I wanted to get answered, too.

"It's liberating. I don't have to think about as many things as I used to. Even though I'm obliged to stay with you, I feel freer than ever."

"Sounds great. You just seem a little too comfortable with your new life. But I don't suppose you're going to tell us what exactly you were up to in that dungeon or what you want to do with your future?"

So Miko was a lot more suspicious than she wanted to show in front of Lilith after all.

"Let's get everything inside first. I'll tell you everything."


"What do you want to know?" Kajsa asked, sitting on a single chair in front of the couch where Luna, Miko, and I had taken a seat.

I quickly raised my hand as there was something I was wondering about the second I heard her speak for the first time.

"Yeah, um, Kayla was your name, right?"

“Yes, my question is. How do you speak our language?”

“I’ve studied it.”


“Reading books mostly. ”

“But your pronunciation is nearly perfect. I can’t believe it.”

"It honestly took me a long time to learn it, but I'm very pleased about your praise."

She's cute, the kind that makes you want to pet her head. Wait a minute, is Miko's bad behavior of treating people like animals rubbing off on me?

"What was your purpose? Why did you make these monsters kill mages?" Miko asked with a somewhat gloomy look.

"I helped them defend their lives. I always suspected that you humans weren't acting out of ill will but that you simply never questioned yourselves."

"That's nonsense. We kill these creatures and destroy the dungeons to keep our world safe. You can't tell me that these dungeons are like home to monsters."

"But who are those who invade one world after another, harvesting materials and killing creatures that are sometimes much closer to humans than you would like?" I don't want to present myself as omniscient or all-knowing, but there is more to the dungeons than we can all imagine.”

Kajsa wasn’t angry. If I wanted to describe her voice, it was calm.

"I'm sorry." Miko was really quick to apologize today, but I would have certainly done the same in her place. Kajsa was right. There was more than one side to everything. And Miko herself once told me that we weren't in a position to really think about all this.

"Don't apologize. You have every right to be angry with me, distrust me, or feel whatever you want to feel. But I want to thank you again for being so open-minded. I've wished for decades that I could talk to humans like this."

“How old are you exactly?” I asked.

"I am seventy years old. Considering the lifespan of my race, you could say I'm about seventeen or eighteen years old in human terms."

That’s old

“You don’t want to ask anything, Luna?” Miko was the curious one.

“I lived with her for some weeks. I don’t think there is anything I don’t know about her.” Luna gave us a tired smile; I just got a vibe of sadness from her.

“Okay, I will continue then. Do you want to go back home?”

“Maybe… Lilith offered me to join the guild so I could escape if we ever find another gate to my world. But for now, I want to accept this gift that I might be able to build a new life for myself.”

My head told me that it would be best to distrust Kajsa. She is a demon from another world who was responsible for the deaths of several comrades from Krystoff's guild. But looking at her and listening to what she had to say was like a punch in the gut. She felt more human than countless people I've spoken to in my life.

“You should tell them about your contract,” Luna said while we were thinking about our next questions.

"Oh, great idea. I don't know how much I can tell you before the effect of this contract is activated, but to summarize, I can't hurt any of you. I'm pretty sure it's not even possible for me to think about doing it. I don't know how much you guys know about magical contracts like this, but the one who sets the terms has to basically overpower the other person. And I'm afraid Lilith could have added some really scary things to that document if she'd wanted to, without me being able to stop it."

Kajsa chuckled nervously. No matter who talked about Lilith, she was always portrayed as a cruel overlord. But in my eyes, she continued to be a caring mother replacement for anyone who needed one.

"You're saying that so we can sleep well? I was surprised that I didn't sense any hostility from you at all, so are you telling me this is just because of the contract?" It seemed as if something in Miko was resisting simply accepting or at least tolerating Kajsa for the time being.

"I'll be honest with you, back in your camp, I wa..." she broke off in mid-sentence. "I..." she held a hand to her head and gritted her teeth.

"I hope you've read all the details of your contracts with Lilith," Luna said with a laugh and stood up to walk over to Kajsa so she could stroke her back.

"We should stop for today. She should get some rest first. Believe it or not, she's basically a hostage at this point. Please try to be nice to her." I knew Luna was a kind and caring personality, but it was striking how much she tried to protect Kajsa.

Two hours later, Miko and I were lying in bed. While I watched a few videos on my phone, she just lay there with her back turned to me. I knew that she was grumbling inside and I knew that I shouldn't bring it up in any way. But I could try to distract her, so I hugged her from behind and softly kicked her butt with my knees.

"I know what you're up to. Stop worrying."

"How could I ignore my sulking girlfriend."

"I'm not sulking; I'm just not a fan of sudden changes, so you could call today a nightmare for me."

"I was going to say something like it's all good as long as we have each other, but just thinking about it gave me goosebumps."

"I love you, Kayla."

"Woah, where did that come from?"

"I don't know? Maybe I just wanted to express how important you are to me? Maybe you should just answer something like 'I love you too' instead of being shocked?"

It's not like I'm counting, but that was only the third time she's uttered the word 'love' since we became a couple, and the other times were referring to the air conditioning in the office and cold drinks in the fridge.

"I love you too," I whispered and kissed her neck.

"Stop it, that tickles."

"Shut up and let me express my love, you idiot."