Chapter 92:

Finally Face to Face

Draconia Offline

The Divementis spaceship is hovering above the mansion in absolute silence. Its silver colour and thin shape make it look really elegant, but the absence of any sound is eerie. I realise that I can’t see any visible seams in the ship’s construction, how the hell did they put something like that together? Just how advanced is the Divementis technology?

Still, its cloaking device isn’t technological, I can guess that much—it’s actually a mental shield of gigantic proportions. I suspect that not even my father is capable of sustaining something like that on his own which means that it’s probably the work of several Divementis focusing in unison. They are trying to persuade onlookers in the vicinity that there’s nothing to see here.

“Your Majesty, what’s wrong?” Liana flies to me in panic.

“The Divementis are here!” I say tensely, but I’m not sure how to make her see. I see it just fine because I managed to look through the trick, but my subjects are blind to it.

“The Divementis? Where? How?” Liana gets only more confused and she’s not the only one. It’s like a chain reaction and, in just a few seconds, the whole flock gets restless.

There’s a cloaked Divementis spaceship hovering above the mansion, I switch to telepathy to address everybody at the same time without the need to shout. Stay where you are and I’ll try…

I don’t have a chance to finish that sentence, though. My father’s mind pervades my consciousness and I can feel that he’s simultaneously projecting his thoughts to everybody in the mansion and the flock.

I’m the Divementis Emperor Althorion Lorthane Serthorius Dralthor Morvandus, he starts strong but his tone is polite. Noble Celestials, I know that you’re alarmed, but there’s no need to panic. We come in peace, I simply wish to speak with my son face to face. We’re currently hovering above your embassy in a cloaked ship and kindly ask you to deactivate the shield so that we can come down in a shuttle. I guarantee your safety, you have my word.

I notice several guards breaking the formation, totally freaked out. I’m not surprised, but I can’t have them panicking so I gently touch their minds to calm them down and bring them back. It helps to a certain extent, but everyone is still scared shitless. I bite my lip, not knowing what to do because I’m scared myself.

I naively thought that my father would visit me again in my dreams and we would arrange some kind of real-world meeting on neutral ground. I had never expected he would dare to come to fetch me so aggressively.

Desperate, I send my mind to the Divementis ship, trying to penetrate their mental shield, but it’s futile. The shield is too strong and I’m still too inexperienced when compared to the Divementis with possibly centuries of training. I can’t even perceive whether their intentions are friendly or hostile, I get nothing.

“Love, what are we supposed to do?” Gotrid flies a circle around me to catch my attention because he knows that when I’m half-immersed in telepathy, I don’t watch my surroundings that much.

Aefener, my father addresses only me now. I really didn’t want to appear without prior notice and startle your people, but the Divementis Council decided that we can’t put this off any longer. We’re barely suppressing the rifts as it is and you being able to feel them before they break into this dimension is a game-changer.

You’re suppressing the rifts?! I can’t believe what I’m hearing. I’ve always suspected that it’s them who causes them to appear in the first place.

What, did you seriously think it’s us endangering humans? We’re trying to stop the Enemy from invading the Earth, he answers, a bit offended by my indirect accusation. We’re running out of fuel, though, our reactor is on the verge of collapse. Let’s talk properly face to face. Please.

I bite my lip, but something in his voice and choice of words makes me pause. I don’t want to let the Divementis enter the mansion when I can’t even check their intentions, but the urgency in my father’s mind is apparent. It’s just my intuition, but… I don’t think that he’s lying.

“Your Majesty!!!” Liana gets desperate at this point. She knows that I must be negotiating with my father telepathically, but the flock got extremely restless in the meanwhile.

I take a deep breath. I need to make a decision. Trust my father and let him in… or not?

“Be careful when descending, the ship is invisible to your eyes, but it’s physically there so don’t bump into it!” I shout an order. “Follow my lead closely!”

I fly around at a reasonable distance so that nobody is in danger of accidentally colliding with the ship. I feel a tiny bit safer when we get inside, but the barrier can repulse only physical objects that don’t emit mana. I don’t think it’s effective against telepathic attacks.

My first concern is to find Erik so that I can shield him with my mind. Fortunately, I don’t have to look for him. He was waiting for me in our apartment the whole time and ran to the patio when he heard my father’s telepathic message. We get reunited immediately and I hug him with my wings, making sure our minds are fully mingled.

“Where is it?” Erik is breathing frantically, panicking. “Is there really an invisible spaceship?”

“Just above,” I point upwards.

“Can you make us see?” Gotrid lands just a few seconds after me. He quickly folds his wings and I welcome him into my embrace, mingling our minds thoroughly. My partners should be safe from the Divementis telepathic influence now.

“I can show you the image, but I’m afraid that I can’t dispel the illusion for you,” I have to disappoint them.

“Show us then,” Liana lands as well and touches my feathers.

I send them a mental image of the ship, a bit like sending a telepathic photograph. The image is crystal clear and makes them gasp.

“Damn!” Gotrid lets out, astonished. “A real fucking spaceship!”

“Are we safe?” Erik is worried.

“If they could descend on their own, they would do it already,” I say firmly, but I’m well aware that it’s just my wishful thinking.

“Your Majesty, how should we handle it?” Liana cries, not knowing what to do which is rare for her and she hates it.

“Give me a few minutes to negotiate the terms,” I decide and quickly head to our apartment. Wasting time could offend the Divementis which we can’t afford to do.

“Love, do you need anything?” Erik asks when I grab my favourite meditation pillow and land on it.

“You can caress my wings, that’s always welcomed,” I shrug because there’s nothing any of them can do right now. Still, I need to distract them with something so that they stop panicking.

Gotrid puts a folded blanket under my knees so that I’m comfortable and they both start caressing my wings to make their hands busy.

I close my eyes to focus better and take a deep breath. The ship is shielded, but I’m sure that if I focus really hard, my father will take notice. I send my mind to the Divementis ship.

Do you hear me? I try.

Yes, he answers immediately.

I need you to promise me that you won’t hurt my people in any way, I demand. I’m not sure what your word is worth so I count on the Divementis honour, hoping you have one.

We do, he answers in all seriousness. You have my word, son.

I’ll create an opening in the shield just for your shuttle and I’ll seal it off immediately so don’t you dare send more than one, I set a condition.

I’m sure you understand that my people won’t let me come alone, he says. I’m just as anxiously guarded as you are.

Just you and your envoy, I do understand that. For the record, I’ll be protecting my Consorts and several other subjects from your influence so the moment you or any of your people try anything funny, they won’t hesitate to use the most destructive spells in their arsenal.

Noted, he agrees, his tone slightly amused, but not in a bad way. It seems he’s content that I’m cautious.

Give us a few minutes to prepare, I conclude and end the telepathic connection.

“Your Majesty, how did it go?!” Liana asks eagerly the moment I open my eyes again.

“Luvi,” I call my adjutant who’s nervously stepping at the door. “Go prepare the meeting room immediately.”

“So we’re doing it?” Liana makes sure, all tense.

“We’re doing it,” I nod. I can’t run away from my alien heritage any longer.


I want to keep the armour on, but Liana worries that it might look aggressive so I decide to change my clothes and put on my most expensive royal attire. The maids are so nervous that Cien messes up the binding which has never happened before.

“I’m sorry, Your Majesty,” the poor maid is on the verge of a panic attack. “L-let me redo it…”

“Cien,” I stop her for a while and take her shaking hands. “I promise to protect you all should anything go wrong.”

“It’s us who should protect you, my Emperor,” Cien insists, “but the Divementis…”

“We’re not any worse than them,” I assure her. “We just need to find a way to defend ourselves against their telepathy.”

“Is that even possible?” Erik ponders and lets Ayala adjust his necktie so that his visage is perfect for the historic meeting.

“I don’t know yet, but I’m willing to put everything into researching that possibility,” I promise.

“Are you ready?” Liana returns, changed already, and raises her eyebrows because I’m still holding Cien’s hands and my robe is loose.

“Almost,” Cien quickly resumes work. Seriously, is she more afraid of Liana than me?

Erik and Gotrid are done much faster than me so Dalia and Ayala help Cien with dressing me up. We must impress the Divementis so I can’t afford to look shabby next to my father. Just this once, I don’t complain that the upper robe my maids decided to go for has a long train and that the hairpin looks like a small crown.

“Okay, we’re ready,” Cien finally announces.

“Luviael just sent me a message that the meeting room is also ready,” Liana nods.

I give myself one last check when I’m passing the mirror. I want to look as Celestial as possible to proudly represent my race, but I can’t do anything about my Divementis features. I do have a pair of huge wings and golden eyes, but my face is hopelessly Divementis. Ever since I’ve seen my father’s real body, I can’t unsee it now. I hope my subjects will take it well when they see the Divementis.

I take Erik’s and Gotrid's hands and I step outside. The inner courtyard is the largest open space the mansion has available so I guess the Divementis will literally land in our garden.

“Everyone, to the sides!” I order. “Retreat to patios or patrol above the roof, but don’t get close to the middle.”

They retreat immediately as nobody wants to be hit by an invisible spaceship.

“Liana, Luviael, Gavreel, Vermiel, Soren, Miruel a Sareash,” I address seven of my subjects specifically, going after the best casters. “No matter how stupid it might look, I want you to be touching my wings all the time. Just a finger on my feathers should be enough. This way I can provide you with the same mental protection I have. Should the Divementis try anything funny, don’t hold back.”

They gulp, but their resolve is overflowing. I spread my wings so that they don’t have to squeeze and there’s no need to mention Erik and Gotrid because that goes without saying—I’m never letting go of their hands. Then I take a deep breath and send my father a simple message:

We’re ready, I’m opening the shield.

I don’t think that I’m doing anything miraculous when I send my mana to the crystals strategically positioned around the mansion and deactivate them temporarily so it surprises me when Gavreel gasps for breath.

“Wait, it’s that easy to turn them off?” he refuses to believe it even though the shield is dissolving in front of his very eyes.

“Only for our embodiment of magic,” Liana calms him down. “While the rest of us, including me, can at least feel their location because such powerful mana sources are impossible to hide from our senses, turning them off remotely is beyond anything we can ever dream of. You can rest assured that we’re perfectly safe.”

I bite my lip. Once again, I failed to grasp what’s considered normal by the Celestial standards. I no longer deny that I’m the embodiment of magic, but I still have no idea what actually makes me the embodiment of magic. Is it my half-Divementis brain? Or the fact that I played Draconia Online when I was a child so my brain could adapt better? Or both of these factors combined?

I look up and see what nobody else can. The Divementis spaceship opens up and releases a smaller vessel. It’s not making any sound or gusts of wind. I don’t see any propellers either. It just flies on its own, defying gravity. It slowly descends, taking almost all of the courtyard upon landing. I hope it won’t damage the garden too much.

I show the image to everyone who’s touching me because it doesn’t seem like the Divementis have any intention of uncloaking their shuttle. They are probably afraid of being observed by spy drones or detected by orbital satellites. Everybody twitches when ten figures appear seemingly out of nowhere, getting out of their invisible shuttle.

The Divementis are humanoid and, unlike Draconians, they have only two hands and two legs—certainly no tails, horns or wings—but calling them similar to humans would be totally wrong. It’s exactly that tendency of the brain to find similarities that makes the whole process eerie. The Divementis are as different from humans as Draconians are.

Their bodies are very thin, but they are surprisingly tall which is something I failed to notice during the dream encounters. I inherited an average human height from my mother, but the Divementis seem to attack 190 centimetres easily.

Their skin is very smooth without any flaws and their features are androgynous. Even now I don’t see any gender distinctions, certainly nothing that would resemble breasts. They all have long black hair, pitch-black eyes and are wearing multi-layered robes which is the only thing in which they are similar to Celestials.

I spot my father in the middle and there’s no doubt that he’s the boss of them. It’s not only about his rich robe and an intricate tiara in his hair—his whole demeanour and telepathic presence are regal.

“They look like our Emperor!” I hear someone whispering anxiously.

I clutch Erik’s and Gotrid’s hands. I know it’s super obvious, but it still hurts my Celestial pride to have it pointed out so mercilessly.

Don’t let it get to you, hon, Gotrid comforts me in his thoughts.

You’re perfect just as you are, Erik supports him.

The envoy slowly walks towards us, stopping two metres away from the guards who are bravely guarding the front. My father doesn’t open his mouth, but I can tell that he’s saying something to his guards telepathically. They let their sovereign step forward and with that I’m finally properly facing my father in the real world. His expression is hard to read and his pitch-black eyes are studying me carefully.

My Mom fell in love with this alien. She wasn’t afraid of him so she must have seen something in him. I can’t say that I’m scared of him, but I’m certainly wary. I need to be constantly reminding myself that despite his seemingly humanoid features, he’s not human at all. I can’t assume that we share the same values.

“My son,” he opens his mouth to speak aloud, “with respect to your people, we will conduct this diplomatic visit orally in English even though it’s limiting to us.”

“I appreciate it,” I say a bit stiffly, not used to his real voice. “We have the meeting room ready. Please, follow me.”

We walk extremely slowly, inspecting each other’s movements every second. I keep checking that the Divementis are not trying to influence the minds of my subjects, but it seems they are using telepathy only among themselves.

The meeting room is nothing fancy, just the second biggest room in the mansion that Gavreel transformed into our operation centre. However, receiving the Divementis in the throne room is out of the question since my father is also royalty and I can’t have them sitting on pillows on the ground.

There are only ten seats in the meeting room. First, me and my father sit down, facing each other across the table. Liana then sits automatically to my right and I push Erik to my left because he’s the most vulnerable person in the room whether he likes it or not. Gotrid sits next to him without any complaints. The seat next to Liana is taken by Gavreel who’s our chief Japanese representative.

My father’s envoy takes the remaining four chairs, the rest have to keep standing by the wall and outside. I spread my wings to hug those sitting while Luviael, Vermiel, Soren and Miruel approach me from behind, not letting go of my wings even for a second.

“No need to be so wary, you have my regal word that we won’t try anything,” my father says. “I assure you that we came in peace.”

I don’t answer anything to that, pondering whether my father could intercept if I spoke to my subjects telepathically. I certainly can’t hear them, I just sense that there is some telepathic communication going on between them. In the end, I decide to close my mind completely and don’t dare to share my thoughts with my Consorts and subjects.

“I’ll start then,” my father decides assertively. “It’s really nice to finally meet you in the real world, son.”

I narrow my eyes, trying to analyse his feelings as I always do with humans and Draconians. Just a second later I realise that I could never feel his emotions before so I want to stop my futile attempt, but then I notice that I can feel something.

It’s not my father, though—his mind is like a fortress—it’s his companions. The emphatic imprint is faint so I decide to push harder. With humans and Draconians, who don’t guard their minds in any way, it’s super easy because their emotions are leaking out all the time. With the Divementis, I have to dig and really go for it.

Only a moment later from their startled expressions do I realise that, unlike humans and Draconians, they can detect when someone is telepathically analysing them. They try to fortify their mental defences, but just a second of their panicked hesitation is enough for me to get in.

I’ve always thought that the Divementis are cold by nature and their emotional responses are weak, but nothing could be further from the truth. They hide their emotions, but they are just as strong as any human or Draconian would have.

That discovery relaxes me a bit. I’m not facing psychopaths after all; they have a conscience so they can be reasoned with, hopefully. However, what disturbs me is how anxious they feel right now. From the outside, they look unreadable, confident and so unnervingly alien. From the inside, they are scared. Is that even possible? Are all my assumptions about them wrong?

“Aefener,” my father hisses, snapping me out of my frantic thinking. “We promised not to hurt you in any way in good faith that you will abide by the same rule.”

I blink, confused for a moment. What is he talking about? Only then I notice that several Divementis started to bleed from their noses and their facial expressions changed from unreadable to obviously panicked.

I freeze, horrified. Did I… do that? B-but… I never wanted to hurt anyone, I just wanted to peak a little—make sure that their intentions were true. I can’t hurt anyone through telepathy, can I? I don’t know how! I don’t want to!

“This just proves how desperately you need proper telepathic training,” my father comments bitterly. “Actually, I’m amazed that you’ve never accidentally hurt anyone before.”

I clutch Erik’s and Gotrid’s hands under the table. Of course, I haven’t. The very idea of using telepathy as a weapon is downright disgusting to me. I love using telepathy to connect to my partners and it’s also handy when commanding my subjects, but that’s where I draw the line.

“P-please, here!” Liana tries to save the situation by passing the Divementis a box of tissues. “I’m sure our Emperor didn’t do it on purpose.”

“I… I’m sorry,” I apologise, shaken by what happened.

I want to keep a stiff upper lip and act as the Emperor I am, but I can’t deny what I’ve just done. I hurt these Divementis because I forced entry. I… invaded their minds. Frankly, I feel disgusted with myself right now.

Humans and Draconians are like open books to me so I’m just effortlessly picking up whatever is leaking out, but the Divementis seem to work fundamentally differently. I’m almost sure there’s no telepathic or emphatic noise among them. Maybe it’s even considered rude to bother others with one’s constant thoughts.

“Your Majesty, it’s okay,” the Divementis next to my father says softly, quickly wiping their bleeding nose into the offered tissues. “We needed direct proof that His Highness indeed inherited the royal bloodline and we got the best proof we could possibly get just now.”

“Still, this is a diplomatic negotiation and my son breached your privacy,” my father purses his lips. “I needed to discipline him.”

I stop feeling guilty in an instant and frown when my Emperor’s pride is offended. Discipline me? What gives him the right to suddenly act all fatherly towards me? I might be his son, but my rank isn’t any lower than his. We’re both Emperors, sovereigns of two distinct and proud nations.

“Let’s try again, please,” the Divementis who spoke earlier pleads and puts a hand on my father’s shoulder.

Wait, are they close or something?! It wouldn’t be weird if my father found another lover because it’s been more than twenty years since my mother died, but didn’t he vehemently claim that my Mom was the only person he had ever loved?

“Unfortunately, the Crown Prince didn’t grow up among his kind so he doesn’t know what he should and shouldn’t do,” that Divementis actually defends me. “He pushed entry out of pure ignorance, not intentionally. Moreover, it was so easy from his perspective that it didn’t occur to him that he could be hurting us. What better proof of his royal bloodline could we get?”

My father finally calms down. Whoever that Divementis is, it must be someone he respects and is willing to listen to. Moreover, it seems that he’s more than content that his companion openly called me the Crown Prince. As for me, I don’t know what to think about it. Is it a good thing or bad?

“Your Highness… I mean, Your Majesty,” the Divementis rather decides to go for my Celestial title, “allow me to introduce myself. My name is Erevan Thalion Kaelen Nyx Draven, but feel free to call me Nyx. I’m the Chancellor of Defence.”

Is that Divementis a man or a woman? Damn, I can’t tell, I hear Erik lamenting in his mind.

When Nyx’s mouth slightly twitches into a faint smile, I’m pretty sure that she could hear Erik crystal clear just now. I might be shielding my Consorts and subjects from their telepathic influence, but it seems I’m not able to block their strong thoughts from pouring out.

“The Divementis have little need to distinguish between genders from the linguistic point of view, but since we’re using English, you can call me ‘she’,” Nyx sets the record straight.

Erik turns red, realising that Nyx could hear him. I feel Liana get even tenser. Nyx played it well indeed. She was amicable while clearly stating that my companions are still hopelessly exposed even under my protection.

My father then introduces the rest of his companions. Five of them are here as his bodyguards, but he also took four of the highest-ranking Divementis with him. They all have impossibly long names but benevolently offer their shortened versions.

Sythara, the male Divementis sitting to my father’s left with a rather stern look, turns out to be the Chancellor of Science. Since my father positioned someone like him right next to his left hand, I conclude that the Divementis must really value science. I’m happy for that. It’s nice to discover that we have something in common, even though our magical technology is fundamentally different and unlike anything humans or even other Draconians understand under the term science.

Solarae, another female Divementis sitting next to Sythara, is the Chancellor of Trade and Resources. I guess she’s the person who manages the Divementis finances and takes care of business relationships with humans. I wonder what kind of fairytale-like funds the Divementis possess.

The last person my father introduces is Zalvial, a male Divementis sitting next to Nyx. I’m surprised to hear that he’s not a chancellor but the lead developer of nothing smaller than Draconia Online! Did he know my mother well? I bet they must have been cooperating closely when she was still working for Nebula. I hope to have a serious chat with him later on.

“Now then, we have two main issues to discuss today,” my father clears his throat. “Firstly, I’d like to officially ask for your cooperation with the monster invasion. I assure you that we’re not the cause of it and that we’re trying to stop it with everything we have. We’re prepared to fully cooperate with you and answer all your questions regarding the Great Evolution.”

I nod slightly, barely hiding my eagerness. Finally, we’ll get the answers we so desperately crave. Finally, this mystery will be solved and we will be able to find our place in all of this.

“Secondly,” my father continues and looks straight at me, “I’m officially asserting a claim to my son. No, to be more precise, the Divementis are officially asserting a claim to their Crown Prince.”