Chapter 98:

Without Erik

Draconia Offline

“Love, Erik just needs some alone time,” Gotrid hugs me because he can see that I’m starting to freak out. “I know that this is the first time Erik wants to be separated from you, but why do you automatically blame yourself you did something wrong? You didn’t. Erik is overwhelmed by what he learned today and feels the need to think out of your telepathic influence, that’s all.”

“B-but… what if he…. because I might be…,” I have difficulties saying it out loud and want to get out of bed, but Gotrid doesn’t let me.

“Probably and who wouldn’t be shocked?” he embraces me tighter. “Gosh, I’m still in shock myself. I take it more easily only because I have hundreds of years ahead of me to spend with you.”

“I don’t want to be immortal!” I finally say that word. “It means that I’ll be watching both of you die.”

“Shh,” he covers me with his wings. “You have us now. Why think about the distant future?”

“It’s my job as the Emperor to think about the distant future,” I remind him. “I can’t help it.”

“Right,” he sighs and caresses my face. “Close your eyes, hon, try to match your erratic breathing with mine.”

The moment I close my eyes, I send my mind to Erik on reflex. Gotrid grabs my chin and kisses me to make me pull my mind back. I force myself to fully connect to Gotrid so that I’m not tempted anymore to reach out. I don’t think that I’ll be able to fall asleep this anxious, but his comforting mind soothes me eventually.


“Welcome back, son,” my father greets me when I regain consciousness in a dream state. It seemed to me as if I appeared here the moment I closed my eyes, but I think that I must have been sleeping for a few hours before that because one doesn’t have dreams in the early stages of a sleep cycle.

My father is wearing the same clothes as he did during the dinner, but I guess he chose that. I hope that I’ll learn how to control the dream state soon because I’m at his mercy here. How does a Divementis induce a ludic dream anyway? However, for once, I don’t feel enthusiastic about the exploration.

“Is something wrong?” he asks, noticing my grim expression.

“Erik didn’t take the news well even though It’s not even confirmed yet,” I decide to tell him.

“I’m sorry to hear that, son, I really am,” he expresses sympathy and sounds honest. “But rest assured—it takes an exceptional human to make a Divementis fall in love. So far, you’re only the second Divementis after me who bonded with a human. I’m sure your husband will come around.”

“My Mom left, though,” I point out, crushed just thinking about the possibility of it. “Erik could leave, too. Do the Divementis have divorces?”

“No, we don’t, it’s unthinkable for us,” he shakes his head. “Unless one partner dies, our bonds last forever. We’re locked both mentally and chemically. We never stop loving our partners. You might have the unique ability to bond with more partners at the same time, but I’m afraid this applies to you without a change.”

“But Mom… she left you,” I bite my lip, fearing the worst.

“It seems that humans can leave if they use all their willpower,” he confirms slowly. “Amelia did leave from her own initiative even though it must have been tearing her apart. I wonder if her anguish was as painful as mine. For apparent reasons, we lack data on the subject.”

“I want to see more memories of her,” I demand.

“I’ll show you then,” he agrees.


Amelia takes off the VR helmet and ruffles her red hair. The Divementis have an indifferent opinion on the standards of human beauty, but Althorion finds this woman immensely beautiful. He’s been interested in her ever since she joined the internal development team and hasn’t missed a chance to cooperate closely with her.

“It was much better than before, but I still encountered too many glitches,” Amelia reports. “Also, the surroundings blurred every time I turned my head too quickly. Admittedly, it’s way beyond current human technology, but I was still fully aware that it’s just a game. As far as immersion goes, I’d rate it twenty-five percent at best.”

“It’s a prototype, we will make it better,” the Divementis Emperor says firmly, happy that his newest human coworker isn’t afraid to give honest feedback.

“You will need humans to design quests, though,” Amelia says critically. “The quest I tried to complete was too… Divementis. I didn’t feel engaged and the objective was confusing.”

“We’re working on getting more human developers involved,” he assures her. “It’s a lengthy process because there are too many security risks.”

“Right, they would be working with aliens—literally,” Amelia laughs and stands up.

Too quickly. Her head spins because experimental VR helmets often cause nausea (something they haven’t been able to fix yet) and she loses balance. Without thinking, Althorion automatically rushes to catch her. Despite his meticulous training, he connects to her on reflex and gets a taste of her mind.

“Sorry,” the Emperor mumbles, desperately trying to hide the fact how much he liked it. After making sure that she can stand straight, he unwillingly lets go of her.

“That’s okay,” Amelia gasps for breath and blushes. “It just caught me unprepared. I hope you didn’t see anything too embarrassing. How does it work anyway? Can you see in more detail when you touch people? Can you make it a two-way channel even with humans?”

“We can,” he nods slowly, a bit hesitant about how much he should tell her. “Sure, there are things we can’t share with humans, but we evolved in a world with four other sentient races. Unlike the Enemy, we adapted so that we’re able to connect to non-telepaths.”

“I’d like to try it,” she suggests eagerly.

“Try… it?” Althorion tilts his head, confused.

“A full telepathic connection,” she explains. “Preferably with Your Majesty who is the strongest telepath.”

“A full telepathic connection is too intimate,” he shakes his head. “We’ve never tried that with humans.”

“I might be an exception?” she winks at him. “Isn’t Your Majesty curious about what it feels like to connect fully to a human mind? Who knows—you might discover something that will help with our research. We aim to alter human perception, after all.”

“I am… curious,” he admits and chews his lip. She has a point.

“Consider it part of work, Your Majesty,” she teases him. “You want to start influencing human brains in twenty years through a videogame which is something unheard of even for your highly technologically advanced race.”

Althorian can’t take his eyes off this human woman. How can she be so bold? Does she have no fear? He can’t wait to explore her mind.


The vision dissolves and we’re back. I study my father’s expression because he looks moved by reliving that particular memory. I realise how far he is from that emotionless alien I initially took him for.

“Your mother was so bold,” he says with a faint smile. “She was never afraid of me. On the contrary, she was constantly challenging me.”

“Did you fall in love during that full connection?” I blurt out, dying with curiosity. “How did you manage to hide your relationship?”

“That’s a story for tomorrow,” he concludes the session. “As much as I’d love to show you everything, I decided to limit our meetings in a dream state for one hour each night. You will be training and working hard in the upcoming weeks, so you need to be well-rested.”

“No, wait, we can do one more…!” I try to stop him, but everything blurs and my brain slips into deep sleep again.


I wake up covered in Gotrid’s warm feathers. I might be half-Divementis and perceive the world differently thanks to my extra sense, but I’m as Celestial as it gets when it comes to this. I can’t imagine my life without wings and that will never change no matter how much the Divementis may try to persuade me to start preferring them instead.

“How long have you been awake?” I yawn, suspecting that I overslept.

“For a while now, but don’t worry about it,” he kisses me into my hair. “Did the dream meeting with your father go well?”

I want to answer him, but the moment I shake off drowsiness, I recall last night and my stomach tightens. I get out of Gotrid’s wings, put on slippers and hurry to the living room. In the door, I realise that not only the sofa is empty, but I don’t feel Erik anywhere. My heart skips a beat.

“Where’s Erik?” I yell at the guards in panic. “Where’s my husband?!”

“Lord Erik left an hour ago, demanding to see Chancellor Sythara,” Vermiel reports. “Don’t worry, Your Majesty, he has Miruel and five other guards with him.”

“Your Highness,” an unfamiliar voice addresses me all of a sudden, using my Divementis title.

A bit startled, I turn around and stare at my cousin Advin. His expression is tense and so is his emotional state because he’s not able to hide his feelings from me and he’s painfully aware of that. What is he doing inside of our apartment?

“Your Highness, I’m your adjutant starting today,” he reminds me when he notices my confusion. “My sister Nala would be here as well, but she’s accompanying the Royal Consort who demanded to see our father first thing in the morning.”

“Your father?” I blink.

“Chancellor Sythara,” Advin reveals.

“Chancellor Sythara is Nyx’s husband and your father?!” I’m astonished because I didn’t notice any romantic interaction between my aunt and him whatsoever.

“It’s not customary for our people to publicly show off affection, especially when working,” Advin explains, answering my unspoken but obvious question.

Damn, it’s so weird. Sythara has been my uncle all this time and I had no idea. I feel overwhelmed already and the day has barely started. However, Erik takes absolute priority. I need to find him and make sure that he’s okay.

“Love, I’m sure Erik is safe and you’re standing in front of your cousin in pyjamas,” Gotrid comes to fetch me and pulls me back to the bedroom.

My so-called pyjamas are a nice sateen two-layered robe covering me from shoulders to toes, but everybody still thinks that I shouldn’t be seen in it outside of bed. I resist rolling my eyes and suppress sighing—that’s typical Celestial mentality. The maids capture me to dress me up and take their time despite my vehement attempts to speed up the process.

“Li, Erik is missing!” I tell my Viceroy desperately instead of good morning when I meet her in the hall. “I need to find him so I’m leaving immediately.”

“I know, Erik visited me before he left,” Liana say, perfectly calm about it. “He’s fine, Your Majesty, trust me. He just wanted to discuss something with Chancellor Sythara in private.”

“Discuss what?” I frown, a bit hurt that Erik went to Liana and not me.

“It’s not up to me to say,” she refuses to answer. “I’m sure he will tell you when he’s ready. Please, Your Majesty, stop panicking, your husband is safe and sound. Besides, he has Nala with him to show him around.”

I flutter my wings. How can I not panic? Erik must be hurting and I’m not there for him. Or does it bother me because he needs space from me? I know that we’ve been together practically non-stop for more than a year now and every psychologist would claim that it’s not healthy and a clear sign of a co-dependent relationship.

“Love, you’re overthinking again,” Gotrid pets my feathers. “Whatever Erik is going through right now, I’m sure that he will make the right decision. Damn, I’ll say it, but only because he’s not here and don’t you ever tell him, okay? I think he’s amazing and I secretly look up to him.”

“You’re both amazing,” I insist and kiss him tenderly. I love you so much, Gotrid, I add in my thoughts.

Some telepath I am, seriously. How could I not notice how insecure Gotrid had been all this time? I need to make the necessary changes towards both of them. If what Erik needs most is space and the company of humans, I’m prepared to give him that. If Gotrid needs more affection, I’ll be doting on him from now on.

“Ehm,” Liana coughs, “it warms my heart to see you lovey-dovey, but have some restraint, Gotrid. You’re in public, geez. Look at poor Advin.”

I realise that Gotrid managed to slip his hand between my wings during our kiss and my cousin Advin turned completely red. I forgot that the Divementis are very reserved in this aspect. I wonder if Advin has a girlfriend or a boyfriend. Maybe young Divementis don’t date casually and just wait until they find their soulmate?

“Let’s go find Erik,” I gently push Gotrid away, but keep his fingers entangled with mine.

“Nope, we’re all going to have breakfast now,” Liana forbids me to leave. “Erik is as safe as he can be. The best Your Majesty can do for him right now is to let him do what he needs to do and fill your stomach in the meantime.”

“Her Excellency is right, hon,” Gotrid agrees with her. “Erik is okay and there’s no way you’re skipping a meal. The Divementis didn’t say anything about having the medical examination on an empty stomach which means they aren’t going to measure your blood sugar.”

My stomach is tight because I’m anxious, but there’s no arguing with both my husband and my Viceroy. Advin, Soren, Luviael, Vermiel and Gavreel join us and we go to the dining hall downstairs. Neither my father nor Nyx show up, but I meet a few chancellors and some new Divementis I haven’t seen before. They bow to me deeply and there’s hope in their eyes when they look at me.

My initial plan is to gobble everything as quickly as possible, but I know that it would upset my stomach for the rest of the day, so I’m forced to slow down. I eye Advin who sat down right in front of me in the seat my father occupied yesterday.

I almost choke on a piece of toast when I notice that Advin is chewing his scrambled eggs without much interest and is paying more attention to his mobile phone which looks completely normal and, by normal, I mean human.

I pretend that I want another slice of bread and stand up because it’s rude to use telekinesis when dining with non-Celestials. I catch a glimpse of Advin’s screen and discover that he’s browsing social media. Damn, he’s even liking some posts! Is this what Nyx meant when she complained that her children were behaving too humanly?

“What?” Advin purses his lips because he catches my scrutinous look. “I mean… what is it, Your Highness? Do you need something?”

If I didn’t feel so anxious about Erik not being here, I would chuckle. Advin’s behaviour is so cutely defiant. I don’t know anything about him, but I like him already. My cousin. I love how that word sounds because it means that I still have a biological family.

“Advin, do you like human culture?” I ask curiously.

He frowns and hides the phone in the binding of his robe.

“What if I do?” he retorts. “Geez, don’t be like my Mom, always nagging me and Nala about it.”

The Divementis sitting around the table give him a scornful look for using such a tone with their prince, but I find it refreshing. Advin is around the same age and my relative so it’s really weird to hear honorifics from his mouth.

“I didn’t mean it like that,” I shake my head. “I’m a huge fan of fantasy books and video games myself.”

“I prefer music and movies,” he reveals carefully. “I was never into books, Divementis or human, but human music is much more fun than the Divementis idea of it. Don’t let me start with movies, the Divementis don’t have them at all!”

I feel like Advin opened up to me a little which makes me happy. My cousin doesn’t seem to be so different from me, Divementis or not. I turn back to Gotrid and notice that my husband got upset. He’s not the only one. Liana and the others look visibly upset as well.

“I’m eating,” I say quickly and stuff my mouth with tomatoes.

“Aefener,” Gotrid puts his hand on my thigh. “Once again, you spoke Divementis.”

“I-I did?” I widen my eyes.

“I’m fine with both English and Japanese, but that’s not the issue here,” Advin shrugs. “You subconsciously wire yourself towards us, my prince.”

I bite my lip. Switching languages isn’t a problem, we do it in Europe all the time. The problem is that I do it without realising and that it’s an alien language nobody besides the Divementis understands. No wonder my partner, Liana and my subjects feel awkward. They have no idea what we’ve been talking about.

“Sorry, I’ll be more careful from now on,” I apologise.

I pretend to be busy with the food on my plate so that I can quickly check everyone’s emotions. As expected, my people are extremely distressed whenever I act too Divementis in their eyes. They don’t have a problem with me being half-Divementis; that’s not what this is about. They just feel threatened every time there’s even a slight sign I might start preferring the Divementis instead.

As for the Divementis, it’s quite hard to say. Some of them leak their emotions so I can pick them up and analyse them. The more skilled Divementis, however, are unreadable to me unless I’d really push which I won’t do for obvious reasons. Still, it seems that it makes the Divementis happy when I seamlessly switch to their language.

“Zetraya asked to come together with our research team,” Liana announces out of the blue. “I approved his request because I assessed that having a psychologist would provide invaluable insights. Celestial mentality is quite different from Divementis and since other races will soon come as well, it can’t hurt to be prepared for possible clashes of views.”

“Why do I feel that there’s another reason?” Gotrid gets suspicious.

“Well,” Liana gulps a spoonful of porridge, “Zetraya might or might not have decided to come after he spent several hours on call with Erik last night. Still, whatever the reason, I think it’s a brilliant idea. Our transformation was as physiological as it was mental and we have to take it into account if we are to cooperate closely with other races.”

I look at Advin again and ponder how different his thinking is from Celestial or human thinking. He might enjoy social media and human entertainment and he was born here, but he’s pure Divementis who grew up in the Divementis community. Is he allowed to go outside I wonder? Can he disguise himself as a human and go explore Tokyo?

“Your Highness, could you please not to…?” Advin twitches nervously. “Your telepathic pressure is too strong.”

“Sorry,” I murmur. “I wasn’t trying to pry or anything.”

“I know,” he nods. “It’s just… you were thinking about me right now, weren’t you? I could tell because you subconsciously sent your mind to me. I have to admit that I’m still in training when it comes to telepathic mastery and your raw power is too much.”

“How does it work with the Divementis? Do you have to train your telepathy from an early age?” I ask and pull my mind back.

“Naturally,” Advin confirms. “An untrained telepath is not only potentially dangerous but also easily susceptible to other telepaths and prone to migraines because of telepathic noise from other races.”

“So that’s why Your Majesty has been suffering from headaches,” Liana is happy about the discovery. “With proper training, you could get rid of them entirely.”

“Well, maybe not entirely,” Advin has to mitigate her enthusiasm. “When it’s too much, it’s simply too much. It’s not unusual even for a well-trained telepath to get a headache from a telepathic overload.”

“Are the Divementis permitted to go outside the premises?” Liana is interested to know.

“We are… under certain conditions,” he says slowly. “We have to always go in pairs and carry a tracker. It happened more than a few times that a Divementis fainted from a telepathic overload. Tokyo especially is an overpopulated area that’s high-risk to us.”

I can see why that would be dangerous. If a Divementis ventured out alone and fainted, they could be taken to a hospital—the same thing I was so afraid of. It actually happened to me several times, but I always managed to regain consciousness before the ambulance arrived and fled. Still, it would be much worse for a sole Divementis who would probably lose their cloaking if unconscious.

“Advin, can I ask you how old you are and how your age compares to the Divementis lifespan?” I ask openly, hoping it’s not rude to ask a Divementis about their age.

“I’m thirty-seven, considered to be a young adult,” Advin seems unfazed by the question. “This is my first serious work assignment. Normally, I’d continue my education, but relatives of the Royal bloodline are expected to intern as adjutants quite early to get practical training in politics and statecraft.”

Huh, so Advin is ten years older than me and the Divementis still consider him to be a young adult in training? I guess it’s understandable considering their super long lifespans. The gap will probably be even bigger for Celestials once we start having babies. Of course, provided that we win this war and survive as a species.

This reminds me that I haven’t heard from Julia recently about the progression of Brina’s pregnancy. I need to ask her about that when we call our headquarters again. Maybe there are even more Draconian babies on the way? It’s been over a year, after all, and I doubt Draconians have been living in celibacy.

“Have you finished eating, my prince?” Advin asks because I haven’t touched the food on my plate for a while now. “I don’t want to rush you, but His Majesty said that we should try to arrive at nine and it’s half past eight already.”

“Finished,” I nod and wipe my mouth with a napkin. “Let’s not be late for your first assignment.”

Advin gives me a grateful look for the very first time. Had he been afraid that we would arrive late and he would be in trouble? It certainly seems so. However, my main motivation to finish breakfast quickly is a bit different—I can’t wait to be reunited with Erik.

Advin acts as our guide, telling us to follow him. The Royal Guards still watch over me closely, but they are much more relaxed today. They don’t trust the Divementis just yet, but they seem to accept that they aren’t going to hurt us.

“Is this really necessary? I feel like a spectacle,” I lament because a crowd of Divementis is waiting for me outside again.

“You kind of are, though?” Advin comments venomously. “A Celestial-Divementis hybrid and possessing the Royal bloodline no less. I meant no disrespect, Your Highness, I’m simply stating a fact.”

“Simply a fact, huh?” I sigh and struggle with two things at once.

First of all, my automatic reflex to send my mind out to explore. Every time I do so and just gently brush any Divementis, I feel them hastily strengthening their mental defences and getting apprehensive. Secondly, I haven’t flown for two days in a row now and my wings are starting to get sore. The breeze pushing against my feathers and tempting me isn’t exactly helping.

“Vermiel, I’ll need to fly in the afternoon,” I tell the Guard Captain so that he can make the arrangements.

“I’m afraid that doesn’t depend solely on the Royal Guard, Your Majesty,” Vermiel has to disappoint me. “The Divementis have some kind of cloaking device over the premises. You have to ask your father for permission and have him explain to us how it works because we can’t risk being seen by humans. Don’t forget that we’re supposed to be in Osaka.”

“You can safely fly as high as the highest building here,” Advin answers readily. “That’s the minimum scope of our cloaking device. The question is whether you have the discipline to do so, my prince. I’ve seen your flying sessions and they are usually pretty wild.”

I purse my lips. It seems Advin doesn’t miss even one opportunity to tease me.

As we get close to the underground laboratories, I start to sense Erik’s presence again. I’m relieved that he’s okay, but he’s still too far away from me to feel his emotional state. When we get to the building, I can tell that he’s in the upper levels while we go down to the underground floors. I have to muster all my willpower not to run after him and give him the space he needs.

“Good morning, son, I have good news,” my father greets me, waiting for us in front of the elevator. “One of our smaller vessels picked up your research team early in the morning and they are on their way. They should arrive in the late afternoon.”

“Your Majesty, if you will follow me,” Nyx is here as well and gives Advin a strict look, probably hoping he didn’t offend me. “Our medical bay is ready for you.”

I nod and turn pale. Gotrid clutches my hand encouragingly and has to drag me or I wouldn’t move. I know that my fear of doctors and hospitals was instilled in me by my Mom for a good reason—to protect me—and I don’t need that anymore, but I still can’t help not being afraid.

I really hope that I will overcome it after today. I did overcome the fear of my father so why not this one? But then I realise that Erik isn’t here to hold my hand and my resolve wanes.