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Standing in a bedroom far too small for the three people in it, staring at the heroine’s hand, I felt the sudden urge to laugh. In fact, I was laughing. No. Giggling! It was a manic, panicked sound that bubbled up from deep within my being, clawing its way up my throat and forcing its way past my lips. It was a sound of horrified amusement. Of all the people who could have answered this village’s call, of all the adventurer’s across all the world — who would have thought that the heroine herself would appear? I’d hoped to spend this entire life without seeing her, yet there she was, right in front of me.
I couldn’t stop laughing. Tears were streaming down my face, and I was bent forward. My fingers were clutching desperately at my skirt. I couldn’t breathe. The laughter just kept pouring out. The heroine! In front of me! My ultimate enemy, simply standing there with a confused expression on her face, still holding out her hand.
It occurred to me, suddenly, that I could end things there and then. Lucy hadn’t defeated any of my generals yet. She didn’t have any of their power. I was far stronger than her at that moment; all I needed to do was disregard my ancestor’s teachings and grab her while she was still powerless. Lock her in a dungeon, and everything would be solved.
The thought was sobering, like a splash of cold water across my face. The urge to giggle ceased and I regained control of myself. Instead of laughter, I was suddenly fighting the urge to throw up. Not from fear, this time, but from self-disgust. Even if it was only a frantic thought of desperation, I couldn’t believe that I’d actually considered abducting Lucy. She might have been the heroine, but she wasn’t like the ones who came before her. She actually cared enough to try and save my people. Even if I hadn’t needed her for my plan, to make peace between humans and demons, I would never want to bring her harm.
“You know, it’s not polite to laugh when people introduce themselves,” Lucy told me, placing her hands on her hips. Rather than angry, she looked legitimately upset. “I really am the heroine!”
“She really is,” Lissera promised. She had a worried frown on her face, and her left hand kept tugging nervously at the fingers of her right. “According to Travill, at least. He said the guild vouched for her and that she more than proved her strength on the way here — she moved a tree trunk that was in the road!”
“I’m sure you are, and I’m sure she did,” I assured them, forcing myself to give a small smile. Lucy was no threat to me, as she was now; I knew that. It was only that images of Tower Conquest kept flashing through my brain. Me, on all fours, weakened and exhausted. Lucy, standing proud above me, slipping the collar about my neck. Her first order, done with a blush on her cheeks, to kiss her feet and show that the collar had really worked.
I didn’t want it. I couldn’t take it. I wouldn’t ever let that be me. To avoid that fate without harming Lucy, I needed to stay as far away from her and that thrice-damned collar as possible. Which meant I needed to get out of there.
“I apologize for laughing,” I said, bowing my head ever so faintly. “It was quite rude. It simply amused me to think that I might have taken on a job fit for the heroine herself.” A little flattery could go a long way, and I was hoping it would get me a very long way indeed.
“Really?” Lucy asked me, drilling into me with her orange eyes. “You aren’t just laughing because you think I look weak? Because I’m happy to spar with you if you have doubts. Though I hope you won’t hold it against me when you end up pinned on the ground!”
“I’ll pass,” I declared, still smiling at her. “In fact, I really must take my potatoes and get going. I’m supposed to be undergoing a journey of self-improvement, you see. I only even came into the village due to the rain.”
“Really?” Lucy asked me, face brightening immediately. “That sounds so cool! Is that how you got so strong? I travel a lot on my own, too, and let me tell you, the effects really start to show! When I first started, I couldn’t ride a horse without getting sore, and now most of the time, I don’t even use a horse! I just run! I mean, I’m not as fast as a horse, obviously, but I can go a lot longer without a break!”
“Yes, well. I might be strong, but I can still get stronger. Perhaps one day even as strong as you, Miss Lucy, the heroine.” I held out my hand, hoping to end things with that.
Lucy took my hand, but rather than letting go, she stepped close until her face was right in front of mine.
“Can I come with you?” she asked me, eyes bright and sparkling. “I want to get stronger, too! I mean, I need to get really strong if I’m ever going to lead the holy army against the demon tower, right? And even stronger if I want to defeat the demon queen! The church actually wants me to form a party ataşehir escort bayan for it, but I haven’t found anyone strong enough, and I don’t want to put anyone at risk, so I’m thinking of going myself, and I need to get way stronger for that!”
“I… Ah…” I glanced at Lissera, but her only response was a helpless shrug. “It’s really supposed to be solo training…”
“Oh, I won’t get in the way,” Lucy vowed, releasing my hand and placing her palm against her chest. “I absolutely promise. I mean, as long as you’re able to take care of it, I’ll leave it be! But I actually have an ulterior motive for wanting to come along.”
“An ulterior motive?” I inquired, my heart skipping a beat. Could it be that she was suspicious of me?
“Well…” Lucy dithered, toeing the floor with one of her metal boots. “It’s just… You’re sort of the hero of this town, you know? And you just recovered, after sleeping for three days, and… I think everyone here would be happier if I could report that you completed the next leg of your journey safely! I mean unless you’re willing to spend a few days recovering here, where they can keep an eye on you?”
“I…” I hesitated. Lucy’s motives were purer than I’d expected, and I could see from the conflicted look on Lissera’s face that she wasn’t entirely off base. The problem was that the next leg of my journey rightly involved flying back to the tower. Not a trip I was willing to take Lucy on.
“Please?” Lucy pressed, eyes bright and wide. She again reached out, clutching my right hand in hers and holding it up between us. “I can help you? You want to go to a city with a guild and register as an adventurer, right? Well, there’s a probation period when you join, but if I vouch for what you’ve done here, I bet you can get past it in a heartbeat!”
Unfortunately, I wasn’t planning to go to a city for some time, or that would have been legitimately tempting. Unfortunately, I was blanking an excuse to give her. The last thing I wanted was to make the heroine suspicious of me. Lucy couldn’t do anything to me, personally, but Lissera would almost certainly be killed if it came out that she’d helped the demon queen.
“Very well,” I conceded, with a tired sigh. “You may walk with me for a while. But only until you’re convinced that I am fine! After that, you can go ahead of me to the adventurer’s guild and get them ready for me.”
I actually was planning to go to a city near here, when I went at last. I’d likely wait a while to give Lucy time to move on, but I wanted to establish myself as an adventurer in this area. If things went according to plan, I would eventually settle down in the general vicinity of this village. That way, I’d have both allies and potatoes when I started to live my life among humans.
Unaware of my plots, Lucy smiled brightly and gave my hand a firm pump. “It’s a deal!” she declared. “Are we going right now? I mean, you did want to, so I guess we are? I’ll grab your potatoes, and we can get going!”
“W-Wait,” Lissera protested, interjecting herself into the conversation at last. “What about the other villagers? Nobody’s even had a chance to say goodbye to Eena, yet!”
“I have no desire for drawn-out goodbyes,” I informed Lissera, moving to walk out of the bedroom. “It is not as if I won’t be back. In fact, I suspect I will be a regular customer of this village.” It was my hope that the demons would be able to produce their own potatoes, but it would take a while before we had enough for everyone. In the meantime, I’d be coming back to Derrin village whenever I wanted to refill my personal stash. Not to mention that I hoped to secure a supply of walnut dye.
“Wait! You’re not the sort of hero who just rides off when everything’s done, are you?” Lucy demanded, putting her hands on her hips. “You got your reward, so you’re just going to leave? That’s not right! These people are invested in your well being! You spent three days sick because you pushed yourself too hard for their sakes! The least you can do is show them you’re okay, so they won’t have to feel bad or worried or anything.”
“Oh very well,” I muttered, unable to stand the onslaught of good intentions. “Have anyone who wants to see me gather at the gates. I’ll give you twenty minutes.”
“Okay!” Lissera ran toward the bedroom door, then paused. “The potatoes are right outside. Only two bags, because we know you can only carry so many, but I promise we’ll keep giving you bags any time you come back. So you will come back, won’t you?”
“I’ll come back,” I promised. Honestly, I could carry infinite potatoes in my bag but, since I wouldn’t be able to explain where I’d gotten a heavenly item, I’d have to be satisfied with what I could carry in a couple of sacks, for now.
Lissera stared at me, with almost the same intensity as Lucy, escort kadıöy before nodding and rushing out the door. A small, honest smile tugged at the corner of my lips. I never would have thought she’d want me back, knowing who I was, and the fact that she didn’t seem to care genuinely warmed my heart.
“Soooo, do you want to spar?” Lucy suggested, with a big smile. “Oh. Or maybe I should wait until you’re back at full strength? I really want to see how good you are at your best! I mean, I don’t know many adventurers who could take on all those wolves and survive! Unless you were only able to do it because you used magic? I did hear you were out from magic depletion. But I’m good with magic, too, so we can do a battle with both!”
“I’d rather not,” I demurred, shaking my head. “As you say, I’m not quite at my full strength.” That was actually true. The porridge had given me some energy to work with, and my body’s natural strength and resilience were certainly seeing me through, but nothing could change the fact that I’d been unconscious for three days. It was going to take me a little to get back in tiptop condition.
Of course, I was confident I could still kick Lucy’s ass. But picking on someone so much weaker than me would be far too crude.
“Well, what else can we do with twenty minutes?” Lucy asked me, wrapping some of her red hair about her forefinger. “I don’t just want to stand around. That’s boring. Maybe we can workout? But I don’t see anything heavy enough around here to let me build up a sweat…”
“Perhaps a different sort of workout, then?” I suggested, deciding to tease Lucy a little. I knew relatively little about the human church since discussions of them had always made my blood boil, but I did know they were against sex for pleasure. Apparently, it was reproductive or nothing, among the religious sort. And since there was no reason for me alone to be feeling uncomfortable…
“What sort of workout?” Lucy asked me, curiosity painted across her features. “Is it fun? Invigorating? Will it make me feel good? I love when workouts make me feel good!”
“It would be fun, invigorating, and quite delightful,” I vowed, now smiling widely. “Though it might be a little beyond you. I’m not sure it’s really your speed, you see.”
“It’s my speed! I think? I mean, I don’t really know what that means! But if it’s a workout, I’m definitely up for it! How do we do it?”
“Well, to start with, we have to get naked,” I replied, my smile shifting into a smirk. “Then we wrestle a little — partly with our bodies, partly with our lips…”
I was going to continue, expecting Lucy’s cheeks to go red at the suggestion, but they didn’t. Instead, she simply stared at me, eyes wide and mouth ever so slightly ajar. She seemed absolutely shocked. Perhaps I’d gone a step too far? I didn’t mind violating her precious views on the sanctity of sex, but I was a little concerned about drawing her ire. And much more concerned about getting a sermon on sex.
“You…” she started, at last, then stopped. She opened her mouth, then closed it again, her eyes dropping to the floor at my feet. “You…” she began again, only to stop once more.
“Yes?” I inquired, raising a single eyebrow. “Is something the matter?”
“The matter?” Lucy asked me, before letting out a short bark of laughter. “Is something the matter? You know I’m the heroine, but you… You’d still…” A tear slid down Lucy’s cheeks, as her bright orange eyes lifted up from the floor to meet my gaze. “Even knowing I’m the heroine, you’d still have sex with me?”
It was my turn to stare, shocked into silence by her words. My mouth opened, and I lifted a finger, then my mouth closed, and I dropped it again. Lucy was actually interested? She actually wanted to have sex? I knew that she’d been willing enough to sleep with people in the game, but those had been desperate circumstances, trying to get the generals to turn against their leader so that she could save them and the entirety of demonkind. I was just a random stranger, offering her a casual fuck.
And what was with the crying? I had only meant it as a joke, to make myself feel a little less freaked out, yet she was looking at me like I was offering her food after a lifetime without.
“…I can hardly believe this is true — but from the way you’re talking, is it possible that others wouldn’t?”
“Of course not!” Lucy exclaimed. “I’m the heroine. The chosen one of the angels! Even people who are willing to commit the sin say they aren’t willing to do it with me. Plus, I’m strong! Really strong! And I can’t control it well! I can’t just have sex with anyone off the street. It has to be an adventurer who’s trained their body up! But since they’re always putting their lives on the line, they’re even more religious than most, so they won’t have sex with maltepe escort me, and I can’t sleep with anyone, and you’re the first person to ever want to have sex!”
Lucy was practically shouting by the end of her frantic speech, and her breath was coming heavily. All the same, she reached up to her shoulders and began to work at the clasps on her armor.
“Hold on,” she told me. “I’ll get undressed right now! Okay? We can — twenty minutes is really enough? I always thought it would take longer. Oh, my Goddess, I can’t believe I’m actually going to have sex!”
“Hold on a minute!” I shouted hurriedly, holding up a hand to indicate she should stop. Lucy looked surprised, but her hand reluctantly moved away from the clasp of her armor.
“You’re changing your mind?” she asked me, voice soft and sad. “Oh. Of course. It was just a joke, right?” She let out a short, forlorn laugh. “There’s no way anyone would want to have sex with the heroine, after all…”
“I didn’t say I was changing my mind,” I argued, hardly able to believe the words slipping out of my mouth. It had been a joke. This was the living embodiment of my doom we were talking about, here! My bad end made flesh!
But here she was, crying about how nobody would ever have sex with her. Upset because the humans she protected were so uptight about what the church said that they forced her into celibacy. And perhaps the worst of it? For all the problems I had with my aunts in heaven, Luci had never once claimed they were against sex. In fact, she had always said the goddess enjoyed a good fuck. Sex purely for procreation was, as far as I knew, entirely an invention of the human church. And Lucy was suffering for it.
“I’m fine going at it like a rabbit,” I assured her, shoving away my misgivings. So what if she was my enemy? I could start avoiding her tomorrow. Today, I was going to save one of the church’s many victims.
“Then what’s the problem?” Lucy demanded, looking up at me with wide eyes. I could tell she was itching to start pulling off her armor. It was rather cute, and a little ridiculous. For all my fears of meeting Lucy, I never could have imagined a scenario like this would unfold.
“Fucking you is one thing,” I replied. “Fucking you in someone else’s bedroom is another thing entirely. If you wish to bed me, I’m afraid it will have to be outside of town, on the forest floor.” It would probably be more comfortable than the straw, in any case. But my main reason for the decision was my suspicion that Lissera wished to have sex with me. I was unwilling to sleep with someone else in her home before even giving her a chance.
“In the forest?” Lucy echoed. “So. When you say go at it like rabbits. You mean literally?”
“…Something like that. If it’s too much for you, we don’t have to do it. I’m sure you’ll find someone else to fuck you eventually.” In fact, I could say it with a hundred percent certainty.
Lucy shook her head, though “I want to sleep with you, Eena! Today! As soon as we leave town! We’ll find a place with some nice leaves, clear out all the stones and twigs, and we’ll just…. Oooh, I can’t wait!”
“Well, you’ll have to,” I warned her. “If only for twenty minutes.”
Lucy nodded as if she agreed, but the look in her eyes remained eager as a puppy. On top of that, she started to shift eagerly from foot to foot, a big grin on her lips.
It seemed to me that twenty minutes had just become a rather long wait.
“You’ll be okay, won’t you?” Lissera asked me for the third time since my arrival at the gate.
“We will both be fine,” I promised her, uncertain if her concern was for me or for Lucy, the heroine of her people. “You haven’t seen the last of me.”
“Okay. Because if you’re not ready for travel, you can stay with me for another day or two. I’ll make you potato stew?”
‘Thank you, but no. My journey is far from complete.” By which I meant my journey back to Dimona Tower. I was concerned about how my people might be reacting to my extended absence. No matter how much they hated me, they were also depending on me to take care of… Well, the very woman who was eagerly bouncing on the balls of her feet beside me.
“I’ll keep her real safe!” Lucy promised, pressing a hand against her chest. “You have my promise that no harm will befall Eena for as long as we’re together!”
“…And you’re really sure everything will be okay?” Lissera asked me, yet again, ignoring Lucy.
“By the Goddess, Lissera,” Mother Reliz complained, pressing her fingertips against her forehead and rubbing the spot as if trying to chase away a nasty headache. “You weren’t this concerned when Eena went out against a pack of literal monsters! Now she’s with the heroine, and you’re suddenly going to raise a fuss?”
“Well, that’s…” Lissera started, only to trail off. “I mean…” she shot me a look, to which I responded with a shrug of my shoulders. I, too, thought she was overreacting. I felt fine, for the most part, and Lucy seemed mostly harmless, except perhaps to my peace of mind.
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