Novel I Own a Brothel in Another World

Discussion in 'Community Fictions' started by Saileri, Feb 5, 2021.

  1. Saileri

    Saileri Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 215 – Weaponised Ferocity
    I don’t know exactly what we expected to see after the massive gate swung open, but I guess total darkness is not far from it. All in all, we have been picking locks at an ancient entrance of a supposedly dead community. They might have once been something incredible, and right now, we are about to discover if it was true for ourselves, about to venture into the possible ruins and dusty remains of a lost civilization.

    Well, not entirely lost since the Dwarves still are good and dandy back in their faraway lands, but the same can’t be said about those protecting and managing these places. I do wonder how much of their culture was left behind in these supposed tunnels. My excitement at such discovery might not compare to Sirgia’s even in the slightest, but it’s still rather high up there.

    “Do you have more than one of those head lights?” I ask my short companion.

    “Of course, Master.” The craft Dwarf lady nods and summons another one from her spatial storage. “Here you are. We might need them. There doesn’t seem to be any power in the lighting system. It’s not a surprise if it hasn’t been manually maintained for decades, if not longer.”

    “Power? What was it powered with?” I raise a curious brow at her.

    “According to the legends, massive spiritual furnaces that burned mana-infused crystals and gemstones. All that spiritual energy then flowed through pipes covered in special sealant and runes that kept all that mana inside the ducts. Those were connected to all the major utilities like lighting, heating, water pumps, and so on. It beats having people dedicated to spending their entire days or weeks walking around and resupplying every single crystal and device by hand. Especially in a massive, dark place like this,” she explains with clear pride in her voice.

    It might not exactly fall under magitech yet, but those were quite close, I would say. It shouldn’t be that shocking considering how crafty in terms of engineering Dwarves usually are in most stories. In the end, I have a perfect example right by my side. With just the slightest little nudge from me, Sirgia designed plenty of gadgets from Earth within the restraints of the current realm. Even without my assistance, she was already a great artificer.

    “Do you think we would be able to restore that power?” I put the hat on and turn the light, shooting a white beam into the darkness. “That would certainly make it easier to explore this place, which I’m fairly sure you would love to do.”

    Sirgia fidgets a little next to me. “If you think we have the time, Master…”

    Chuckling gently, I ruffle through her hair. “This is your trip, your adventure. I’m just your bodyguard. My mission is to deliver you safely to your homeland. So, wherever you go, I go too. I ain’t leaving your side for a moment. Okay, maybe save for toilet time. That you can handle on your own, I think.”

    She lets out an adorable giggle and shoots me a pretty smile. “Thank you, Master. I’m sure it will be worth it.”

    “Seeing this lovely smile of yours is already making it worth it.” I wink at her and Sirgia’s cheeks colour faintly. “So you want to go in or should we spend a night outside first?”

    Looking thoughtful, she glances between our campfire and the mysterious depths. “Inside should be safer. Especially with our hidden residence. And there shouldn’t be anything we have to worry about in there. All the defensive measures should be down.”

    Should being the keyword here.” I wave a finger at her. “But, I agree. Let’s collect our stuff before the gate closes. No idea how long it stays open like this. You ready too, Diana? Or should we give you some time to hunt a little more? You might have to eat the rations we prepared for you for who knows how long.”

    Our canine companion gives the forest behind us one more glance before returning her attention to the front and shaking her head like a drill, along with the rest of her body. The two of us chuckle at the entertaining sight and take that as a confirmation that she is up for it. Maybe she will be able to leave with her ability once we step inside. Not sure if we are going to try in case she ends up blocked when trying to get back in. Sirgia will have to decide once we gather more information on the seals and arrays keeping this place safe from outside interference.

    So, we get to work and clean our camp up as much as we can. We won’t be able to erase all traces, but it isn’t a problem. It’s not like someone who comes here to ponder the sealed entrance is going to figure out that we went inside. There already were some signs of other people staying the night around here so I assume it’s not that uncommon of a sightseeing spot. It’s not even hidden, really.

    After we are packed up once more and Diana is comfortably inside the harness with the saddle and other equipment, the two of us share a nod of understanding and start walking through the gate. The big protective wolf takes my left while Sirgia takes the right. We follow the ruined road until it becomes a functional road at the doorstep, just very, very old and dirty. It resembles one of those legendary Roman paths that survived centuries, only pure black and ominous. Our steps kick up clouds of ancient dust, revealing more details underneath the thick layer.

    When our group is safely a few metres inside, the old mechanism jolts itself to work again, causing us to jump in surprise, and the two giant wings begin closing up. I guess there has to be some kind of a magical motion trigger that makes the whole thing understand people have wandered in or out and it’s time to seal the passage once more. We stand there and watch as the gap grows smaller and smaller, soon disappearing completely with the familiar noise of both the locks we have solved earlier falling into place.

    I’m glad to know we haven’t permanently unlocked them. That could have been a problem.

    But, no use thinking about it now. And no need to.

    We turn to the road ahead of us. The sheer size of the tunnel we have entered is overwhelming. This passage could easily serve as an interstate highway going through a mountain, with at least three lanes on each side. I think the slight squeeze near the end is intentional, either for security reasons or something else. You could fit more defenders on this side while the invaders had to push through a narrower entrance.

    This long cavern is just as high as the gate, not rising any higher, and it most likely didn’t need to in the past. I can’t imagine anything this massive being capable of regular travel throughout this world, even with the mastery of the Dwarves. A damn Dragon could comfortably fly through this passage, depending on the case, of course. The residents wouldn’t be happy no matter the size anyway, most likely.

    There are no niches or other passages in the walls around us, only the straight tunnel ahead. If there is any checkpoint or military fort, it has to be placed deeper in, which would be smart. The potential enemy would need to retreat in a straight line in the case of failure, open to a vicious counterattack. If they wouldn’t end up locked inside in the first place.

    But, I can spot the crystals used for lighting Sirgia has mentioned. They are embedded into the ceiling in two even rows and are massive on their own. From where we stand, they look to be the size of a person. A Dwarf, of course. Their surface is black and shiny right now, making me wonder what kind of light they emit when supplied with mana.

    “It’s like time has stopped here,” Sirgia whispers while looking around and shining her lamp everywhere. “No traces of battle, damage, death, just a complete lack of presence for a long period. If every section is like this, we might really have a chance to power it back up, Master. Maybe the fuel hasn’t fully run out and we will find enough of it in the warehouses.”

    “It’s too early to judge, but that would be nice.” I nod to myself. “Now think what would your clan think if they learned you not only unlocked the route of the ancients but even restored it to its former greatness, providing your allies a safe passage through the mountains.”

    Her eyes grow wide to the brim as her gaze snaps to my face. “That… That would be…”

    “Heroic? Legendary? Enough to show everyone how much of a badass you are?” I grin at her. “Plus, it would definitely help us out too with any future expeditions. Not to mention providing a safe haven for those in need.”

    “We would need people to run it. Not even all of us from the mansion are enough to maintain something like this.” She turns a tad hesitant.

    “Baby steps, dear, baby steps.” I chuckle softly. “First, we find something that can prove we have unearthed the secrets of the ancients. Then, we gain the respect of your kin and make you the boss. And next, we find worthy allies to recruit for this project. It might take a while, but it’s not impossible. You are a Forgegraver, aren’t you?”

    For a moment, she looks like she is going to use the branch family card again, but seeing my confident gaze, she tosses it away and responds with a gentle smile. “I am. And I will make my name as famous as the Mad Lady’s to make you proud, Master.”

    “That’s the spirit!” I scoop her up into a warm hug. “They have no idea what’s coming for them!”

    She giggles into my ear. “They certainly are not expecting the Demigod of Lust in the flesh to be heading for their lands.”

    “Now, that’s not what I meant, but I guess you aren’t wrong.” Smirking, I let my lovely Dwarf girl down. “Should we head deeper? I can’t see any good spots to hide the suitcase in. Of course, there are your concealing enchantments, but I would sleep easier knowing it isn’t simply sitting out in the open like this.”

    “Let’s walk, then. There should be a guardhouse or something. There is no way the entrance was completely unguarded in the past,” Sirgia points out and Diana gives an affirming bark, which echoes throughout the long cave, making us both laugh openly.

    We better watch out for any sonic abilities in here or it won’t end well for our hearing.

    Shining our lights here and there we begin our family trek. Besides the sounds of our footsteps, there is barely any noise present. Our boots scrape against the tough floor of the once magnificent road, leaving deep imprints in the grey dust. Thanks to that, we can tell that no one else was in here for a damn long time. I don’t even want to think how much work would be needed to clean this whole place up without any clever Dwarven contraptions or simply magic.

    Nothing really catches our attention for about five minutes. Then, the beams we emit forward stumble on a change in the shape of the passage. It becomes clear that it expands past a certain point, and we can spot the sharp edges of what might be buildings or segments of a different structure. Sharing an excited glance, we pick up the pace. I remain just as vigilant for the both of us, just in case. Diana seems focused on making sure we aren’t surprised by anyone or anything too.

    Carefully, we reach the spot and peek inside to get a better view. What greets us resembles a militaristic fortification with plenty of archer positions, ramparts, multiple levels, and defensive ranks. It kind of resembles a courtyard surrounded by the walls of a keep or its watchtowers, just lacking the element of openness from above. Or a rectangular gladiatorial arena with the top covered.

    The buildings set in the walls of the man-made cavern are of grey shade just like everything else save for the road we have been travelling over. They seem to be intentionally merging when you look at them from this lower angle to make it harder for the viewer to spot the turns, junctions, and specific floors. Thankfully, we don’t need to figure that out too hard because there are no angry defenders set up on top of these fortifications.

    They even had something akin to oil drop-off holes right above our heads where the entrance opens up into this area. A slight shiver passes through my spine as I imagine the horrors of getting splashed with that evil, burning substance close to napalm. The Dwarves were not playing around. I bet this wasn’t even their cruellest device installed here in the past.

    “So, we got to the guardhouse. Impressive. A small army could fit here. If the races outside were aware of the possibilities provided by such arrangements, there is no surprise Humans didn’t seriously attempt to break through your defences and secure these lanes,” I comment with a quiet whistle. “Though, a few powerful mages could possibly wreck this place given enough time.”

    “Not necessarily, Master.” Sirgia spins to face me, shielding her lamp so as not to blind my eyes and I do the same. “If I’m not mistaken, this isn’t your typical mountain stone. I had a feeling since the moment we set foot in here. It’s only made to look so unremarkable and matching with common grey rock. I believe it’s actually Inversicate. This mountain range could house a vein or two, creating a reason for why my ancestors picked this specific area for the passage.”

    “And what is that?” I ask, first time hearing such a name.

    “A mineral with low traces of mana-sensitive metals inside it. When properly mined and processed, it gains the ability to disperse magic up to a certain Tier. Some spells might even get flung back at the caster or have their effects altered. Haven’t you felt something the deeper we walked, Master?”

    “Now that you mention it, I did a bit, but I guess it’s not as noticeable as I’m not a pure magical Class. My senses do seem a little boxed in. I just assumed that’s because of where we are.” I scratch my cheek, reexamining our surroundings. “Does this Inversicate retain its qualities forever or does its effectiveness fade with time?”

    “It should be safe to assume that it retains most of its strength, half at worst. Places like these have been built for generations. And this would be another thing the Dwarves of the past wanted to keep sealed within this sad tomb. We lost access to this mineral long ago, and so did the rest of the world as a result. It’s now one of our only advantages in the chance that Humans or someone else decides to invade our lands once more as many of our keeps, castles, fortresses, or sometimes walls are at least sprinkled with it. Unlike the newer structures,” she explains.

    “I see. It would be too risky to create new mines outside of these places as that could garner the attention of the realm. With the way of accessing this place forgotten, you lost your only relevant supply. That’s extremely unlucky,” I comment.

    “Or lucky for us.” Sirgia grins cutely. “This could become an important card in future negotiations, not to mention the monopoly you would have on the mineral if you wished to extract it again, Master. First, for our personal use, perhaps concealing its true nature even more, and then for our allies to help defend against the Abyssals.”

    “That feels like a very important decision for much later.” I chuckle anxiously. “One that could make some people very angry. Unless you get them under your little thumb first.”

    “Fair enough.” She blushes lightly. “I didn’t intend to overwhelm you, Master. I just thought of that possibility. This entire place is making me excited and I know it’s very different from how I usually am.”

    “Oh, there’s nothing wrong about that.” I kneel down to stroke her cheek lovingly. “I enjoy seeing you so happy and enthusiastic. Always. And if it makes that genius brain of yours spin even faster, that’s even better. Don’t hold back. I’m here to support you.”

    After peering into my eyes for a moment, she pulls me in for a few fluffy kisses. I indulge in such a pleasant gift until Diana raises her head next to us and her ears perk up. A little reluctant, I draw my face away and focus too. Sirgia opens her sweet mouth most likely to ask what’s wrong but I stop her with a finger against her soft lips.

    “Do you hear that?” I whisper and she strains her hearing too.

    The faraway scraping and shuffling that Diana noticed first, I second, becomes clear to my short wife too. Due to the many empty spaces surrounding us, it’s fairly impossible to pinpoint the source, unless we are completely surrounded. Something is moving closer, or it’s already close enough. The uncertainty throws me off, and the mana-countering stone doesn’t help.

    Soon enough, a long scaly snout pokes out of one of the thin windows. Its owner scans the arena intently before their glimmering yellow eyes lock on the three of us and its pupils shrink into fierce slits. Then, it opens its jaws and releases a piercing shriek that forces us to cover our ears, the poor Diana desperately patting hers with her paws while on the ground.

    In a flash, a pack of winged creatures rushes out of various openings and doorways, gathering in a swirling ring right below the ceiling. At first, I almost shit myself thinking we have stumbled on a Dragon nest judging by their scales and general, lizard-like builds, but that moment of dread passes quickly when I spot where their wings come from.

    The front limbs.

    Those are Wyverns, thankfully.

    Which, doesn’t actually make it that much safer. There are still quite a lot of them and they seem to be angry. The only thing they can be angry with is us.

    “How did they get here?” Sirgia shouts over their continuous squawking and whiny growls that are supposed to be scary like their more powerful cousins’.

    “Doesn’t matter right now! We need to deal with them!” I shout back, keeping close to her. “While watching not to fuck ourselves over with any stray spells that hit these fortifications! What a shit luck!”

    Always smart and quick-thinking, my beloved partner fishes out a pair of ear mufflers from her spatial storage. They aren’t fluffy and warm but bulky and leathery. The moment I put them on, the noise stops. We won’t be able to talk, but we can communicate mentally without a problem, so it’s not an issue. Not hearing the upcoming attacks might be, but not being disoriented by the cries is still better.

    As I gauge the strength of this flock, Sirgia puts a similar contraption on Diana’s head, which due to the placement and that form her wolf ears assume, requires something akin to a military helmet with cute triangles poking up from the top that gets clasped below her muzzle.

    She has really thought of everything.

    And this would definitely break the bank back on Earth.

    The three of us regather our wits and the Wyverns quickly notice that we aren’t so inconvenienced anymore. They are going to strike soon before the situation spirals even more out of their control now that their initial advantage is gone.

    ~Master!~ Sirgia’s voice echoes in my mind and I whip my head towards her, seeing her tap Diana’s saddle invitingly. ~Hop on! It will be difficult to get them in the air even for you!~

    ~And how is that supposed to help?~ I ask while moving closer.

    ~You will see.~ She flashes me a sly smile and I make a decision to trust her schemes.

    As I jump on Diana’s back, Sirgia pulls some hidden lever and the saddle starts changing. The mono handle ahead of me splits once more and moves to the sides while turning vertically to a slight forward angle like two joysticks that force me to lean in like on a bike.

    Or worse, like in a mech.

    I feel my feet get locked in place by some firm restraints and the other handle mirrors the motion, merging with mine for a better grip, I guess, and an even lower riding profile. Then, I sense faint clicks under my fingers and note that the surface below them has now become pressure-sensitive like controller triggers. I have either five or ten different things linked to all the available buttons.

    To complete the transformation, a small rod extends upwards at the front edge of the saddle right in the middle until it reaches the height of my eyes. Then, the tip splits into a circular mesh pointing to the middle. I gain a damned crosshair like those fancy aiming sights in WW2 anti-air guns on top of military naval vessels.

    ~Sirgia? What the hell did you put in this saddle?~ I ask in bewilderment but she only grins and pats Diana on the butt.

    The two of us lurch forward as my agile steed leaps ahead, effortlessly bouncing off the ramparts and battlements to move higher and higher. I feel a consciousness prod mine and realise that’s her trying to sync up with me the best she can. Offering the same back to her, we become almost one. It’s not perfect, it’s slightly awkward and disorienting, but it’s epic.

    With our thoughts linked, Diana reaches about half the full height of the chamber and pushes herself off a nearby surface. My sights travel over the grey stone until I find a bunch of targets right where they should be. A gentle thought prods my mind, urging me to press one of the upper triggers.

    I do as requested, and with a slight tremor from somewhere next to my left thigh, three parts of a fist-sized metal ball fly forward, soon turning into a spinning tangle of chains. A literal, naval chain shot hits one of the Wyverns and it drops down with its wings temporarily tied up, smashing into the hard ground in a cloud of dust. Sirgia is on it right away, smashing its head into a paste with a well-placed strike of her sizable hammer, shooting me thumbs up as the two of us descend too, disappearing into the shadows.

    Well, fuck me. It looks like Diana knows more about the equipment concealed in this bad boy than I do. Perhaps it should not be as surprising as Sirgia had to test-fire it to calibrate everything, and how better to do that other than in the field with the wearer helping out.

    But, that was just one of the annoying Dragon-wannabes. A dozen or so more to go.

    We emerge out of the shadows on the other side of the arena and I instantly pick up on a Wyvern diving straight for my petite lover. Not wanting to give it even a chance at having a shot at her, I communicate my protective desire with Diana, and she makes a few really fast hops down until we are on the same level as that fucker.

    Then, I aim the sights ahead of time and press the trigger below the first one right as the target flies into the crosshair.

    A stronger force tugs at the saddle on the left side, making me realise that left and right on the controls matter, and the wings of the Wyvern get shredded to bits mid-flap, blood and pieces launched towards the other side, leaving gaping holes behind.

    Holy cow, are those fucking shrapnels?!

    The other beasts stir from what has to be a sound blast which we fortunately can’t hear. Only now it fully comes to me that I’m sitting on top of a goddamned tank, not a wolf. A tank with a mind of its own. And only its mind knows what else it has in store for the poor bastards that end up in front of its crosshairs.

    Finally deeming our pair as the bigger threat, two Wyverns descend on us with their intentions clear. I see Sirgia offer the same fate to the second downed lizard as she had before so I refocus on us. She is a big girl. She can handle herself even without me looking after her.

    We avoid the bite of the first attacker and Diana skilfully twists herself around it to push off its back right at its companion. Surprised by the unexpected show of vertical agility, it reacts too slowly and she sinks her fangs in its long neck from below seemingly without an issue.

    Those canines are damn fine daggers if even scales are no match for them.

    One strong tug, one broken spine later, and we are falling again. But, before we plunge into the shadows near the floor, Diana twists herself to the side and I get the one that initiated the attempt in my crosshair. As it tries to gain altitude again, I click the third option.

    A roped javelin hurls itself forward at a breakneck speed, grazing Diana’s fur on the side as it exits some concealed duct. It spears through its target and the tip unfolds to find better purchase on the other side. My clever friend chomps on the escaping rope and we swing like a pendulum until we gain enough momentum to end up higher than the Wyvern, where she allows me to line up another shot, this time finishing the job with another shrapnel.

    I could get addicted to this.

    A quick glance below shows Sirgia with three more down on her own, ready to unalive the one we have just sent her way. She is splashed with blood, but it’s definitely not hers. The excited smile on her plump lips only proves that. She must be having the time of her life too watching her creations properly getting used in my hands as intended.

    Not to disappoint, I get myself in the zone again and give Diana’s side a few appreciative smacks as we land on hard ground. She releases a vibrating howl, further throwing the rest of the Wyverns into panic, and the roles become truly reversed.

    The hunter has become the prey.

    We sprint right by Sirgia like the wind and plunge into the darkness. A second later, I find myself upside down as we come out of the corner at the ceiling. Diana pushes herself off its surface and I hit the top triggers three times, catching two more Wyverns with the chain shot. The third one unfortunately wraps itself around a tail.

    But, not all of them can be winners.

    Diana falls right on top of another and her fangs find purchase in the base of its wing. I hastily let go of the right stick, summon my draconic hilt already shaped into a longsword, and thrust it into the beast’s chest from above, definitely hitting something important. We jump off the almost lifeless Wyvern right away and land on the nearby rampart.

    My fierce steed spots a deserter and directs my attention to one of the beasties trying to slip into a side passage. Receiving the suggestion on what to press from her, I get myself ready and wait for Diana to put the fleeing enemy in my sights. She finds a great angle from above, peering over the edge of the wall and lowering her front.

    Another fist-sized orb gets launched out of the weaponised saddle as I press a different button, but this one doesn’t split into three interconnected parts. No, it breaks off like a protective shell, unveiling a complex net with tiny but definitely heavy or magical weights that covers the target like the comfiest morning blanket, trapping it underneath forever no matter how much it struggles.

    I don’t even want to think where all of this is stored and how it’s mechanically connected, but I guess this saddle is quite chunky and Diana’s size allows for a lot of space to squeeze a few compressed contraptions underneath the hood.

    Since it will be safer to get rid of all the nuisances rather than let them run away, we continue the hunt. Only a few stragglers are left. We responded to the unnecessarily announced ambush faster than they expected and their advantage of numbers was quickly lost. They also don’t seem used to fighting here even if they have been living in these passages for a while.

    The last trio goes down without another shot fired, two taken down by me and Diana, and that final one thrown off the air with a spinning hammer to the head which earns itself a whistle of appreciation. When compared to such an amazing feat, my stabby techniques feel cheap and unattractive. But, a certain wolf’s ferocious fangs make up for it, giving our short spectator a good show in my stead.

    Giving the arena one last look over to make sure that no one plays dead, I have Diana hop down the defensive formations until we land on the ground. Sirgia hastily trots up to us and yanks the lever that had tied my feet to the stirrups at the start of the fight. Free once more, I slide off Diana’s back and help with the helmet, freeing her fluffy ears as soon as possible. She thanks me with a long lick that makes Sirgia giggle in amusement.

    The two of us then take off our own ear protection and I put my hands on my hips.

    “I think we need to have a conversation about what toys you are letting our dog play with, little lady.”

    She joins her hands behind her back and shoots me an innocent upward glance while swaying her waist a little.

    Nope. I ain’t falling for that one this time.
     
  2. Saileri

    Saileri Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 216 – Chase the Light
    “No, seriously, I really need to know what you’ve done to this saddle.” I keep staring down the crafty Dwarf acting all shy. “At this point, I don’t know if I even can call it that.”

    “You use it to ride on Diana’s back, do you not, Master?” Sirgia asks innocently.

    “Don’t get smart with me, girlie.” Squinting, I point at her. “You know what I mean.”

    Showing a big smile, she tones down the cute act and trots up to me, giving me a delicate hug. “I just figured out that with all this empty space due to its size, I could add a few things and make it more useful for you, Master. Diana is so big we were able to fit five different weapon modules into the design. Plus a few more utility ones.”

    Brushing my fingers through her fragrant hair, I shake my head. “And here I thought that trick with the handles was all to it. But, I should have expected that my little Dwarf genius wouldn’t stop at the more indecent concepts. You aren’t that far gone, are you?”

    A deep blush taking over her soft cheeks makes it clear that I might not have yet seen everything related to that purpose. Rolling my eyes playfully, I lean down to place an appreciative kiss on Sirgia’s forehead.

    “This was fun. A lot. But, it would have been much safer if you told me about some of these beforehand. Diana had to guide me and I feel like we would have done much better while properly cooperating, which we began doing near the very end,” I explain.

    “I wanted to surprise you, Master. Hoped to make a presentation soon. I’m sorry for delaying it so much.” An honest apology is what I receive in return judging by the slightly sad glance.

    “It’s alright. Things often don’t go according to plans and you know it.” I give Sirgia a few more loving pats. “What can you tell me about it now? The presentation is pretty much over, and I did get a nice look.”

    We move closer to Diana, who remains vigilant as her purplish tongue hangs out off her muzzle while she cools herself down with rather adorable canine panting. My tiny lover looks the saddle over, and understanding her intentions, I lift Sirgia so she can examine the potential damage much easier, checking if nothing requires her immediate attention.

    A few minutes later, I bring her down and Diana sets her impressive body on the ground too, allowing us to rest on her. Sirgia gently brushes her fur while returning her attention to me.

    “So far, you discovered the chain shot, the pellet burst, the harpoon launcher, and the net caster,” she lists while counting on her fingers. “I don’t think I need to explain their respective roles. From what I have seen, you used all of them properly. Well, besides the harpoon. It was intended as a tool to bring the target down or hold it in place by multiple individuals, not to be used as a swing.”

    “The credit for that one goes to Diana.” I give our clever girl a few ear rubs. “You two must have tested these quite a lot for her to already be comfortable coming up with new uses.”

    “A little bit. We didn’t have that much time since she joined our family just recently, but I could tell that she enjoyed the test runs in the forests around the city,” Sirgia replies with a tiny smile. “There is one more basic function, which I’m thankful you haven’t used. Enclosed spaces aren’t the best environment to release it. Plus, Wyvern scales are fairly heat resistant, even if they are far from immune.”

    “Heat?” I raise a curious brow at her.

    “The last contraption is a high-pressure tubular liquid spraying system. But, the actual liquid is easily flammable and hard to douse. There’s a sparkstone attached at the end of the channel to ignite it on exit. I think you can imagine the inconvenience of having half of the fortifications covered in that post-battle,” she explains with a fierce glint in her pretty eyes.

    A flamethrower.

    She’s attached a freaking flamethrower to the dog.

    Goddess almighty…

    “And… it’s completely safe for Diana, right?” I smile wryly.

    “Of course. The entire thing is mounted far on the sides so that any excess can drop away from Diana’s fur, even if there shouldn’t be any with how it’s designed. But, I wouldn’t risk our friend’s safety ever. We have thoroughly examined the results with water and other substances first. Even if used mid-sprint, there is no risk of getting burned or accidentally catching on fire. You can trust me on that, Master.” Sirgia stares back at me with strong confidence, though I can tell she is anxious deep down.

    And it’s not about her creation failing.

    “You know I always trust you.” Placing my palms over her warm cheeks, I join our lips in a tender kiss. “You have never given me a reason not to. Plus, I bet you have introduced a safety measure in case something happens even when it has almost no right to.”

    She mumbles something while directing her adorable face down.

    “Sorry?” I lift her chin back up.

    “Seven of them…” the little Dwarf lady whispers, her eyes timidly escaping to the side.

    I snort quietly and let out an amused chuckle. “See? I can’t even imagine three ways of preventing accidents yet you have come up with so many. I love how creative and hard-working you are. And I’m sure Diana does too.”

    The wolf-in-question tilts her head our way and nudges Sirgia’s cheek with her big snout, causing the lovely girl to giggle shyly.

    “One thing keeps me wondering, though.” I capture her attention again. “Where does all of this hide? We are talking about five or more contraptions, no matter how big the saddle is. All that gear is squeezed inside the material?”

    “Only the devices themselves, Master.” Sirgia starts working on some latches, belts, pins, and other stuff to reveal what looks like part of the flamethrower piping winding around the rest of the equipment. “All the ammunition is kept in dedicated spatial storages linked to the respective weapons. It’s both much safer and frees up a lot of space. Weight reduction is extremely important for projects like these. Especially when you want to further reinforce the whole thing to function not just as a carrier for the implanted gadgets but also a highly effective armour.”

    “A great idea. Getting hit in the munition reserves was a big issue back home. I’m glad this is not a problem here since they are attached to a living being. Well, save for the moment when the liquid flows through the pipes as the flamethrower is used, but that’s unavoidable. And they seem decently insulated.” I nod to myself and help her close the gap. “Is that all?”

    “There are a few situational and environmental functions to mention but that would take a while,” Sirgia answers. “Like the tent-blanket that kept Diana protected overnight. Or buoyant self-expanding bags in case you end up in deep water with no land in sight. Or gelatine launchers that create a safety bed in case of an abrupt fall from grand heights.”

    Ruffling through her brown hair, I grin proudly. “You’ve thought of almost everything, haven’t you? I can sleep easy knowing you are my personal mechanic. I hope this journey will be enough to learn all the little secrets you have hidden in this masterpiece of yours.”

    “I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece…” She once more starts timidly digging her foot into the floor.

    “I would and that’s final.” With one last peck on her rosy cheek, I get up. “Now, how the hell did those bastards get in here if it’s supposed to be a super-sealed ancient fortress?”

    “Inversicate is highly durable, but it’s not impenetrable.” Sirgia hops after me as I go around Diana to look around. “After so long, it’s possible that a natural breach has been created somewhere around. It might link to a cavern where these Wyverns used to have their nest before. It’s the only explanation I can come up with.”

    “So, they panicked because we showed up in their new territory that they considered safe.” I stroke my chin ponderingly. “Is it possible they came from the inside? I’m not sure if they would have anything to feed on, but these guys seem… off? They are smaller than what I’ve read and seen, and it doesn’t feel related to their age.”

    “Hmmm… You are right, Master…” My keen Dwarf wife crouches down to take a better look at one of her kills. “Their scales are somewhat softer too… They are slightly different from how I remember the wild Wyverns from back home…”

    “This is a wild idea, but… could your ancestors have been raising them?” I suggest.

    Her radiant eyes find mine. “A domesticated Wyvern… Breed specifically for the purpose of… Transport! That could be it!”

    An equally sunny smile curls her petite lips up.

    “There are no cart tracks on this road or any parts of other transit systems like cable lines for aerial lifts! If the ancestors managed to tame a tribe of Wyverns to do the heavy work, it would have certainly sped up everything as travelling under the ceiling would not come in conflict with the travellers moving on the ground!” she sums up excitedly. “But, you are right about the sustenance. There is no way the remnants of the domesticated creatures could find enough unspoiled meat to survive here. And they don’t show symptoms of cannibalism.”

    “Let’s try looking around and see what we can find,” I propose, glancing towards the left side of the buildings. “Do you think they had a map of this place or simply memorised it?”

    “I don’t know. Either could be possible, Master.” Sirgia shakes her head. “Let me just clean these bodies up with Diana and we can move. I’m glad she will have some fresh meat to dine on while we are moving through these tunnels. At least for a while.”

    I let out a quiet chuckle. She’s not exactly wrong. These Wyverns have come in clutch. The meat should be fine for some time in the spatial gems.

    Naturally, I give these two a hand. I’m not going to simply stand there and watch the girls do all the dirty work for me. Sirgia has already stained her impressive armour with enough blood as it is. Diana hasn’t been spared either. We’ll need a good long bath to get rid of all this red. It looks like we are taking the dog with us this time.

    In a matter of minutes, we collect whatever we can and get even dirtier thanks to all that thick dust lying around everywhere. It makes Diana sneeze frantically and us laugh at the amusing show and sound. She always shakes her head while doing that, kicking up even more dust in the process.

    After being done, we need to pick the direction. Without too much conflict, we decide on the side where the Wyverns first came from. We climb up to the first level of the old battlements and look for an entrance, finding it right away. There might have been wooden doors locking it down once in the past, but only the metal hinges are now left behind.

    It feels like we are entering a haunted house from the very moment the three of us pass the doorstep. There’s no light other than our headlamps, which illuminate everything perfectly like the strongest LED flashlights you often see blast the sky open in those presentation videos, but that only counts for the room we are in. Scary shadows dance past the edges of other doorways and intersections. Not to mention all the furniture and appliances.

    Anything wooden is either in pieces or far in the process of decomposition. Only the mineral and metal stuff retain their original shape if we ignore all the rust and sediment. The first few chambers we go through are nothing special. They are the closest to the outside so it’s fair that they would be kept more or less empty in case the enemy pushed inside.

    Then, we move into longer corridors and hallways, all made from the same grey Inversicate if I’m not mistaken. Crystal lamps decorate the ceiling or the walls depending on the section. All of them are black, of course. Sirgia tries her best to lead us through this maze and find some kind of a command centre or anything of importance, basing her tour on whatever Dwarven knowledge she possesses in that wise head of hers.

    Obviously, no maps are hanging on the walls for all to see.

    What is on the walls are traces of claws and scrapes at various heights. There is no doubt this belongs to the Wyverns, who had a fairly hard time squeezing around the Dwarf-sized passages. Maybe this is one of the reasons why they are smaller. Evolution as one would call it.

    But that would mean they lived here for quite some time, leaning towards the second of our theories.

    Sirgia suggests following them to verify that we have truly taken care of all the Wyverns before settling down for the night and I agree with her. These beasties have been rather curious and inquisitive because we are led into multiple rooms and corridors on the sides. That also means we stumble on occasional droppings and other unbecoming of such location decorations. It’s pretty much confirmed they lived here.

    As for what other things we find in the rooms, there’s not much. The shelves, cabinets, and counters mostly offer tableware, utensils, various containers for liquids, specifically an abundance of steel mugs, and so on. Occasionally, we go inside small storages and gear repositories, where stands with weapons and armour are set in rows.

    Most of those have been taken away judging by the visible numbers, but the Dwarves still left behind quite a collection of leather and metal armour. It’s now all pretty much derelict after this much time without proper maintenance and after being used as chewing toys by the Wyverns. A few swords, hammers, and axes do appear alright, made from something better, but we choose not to investigate after Sirgia waves her hand at me.

    Nothing of significance would have been left to rot in the common rooms.

    Well, there’s also the matter of how much has actually been left behind. Some stuff had to be taken away with at least part of the population that didn’t wish to die on top of this hill. I don’t think they would have been this united. It’s almost never possible. But, some of the most dedicated and selfless individuals definitely chose to guard these secrets until their last breath.

    About half an hour later, we notice a slight draft from ahead and exchange glances. Considering this is an enclosed space, something like that shouldn’t exist. And it doesn’t feel artificial or like the breath of a massive sleeping monster. Wary of any traps or ambushes, we move forward carefully, our weapons at the ready. Diana slowly paces behind us, just as attentive.

    If we stumble on any Dwarves or other humanoids, the sight of a massive black wolf with a glowing purple tongue and mouth filling the corridor completely should be a decent intimidation advantage.

    But, when we step into a sizable chamber, we spot the source of the cold wind. The upper left corner of the room has a rough hole in it, through which moisture drips down onto the wall and the floor. From the looks of all the claw marks and chipped-off mineral, it’s been dug out from this side, barely wide enough to fit our winged friends.

    They must have somehow sensed that this was the weakest link in the entire structure, perhaps eroded from the other side by the force of nature. This Inversicate might be incredible against magic, but as Sirgia said, it’s not invulnerable to everything else. The water that makes its way in here had to have been prodding at the edges of the keep for decades, thinning the barrier considerably. Then, these crafty beasties simply finished the work by making a new passage into…

    A natural cavern, I think.

    “If this leads outside, the Wyverns might have been using this place as their nest and hunted for prey in the mountains,” Sirgia notes thoughtfully. “The hole came from this side. You might be right about them being a domesticated group, Master.”

    “That will become certain if we find any signs of an incubation sector or something.” I plop a hand on top of her head as she examines the rough exit. “Should we deal with this? It’s a potential risk. Someone could find it one day.”

    “The chances of that happening are low as this has to be a cavern deep inside one of the main peaks. But, we could ask Diana to verify that for us. If it’s easily accessible, we’ll seal it right away. If not, we should be able to leave it for later. Perhaps for the morning. Though, it might be hard to tell when that is.” She glances up at me adorably.

    “We’ll be spending days here if not more so let’s not bother ourselves with stuff like that.” I smile at her reassuringly. “Day or night won’t matter as long as we feel rested. And your mansion can imitate the rising sun so we won’t go crazy from the switch of environment.”

    “You are right, Master.” Sirgia nods and turns to Diana. “Would you mind helping us out?”

    The big bad wolf parades closer to our spot and gives Sirgia a long lick, evoking a sweet chuckle from the Dwarf. Then, Diana skilfully hops into the breach and rushes into the unknown. She immediately starts conveying her thoughts through images to me and I focus on processing them, watching the flashes of a dark and complex system of caverns spanning over the nearby area.

    Five minutes later, I recall her to our side, judging that we are safe enough. She reappears in the room from the shadows with some water dripping down her muzzle. An underground stream must have been located somewhere on her path, allowing our friend to quench her thirst. In case of an emergency, she will be able to lead us there.

    Since it’s already been late when we solved the puzzle at the entrance, we decide to take a break before continuing our exploration. Moving to another room, we tidy it up a little for Diana’s sake, prepare comfy bedding for her, and hide our suitcase behind a set of illusory runes. For a moment, I wonder how we will fit her into the opening to clean her up on the inside, but Diana’s body turns into smoke as she dives in, using her ability right as she passes the magical boundary. Descending the stairs, we find her waiting for us in the lobby.

    Without further ado, we head for the baths and jump straight in. Diana doesn’t give us any problems with washing her. On the contrary, she seems content being taken care of by the two of us. We share a pleasant moment working on our big dog from all angles. The pool gets a little chaotic each time she moves, making us laugh and hold onto whatever we can.

    Then, we move to the kitchen. There’s not much Siriga has to do with the meat for Diana, but she still gives it her all to prepare a decent feast for our four-legged companion. It doesn’t take long and we switch to our own meals while she chomps on the Wyvern delicacy on the floor.

    Not wanting to disturb her, we proceed to eat in the kitchen too, chatting about the adventure so far. Sirgia has many ideas about what we might find inside this place, but nothing is certain since most of them are based on stories and legends. The one thing she is sure about is the power chamber with some kind of gem furnace. It would be good to locate it first or we will be forced to explore in total darkness, relying only on our lights.

    After we are done, Sirgia retreats to the bedroom while I escort Diana outside and give our proud guardian some scratches before clocking in for the night. My lovely wife is already waiting for me with a delicate flush on her pretty cheeks, the lack of anything underneath the covers rather obvious. But, we simply choose to cuddle affectionately and drift off into the dreamland in each other’s embrace.

    The morning follows a similar pattern but in a reversed order. In an hour, we are ready to delve deeper, Diana is already back in her harness and with the suitcase attached to her side. Before departing, though, we spend a bit more time to secure the breach. It’s nothing fancy, but Sirgia creates a makeshift grating with the tools she has on herself, which are a lot, and attaches it to the wall. Infused with mana, it shimmers and becomes an illusory image too. This should make it harder to be spotted from the outside.

    Returning to the middle of the defensive arena, we gaze into the depths of the ancient refuge.

    “So, according to the plan?” I ask.

    Sirgia nods and gets to work.

    Yesterday, she came up with an idea on how to locate the heart of the power installation without spending weeks in its search. While the ducts can carry mana to the light crystals, nothing says they can’t work the other way too. But, she needs to send a perfectly calculated pulse that will pass through the bulbs without triggering them and spending that energy. If she succeeds, we will rely on Diana’s speed to follow the trail until the very furnace or battery, whichever is real.

    So, the first step is to reach the ducts. Which are high above us in the ceiling. But, I have a solution.

    “Ready for a little fun, Diana?” I smirk at my canine partner and receive a quiet bark of confirmation in response.

    Hopping into the saddle, I pull the lever that ties me to the stirrups and grab the handles. Diana gives me one last glance over her shoulder before grabbing Sirgia by the collar with her sharp teeth and hoisting the little Dwarf into my lap with a surprised squawk from the victim. Pressing myself onto Sirgia, I trap her between my body and the saddle and prepare us for what’s to come.

    We sprint forward and disappear into the world of shadows before we crash into the wall. Just like yesterday, we emerge from the ceiling while upside down. Sirgia lets out a shocked yelp at the sight but Diana is already twisting herself around. As we begin to fall, I aim at the ceiling and press both triggers at once, sending two harpoons out of the launchers. They pierce into the tough surface quite deeply, making me realise that they are additionally spinning like drills, and end up stuck halfway in the carved channels.

    Now aware of where the ropes come from, I hastily let go of the sticks and grab the lines before we descend further than their length extends. With a few twirls, I coil them around my forearms and grab the fleeting snakes, clenching my teeth. Sirgia squeaks as a violent tug sends us into an arc, but I’m already grinning at the fact that the harpoons held. And they have hit perfectly where I wanted them.

    With Diana’s help, we lose the momentum until we end up still in the air. Sirgia opens her eyes and straightens up now that I no longer pin her to the saddle. Her petite fingers quickly grasp the edge of the seat at the front as she notices the ground. I would reassure her with a firm grip, but unfortunately, both of my hands are tied at the moment.

    Literally and figuratively.

    So, not to prolong the situation we have found ourselves in, I start to slowly pull us up. We haven’t fallen too far, so it’s not that much to go. Bit by bit, one hand at a time, I bring us closer to the ceiling while Sirgia peeks at me with a glint of wonder in her beautiful dark caramel eyes. And when those charming eyes skip down my quite flexed front, she can’t help herself from nibbling on her bottom lip as they rove over the section where my clothes got pulled up, which becomes a tad distracting.

    Directing my attention to the task at hand, I get us where we need to be and lock gazes with Diana. Knowing my intentions well through our bond, she starts moving in a way that pushes us into a swinging motion again. We work together to increase that force since it’s rather tough on short ropes, but after a few good swings, we reach the horizontal line.

    At that very moment, I give the ropes one mighty pull and drag my legs up. We flip upside down, with Sirgia once more pressed tightly into the saddle, as Diana’s paws hit the ceiling. Securing her footing, she turns her head to me and lolls her tongue out, her tail starting to wag.

    Smirking softly, I move my mouth closer to Sirgia’s ear. “Now, be a good sport and get on her belly. I don’t know if these harpoons can stay in the ceiling forever.”

    “You are insane, Master.” A mesmerising giggle escapes her lips. “But that was amazing.”

    Shuffling carefully, she flips herself around, effectively sitting on my stomach now as I keep leaning forward. She flushes deeply as our eyes meet and just has to sneak a peck on my lips right when I can’t do anything about it. And from the look she gives me, she would love to do even more if the situation wasn’t this dire.

    Using my armour and Diana’s fur as handholds, she wiggles her way onto the wolf’s side before crawling onto our furry friend’s belly. Ensuring she has proper balance, she stands up and chuckles at the silly sight of Diana’s head peering at her between her front legs. Giving our canine companion a few pats on the snout, she turns to the crystal just above her.

    “Be ready to drop us down when I tell you, Master,” she warns me and I nod to myself.

    I can’t see that much over Diana’s bulky frame, but I can tell she has brought out some kind of a hand-sized contraption which emits light of various colours from its runes, sigils, or whatever those are. A bigger flash illuminates the ceiling briefly and I can see some kind of an energy flow through the duct, switching the black crystals on as it passes through them. For a moment, they give the tunnel a warm, yellowish hue, but the spark doesn’t travel further than three or four gems.

    “Wrong…” Sirgia mutters under her nose.

    She tries again, and after another flash, the energy once more dissipates throughout the installation, but this time travelling slightly further with a much weaker glow from the crystals. Sirgia curses cutely under her nose and keeps at it, adjusting that gadget of hers to find the right frequency I would say. Or something like that.

    Two more fails take place before Sirgia lets out a deep sigh. Each one was closer to the target, but still slightly off. It’s clear she is having doubts as no more follow.

    “Come on, I know you can do it. It’s almost there, I can feel it. Take your time and I’ll wait here with a big, loving kiss for when you get it right,” I attempt to cheer her up at least a little.

    Unfortunately, I can’t tell what her expression looks like, but she reaches above her head again and gives it another try. The flash that she evokes lights up only the second crystal after the one we are hanging under, but she immediately follows with another charge and a bolt of mana goes through without any reaction.

    “I got it! Now, Master!” Sirgia shouts with an overjoyed tone and I let go of the right rope a second later.

    She manages to send one more spark through the installation before losing her footing with a yelp. Diana spins around and I catch my Dwarf lover as she passes by our side, tucking her underneath me once more. With Sirgia tightly secured against my chest, I release the other link and we drop right away. The whole time we descend, I keep an eye on the escaping energy as it travels into the depths through the semi-transparent duct.

    Darkness surrounds my vision and recedes a moment later as we avoid crashing into the path below and emerge already running. “There! Chase after it, Diana!”

    Our valiant steed responds with a confident bark and we speed up. Thankfully, this mana doesn’t travel at the speed of Earth's electricity but more like a quickly-flowing river. Sirgia wiggles around to slip into her seat, but with my hands free and my feet firmly locked in, I turn her around so she rests on her back on the saddle.

    “A promise is a promise.” I grin at her wide eyes and lean in to steal her lips.

    A soft moan makes my mouth tingle as Sirgia wraps her arms around me and reciprocates the passionate embrace. Our tongues dance together as Diana carries us forward and I keep tenderly stroking Sirgia’s hot cheek, doing my best to convey how proud of her I am. Judging by the satisfaction flowing into me through our bond, it works decently well.

    But, we shouldn’t inconvenience our friend too much and I hesitantly draw away with one last peck. Having my assistance, Sirgia flips around without an issue and takes a proper position on the saddle. Not without pressing herself into me, of course, but I humour her and set the handles forward like on the first day.

    We try to look around as Diana speeds through the massive tunnel after the bolt of mana above our heads. I can sense Sirgia’s anxious mood, most likely over the chance that it goes out before reaching our goal, but if that happens, we can just do it again. She’s already cracked the code.

    Regardless of her worries, the signal doesn’t go off and we keep going after it. Ten minutes later, we have passed two more underground mini-towns like that one near the entrance, and finally arrive at a crossroads. Two paths lie in front of us, but we don’t need to think as the mana picks the way for us.

    Soon after, the scenery changes to some extent. The distances between hubs decrease, and the style changes into something akin to open underground caverns with sporadic square buildings. The third time we pass one, our guide takes a hard right into a much smaller passage, not much bigger than to fit a mining cart. We barely squeeze into it, my hair brushing against the top dangerously.

    Since it’s harder to see the energy now, Diana has to speed up a bit, and we suffer in this claustrophobic tunnel for about three more minutes. Then, the passage opens up and she barely slows down right before a sizable metal gate, kicking up clouds of ancient dust and making us cough. The mana disappears on the other side. Something must have tipped Diana off because she could have jumped through the shadows. Or perhaps she didn’t want to risk it.

    When all the dust falls back onto the floor, we look around. Something akin to a booth is carved on one side while there are weird benches, lockers, and crates on the other side. Feels like a changing room or something.

    “I’ll check the door,” Sirgia says and slips away.

    She trots up to the heavy gate with a giant sigil carved on its surface, which signifies burning in Dwarven. Not finding anything useful by simply examining the entrance, she jogs to the booth on the side, vaulting in through the pane-less gap. Disappearing below the edge, she starts moving things around according to the various scraping noises.

    “Found it!” she shouts back and a mechanical click follows.

    The gate briefly shines blue before the glow escapes to its edges and dissipates. A metallic groan fills the air from the booth, joined by Sirgia’s light grunt, and something else slips into place with a heavy thud. A moment later, the gate gives a loud screech as it starts descending into the ground.

    My clever Dwarf lover jumps out of the booth with a pretty smile. “The protective array was still active even after this long. We could have triggered something worse if we tried to go through by force.”

    “It’s alright now?” I give her a hand to help her back up onto the saddle.

    “Should be. But better still to be careful.” She snuggles into me and pats Diana’s side.

    We slowly walk past the lowered gate and follow the single mana duct through the same narrow corridor. It doesn’t continue for too long as just a few seconds later we set foot in a truly massive space that spans damn wide and high. But, the sheer size of it isn’t what takes our breaths away.

    The humongous metal furnaces set in three rows do.

    Each machine is an amalgamation of stone, wood, and metal. Some glass and other materials are woven into their structures too, like leather for the giant bellows poking out of their sides. Those things are higher than a three-story building and pretty much the width of a single-family house. Multiple mana channels are routed into them from above, forming artificial crowns of fake branches.

    “Well, looks like we found our source of energy. Now what?” I chuckle softly.

    But, Sirgia is already on the ground, walking towards the closest one with an awed expression. I haven’t even noticed her slip away.

    If anyone has any chance of starting this shit up, it’s definitely her.
     
  3. Saileri

    Saileri Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 217 – Go with the Flow
    I give Sirgia a moment to look around this power hall. It’s as dark here as everywhere else, so we still rely on our personal lights. Until we reanimate these massive furnaces, I don’t think anything will change. If the Dwarves had any emergency power supply, it must have run out long ago.

    As I cast my gaze around the massive hall, I notice a few other exits here and there thanks to the shadows moving along with my head lamp’s beam. Or rather cone. Everything in here is so big, that I’m starting to wonder how such a small race was able to operate these devices and appliances. Things are suspended damn high in the air.

    Ah, right. They most likely had Wyverns. It’s not impossible they used them for more than just simple transportation services for goods and security. Those creatures could have been an all-purpose solution. I can’t really see any other explanation.

    Well, besides magic, of course.

    But, I have a feeling that relying on spells and abilities so much in every aspect of their tasks and work would be a bit too much. Additionally, we are inside a chamber adorned with gigantic furnaces which burn mana out of crystals and gems. I might not be an expert in this field, but even I’m aware that such an environment could prove to be a tad unstable at times, with a high risk of things going awry during the potential use of magical arts.

    It’s like playing with a flint in a room partially filled with easily combustible gas.

    Nevertheless, it doesn’t affect us much. If we are going to make this place alive once more, I’m sure Sirgia will figure out the proper way, using the systems and contraptions left behind by the ancients. I’ll just lend her a hand wherever I can. I bet she will need some muscle to get these babies going. Man, I wonder how loud it gets in here when all of them are churning out mana.

    Finishing my stroll around the hall, I return to the first furnace. Sirgia is examining it from up close, consulting some kind of a book as she reads the inscriptions on a few plaques. They don’t resemble anything linked with exhibits so I assume those are either technical specifications or instructions on how to operate the machinery. After taking a longer look at the runes and letting my skills and knowledge decipher them a little, I’m inclined to believe it’s the former.

    She finally notices my presence and looks up.

    “So, how do we go about kickstarting one of these wonders?” I ask with a raised brow.

    My lovely Dwarf wife glances at the plaque again before letting out a delicate sigh. “I don’t know.”

    “Oh? There’s something my little genius doesn’t know? No, that’s impossible.” I show a little smirk and watch her cheeks grow a tiny bit rosier. “Jokes aside, don’t fret over it too much. I know you’ll get it in time. I’m with you all the way. Just tell me whenever you need anything.”

    Kneeling in front of Sirgia, I stroke her warm face and place an affectionate peck on her forehead. She wraps her arms around my neck and pulls me into a soft hug. We stay together for a few seconds, right until another gentle sigh escapes her lips and she backs off.

    “I think we need three things. First, water.” She directs her attention high up. “The glass parts of these furnaces are most likely meant to hold a small reservoir of it.”

    “What would they need water for?” I wonder out loud.

    “If I’m not mistaken, steam helps the produced energy dissipate less into the air. It combines with the gas-like mana output before being pushed into the ducts. Additionally, it should create more pressure in the system, further enhancing its effectiveness. The quicker the energy can flow into these reinforced and enchanted channels, the less of it is lost in the initial stages of the process,” Sirgia explains confidently.

    “I see. That’s smart. What is second, then?” I keep my hand on her side, rubbing it lovingly as she continues to fill me in.

    “Air.” She points at the four bellows surrounding the middle segment of the device. “With the introduced water, and therefore humidity, the furnace needs a strengthened air circulation for the fires to remain as strong as it’s necessary for efficient production. We need to figure out how to turn them on. They should be autonomous, but I’m not sure if they are connected to any other system or if they are a separate module that has its own driving force.”

    “Got it.” I nod curtly. “Anything else, love?”

    A deeper blush surfaces on her cheeks, but Sirgia keeps her quite passionate and professional demeanour up. “Yes, the most important thing, meaning the mana-rich crystals and gems. Do you see this belt above us, Master? With how it’s positioned, I can only assume that it delivered fuel straight into the pits of these furnaces. We need to get it to move and find out if there is any fuel left.”

    “Then, we gotta find a way to fire this thing up.” I rub my chin ponderingly.

    “I believe a bit of fire should be enough if all the other systems are ready,” she shares her thoughts.

    “I can do that. I’ll borrow a skill from one of our ladies and take care of it. Magical fire should give it a stronger boost than normal one, right?” I scratch my head.

    “That’s… very likely, Master!” Sirgia gives me a pretty smile in response. “It might be dangerous to use it when the furnaces are working, but with all of them currently being silent, Fire Magic should give the one we are starting up a good kick! You are so amazing, Master!”

    “Not as amazing as you.” I wink at her. “Alright. There are at least three things to do and two of us. Apologies, Diana, but I would like you to be our guard just in case. It’s what you are best at.”

    Our canine friend responds with what sounds like an affirmative bark and we both let out a light chuckle.

    “I would like to try and figure out either the bellows or the core of the furnace,” Sirgia suggests. “It should allow me to further study the device since those two systems are closely connected with this chamber. I’ll most likely focus on the air first. It’s a good idea to have them ready in case we succeed in firing up the heart.”

    “I’ll go with water, then.” I roam my eyes over the glass compartments.

    “Do you have any idea where to begin, Master?” my beloved asks.

    “I think I’ll try following those thick pipes first.” I snap my fingers towards the obvious water channels running out towards one of the other exits. “Diana, would you mind staying here?”

    “But, Master. It would be faster—”

    My fingers gently thread through Sirgia’s fragrant hair. “I know. And I know you are a strong girl. But still, I would like for her to be with you. She can jump to my side at any moment if something happens. I don’t want you to be here alone, okay? Will you allow me this small act of selfishness?”

    She tugs me down by the sleeve and I lean forward for our lips to meet in a tender kiss.

    “Always, Master. Be careful out there. We don’t know if there are more safety systems attached to the specific functions.” She adds one more peck onto my cheek. “I’ll have this side figured out when you come back.”

    Smirking softly, I give her one last pat. “I don’t doubt that.”

    Diana trots closer for some parting scratches too and I head out, leaving the girls to their own work. The pipes coming out of the furnaces gather into one path before merging. They create a massive tube which I keep following. It goes through the wall, but fortunately, there is an archway to the side. No door, gate, or any protective arrays visible anywhere around or over it.

    Lighting up the way, I walk into a relatively spacious corridor. There’s not much to be said about it, honestly. It’s very similar to the extremely small one we had gone through just earlier but on a slightly bigger scale. I pass by a few rooms but don’t find anything helpful or interesting inside. They appear to be maintenance storages or such.

    It takes me about half an hour of a relatively fast trek to reach a big double gate. Judging by the depiction of two Dwarves pouring water out of massive jugs they hold on top of their shoulders, I must be in the right place. The only question is, can I open this metal door on my own or do I require Sirgia’s smart mind to help me out?

    Scouring the area does not yield any meaningful results. Focusing on my senses, I don’t detect any noticeable spiritual presence or energy. Even while on standby, the formations should emit the slightest bit of magical presence. I’m not your run-off-the-mill Human. Even without being a professional Mage, I still should be able to find traces of something.

    So, I decide to give the gate a good old try. Pressing my palms into each wing right in the middle, I make use of my Primordial physique and pretty insane stats to push them both inside. Thankfully, I don’t make an idiot out of myself and they relent, sliding open with heavy groans and screeches. It would have been hilarious if they were pull instead of push.

    Behind the safety of the gate, I find a wide room with a low ceiling. The numerous rectangular basins give it the feeling of a large bath with multiple spots, but it’s immediately obvious that’s not correct. First of all, it would be immensely difficult to get in and out of these deep pools without any help. Second, the large pipe splits up above my head and its numerous tubes descend into the floor, heading for every single pit. Third, each of the final hollows has its own duct behind it, sealed with a thick metal cap.

    There’s no doubt that’s where the water comes from initially.

    But, after that? I guess this place is something akin to a filtering room or something. I can see the water flowing into these last pools in the past, getting filtered or maybe enriched, then continuing into the pools in the row after, and so on, and so on, until the first reservoirs where it makes its way into the pipeline system.

    Taking a quick peek down one of the hollows shows me a plethora of colourful tiles covering both the bottom and the walls of the pool. They are made of some kind of magical crystals and are also further customised with magical formations. It’s like looking at a mesmerising display of fractals, worthy of the most expensive art showcase.

    There’s no doubt now that they are meant to do something to the water. But, to see what, I need to figure out how to bring that water back in here after decades of absence.

    I don’t see any levers, chains, buttons, or anything around. The chamber is kept as simple as possible, set in regular and comfortable patterns. All the surfaces are smooth and it’s unlikely they hide any additional passages or nooks with control panels or whatever. Perhaps this whole thing is controlled from a different location.

    Not seeing any obvious solutions, I choose to cross the chamber until the very end. Examining the locked-up outputs of the wide pipes coming into the room, I find something that looks like a depiction of a valve in the side of one. But, it barely pokes out of its surface so there’s not much you can do about the decoration.

    Unless…

    Giving it a light tap causes the valve to extend outwards. A clever way to pretty up the design.

    Unfortunately, as I try to spin it to either side, it gives only the slightest tick before refusing to comply any further. A defiant metallic groan accompanies the action. It manages to lift the cover only a tiny bit. The mechanism clearly hadn’t been maintained for ages. Duh.

    I don’t want to completely break it by applying all the strength I have in store, so instead, I stare at the barely changed flap, watching the first hints of liquid trickle through the brass channel. Then, I get an idea and decide to give it a shot.

    Summoning my draconic hilt, I shape it into a greatsword with a wide blade and slowly slide it into the opening. Taking a decent position, I try to leverage the cover open with moderate strength. It once more starts squeaking in protest, but with a large enough surface of my weapon, I’m able to pry it out of its ancient position with relatively no issue.

    However, the actual issue is, nothing more than the light trail of muddy water flows down the massive pipe.

    “Well, shit. I guess it would have been too simple. Wherever the water comes from must have been drained—”

    Distant, echoing, weird noises rumble through the tube, making me pause. Frowning, I give it a little peek inside, illuminating the shiny insides, and instantly yank myself back as quickly as possible. The entire pipe begins to tremble, and a second later, thick brown mud rushes out of the opening with a loud fart, flowing right into the side of the pool underneath it at a high speed.

    Fortunately, I’ve been able to avoid getting splattered with the powerful blast. My earlier action must have altered the pressure inside the system or something. Now it works, but I doubt this was the intended water the ancients wanted to deliver to their furnaces.

    As I consider blocking the stream after its strength subsides a little, the pool begins emitting bluish light. A brief glance makes it clear that the enchanted tiles have been triggered for some reason. Perhaps the muddy liquid is the cause. They emit a pleasant humm and the surface of the pit starts bubbling, but not the same way as if it would have been boiling. More like quicksand.

    Also, the worry about this sludge flowing into the next row of pools turns out to have been completely unfounded. Whatever this first step in the entire process is, it somehow cleans up most of the filth before allowing the output to continue to the next basin. Still kind of yellowish, the filtered water flows into the second line, where it actually starts boiling, judging by the heat and steam.

    I observe in fascination as it clears up almost completely right before my eyes. This step takes much less time, and it’s not surprising. It doesn’t have to deal with all the icky muck. The final row of pools is reached soon, and contrarily, the water, which is now crystal clear, cools down noticeably, emitting whitish mist from the surface. Something else is added to it, but I’m unable to discern the magical effect the tiles are having on the liquid.

    Finally, whatever is left, exits the chamber through the channels leading into the big pipe I have followed to get here. I’m not sure how there’s enough pressure for anything to flow up there from the level of the floor, but who knows what kind of enchantments or hidden appliances the Dwarves have put in their waterworks.

    “Alright. Let’s get the rest of these bad boys done, then.” I roll up my sleeves and move to the next pipe exit covered by a metal flap.

    For the next twenty minutes or so, I keep prying them open until all the pools are back to work. Some channels spew clearer water than others, and the first one was the worst of them all, so it seems they come from different reservoirs. A smart decision. If one or more malfunctioned, they weren’t completely fucked.

    After I’m fully done, I give the entire chamber one last look and nod to myself proudly. I have succeeded. The water is back. Hopefully, it doesn’t blow up someone’s shitter by accident. It wouldn’t be surprising to learn that this system guides the water around the entire place, not just to the power hall. Well, it’s not like anyone should be still alive here save for monsters and wild beasts. Or a few previously domesticated ones.

    Happy about the result, I walk back to our gathering spot. We really need to get these lights on soon. It continues being creepy as hell traversing these corridors through deep and mischievous shadows. I swear I spot something darting past an intersection or two as I go, but looking that way shows only the flat surface of the stone and an empty path.

    I enter the massive hall to the welcoming sounds of something functioning. Sirgia must have figured it out, as expected. My genius little lover to the rescue. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the furnace already up and going by the time I return.

    Which isn't exactly what I find as I near the high tower.

    Sirgia is on the side, fiddling a little with some levers while the big bellows keep pumping air into the furnace two at a time. The whizz is loud and definitely could get annoying fast, but right now, it’s a lovely noise symbolising progress. Another step on our grand path. Leaving us with only one.

    Before I can call out to her, Sirgia notices my approach and trots up to me with a wide smile.

    “I saw the water flow into the glass containers, Master. You did great.” She looks eager to share some affection so I pick her up and she wraps her legs around me as we exchange a few pecks.

    “From what I can see, you haven’t been slacking off either. Did one of those levers turn them on?” I ask curiously.

    “No, I actually had to get up there and give them a literal hand, but I had Diana with me and she helped a lot.” Sirgia giggles cheerfully, glancing at our furry companion. “They don’t even need any power to function, Master. Thanks to a clever way of utilising cogs, pistons, and weights, they keep themselves going pretty much infinitely. It’s so inspiring.”

    So, they figured out a perpetuum mobile for these. Neat.

    “Perfect. Now, as long as there are still some crystals gathering dust somewhere, we only need to spin up these conveyor belts and the place should be up.” I smile at her and she beams back at me.

    “Not if we have anything to say on that matter.”

    Diana releases a quiet growl and I spin us both around towards the source of an unfamiliar voice. Right in the direction I’ve come from, stands now a grey-skinned woman with white glowing eyes. She’s completely naked and I can see her dark, perfectly erect nipples stand proud alongside the ensnaring line between her pouty feminine lower lips, completely smooth and bare for all to admire. Multiple females like her begin to emerge from the ground behind her, having figures of various kinds, taller or shorter, thicker or leaner, but still sharing the same characteristics as the first speaker. Their hair is of the same dark shade but in different styles.

    “Oreads…” Sirgia whispers in awe and shock.

    “I knew someone was tailing me.” My eyes do their best not to stop at any of the seductive areas lest it comes out as offensive, even if it’s quite a challenge with so many of them. “Who are you?”

    “That’s what I should be asking, Human,” the leader replies firmly. “How did you get into this sanctuary? The gates have not fallen.”

    I gesture at the girl in my hands with my head. “This one looks like a Dwarf, doesn’t she? It should be pretty self-explanatory. I’m just escorting her on her journey. If my presence makes you uncomfortable, I apologise, but she has all the right to walk through the tunnels her people built.”

    “No one is allowed to be here, as per the final decree of the last patriarch,” she responds, glaring briefly at Sirgia. “These grounds are to remain sealed. They are not to fall into the hands of Humans. No descendants received the knowledge of the ancient riddle.”

    “She solved it.” I nod towards my lover again.

    The Oread blinks a few times while looking between us, seemingly surprised by my answer.

    “There’s still the matter of blood…” she continues.

    Sirgia anxiously raises her hand. “I’m… a Forgegraver… if that means anything…”

    The other women start exchanging glances as if uncertain about their course of action now. They no longer glare at us as heavily.

    “How come you’ve only shown yourselves now?” I ask, making use of this brief pause.

    “The noise has woken us up,” the lady answers. “We’ve been asleep since the moment the last of the Dwarves willfully succumbed to the embrace of our sisterhood, ending the line of proud protectors.”

    “Oreads, just like other Nymphs, can consume their partner’s vitality, Master,” Sirgia whispers into my ear.

    That explains the complete lack of bodies and any remains. They either absorbed everything or tidied up afterwards.

    “So, you either worked with those ancient Dwarves or had a deal with them, right?” I pry further.

    “You are correct.” She nods. “The final guardian requested us to guard this place in their stead. No Human shall ever make use of this mountain for as long as we exist.”

    They recollect themselves fairly quickly after their leader’s statement, back to showing open hostility. At least towards me.

    “But, Master isn’t Human. He is a Primordial,” Sirgia protests while slipping back onto the ground.

    That evokes a few gasps from the crowd of nude ladies and they all direct their attention onto me. Some try to peer deeper into my frame and I can feel their eyes wander into a very specific region. I catch one or two nibbling on a finger with deepening darker spots over their cheeks. A bunch of sweet giggles echo through the spacious hall.

    “Silence!” Their leader turns around to get them back in line before addressing us again, still a bit standoffish, but looking at me in a slightly different light. “That’s your word. And it doesn’t offer much considering it comes from the mouth of a collared female addressing her escort master.”

    Ah, right. They would obviously pick up on that, even if it’s kind of a misunderstanding. To a being that has been asleep for decades if not longer, this must look rather definite. I guess I’ll need to crank up my presence to—

    “But, if you are willing to bet on that, we can simply verify your might with a challenge,” she interrupts my train of thought. “With your life on the line.”

    The Oreads gasp at that again but hastily quiet themselves down before the woman in charge has to. I meet Sirgia’s eyes and she shrugs, leaving the decision up to me. Diana keeps herself close to my other side, eyeing the naked girls with the aura of a predator ready to pounce.

    I sigh heavily and look at the leader. “Honestly, I would rather not hurt you, but if this is the only way—”

    “Oh, no, not that kind of might.” She lets out a tinkling chuckle.

    With a flick of a hand, she raises a perfectly smooth slab of stone next to her, taking the shape of a rectangular altar which stops at the height of her waist. She places her plump behind on its edge and hoists her perfect legs onto the top with a wide smile. Leaning to the back, she assumes a quite inviting resting position on her side, letting her perky charms barely succumb to the force of gravity.

    “If you truly are a Primordial, you should have no problem coming out of our coupling alive, isn’t that right?” She grins impishly, clearly confident that I’ll succumb to her powers.

    Nymphs. What else should I have expected?

    Shaking my head, I give my short lover one more peek, but Sirgia just shows me a thumbs up with a mischievous smirk of her own, which makes me chuckle out loud. Of course, she would be on board with the idea of showing them who is the real deal by fucking them into submission.

    “Fine. I accept.” I start walking towards the charming Oread, seeing her grow even more excited at the fact that I agreed to her provocation.

    She must view me as the cocky Human who believes he can outfuck the ancient Nymph with his undefeatable cock, definitely living through quite a few similar encounters during her long life.

    Too bad it’s not going to follow the same pattern this time.

    As I near her, the rest of her family forms a circle around us and sits on the ground in a cross-legged position. They throw their arms onto each other’s shoulders and start swaying from side to side, beginning a thrumming, echoing chant with a pleasant undertone. Their mesmerising breasts swing along and I have to tear my gaze off their proud bits to stand up to the task given to me. At least the standing up part won’t be an issue.

    The main Oread offers me a hand and I take it, climbing onto the stone bed with her. As I settle down on my side right in front of her, she snickers and snaps her fingers. Suddenly, we fall through the polished rock and I grunt softly after hitting a hard surface with my back. Looking around, I realise we have just phased inside the slab, which turns out to be more like a sarcophagus than an altar, complete with inner carvings of magical, ritualistic sort. The creative paths light up with a violet hue, giving both of us a slightly violet shade. It’s like we are about to fuck inside one of those ultraviolet tanning beds.

    I just hope we don’t get any magical burns.

    The perpetrator has landed on top of me, pressing her delicious chest into my front. Staring down at my face, she hungrily licks her lips.

    “It’s been so long since I fed.” She lets out a quiet moan. “I’ll try not to suck you dry so that my sisters can enjoy having a taste too. I can’t be too selfish.”

    Raking her sharp nails over my outfit, she attempts to cut through it, but it doesn’t seem to work as easily as she thought it would. That doesn’t deter her though, and she begins fishing for the straps and buttons holding my gear in place while practically devouring me with her shining eyes already.

    Snorting softly, I take hold of her wrists and spin us around in this very confined space. While we have a bit of distance to the top, the width of this coffin is slightly bigger than my frame. She lets out a surprised gasp at landing beneath me with her arms no longer free and gapes at them. I certainly felt quite some resistance from her extremely heavy body, so she must be confused about how I was able not only to move any of her limbs but even change our positions.

    Having the fine woman beneath me, I give her alluring body a good look from up close. To some extent, she looks like the most exquisite statue or sculpture, like her tempting figure has been carved by the hand of the Goddess herself. And with the fact that she is technically a stone creature further accentuates that fact. Her skin is still smooth and delicate in touch, but when pressed, it appears like those mind-blowing marble masterpieces of extremely thick women or such.

    The rock lady’s bosom is full and perky, topped with the previously mentioned dark nipples. Her waist narrows enchantingly but her hips flare with gusto, creating that heart-stopping gap beneath the sealed lips of her feminine secrets. And those thighs practically consume my fingers as I run my palm over them, offering their squishy heaven to anyone daring enough to approach their ensnaring regions.

    Naturally, her killer body is not everything she can boast about. This particular Oread represents the more mature front, with her light grey face shaped sharply in the fashion of a true lady. Her long flowing hair further emphasises that notion, woven in multiple thick braids. From what I can tell, the more of them, the higher the standing of the owner amongst the sisterhood. Each of their members showed at least a few of those, so it has to be a way of showing one’s position or experience.

    Nevertheless, that experience seems to have gone out of the window as most likely the oldest of the Oreads is looking up at me with pure puzzlement taking over her collected and teasing expression. She gave my hands a few tugs, but soon stopped trying completely, comprehending that it wasn’t a fluke when I managed to overpower her a moment earlier.

    Smiling slyly, I let go of one of her wrists and brush her cheek softly. “Is there a name your sisters use to call you, beautiful?”

    “I-Ianthe?” she answers a tad hesitantly.

    “Well then, Ianthe.” I snap my fingers and all my clothes disappear into my spatial ring, my skin getting in direct contact with hers, and my already rock-hard member resting atop her hot mound. “Remember, you have only yourself to blame for this.”

    Ianthe glances down between us and swallows heavily. Her wide eyes find mine, the first hints of realisation swirling inside those pure white whirlpools.

    She might have just made the biggest mistake of her life by underestimating an opponent a little bit too much.
     
  4. Saileri

    Saileri Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 218 – Kamatetris ❤❤
    “Last chance to give up.” I smirk at the slightly bewildered Nymph beneath me, lazily trailing my fingers over her smooth belly, just short of the heavenly valley below. “It’s not that shameful to admit you’ve been mistaken, you know?”

    At those words, her eyes finally stop following my digits and snap up to meet mine. A somewhat arrogant sneer curls the tough lady’s lips as she grips my already hard member with all the experience one would expect from a creature living off lovemaking.

    “Dream on, Human.” Her fingertips dance over my length, tenderly stroking the tip as they push it closer to the apex of her warm mound. “So what if you can overpower me? The moment I swallow your eager staff, I will be the one on top, now and forever.”

    She has seemingly regained most of her previous composure, getting more and more confident as she rubs herself with my cock. Thankfully, I don’t have to worry about hurting her even if she decides to shove it in right now. Her fragrant nectar is already slowly spreading over our united bits. The faint trace of dark grey blush conveys her eagerness to get physical too.

    In the end, I don’t think she’s lied about not having a chance to feed for Goddess knows how long.

    But, I have been challenged, and I can’t very well let her get the upper hand here, can I?

    Before Ianthe manages to slip me inside her, I catch her wrist with my free hand and pull it away. She fights me for a moment, surrendering soon enough, knowing well her strength and abilities can’t contest mine. This also makes me happy. I’m all for a little bit of roughness amidst the pleasure if my partner’s experience is further enhanced by it, but it would just feel bad to wrestle with her too hard.

    Without her explicitly stating that’s what we are playing at, at least.

    Pinning both of her hands above her head, I hold them tightly with one hand, moving the other to cup her perky breast, giving it a gentle squeeze. “I wonder if you will sing to the same tune after I’m done with you. First, though, let me show you my appreciation for this delicious opportunity. You are such a gorgeous woman and I can’t wait to eat you up.”

    The splash of colour deepens over her face as Ianthe’s eyes widen a little bit, focused on mine. As she opens her mouth to say something, I interrupt that unnecessary motion by locking her lips with mine, which results in an awkward-turned-pleased noise, her unreleased word becoming a delighted moan.

    Initially, I simply test the waters. If she is angry at me, she might try to fight back by biting or such, but after a few fluffy pecks, Ianthe’s lips part on their own, inviting me deeper. I keep affectionately tracing circles around her nipple as my tongue greets hers, conveying a slightly earthen but still delectable taste. Our kiss turns more heated until she is the one looking for more, coaxing more and more carnal satisfaction.

    A light squeeze of her stiff nipple evokes a fluttering gasp, which further intensifies her desire. Leaving her marvellous peak alone for now, I make a trail with my nail over her exquisite skin, heading south. Ianthe’s breath hitches the closer I get to the promised land, joined by quiet groans whenever I turn around just short of the sealed crevice currently gushing with need like a mountain brook.

    “Such a tease,” she whimpers, bucking her hips to drag her slit into my finger during the next lap. “Is your plan to kill me from frustration with the use of sweet little lies and ghostly grazes?”

    A light chuckle escapes my lips and she opens her eyes. “I haven’t said a single lie during our entire conversation though? And judging by the small pool beneath your charming butt, you aren’t exactly disliking this.”

    “You… You are serious?” she asks, a little confused, and I raise a curious brow at her. “You really think I’m gorgeous? Without being charmed?”

    “What else would you be with this sinful body?” I fire back, going further with my fingers than before, slowing down right at the height of the shy little nub topping her feminine mound.

    “A monster you Humans think you can just lust all over and get the fuck of your lives?” Ianthe answers, not so certain anymore. “A rock demon posing as a Human female to steal your soul?”

    I roll my eyes. “That again. Well, when I was Human, I still had this thing for strong and exotic women, this desire to sink my fingers into their exquisite skin.”

    “Nnnghhh…” Ianthe lets out a deep groan as I tickle her clit and slide two fingers into her welcoming pussy, her entire frame shaking weakly.

    She might appear cold as stone from the outside, but her sensitive insides are just as hot as they always are. Closing her eyes, she throws her head to the back with a thud, hitting it against the hard stone, completely dismissing that fact like it doesn’t happen. I slip in and out of her wet folds repeatedly, watching her squirm in my grasp and grace me with ladylike groans.

    “Goddess…” Ianthe gasps when I curl my digits a tad, adding more speed and pressure to my technique. “Wait, wait, wait... That’s too quick! Nhhhhnnnn!”

    Feeling a tug at my wrist, I decide to let go and see her hand fly down to grab my own. Unfortunately, she can’t stop me, only giving me another opening to make her feel even better. With my left palm free now too, I employ its help in rolling her left nipple while sucking the right one into my mouth.

    “Ohhhhhhhhhh! No, no, no! Hooooooooooow?!” She buckles as I add more pressure, moaning a storm already. “Ahhhnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn!”

    Ianthe’s hips jump up as she peaks, her delightful thighs quivering from the intense spasms that roll through her entire system. Her pussy pushes my fingers out so I switch to thumbing her sensitive button, prolonging the explosion of pleasure as much as I can. It takes a moment for her tender butt to smack down onto the floor of the sarcophagus again with a wet plop, a few post-orgasmic shivers plaguing her figure.

    Pulling myself above her flushed, panting visage, I smile slyly and brush my thumb over her plump lips. She opens them up voluntarily, flicking her dark tongue at the nectar coming from her hot source as she stares deeply into my irises.

    “Neither male nor female has ever touched me like that,” she says with a smooth, melodic tone. “Have Humans gotten so much more skilled in the time I was asleep?”

    “That’s it. I’m bringing out the big guns. Get your ass ready.” I squint at her, which draws out an impish grin from her until I wipe it away with a passionate kiss.

    We battle each other for a few seconds before I toss Ianthe onto her left side and push her curvy body against the wall of the stone box. She giggles in amusement, moaning quietly as her hard nipples graze the cold surface. I fall behind her and hug her tightly, my cock sliding between those thick thighs of hers. With a calculated wiggle, she drops herself low enough to press her humid lower lips against my length, coating it with her sweet nectar from the tip to the base.

    “Now we are talking.” Ianthe chuckles, closer and closer to nailing herself on my dick. “It’s been interesting, and perhaps a little bit intriguing, but I’ll be taking this win—wait, that’s the wrong—ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

    Chatting herself up, she notices too late that right before she thrusts me between her labia, I alter the angle slightly and spread her cheeks with my hands. Having dripped quite a bit of certain useful substance onto my cock while she’s been rubbing herself on it, I’m more than ready to tackle the goal ahead of me.

    My tip pierces her tensed ring and I’m all the way up her ass with shocking ease, bottoming out in one thrust. One of my arms wraps itself around her chest while the other slithers down her stomach, two fingers playing with her leaking folds. My face draws close to Ianthe’s ear as she twitches lightly from insertion, trying but failing at escaping the spear of destiny thanks to being trapped between my body and the altar’s stone sidewall. Her luscious lips have formed a perfect circle from both surprise and disbelief.

    “Do you think I’m oblivious to how your kind functions?” I whisper sensually, causing her to shudder again, shifting my dick inside her as a result, evoking more half-moans, half-groans. “While you can suck out lifeforce through all your holes, it’s your pussy that’s the strongest, and this little entrance here being the weakest. But, as it turns out, also quite sensitive.”

    Her face turns to mine over her shoulder. “You… Ohhh! Why does it feel so… ahhhhh… smooth?”

    “Magic.” I snicker and nibble on her neck, forcing her voice to create that melodic, thrilling goran.

    Ianthe’s hands are now free, and have been for a while, so she could have and still can use them to resist this vulgar treatment. But, she doesn’t place them against the wall to push me off or anything like that. No, she leads them to my arms, holding firmly onto them as I drill her asshole with my cock, pounding my hips against her bouncy behind.

    She moans and groans openly as her backdoor slowly relaxes to match my size. With the use of the magical lube, I have no issues hammering into her tight channel nevertheless. And judging by how she throws her waist back at me after her belly bounces off the sidewall, she clearly appreciates the sensations, perhaps used to slightly different experiences in that area.

    Naturally, my fingers don’t stop toying with her breast and clit. Choosing the right moment, I push them into her warmth once more, fucking her asshole and pussy at the same time.

    “Fuuuuuck!” Ianthe curses, buckling like a horse. “Ahhhnnn! Ahnnnn! I’m going to cum again! Ahnnnnn! Please, don’t stop! Ahnnnn! Ahnnnn! Spill it! Release deep in my anus! Ahhhhhhh! I beg you! Let me taste your seed with my ass!”

    “I didn’t know the refined Oreads used such crude language.” I move my lips to graze her ear with my teeth. “But ask and you shall receive. If only you’d have been this polite from the beginning.”

    Putting more effort into all my movements, I have no issues guiding Ianthe’s fine body towards another realm-shaking orgasm. Driving myself deep into her backdoor, I finger her front relentlessly, relishing the hot, fragrant nectar trickling down my fingers as proof of how good she is feeling.

    When her silky passage starts constricting on my digits, I slam myself home hard enough to smack Ianthe against the wall, squishing her firm tits into it. She almost howls while cumming on my fingers, her asshole choking my cock with all it has. Fulfilling her wish, I release a luscious load deep into her, painting her upper passage white with lots of love.

    “Oh, shit, shit, shit! It’s cominnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnng!” Ianthe gasps and her nails dig into my forearms.

    Her eyes glow white at the same time as the bluish patterns all around us start heating up too, reaching almost blinding levels. She lets out a trembling moan as my seed pumps into her, the arrays flickering mysteriously to the quivers in her musical voice. At one point, I worry they are going to fry themselves up like an overcharged electric installation and blow up in a shower of sparks, but that doesn’t happen, the light receding slowly as my gorgeous Oread comes down from her high, panting roughly and still quivering from time to time. I rest my fingers on her mound and caress it lovingly while still plugging her asshole with my cock.

    “I… I am defeated…” The Nymph sighs dreamily, gently brushing my skin. “So much energy from an anal insertion… And you haven’t gone a bit softer, perhaps even growing harder instead… You truly are no Human… My Lord…”

    “Took you long enough.” I smirk to myself, kissing the nape of her neck. “But, well, it’s no surprise I’m getting harder when the fun is barely just starting.”

    “What do you—ahhh!”

    With a few quick tugs and twists, Ianthe lands underneath me once more. Just, this time, her legs are pushed closer to her body, her knees hooked over my shoulders with feet dangling above my head, as my ready-for-action tip intimately makes out with her cute pussy, waiting to visit its new friend for a good time. Ianthe’s eyes widen at the sight, her teeth involuntarily sinking into her bottom lip.

    “You have taken your punishment for doubting me, now it’s time for your reward.” I spread her alluring petals with my fingers. “What kind of lord would I be if I didn’t show proper appreciation to my vassals?”

    “Wait! If it felt so incredible in my butt, I need to get reAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHdy…” A powerful lewd cry breaks her sentence as I sink into her soft insides. “Goddess save me… How does this feel so divine…?”

    Leaning forward to place a peck on her nose, definitely making her go cross-eyed if she had pupils and irises, I smile cheekily at the beautiful Nymph. “Perks of sheathing a Demigod’s dick.”

    “What?! A DemigOOOOHHHHooooohhhhOOOOOHHHHHHddddd?” Her eyes bulge out at the news, once more interrupted mid-sentence.

    Even if Ianthe wishes she could say anything else or ask any questions, the fact is, she can’t. Not when I’m railing her pussy into the ground to the powerful, wet smacks our bodies create as I slam myself into her comfortable passage. She clenches her teeth and grunts through them, throwing her arms around my neck for better stability. I can sense the heights of pleasure she is experiencing after hearing and recognizing the revelation.

    Ianthe no longer views me as something lesser. Her soul and her pussy are actively accepting the ecstasy I’m sharing with her. To the point that she can barely receive it without screaming like crazy. I might have gone a tad too far focusing my divinity on this one thrust, concealing it while I was fucking her ass before. Hopefully, she doesn’t actually turn silly from getting her brains fucked out.

    “Ahhhhh! Ahhhhh! Yes! Ahhhhh! So much vitality! Ahhhhh!” A whole concert of moans tickles my ear as I hammer Ianthe into the stone, her fingers starting to rake over my back.

    “Feel free to eat up as much as you want. I have lots to spare.” I chuckle, kiss her neck and begin to delicately press into her timid clit, causing her to thrash wildly.

    “Yesssssss! Ahhhhhh! Thank you so much! Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm!” If I could see her face, she’d definitely be licking her lips. “My Lord! I’ll cum for you again! Ahnnnnn!”

    All things combined, she reaches her climax even faster than during the ass pounding she received a moment earlier. Not seeing any reason to deny the alluring Oread the pleasure, I flick her clit with controlled circles, flooding her body with energy. She comes on the spot and gushes all over my cock even as I keep nailing her relentlessly. The mighty moan is silenced by a fierce kiss she pulls me in this time, rolling through my throat like the finest music.

    Still trembling, she looks at me, then down at our salacious connection, and once more into my eyes, a trace of a dissatisfied pout on her adorable lips, even as her body has trouble staying still. Knowing well what she’s thinking, I chuckle and spin us around, evoking another gasp of surprise.

    Ianthe ends up on top just as she promised in the beginning. With just one small difference. She isn’t completely in control, nor has she myself wrapped around her finger. On the contrary, it’s her pussy I have wrapped around my dick.

    Since the altar is taller and wider, she can partially straighten her back while hovering over my cock, with the head snuggly sitting inside her leaking snatch, making it seductively spread around it. However, it’s not high enough and she has to bend her neck forward, which coincidentally forces her to look down at me as I hold her thighs to the sides, ready to drive myself into her from below.

    “Don’t worry. You’ll get your meal in there too.” I grin at her and Ianthe nibbles on her lip, wiggling her hips to rub my tip invitingly. “You’ve gotta earn it, though. Do you think you can handle this divine member?”

    Her white eyes glimmer with resolve and she rests her palms against the stone surfaces, one on the lid and one on the sidewall. Her feet are planted firmly on the rough bed and her legs flex in preparation. Taking a deep breath, she gives me a confident nod.

    “My flesh will bring you the most heavenly climax, My Lord,” Ianthe states. “Please, use me until you are fully satisfied.”

    Looking deep into her eyes, I rearrange my hands to grab onto her hips… and yank them down as I thrust upwards. Ianthe’s knees buckle from bliss, but she hastily spreads them wide again, hitting the sides with loud thuds, resolved to let me witness every second of her precious pussy getting beautifully rammed by my cock, kissing my underbelly each time I smash our bodies together.

    “Ahhhhhh! Ahhhhhh! Standing like this! Ahhhhh! Hits so different!” she confesses honestly, and I can tell.

    Thankfully, Ianthe doesn’t seem to mind her head and shoulders thumping against the sealed lid of our cosy coffin. With how strongly I plunge into her, any other normal casket would have burst into splinters long ago. She even seems to draw some pleasure from it, staring down at me with an expression asking for more. The ladies outside must be wondering what’s going on in here, perhaps giggling amongst themselves at how hard their leader is fucking the life out of my dick.

    Oh, how mistaken they would be.

    Nevertheless, this position truly hits differently, as Ianthe has said. And not only in physical terms. I get to admire her full breasts swaying in the rhythm of our lovemaking as I pound into her from below. I get to watch her pouty lips curl into a smile, then twist in pleasure as she grits her teeth from receiving me deep inside her soft channel. I get to watch her lean muscles tense as she upholds the half-squat, further emphasising the slightly more chubby areas of her killer figure. And, obviously, I get to witness my own work, splitting that succulent slit with each stroke.

    “Are you ready to taste me the right way?” I smirk at her, noticing her tightening around me more and more.

    “Ahhhhh! Yes! Yes! Please, let me accept it deep inside my womb! Ahhhhh!” Ianthe answers and starts pushing herself off the lid to slam down onto me even harder, actually making me grunt. “Cum in me, My Lord! Ahhhh! Ahhhh! My pussy yearns to milk you! Ahhhh! Ahhhh! It’s been starving for so looooooooooooong!”

    “Don’t forget to compliment the chef!” I snicker and time the last thrust with her incoming orgasm.

    It turns out she feels this one much stronger as she practically flies up the moment she tilts past the edge of ecstasy, hitting the lid with quite the power, and cracking it slightly. I have to push my hips up to chase after her fleeing mound and further drill her against that marred lid. She lets out one long moan as her knees bump against each other continuously, my fresh batch of creamy delicacy rushing vertically up her welcoming passage, wave after wave. The damn lines glow so much I have to cover my face for a few seconds.

    With the last note of her sultry cry, she flops down onto my chest with laboured breaths. The light subsides as I gently run my fingers over Ianthe’s smooth back, playfully tracing patterns over her elegant butt.

    “Haaaaaaah… I’ve never felt so full… Not even from the Patriarch…” Ianthe whispers, her own palm wandering over my chest. “My sisters will be so happy to know we have someone to serve once more… I should bring them the news quick—ah!”

    “Where do you think you are going?” I chuckle devilishly after locking her down in my embrace. “If I remember correctly, you wanted to suck me dry until I was on the brink of death, did you not? You see, I’m a quite competitive person.”

    The mature Oread raises herself on her elbows and looks down at me with a timid smile as I draw my hips back.

    “Oh merciful Goddess of all creation… Please, spare your always devoted servant this impossible triAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH FUUUUUUUUUUCK MEEEEEEEEEE~!

    Interrupting her abrupt prayer, I proceed to offer the seductive Nymph some more of my essence. Contrary to her request for salvation, she welcomes all this affection with open arms and wet pussy, not even once asking me to stop or slow down. We play bodily tetris inside the stone coffin for four more thick loads down her starving snatch, staining the entire inner altar with our combined love juices.

    Ultimately, it’s my win.

    Swiping down my face, I sigh deeply. Shuffling a little, I throw the limp body of the freshly fucked Oread off me. It lands at my side with a muted moan and a tiny twitch, making me chuckle quietly. I would love to admire its enchanting curves, but unfortunately, all I can do is run my fingers over Ianthe’s frame. The magical formations have shut down during our previous-to-last climax. It turns out they do actually have a limit.

    So, since there’s not much more to do in here, I try to crouch and set my shoulders against the heavy lid. Putting my hands up too, I flex my muscles and groan while slowly increasing the output of my strength. Soon, I hear a crack, and the stone slab breaks off, letting me slide it to the side with a thunderous impact.

    Rolling my shoulders, I stand up and peer outside. The other Oreads stare right at me with their mouths agape, definitely not expecting my figure to emerge first from the ritual. Many seem to blush shyly, turning their heads away and still sneaking bold peeks at me. I can’t really blame them, though. My rock-hard cock pokes right past the edge of the coffin, still decorated with plenty of my seed and Ianthe’s glistening nectar, some dripping off my tip.

    One seems to break out of her desire-induced stupor and jumps to her feet. “What did you do to our Den Mother?”

    Before I can placate her politely, a wet plop echoes throughout the chamber. We all turn towards the source and see an ashen arm hooked over the edge of the altar by its elbow, glistening with sweat.

    “Don’t… He is… The real deal…” Ianthe says with a voice raspy from her previous lustful cries. “No questions… Explain later… Listen and… Serve…”

    Her fingers lose their grip on the stone surface and slide back up until they slip past the edge. A fleshy smack travels out of the coffin, along with an alluring moan. Shaking my head with a warm smile, I give the amazing Den Mother one last glance and step out of this cursed box. Some Nymphs have come closer and peer into it, their eyes almost popping out after seeing the state their strong leader is in.

    Sirgia pushes past the other stunned Oreads and hastily drops to her knees in front of me. Not being quick enough to stop her, I just smile appreciatively and hold her pretty hair as she slowly and carefully licks my member all over while looking up at me with a proud gaze. I stroke her cute cheek until she decides she’s done, leaving me all shiny and cleaned up.

    Lowering myself to her level, I steal a tiny peck from my Dwarf lover. “Are you girls okay? They haven’t done anything to you while I was busy?”

    She lets out an adorable giggle. “We could feel how hard you worked, Master. But, no, they just kept chanting. At least for as long as the tremors were bearable. I think their feminine parts found it hard to endure the vibrations coming off the altar and they had to move further away.”

    The thought of me and Ianthe fucking so hard it almost made her friends cum just from sitting close to the stone slab makes me laugh openly and I kiss my little mate on the cheek.

    “I’m glad. Now, would you kindly take your wonderful fingers off my member so that I can dress up properly?” I raise a questioning brow at the mischievous girl, and Sirgia gives me one more tug before granting my wish, cupping both of my cheeks to give me a loving kiss. “Thanks, love. I think we should continue where we left off, don’t you agree?”

    The Oreads stop gaping at their defeated Den Mother and all whitish eyes lock on me. Some of them show reverence, some show obedience, but some show rather obvious expectations. I don’t even need to look lower at the glistening parts of those individuals to know what they are so hopeful for.

    “My apologies, ladies, but I’m not going to lay my hands on any of you until your Den Mother gives me permission.” I chuckle softly, evoking a few adorable pouts, with one dainty girl even stomping the ground in her dissatisfaction. “But, even if she gave it to me, and any of you would be explicitly willing to get to know me a little better, there are things I need to take care of first. Is there perhaps a chance you could help us start this furnace up? You’ve helped the ancient Dwarves of this place, right?”

    They exchange thoughtful glances until one alluring lady steps forward with a sensual sway of her slim hips. “You won’t find the gems as easily as you found the other required resources. They have been sealed inside a secret vault by our Den Mother. It’s inaccessible since then. I can take you there.”

    “Great. I’m glad we stumbled on each other, then.” I smile at her kindly.

    “On one condition,” she adds.

    “Okay?” I faintly furrow my brows at her.

    “A kiss,” our volunteer reveals. “I’ll get one from you.”

    Damn sly vixen. She’s trying to get a leg up on her sisters before the rules I’ve set up are going to be truly enforced.

    “Alright. But there will be no more exceptions,” I respond, and her lips curl into a satisfied smile.

    Stepping closer to the tall beauty, I lean forward, but a finger stops me from reaching my target.

    “Not these lips.” She chuckles roguishly, briefly glancing down her body.

    Squinting at her hard, I do lower myself to the level of the other lips, standing before another firmly sealed slit, and press my mouth into the heating-up folds. Looking the cunning lady right in the eyes, I flick my tongue between those two delicious petals right before standing up. Her eyelashes flutter strongly and she barely catches herself before her knees go weak, buckling a little. Licking my lips, I stare her down, making her flush heavily.

    No one fucks with me without consequences.

    Even if those might lead to fucking me anyway.

    The rest of the girls send their sister jealous glares, some rubbing their thighs together. It’s not like they can’t touch each other, but I guess they don’t get the same sensations from their own species. And males are their desired target, even if they can work with females too.

    She ignores them pointedly and extends a hand to me. Not seeing any more tricks in her white eyes, I take it and once more experience the sensation of falling. This time, though, I don’t end up inside another coffin. We somehow travel through the rock and stone, moving somewhere. It’s a weird experience, different from the shadow transfer. It feels a bit more creepy with all that matter rushing before my eyes.

    Less than a minute later, we emerge in a different chamber. Right away, I spot the rainbowy radiance of a truckload of gems and crystals filling big wooden crates all around. The room is much smaller than the furnace hall, and just as my guide has said, there don’t seem to be any doorways or gates leading out of it. The ancient Dwarves really wanted to play it safe, perhaps delaying the Humans in starting up the powerplant with their own fuel until the Oreads woke up and dealt with them.

    Just like it happened with us. To some extent, at least.

    “Will these need to be accessed like this all the time?” I ask, approaching one of the crates and examining a long pink gem.

    “We can reconnect this room with the hallways if the Den Mother orders us to,” the woman answers. “But, we wouldn’t mind resupplying the furnaces manually if that would be your wish, My Lord. I’m sure our sisters would be excited to find a purpose once more. Without it, we would be forced to fall into slumber again until the next disruption occurs.”

    “I see.” I stroked my chin. “For now, let’s just take enough to start one furnace and have it running for a few days.”

    “Yes, My Lord.” She bows politely. “A quarter of this crate will suffice. Should I collect the gems into a sack for you?”

    “No need. I’ll just shove them into my storage.” I touch the box and one-fourth of the shiny rocks disappear, making my companion release a cute ‘oh’ of surprise. “Can we go back or do you need anything?”

    “I’m at your service, My Lord. All I need is to heed your word.” The Oread offers her hand.

    “Didn’t seem so straightforward earlier,” I tease her and bring that dark blush onto her cheeks once more.

    We show up in the furnace hall a moment later and I show the gems to Sirgia.

    “Woah. They almost haven’t lost any energy.” My lover’s eyes sparkle in awe. “I’ll need to see where you got them from later, Master. That vault must have incredible runes carved into its walls. Or some kind of a genius device to prevent mana diffusion over long periods of time.”

    “No problem.” I pat her head and smile warmly. “But, let’s start by bringing some light into our dark lives.”

    She chuckles sweetly and nods, accepting the crystals inside a barrel I took out of my own inventory. I then watch as the Oreads surround my tiny wife and offer advice on what to do. She consults her next actions with them and makes a few improvements to the already functioning systems, fine-tuning the furnace with their experience.

    The one that has ferried me back and forth helps Sirgia scatter the gems inside the burner since the conveyor belts are still off. They triple-check everything to make sure there is no damage to any components that could result in an uncontrolled explosion or such and gather back in front of me.

    “You really work fast.” Ianthe’s voice makes us turn towards the altar and we spot her being supported by two subordinates, still covered in all the evidence of our heated session, especially down her sculpted thighs. “Even the ancients needed weeks of introduction to fully grasp the inner workings of these furnaces. Yet, you seem to have already figured them out.”

    Since Sirgia turns into a blushing mess of bashfulness, I chuckle in her stead while brushing through her brown hair. “That’s a genius for you. They didn’t have ones like these back then. If only you’ve seen the things she figured out back at our home. Out of this world, I tell you.”

    Ianthe smirks at me before moving her gaze onto the massive pillar. “I’m afraid I won’t be able to use my magic to start it up right now. I’m utterly exhausted, My Lord.”

    “After I pumped so much energy into you?” I raise a brow at her and the other Nymphs giggle softly, shooting me sultry glances.

    The Den Mother rolls her eyes. “My energy has never been so boundless. It’s my body that’s the problem. If I tried anything more complex than basic magic, I could lose control of the mana, leading to unforeseen results. I can barely stand. My flesh feels like it’s been tenderised ten times over.”

    More adorable chuckles follow as the mature lady glares at her family with a tinge of colour on her noble cheeks.

    “I’ll relieve you of that in just a moment,” I promise with a smile. “First, let me handle this.”

    Under the watchful and curious gazes of our alluring and very naked friends, I pull up my menus and look around for a skill, ability, or spell that would fit the bill. It doesn’t take long because there are a few fire-based Classes on my Partners list. Selecting a specific fire skill since it will be stronger than something like the unfocused Fire Magic, I close my eyes and call upon the borrowed power.

    A fist-sized ball of flames appears atop my palm and swirls around until I’m satisfied with its compression. I can feel its desire to burst and quickly jog up to the burner’s lid and toss the orb inside, closing the square door. A small explosion shakes the belly of the beast a little and we spot violent amber flames through the occasional gaps in the body of the furnace. Shortly after, a few smaller pops follow and the shade of the fire switches to pretty blue.

    With that change, the other segments of the generator step in too, falling in rhythm with the burner. The bellows stoke the flames and the pipes supply the enriched water to create steam. After about thirty seconds, the first trace of light azure emissions float up amidst the whitish smoke and travel into the ducts, where the condensed mana is shot forward like an arrow.

    Then, as the process stabilises, hidden light crystals begin to flicker to life, and one by one, they illuminate this massive chamber with a warm hue. For the first time, we can see clearly without any additional aid, and the generator hall becomes even more imposing.

    The power is back.

    Sirgia cheers cutely by my side and throws herself into my arms. Catching the happy Dwarf, I spin us around for a moment, letting her pepper my face with fluffy kisses. I set her down before we both start getting dizzy, chuckling excitedly. The Oreads gaze around with reminiscing expressions, a tinge of melancholy and sadness adorns their glowing eyes as they exchange glances.

    Giving one more kiss to my tiny lover, I step closer to Ianthe, her family turning to me. She meets my gaze proudly, but I can sense the faint trace of anxiety and contemplation in hers. The future still worries her. Especially with the two of us capable of operating this place on our own.

    “So.” I spread my arms, looking at each curious Nymph. “Considering that everything seems to be running smoothly, there are no enemies around as Humans still have no idea how to get in here, and the ancient Dwarves are clearly not going to make a comeback, I think it’s obvious what should happen next.”

    Ianthe searches my eyes for a few seconds, and it seems like she comes to a conclusion, showing a gloomy smile as the other ladies look up to her for a decision regarding their foreseeable future. They too seem to find an answer in her expression, turning resigned as they form groups and rub each other’s arms.

    Extending a hand towards the leader, I smile kindly. “Anyone interested in getting out of this gloomy hole to live a life in a fancy mansion with an extensive buffet of male essence every other day?”

    They all blink at me in confusion, including my recent intimate friend. Sirgia snickers endearingly behind me, a wide grin adorning her petite lips.

    We can’t very well leave these ladies to rot in here during an eternal sleep between rare cases of waking up to deal with a roach or two, can we?
     
  5. Saileri

    Saileri Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 219 – Unforeseen Connections
    “What… does that mean?” Ianthe is the first one to ask, which doesn’t surprise me.

    The others still hide behind their leader, a bit anxious about interacting with us, even if their desires are clearly getting the upper hand slowly and surely. But, hopefully, this won’t last long if we play our cards right. And I very much intend to help these technically imprisoned ladies however I can.

    “Well, it would be my pleasure to explain, but do you think we could move to a more discussion-friendly environment or would it be difficult to find anything better in this place as things currently stand?” I raise a curious brow at her, spreading my arms inquisitively. “Oh, and I guess I should dress back up. Where are my manners?”

    I totally forgot about that part, too focused on getting the gems with the guide who kindly volunteered to aid me, definitely not because of the dozen or more naked female bodies displaying everything they have to us at numerous alluring angles. No way.

    At my words, many of them seem to assume pouty expressions, and some faint whines of disappointment reach my ears amidst the enchanting crowd. Even Ianthe’s eyes seem to shift to my waist again, making her nibble on her bottom lip, which funnily results in her legs shivering a bit as she recalls our earlier tryst, surprising the duo supporting her frame.

    Then, as her glowing eyes rake over my front and find mine again, they widen briefly with some realisation, bringing a mischievous smile to her luscious lips.

    “Since you managed to successfully restore both water and power to this facility, there is one place that comes to mind,” Ianthe replies with a seductive tone, her gaze once more skipping south. “And you won’t need to bother covering yourself up again if we decide to move there, My Lord.”

    Connecting the dots, I’m fairly sure I know what kind of place she is thinking of, but just in case, I point my thumb at our furry companion. “And am I right to assume Diana is welcome to join us in there?”

    “But, of course!” The main Oread nods politely. “I was going to suggest exactly that. All three of you seem slightly sullied from your previous encounters and the immense amounts of dirt and dust this stronghold has amassed over decades and centuries of inactivity. No offence, My Lord.”

    “None taken,” Sirgia responds before me. “We could use a refreshment after working so hard on satisfying the requirements for bringing this place to life once more.”

    I roll my eyes at her adorable attempt to join in on the teasing, but can’t help to smile with them. Technically, we’ve rested and cleaned up after the Wyverns, but all that moving around did get us a tad dirty. Plus, it would be rude to reject such a generous invitation.

    “Lead the way, then.” I gesture at the grey-skinned lady. “Or are we going to be transported again?”

    “I suggest the former. All the facilities are slowly warming up. We should give them some time to activate properly and get rid of the evidence of the passage of time. You’ve witnessed it yourself in the filtration pools, My Lord,” our host answers.

    “Got it. Let’s walk there, then.” I turn towards the exit but Diana brushes against my side, stopping me shortly after. “I guess we can ride there too. With me buck naked, though?”

    She simply tilts her head as if to say ‘Is that a problem now?’ and I chuckle quietly.

    Yeah, it wouldn’t be the first time.

    So, as she lowers herself onto the ground, I hoist my pretty little Dwarf girlfriend onto the saddle. Ianthe steps closer, looking at our magnificent friend with slight awe in her shining eyes while I hop on too, landing behind Sirgia’s back. The two of us share a glance and my petite wife scoots closer to the front with a barely noticeable smirk.

    Not wanting to waste her goodwill, I offer a hand to Ianthe too, and she accepts it after only a moment of consideration. The nude beauty sits behind me and wraps her slender arms around my torso. As expected, her entire front is glued to my back and I can feel both the stiffness of her peaks and the heat of her core on my skin. And if that’s not enough, a certain someone is pushing her dainty ass right against my hard-on, intentionally rocking back and forth.

    Seriously, life with closet perverts is just exhausting.

    Thank Lumina for all the enhancements she has presented me with early on. I would have kicked the bucket ages ago if not for them.

    Our Nymph passenger starts explaining the route and Diana rushes forward, assuming the pace of a rather quick but leisurely jog. Leaving the furnace hall, we quickly confirm that the mana is properly spreading through the ducts outside. The warm, yellowish crystals illuminate the passages and hallways without fail.

    In most cases, that only makes it even clearer how much dust is lying everywhere, but it’s also much easier to spot the artistic parts of Dwarven architecture and general style. A lot of the walls in the hallways are smooth and plain, but the occasional intersections or segments with whatever buildings riddle these paths show lots of artistic geometry and scientific designs.

    You can tell it was them who dug it up and not any other race. Elves usually prefer more natural themes and their decorations are all swirly and irregular. When it comes to Humans, they kind of steal everything and incorporate those elements into their cities. If you want to experience actual Human culture, visiting villages is much better. They have this medieval vibe from the movies back on Earth with straw and so on.

    Nevertheless, we only get to catch a few glimpses as Ianthe leads us through this maze. Honestly, I was almost sure everything would be as easy and spacious as the main road, but it looks like the inner structures and facilities are much tighter.

    In retrospect, that’s quite logical. You want the travellers to move from point A to point B as fast as possible so the central lane is perfect for that. Only the locals should be traversing the side passages which are hidden from sight save for the entrances and exits. Just like with the small fortress in the beginning, they are easier to defend in case of breach or other conflict.

    So, after running through a few different passages, we reach our destination. It kind of feels like the metro, now that I think of it. You have the main tracks and then stations on the way, which expand to the sides and lead to the city or other facilities. It’s the same here, just without the trains. The Wyverns have most likely fulfilled that role.

    Let’s hope we don’t run into any radioactive abominations in the depths of this abandoned keep.

    For now, we hop off Diana’s back and follow the dazzling woman through a metal gate she effortlessly opens with a wave of her hand. I’m not sure if it’s part of her nature or if she is consciously doing it, but with each step she takes, her marvellous ass jiggles temptingly as her hips sway, flashing us the briefest glimpses of her delicious secrets.

    Glancing aside, I find Sirgia’s gaze, who just looks up at me too. She smirks faintly as understanding passes between the two of us. I’ve been caught staring, but so was she. With her fairly shorter frame, she gets an even better view of this gorgeous sight. A delicate blush tinges her sweet cheeks as she realises we’ve both been ogling Ianthe’s bubbly cheeks.

    Maybe we are both closet perverts.

    Though, judging by how the Nymph arches her back to push the massive doors in, it’s more than obvious that she’s intentionally tempting us.

    Behind that gate, we find a giant bathing section carved in black granite with sparkling, golden details in the form of filled-up cracks, webbings, and natural-looking fissures. The whole place seems like it has been chiselled out of a single block. Multiple pools of various shapes and sizes riddle the ground while benches, stools, chairs, cabinets, counters, wavy resting furniture and beds decorate the walls and the empty space. The piping leading the hot water into the baths is concealed too and the steaming liquid descends into each of them like a small waterfall.

    With all this foggy aesthetic, it looks just so rich.

    Ianthe kneels by the edge of the closest pool, pushing her ass up as she leans forward, of course. “The baths look ready. There seem to be no issues with the runes and devices. These waters will not only cleanse almost anything but also soothe sore muscles and revitalise the exhausted organs. This was often the place of long relaxation after hard work and… prolonged orgies.”

    She glances back at us over her shoulder with an impish grin just as her sisters emerge from the ground behind our duo. I can tell they are eager to touch, just as they are eager to once again experience the bliss of a real bath, some of the girls unable to decide what they should gaze at more with that deep longing in their eyes, the water or my body.

    Deciding to ignore Ianthe’s taunts, I turn to my lithe lover and find Sirgia already finished taking Diana’s harness off. Her clothes are gone too, shoved into the gem in her collar, most likely. She looks up at me with a wide smile while ruffling our steed’s black fur.

    “Last one is a rotten egg!” I shout out of the blue and push past them.

    Sirgia’s tinkling laugh echoes behind me as my feet plop loudly over the marble floor and Diana lets out a challenging bark. Before I reach the biggest pool, the ground shakes slightly, throwing me off balance, and I spot the nude Dwarf flying past me as she drives herself forward with one of her Class abilities, barely not damaging the precious mineral beneath us. The shadowy canine leaps out of my own shadow and smacks me in the face with her tail, following after the little minx. Even some of the Nymphs manage to beat me to it, but I do not lose, thankfully.

    As I emerge from beneath the surface after a good dip, I slowly swim to the edge, where the bottom is high enough to sit on and poke your shoulders past the line of water. Sirgia is already there, explaining to our new friends what the weird call I made really means. I learned long ago that they have a different saying here but already forgot what it is exactly.

    Setting my back against the sidewall, I let Sirgia float into my lap and rest her back on me with a contented sigh. My arms subconsciously wrap themselves around her petite frame. We look ahead and chuckle together. Diana is completely still as her big body traverses the hot water, only the tip of her snout and everything above breaking past the surface. It’s just way too funny seeing her drift without control like that, the only moving parts being her eyes.

    For the next ten minutes, we simply relax in the Dwarven equivalent of cleansing hot springs. We don’t have to do much, the water does it for us and we can feel its effects. The circulation is great too and no dirt or dust gathers anywhere, disappearing into the carved grids at the bottom.

    As we enjoy our closeness, the Nymphs play around, giggling and squealing as they splash themselves or become a bit more physically involved in washing each other. Naturally, they make sure to stay in our line of sight whenever they take care of themselves and their sisters. Some bolder individuals act like they are swimming for fun and make languid turns just in front of us, stretching themselves in the best way to showcase their smooth slits and firm peaks.

    Soon, Ianthe walks up to us with a sensual step, taking a seat by my side and resting her shoulder against mine as I lovingly run my fingers through Sirgia’s hair, listening to her blissful humming.

    “You have truly impeccable self-control,” she comments, tracing her sharp nails over my arm. “Any other male we’ve met before would have jumped on one of the girls and mounted her a long time ago.”

    Snorting under my nose, I look down at the laid-back girl comfortably using my chest as a backrest. Ianthe tilts her head curiously at my response, and I raise a brow at her. She leans a bit more forward to get a better look at my Dwarf mate and cocks her head back with understanding as her eyes drift lower, a healthy flush darkening her skin with the sight of only a small part of something that should be fully there in our current arrangement.

    Let’s just say that Sirgia really enjoys having me close.

    “Thank you for the compliment but I have my hands full with this one.” I wink at the lead Nymph. “But, my mouth is free if you would like to continue our chat.”

    Her gaze skips lower from my eyes as she considers what else those lips could do instead, but only smiles enchantingly, choosing not to comment. “I would love to.”

    “Then, in short words, some time ago, I started a brothel in the Human capital, meaning it to be a cover for a shelter offered to lost and abused races. Some of them were willing to help us slowly mend the hostile mentality by getting employed under my watch and thus interacting with Humans on a daily basis. We’ve grown extremely popular so the list of patrons is quite massive now and keeps growing,” I begin, reflecting on our progress. “If you wish for a change of scenery, I can offer your tribe shelter too, regardless if you would like to partake in any parts of the mansion’s life. But, for those who enjoy a healthy meal of male or female essence, I think it’s a fairly amazing place to live in. As long as no one ends up hurt from it. There are rules for both sides that need to be followed or we’ll be angry.”

    “And Humans truly agree to that, coming to lay with a monster without any struggle or violence?” Ianthe asks while thinking over my explanation.

    “There are men who are crazy about exotic beauties like you.” I laugh softly. “They will let you tie them up and have a way with them while you act like you are going to eat them alive and even pay fat cash for it.”

    She blinks at me with shock.

    “Some just wish to interact with the girls, talk about nothing, have a decent drink while at it, and then spend a pleasant time behind closed doors,” I continue. “But, it’s you who sets the boundaries of what’s okay and what’s not. They know that the moment our employee gets uncomfortable, she has full rights to see their head go flying. Because there, you aren’t monsters, you are people. Our people. Even a bit fancier than some bland Humans.”

    Ianthe silently examines my face and I give her time to process things and judge if I’m being honest, still spoiling my little princess as we speak, who is beginning to sneakily move a bit more than before, acting like she’s sleeping with her head on my shoulder. But, you can’t hide the deeper breaths you take with your cute nose, silly.

    “Then, you would take us all away?” the Den Mother asks finally.

    “That depends.” I turn my face to her. “If there would be any who wished to stay, that would be great too. Even if not permanently, we could arrange temporary rotations, with your Oreads switching from time to time, perhaps after realising that living in the other location isn’t exactly for them or to take a quick break. You see, we are going to reopen these routes soon and utilise the priceless technology and knowledge as much as we can. Having your ladies assist us would be perfect. You already know this place inside out, don’t you?”

    “And why do you plan to do that?” She wraps herself around my arm, resting her chin on my other shoulder and looking into my eyes even as my fingers end up rather close to her secrets.

    “Various reasons. Some more selfish, some more selfless.” I caress her belly gently. “I also established a mercenary company made of other races. These routes would let us take requests from further away. At the same time, Umbra, the evil sister of Lumina, is slowly poisoning the world with her Abyssals. As one of her Chosen Heroes and the appointed Demigod of Lust, I feel like it’s my responsibility to at least partially help everyone prepare for the worst, meaning an all-out war for survival. The safety of my people is the most important to me, but if I can do something while taking care of them, why shouldn’t I?”

    Ianthe shivers lightly, embracing my arm closer. “So that part about being a Demigod really wasn't a figure of speech, huh? And you are saying you are even a Summoned Hero?”

    To prove my point, I make my sigil appear and she examines it delicately.

    Before she can say anything about it, a voice echoes in our heads. ~He is.~

    She jumps in her seat, eyes going completely wide. Everything turns silent in a flash, the other Nymphs freezing in place, their heads directed at us.

    ~Alastair is not just my Chosen, a fellow Demigod watching over the world by my side, but also one of the strongest Primordials,~ Lumina announces with a soft tone.

    Ianthe gapes at me, the reverent expression from back in the coffin slowly returning to her face. “Was that…?”

    “You heard her?” I ask. “All of you?”

    “I did.” She nods tensely. “They did too, but not directly. My sisters felt the message through the link that connects our den. The divinity in it was obvious. And now I can’t help but notice its similarity to your aura, Master.”

    A few girls away from us gasp and I frown at her. “Why did they react that way?”

    Ianthe smiles shyly. “A Den Mother is the highest position with the most influence, power, and authority in the Oread community… Until she appoints a Den Master, relinquishing all of that to the male she finds worthy serving…”

    “So, you just offloaded all your responsibilities as a leader onto me?” I squint at her.

    She bites into her lower lip. “If you are willing to bond us…”

    Sighing heavily, I use my free hand to swipe down my face. Something tugs on my wrist and I reopen my eyes, finding my lovely mate twisting her body so she can face me properly without getting up. Sirgia places both of her palms on my cheeks and steals a slow kiss from me, resting our foreheads together.

    “There’s no need to overthink it, is there, Master?” she whispers tenderly. “It’s what we wanted and more.”

    “You are right.” Stealing a peck from her back, I sigh once more. “But don’t think I haven’t noticed what you are doing.”

    Sirgia ducks her head as she turns fully crimson and stops sluggishly gyrating her hips. Chuckling to myself, I place a cordial kiss on her forehead and return her to her previous position. As my digits wander down her soft belly, causing her to inhale audibly, I look to the side at Ianthe.

    “This is your way of bypassing the oath, isn’t it?” I ask, making sure to convey curiosity and not offence.

    “Partially,” she admits honestly. “It’s true that a Den Master could revoke or reiterate the promise the Den Mother made. But, I also feel like there is no better male to devote ourselves to. It’s extremely rare for a den or grove to find a master. More like a thing of legend, from when… Primordials walked Naharren. I want for our sisters to grow again, not to be forced into slumber in this forsaken ruin. I will gladly dedicate our community to a worthy leader even if it comes with a risk of myself being reduced to the position of a newborn sister.”

    The water in the pool sloshes loudly as all the girls rush to us while talking over each other about how she doesn’t have to, and how they are happy to just have her with them as a leader, and so on. But, Ianthe silences them with a hand and keeps gazing deep into my eyes.

    “Does that have to happen?” I stroke my chin thoughtfully.

    The smart Den Mother easily catches my meaning. “You wouldn’t want absolute authority?”

    “No,” I answer. “You said that the Den Master is above the Den Mother, so it’s possible for her to stay where she is, isn’t it? That will be my condition. You continue to lead while I support you with whatever I can. I haven’t the slightest idea about how a den works so it would be stupid to take over everything. You need to ask me for an opinion or permission? Sure. Throw all the complex planning and managing solely onto me? No, thanks. That fine?”

    She practically lights up on my arm. “Yes! Like nothing in this world!”

    Smirking, I pat her head, fluffing her dark hair. “Great. Any rituals necessary for things to proceed?”

    Ianthe shakes her head with gusto. “No, you’ve already spilled in me plenty of times, in all the necessary and unnecessary places. There’s just one last thing.”

    Caressing my cheek with her fingers, she watches my expression for clear permission, and after I give it with a light nod, she pulls me into a deep kiss, delving deep between my lips. For a moment, I think she intends to exchange lots of saliva as our tongues dance together, but shortly after starting, hers pulls away and comes back with something round. A marble-like entity is pushed around by our exchange, tasting like an earthy mint.

    It becomes clear what I have to do and I accept the gift from Ianthe, swallowing the tiny, rough-surfaced orb with no problems. Immediately, I can feel her happy smile on my lips as her fingers trail into my hair to strike through it affectionately and gratefully. We continue to kiss as whatever she’s fed me makes its way into my stomach, where it melts or something, releasing a lot of pleasant heat that permeates my whole body.

    Sirgia lets out a shuddering breath with a stifled moan as I tremble, all my limbs getting strongly revitalised and kind of reinforced, including the one she’s hiding from the world. Then, a serene calm washes over me and everything sets into place. There’s a connection I can sense between me and Ianthe, and through her, with the ladies. Though, perhaps thanks to what we have already done, I can also tell she’s in as my proper Partner too.

    She is the first one to back away, watching me intently for my reaction. Smirking warmly, I chase after her for one last peck before letting her settle down by my side once more, not wanting to inconvenience Sirgia any longer. I know she wouldn’t say a word, but being squeezed between an Oread’s handful of tits and my chest for a prolonged period of time can’t be that enjoyable.

    “There’s something different about this…” The Den Mother ponders out loud. “It might be my first time, but I feel like it’s not exactly the same as it naturally happens after an Oread presents the core of her being to a male…”

    Having her and others’ attention on the topic instead of my physique, I use that moment to briefly summarise the details of my abilities, race, and status. They listen carefully, perhaps trying their best to impress their new leader or prove themselves in my eyes. There are only a few questions from Ianthe and a few mature-looking women so we wrap it up fairly soon.

    Afterwards, we decide to stop idling and get some exploring done. With the girls with us, we should have no issues going straight to the important places and checking if we can find anything of value or importance. However, at the mention of leaving the baths just like this, the ladies look a little down. Ianthe, when asked about the reason, explains that normally, accepting a Den Master is part of a grand ceremony and they were hoping that they would get to welcome me to the family.

    It’s obvious what that means so I simply surrender and let her know that I would be happy to receive their greetings.

    But, before that happens, I make sure that my sneaky wife doesn’t feel neglected or jealous and finally act on Sirgia’s quiet schemes. She becomes unable to remain so quiet as I get to be the one moving instead, with a lot more energy and speed, while she can only accept my love beneath me at the edge of the pool with a beautiful smile, peppering my face with little kisses as the Nymphs coo and giggle at her from up close. Their questing hands are all over us.

    When Sirgia gets what she deserves, in all the meanings of that phrase, she plops back into the water to relax with Ianthe while the Oreads drag me to the centre of the bath. What follows is a tangle of limbs and bodies so joyful and chaotic that I quickly lose count and sight of who is who and what part is whose. The plethora of perky breasts, bouncy butts, toned figures, and welcoming openings becomes a blur.

    We spend about an hour in and around the water, making use of all the available furniture and appliances. I can’t very well rush this, every lovely lady needs to have her perfect moment to share her greetings, respects, and affection. It would be rude if someone got much more time than the others, even if the girls appear to move as one, rarely separated for the briefest moments. There’s always someone next to the Nymph I’m embracing, either holding her hand or reaching for some other equally lewd area.

    The whole ceremony forces us to take one more bath, obviously, and they help me out by scrubbing my entire body clean. Even Sirgia and Ianthe join for the last straight. I return the favour as much as I can and we are all ready to tackle whatever is ahead of us.

    This time, I jump back into my clothes, evoking a chorus of whimpers in protest. But, my Den Mother rebukes her sisters and even requests them to cover themselves. It works, and everyone grows artsy protrusions from their frames that hide their privates, but honestly, it only makes them look even more sexy as they fully turn into stone statues with the lack of nipples and visible feminine mounds.

    “What are your plans now, Den Master?” Ianthe asks after I finish inspecting one of her girls, fascinated by the layer of stone protecting her privates and how their bodies are suddenly hard as a rock.

    “Our original goal is to reach the Dwarves, where Master kindly offered to bring me home so that I can let my family know that I’m alive,” Sirgia answers in my stead. “And to show them that I’ve become a worthy successor of the clan so that we can either gain its support or take control of it and use its influence and resources to support Master.”

    “We decided to come through here in hopes of finding something that might help us prove Sirgia’s greatness,” I add. “Then, we thought of employing their help to make this place thrive once more. We’ll need more hands on the deck if we want to operate this place. Hands that can be trusted.”

    “I see.” Ianthe nods sagely. “Then, do you wish us to remain here until you recruit those subordinates, Master?”

    I scratch my head. “That certainly could work, but…”

    “But?” She tilts hers, and so do the others, blinking at me curiously.

    “I feel like you deserve to go out into the world, if not for a little bit at least,” I reply. “Is there any way for this to happen?”

    “Walking with such a big group will gather a lot of attention around you, Master,” one of the girls says and I offer her an appreciative smile for speaking up.

    “Not if they won’t have to walk,” Sirgia interjects and we all glance down at the clever Dwarf. “The portable mansion, Master?”

    I slap my forehead. “Right! But will they feel the effects of the journey? We’ve only used it on flat ground, never on the move.”

    “Only actual impacts that touch the suitcase.” She shakes her head. “Those will cause the insides to shake a little too. Otherwise, they won’t feel a thing.”

    “Then that’s a great suggestion.” I nod to myself. “They will also be able to take a look at our real home, minus all the services and the rush around them. That is if Ianthe and the ladies don’t mind being put inside a limited space of a decently sizable mansion.”

    The beauties in question stare at us confusedly so Sirgia brings the prop we are talking about forward and opens the suitcase up. After some gentle coaxing, the leader descends with her into the sealed realm and we can hear gasps of amazement as they investigate the lobby. Soon after, Ianthe is back with her white eyes shining even brighter as she gushes about the fancy appearance of our mobile home to her subordinates.

    Well, that answers my question, I guess.

    “Okay, that settles it.” I bring them back from their excited daydreaming. “For how long can one furnace burn after we stuff it with fuel to the brim?”

    “After we reactivate the transporting belts, we should be able to prepare enough crystals in advance for it to provide energy for about… a month?” a different lady answers, tapping her cheek. “The belts unfortunately can’t resupply themselves and we can only spread as many gems over their length as we can, tweaking their speed to deliver the fuel at the slowest stable rate that wouldn’t have the fire die down.”

    “That should be enough.” Sirgia hums quietly. “Even if we return here late, nothing wrong will happen with the power running out again, right?”

    “Technically, it shouldn’t, but the one furnace we will be using might get damaged without anyone to stop it properly, assuming the worst-case scenario,” Ianthe responds.

    “I’m sure this little genius would be able to repair or completely recreate it given a few weeks of time.” I snicker, ruffling Sirgia’s hair as she blushes cutely. “As I mentioned, I would like all of you to get some fresh air so let’s give it a try. I want to have this place running so that all the systems slowly get back to an operable state like the water filtering and the baths, as long as they are equipped with such function, of course.”

    “A good idea,” Sirgia agrees. “And more defensive mechanisms should become active once more with the energy flowing through these hallways.”

    “It’s decided, then.” I clasp my hands together and the girls exchange eager smiles, definitely looking forward to stepping out of this dark bunker. “Now, can you girls show us around?”

    “Naturally.” Ianthe flashes us a brilliant smile, which falters a tiny bit after. “Just, I’m not sure if there will be much that catches your attention. The Dwarves moved most of their stuff out before sealing the gates with the last group of caretakers who refused to leave.”

    Still, it’s good to get a feel of the place so we take off into the now bright tunnels. One of the ladies brings us a few maps from one of the further sections and Ianthe explains the layout to us as we walk around. As we thought, the main lane goes rather straight through the mountains, crossing a town-like area where wanderers could stop and trade with the protectors or amongst themselves, while most of the facilities are kept on the sidelines.

    Besides the water filtering unit and power generation hall, we pay a visit to the breeding pens, where we find lots of ancient equipment and long spoiled supplies. It’s clear this is where the Wyverns came from, and perhaps sometime in the future, we will bring them back, but for now, we let this facility rest, taking a brief look at the stored knowledge.

    Our sightseeing takes us through the warehouse section, kitchen section, dining section, residential quarters, and the trade town, but as Ianthe said, most of the things from these places have been taken away, leaving only items of low worth behind to rot and rust. The only places that seem to have been spared are the gem storage, the strategic headquarters, and the vault.

    The Nymphs kindly teach us how to access the last one and we do find quite some riches inside. Most of them are valuables and gold or platinum, but there are also lots of mementoes and little trinkets. Since we are not pressed for cash, we decided to leave the majority of it alone, taking only some undisputed currency and precious metals. We don’t find anything super important inside.

    As for the headquarters, this is where the Oreads respectfully stored the personal belongings of the last defenders of this place after the final one passed away in their arms, leaving this world in their kind, warm embrace.

    Such a poetic way to go out. You spend your life in service to your people, abandoned by them at one point, deciding to keep protecting their secrets, and release your last breath in the arms of a beautiful woman who whispers reassuring words into your ear as your energy slowly saps away.

    We pay our respects to the deceased and carefully move around to look for anything useful. There are plenty of reports, documents, messages, and lists, but it’s mostly connected to the inner workings of this mountain stronghold. A decent proof that we’ve managed to get in, but I don’t think it’s that hard to dismiss either.

    We take a peek into the main overseer’s office and spend some time admiring the charming room with lots of glass displays and cabinets. Ianthe points us to a hidden safe underneath the massive marble desk and I employ my impressive strength to move the furniture aside, receiving adorable ooh’s and ahh’s from the gorgeous Nymphs.

    Inside, we find the man’s diary, a stack of old cigars, a smoking pipe, a bottle of what might be a rather strong dwarven liquor, and a rectangular case the size of one’s palm. I open it to check its contents while Sirgia reads the pages. It hides something akin to a royal seal but obviously meant to symbolise the authority of this place. The hexagonal plate depicts one of the scenes we’ve seen at the main gate, the group of Dwarves heading into a tunnel with torches.

    My lovely mate gasps suddenly and my gaze snaps to her hands. She looks up from the text while poking at something.

    “Look, Master. The last overseer was a Forgergraver. I had no idea our family helped manage these passageways,” she says with a shocked tone.

    “Ah, I forgot to mention that after you introduced yourself,” Ianthe joins in, glancing at Sirgia. “From what I know, each major clan was tasked with protecting and maintaining one of these locations.”

    “I wonder why we haven’t heard anything about that,” my wife wonders out loud.

    “I have a theory.” I place a hand on her small shoulder. “I mean no offence to your whole family, but… With what I know from you about the branches and the roots and their relationship… I wouldn’t find it impossible for the family to have ordered a complete retreat from this place only for this person and his close subordinates to go against it, deciding to stay behind and fulfil their duty… I wouldn’t put it past the leaders of the lineage to renounce his whole existence and bury the shame under the rug…”

    She stares back at me for quite a while before sighing deeply and nodding. “Yeah… They would be capable of that…”

    Kneeling in front of her, I pull my lover into an affectionate hug. “That’s why we are coming there to teach them a lesson, aren’t we?”

    Sirgia lets out a giggle while wiping her eyes. “You are right, Master. And I don’t think they will be able to deny everything with that in front of their faces.”

    She takes the plate from me and turns it around. Skilfully tracing some kind of arcane symbol over its back, she brings a complex inscription to life. It’s not hard to understand that it’s something akin to the magical ID of the person who has issued these. And if every family was tasked with the management of these tunnels, that order must have come from much higher...

    With this, we might be able to bring the Ruler of the Dwarves to our side.
     
  6. Saileri

    Saileri Well-Known Member

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    Chapter 220 – Prepare for Trouble, and Make it Double
    Sirgia pockets the token and pats it daintily like something precious. It might not be worth much on the market, but it’s pretty much invaluable for us especially when we have no idea if we will be able to achieve anything with its help after so many decades have passed since its creation. It’s honestly a gamble, but a gamble we are going to take and hope for the best confidently.

    Afterwards, we spend some more time digging through everything we can find inside the main office. Sirigia stashes all the evidence into her spatial storages shortly after we take a quick peek at the materials and items. The more the better in this case. She might be able to recognize some words or symbols or meanings of a bunch of things thanks to her origins, but we are still fairly out of the loop regarding ancient matters.

    Meanwhile, Ianthe simply watches us complete this chore and gives us all the tips she can. It’s certainly helpful to have someone who has lived in this place for a long time by your side. She might not have been privy to all the information, but they haven’t stopped her and the ladies from watching everything inside these reinforced walls attentively.

    And with the obvious capabilities of the Oread girls, the walls in this place literally have ears.

    It takes us maybe about an hour to shuffle through most of the potential evidence we can find here. By the end of it, the room becomes rather empty, only the furniture and sporadic decorations remain here and there. It’s almost like we have readied it for renovations. Well, perhaps these will happen sooner than later if we breathe some life into this dead fortress once more. I can’t have my trusted and reliable subordinates operate from a barely breathable cellar with how much dust is lying everywhere.

    With this task completed, we regroup in front of the office.

    “Anything else, Master?” Ianthe asks as we close the doors behind ourselves.

    “Honestly, I don’t know. Is there something of importance that you haven’t shown us yet?” I ask her back, stroking my chin ponderingly.

    “Of major importance, no. This facility is full of chambers and rooms of various sizes that serve different purposes. But, I don’t think you must visit all of them.” She shakes her head. “In my honest opinion, there isn’t a reason to delay your journey any longer, Master. The heart of the mountain is beating once more. As we have discussed, it will continue doing so for a relatively long time without our further input. Not infinitely, though. It would be good to find someone to settle down here whenever possible.”

    “I’m sure we will be able to do something about this after we arrive at my home.” Sirgia nods to herself. “These tunnels and settlements could be of great use to us and our allies so this should take priority. Master’s influence will spread much further and much faster with a path into the world beyond the Human lands.”

    Rolling my eyes lightly, I softly bonk her on the head from above. “The priority is your reconciliation with the Forgegraver family. Or anything else that relates to you, love. First, we deal with all of that, then we can put some thought into the other matters. You won’t weasel your way out of it this time. This journey is for you. Remember that.”

    She blushes a tiny bit and sends me a timid smile. Seeing the look on her face, I lower myself to place a sweet kiss on the top of her hair. As I get back up, she doesn’t protest about the condition I have set. I don’t think she would be willing to argue over it, but I’m also not stupid enough to believe that she won’t try her best to somehow merge all the threads so that they form the most beneficial mix for me.

    Not much I can do about that, unfortunately.

    Or fortunately, depending on the perspective.

    “There’s just one thing that saddens me a little, though,” Sirgia adds after a moment, letting out a gentle sigh.

    “Is there anything that displeases or bothers you?” Ianthe peers at her attentively. “Just say a word and we will do whatever we can to rectify that issue.”

    “Oh, no, it’s not your fault or anything.” My petite lover giggles sheepishly. “We were just hoping to find more of Diana’s kin inside the mountain passages since she lost her family some time ago. But, this particular route has been sealed so tight they wouldn’t have had a way to sneak inside and claim a territory. Perhaps we will take a peek into a few cave formations on the other side of the mountain range.”

    “I see.” The Den Mother hums. “Then there’s one more place we might want to check.”

    The fair lady examines our furry friend inquisitively, clearly figuring something out.

    “Care to tell us more?” I raise a curious brow at her.

    “The mines,” she replies. “Where the crystals come from. The shafts run deep and wide, passing through many biomes. Different habitats produce gems of various power levels. A few of the environments should be adequate for her kind to manifest. I don’t remember seeing any, but I have a feeling that they do exist in one of those ecosystems. Although…”

    “It would definitely take a while to explore all of them,” I finish for her. “Thanks for the information. We can always delve in on our way back. It’s not like they are going to suddenly disappear if they truly live somewhere down there. The mines will need to be scouted and checked before this place goes full steam ahead anyway.”

    As I share my views on the topic with my gorgeous companions, the fluffy snout of our proud wolf prods my side. Looking at Diana, I meet her enchanting eyes. A flash of understanding passes between us as we silently regard each other.

    “You want us to leave that to you?” I say more to myself than everyone else as the meaning of her intentions somehow reaches me.

    Diana gives my hand a delicate lick, which I easily recognize as an agreement.

    “I mean, I wouldn’t mind, and I would certainly be happy to let you chase after some friends, but…” I turn to Sirgia.

    “It’s okay, Master. We can walk for a little bit. The jungle is going to be extremely lush and tough to navigate anyway.” My smart wife picks up on my own intentions right away too.

    “What about the luggage?” I question her. “Most can be stored in our rings, yeah, but the suitcase? That won’t work, right?”

    “I can carry it on my back. There’s a harness I prepared just for that scenario,” she admits.

    “Because of course, you did.” I snicker softly. “And no, I’ll be the one carrying it. You are my guide. And a frontline fighter too. Leave its protection to me.”

    “Okay.” Sirgia smiles at me adorably. “But I’ll take it from you whenever you get tired, Master.”

    “I won’t.” I snort. “Unless someone makes me tired along the way.”

    Her pretty cheeks colour with a rosy tinge as she timidly looks away, not denying the plans for that in the near future. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    “Alright. Let’s get to those mines. I can feel how eager Diana is to dive into the unknown.” I chuckle to myself and Ianthe uses her ability to move us once more.

    We spend a short moment surrounded by liquid stone and soon reappear in a spacious industrial hall with a massive ramp descending into the darkness. Multiple tracks follow it down and we can spot the carts meant to haul the crystals all around. They don’t appear to be simple like in the movies or books. From what I can tell, they too are part-artefact and might even be self-propelled. Or at least enchanted to support the haulers’ work.

    But, investigating these can wait.

    As Diana joins us from the shadows, I ruffle through her magnificent fur. “Go and get them, girl. Don’t rush it. Take as much time as you need. And don’t forget to ask for help if you ever need it. If things go south, escape. We can always try another time, but we can’t find another you, got it?”

    “Yes, please, be careful out there,” Sirgia joins in with a tender hug, her small arms trying their best to wrap themselves around Diana’s thick neck. “We love you. Come back to us.”

    Diana releases a quiet whine which has to be a kind reassurance and we let go of our recently gained friend. She takes a few steps away and turns around for one last look. A second later, she is sprinting into the darkness, disappearing from our sight.

    “She’ll be fine.” I wrap an arm around Sirgia’s shoulders. “She’s a big and strong girl. Plus, I bet she’s learned quite a few new tricks under your tutelage, even if she won’t have the saddle with her.”

    “I know.” My tiny Dwarf wipes away traces of tears from her sparkling eyes. “I’m sorry I didn’t come up with a replacement method of transport, Master.”

    “Not your fault.” I shake my head. “Besides, it will be nice to have a romantic walk through the tropical forest together.”

    “Perhaps, but why don’t you just do this, Master?” Ianthe tilts her head at us.

    We glance her way and she makes a show of lowering her stance a bit before pushing herself off the ground.

    No, that’s wrong.

    She doesn’t push herself off the ground. She pushes the ground.

    We watch as the ancient Oread pretty much surfs atop of rolling stone which should not be behaving like this with its solid state. The dazzling woman zooms around like it’s her second nature, which might be true for her. Finished with the presentation, she hops off the rocky bulge in front of us.

    “Impressive, but I’m not that skilled and knowledgeable in Earth Magic. Unless I borrow it from one of my mates, I guess,” I explain. “This might be tempting, but I think I would prefer to save the uses of that ability for more critical situations.”

    “You misunderstood, Master.” Ianthe giggles amusedly. “You are now our Den Master. Our power is yours as it comes from you. All we can do, you can mimic too.”

    My eyes widen at her revelation. Sirgia looks just as surprised.

    “Really? Even the…” I gesture towards the ground with my fingers.

    “Naturally.” She grins. “Just give it a try. It’s okay if you get stuck. Everyone finds it awkward during their first time. I’ll be there to guide you and come to your rescue if necessary.”

    We don’t miss the unnecessary double meaning of her words but I pointedly ignore it, already focusing on the much more interesting thing. Taking a deep breath, I crack my knuckles and prep myself mentally for the jump. I might have seen and experienced this a bunch of times by now, but it doesn’t make this any less stressful when attempted on my own.

    Nonetheless, I ain’t going to chicken out and search myself for the abilities Ianthe mentioned I should have. This part comes fairly easy as I simply defer to the bond I share with her and the Oreads. Through it, I realise she is correct. My brain hasn’t registered it yet since it’s not something I would have expected, but the power is right there, waiting to be accessed.

    So, I do just that.

    In a blink, I drop into the floor like a stone into a pond. A brief moment of panic fills my heart as rock surrounds me from all sides, but I regather myself just as quickly. This isn’t that different from Diana’s transfer, save for all the visual cues. I can feel myself moving around and gaining a better understanding of the process. After a few seconds, I pop back up in a different spot, spooking Sirgia slightly, and making her jump into the air from shock.

    Smiling apologetically, I pat her head and glance at Ianthe. “That’s so cool. And useful. Thank you. I had no idea that Oreads were so unique.”

    “That’s because we aren’t.” She smiles back beautifully. “All Nymphs share this trait.”

    Sirgia looks up at me with a visible spark in her brown eyes.

    “Oh, no, no, no. I know that look.” I squint at her. “We are not seeking all the types of Nymphs just so I can bone their leaders and become some kind of an Avatar ripoff.”

    She shows a cute pout but I don’t relent, glaring at her without much intensity.

    “An Avatar?” Ianthe tilts her head.

    “Just random ramblings. Pay it no mind.” I wave her off. “If we meet any of them and they decide we are worthy of such a deal, sure, but we aren’t getting side-tracked again. Priorities, remember?”

    “Yes, Master.” Sirgia nods obediently. “If chance allows it now, by choice later.”

    I groan quietly at her twisting it around so that I end up doing it anyway. Sometimes she really is too smart for her own good. The curse of being surrounded by geniuses and generally smarter people than you.

    Yet, I would not change a thing.

    “Come on. We have an exit to find.” I surrender myself to my fate.

    Picking up the suitcase, I open it so that we can show the ladies the mansion and let them into their fancy carriage. Ianthe follows the two of us down the narrow stairs and gapes at the sheer size and splendour of the main reception. We give her a quick tour to explain what is where and what it does before she herds her girls in too, making the lobby a very lively place.

    I don’t think I have to worry about them not enjoying the ride.

    With everyone settled down properly, we bid a temporary farewell to this new group of our followers and step outside. Locking the magical box properly, I fix its straps and hoist it onto my shoulders. Extending my hand to my petite lover, I invite Sirgia to join me. With the suitcase firmly attached to my back, I bring her to my side and reach for a different technique. The stone under our feet rumbles a little, making us unsteady for a moment, then stabilises into a small bump. Holding Sirgia dearly, I order it to move.

    We roll forward without moving a muscle, the minerals below us doing all the work repositioning us. This must look ridiculous from another perspective, two people standing still atop a tiny hill sliding through the air like statues. But, I have to admit, that also sounds epic. And dignified.

    I practise my control over the speed and accuracy of the movement as we roll through the main road of the whole mountain passage. We aren’t going too fast so it’s still possible to study our surroundings and note the general structure of the place. We’ll have to pay more attention to it in the future.

    Reaching the other end of the path takes us about four hours, during which we switch things up a little bit. It turns out that I don’t have to be standing for this to work so we plop ourselves down onto the rolling stone and ride it like a certain quirky flying carpet, cross-legged and one behind another.

    The possibilities are endless.

    And judging by the glances Sirgia is sneaking at me, I think I have an inkling of an idea what one of them might be.

    But, not yet.

    We would get nowhere getting distracted at every single step.

    Therefore, we find ourselves in front of another massive sealed gate. I look it over in an attempt to deduce how to open it from the inside, wondering if we have to solve another puzzle, while Sirgia just takes out the token and raises it in front of the entrance. The magical mark glows strongly and something glows back on the surface of the gate. Right after, the wings begin to open with a loud scraping.

    What greets us is a wall of green.

    It’s obvious that this side of the passage is not as popular of a tourist spot as on the side of Humans. I have to bring out my artefact blade to cut through thick, veiny vines. Immediately after, a wave of heat hits us right in the face. A humid atmosphere rushes into the stale tunnel alongside lots of noise. Critters, animals, beasts, and flora all combined together. A real jungle theme.

    We walk outside and look around, which proves to be difficult. I have had my expectations set high since I’m now in a fantasy world of sorts, but they have still been exceeded many times over. The size of everything is barely conceivable, and I’m no stranger to plenty of prehistoric movies or such. The foliage is titanic, making me wonder if the fauna is just as massive.

    Additionally, just as Sirgia said earlier, the tropical forest is lush as hell. I’ll need to cut through a shitload of things no matter if we choose to walk ahead or surf atop an earthen mound. Unless we somehow gain the ability to fly above the crowns of these humongous trees, we are destined to slice our way through the more hardcore version of an Amazonian jungle.

    And the colours. Man, the colours. Everything is so bright and mesmerising. Most of the leaves and greenery are various shades of green, but the entire area is riddled with noticeable splashes of a rainbow. It’s not just exotic, it’s pretty much alien. I feel rather small and inadequate in front of such a wonder. I can only imagine how the Dwarves managing this passage and their guests felt.

    The gate closes itself after we move away from it, revealing the same riddle on its surface now that I removed the obstruction. Thankfully, with the sigil or whatever it is, we have the key. It would be great if it worked for other ones too, but I assume it’s linked with this place’s defences. We’ll see in the future perhaps.

    “Now what?” I look around the thick and hot jungle.

    “Now we continue, Master.” Sirgia takes my hand. “I know the general direction. We won’t find things like roads here for the most part so we will need to rely on this.”

    She summons what looks like a fancy compass. I can tell that it’s another of her improved creations. Judging by the glowing symbols which almost mimic the surface of a screen, it uses mana instead of magnetic forces to point the cardinal directions. It snaps into the correct position right away and my lovely Dwarf wife turns us towards our destination.

    Holding onto her hand with my left, I shape my blade into something akin to a machete. It slices through the foliage with relative ease. Our pace is going to slow down a tad, but with the help of the sharp violet edge, we should be able to make some decent progress. This jungle does not run outwards infinitely.

    As we make our way through the greenery, I take my time to rain some questions on Sirgia related to this area. She doesn’t have much experience with it, travelling over the water, but she knows facts and stories about this pure wilderness. Supposedly, there should be ruins of a lost civilization half-hidden by nature located somewhere in the middle of it. And one or two active settlements of tough communities surviving in this harsh and competitive environment.

    Her descriptions mention beasts and monsters too, of course. Some of them sound warily close to dinosaurs while others are fairly familiar with the usual fauna and flora of such a place. Save for one difference, the size. It’s not just the trees that are bigger than usual.

    This area rests atop a spiritual line which reinforces the earth, pretty much blessing it with an amazing bounty. It’s as inconvenient to live here as it is beneficial. Sirgia quotes the names of several most known and powerful adventurers, who unsurprisingly come from this region and a few other just as harsh habitats.

    The advantages of birth are a thing here.

    Let’s just hope we don’t run into any wild barbarian tribes. Though Garrena has thoroughly prepared me for such an encounter. In all the possible ways.

    So, we push forward while following the artefact's guidance, enjoying the new scenery greatly. The sounds and sights are hypnotising. To some extent, I bet that’s even literal. I can feel some birdsongs trying to affect me, lure me into a false feeling of safety. Thankfully, our mental defences are good enough to deal with those.

    If even birds are out to get you here, I don’t want to imagine what else might be lurking in the shadows of the tall foliage.

    After about two hours of exploration, we decide to find a spot for a camp. It’s going to start turning dark soon. The high mountain ranges surrounding this area will obstruct the sun much earlier than it usually happens everywhere else. And no matter how strong we are, it’s going to be scary as hell to stay out at night in this green hell.

    “What’s that weird stone?” I squint my eyes as we approach an unusual formation, looking half decent as a protection from the elements.

    Since it’s on our path, we check it from up close. Sirgia removes some plants from the surface with a sharp knife and grazes it with her palm. Numerous weathered symbols and carvings decorate the rock, hard to recognise.

    “Ruins…” she whispers in awe.

    “Really?” I chuckle lightly. “We’ve stumbled on the lost civilization this easily? Well, I guess they weren’t lost that way.”

    Sirgia giggles too and points at her gadget. “This compass sometimes catches on mana hotspots, which this place might as well be. It’s not that surprising it led us here. Though, I hope we haven’t gone off the course too much. I’ll need to recalibrate it in the morning.”

    “It’s alright. At least it found us a nice spot to hide in.” I ruffle through her hair lovingly. “Now, time to look for—”

    *THUMP*

    A distant quake makes the ground and the greenery tremble, interrupting me.

    More follow at a leisurely pace, clearly closing in on our position.

    Birds take off into the sky and a bunch of wild animals escape to the sides.

    The two of us centre our gazes on the direction the thudding comes from.

    A short while later, a gigantic beak peeks past the obscured structure… alongside the rest of the big, round, fluffy creature wearing white feathers.

    “The hell? It’s a massive cock?” I blink at the towering entity.

    It is, in fact, a humongous chicken, beating us in height at least three times. The godly fowl tilts its head at us as it examines the small individuals standing in front of it. We are tiny enough to fit inside its beak in entirety, swallowed within one single peck.

    “What’s next? Is your Cyclops or Ogre farmer going to show up to catch its escaped poult—”

    “Buh-kok!”

    “—aight, you are not so domesticated it seems!”

    I hastily dodge to the side as the beast tries to stab me with its sharp conical weapon. The two of us jump in opposite ways to try and confuse our sudden opponent.

    “I think we disturbed its nest, Master,” my wise mate notes.

    “And I don’t think we know the right words to explain this misunderstanding,” I reply. “Let’s book it in case he has friends or family that would want in on the snack.”

    Before she can reply, I’m already by her side, picking the petite Dwarf onto my shoulder. With a flick of my wrist, I push myself forward and a lump of earth and grass propels us away from the monstrous cock. We hear it cluck angrily behind our back and give chase.

    The entire area shakes with each of its heavy steps. Surprisingly, it’s unusually quick for something its size and diameter. Its bulky body bends trees and breaks thinner flora as it tramples everything on its path of carnage, its intentions locked solely on the hunt.

    Additionally, surfing through this maze of a jungle is proving to be a challenge, slowing us down more than I would like it to. Not much can be done about that, though. Dodging and weaving is all. The environment clearly plays favourites in this encounter. Even though it should be rather angry at the chicken ruining its peace.

    The quakes get closer and closer again no matter where I bring us. Since I can’t go any faster, our only option is to beat the cock. We should have gotten far enough from its turf. Even if any of its friends were alerted by the commotion, it should have given us enough time to deal with our current predicament before they arrived.

    But, just as I’m about to turn around and prepare for an ambush, Sirgia points to the side. “Master, look!”

    I follow her finger and spot a flash of blue between the leaves. Our thoughts aligned, I take us in its direction, and after just a few seconds, we emerge in front of a serene lake or an oasis in the middle of this tropical forest.

    Without further ado, I make a lunge off the grassy bump and land on the clear surface. Stone pillars rise from the depths right before my feet touch the water. To any possible spectators, it might look like I’m running on the water, but the two of us know better. In any case, we hastily move away from the shore far enough for the bottom of the lake to be deep enough not to be visible anymore.

    This should do it.

    Our opponent shows up a moment later. It barely stops itself before barreling straight into the sparkling water, flapping its cute but deadly wings to lose speed. Taking a few steps back, it locks its vicious eyes on us and I swear it squints in annoyance. As we have hoped, it either can’t swim very well or it doesn’t want to get wet chasing after a bug or two.

    “That’s right. Move along, friend. We’ll spare you today since we have no quarry—”

    A loud whooshing cuts me off as the villainous roster cranes its neck and breathes literal fire at us. A swirling inferno of golden flames surges at us like a powerful flamethrower. Before the heat reaches us, it crashes into an invisible wall, pushed to the sides. I can see Sirgia holding a shield-shaped medallion in her small hand, protecting us from the attack.

    And granny always said, beware of chicken!

    “Okay. It’s decided. Today’s dinner is going to be chicken nuggets!” I drop my lover onto the stone platform.

    Then, I lunge for the audacious chicken with the artefact hilt morphing itself into a greatsword.

    Sure, I could have easily dodged that breath even if Sirgia didn’t bring out the protection charm, but no one walks away unscathed after attempting to harm my beloved.

    Especially not when they have to be tasty when roasted and spiced up.

    It prepares for an attack when I get back in its range, but intent on duking our differences out with the buff chick, I evade it easily. Gravel shoots everywhere as it pecks the ground, creating a big hole just from impact. I better avoid receiving any affectionate pecks from this guy.

    With its fluffy side wide open, I swing my sword horizontally, aiming to disarm it, or in this case, diswing it. To my surprise, the blade doesn’t go as far into the feathers as I expect it to, creating just a shallow wound, which still bleeds properly as my opponent squawks in indignation. We might want to collect these, then. Sirgia could make good use of their high durability.

    But, even with that, the chicken is not really my opponent. It might know a trick or two and be tougher than most, but the moment my Voidal Bondage locks its ass up in a purple harness, it can do nothing more than glare at me viciously. Before it brings out some kind of an ace in the sleeve or spits fire at me again, I jump high and behead the beast cleanly.

    I just hope it doesn’t share Hydra’s properties and two more will grow out of the cut.

    That doesn’t happen, and while the roster thrashes around in its bindings for a few moments, it then hangs off them limply, finally catching up on its state of existence, or the lack of it. As I lower it to the ground gently, Sirgia hops from pillar to pillar and reaches the shore, trotting to my side.

    “I don’t think we’ll be able to drag it into the suitcase so I hope you can cook us something good with it outside too.” I flash my petite lover a charming grin.

    She blushes prettily and pokes a finger at the monster’s feathers. “We can always try to gamble on the spatial storages. If we put only the chicken into the ring, the chances of it coming out inside the mansion should be almost certain, excluding the chances of things going awry.”

    “Well, if you are willing to risk it.” I shrug and pat her head. “Before that, let me just clean myself off its bloo—”

    “Master!”

    I notice the hidden presence just as late as she does and something coils around my ankle, hoisting me up into the air less than a second later. Turned upside down, I dangle off what looks like a vine coiled around my leg, just at the perfect level of a magnificent pair of tender and perky breasts of a green shade, topped with pronounced emerald nipples.

    Reluctantly, my eyes drag themselves down, or up since my perspective is shifted, and spot a gorgeous face of a quite alluring girl with bright pink hair, the rest of her skin being just as green as her titties, her eyes glowing pure rosy hue too. Looking the other way and valiantly ignoring the inviting sight of her lady secrets faintly dripping some kind of crystal-clear nectar, I realise she’s standing in a pool of caramel honey while holding me above what resembles the cup of a tulip.

    Trouble.

    I’ve definitely been caught by an Alraune.

    Just then, she rotates me to face the other way, and I find another female there, standing in the same cup, an almost perfect copy of the first one, save for the colour of her hair, which is pretty blue, making it clear that she was the one to cause the motion as her cyan eyes roam over my body.

    Double trouble.

    That’s actually a Liliraune.

    Uh, oh.