IS, V3, Chapter 5: Departure

A few weeks after my recovery, the storm outside had subsided; I was able to start teaching and preparing for our departure again. Among the dark-elves, nearly all of them were proficient in at least one form of magic and many were excellent craftsmen.

Their weapons and armor were made almost entirely of pure mithril; which was also known as elven-steel. Since they couldn’t bring anything else of value with them, except what they needed to survive; they each ended up selling nearly all of their equipment to Lorelei Inc. in order to have enough money to start their new lives.

It was actually around that time when Lori changed the national currency from gold, silver, and copper coins, to a much more convenient paper format. However, I was more interested in the other applications of the newly invented printing presses.

Our one-of-a-kind spell-books were quickly turned into mass produced instruments for learning and teaching. Textbooks for every subject were rapidly fabricated; “The 21 Schools of Magic” was a collaboration between: myself, Ethir, Beatrix, Ailyn, Lorelei, Conor, Nadja, and even Gwyneth was credited for her research on anatomy… which was mostly limited to reproductive organs, and their relation to mana.

I didn’t have enough time to do everything myself; so I hired a dozen ghost writers, editors, and at even a handful of illustrators to do the tedious parts for me. The important thing was that I could pump out as many books as possible, before I had to leave.

Most of the titles were simply the school, class, and type of magic, with each volume correlating to the level of difficulty. Although there were a few which were a little different: including “Forbidden Magics: Blood and Illusion” and “Preventing Cataclysm and Catastrophe”; which explained how the simplest spells could be abused or misused.

In each of my textbooks, I credited Michael; since he was the one who actually taught me everything in them. Although, Iris insisted that I included her own name as well: so I did.

Hiwel gave birth to triplets two months after the storm; each of the little girls was absolutely adorable. It was a little strange how their skin glowed bright green… but they seemed like completely normal wood elven babies; aside from that, the obsidian hair, and dark red cat-like irises.

Conor nonchalantly told me “Well, Michael mentioned that there would be a few unexpected side-effects from my training.” and just passed it off as not a big deal. When his son was born a month after that, from Gwyneth, he changed his opinion a little bit.

The boy was eyeless, with sharp fang-like teeth; his arms and legs looked closer to octopus tentacles, and his mother nearly died several times during labor. His size was at least twice as large as a normal wood-elf baby; if I wasn’t there to heal her or if she were human, Gwyn wouldn’t have survived.

They named him Uilon because of his condition; Conor’s son was a type of merfolk. He had various fins along his back, and large gills where his ribs would have been if he had bones.

At first, they kept him in a large bathtub; but within a month, he needed a much larger space. His form was humanoid for the most part, yet changed dramatically with every movement.

I thought he was adorable, and his fluorescent blue skin was incredibly beautiful; but his parents were incredibly worried about his inability to see. However, they were relieved when Turquoise offered to help them raise him; they wouldn’t have been able to teach him how to use telepathy, or any other other skills the average merfolk would need.

After four months, we received a huge influx of new teachers, and an even larger quantity of students. Out of the fifteen thousand dark-elves, about three thousand were children; the rest were mostly adolescents, and adults who were younger than I was.

The mages were an exception though; there were at least a thousand of them, including Ariya, whom were over two-hundred years old: Each of which, were among the most powerful creation magic users I had seen before.

Unfortunately, that meant their strongest techniques were vastly inferior to even a level one elemental manipulation spell. Michael’s philosophy was “What’s the point in transforming obnoxiously large quantities of mana into matter or energy; if some asshole can just throw a rock at your face and kill you?”, but mine was a little less blunt.

Creation magic was useful in some situations: like suffocation, massive blood-loss, reproducing damaged or destroyed organs that couldn’t be regenerated, or even fabricating rare materials. Ethir actually found a relatively efficient way to transform one type of matter into another; he called it Mana-Alchemy.

However, the dark-elven mages used it to conjure water, or flammable liquids; then manipulated them afterwards. Without their mana-crystals and mithril, they couldn’t even create an ounce of anything; so they needed several months to be reeducated.

It didn’t take them very long to adapt; I hired many of them to teach various classes based on their own personal specializations. Compared to when the humans immigrated, there really weren’t too many cultural issues.

In fact, their fashion sense was actually a positive influence as far as I could tell. Jewelry and runic tattoos became quite popular among most of the population.

I was surprised when I started seeing rat, squirrel, and rabbit tribe who shaved off all of their fur; just so that they could wear certain clothes or make their markings visible. For the most part though, they were just for appearances.

As for myself, I had plenty of runic tattoos underneath my skin which were typically invisible, but if I focused my mana into them, they glowed a bright red. I also started wearing a few earrings… okay, maybe there were a lot.

Those disgusting slimy beads that Ethir collected, had turned out to be mana-crystals. How or why I was spewing out copious amounts of them for a month, he didn’t know for sure: but they were incredibly potent compared to their size.

As I had suspected though, the clear sticky liquid was just a mixture of various fluids that weren’t uncommon to that particular region. Ailyn melted down all of the mithril weapons and armor and extracted the pure metal for more widespread use.

She discovered that only a very thin wire of the material was required to give the same effect. Essentially, she could weave it into clothing, like she was already doing with black-mithril, or use a thin sheet of it to coat steel: or any other metal.

Ethir used the same technique to create elaborate and extremely beautiful, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and regular rings for me to wear. Even if I knew that the sparkly ruby gemstones came from my own body… at least they matched my eyes?

Maybe I was a little vain, but my jewelry and clothing actually did have a purpose besides looking glamorous. Whether it was my relatively modest sable hooded robe, fancy and slightly revealing obsidian dress, or ebony leather full body armor; it was all embroidered with black-mithril, to prevent my mana from leaking out uncontrollably in low density environments.

It wasn’t that much of a problem back then, but I was already starting to notice a limit on my mana-capacity. Ethir and Lorelei were having a similar problem; our auras were too powerful to be contained by normal means, even thick steel armor wouldn’t stop it from seeping through.

Black-mithril was different though, even a small thread of it, sewed into normal cloth or leather; acted like a barrier that the mana didn’t want to pass. Unless I wore a mask, gloves, boots, thigh high socks, and even some special sunglasses; it was impossible to passively contain it all.

Fortunately, with most of my body covered, the exposed areas were easily managed subconsciously. Normal mithril was neutral; it looked and acted like normal steel, but mana could pass through or be channeled through it easily.

The blood red crystals embedded into the metal not only amplified the power of spells being cast, but also had the ability to learn. It was different from runic magic, where an object was engraved with a certain glyph; it had a programmed response whenever mana was inserted into the material.

The crystals each had their own auras; allowing them to copy a spell after experiencing it enough times. Mana crystals were living creatures, not sentient or even conscious; but they were certainly alive.

I was glad that Ethir didn’t let me throw them away; they were the closest thing to children that I could create with my blood-elven body. Although, from the way he explained it, the beautiful crimson beads were closer to unfertilized eggs… similar to the way chickens laid theirs regardless of whether they could possibly hatch.

At the time I was pretty sure he was just trying to comfort me; I wasn’t the type of girl who would find some random guy to sleep with, just to find out if I could have gotten pregnant or not. Even if I was fertile, I definitely wasn’t prepared to take care of a hundred thousand babies; just thinking about it was pretty terrifying.

Obviously, I was also fairly certain that they wouldn’t be normal by any means. The only thing that I could imagine: were insects, fish, or spiders. A regular wood elf child was simply impossible for me to fathom.

One of the most interesting effects of the crystals; was their ability to enhance hearing when attached to ears. It was a little disorienting at first, but I slowly started increasing the number of piercings; until I had at least twenty of the tiny rings, all the way from my earlobes to the very tips.

They were nearly thirty centimeters long, so there was plenty of space in between each of the slightly differently-shaped, thin mithril bars, studs, and hoops. At one point I even wore eyebrow, nose and lip rings; they weren’t quite as helpful and a little uncomfortable.

Ankle bracelets and shoes, which were embedded with dozens of red gems; were extremely useful for casting spells related to flight. I only wore rings on my middle fingers, because any more than that was pretty irritating; but I did have a decent variety.

Ethir gave me a few necklaces, that were basically huge medallions, covered in hundreds of beads; but I never really liked large pendants. I preferred a simple choker; it was still covered in a ton of crystals, but it was a lot less likely to get caught on something.

In total, I usually wore about a thousand of the mana gems at a time; which was ridiculous, because each of them could increase the potency of my spells slightly. It wasn’t a percentage, but a set amount; that rose as I continued to inadvertently charge them.

Magic could only be used by a person within their own aura, but since their shape was very malleable; it was possible to extend that range by quite a lot. The trick was focusing the mana into a beam or cone; the denser it was, the easier it was to control, and the more power that was available.

What the crystals actually did, was amplify the intended effect; by supplementing their own aura into the spell. It was why mages frequently used their arms and hands while performing magic: but the center of the forehead, tongue, feet, and any other part of a person’s body could potentially work just as easily.

Overall, my possible combat abilities were increased twofold; which was very important for what I was planning to do. Not so long after the storm, tens of thousands of cat-tribe began immigrating into Alfirin from the northern border.

They were typically nomadic and didn’t stay in one place for very long; normally they weathered the hurricane in wood-elven villages. Since they were a peaceful race, they were able to cohabitate with other similar peoples.

Most of them decided to settle down in the south, on the coast of Barrier Lake; the gigantic body of water that prevented us from expanding further south. Although, out of the fifty thousand or so that became citizens, a decent amount of them actually wanted to live in Black Mithril.

Alfirin Academy received at least a thousand cat-tribe students, including a few dozen teachers for subjects that we didn’t even have before then. Wood-elves, dark-dwarves, and red-goblins each had very few instances of skin ailments; even if they did have one, it could have been easily treated with healing magic.

However, humans and their cat-like relatives were much different; they could become scarred, blemished, and wrinkled: Even their hair fell out or became grey eventually. Using nature magic was risky; since it typically shortened their already minuscule lifespans, so Ethir created the cosmetology department.

The cat-tribe already had the concepts of styling hair, rejuvenating skin using various herbal concoctions, treating a myriad of conditions with special soaps, and even rubbing certain materials on their lips and faces to make them more appealing. Although, their men were generally more interested in fishing or… mating; so most of the ones who came to Alfirin Academy were female.

As a result of their influence, it became popular to style hair and fur in various ways. Many of the naturally bald red-goblins began to either wear wigs, or find a competent nature mage to give them the ability to grow it themselves.

That led to many people dying their hair a myriad of colors, or even using magic to alter their natural pigment. Ethir actually started the whole trend when he started testing the spell on some sheep; trying to see if he could get them to grow black-mithril infused wool.

He fed them grass that had absorbed the powdered metal as nutrients, and the result was… interesting. Rather than hair, they started growing black scales all over their normally woolly bodies.

Although, he did manage to achieve his goal through a plant called cotton; which was among the crops which were being cultivated on the many farms that were spread out in every direction from the upper city. Somehow, he managed to use his results from those experiments to figure out a safe method to allow red-goblins to grow hair, and even choose a specific color in the process.

I may have incited his interest in the subject by mentioning that he would look cute with black hair. Obviously, I didn’t expect him to actually go through all that trouble just to impress me.

Even though I did go through a phase when I kept making him dye and cut my hair into different styles; I eventually settled on my naturally white and shoulder length style, that I had used for years. Once his actually started growing, he started keeping it pretty short, Ethir probably didn’t realize how irritating hair could be.

A few months after Hiwel and Gwyneth gave birth, and once they were back to their normal waist sizes; they had started a competition. The subject was body piercings; which started a trend that I was definitely not a part of.

Mana-crystal piercings had the ability to amplify a person’s senses, if they were in close proximity to that particular organ; so their special brand of magic was also included in that. Any and all erogenous zones could be significantly enhanced by placing a tiny ring in the right place.

Hiwel told me “This is a serious duel Rae… I may not survive… but I will definitely drag that bitch down to hell with me! However, if I do manage to overcome this challenge… I shall finally experience the ultimate orgasm!” in a disturbingly serious tone.

My body was always sensitive enough on its own; I didn’t even want to imagine what it would have felt like to add onto that. I had also been sexually abstinent for my entire blood-elf life until that point; not that I ever had the chance to experience it that many times before then.

Ethir and I stepped down from our positions, so that we could prepare ourselves for our eventual departure. We had to choose our replacements, ourselves; since no one else had the authority to do it for us.

In order to become the new principal of Alfirin Academy, my best student Lachel, had to give up her position. Her sister Gerthedil, was officially elected as the new matriarch of the red-goblin district.

Ethir chose Ariya to take his place as vice-principal, since two of them had seemed to work very well together. She was also his disciple when it came to runic magic, so it wasn’t very surprising when he picked her.

With that finally done, we were free of our obligations to stay in Black Mithril; even our homes were passed down. All that was left, was to wait for a sign; some sort of excuse for us to leave the city and begin our hunt.

Six months after the storm passed; on Michael and Lorelei’s ninth birthday, there was a huge festival throughout Black Mithril. I was far too busy to see it, but I heard from Ethir that his soccer team managed to beat Nadja’s; I may have given him a congratulatory hug, before taking a tiny sip from his neck.

The morning after Alfirin Day, I woke up with an adorable little mouse girl snuggled up against my chest. She squeaked when I instinctively squeezed her; then mumbled “Mikey… it’s too big… won’t fit… other hole…” in a pained voice, as she started writhing and whipping her relatively large tail around behind her.

I muttered a silent curse towards a certain dark-red skinned elven woman, for corrupting my innocent Lori’s mind. Then I softly whispered “Wake up sweetie, I have a present for you…”, while running my fingers down her neck and back.

She instantly jumped off the springy bed, landed on her feet, and excitedly shouted “I smell treasure! Ah! Rae-Rae, when did you come over? Did you also receive a message from Michael?”, as she quickly scanned the room.

After rolling over to the grey, ironwood nightstand to my right; I reached into the drawer and pulled out her birthday gift from Ethir and I. Among the human refugees; there was a blacksmith who at one time, crafted jewelry for nobles. He was the person who told me about a particular type of head-wear, which was primarily worn by members of royalty.

A crown was the symbol of a monarch, or ruler, but that wasn’t what Lorelei was… she was the leader of Alfirin. Even if she wasn’t elected to that position by the people who followed her; she was still an existence that was absolutely crucial to the prosperity of Black Mithril, and every village or town that was within our territory.

The present was similar to a necklace in appearance, but it was meant to be worn on a person’s head. When I placed it on her adorable little head; she wore a happy smile, as she said “Mama, thank you… but you know I have to say it right? It’s really not my fault; so don’t get mad, okay? Were these cleaned properly?” in a jovial tone.

I scowled at her and she hesitated for a moment; then I sighed dramatically. Before she even could speak, I screamed “Yes! Okay?! That is where they came from! I should have never told that damn woman anything!”; while accidentally lowering the temperature in the room by a few dozen degrees.

After a few seconds of silence, she was still grinning; then whispered “Anal beads…” in a nearly inaudible squeak. Before I could start yelling again, she shouted “Anyway, it doesn’t matter if they came from vagina or out of your nose! They’re gorgeous and my favorite color! Plus, they’re fucking priceless; especially for my comedy act!

“I will win against those damn slutty elves… oh yea, before I forget! I had a dream about Michael! Well, two dreams about him; you probably don’t wanna hear about the second one though…” in an unreasonably enthusiastically; as she was jumping up and down on the springy bed.

Her circlet fell off at least five times, but she managed to catch it and put it back on: while in midair. At one point, her tail smacked me in the eye; so I was a little too distracted to pay attention to everything she had been telling me.

She suddenly stopped jumping around and pounced on me; knocking me off the extremely large bed and slamming my back onto the hard, ironwood floor. If I wasn’t still half-asleep, I probably could have defended against the spontaneous assault.

Lori yelled “Then he was like ‘You’re so beautiful baby, but I need ya ta do somethin fo me.’ in a surprisingly sexy voice as he wrapped his huge, manly, hand around the back of my head and…” in a jubilant tone; as she made a very obscene gesture with her hand and snake-like tongue.

I glared at her, so she quickly stopped, cleared her throat; then told me “Michael warned me about a swarm of blood-elves approaching from the labyrinth. It really isn’t that big of a deal, for us that is. The problem is that White Mithril; which most likely has at least ten thousand or so dark-elves, and maybe even some other races living there, is completely defenseless.

“You know how it is; we could just let em all get wiped out… but it would be easier to bring the whiteys into Alfirin if they’re still alive. On the other hand; there’s also the possibility that they never actually made it there, or that the city was filled with hundreds of thousands of scumbags who we’ll have to massacre anyway.” in a serious voice; as she was wearing a sinister smirk on her face, and licking the whiskers on the left side of her mouth periodically.

She stood up, using my abdomen as a rug, then proceeded to walk over-top my chest and face; then outside into the extremely bright sun. I sighed dramatically, as my skin sizzled and slowly turned red from the light; which was shining directly onto my forearm, that I used to block most of my face.

It wasn’t the first time I was burned while spending the night over her ‘house’, but I still wasn’t used to the stinging pain that came with that irritating sensation. My eyes were practically blinded when I looked outside and watched the tiny, white furred, mouse girl, jump into her unnecessarily large pool and start swimming around: completely naked.

Even if I walked outside in the blazing sun, I wouldn’t have died; once my skin turned completely obsidian, I wouldn’t have even felt it anymore. However, turning my flesh into charcoal wasn’t an enjoyable experience, so I decided not to go join her.

Instead, I walked out of her massive bedroom, and into her even larger bathhouse; which was even more extravagant than the one in the rat tribe district’s palace. Lori always talked about her hundreds of maids and butlers, but the whole castle felt completely empty every time I ever came by.

I think there might have been a human girl named Alicia, and a red eyed dark elf woman called Myncia… but I don’t remember them ever actually cleaning anything. After a few minutes of soaking in the warm water, I had completely regenerated and rejuvenated my damaged skin.

Before I could stand up to leave, I heard Ethir’s mana enter the room behind me. He anxiously asked me “Are we… leaving… without telling her?”, as he slowly approached me from behind.

I turned around, still mostly submerged in the water; then said “She knows; Lori is a smart girl, she wouldn’t have told me about White Mithril if she didn’t know that I was planning to leave.” in a solemn voice, while smiling wryly at the fully clothed red goblin.

He removed his hood and mask, letting his black hair fall halfway down his face: partially covering his golden eyes. Then he muttered “We… won’t be gone… forever. I wonder… if this is how… Michael felt back then?” in a nervous voice, while slowly taking his clothes off.

It wasn’t the first time I had seen him naked, and we actually bathed together quite often; but I had never really thought of him that way before. His body had become much more muscular than I had remembered; not particularly bulky, but it was difficult for me to call him a child.

Not to mention his umm, well, he was definitely a man… my eyes may have been wandering for a few moments; before I realized what I was doing and quickly turned around. My face was flushed, but I was hopeful that he wasn’t paying attention to my subconscious leering.

There was a very quiet splash and a small ripple touched the back of my shoulders; prompting me to return my attention to Ethir. I stammered “S-so habe… have you umm, finished? I mean, with the thing…” in a shaky voice; while struggling to focus my eyes away from the easily visible parts of his body that I really wanted to see.

He blushed and I definitely saw his gaze dart down for an instant, before returning to mine. Then he anxiously said “Everything that we own has been moved into this castle; I’ve already packed everything that the two of us can carry into a few satchels. Are you absolutely sure you want to do this? I don’t think we’ll die… but I doubt that either of us will be able to avoid killing. If this monster is as manipulative as I’ve heard… it definitely isn’t going to be as simple as exterminating a bunch of mindless walking corpses.”; he was surprisingly coherent.

Ethir seemed to have been too concentrated on trying to look at my body; without me noticing, for him to even speak in his usual manner. I was afraid to use my hands to cover myself, because that would have made him realize that I was embarrassed.

After a few seconds of silence, there was a massive splashing sound behind me; then a rush of water slammed my body into his. Well, both of us could have easily deflected such a simple attack… if we had wanted to.

For a brief moment, because of the difference in our body sizes… it went inside. Then my forehead smacked against the edge of the pool and I blacked out for what was probably an instant.

Unfortunately, severe blunt force trauma to my head or face, was a pretty big turn off for me. There was also the problem of our gargantuan visitor; who created the minor tidal wave which caused my injury.

I quickly stood up, feeling something surprisingly large exit me; then turned around and furiously yelled “Conor! What the hell is your problem!?”; he was completely submerged underwater, so he didn’t even seem to notice me… until I created a small whirlpool.

Then I heard Lorelei shouting “Congratulations Big Bro! You finally lost your virginity!” in a sarcastic voice, and quickly stopped drowning my nephew. When I turned around, I saw the adorable, but completely drenched, mouse girl; pulling Ethir’s unconscious body out of the water with both hands wrapped around his left shoulder.

My timing was perfect; to get a full view of the object that had momentarily penetrated me. I let out a small sigh of relief that he probably wouldn’t remember that particular event, but then realized that his back was being scraped against the dangerously sharp edge of the concrete pool.

I apprehensively told her “Lori, let me take care of him, besides… he probably wouldn’t want you to see him like this.”; as I placed my left arm under his thighs and slid the right, gently against his incredibly firm back. It was difficult to control myself when smelling his blood, but I was slightly more distracted by a different type of lust.

Lorelei snickered at me, then yelled “Hey Conor! Guess what?! I talked to Michael in a dream! Well, did a lot more than that, I’m pretty sure I would have died if it was real though…” cheerfully; as she jumped into the water and started swimming towards the other end of the gigantic bath.

After carrying the wounded and unconscious red-goblin out of the bathhouse; I walked down the hallway and into the guest room that I normally stayed in, whenever I spent the day at Lori’s house. It was actually smaller than the closet in her master bedroom, but the most important part was the lack of windows and relative privacy.

The two of us were completely dry the moment I left the pool, all I had to do was remove the moisture with a bit of water manipulation. There were a ton of lanterns spread around the relatively large room, which I quickly lit as I closed the door with a small gust of wind.

Sitting on the bed was someone that I really didn’t want to see, so I ignored her and quickly walked to her side; then laid Ethir down. I healed his injuries in the hallway, but he still hadn’t woken up; I was starting to worry about him.

Iris wasn’t wearing her usual arrogant smile; she seemed uncharacteristically solemn as her bright green eyes followed me, while I paced around the room. I finally angrily shouted “What?! Just tell me already!”, but she just looked away and sighed.

Then I saw what her gaze was locked onto; I unconsciously whispered “Talia?” in a stifled voice as I struggled to breathe. The little girl was wearing a sinister smile, as she stretched the six beautiful, white-feathered, wings out from behind her back and started glowing so brightly; that my eyes felt as if they were on fire.

The girl snickered, then looked towards Iris and told her “Mommy, don’t worry… I’m not mad at you. I just wanted to see you one last time before I go.” in a soft tone: that made me feel drowsy.

I quickly sat down on the bed next to the illusory scarlet-haired woman, and she sighed; then asked her “Lucy, I should have known… then are you the one who brought us all here?” in a curious voice.

After struggling to compose myself for a few seconds, I anxiously said “Wait, are you Talia? I’m not sure if you would remember me, you were so young when that bastard murdered you…”; while looking back and forth between the two ethereal figures that were staring at me.

Iris muttered “I thought I put you to sleep… interesting, you’re becoming quite powerful, brat.” in a mildly amused voice, while grinning at me. The little girl seemed to teleport a few centimeters from my face, grimaced awkwardly, grabbed one of my ears in each hand, and licked my forehead.

She sneezed in my left eye and seriously replied “Nope, maybe, probably? It depends on your perspective; this me wasn’t… but that me, the one that’s going to be born into this world very soon; she most likely was one of the two souls you’re looking for. Well, the trick to awakening a person is mentioning something from the life that you want them to remember.

“For infants, especially elves, musical notes are the best way. If you ever sang them a lullaby… you get the point.”; before vanishing and reappearing to the left side of the huge bed.

She was glaring down at Ethir, who had still seemed to have been unconscious; when a tiny black snake began crawling out of his right ear. She immediately grabbed it by the head and swallowed the creature whole.

Lucy started laughing maniacally, then sighed dramatically and said “Damn it, I wish that I could stay in this world a little longer. There are so many old friends and enemies everywhere, but my time is up… Karma is such a bitch. I’m sorry I can’t answer your question Mommy, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out eventually.” in a disappointed voice, while looking back at Iris.

The red-haired, large breasted, and green-eyed version of myself sighed emphatically; then she whispered “I love you, and I’m sure we’ll see each-other again very soon.” sincerely, while smiling wryly at at the little girl. There were tears streaming down both of their faces for an instant, then the two incorporeal beings vanished in a blinding white light.

I started smelling the delicious aroma of blood, and felt a warm and moist sensation all over my body; then I opened my eyes as I tasted that familiar crimson nectar, that was more savory than sweet. My whole body was drenched in it; my fangs were completely submerged into the soft red flesh, which was barely illuminated by the lanterns around us.

His beautiful golden eyes were urging me to keep going; my nails tore into his sides as he remained silent. I quickly moved my attention to the newly opened wounds; lapping up every drop, while healing him at the same time.

Then I returned to the thigh which I was previously drinking from; the two puncture wounds were still losing copious amounts of blood, so I used my mouth to keep it from going to waste. My mind was incredibly hazy as the viscous fluid burned its way down my throat.

There was a tingling sensation starting in the tips of my ears and running along the back of my head, but a sharp pain began surging through my chest. Every beat of my heart felt like it was vibrating my entire body, and the muscles in my lower back were starting to spasm.

My gaze turned towards the thick pulsating object that was being gently massaged with my right hand, but I needed to use my tongue to seal the wound before moving onto the main course. He never moaned nor spoke, yet his aura was betraying his silence; I could feel his legs twitching with every movement as my face inched closer to my meal.

The pain in my chest returned tenfold as I was about to finish what I couldn’t even remember starting; then Ethir asked me “Raelin… are you… feeling okay?” in a worried voice. It was obvious that he didn’t want me to stop, even I wanted to keep going, but it felt like my heart was about to explode.

I began coughing violently, as a dull ache throbbed behind my right eye; he quickly sat up, rolled me onto my back, and began scanning my chest and abdomen with his eyes. Directly behind my navel, where my womb used to be, felt like it was on fire… I knew what was about to happen, but I was praying that it wouldn’t.

Ethir frowned as he looked down towards the source of my suffering; then nonchalantly placed his left hand on the center of my chest and anxiously murmured “I can probably… make it end faster. It will be… unpleasant.”, while I felt an intense burst of sharp pains throughout my body.

My head was resting on his left thigh; as I gazed up at him with an agonized expression and muttered “I-I’m sorry I couldn’t… make you feel good…” in an unsteady voice. Tears were welling up in my eyes, and the more I thought about how selfish I was; the harder it was for me to hold them back.

He wore a sincere smile as he gently ran his right hand through my hair and tenderly whispered “I’m happier now… than I’ve ever been. Now… go to sleep… this next part… will be difficult.”; I vaguely remember him grimacing before I drifted off into a pleasant dream. Although, I still don’t know what happened immediately after that bright flash, and I was too blood-gorged by that point to have controlled myself.

According to Ethir, I was slipping in and out of consciousness for three days after that. He couldn’t keep me sedated constantly; so I could experience a few minutes of horrible, agonizing pain, before passing out, quite a few times.

It was similar to childbirth; It even looked like I was pregnant… but what was coming out of me, two at a time, looked like giant red crystalline eggs. Each of them were thankfully; a lot smaller than a wood-elven baby, but there were just so many of them. Unfortunately, they weren’t always smooth.

Whatever kind of runic, or maybe even alchemical magic, that he was performing on me; it wasn’t perfect. When he stopped to eat, drink, or use the bathroom; the dull, aching and cramping began again: It was terrible in its own special way.

However, there were many times when instead of a fist sized egg, broken shards of incredibly sharp crystal tore me apart. Even though he healed the injuries very quickly, it didn’t erase the mental and emotional trauma involved.

Both of us needed at least a week to completely recover from that whole ordeal, but I learned a valuable lesson: A few moments of pleasure definitely weren’t worth all of the agony that seemed to occur, before either of us were even able to get to the most important part.

With Eredhon; one of the few times we actually went all the way, I became pregnant. Well, I did pray to the spirit of fertility; I expected to actually enjoy myself a little bit before then though.

When I complained about it to Hiwel, she told me “Maybe you were blessed by The Spirit of Eternal Suffering?” sarcastically. It was an old wood elven proverb; since such a being didn’t actually exist, it implied that a person was just unfortunate or unlucky. Obviously, I didn’t find out about Michael’s exploits until much later.

Ethir didn’t have enough time to make anything out of my crystalline eggs, so we just stored them in Lori’s massive vault for safekeeping. Although, she did ask me if she could have one of them for her… performance; I didn’t want to know the details.

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