"Hey, Soph," Lone said. He and Sophie were laying under the thin covers of the king-sized bed and Sophie was resting on top of Lone's chest. One of Lone's hands was holding the back of his head as he stared up at the wooden ceiling as the other was gently caressed his lover's golden-brown hair.
"Mmm?" Sophie murmured in response with a dreamy voice. Apparently, the two had been rather 'busy' for quite a while, leaving Sophie in a lucid state of sorts.
"I really love you," Lone declared in a smooth voice, hiding none of his pent-up emotions from the last three months. 'It's so easy to take for granted what you have until you lose it,' he thought in a sudden moment of clarity. In that clarity, he felt himself suddenly get stronger. 'Mmm, I passed the bottleneck? I'll deal with that later, for now, I think I'll just enjoy this moment.'
Sophie similarly felt an increase in her power, but she too, completely ignored it and simply crawled up Lone's chest and kissed him on the lips gently. "I love you too. I'm sorry for being so immature... and thank you for being with me," Sophie replied with a bright smile.
The two then stayed like that together in each other's embrace. A few hours later, the two got up and decided to leave the bedroom, what immediately greeted them was their three companions. Breena was, as usual, playing with the shadows in a corner. The Lemurian was busy polishing and cleaning a set of ebony daggers, probably Breena's. Eolande was sitting on a leather couch and just looked at Lone and Sophie with a knowing gaze.
"Finally made up, have we?" she asked with a grin. Sophie, in response, glared at her. This made Lone frown. Obviously, he wasn't happy with Eolande's attitude.
"Eolande, please, stop it. The last thing I want is you upsetting Sophie again," lone claimed which made Sophie blush slightly in embarrassment. She quickly grabbed several fluffy tails and hid herself amongst them. Eolande simply shrugged in response.
Lone moved across the room and sat down on a couch that was opposite Eolande's. Sophie occupied her usual spot of Lone's lap since she was still quite short despite her body being roughly thirteen years old now, so sitting on Lone's lap caused no issues.
"Sophie, I'm sure you felt it earlier, but I crossed the level two-hundred barrier and became a D-Ranker. So, did you unlock another one of your sealed abilities like when I became an E-Ranker?" Lone asked with curiosity and concern. Sophie still had seven abilities that were sealed, and some of them would be more useful than others to their group right now.
Eolande was immediately interested by this, and so she floated up into the air and got closer to Lone and Sophie. This surprised the Lemurian who was still missing her tail and hand, distracting her from cleaning the ebony daggers, but she quickly regained her focus and resumed scrubbing them down.
Ignoring Eolande, Sophie answered Lone. "Mmm, I felt it earlier. I got back my Unique Magic, Barrier Magic," Sophie mumbled with disappointment clear in her voice.
"Oh? Do you mind showing me? It sounds useful," Lone asked the girl that was sat on his lap. She nodded in response and extended her left hand outwards. She then focused her mind and a small sheet of what looked like energy appeared. It was light green in colour, but it was also transparent, like a pane of glass.
"I've never seen anything like this before! How intriguing!" Eolande exclaimed as she floated around the barrier and lightly poked it with her slender fingers. 'This definitely doesn't belong on Altros... so fascinating!' she thought as she inspected it.
"Swind, go punch that barrier, would you? As hard as you can," Lone requested of the Lemurian that was still diligently cleaning Breena's daggers. 'I still can't believe she let me just name her since the tribe disowned her completely, name and all. Mmm, she's been really useful so far though, what with doing our chores, maybe shortening 'swindler' wasn't the best idea for a name?' Lone thought in mild regret. It would seem that over the past three months, he had more or less forgiven Swind for her past transgressions.
"Yes, Mr Immortus-ss," Swind said with seriousness before she carefully placed the cloth she was using to clean Breena's ebony daggers on the coffee table next to them. She couldn't hold the daggers during the cleaning due to her only having one hand. She then stood up and walked over to the barrier and crouched slightly before she wound up her fist and struck the green sheet of energy as hard as her scaly fist would allow her to. Her hand rebounded off the barrier instantly and her fingers began to swell up as her face cringed in pain.
"I'm guessing you don't want me to heal that, right?" Lone asked Swind with a complicated expression on his face. It would seem that not healing her bothered Lone to some degree.
"Yes, Mr Immortus-ss. I will learn from my mistakes with the scars of my body-ss," Swind replied before she retreated back to the seat she was sitting on previously and she continued to clean Breena's daggers despite the new pain in her hand.
"Breena," Lone called. The three-tailed, fourteen-year-old Foxkin turned away from her corner to look at him. She had a happy smile on her face for whatever reason. 'It's so good to see that Master and Sophie made up,' the young girl thought.
"What is it, Master?" she asked, even though she was fairly sure she knew what Lone wanted her to do.
"Do you mind creating some of those fear balls of yours? Try to destroy this barrier with a few of them," Lone asked as he gestured to Sophie's barrier that she was still being maintained with little effort, as if it were natural for Sophie to control it.
"Sure," Breena replied happily. She then bounced to her feet and walked over to everyone and closed her eyes, presumably to concentrate. A few seconds later, she held her hand out and a small wisp of dark purple smoke emitted out of her palm. It soon expanded to be roughly a meter long and it suddenly compressed and turned into four small purple orbs. These orbs floated around Breena and after she waved her hand, they rushed towards Sophie's barrier and slammed onto it, smashing themselves apart.
Lone looked at the barrier and saw that it now had a small crack in it. "Oh! You did more than I expected considering that's mostly a mental attack. Good job, Breena," Lone said to which Breena smiled.
"Thank you, Master," she said before she went back to her corner. 'I'm glad Sophie got a new power... she hasn't fought in three months... we haven't even sparred like how we did back in Hope... ' she thought before she returned to playing with the shadows.
"Going by the order of things, am I next?" Eolande asked with a knowing smile as she floated next to the barrier, fully prepared to destroy it. Lone looked at her like she was stupid, prompting her face to visibly fall. "W-What? It's not going to be me?"
"Since Breena's fear orbs cracked it, I can tell how strong it is. Why would I need you to destroy the barrier that Sophie went to the effort of creating? I'm pretty sure I could destroy it with nothing more than my tails, so no, you are not going to destroy it," Lone said in a belittling tone to his Master in smithing and enchanting.
"Oh, I guess you're right..." Eolande said in a somewhat dejected tone. "Then, can I kiss you? As an apology for my stupidity?" she followed up with a grin. 'i wonder how he'll react to this? He's so fun to mess with!' she then thought to herself. It would seem that despite not really being a Fairy, she was more than mischievous enough to be mistaken for one.
Lone's response was silence. He ignored the Tylwyth Teg and looked down at his lap's occupant. "Soph, what's the limit of your barriers? It's a really useful ability, but it seems a bit weak for it to be a power granted by Vihaan," Lone said with care in his voice.
'Huh? He's ignoring me?' Eolande thought in shock as she floated back to her seat. 'I've never doubted my beauty until now.'
Sophie momentarily looked at Eolande with an angry scowl before she sighed and waved her hand, causing the transparent green barrier to disappear. "I never really trained my abilities back in my dimension, so, like my mana sensing, it's a bit weak. The limit is a bubble big enough to cover one person, but if it's spread that thin, a normal attack from Breena's daggers would probably destroy it... but I can train it and I know it'll be super strong eventually!" Sophie exclaimed. 'I need to be more useful to Lone, so I'll train hard and make this barrier indestructible!' she thought.
"Mmm, in the future, try to maintain a barrier no matter what you're doing. You're very talented, Soph. I'm sure it won't take very long for you to make that new ability of yours useful. Oh, do you mind showing me the skill's details from the system?" Lone asked, to which Sophie nodded. She then summoned the blue screen that described her ability, and both Lone and Sophie were pleasantly surprised by the details.
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