For once, it wasn't Sophie that was using Lone to hide from her stress and insecurities, but rather, the other way around. Ignoring all of the strange glances he was getting, Lone had sat on the wooden floor of the world tree's branch and forced Sophie onto his lap. His arms were wrapped around her waist and his chin was resting on her head.
Sophie's face was burning with embarrassment. She adored Lone's attention, however, all of the looks of disgust and disdain that were being thrown towards the pair was making her shrink back further into Lone's embrace.
'Wh-What's wrong, Lone?' Sophie could see that Lone hadn't decided to make both her and himself laughing stocks for no reason, so she decided to talk to him about it telepathically.
'...' Lone stayed silent and simply nuzzled his face into Sophie's gorgeous blonde hair.
'Tell me, please,' Sophie pleaded with her anxiety clear in her voice.
Lone lifted his head and rested his jaw on Sophie once more before replying, '... Void took control of me and nearly killed everyone but Darkness stopped him and now I have to go talk to Darkness about what to do from here, so I'm a bit stressed.'
'What?! Thank Heaven he was stopped in time... but... but Lone... this is really embarrassing!' While Sophie was naturally concerned about Lone and the beings living inside of him, the belittling gazes of the surrounding Elves bothered her more right this instant.
'Put up with it until it's my turn during the combat test, please? You're the only way I can relax besides fighting.' Lone's voice sounded like honey to the small girl and was very charming.
'Muuuu, treating me like a stress ball...' Sophie puffed up her cheeks and pushed herself further into Lone's body before she wrapped her arms around his back and grabbed two of his multi-coloured tails and covered herself with them. When in doubt, fluffiness was always the answer.
'It's not like you hate it though, right?' Lone asked gently.
Sophie's face flushed before she answered, 'N-No...'
'See? Then put up with it, please.' Lone's voice was getting more and more relaxed. Sophie's flustered and cute actions only helped to further relieve his anxiety.
Sophie turned her head up and stared at Lone with her big, emerald green eyes. 'Muuuu! Only because it's you, okay?'
'I love you,' Lone responded and lent down to kiss his lover.
'I love you too, stupid Lone.' Forgetting the people staring at the two of them, Sophie returned Lone's love with her own.
Lone's group had naturally been watching this silent exchange between him and Sophie, so everyone except for their fellow Wanderers was confused.
"Hey, Eolande," Fep said as he placed a hand on his smooth cheek, "Why does it look like they're having a lovey-dovey conversation while being so overly tender even though they aren't talking? This is hardly the place nor the time."
The demon princess violently nodded her head in agreement and it was clear to see that the teenager who had been sheltered for most of her life was very abashed by this... amorous display.
Eolande had her face in her palms and she was trying to hide her overflowing feelings of aversion. "These two... Honestly, Lone's one thing, but when they get in the mood, even Sophie stops minding her surroundings."
Fep cocked his head to the side and his confusion was only multiplied. Eko laughed heartily at this. Breena was trying her best to not vomit due to the pink atmosphere. She thought she'd built up a resistance recently, but apparently, her master and Sophie's love could transcend such things!
Continuing to ignore everyone, Lone asked Sophie a question that had just popped into his head. 'By the way, what power did you unlock? I reached B-rank when Void had control over my body, so another one of your powers got released, right? Was it immortality?'
'No...' Sophie looked disappointed. it would seem that Lone wasn't the only one that wanted Sophie to lose her mortality once again.
'Then what one? Was it a useful one? Armour Creation would probably be the worst one right now,' Lone noted.
'Yeah, thankfully it wasn't that one. It was Immunity To All Negative Effects,' Sophie replied with a weak smile.
'Ah, that's a good one! That means you can't be mind controlled, poisoned or corrupted by darkness and shit like that, right?' Truthfully, Lone was happy. While immortality would have been far better, at least this power was more useful in everyday situations as opposed to her most recent power, minor time control, which had a very subjective usage and extremely harsh backlash.
'Potty mouth,' Sophie whispered before showing him the skill directly.
|Unique Skill: Immunity To All Negative Effects|
|A passive change to the host's body that allows them to ignore the effects of all negative status ailments such as, poison, soul corrosion, mental attacks, brainwashing and all other types of negative effects.|
'It's amazing. I wish I had a skill like that, then maybe these weird elements would stop taking control of my body,' Lone praised in a jealous tone while he squeezed Sophie slightly.
Once again, Sophie's face turned bright red and a weird thought crossed her mind. 'I wonder if it stops... Em... Uh... Se-Se-Se-'
'Sexual feelings?' Lone finished her sentence for her like any caring lover would.
'Stupid Lone!' Sophie shouted.
'I'm sure it doesn't, but we can check tonight if you'd like?' Lone chuckled slightly before he loosened his hold on Sophie's body and kissed her neck.
'Mmm...' Sophie couldn't win against Lone when he was acting so charming, so she accepted his suggestion.
'You're so cute,' Lone said when he saw the crimson hue on her face.
Sophie stayed silent and buried her face into one of Lone's absurdly fluffy tails.
'Thanks again, Soph. You're my perfect little stress ball.' Lone's voice was noticeably calmer now, which made Sophie happy.
'... Stupid Lone...' Obviously, her embarrassment was way higher than her joy was.
Many of the Elven participants had forced themselves to look away from the romantic couple out of sheer shame. It had to be known that Elves, while unlike the inherently immortal beastkin, still lived for thousands of years with no issue. Thus, they tended to not have much experience with the other sex since they had a lot of time to find the right partner.
Were Lone to compare this to Earth, the Elves were like the Japanese while he was far more western, though even in his case, not many people on Earth would act as brazenly as he did when it came to displays of public affection.
"Ahem," King Ele'hunda coughed loudly to garner everyone's attention again, Lone and Sophie's included. "Now that the character test has concluded, the remaining participants who have passed at least two tests thus far will begin the combat test."
Only six people were disqualified this round as it would seem that almost every Elf had a good character despite their inherent racism.
"The combat test is simple. You will randomly be put against each other in one-to-one combat. The winner shall move on to the second round and will face another winner while the loser shall do the same against another loser. This is to give everyone a chance if you happen to face an opponent that is too strong for you to show your capabilities early on. The victor of the losers circle will face the victor of the winner's circle." King Ele'hunda seemed to be staring right at Lone and a few gasps of surprise rang through the participants and the council alike.
'New rules thanks to me and my group? My, how considerate,' Lone sarcastically thought. Naturally, he was still sat on the floor and busy hugging Sophie.
"Well then, number nine and number one-hundred and seven, please, come up to the stage," the king said.
"Ah," Sophie took out her badge before continuing, "One-hundred and seven. That's my number."
"Really?" Lone placed his chin on her head for the third time and glanced at the badge's number. "Be fast then. I still want to cuddle with you some more."
Sophie blushed and replied, "Okay." She then got up and quickly approached the stage.
Since Lone had memorised everyone's number thus far, he naturally knew that Sophie was going up before she had even shown him her badge, and surprisingly, her first opponent was Falin, the challenging Elf.
"A Human becoming a keeper? What a funny joke," Falin sneered. Like most other Elves, he, too, was bigoted.
This prejudice existed mostly due to the fact that Humans loved to kidnap other races, the beautiful Elves included. Combining this with the already xenophobic nature of the Elves only helped to increase their distaste and mistrust of all other races.
Sophie didn't respond and just looked at the King as if to ask him 'when will the fight start?'
"No lethal blows or crippling attacks. Light and moderate injuries are allowed. Victory will be decided by your opponent surrendering or by them being incapable of further fighting. Start," King Ele'hunda's powerful voice boomed across the plaza.
"For a mere Human to look down on me... I'll pay you back for this disrespect a thousandfold!" Falin shouted after seeing Sophie completely blanking him.
The crowd supported Falin and cheered, but unfortunately for the most powerful Elven participant, Sophie was in a hurry. Lone had asked her to be quick and she would hate to let him down.
Sophie disappeared and reappeared behind Falin and a transparent green barrier had appeared on top of her hand. It was slowly cutting through the flesh of the handsome Elf's face. "Do you give up?" Sophie's bone-chilling voice pierced through the now silent plaza.
Falin swiftly jumped away from Sophie which resulted in his entire cheek being peeled off. He grit his teeth and looked at Sophie hatefully. 'Was that instantaneous movement? No! Even His Majesty seems shocked! Teleportation?! She's powerful, but if I'm careful, I should be able to win! After all, I'm an A-ranker!'
A sudden pain in his other cheek left Falin confused. He looked down to see a light-verdant disk effortlessly slicing through his face again. "Wh... What?"
"Do you give up?" Once more, Sophie's emotionless voice rang through the square.
Falin kept dodging and trying his best to gain an advantage, but no matter what he tried, no matter how hard he attempted to fight back, no matter what he did, it was useless.
"Do you give up?"
"Hey, do you give up?"
"Please give up, okay? There's not much skin left, soon I'm going to have to start cutting muscles..."
"Hey, I'm in a hurry. Please give up."
Falin looked like he'd been flayed alive. We're it not for the fact that he was still barely standing, he would have been disqualified by the King himself. Everyone had only a single emotion in their eyes when they looked at Sophie: Unbridled terror.
Without even batting an eye, the cute young girl who was almost mesmerisingly beautiful, without hesitation nor feelings, simple kept chipping away at Falin's skin as if to torture him.
Just as Sophie teleported behind Falin again and was about to start slicing into his flesh, he collapsed.
Her Highness rushed to his side and examined him. "He's fainted from both the pain and from blood loss." After announcing as such, Her Highness immediately began healing him.
"Number one-hundred and seven is the victor," King Ele'Hunda said in a loud voice.
Sophie immediately left the stage and began trotting over to Lone as she took care to try and ignore all of the dread-filled gazes the Elves were giving her.
"She's a Demon..."
"How can she be so heartless when doing that to another person?"
"She's an Ice Queen..."
"How did she pass the character test? To torture Sir Falin like that..."
"Truly an Ice Queen."
"She matches that nine-tailed bastard perfectly."
Lone welcomed Sophie back with a huge smile on his lips and she happily reclaimed his lap. She grabbed several of his tails and hid herself in them. While she had tried her best to disregard the scorn and disgust, it still hurt her. Their eyes looked just like the eyes of the Templars who had hated her with all of their beings, and even though she didn't care how they felt about it, it still stung.
"Eh?" A warm feeling suddenly enveloped Sophie. It was Lone.
He had wrapped his arms around her again and his head was gently resting on her shoulder. He caressed her hair with one of his hands and whispered to her, "You did amazingly. I'm proud of you, my little Ice Queen."
Sophie blushed furiously and it almost looked like smoke was coming out of her ears.
Eolande held her mouth and she looked like she was going to puke any second. "Kuh... This man... he has no shame! The humiliation! Urg..." Eolande and Breena both wanted to shed tears and simply hide in a hole somewhere for being associated with a shameless man like Lone!
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