"Well, now that that's out of the way, Eolande, do you mind helping me enter my mind again?" Lone asked, completely defusing the prior atmosphere.
Sophie puffed up her cheeks and dragged Lone to a sofa before she forced him to sit down and then placed herself on top of him. "Do it like this," the small girl filled with jealousy ordered Eolande.
Swind had a curious look on his face. 'ss-So this-ss is-ss a form of jealousy, not just embarrassment? Very interesting.'
Breena ignored everything and jumped into Lone's shadow, concealing herself from the ongoings.
Eolande smiled. "Moving on so quickly... Okay, however, just like last time, I want you to know that I'm not comfortable with this and I'm only doing it because you're so adamant."
She avoided Sophie's eyes and protective hands as she sat next to Lone and placed her palms on his head.
Lone grinned. "I'll be fine. I always am."
"I'm sure you will. Good luck with whatever it is you need to do in there, Husband," Eolande said with her genuine concern clear for all to see.
Under her breath, Sophie mumbled, "He's not your husband..."
"Oh? That may be true, but if I remember correctly, he's not your husband either," Eolande teased. It would take a few moments to activate the illusion that would send Lone into his own mind, so she thought that it would be entertaining to poke fun at a few of Sophie's weak spots, namely, her love for Lone.
Sophie's eyes opened up like a pair of headlights in shock and they began to tear up. "L-Lone... let's... let's get married..."
"Oho, how bold," Eolande giggled, forcing the already blushing Sophie into a deeper state of embarrassment.
"Sure, I wouldn't mind that." Lone wrapped his arms around the emotional girl on his lap and lightly kissed her head. "Something official sounds nice."
Eolande chastised herself internally for her mistake. 'Tch. I thought I could make fun of Sophie, but I only made things worse, didn't I?'
Now looking like a flower in full bloom, Sophie beamed a smile. "I guess I'm not his husband... yet, but I am his fiancée."
"Yes yes, for now, you are," Eolande rolled her tongue.
"Wait," the somewhat panicked and very naive Sophie said. "What do you mean 'for now'?"
"I wonder?" Eolande smiled mysteriously. "Oh, would you look at that, the illusion is ready. Well, off you go, Husband," she claimed as Lone started to lose consciousness.
The last thing Lone heard before he passed out was Sophie growling at Eolande like a small animal of some kind and this made Lone smile warmly.
"This place again?" Lone mumbled as he looked at the three grand structures which lay in front of him. The magnificent blue castle, the foreboding black palace and the extravagant purple pyramid.
"Is it just me, or do they look different now?" Lone was sure that he wasn't simply seeing things.
It had been several months since he had last visited his mind, however, Lone was proud of his great memory, and if he was correct, then both Void and Darkness' buildings had grown in size while Sky's castle had shrunk a bit.
Lone figured that he could just ask Darkness about this, so much like his first visit to this place, he entered the huge purple pyramid.
What greeted him in the large open chamber full of golden trinkets was a woman that looked just like himself. She was gorgeous and had a slim and short figure. Her nine purple tails gently flowed through the air and didn't attempt to hide any of her exposed skin in the slightest.
"For fuck's sake, Darkness," Lone sighed as he averted his eyes, "Can you put some clothes on?"
In a seductive voice that bore a striking resemblance to both Sophie's and Eolande's, Darkness answered, "Hmm? Are you not attracted to me, Master? I was under the impression that you loved beautiful young girls. Was I wrong? I can increase my cup size a few times if it'll please you."
"It's not about the chest size nor the height. I love Soph and only Soph. Put some fucking clothes on and tell me about Void right now, or I'm leaving," Lone threatened in a demanding tone.
He was getting sick of the attitude of, not only Darkness, but of all of the elements residing in his body. if anyone was allowed to act like they owned the place, it was him, and only him.
"How scary." With a wave of her hand, Darkness turned into a young boy wearing loose clothing that reminded Lone of himself from his childhood. "Better?" Darkness asked as he yawned and stretched his tiny arms.
"Really? A kid? Yeah, I guess it's better," Lone shrugged.
"I feel most comfortable in this form. Trust me, Master, I have tried all of the other variants of you that I can transform into, and this is by far, the laziest and most fitting for my essence." Darkness laid down fully on the sofa he was sat on and closed his eyes as if to sleep.
"Well? Wanna tell me about Void and let me know if he's a threat to me or not?" Lone was getting fed up very fast.
"Yes, yes," Darkness waved his arm dismissively and then said, "If he's left to run around the way he is in here, then soon, he'll take over your body again and wreck havoc. You've grown too strong too soon and can't control him yet. Void managed to overpower Sky for a split second when you were bubbling with rage a few hours ago and that empowered him."
"So he just needs to be controlled, right?" Lone was getting pissed off.
What right did these elements have to forcefully possess him? True, it had always been in times of need until today, but regardless, it felt wrong. Lone didn't ask for these elements to reside within him.
He couldn't help but wonder if other primal essences, or perhaps just fragments of them, lived in all awakened beastkin and these people just weren't aware of it? Maybe that was why they aged and died quickly. They couldn't handle the forced power being given to them.
"Don't even think about it. Sky can barely contain him now, so what could you do? With all respect, Master, you are too weak. At most, simply don't get angry for another year or two and with my help, Sky should be able to rein in Void again. Oh, also, try not to gain too many levels in that time, okay?" Darkness asked with a seemingly sincere voice.
"Fuck you," Lone loudly cursed.
Darkness was shocked. He raised his torso and stared at Lone. "Pardon?"
"Fuck. You," Lone repeated himself. "Fuck all three of you fucking elements. You come into my body, without my permission, and you just think you fucking own the place? I've had it. Today marks the last day any one of you bastards takes over my body without my permission."
Darkness swiftly stood up and made the same motion that he had made to forcefully remove Lone the first time he had come here. He couldn't chance his master risking his life to that lunatic of an element, after all.
Lone didn't move and simply muttered two words. "Mental Destruction."
Darkness knelt over and grasped his head before he began howling in pain.
"Like I thought. You may be elements and a part of the core of this world, but you're not at your peak when you're in my body. And so long as you aren't immune to magic, you will do as I say. Now, I need to go and teach that Void whose home he's in," Lone declared and then walked out of the pyramid.
"Incredible..." Darkness was still rolling about on the ground as he knocked his golden treasures all over the place with his wild flailing. He was barely about to maintain enough coherency to mutter a single sentence. "... Perhaps he can tame Void? If that... If that's the case... Hahaha..."
Lone was now stood in front of the massive black palace that almost seemed to be pulsing with evil energies. "I'm glad that I gave myself an overpowered skill like Mental Destruction when I was choosing my five additional powers... It's really useful in hopeless situations, huh? I wonder if it'll ever overcome its limits and be able to affect people immune to magic and give me unlimited uses? I suppose that's too much to ask for..."
Lone shook his head. "Another time. All that matters right now is that I know it works on Darkness. I know he's the weakest of the three... but hopefully, just hopefully, it might be able to hurt Void and teach him that he can't do as he pleases."
Lone took a deep breath and gathered his thoughts to prepare himself for the coming encounter. From what everyone who'd seen Lone in his Void form had said, they all described him as a terrifying, almost instinctual, and very bloodthirsty monster that acted without remorse.
With careful steps, Lone made his way through the palace of spikes and torture devices.
"Well, well, well... What's this? The master grants us his presence, does he? Hehehehehehehe..." An eerie laugh filled the hallway that Lone was walking down, stopping him in his tracks.
Emerging from the shadows appeared an exact replica of Lone. The only difference was that he had pure black hair, craze-driven eyes and a maniacal smirk.
"Void?" Lone asked.
With a sloppy and unpracticed bow, Void replied, "It's a pleasure... Master... Hehehehe."
He raised his head and licked his lips as he eyed Lone up. "I can't help but wonder... How does the Master's blood taste? HEHEHEHEHE!"
With an almost impossible speed to follow with the naked eye, Void leapt towards Lone. Without hesitation, Lone used his most powerful skill. "Mental Destruction."
Like a sack of wet potatoes, Void fell past Lone and impacted on the hard floor of the corridor. "AHHHHHHH! SUCH PAIN! SUCH BLISS! TRULY... TRULY ENRAGING! EHEHEHEHEHEHE!"
"Still quite lively, huh? That's good." Lone didn't give Void a chance to recover and he ended up consuming all of his remaining uses for Mental Destruction of that day. One for each rank, and as a B-ranker, Lone now had a total of eight chances to use the skill daily. One he had tested on Darkness, so the remaining seven were used on the insane primal essence.
Void was now on the brink of being wiped out of existence. He had stopped making noises, however, the smile on his face had never left, not even once.
"Tell Sky that I'll do the same to him if he doesn't serve me faithfully. You should all act like Darkness and just submit peacefully if you all want to live inside of me," Lone ordered. He couldn't risk his family or his friends to these... things, so he had to be cruel.
"Hehehe... You think Darkness is loyal to you, do you... Master? Ehehehehehe!" As if a newfound energy was coursing through Void, his body rocked up and began wildly trembling.
Lone frowned. "I don't care if he is or not. He doesn't take over my body without my permission any more. If you want to see the outside world ever again, then you'll do so with my consent. If you or Sky ever take over my body without my approval ever again, I won't spare you."
"How harsh... We have only ever helped you... Hehehehehe... I don't hate that about you though, your vindictive nature..." Void began wildly cackling.
Lone, seeing that the element was clearly mumbling incoherently, left the palace and focused his mind to regain consciousness the way that Eolande had taught him to.
"You know that you don't have to lick him to prove that he's yours, right? I already know." Lone could hear Eolande's familiar voice and immediately got concerned.
He opened his eyes only to see Sophie straddling him with her tongue pressed against his cheek. "What are you doing?"
Sophie looked at him awkwardly. "Eh... um... marking my territory?"
'Was she actually a small animal in her past life?' Lone thought as he sat up and wiped the saliva off of his face.
Sophie was still on top of him and she seemed to have come to her senses and was looking very flustered while Eolande was struggling to stay hovering in the air as she laughed to her heart's content.
Lone couldn't help but smile. 'This. This is what I need to protect and get strong for. I made the right choice, didn't I? There's no guarantee that those damned elements won't turn on me and attack my loved ones... Hopefully, I didn't just make a huge mistake by using force...'
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