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The next morning

Torga watched as Reina zipped up her skin-tight black bodysuit and pulled her hair into a tight ponytail. He was laying in the same position he'd been in since before she fell asleep and was reluctant to get up.  

"Are you going to stay in bed all day?" She asked.

"Don't see why not. The view here is fantastic."

Reina smiled and rolled her eyes.

"While I appreciate the compliment. We really do have to get going."

"What's the rush?"

"Aside from Donna and Leon waiting for us downstairs? We still need to have a branch passport made for you and I want to avoid the line at rush hour."

"Passport? Since when have we needed a passport to travel the branches?"

"Since some giant snake broke through a few years ago."

"...I'm not apologizing." 

Reina slid on her boots and looked over her shoulder at Torga.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"I thought you said Ayla told you everything?"

"Obviously not or we wouldn't be having this conversation."

"Al—right." He stretched out the word and swung his legs over the side of the bed. "Before I start and... probably piss you off. How much did she tell you?"

"Bits and pieces mostly. I didn't exactly give her time to tell me everything. But she probably covered most of it." 

 "Did she tell you that I'm a god?"

Reina slowly blinked in surprise, then smirked. "Whoa now. You were good, but not that good." She joked.

"I'm being serious here, Sarah. Did she tell you that I became a god?"

The smirk left her face and she frowned.

"What do you mean you 'became a god'? Like... an actual God?"

"Yeah, an actual god."

"But... But you don't look like a god. The bitch that brought me here was made of silver light and you're, well... Not." 

Torga's brows furrowed in concentration and half a second later his physical body exploded into light and was replaced with light green mist, his eyes became miniature stars, and his stomach returned to its natural state. The mist had naturally taken the form of a large serpent that floated just above the floor. 

Reina jumped back in surprise and almost fell over a chair in her haste to get away from the creature standing in front of her. She backed up until she was firmly against the wall on the far side of the room and stared at Torga.

"Sarah?"

"W—What the hell is that!?"

"This is what I naturally look like."

Reina nervously glanced around the room until she spotted an empty gold and silver candlestick on a nearby table. She slowly reached over and picked it up by the base, then threw it at him. The candlestick phased through his chest but never came out the other side.

"Was that really necessary?"

"S—Sorry. I'm just freaking out a little right now. Give me a minute."

"Want me to turn back?" 

"No, I'm f—fine."  

She slowly stepped away from the wall and nervously swallowed.

Her eyes moved up and down his body several times. With each pass, she grew more confident until she was able to forcefully calm herself down. 

"Does that hurt?" She motioned to the slowly rotating black hole where his stomach was supposed to be.

 "No."

"Can I?" She stepped closer and reached for him.

"You should probably avoid touching my stomach. But sure, I don't mind."

She slowly extended her arm until her hand was just above his head and waited for his approval.

"I'm not going to bite you." He joked.

"You're a giant mist-snake." She said, dryly.

He flicked out his tongue; which was comprised of slightly darker green mist. And seemed to silently laugh at the involuntary flinch she made because of the sudden movement.

She slowly lowered her hand until it brushed against his 'head' and an intense cooling sensation prickled at her nerve endings. It wasn't unpleasant or painful. But it was surprising enough for her to jerk her hand away.

After receiving his approval to try again. She slowly pushed her fingers into the mist and became fascinated by the feeling: The edge of the mist felt like ice cold water but beyond his 'scales' was an intense warmth that instantly chased away the chill. 

She assumed that meant his eyes didn't just look like stars but behaved like them too. 

She also noticed the 'current' running throughout his body. Like the waves of an ocean, the outer edge of the mist pulled in one direction while the inside pulled in another. This caused his body to constantly undulate in a way that Reina found mesmerizing.  

She slowly moved her hand from side to side and watched his body ripple and move in response to her touch.

"Having fun?"

She jerked her hand away and turned a bright shade of red.  

"Sorry."

"Don't apologize. I like it when you touch me."

Her face turned a slightly darker shade of red and she stepped away from him. She turned to face the door, took a deep calming breath, and said in a slightly higher tone than normal, "We... We should go now. Leon and Donna have been waiting long enough."

"If you say so." A ripple of light passed over his body and a few seconds later he was back in his physical form.

"After you."

She pulled open the door and stepped into the hallway. Passing maids and other servants gave them a wide berth as they walked and the guards all warily stared at Torga as he passed them. This confused Reina because she didn't remember him doing anything to provoke such a reaction...

"Is there anything else you'd like to tell me?"

"Hmm... Not off the top of my head. Why?"

She motioned to the guards. 

"Ah... I wouldn't worry about them. They're just over-reacting."

"To?"

"I told them I would destroy the whole kingdom if Ayla got hurt while under their protection."  

Reina nearly tripped over her own feet in surprise. "Why would you do that!?" She yelled after rounding on him.

"Seemed like a good idea at the time." He shrugged.

"Your 'good idea' was to threaten your future in-laws with destruction if she got hurt?" 

"Yep."

"So... What... You'd just butcher them all if she got a paper cut?" She asked incredulously.

"Of course not."

Reina sighed in relief, "Oh thank god! For a second there, I thought—"

"I'd probably blast them from space. Butchering them would take far too long."

The blank expression he wore and the monotone way he'd said it sent a shiver down her spine... And not the pleasant kind. He continued to unblinkingly stare at her for several more seconds before he cracked a smile and said in a soft tone, "Relax, I'm just messing with you. I might be slightly unhinged after all these years, but genocide isn't something I like doing."

Reina exhaled the breath she didn't know she'd been holding and glared at him. "You're an ass."

"So I've been told."

She glared at him once more, then began walking again. She still had that feeling of uneasiness, but it was slowly fading the more she thought about what he said. Of course, he wouldn't just snap and indiscriminately kill people. He may have been an all-powerful god/asshole, but he was a good person deep down... really deep down.

A few more minutes of walking brought them to the entrance hall where Donna, Leon, Ayla, Findral, and Lokir were all waiting for them.

"Took you long enough."

"Lokir!" Torga held is arms out wide a gave him a pleasant smile. "It's been only a day, but it feels like weeks. Glad to see you've finally stopped crying like a little girl."

"And you're still an intolerable asshole."

"If it isn't broke, don't fix it." 

Lokir opened his mouth say something, but Ayla and Reina chose that moment to intervene.

"Boys!" "Ken!" They yelled simultaneously.

"Lokir, can you give us a few minutes."

"But—"

"Please..."

Lokir threw one last glare at Torga then walked over to the group of men standing guard at the front door.

"Must you always antagonize him?"

"Yes." Torga quietly laughed and pulled her into a hug. "I'm your dad. Not liking your boyfriend is kind of in the job description."

She laughed, rested her forehead against his chest, and closed her eyes for a moment.

"We'll give you two some privacy."

"No—" She pulled away and looked to Reina. "That's really not necessary." 

Ayla looked up at Torga and smiled at him with a tear in her eye. "You better come to visit me."

"Naturally."

"Good, I'm going to hold you to that."

"And I'm going to hold the both of you to your promise." 

Ayla gave him a confused look, but after a moment of thought her eyes widened and her face turned slightly pink.

"I—er... I was hoping you'd forgotten about that."

Torga just quirked a brow in response and gave her an unamused look.

"We'll keep it." She sighed in resignation.

"I'll make sure they follow through with their promise, master Torga." Findral interrupted with a smirk in Ayla's direction.

"That's my girl." 

"Traitor!" 

Ayla stepped back and briefly glanced to Lokir before setting her eyes on Torga. "I'll send you letters whenever possible." She looked to Reina, "Keep an eye on him for me?"

"Of course. I'll make sure he stays safe." 

Ayla snorted in response and walked away without another word.

"That's adorable..." Findral sighed, then followed after her mistress.

 Reina looked after the two in confusion then glanced at Torga's grinning face. "I missed something, didn't I?"

"She wasn't asking you to protect me. She was asking you to babysit me... The little brat." 

"That says a lot about you." Leon said with a clearly false smile on his face.

"You must be Leon."

"The one and only."

"Thank god."

Torga ignored Leon's reply and turned to look at Donna... Who was still in her revealing outfit.

"Hi!" She waved at him.

"You're... Barely dressed."

"Oh! It's my new dress. Do you like it?"

Reina's eye began to twitch and she stared at Donna with an odd expression on her face.

"Where's the rest of it?"

"It was made this way."

Torga glanced down at the deep cut of her robe that exposed a lot of cleavage, then back to her face and smiled. "You're going to be a pain in my ass, aren't you?"

"Huh?"

Torga ignored her and turned to see Reina glaring at him in annoyance. He leaned down and gave her a quick peck on the forehead without breaking eye contact with Donna and Leon, which elicited an involuntary smile from Reina and a frown of annoyance from them.

"This is going to be fun," Torga whispered into Reina's ear before kissing her neck, again, without breaking eye contact with her friends. Reina giggled at the kiss and they, as predicted, briefly frowned at the contact.

"Oh, this is going to be very fun."

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Kenaren

  • The insane snake handler

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