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“Hm…”

When Amelia woke up, she was looking up at a ceiling.

“Where am I?”

She tried to lift her upper body, but a sharp pain prevented her from doing so.

“Ah, you’re awake.”

She heard a voice and looked to her side and saw Sara smiling at her.

“Sara? Ah, I’m at your home.”

“That’s right. We brought you here after you defeated Murder Jack.”

Sara replied.

“Murder Jack….”

That’s when she remembered what she was doing before she passed out.

“I see. I won.”

“Yeah, you did.”

Sara smiled at her.

“At first I was worried and pleaded with Mr.Rory to help you, but it was just like he said. You were amazing the way you turned everything around.”

“Rory…”

Amelia gritted her teeth. If it wasn’t for him she wouldn’t have suffered as much as she did. What made her even angrier, was the fact that she didn’t know why he had done what he did.

That’s when the door opened.

“I sensed a beautiful woman passionately calling out my name.”

Rory walked in and said.

“You prick!”

Amelia ignored the pain and sat up. She glared at him with burning eyes.

“You, you drugged Murder Jack before he came here didn’t you?!”

“I did.”

Rory quickly admitted.

“I see.”

Amelia stretched her hand out and fire started dancing in it.

“Then I can turn you to ash with a peace of mind.”

She said.

“Remember your surroundings.”

Rory snapped his fingers and the flame in her palm was suddenly extinguished.

“?!”

This naturally shocked Amelia, because she didn’t know that such a thing was possible.

“Also, your body is injured. Using your anima can worsen your injuries if you’re not careful.”

It was only then that Amelia looked at her body. She was wrapped in bandages from head to toe.

‘This is pretty well done.’

She looked at Sara.

“Thank you for treating me.”

“Um, no. I wasn’t the one who treated you.”

Sara quickly explained.

“If you didn’t, then who?”

The moment she asked that a thought came to her, but she immediately denied it for her own convenience.

“Oh. That was me.”

Rory answered.

A jolt ran through her body when she heard that. The reason-

“…..Under these bandages, I’m completely naked.”

“I know. I was the one who removed your clothes because they were torn.”

Rory casually answered.

Amelia immediately imagined Rory scanning every inch of her naked body while treating her. This caused her to feel embarrassed as well as ashamed.

“There’s no reason to feel ashamed. You have a beautiful body.”

Rory told her.

This obviously didn’t make her feel any better. However, Rory continued.

“The current beauty of your body is something you should be proud of. Every muscle was crafted by your hard work. As well as the firmness of your skin and your overall physique, which is so charming that it looked like you were craved by the god of sculpting.”

“Mr.Rory!”

Sara quickly covered his mouth with her hand, to prevent him from saying any more.

“You’re saying so many embarrassing things. Amelia doesn’t seem to be used to having someone seeing and describing her naked body, so could you please stop?”

She whispered in his ear.

“Why? I’m only giving my honest evaluation. She’s heaven sent. What’s wrong with making her know that?”

Rory moved her hand and said.

“Sometimes honesty can be as deadly as poison!”

“It’s okay…”

Amelia said with her face red.

“Besides, she already saw me naked and even saddled me. What’s wrong with me doing the same?”

Sara was surprised to hear Rory say that and looked at Amelia.

Amelia could no longer look at her, especially since what Rory said is the truth.

She coughed.

“Anyway…”

She looked at Rory.

“Why did you drug Jack?”

“Well, when I heard about him I decided to make you fight him, hoping that he would push you past your limits, but when I went to check him out I was disappointed. I destroyed his gang and decided to drug him to make you have a hard time.”

Rory admittedly said.

“Why?”

Rory didn’t immediately answer, and smiled at her for a while.

“I’ll tell you once we leave.”

 

A week later, after being continuously treated by Rory Amelia was back on her feet again.

‘I wonder if this was his way of apologizing?’

She thought after seeing how much effort he put had toward treating her. She remembered how he treated her using not only anima, but strange techniques like poking her with needles and massaging her. She didn’t expect these methods to do much, but surprisingly they seemed to work faster than him using anima to treat her.

It made her wonder how he obtained his medical knowledge.

Today, She was sitting up on a bed while Rory rubbed her body with his hands. At first, him doing this made her nervous, but she soon found herself getting used to his touch.

Also, she could sense that he didn’t have any lustful thoughts while he touched her body. He was genuinely doing his best to treat her.

“Alright. Looks like you’re ready for traveling again.”

Rory stood up straight and said.

“Since that’s the case, we’ll leave in the morning.”

“Why so soon?”

“Didn’t you say you wanted to search for a place where you belong while traveling with me?”

Rory asked.

“Or do you want to stay here?”

Amelia shook her head.

“Forget what I said. Let’s leave in the morning.”

“I see. You’re worried about the siblings. But don’t worry, I already eliminated all the bandits group within a 10-mile radius from here. I also left them some money so that they can live in a better area in the town. If we do any more than that, it will be the same as spoiling them.”

Rory said.

“I know.”

Amelia replied.

“Hey….How do you always know what I’m feeling?”

“Because I read your heart.”

His reply confused her.

“I’ll explain it in the future. Just keep in mind that the things you can do with anima are basically limitless.”

The next morning, the two stood in front of a shabby house. This was the home of Sara and Kevin, where they were staying for the last week.

The siblings were standing at their doorway with a woman who looked like she spent her entire life in labour, but still held on to some of her beauty. She was the siblings' mother.

“Thank you again for saving this town.”

The mother bowed and said.

“No problem, Ma’am. All in a day’s work.”

Rory answered.

“Why are you saying that when I was the one who did the fighting?”

‘Besides, aren’t you at least twice her age?’

Amelia kept the last sentence in her mind.

“See ya, later you two. If you’re in the area please stop by.”

Sara said.

“Of course.”

Amelia answered with a smile.

The two then began to walk away from the family of three.

“Bye! Come visit sometimes!”

Kevin waved at them and said.

“Well, that’s if you’re alive then.”

Rory mumbled so that he alone could hear.

The two soon left Grace Town and returned to their traveling ways. They traveled down a path that led to flat plains. Because Rory had cleaned up all the bandits in the area, they didn’t come across anyone else for a while.

They soon entered a forest area that was filled with wildlife. Upon entering the forest, Rory stopped and looked at Amelia.

“Now seems like the perfect time to answer your questions.”

He leaned on a tree.

“Ok, shoot.”

“Aren’t you going to read my heart?”

“I only do that every once in a while. It’s a risky technique after all. If I’m not careful, I’ll become influenced by the person I’m reading, and begin to act like them.”

He answered.

“I see. Then I’ll ask you some questions.”

Rory showed a go-ahead gesture.

“First question. Why did you drug Murder Jack?”

“To push you beyond your limits.”

“Why did you want to do that?”

“Because I wanted you to awaken, but it was a failure.”

Rory said with a sigh.

“Awaken? Failure?”

Amelia was confused by what he said, seeing that Rory spoke.

“What do you know about the origin of humans?”

He asked.

“I was taught that humans are descendants of a primate beast, who evolved after grasping the concept of anima. Over time its descendants continued to evolve until we’ve reached our current states.”

Amelia answered.

“Good. But did you know that not all humans evolved from that Primate?”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean there are other branches of humans, who evolved from different beasts.”

“Is there really such a thing?”

Rory nodded.

“That’s what the ancient tablets of the gods said anyway.”

He said.

“Have you ever heard of the Smilodon?”

Amelia shook her head.

“The Smilodon is a powerful apex predator that existed millions of years ago. If you want to a description of how it looked, it was very similar to a tiger; only with long fangs.”

He pointed at the saber on Amelia's waist.

“It was nicknamed the Sabertooth Cat/Tiger.”

Amelia subconsciously touched her saber when she heard that.

“Anyway, a Smilodon somehow gained an understanding of Anima and evolved just like the primate beast. However, its descendants were far superior to the primate’s. They possessed superior physical traits, durability, mental capabilities, and even the way they used anima was different. These descendants became known as the Lodon, taken from the word Smilodon.”

He pointed at her.

“You’re a Lodon.”

Amelia remembered how time seemed to move slowly around her allowing her to think faster than usual when she was in a desperate state, as well as how she was able to better handle Murder Jack’s attacks after being pushed to the limit.

She didn’t know how to react to this and what Rory said, and just stared at him.

“Don’t worry. You’re still ‘human’. In fact, nowadays most of the Lodon bloodline has mixed with the primate’s descendants so much that they pretty much lost their advantage.”

Rory said.

“But that’s only if you don’t awaken.”

“What happens if I awaken?”

Amelia asked.

“You’ll revert back to a Lodon and become a superior human, you might say.”

“……….”

Amelia had a complex expression on her face. Even though she was hailed as a genius in Buchse, she knew how weak she was after meeting Rory. She even almost died when facing Jack, so she would be lying if she said she didn’t desire strength.

It’s just that something bugged her.

“Why do you want me to awaken my Lodon blood?”

“Because if you’re going to be my companion, you need strength. I have some super strong enemies you know.”

Rory said.

“Why doesn’t that feel like the complete reason?”

Amelia said.

“I think it has something to do with why you want me around you.”

She said.

“Oh? You’re quite insightful.”

Rory smiled.

“You’re right. One of the main reasons I want you around is because you’re a Lodon. I have a past with your kind, and honestly just seeing that sunset like hair of your people put me at ease.”

She saw Rory looked at her with a gentle gaze, but for some reason, she felt like that gaze wasn’t meant for her, but for someone in the distant past.

“So I’m just a replacement, and a means to calm yourself.”

“Women sure have a habit of complicating stuff.”

He walked up to her and placed his hand on her chin.

“You are you. You’ll never be someone’s replacement, so removed that thought from your mind before it becomes something that will haunt you.”

He placed a kiss on her forehead and smiled at her.

“Besides, I said that I loved how pure and beautiful your anima is. That is something that drew me to you the most.”

He stepped back and gave her some distance.

The last couple things he said made Amelia feel strange, but not unpleasant.

“I have another question.”

“Go ahead.”

Amelia took a deep breath before speaking.

“Are you a Lodon too?”

“Why would you ask that?”

“I’ll be honest. You don’t really seem human to me. After fighting Murder Jack I’ve learned something. If it was you facing him, you would’ve instantly killed him.”

Rory smiled when he heard that.

“That is true. Someone on that level can be killed by me using my pinky.”

‘As arrogant as it sounds, I don’t think he’s just boasting.”

Amelia thought.

“So are you a Lodon?”

“Of course not. I said that I was familiar with your kind, that alone means I’m not one.”

Rory answered.

He looked at her and said-

“Devil King Rory is 100% human.”

“So why are you so strong? I saw you reduce people to heaps of flesh with a punch, and I didn’t even see you use a hint of Anima.”

“There are two things incorrect about what you said.”

Rory replied.

“First, humans aren’t weak outside of you Lodons. There are strong humans like those descended from the Megalania, the Megals who rival Lodons in every way. There are also regular humans who became strong through mastering anima.”

He lifted up two fingers.

“Second, even though they looked like simple attacks made with my bare hands, every attack you’ve seen me use, has anima incorporated at the core of it.”

“Then why can’t I see your anima?”

Amelia asked, after she decided to ask what a Megal was another time.

“That’s because you haven’t been taught how to see anima.”

Rory answered.

“You see, anima isn’t something that is supposed to be seen by just anyone unless it’s being used to form something. If anyone can see your anima whenever you’re using it, it means that you have poor anima control and is simply wasting it.”

He explained.

“A true master’s anima can’t be seen with the naked eye, because of how condensed and controlled it is, allowing maximum result with minimum anima.”

Amelia was immediately drawn in by Rory’s words. Seeing that he said-

“This is a good time. How about I give you a lesson on anima that you desperately need to survive in this world?”

 

 

 

 

 

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Kodyak Combs

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