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A note from Orange_Rain

Let me first give thanks to the readers who took the time to put in critiques in their comments over the last few chapters. Please understand that while this isn't my first time publishing a story on a site--I used to write and post a few fanfictions before this--but this is my first original story that I'm spreading out to multple sites with large numbers of readers that gives variable feedback. I wrote a bunch of chapters ahead of time before I started publishing them to get a good start, but it's thanks to you guys and your constructive feedback that I had to rethink the plot again and again and make the necessary changes to make this story a good experience for me to write as well as for you to read.

I admit that I wished I could've changed some things early on, but unless it's something like a sensitive subject that needs to be addressed, I don't want to go back and change what's already set in stone. I want to make use of what I already have and figure out how to make it better from there. I hope you guys will also stick with me while I'm on this personal journey of mine and enjoy the ride as much as I'm having.

Thank you for your time and have a nice read.

When we got back inside, we were stopped by one of the guild staff and was told to wait in one of the meeting rooms upstairs for further instructions. After requesting some water to be sent up, we all went to the designated meeting room upstairs. The meeting room has a few rows of tables and chairs along with one of those podiums that makes the place look like a sort of classroom. Having no idea where to sit, I just take the centermost spot in the room. Ren, Erizora, and Ms. Gallofree take my right in that order, while Umeiyon and Lili take my left. It took very little time for the water to arrive, of which we take a moment to quench our thirst.

“So, how did things go in the church, Master?” Ren asks.

“Ah, right. I can’t go into details just yet, but I think it’s safe to say that I’ll be put in as a black-ranked adventurer.”

“Ohh! That’s wonderful news, Master!” Ren exclaims while she and Erizora applaud me.

“So, with Ren being green, me a blue, and Master as black, the three of us put together as a party may be ranked as a blue or red,” Erizora guesses.

“Well, whatever we end up, I’ll be counting on you two to help me learn the norms of the Demon-Kin’s Territory as we go on quests. It’s so overwhelmingly different for me just being here that I’m starting to have difficulty keeping up with everything.”

“You can count on us, Master, though personally, you might not have very much trouble fitting in with how strong you already are. You got an Ogre’s guarantee that everyone will be looking to you with respect and admiration at first sight,” Erizora declares while thumping a fist on her impressive chest. The way it ripples from the impact is almost mesmerizing.

“Not only that, but you’ll be swarmed with many girls who’ll want to be your mate,” Ren adds. “And … do you mind if I speak honestly, Master?”

“Of course, Ren.”

She then puts a hand on her modest bosom. “While Eri and I are your officially owned slaves to do with as you please, though we normally aren't in place to even say what we want, as I have confessed over lunch, I hope our party can grow into a wonderful pack where we’d live happily, and that we have a chance to share as much fun times and experiences together as you will with your potential mates … and yes, that includes mating,” Ren finishes with a slight blush.

“… Does that go for you as well, Erizora?” I ask her.

“Y-Yes, the same as what Ren said and what I confessed over lunch as well.”

<“I gotta admit, having such a big, strong woman being a masochistic sub is definitely something not many will ever come by,”> Nyra comments.

“Is it normal … for demons to go straight to mating after first meeting someone in a day?” I ask out of curiosity.

“How mates are acknowledged and formed varies between races, but from what I’ve heard, yes, there are pairings who’ve become successful partners even after meeting them for one day. I like to think we just have good instincts in these things that makes us confident in the choices of our mates, even if it’s just from seeing them for the first time. It’s akin to what humans refer to as ‘love at first sight,’ I think the saying goes. Of course, there are people like those of the Succubi who aren’t looking for committing partners but have good eyes and instincts on mating and seek those who’re capable of that, and then there are those who just mate for the sake of pleasure, and that’s where brothels come in.”

“Wait, mates ‘mating,’ like doing that? There are people who get together just for that? ‘Brothels?’ What now?” Umeiyon mumbles to herself, looking confused. I couldn’t make out the words.

“I see … well, please understand that I need some time to think and adjust before we get to that point. I’m not sure I can just accept every offer given to me, either. I’m not just speaking as a human, but as a man who hasn’t got so much attention from girls in that way before while growing up. I honestly still can’t believe there are girls who actually do see me in that way, just going by my experiences with them in the past back home.”

“Believe me, there are plenty here who do, and that includes the two of us. Right?” Ren asks Erizora, to which she nods in agreement.

“Master Kotori, may I … also confess in something?” Ms. Gallofree asks.

“What is it?” I ask.

“I have thought of this quite hard after the events from last night, and the things I have seen so far today have only ascertained my decision.” Ms. Gallofree then suddenly takes a knee (at least the best she can with her horse lower-body). “I know thou hast said thou will save the favor I owe to thee until a later time, but for saving my life last night, I feel this may be the best way for me to pay my debt. Please, allow me to join thy party and serve thee as thy servant, as thy trusted steed.”

“Um … steed?”

“She’s saying she wants to be your riding horse,” Lili translates. “Which is sort of peculiar, because don’t Centaurs hate humans riding on them?”

“There was a time when we did not get along with humans or any race capable of getting on our backs; however, a Champion changed all that when he valiantly saved a life of our own kind one day. That moment became a legend of which few of us wish to see come to fruition; to serve under a human who sees us as allies and not tamable, abominated animals. I am secretly one of those few, and with my uncle’s guidance without his knowing of my intentions and motivations, I have honed my body for battle since I was able to pick up a weapon. Even if I may never find such a human, especially when bridges between kin art starting to build, I wanted to serve a rightful cause; thus, leading me to be an adventurer.

“I was beginning to think my hopes were becoming something like childish dreams … until thou came along, Master Kotori.”

“Listen, that sounds awesome and all, but I’m not as valiant or good of a person you’re making me out to be. I save or beat the crap of whoever I want, no matter if they’re human, demi, or demon. I’m not really a hero if I was able to beat, pilfer goods, and kill all of those guys last night just because they pissed me off.”

“If that is so, then why did thee save me?”

“… I dunno, it just sort of happened.”

“Master Kotori, there art few in number who would put their lives on the line to save another as a first response, and even fewer if the person they art saving is so different from them. Thy battle tactics may be concerning, but thy quick judgments and decision-making from last night, as well as all the scars I have seen on thy body, they spoke thy story to me more than any other ever would. If that is not enough to speak what kind of person thou art to be, just look at the girls who art with thee now, those who do see thee as more than what thou can for thyself.

“I will speak to my uncle the truth about my wishes, I can be the legs that carry thee when thou art weary, I can pull more of a loaded cart on my own than thou may think, I can be thy knight who thou can use as a sword and shield, just please, give me a chance to prove myself worthy to serve thee, to be a companion in your new party!”

“… Just so you know, I’m planning on meeting the Demon King.”

My statement makes Ms. Gallofree’s eyes widen.

“Nothing too serious or life-threatening, mind you, I’m just seeking information that may help me figure out what’s going on in my personal matters,” I continue while pointing my eyes, knowing she witnessed how they were last night. “Despite that, there are bound to be more enemies than you might expect from Nyra’s power, my ridiculously low LUCK, and my annoying ability that attracts strong enemies combined. Even if I want to live a stress-free, peaceful, laid-back life, that might be impossible for me, and the same could be said for you if you stick by me. Do you still want to come with me despite knowing all that?”

“On the contrary! I could not be more thrilled to want to join thee in thy adventures any more than I do now! An arduous journey of peril and hardship, seeking an audience with the Demon King who may hold the answers to the mysteries that is thy true self, all before fighting to the main goal of everlasting peace. Yes! Tis certainly the kind of life I want to be a part of, and the possibilities of who and what we may run into art endless!

“Give me a test, a trial, something to prove me worthy to joining thee on this personal quest! I must join thy party! I just have to! Please!”

“Okay! Okay! You can join!”

“Really?!” she responds with sparkling eyes.

“But only if your uncle’s okay with it. Also, I’m not aiming to gain ‘everlasting peace’ for the world. I just want to live a simpler life after figuring out what the heck is even going on with me and my body.”

“Tis enough for me! I thank thee for considering!”

“By the way, how old are you, anyway?”

“I turned 20 a few months ago, actually!”

So, a little younger than me, but still old enough to be considered an adult. Unless her uncle’s really overbearing, I don’t think she’ll have any problems getting permission. Not only that, but she’s a blue-ranked adventurer, and she doesn’t look to have a romantic interest in me, just in the adventure aspect, right? I don’t know how okay it is for her to do labors that are fitting for a horse, but I’ll just have to respect her decisions as a person to be able to work together, so I shouldn’t have to worry about anything weird sprouting between us … right?

<“Hm, I don’t know. That depends on how you’ll respond to seeing her you-know-what if you ask me.”>

Okay, that’s not even funny, Nyra.

“Just so we’re in the clear, I’m just a tailoress with minimal combat capabilities,” Lili now speaks. “I won’t be joining in on your crazy adventures when I have my own shop to tend to, but you’re welcome to submit commissions to me. I can even make stuff that will help you survive in your battles. Though, I do hope you’ll find time for us just to have an outing or two.”

“Yeah, of course.” I might as well have her be my go-to person for all of my clothes. Spider silk is really strong from what I’ve read, so I can only imagine how much they’d resemble something like armor if she spins the kind for the job needed.

<“Plus, you’re wanting to continue where you left off in the cellar, are you?”>

… Not like I’m putting that on such high importance, but I’d still like to see it if she’s willing.

“It’s a shame you won’t join us, Lili, but it sounds like it can’t be helped,” Umeiyon says while shrugging her shoulders.

“… ‘Us?’” Ren asks for me.

“Naturally, I’ll be going with Jinma Kotori as his mate while we’re on his adventures. I may not understand finding his ‘true self’ as Kalline Gallofree described, but, as long as he has me on his side, he won’t have to worry about any hindrances getting in our way.”

“Yeah, can you finally explain to us what’s going on with that, Jinma?” Lili asks.

“Right …”

I then give them all a short version of Umeiyon’s problem without revealing her true identity.

“Okay, I think I understand what’s really going on now,” Lili says.

“But art there really so few Lizardmen left in the world that they art close to extinction? I mean, I heard they do not usually leave so far away from their land, and Ms. Umeiyon is the first Lizardman I have seen in person. I do not know much of how they keep their population stable, but would Master Kotori be enough to help save it?” Ms. Gallofree asks.

“I believe so, at least for a start,” Umeiyon answers. “From what I’ve been told, we need strong, capable males to mate with the fittest females in order to ensure our race to continue residing in this world. Jinma Kotori not only shows both but also has high intelligence with strong potential in magic. It has never been brought up before, but I believe expanding out to other races is the key for our survival, and I believe he’s the best male for the job.”

“Listen, Umeiyon, I’ve been meaning to say this for a while, but some … stuff happened that kind of prevented me of that. I can’t help you save your race from extinction.”

By ‘stuff,’ I mainly meant how she turned into a fully-grown Dragon in front of my eyes and I was terrified to see how quickly her mood could turn 180 from how happy she was before.

Umeiyon jolts her head to me with widened eyes filled with disbelief. “W-What?”

“I know I should’ve said this sooner to save you the trouble, but … I was scared, all right? You were so happy when you saw my status, and I don’t ever want to hurt a nice, cute girl in such a state when she hasn’t done me or others any wrong, but I know now that I can only turn someone down so gently in matters like these. [Storage, Out].”

Appearing in my open palm is a hefty pouch that I set up well ahead of time after I counted all the money I had out in that field. I gently take one of Umeiyon’s claws and put the pouch in the center of it.

“It may not be enough, but the least I could do is return the money you gave me in your outburst. I had to spend some of it to repair some damages and redeeming Ren and Erizora, but I covered it with my own. It should all be there and accounted for.”

“H-Hold on, by ‘repair some damages,’ you mean, from what you gave to …” Ren trails off. I could only nod to her when she was getting an idea of the money I gave to Ms. Tephalia.

“W-Why?” Umeiyon asks, looking desperate while setting the pouch aside. “Why can’t you help me?! Is it me? Is my form repulsive to you?! E-Even if it is, I only need a child, or two, or three if you’re generous, and I can take care of things from there!”

I lightly shake my head. “I could never leave a woman with such a heavy burden as raising a child on their own, and I’m not ready to settle down and be a parent. There’s so much of this world I want to explore, so many interesting people I want to meet, and if there comes a time I get into that situation, I heard word of a Null Spell that I can use to prevent pregnancy, so I can get into those situations with no worries.”

““You can?!”” the other girls in the room exclaim.

“I don’t know how long it’s going to be before I feel I’m ready to settle, and I don’t want an open-minded, intelligent girl like you to wait for someone like me when there are better guys out there who are more willing to help you. Finally, what’s most important to me for why I can’t do this is because I don’t want to be a part of something that’s considered a ‘duty’ that neither party would enjoy. I mean, I’m definitely sure I’ll enjoy it, but I want the girl I’m doing it with feeling the same, if not more, as I do when we’re sharing such an amazing experience together. It may not be perfect for my first time when it comes, but I want to at least have it as something I can remember and look back to fondly.”

Umeiyon stands there looking more confused than she was when I first turned her down. She takes a moment to contemplate before looking to me with a quirked brow. “Is getting a child really that complicated? And what is this ‘pregnancy’ you spoke of?”

““…””

It’s as if the entire world stopped and fell into silence at such a bold question.

… No, it can’t be. She may not have as much common sense to the working world as another might normally would and she’s a different race from me, but she couldn’t not know how that works at her age, whatever that is, being a Dragon … could she?

“Okay, I’ll bite first,” Lili says. “Ms. Umeiyon … where do you think babies come from?”

“Well … from what my father had told me, a male and female who are acknowledged as mates first get together in a private area. Then, they make a loud enough noise that the Immortals from above can hear. Heeding the mates’ call, they send a Clork that flies down from above, beak-delivering the child wrapped by silk a cloth to the expecting parents. That’s what I’ve been told on where babies come from, and honestly, I do not know what difference it makes if we switch out with a male of our kind for one from another, or heck, why we can’t make more noise for the Immortals to send more Clorks down … is there something funny I’m missing?”

<“Well, she’s right that there’s lots of noise involved, at least!”>

Outside of Nyra who’s laughing like a maniac in my mind, the other girls turn themselves away and are doing their utmost best to not break out into guffaws as well. I can only stand there and get cold feet for how dire Umeiyon’s situation is.

I could almost break into tears over how pure Umeiyon really is, too.

“… Let me just ask this, Umeiyon. Do the babies come in eggs?” I ask.

“Eggs? Why would babies come in a form so likely to be eaten?”

“…”

“U-Um … Jinma Kotori? Why are you embracing me?”

It’s a bit awkward in this position with how she’s half a head taller than me, but I don’t mind it. “I’ll take responsibility. I promise to teach you the best I’m able to about this subject, the truth that your father held out on you, but … be prepared for some mental scarring, and I pray to the Immortals that you’ll understand by then why having a child with me will be more … difficult than you might think. Maybe even impossible. We’ll put the mate question aside for now, but will you stay with us for a little longer until then?”

“W-Well … if my father was holding something out on me, I would certainly like to know the truth, I’m not expected to head back home anytime soon, and I’m not in a hurry to have a child, so … as long as you’re offering, I suppose I could indulge you of my presence for a little while longer,” Umeiyon answers as she hugs me back. “I-In the meantime, I’ll just call you ‘Jin’ to save breath, and I thought I already told you that you’re allowed to call me by that other name.”

“I don’t mind that at all, Ume.”

“… A-As long as you understand.” I notice then how fast her heart is racing, or it could be both of ours since we’re pressing each other like this, but this isn’t unwelcoming for me.

[Umeiyon’s Affinity is now unlocked. Current level of Affinity: LV 1; Total Affinity Level: 3

[You may now use the Affinity Skill: ‘Dragon’s Blessing!’ Cost: 5 AP]

Werewolf’s Fangs, Ogre’s Rage, and now Dragon’s Blessing. I need to have a word with Ms. Obina on what the heck all of these are.

“*Ehen!* Am I interrupting something here?”

We turn to see Eugus, the one who was asking earlier, and Ms. Zelshen at the door that leads out of the meeting room. I then look back and see Ume and I still holding each other.

“O-Oh, no, we’re just finishing up here.”

“…”

“Um, you can let go now, Ume.”

“5 more minutes. Or better yet, just get to business while you let me do this throughout the whole thing.” To emphasize how much she doesn’t want to let go, she squeezes me tighter while wrapping her reptilian tail around me.

“… She is not going to let go of me, is she?”

“Well, with how ‘charming’ thou art with demons, this may be something thou will deal with most of the time, and I heard Lizardmen can be pretty possessive of their mates, so I will say thou hast the best of luck in thy romantic life, Jinma,” Eugus says.

That’s the Lizardmen, though. I’m a little worried of how Dragons are with their mates, and if my ‘Charm’ is anything to go by as he implies … can I really survive this?

On another note, I learned later that ‘Clorks’ are apparently rare, harmless, flying feathered reptile monsters that have been said to bring expecting parents good fortune for their children if they spot one. Maybe the childish story of how they deliver babies are derived from that like the storks were back in my world?

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About the author

Orange_Rain

  • United States

Bio: Hello and welcome. You may call me Orange Rain, and I looooove orange soda.

I not only like to read novels of many kinds, but I also like to write them. The stories published here will be in webnovel.com as well, so if you can, I'd appreciate it if you could support me on both platforms. I also like to read any professional critiques people may have on my works in order for me to become a better writer.

Thank you for your time, and I hope you'll enjoy what I have in store.

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