Meira was briskly walking towards the living room as it was on the way to the mansion’s bedroom where her Master usually resided. If he wasn’t there, he should be in the laboratory. She had gone looking for him already once an hour or so ago, where he should have returned from his lesson, but it appeared he had other engagements. That made sense; he was an important figure after all.
She herself had also gone to a single lesson so far. Meira had felt incredibly out of place, but no one had really commented on her presence or spoken to her. They had just left her alone as she had listened to the teacher about finding her own Path… something Meira had never even considered doing before. Something she still had to admit she found unrealistic.
Making her way forward, she believed she heard voices from the living room. It was difficult to tell as the materials the mansion was made of had phenomenal sound isolation tens if not hundreds of times more effective than what buildings back at her clan had been built with.
A bit nervous, she considered if her Master had visitors and if there were, then why she hadn’t been called to attend to them. Then again, perhaps it was something private, so she reconsidered if she should just wait outside until the visitor left.
Ultimately, she decided to show herself. Something she actually felt a bit proud of, as it was one of the most important things from the lesson she had taken: to be assertive and take control of your own destiny. That included not hesitating as much in your daily life but moving forward even if there may be some difficulties.
Besides, she didn’t believe her Master would get disappointed or angry even if she entered. At worst, she would be made to leave, right?
With that in mind, she opened the door into the mansion’s living room as she bowed and said. “Excuse me, I-“
She instantly stopped as she saw the two people sitting there. Her Master on one side holding a bottle in his hand and a scaled being she would be unable to ever forget. She instantly fell to her knees and placed her head against the floor as she deeply regretted just walking in.
“This one greets the Malefic One!”
“Meira, just get up. There is no reason for that,” her Master said. Meira was a bit confused at the command and was conflicted if she should follow it or not. On the one hand, the orders of her Master were above anything else, but on the other hand, it was the Malefic One…
“This is my mansion, right?” she heard her Master say, directed not at her but the Malefic One.
“Yep. Even if we can argue if you own it or not, you are most definitely a legal tenant.”
“In that case, I repeat, please get up, Meira. You also live here, and you most certainly don’t have to bow to someone within your own home,” her Master said again. It was the kind of thing he had said so many times before like it was natural…
“Breaking through a lifetime of conditioning is not done with a few words Jake,” she heard the Malefic One say in a weird voice that sounded odd to her… it was almost friendly?
Meira was still not daring to look up, but she heard footsteps as someone approached her. Based on the sound, it was her Master, and she felt him place a hand on her shoulder. “Come on, just get up… he won’t do anything, and nothing will happen if you do. I promise.”
“Big promises from a D-grade with a literal Primordial in the room,” the Malefic One said, making Meira shiver again.
“Villy, how about I reveal myself as your Chosen and begin spreading the word that you have decided to declare war on all mushrooms and initiate a righteous crusade?”
“You wouldn’t dare!”
Meira just knelt there, shaking and a bit confused. She truly couldn’t comprehend what was happening as the two seemed to do what she could only describe as banter? It just didn’t make any sense or conform to her worldview. A Chosen was an instrument of a god… their mortal representation, prophets, and sometimes even avatars. But… her Master and the Malefic One wasn’t like that, or was this just how it was supposed to work? Wait… were they trying to fool her? Was this some kind of elaborate experiment she was just too dumb to understand? Send her to a lesson about finding her own Path, just to-“
“Fine,” the Malefic One said as she felt another presence approach. She couldn’t resist as she felt her own body moving, and she was lifted to stand upright as she stared right at the Malefic One. She couldn’t even blink as she felt like passing out upon looking into the eyes of the Primordial.
“Girl. Jake and I are friends, and I do agree that with your presence being a continued element, this entire thing would get boring soon. I have absolutely no interest in you, and Jake is a simple-minded fellow who genuinely has no interest in treating you as a slave. You aren’t worth an experiment. You aren’t interesting enough for me to care about outside of your connection to my buddy. You are just a slave who got extremely lucky to find yourself where you are right now, so thank your luck and be grateful. And for the sake of everyone’s sanity, just relax. I won’t do anything to you as long as Jake has any interest in you.”
Meira wanted to open her mouth as the words echoed in her head, but the situation became too much for her as she felt her brain slowly shut down, and she passed out. Her last thought was her wondering if she would ever wake up again after treating not only her Master but the Malefic One with such disrespect and ignoring the order she had just been given.
“Well, that went exactly as expected,” Villy said as he shrugged. Jake caught Meira with a few strings of mana and lifted her over to a couch, where he laid her down.
“While I don’t think you were the nicest, I don’t think you said anything to pass out over,” Jake said, wondering out loud.
“Jake, you repeatedly misunderstand some very basic things of the multiverse. While I can hide my presence and appearance and everything else, that entire subterfuge becomes meaningless if they actually know who I am. The instinctive suppression remains, and they will still feel like they are in the presence of a Primordial the second they become aware of me,” Villy shook his head. “It makes it impossible to have any meaningful and genuine interactions with those of lower grades. Even if they act normal, that is little more than having a constant fight to resist and not at all enjoyable for either party.”
Jake frowned a bit at this. He knew it was a thing – kind of – but he couldn’t really relate for obvious reasons. He couldn’t imagine the feeling they had, as he, quite frankly, was incapable of feeling it. It was like asking a blind person to think about colors.
But… he also understood him being him was the only reason he and a Primordial could get along as they did.
“I guess that means having house parties with you attending wouldn’t work,” Jake sighed.
“Sadly not, at least not if people know who I am, and if they don’t, then what is even the point?” the snake god also sighed.
“True. I guess it will take Meira a while to just at least get partly used to it, at least enough to deal. From what I know, being near me helps build up resistance,” Jake answered.
“It does, but it does not mean they will suddenly be okay. They still know logically they are in my presence, and they will still be on edge more than when they are around you. They just won’t be suppressed in the same fashion, even if they will be suppressed,” the Viper explained.
“Hm,” Jake frowned. “I guess the only option is for you to invite some of your friends then. You do have other god friends, right?”
“More like subordinates, and they can be even worse than mortals in some circumstances. Anyone besides Duskleaf, you, and a few other gods I would consider myself friends; there really isn’t anyone. And getting such a crowd together would be a momentous occasion and no-doubt lead to much interest and scrutiny,” Villy said, shaking his head at the notion.
Jake just shrugged as he swept the beer bottle off the table. “Guess it is just the two of us and the occasional Duskleaf then.”
“Better that way,” Villy agreed. “And it isn’t like mortals can’t get more used to me. I have had mortal servants in the past, and I have met plenty of mortals. I will forever have to deal with either reverence, fear, or both, but that I am used to.”
“Life is truly lonely at the top,” Jake chuckled.
“A little less than it used to be, though,” the god said as he also took a drink of his own beer.
The two of them chatted a bit more about unimportant matters before Jake had to leave for his next lesson. He did feel a bit bad about just leaving Meira passed out on the couch, so he left a note before he left through the gateway. This lesson was in neurotoxicology, so that should be fun.
Vilastromoz appeared in his divine realm as he left Jake’s little mansion. He smirked a bit to himself as he looked at the bottle in his hand. He let it go, seeing it slowly be disintegrated by the passive mist dominating his realm as he closed his eyes, deep in thought.
A moment later, he opened them again as he teleported once more, appearing in a small oasis of his realm. The only place where life existed in what was otherwise a land of desolation.
The Viper looked at the two obelisks in the center, the perfect black obsidian stone unblemished and the runes upon them forever humming with power. The talk today had brought back memories that he was incapable of forgetting… quite literally. He went over and put his hand on the smaller of the two obelisks as he once more closed his eyes, just allowing himself to be stuck in the past for a second before letting go again.
He looked at the far larger obelisk as Vilastromoz smiled faintly. “Yeah yeah, I know; I’m doing fine…”
Talking to himself was not healthy… but he knew exactly what she would have said and done.
“Even if I do now have a friend to hang out with, I am not forgetting you two,” he smiled. “In fact… I believe this time outside of my realm has led me closer than ever.”
Jake returned from his lesson far more tired than when he left. He walked a bit wobbly as his one leg wasn’t quite able to move yet, and for some reason, he couldn’t open the one eyelid. Well, okay, he knew why. The lesson included some practical portions. In other words, he got infused by the teacher, who used some kind of poison magic on him that numbed his entire damn body.
This did allow Palate to do work, but even with it in legendary rarity, he wasn’t a match for the C-grade teacher’s poison magic. The woman was a real hard-ass and just applied some extra on those who managed to resist, and with her peak C-grade power, no one present could resist, not even the one other C-grade Jake detected.
As he wobbled into his residence, he was met by Meira, who sat kneeling in the entrance chamber, having clearly waited for him. When she saw him walk weirdly, she hurriedly asked. “Ma… what is wrong?”
Jake didn’t feel like correcting her as he waved it off. “Neurotoxins, part of a lesson. More importantly, how are you feeling?”
He hadn’t expected what she did next – even if he probably should have – as she practically threw herself to the floor as she pressed her head against the tiled floor. “I apologize for disappointing the Malefic One and the Chosen like such! I swear I wi-“
“Meira… this is what we talked about not being necessary,” Jake just smiled as he shook his head. “And don’t you have a lesson starting in a bit?”
She looked almost surprised at Jake mentioning it. Jake wasn’t sure if she was surprised he knew she had a lesson or when it was, or that he still wanted her to go to lessons. Nevertheless, she nodded in confirmation.
“Well, then you better get going.”
“Is it certain I should not offer any assistance?” Meira asked unsurely.
“No need. This is part of the experience. I am learning what the poison does to my body to better understand the effects of neurotoxins. And, Meira, what the Viper said is the truth. I don’t wish you any harm; he doesn’t care enough about you to cause you harm, so you are good. Just focus on your lessons and figure out what you want your future to be like,” Jake said, as he shooed her away to get to her own lesson, even if she would be a bit early.
He just wanted her out of the mansion for now as he wanted to hurry over to the lab. He hobbled over as he became able to blink properly again on the way. The neurotoxins had odd effects, and Jake felt like he had a good idea about how it worked even after just one lesson.
Needless to say, the nature of neurotoxins had changed with the system. neurotoxins before the system were toxins that destroyed nerve tissue or were otherwise able to damage them, effectively immobilizing foes. Due to how it worked, high enough doses could easily cause permanent mental damage. He definitely wasn’t sure about the detailed way of how neurotoxin worked, but he was sure it had been very sciency.
After the system, some parts of neurotoxins were no longer factors or properties. Mental damage was not a thing anymore. In fact, it wasn’t a thing, period. Memories and such ultimately belonged to the soul, same as personality and everything that before resided in the brain, and nothing could directly damage that as it was rooted in the Truesoul.
Nerves were not really a factor either. Jake could have tendons cut, and nerves severed all day, every day, and still be able to move just fine due to his magic body powered by stamina. This meant neurotoxins didn’t actually target the body most often, but the metaphysical framework of the body that stamina ran through. This did not cause damage long-term but just temporarily hampered movement. In other words, neurotoxins were simply a restrictive poison.
There were also types that hit the physical body and made them almost in “stasis,” but that was a bit more complicated.
All in all, he was glad he had begun making neurotoxins because he was sure they would be useful in the future. In fact, he was sure all of his lessons would lead to great gains as he felt like he was finally getting into the groove of the entire school thing and was looking forward to all the things it offered.