A note from Selkie

Part 3 of 3

The sun was setting, and I found a spot to hang out near The Blue Harpoon. Pouch was full, and well-guarded. Mangos acquired. I was darn [Pretty].

My heart was pounding.

My belly was doing flip-flops.

I had an invasion of butterflies in my stomach.

Sweaty palms, short breath, and a tight chest. I kept pulsing [Phases of the Moon] through me, and I seriously considered ‘blacklisting’ ‘first date nerves’ on [Center of the Galaxy].

I didn’t, mostly because it was non-combat, and because if I turned off every inconvenient emotion, I wouldn’t be human anymore. No, I’d ride the emotional rollercoaster, and enjoy it, as much as I could.

I froze, as a thought crashed over me like a thunderbolt.

What if Jaclyn didn’t like [Pretty] girls? What if her style was more masculine?

Bah. I was [Pretty], and she’d take me as I was.

Oh goddesses I hope she’d take me as I was. The thought was… pleasant.

What if she changed her mind? What if she stood me up? What if she…

Round and round my thoughts went, self-doubt rising.

The sun set, and the moons rose, voyeurs to my first date. I shook my fist at them, only to hear a high, clear laugh.

“Jaclyn!” I said, jumping.

“Not a fan?” She asked, nodding up.

I shook my head.

“Not at all. Here! A mango! I love em!” I said, handing her one of my precious ambrosia made fruit.

She gave it a casual look, putting it into her bag.

“Thank you! Want to go for a walk?” She asked.

She wanted to walk! She didn’t want to just politely let me know she wasn’t interested!

“Of course! Your dress is so nice!” I said, falling in step beside her. She was about a head taller than me, and it was nice.

“Thanks!” She said.

My high went down like three notches when she didn’t return the compliment.

“Want to get something to eat?” I asked, figuring this was safe territory.

She glanced at me, eyeing me up and down hungrily. She hesitated, then bent over to whisper in my ear.

“I’d love a little snack later.”

Did she mean…?

My high went right back to 10/10, then proceeded to break that and end up at a solid 13/10.

“I’m very tasty.” I said, trying to flirt back. She smiled at me as she drew back up to her full height.

“I hope so!” She said, winking.

I felt bold enough to grab her hand, and wow, she must have a lot of physical stats. I checked her out with [Identify].


Like 130 or so? Was that typical for someone of her age? Did Artisans have a lot of strength? Depended what type I guess.

Even mentally I was babbling.

I suddenly realized – I had no idea what was normal. I’d been handling Classers, guards, high-level people in cities, but didn’t have that great of a barometer for normal.

“How old are you?” I decided to make some idle conversation. Got a sour look in return.

“Older than I’d like to admit!” She cheerfully told me.

Alright, alright. Hint taken.

This date was feeling strange. She was showing interest – a lot of interest – but only sometimes, and was being cagey about personal things. Like what she actually did. “Worked in the family business” was as vague as possible.

A food vendor was selling strips of seasoned roasted beef, a small crackling fire dimly lighting up his stand. I was feeling a bit peckish, so I stopped and looked.

“Could you get that one?” Jaclyn asked, pointing to an unseasoned one at the end.

I shrugged, not really having any dog in the game. “Sure! Do you want one?”

“Nah, I’m good.”

A quick negotiation later, and we were continuing to walk through the streets, making small talk. Things were getting somewhat better, I polished off my snack, and soon we were near the park.

“Walk in the park with me?” Jaclyn asked, a glint of mischief in her voice promising maybe doing a bit more than walking.

“Yeah!” I said.

The moons were out in full force, and they were reflected red in her eyes. Goddesses, her eyes. They were so beautiful. So charming.

Heck, she might even have something like [Charming Eyes]. I wanted to get lost in them. I wanted to swim in them.

We made our way through the park somewhat, getting to a little, private grassy hill. She turned, and, hesitating a moment, leaned down to kiss me.

My heart was going to explode out of my chest with how fast it was beating, an entire drumline furiously beating.

She was going to kiss me!!!!!!

I tilted my head back, feeling her strong arms around me, her soft body pressing into me, strawberry lips pressing on mine.

I gave a happy squeal, lifting one foot up behind me as I pressed back, kissing her with fervor, with joy, with happiness, a rush of emotion coursing through my body. She stepped back a moment, and I was in love. Totally, utterly in love.

She leaned forward again, kissing me again, one hand in my hair, firmly pressing my head to hers, one on my back, holding me against her. I wrapped my arms up and under her armpits, securing myself as I was slightly bent over backwards. I let out a soft moan as our lips met again, only to feel her tongue starting to invade my mouth.

I let it, feeling it explore my mouth, wrapping around my tongue. It stayed a moment, our kiss extending further and further, then it was my turn to try to be bold. I stuck my tongue in her mouth, exploring a bit, only for-

“Ouch!” I cried out, pulling back.

“Muh toung.” I said, having my tongue hanging out of my mouth, tingling sensation going over it. “owww.”

“Oh let me see that.” She said, sounding excited.

I obediently stuck my tongue out at her, giving her flirty eyes in the process. She locked eyes with me, her red eyes still reflecting the moons, the moons behind her glowing. I wanted to flip them off… but maybe I was ok with them seeing everything.

She sucked on my tongue for a moment, then gave me another deep kiss, one I happily reciprocated. She tugged at the shoulder of my dress, still shimmering Celestial, and I let her reveal a shoulder.

I didn’t want to go too far tonight, but I was totally game for making out. Maybe some light petting.

She broke the kiss off, then slowly came in again, holding me tighter than ever, aiming to kiss my neck, start trailing kissing down my body and-

[Vigilant] went nuts.

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Vigilant] has reached level 200!]

[*ding!* Would you like to merge [Vigilant] and [Reflexes] into [Bullet Time]?]

I reflexively hit yes, and the world slowed around me, giving me time to think, to process. I still moved at the same speed, but I thought and could think so much faster – invaluable with Radiance and near-instant-cast spells.

The pieces of the puzzle came together with a click.

Pale skin.

Only seen at night.

Hypnotizing, captivating eyes. That one might just be me.

Licking her lips, eyeing me like I was meat.

Sharp things in her mouth – fangs.

Eyes red even though the moons were behind her. Reflections didn’t work that way.

Disliked seasoning – more specifically, the garlic.

Not eating any other food. Mango heretic! Never dating anyone who dislikes mangos again.

Making sure she had a nice, solid grip on me. Physical stats far beyond what her level suggested she should have, especially with the [Artisan] tag.

And a class, offered to me a lifetime ago.

[Apprentice Vampire Hunter].

Jaclyn was a bloody vampire, and I’d all but gift-wrapped myself and delivered myself to her. Hells, you could argue with all the effort I put into being [Pretty] today, that I had gift-wrapped myself.

And neatly delivered myself into a private, secluded location so she could have, in her own words, a little snack.

I’d even called myself tasty. Yikes.

It wasn’t enough, it wasn’t proof. I didn’t want today’s date to end, I didn’t want to believe, to have my feelings come crashing down around me.

At the same time, I wasn’t about to become dinner.

I threw up a small [Veil] around my neck, and time resumed its normal speed, hearing a small pair of clinks as she hit the [Veil] around my neck.

“Jaclyn… there’s no chance you’re a vampire is there?”

She pulled back and hissed at me, lips drawn back, revealing a pair of sharp fangs, and suddenly the gentle strength on my arms turned crushing, bones breaking under her formidable grasp.

My heart broke at the same time my arms did, my first crush (fine second), my first romance ruthlessly destroyed, a lie the entire time. [Bullet Time] activated again, time slowing.

Fuuuuuuuuccccccckkkkkkk [Bullet Time] was awful for getting injured. I was feeling every bit of my bone stress, then break and shatter, one piece after another as her grip tightened, muscles flexing as she went for more moves.

I couldn’t bring myself to perform lethal shots, not when it wasn’t absolutely needed, not when I had so many levels on her. Not when we’d been making out literally 5 seconds ago. A thin, [Blaze] – powered beam of Radiance shot from me, drilling through her right shoulder, then her left, burning through muscle and bone and ligaments, shoulder sockets destroyed, her arms becoming useless before they could finish trying to rip my arms off.

She screamed, a high, inhuman noise, and [Bullet Time] ended, the threat to my life gone as she ran, scattering like the wind, arms held limply at her side. She left me heaving, tears streaming down my face as I cursed, healing myself back up with [Phases]

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Bullet Time] has reached level 189!]

Why!? Why had this gone so badly!? The first time I put myself out there, and the person was an inhuman vampire who just wanted to eat me!

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Center of the Galaxy] has reached level 235!]

My heart was lead, in my sandals, and I fled, crying, back to headquarters, ignoring the guards asking me if everything was ok. I made it back to my room, and holed up in my bed, blankets around me, wallowing in my sadness, despair, and self-pity.

I really, really needed a mopey, angsty set of music right now to listen to.

I must’ve spent a really long time crying and moping, because there was a knock on my door.

“Dawn?” Night’s voice came from the other side of the door. “Are you alright? It is past time for our meeting, and it is not like you to be late.”

Ug. Responsibility. I was still in my dress, tears having wrecked my makeup horribly.

“Fine, be right out.” I said, wiping my face – I’d need to launder this dress later, or pay someone to do it for me – and opened the door.

To Night.

Great avoider of sunlight.

Pale skin and red eyes.

Who’d I’d never seen eat.

Fuck!” I screamed, slamming the door shut. “You’re also a vampire!!”

[Bullet Time] How else can you dodge bullets? When your life is in mortal peril, sense the attack and your perception will speed up, giving you the time to think about your actions. Increased perception increase, total length of time increased per level. -64 mana regen.

[Name: Elaine]

[Age: 18]

[Mana: 50400/50400]

[Mana Regen: 45234 (+3360.72)]


[Free Stats: 8]

[Strength: 236]

[Dexterity: 203]

[Vitality: 560]

[Speed: 480]

[Mana: 5040]

[Mana Regeneration: 5092 (+1435.944)]

[Magic Power: 4636 (+46591.8)]

[Magic Control: 4636 (+46591.8)]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 240]]

[Celestial Affinity: 240]

[Warmth of the sun: 198]

[Medicine: 202]

[Center of the Galaxy: 235]

[Phases of the Moon: 240]

[Moonlight: 240]

[Veil of the Aurora: 212]

[Vastness of the Stars: 139]

[Class 2: [Ranger-Mage - Radiance: Lv 180]]

[Radiance Affinity: 180]

[Radiance Resistance: 180]

[Radiance Conjuration: 180]

[Radiance Manipulation: 180]

[Sun-Kissed: 141]

[Blaze: 180]

[Talaria: 160]

[Nova: 180]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Identify: 136]

[Recollection of a Distant Life: 159]

[Pretty: 134]

[Bullet Time: 189]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 201]

[Sentinel's Superiority: 190]

[: ]

[Learning: 212]

A note from Selkie

The Romance "arc"! Shot down as it was taking off!

Technically, the second romance arc. Will third time be the charm, or is Elaine cursed to be unlucky in love?

(Quick reminder: Dude Elaine was crushing on in town went "eww" when she got burnt, which killed her crush.)

Elaine's got no luck in the romantic department. 

The chapter's SO LONG to fully get the entire thing started, middled, and done in a single go. 

I don't this all too often in the main comments - but ratings and reviews are great. Especially since I'm anticipating a number of negative reactions to this arc/chapter.

Cheers! Tomorrow marks the last of the "epic chapter" series, and I'm SUPER EXCITED for it!


By the way - I peaked this chapter. "Albina" - Goddess of the Dawn and Ill-fated lovers. Too perfect.


If you could give me an advanced review, that'd be great. They're weighted more heavily than anything else, and I've been looking carefully at trending - it's clear that the rating the novel has is super important. Hence, advanced reviews help me go up in the trending list. They help more people see it, which gets more people rating and following it, which has a synergistic effect that hopefully turns into a runaway effect, which gets enough people interested that I get to do this full-time. Seriously, it matters, and it helps.

BTDEM is bog standard in many ways. However, I'm willing to do things that turn some readers off - and so far, more of my reviews have been from people that I make mad more than people who are happy. Just how the internet works. I'm hoping some of you that are enjoying things are willing to leave reviews or advanced reviews. They matter. You matter.

Help keep BTDEM going - it's as simple as rating, as easy as reviewing.

Or you can help pay my rent, which is a MUCH more direct way of keeping things going! Sign up for Patreon! Buy a book!

PS: Signing up for Patreon gets access to all book ePubs.

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