Serondes embraced me as we kissed, causing tingly sparks of electricity to run all the way down my body to the tips of my toes, which curled in pleasure. My body practically singing with the sensations. I gave a little happy one-legged back kick.


Kissing was totally awesome. I had no shame in admitting that I had no solid experience with it, but, just, wow.


Also - he liked me! At least, that’s how I was interpreting his enthusiastic kisses.


He rolled me over so he was on top of me, my back pressed against the grass with his cute eyes framed by the night sky.


Long kisses on my lips, short pecks on my - and having gotten the idea his - neck, and deep, exploratory smooches. They all made me feel great, had me arching my back, had me reaching up like a baby bird demanding MORE whenever a kiss broke.


Serondes held me tightly, as my one free hand eagerly explored, slipping under his robe to feel his perfect chest and smooth abs. I wasn’t much of a chest or abs woman, but his were nice. Nice to feel, nice to touch, nice to grasp as I brought him in for another kiss.


The other hand was keeping the egg protected and warm, and I had a brief moment of insanity where I considered putting it to the side to better embrace Serondes.


Serondes wasn’t just a still kissing machine either. One hand had threaded its way into my hair, using it to bring me in for a kiss when he wanted, while the other was wrapped around my waist. I could feel his fingers, the heat of them burning into me while we continued melding our mouths together, separating for a moment only to find a new, better way of kissing.


[*ding!* [Passionate Learning] has leveled up! 377->378]


I half-jumped at the notification, clicking my teeth awkwardly against Serondes’s, the first non-graceful moment in our passionate embrace.


Also - I was going to murder the System for its terrible pun. I was learning all sorts of new things, and I was passionate about it, there was no doubt.


I don’t know how long we stayed together, a mess of thrashing limbs and sucking noises. I was all too aware of his leg between mine, and how excited he was to be kissing me. I occasionally took my hand out from his robe, wrapping it around his waist, pulling him in tighter.


I gasped as he kissed my neck, softly nibbling and sucking on my tender flesh. When he was done with me, I struck back, performing my best vampire impression on the side of his neck.


I was hickey-proof. He wasn’t. Just a heck of a lot harder to show I’d been here.


It was pretty fun, until I realized I’d just remove it with [Cosmic Presence] passively healing him.


Ah well. The only thing I could try was sucking harder and longer to make it last.


Then again, elves were such bullshit that bruises probably faded in a day or two anyways, before my skills or their vitality kicked in.


Serondes rolled us over, so I was on top, and he was on bottom. We shared a kiss, as his hand moved from my waist to my chest.


“Whoa there!” I broke the kiss, sitting back on his stomach, using my one free hand to grab his wandering hand.


He didn’t say anything, just quirking an eyebrow at me in a question. I glanced up at the sky, and realized the time. We must’ve spent hours making out and petting each other.


“Let’s take it nice and slow, ok? We’ve got the time.” I said, clambering up from my oh-so-hot fleshy perch that was all mine.


Serondes got back to his feet, and with his oh-so-musical voice, leaned over so he was speaking in my ear.


“As you wish.” He whispered, and oh boy did that do good things to me. Sending a massive thrill through my body was just the start.


Annnnnnnnnnnnd he killed it all by copping a feel anyways through the Mistweave. Was not a fan of being touched after I’d made it clear I didn’t want it right now, but I wasn’t going to make a huge deal out of it. Not while I was still riding the high of kissing the totally cool Serondes. Serondes, the badass mage. Serondes, the kind and helpful. Serondes, the smart and suave. Serondes, the architect. Serondes, the cute. Serondes, the supernaturally perfect. Serondes, with the Lava eyes, and the short tousled hair that was just so. Serondes, with the adorable little goat horns.


Serondes, the I-gotta-know-more-about-you.


Serondes, the I’m-not-trying-to-eat-you, and the I’m-not-telling-you-to-quit-your-job-and-become-my-housewife. I wasn’t sure which dates had been worse. I banished those memories from my mind.


We traded one more kiss, then I grabbed his hand as we walked back to Castle Serondes, the massive walls having been raised by him. We made it back to our sleeping section, where he picked me up for one last kiss.


I wrapped my legs around him, and made it more like thirty “last kisses”, before tapping him to put me down. He stole one last kiss, which I didn’t mind, and put me down.


“Good night Elaine. Sleep well.” Serondes mimed blowing me a kiss, which I mimed catching.


“Night Serondes! You too! I’ll be thinking of you!” My heart was still going a million miles an hour.


He liked me!


I entered my tiny little room, as Serondes kept hanging out.


“Wanna invite me in?” He outrageously flirted, and I giggled at his forward approach. I knew if I said yes, he’d be coming in a lot more than the room, and I just wasn’t ready for that.


“Good night!” I leaned out to give him one more kiss, then skipped back into the room. I settled into my bedroll - another elvish loan, they were all far too nice - and stared at the ceiling.


He likes me! We kissed! A TON! Oh what else are we going to do? What’s next? How do we…


My thoughts kept running through my head, until a nastier one came to mind.


Serondes was, by all measures, a lot stronger than I was. He was a stronger mage, physically stronger, bigger than me, and heavier than me. When he was on top, if he didn’t want me to leave or escape? There was no way I’d be able to. I was entirely at his mercy, and I didn’t like the idea or the feeling at all.


I grimaced to myself.


I didn’t think I could do terribly much about it. On Pallos, there was always going to be a personal power imbalance between couples. Heck, on Earth there was as well, but on Pallos it was magnified. Either I was the one with overwhelming power versus my date - like with Jaclyn - or my elvish boyfriend could flip me around like a pillow. How did the elves put it before? Ah, Yes... Fragile...


Was there much I could do besides take sensible precautions, then put myself out there and hope for the best? Even when it made me feel uncomfortable.


The dawn arrived as I was musing over the question, working it over. I figured I should just get up at that point, and work on no sleep for the day. I had [Sunrise] and a boatload of vitality, I could get through one all-nighter. Especially with the powerful infusion of energy Serondes had given me!


It didn’t stop me from sleepily dragging myself out though, seeing Serondes and the rest of the elves already at breakfast, feasting on leftover hydra.


He was looking annoyingly fresh - darn all the elves and their obnoxious perfection.


“Good morning Elaine~” Serondes shot me his dazzling eyes, which caused my heart to go all a-flutter again.


I opened my mouth to say something back, but Awarthril interrupted.


“Elaine!” Awarthril hustled over to me, shoving a plate of food into my hand. She hooked her arm in mine, and like a force of nature, walked me out of the castle.


Serondes had widened the narrow crack needed to get in, which was the only way Awarthril managed to get me outside, out of reach of the other elves.


“Um, hi, good morning Awarthril.” I was unsure why I’d been rudely hustled out. Awarthril turned to me, picking some grass out of my hair. I went red.


“Ok, Elaine, you’re totally safe here. Just checking, everything ok with you?” Awarthril fretted over me, smoothing out my Mistweave and brushing imaginary grass pieces off.


“Yes? Why?” I was still puzzled.


“Serondes didn’t do anything untoward? Didn’t take any liberties with you? I’ll totally kill him if he did, you just tell me.”


And I was ready to die of embarrassment.


“Buh, uh, how did you know?” I stammered out.


Awarthril tapped her nose.


“The nose knows. Enhanced sense of smell, remember?”


“Well, he had his way with me in a way I really enjoyed.” I gave an impish grin back, as Awarthril threw her head back and laughed.


“HA! Alright, just remember. We girls need to stick together. If something happens - if Serondes does anything bad - you tell me immediately, ok?” Awarthril was holding onto me, staring directly at me. Her words were light, and her tone wasn’t.


“Yeah, of course!” I readily agreed, but I was feeling a mite defensive. It was Serondes. He wouldn’t do anything bad, right? I’d already kinda wrestled with the question last night, and had decided to go for it. I couldn’t spend my life hiding under a rock, scared of any attachments I might make.


I knew that was the hormones talking, but cripes, they were loud.


We walked back to where everyone else was still eating breakfast. I hadn’t gotten a chance yet, not with one hand holding the egg, and the other still holding onto my rapidly cooling breakfast.


“Any chance I could get some sort of sling or something?” I bounced the egg in my hand a few times in front of everyone, making it clear what I was talking about.


“I think I can arrange a carrying method.” Serondes was clearly flirting, putting some double meanings in his words.


He took the egg from my hand, and I saw Lava erupting as I chowed down, creating a nice warm bed for the egg while he worked.


Serondes generated a single fine strand of sand, a loop made out of single grains of fine sand against each other. He spent a careful moment checking over the line, before flashing Lava through it, turning it into glass. He started to sing, and I wished the moment would never end, an eternity of listening to his musical voice.


It was like windchimes.


He made a second loop, interweaving its creation with the first one.


Strand by delicate strand was made, Serondes neatly weaving what looked to be a fancy sash out of layered strands of flexible, magically reinforced glass. A sash-cross-basket, with a neat pocket, perfectly sized for an egg.


“Arms up!” Serondes said, and I happily complied. He lowered it onto me, and if his hands did some extra brushing, lingered a bit?


Well, that just came with the dating territory.


I made some little adjustments, finding to my delight that I could beam my Radiance through the glass, into the egg. Sure, I lit up like a Christmas tree doing so, the glass refracting and sending light everywhere, but hey. It worked, and kept my hands free.


“If it’s stupid and it works, it isn’t stupid.” I had a goofy grin on as I said that, to Aegion’s mirthful chuckle.


“Ain’t that the truth.”


Honestly, the only problem with the harness was it made cuddling with Serondes a bit awkward. I couldn’t comfortably use his lap as a seat, I still tried as I ate though.


“So what now?” I asked between bites of leftover hydra. They were still fresh cuts from last night, but I could tell they were starting to go off a bit. I wouldn’t eat them for lunch, just jerky.


“We were just talking about that!” Awarthril eyed a hydra steak, pushing it away from her. “We’re going to spend a few days here, decompress from the fight, then keep going. The only question is, how long do we spend?”


“A week.” Serondes jumped in, shooting me eyes with promises of what, exactly, he hoped to spend the next week doing.


“Three days. Look, we might be Immortal, but Elaine’s got somewhere to be.” Awarthril argued back.


“Let’s just split the difference at five.” Aegion weighed in.


Kiyaya and Cordamo were both agreeing with their respective bonded Elf.

They turned to me, at a 2-2-1 tie.


“Why wait around at all?” I asked.


“Well, if our life is nothing but fight fight fight fight, it’ll drive us nuts. Make us lose touch with our elfanity. We need to deliberately relax after every fight, otherwise the weight of centuries of fighting without rest will crush us.” Awarthril kindly explained.


That made way too much sense. I was already flighty, jumping at shadows when I was the slightest bit intoxicated, and I was 20. I was already on track to be a bitter PTSD victim by 40, forget 400.


“I imagine you’ve never seen an Immortal lose it and go on a rampage.” Serondes added in. “Not pretty.”


I could barely imagine. Someone with thousands of levels, snapping and deciding to take as many people down with him as possible?


I resolved to work on my mental health, but deciding what was the right balance was hard. The longer we stayed here, the more time I had to snog Serondes, the later I’d get home. Kiyaya’s time limit was a ticking bomb in the back of my head, making me all too aware that I needed to level, and level fast.


Hormones, once again, decided the issue for me.


“Three days.” I voted. I could tell my thinking was somewhat muddled, my brain going into stupid overdrive every time I saw Serondes’s smiling face. I wanted to rebel somewhat against that feeling.


“Right, three days it is!” Aegion hopped up, going over to tend to his barrels. I wondered what the base of his beer was?


“Come on Kiyaya! Let’s go play, and leave the two lovebirds alone.”


Serondes and I locked eyes, as the elves gave us room to ourselves.


“Have you ever walked in a garden of glass?” Serondes got up, offering me his arm. I slipped my hand into it.


“No - why don’t you show me?” I said as we started to walk out of the castle.


Kiyaya and Awarthri were playing fetch, the elf throwing sticks at incredible speeds, with Kiyaya shooting after them almost as fast. Arm in arm, we pivoted, going in another direction. I didn’t say much, just looking at the handsome Serondes, as he forged a path for us. With every left step we took into the open field, Sand formed into shapes of wild and fantastical flowers and plants, each one different. With every right step, Lava surged, merging and transforming the Sand into wondrous glass creations. Serondes started to whistle, shaping and forming the glass, turning the rough cut into polished perfection.


It was a wonderful, grand date, and in the middle of the garden we’d traced out, it seemed like a good time and place to practice kissing some more.


[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 20]

[Mana: 412740/412740]

[Mana Regen: 275034 (+356755.875)]


[Free Stats: 91]

[Strength: 941]

[Dexterity: 1468]

[Vitality: 11166]

[Speed: 11166]

[Mana: 41274]

[Mana Regeneration: 41363 (+35675.5875)]

[Magic Power: 18178 (+340837.5)]

[Magic Control: 18178 (+340837.5)]

[Class 1: [The Dawn Sentinel - Celestial: Lv 420]]

[Celestial Affinity: 420]

[Cosmic Presence: 286]

[The Stars Never Fade: 1]

[Center of the Universe: 420]

[Dance with the Heavens: 420]

[Wheel of Sun and Moon: 420]

[Mantle of the Stars: 420]

[Sunrise: 344]

[Class 2: [Butterfly Mystic - Radiance: Lv 345]]

[Radiance Affinity: 345]

[Radiance Resistance: 345]

[Radiance Conjuration: 345]

[Solar Flare: 1]

[Nectar: 345]

[Sun's Heart: 345]

[Scintillating Ascent: 313]

[Kaleidoscope: 345]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Long-Range Identify: 370]

[Pristine Memories: 217]

[Egg Incubation: 44]

[Bullet Time: 420]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 375]

[Sentinel's Superiority: 395]

[Persistent Casting: 291]

[Passionate Learning: 378]


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