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A note from Selkie

First half of the chapter finishes off last chapter, then we're back to the plot moving forward!

“Yeah, GGG. Good, Giving, Game.” I explained the acronym. “It’s a way of approaching relationships and sex, and unless you’ve got a better idea, it’s how I think we should approach this.”

 

“I’ve got my own ideas, but go on, I’m listening.” Serondes’s eyes and hands suggested that he wasn’t listening all that closely, but mmmm. What he was doing was nice.

 

Plus, he was an elf, and they’d been completely unfair so far. I could easily imagine Serondes being able to do three things at once with his full attention.

 

“Ok, so. Good. We should each try to be good to each other, and good in bed with each other.”

 

“You’ve got no danger of me being bad on that last one.” Serondes quipped. I rolled my eyes.

 

I don’t think I’d ever met a man who didn’t believe that. Honestly.

 

“I’m sure you’re an expert.” My voice was practically dripping with sarcasm. “But maybe humans have different buttons than the one you’re used to, or maybe my buttons are a little different.”

 

“Like this one? Or this one? Or…” Serondes deftly and expertly poked, prodded, and massaged me, causing me to twitch and arch in his arms.

 

“Alright, alright! I get it!” I squirmed, trying to stay focused and on-task with the conversation we were having.

 

“Giving equal time and equal pleasure to each other.” I explained the next part, getting an arched eyebrow back from Serondes.

 

“Well, by my reckoning, there’s been quite a lot in one direction, and less in another.” He pointed out.

 

I bit my lip. He wasn’t wrong. At all. He’d been doing lots for me, and I’d mostly been enjoying and basking in the attention and affection.

 

“Ok, fine. On your stomach, strip off your shirt.” I shifted around to give Serondes space to comply with my orders. Which he did, and I put my hands on his back, leaning in to give them some weight. I started on his shoulders, focusing and working on giving him a relaxing massage.

 

“It seems foolish to constantly measure and check everything we do for each other.” Serondes half-murmured into his arm. “Better to simply try to do our best.”

 

I paused my massage to give a few quick kisses on his back. “Yup!”

 

“With that being said, I’ve done roughly 17.2 times as much for you. Now 17.1.”

 

I grabbed his ear and twisted it. Even with all my strength, Serondes’s natural elvish toughness and vitality was enough to practically ignore me.

 

“Now listen here you…” I trailed off as Serondes started laughing. He rolled over in place so fast that I basically stayed on top of him, now straddling his chest.

 

“Hook, line, and sinker.” He grinned at me. I flicked his nose.

 

“Yeah. Fine. You got me. Last one’s game.” I switched the topic. “It’s a little more complicated than the rest. Game’s basically the idea that, if I’m neutral or ambivalent about an act, and you’re really into it and the idea? I should probably give it a shot. Same goes for you! If I’m really into trying something, and you don’t dislike the idea? Humor me.”

 

“Well, how does that tie back into consent?” Serondes asked. “Seems like there’s some problem room. Also, what are some examples?”

 

“I mean, it’s still up to the person in question what they want. An example, hmmm…” I thought about it a moment.

 

“I’m not much up for, say, sex outside. But if you really, really wanted to do it? I could maybe be talked into it.” I finally decided. “It’s not my favorite idea, but it’s not like I hate it to the point where I would refuse to do it.”

 

“Hmmm. I see.” Serondes added. “Anything else before we start having some fun?”

 

I wanted to roll my eyes at him.

 

Yes. Quite a few things. An easy one is sexually transmitted infections. Normally we’d have to worry about them and make sure we didn’t have any, buuuuuuuuuut. I’m a healer! Destroyer of diseases! Vanquisher of infections! Good talk.”

 

Serondes snorted, and went back to lying on his stomach, tapping on his shoulders. I got back to massaging.

 

“Monogamy. I’m entirely monogamous, and from my understanding, you are as well?” I checked real fast.

 

“Mmmmmm. Yup.” Serondes agreed. I wasn’t a huge fan of his tone, but I shrugged.

 

“Ok, I think the last thing that we need to tackle before going back to the list of acts we’re willing to do and when is pregnancy and birth control.”

 

“Easy. Elves can’t have kids with non-elves. Boom. Done.” Serondes snaked an arm down his side, rubbing my exposed leg.

 

“And how, exactly, do you know that elves can’t have kids with humans?” I demanded.

 

“Well, from what I’ve heard, elves and demons can’t have kids, nor can elves and dryads.”

 

“And from what I’ve heard, humans and elves can.” I retorted. “Look, there’s a bunch of different types of sex. Let’s just call reproductive sex PIV.”

 

“I mean, it’s not, but sure.”

 

If looks could kill, I’d be violating [Oath] a dozen times over. I took a few deep breaths to center myself, then unloaded on him.

 

“Look, with PIV, what’s it to you? Just a good, fun time, right?” I plowed on. “It’s a fun, good time for me as well. The issue is the risk. I bear all the risk if something goes wrong. The last thing I need in my life is a kid. I don’t want kids. They’re not part of my plan. My life would get ruined, my body changed forever, and I’d need to spend at least twentyish years raising said kid and helping them out, or even longer if half-elves take longer to mature. Like, no. Also, you’re a dear Serondes, but would I be wrong to call our relationship a fling?”

 

“Um.” I got an awkward pause from Serondes.

 

“Look, I’m loving what we’re doing and what we have here, but I feel like this relationship has a bit of an expiry date, no? Are you going to follow me back to Remus? Do you plan on sticking around the Academy that you’ve said is ‘boring’ and ‘worthless’? What do you see as our long-term future together?”

 

Serondes’s face was hilarious. Shock, puckered lips, followed by a furiously twitching nose which he half got up to pinch. He opened and closed his mouth a few times before sneezing.

 

“Ok, yes, you’re probably right. This is a fling.” He sounded a tiny bit hurt at that admission, and I felt just a tiny bit bad. However, it was better to get it out in the air and discussed. Both of us should be on the same page.

 

“Right. I get pregnant somehow, our fling ends, you leave, and now I’m stuck doing all this by myself. Remus is shit towards women, and an unmarried woman having a kid? I’d be lucky if the Sentinels kept me around, and even then my ability to operate would be hindered. Forget joining the Academy, helping Awarthril, or any number of other things. I’d be stuck, and my life in shambles, all for a few moments of fun. It’s just not worth it for me.”

 

“But elves and humans can’t have kids in the first place. So it’s moot.”

 

I stopped massaging Serondes and knuckled my forehead.

 

“If we’re not actively using some sort of birth control, we’re trying.” I explained to Serondes after a moment. “Now, I don’t know about you, but I didn’t bring any with me.” I added in drily.

 

“Sure, but we’ve got some in the Spatial Box.”

 

“Do they work on humans? Or just elves?” I asked.

 

“Well, Awarthril might be able to share what she uses, and I’ve got a potion I can take.” Serondes added.

 

Wow. Male birth control. Ok, that was pretty neat. Still had a minor problem though…

 

“What’s the mechanism of action, and do you know if it still works when you have PIV sex with human women?” I asked.

 

I wasn’t being fair here. I knew Serondes hadn’t studied biology, and would have no idea what the answer was.

 

The risk to myself was just too damn big.

 

I got some grumpy noises from Serondes.

 

“Can we discuss the rest of this another time? It’s off the table for now… why don’t we discuss all the things we do want to do?” I leaned back into his back, trying to get back in his good graces with the power of backrubs!

 

“Mmmm. Fine. What is on the table - or bed, as it may be?” Serondes asked, seemingly accepting my limitation.

 

The more I thought about it, the more annoyed I was getting. I shouldn’t have to explain in great detail why I did or didn’t want to do something! A simple “I don’t want to do X.” should’ve been enough for him. Pressuring me and asking me in great detail about it, forcing me to defend my choice again and again wasn’t cool.

 

At the same time, if it was important to him, or something he was looking forward to a bunch? Talking it out was good. It was a tricky mix. There were few absolutes in the realm of dating and sex.

 

Why couldn’t it be medicine? That was so much simpler.

 

Well, time to extend some olive branches.

 

“How do you feel about hands?” I asked.

 

“Ehhh. Like, I’m ok with the idea, but I don’t think it’s that satisfying in practice. How about you?”

 

“Wash your hands and trim your nails first. Also, gotta ask me beforehand.”

 

“That pun was awful. Oral?”

 

“Well, there are quite a few different ways of doing it…”

 

We kept talking until my throat was sore, discussing the 101 different ways of having sex that we could think of right here and now. When it was ok. When it wasn’t ok. What our expectations and requirements were.

 

A strong, healthy sex talk, establishing important boundaries before we did anything. I could feel myself getting turned on the more we described different acts that we’d like to do to each other, and how we envisioned them going down.

 

We were winding down, when we hit one last snag.

 

“Drunk sex?”

 

“No, I can’t consent. Well, not when drunk. Lightly buzzed? Maybe, we’d need to talk about it in advance. It’s like waking someone up with sex. It’s tricky, difficult, and almost always a no.”

 

Serondes flopped back, blowing raspberries.

 

“Anything else?” He asked with a slightly disgruntled tone.

 

“Yeah, can you make a pillar of Lava for my egg?”

 

“Why’s that?”

 

I caressed him, and answered with mischief in my voice.

 

“I do seem to recall wanting to do some things with you at this point. Things that require that I’m not managing the egg for some time. Unless you don’t want to anymore?”

 

I’d never seen clothes disappear so fast.

 

[*ding!* [Passionate Learning] has leveled up! 378 -> 379]

 

Not again.

 


 

I woke up the next morning, completely naked except for my pendant, and cuddling with Serondes. I threw off the sheets, quickly decided between my two outfits - Mist weave or fancy dress, Mist weave won - and headed out.

 

“Elaine! Good morning!” Awarthril practically jumped on me, throwing an arm around one shoulder.

 

“Elaine! Congratulations!” Aegion shoved a mug into my hands.

 

I sniffed it cautiously.

 

“What’s all this?” I felt clever asking both about the attention and the mug in a single question.

 

Awarthril tapped her nose, and I paled.

 

“No. Nooooooooooooooooooo.” I buried my face in my elbow as I remembered her enhanced sense of smell. And all the things White Dove had said when cursing Thukrur, and his sense of smell.

 

“Hmmm. Aegion?” Awarthril’s tone made it clear what she wanted him to do.

 

“Hey Cordamo, let’s go exploring!” The brewmaster called out, and I heard him stomping - deliberately loudly - off into the tall grass.

 

Awarthril gently guided me to the table, and sat me down.

 

“So! Tell me everything!”

 

Without thinking, I sipped the brew Aegion gave me, then sprayed it all over Awarthril.

 

“AEGION!” I shouted, throwing the full mug vaguely in the direction he’d gone. Foul liquid spilled everywhere, and I sat down with a grumpy vengeance.

 

“Why would he give me the bad beer?” I complained.

 

“Probably because you got laid and he didn’t?” Awarthril had an amused twist to her mouth.

 

“Yeah, fine.”

 

“You seem pretty happy, everything went ok?”

 

“Except for everyone else finding out, yes.” I glared murder at her. She laughed and backed up.

 

“Alright, alright. Leaving tomorrow, does that work for you?”

 

I could always use more rest time, but I did want to eventually get home.

 

“Yeah, works for me.”

 


 

The road - even as broken as it was - sped us up. We were now covering two, three times the distance per day that we’d been able to get before.

 

A few weeks passed.

 

“We’re getting close to the Low Experience Zone!” Aegion told me one day, handing over some fried eggs he’d foraged. Extra-large, one was more than enough for me. “Well, relatively speaking. Still need to travel for a few more weeks in that direction-ish. Still! Closer than we were yesterday, and tomorrow we’ll be even nearer!”

 

I gave him a smile.

 

“Thanks Aegion!”

 

I took a cautious bite of the eggs. Tasty!

 

We camped that night, Serondes and I getting back to magic lessons. I wanted [Butterfly Mystic] to level, damnit! Well, level more. I’d gotten a pair of levels at this point in our travels.

 

“Sand’s a lot of fun.” Serondes explained. I half-rolled my eyes. Yes, I knew that. ‘Serondes and the dozen massaging hands’ was now a regular feature in my life.

 

“One of the ways I can use Sand is by having thousands of tiny repetitive motions and hits in a short timeframe onto a single target. Like this.”

 

Serdones waved his arm - entirely unnecessary dramatic moves, but cool looking - and a pillar of rapidly hardening Lava erupted from the ground. What looked like a solid bar of Sand was then summoned, and after a few flourishes, practically went straight through the pillar.

 

Fascinating. I got so much out of that.

 

I mentally sighed. Serondes was trying, and he always had something new and interesting. The rapidly-pulsing Sand was an interesting idea, and it could apply to Radiance somewhat.

 

I focused on the pillar, and with a thought and a focus, rapidly flickered a beam of Radiance at it, turning it on and off in quick succession.

 

It would’ve been blinding if it wasn’t for my [Radiance Resistance], and Serondes was squinting.

 

[*ding!* [Solar Flare] has leveled up! 51->52!]

 

[*ding!* Congratulations! You’ve unlocked the Class Skill [Strobe Laser]! Would you like to replace a skill with Strobe Laser? Y/N]

 

Strobe Laser: Light up the party and your enemies with this rapidly flickering Radiance beam! Increased speed, focus, heat, and destruction per level.

 

Well.

 

Shit.

 

That looked like a solid combat skill. I already used [Radiance Conjuration] to make fine, pin-point beams, but I was gated by my magic power how much “oomph” I had. With a dedicated skill, I’d be able to use both [Radiance Conjuration] and this new skill at the same time, doubling my output, and effectively doubling my power.

 

Ok, it was more like a 50% increase in damage, since I had [Kaleidoscope]. Still, there was a trade-off between meta-skills, like [Solar Flare] and [Sun’s Heart], and more “point and blast” skills. I felt I was a little too far on the meta and utility end right now, and needed more damage.

 

I couldn’t take it, I didn’t have the spare slot. I was still working on [Solar Flare].

 

Maybe later?

 

I declined it, and that must’ve pushed me over the edge.

 

[*ding!* Congratulations! [Butterfly Mystic] has leveled up to level 346->347! +8 Strength, +8 Dexterity, +70 Speed, +70 Vitality, +70 Mana, +70 Mana Regen, +70 Magic power, +70 Magic Control from your Class per level! +1 Free Stat for being Human per level! +1 Strength, +1 Mana Regen from your Element per level!]

“A level! Wooooo!” I jumped up and down.

“Nice!” Serondes opened his arms, and I happily jumped into them. “Does that mean I’m doing something with you tonight?”

I gave him a quick peck.

“Yes, but no, but yes again. Let’s call it a night.”

I had inspiration strike me, and I mentally reached out to the ring of deception, fiddling with the settings.

“Up for some role play?” I asked Serondes, who arched a curious eyebrow at me.

“Sure.”

I mentally adjusted the Deception Ring to show me at a low level. Usually I liked putting it at a high level - I liked feeling powerful, after having spent so much of my life powerless, and the ring helped with that. Not tonight though.

“Ack! Alas, I am a poor, low-level human faced with a vicious and,” I glanced significantly at his head. “Horny elf. Whatever shall I do?”

Serondes had some ideas.

 

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 20]

[Mana: 415,850/415,850]

[Mana Regen: 277,804 (+361,539)]

Stats

[Free Stats: 94]

[Strength: 957]

[Dexterity: 1,484]

[Vitality: 11,330]

[Speed: 11,330]

[Mana: 41,585]

[Mana Regeneration: 41,676 (+36,154)]

[Magic Power: 18,342 (+342,995)]

[Magic Control: 18,342 (+342995)]

[Class 1: [The Dawn Sentinel - Celestial: Lv 421]]

[Celestial Affinity: 421]

[Cosmic Presence: 287]

[The Stars Never Fade: 2]

[Center of the Universe: 421]

[Dance with the Heavens: 421]

[Wheel of Sun and Moon: 421]

[Mantle of the Stars: 421]

[Sunrise: 345]

[Class 2: [Butterfly Mystic - Radiance: Lv 347]]

[Radiance Affinity: 347]

[Radiance Resistance: 347]

[Radiance Conjuration: 347]

[Solar Flare: 52]

[Nectar: 347]

[Sun's Heart: 347]

[Scintillating Ascent: 314]

[Kaleidoscope: 347]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Long-Range Identify: 370]

[Pristine Memories: 220]

[Egg Incubation: 55]

[Bullet Time: 420]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 374]

[Sentinel's Superiority: 394]

[Persistent Casting: 296]

[Passionate Learning: 379]

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Selkie

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