“Who the hell are you, Francis Rayleigh?” Iris asked as she glared at him.
“I just did as you asked.”
“‘You did. But I lied.”
“Ah. Did you now? Then that just means that I’m great, doesn’t it?”
“No. If it was that easy to travel here, the priests and monks would have just lived here. One does not simply waltz in here, like you did.”
“Then how would someone come here?”
“They’d need a god’s permission to even step foot in here.”
“Bahamut! Get your scaly ass over here right this instant. Did you let me in?”
A great voice boomed from above. They rode on the back of a scaly beast, with an awful divine odour. The world around them was weird. Unnatural, with twisting and turnings that could never be seen in a normal place.
“What is this place?” Katalina asked. She stood on guard, but quickly stumbled. Iris caught her before she fell though.
“This is a world of mana. The mana plane, essentially. Time passes extremely slowly here when compared to the normal material world.”
“So where are we going?”
“Hang on, did all of you just ignore me?” Bahamut’s voice echoed throughout the empty skies.
“I’m glad you noticed. This dragon should be taking us to you, right? Dragon bus?”
Drago- Alright, ignoring your transgressions against something that is typically considered a god-”
“Yeah right. ‘Considered a god’? If you really were you could do so much more than this. Just teleport us or something.”
“Arg! I made a mistake choosing you.”
“Damn right you did. I wanted to die but now I’m here.”
“I gave you another chance at- You know, nevermind. Whatever. There are things that even gods can’t do. Just sit tight and shut up.”
Francis shook his head. What good did the dragon god, or rather, the True Dragon bring? Absolutely nothing was his answer. After all, Katalina was his guard. And Kim Hye-Sung just did as she liked. The only threat to a peaceful life was Iris.
Blackpowder. Once he got that coveted blackpowder, he could be safe. If the ancient Chinese could make it, surely he could too. He made a mental note to secure ingredients and a lab as soon as possible.
“Actually, might it be possible?” Francis muttered to himself.
“What’s possible?” Kim Hye-Sung asked.
“Supreme leader? Was that your name?”
“Haha! Nope. I was just a normal person with a slightly eventful life.”
“You two seem awfully close,” commented Iris.
“Do we?” Francis responded.
“And what’s ‘nuclear’ weapons anyway?”
“A very useful tool.”
Iris raised her eyebrows. Her blonde hair was messy as air rushed towards them. For a hero, she sure looked the part. In every film and novel he could recall, the heroine was always played by a model, or at least a pretty actress. Main character, huh?
Shortly after, they arrived. On a strange, and morphing land, they disembarked from the back of the dragon. Katalina looked shocked, as she had the right to be. After all, who knew that being a knight meant that she would be riding on the back of a dragon and meeting gods? Her cheeks were puffed up from the various times she asked Kim Hye-Sung to slap her. If one were to encounter them walking together, it would not be a stretch to assume that there was some abuse involved.
A young looking man walked up to them. Muscular, generally good looking, and could fit in with a crowd of battle hardened fighters. That was to say, his facial features weren’t laughable. If he was in a bar, he would either be surrounded by friends having a generally merry time, or be fighting against another drunk, or be sitting quietly because no one would approach him. Not only that, there was an aura around him that commanded respect.
They stood on what seemed like concrete. Not quite the heaven, or Olympus that he was expected. In fact, it seemed a lot more London-ish than Olympus. But then again, the landscape kept changing. For a moment, it looked like a scene straight out of a Japanese samurai film with cherry blossoms dropping, and yet it resembled ancient Egypt as well.
“Bahamut. Explain yourself. Or rather, be the tour guide.”
“B-bahamut?! As in, the True Dragon?” Katalina struggled to get her words out.
“The one and only.” Bahamut spread his arms out in a bombastic way.
“Fuck off with that. Don’t you have any hospitality rules? Where’s the good tea?” Francis waltzed right past the True Dragon.
“You’re the only one that dares to disrespect a god like this.”
Had one perhaps looked at the current situation, they probably would not have gotten the full situation. After all, a human talking on such disrespectful and informal terms with a god? Unheard of.
“C’mon. There must be some hospitality rules.”
“Urg. There are. What tea flavour do you prefer? All of you. Actually, what sort of drink would all of you like?”
“Give me black tea, with sugar please,” Francis requested as he patted Bahamut on his shoulder.
“Don’t patronise me.”
“Oh I’ll have a coffee,” Kim Hye-Sung said.
“I’m taking the same as him.”
“Uh, I’ll have what my lord is having.”
“So... Three black teas with sugar, and a coffee. Black?”
“Yes, thank you.”
With a snap of his fingers, a beautiful table accompanied by just enough chairs appeared out of nowhere. With no servants, the chairs moved with a mind of their own. Pulling themselves out, and ‘bowed’ to be sat on. The guests obliged, although some were more reluctant than others.
“So, what makes you come here?” Bahamut asked, “And don’t bother lying. The presence of Truth nullifies lies here.”
“Oh, speaking of Truth. That game, the divine game of lying or something, is that actually real?” Francis asked.
“It is. I have seen the effects of lying first hand. Most of them, by you.” Iris sipped her tea after speaking.
“Most of them? You’ve met me before?”
“In a sense.”
“I feel like I’m getting lied to.”
“You’re not.” Bahamut shook his head. “Not by who you think, at least.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Nevermind that. You must have a purpose for coming here. Don’t tell me that you kicked down the door to this realm just to chat.”
Francis chuckled. Of course, he came here with an intent of demanding answers and help. After all, he was rather helpless in the grand scheme of things. No magic, no aura, not even sword fighting skills.
“Lord Bahamut. This might be me overstepping my bounds, but could I see the goddess of magic?” Kim Hye-Sung asked.
“Oh sure, no problem. Let me just ask her real quick.”
He pointed a finger to the sky. A bolt of dark lightning arced across, and a loud boom followed. It sounded loud enough to perhaps rupture eardrums, but they seemed unharmed.
“She should reply soon enough. Out of everyone else, she’s pretty quick to get back to me.”
“Is that so? Is there a waiting room or sorts?”
“Yeah. There you go.” Bahamut snapped his fingers and swiped. Kim Hye-Sung disappeared. “Watch your step.”
“You’re able to do that?” Francis asked.
“Of course. I’m the True Dragon. Not technically a god, but pretty much a god.”
“Is that so? Then might it be possible for you to arrange like a training session or something? Is there like a god of war or something?”
“Training? What for?”
“You know. Sword fighting?”
“Why would you want to meet the god of war? He’s... Not really a fighter.”
“I’m sure there’s a god of fighting somewhere.”
“Well there is one, but she’s not really taking visitors.”
“Welp. Guess you’ll stay here then Katalina. What about you, Iris? Want to meet anyone?”
“No need. I’ve been here before.”
What a shame. Iris was the one that he wanted to get rid of the most. Katalina, he didn’t mind staying. And Kim Hye-Sung already knew that he was from another world, so that was fine.
The True Dragon chuckled. Rubbing his chin, he looked far more informal and less important than he was. Still, he was more or less a god. Just that it was hard to see him as one.
“So Bahamut. Are you really gonna make me as useful as a fish on the mountains?”
“Hey, you’re the one that didn’t train. Don’t look at me for that.”
“I’m talking about this body. Why am I so frail? I literally got kidnapped in my sleep!”
“Tsk. Why me then? Out of all the people possible, why me?”
“Hm. You are aware of your relationship with her, yes?” He pointed at Iris who avoided his look.
“She wants to kill me. That much I know.”
“Mhm. And you want to kill her.”
“Yes? It’s kill or be killed.”
“Do you know why she wants to kill you?”
“Does a killer need a reason?”
“Well, you had o-”
Francis’ glare shut him up. A bead of sweat formed on the dragon’s forehead, before the victim quickly changed the subject. With a shaky voice, he spoke.
“W-well. You two have a closer bond than anyone else can hope for. That is fate.”
“And if you speak of, you know, my past any longer, then I shall throw myself off the first cliff I find, Bahamut. I’m sure dying will put your plans to a standstill, wouldn’t it?”
“Oh dear. My plans were already thrown apart the moment you started doing this.” Bahamut gestured to the fact that the son of Rayleigh was crossdressing.
“Sounds like you chose the wrong person then.”
“I only chose you because your past was interesting.”
“Fate probably can’t prevent a suicide, huh? Or was this destined to happen?”
“I don’t know. You’ll have to ask the fates for that.”
“More or less. Depends on your definition, mostly. Oh right, I meant what I said about lying. You can’t lie, not even to yourself.”
“Shit, you’re serious?”
“You thought I was lying?”
“Well no but- Anyway. These fates. What are they?”
Bahamut scratched his head as he thought. His hair had a light grey tint that didn’t fit his young face. On closer look, he was, no, definitely handsome. Was it some godly aura around him? But even just taking a closer look made Francis question his heterosexuality. The True Dragon laughed out loud, slamming the table with his fists.
“Stop messing around with them,” Bahamut said as he waved someone over.
A person, or rather two ‘conjoined’ people approached. Two highly attractive people waved. They were holding hands as they walked, and looked very much in love. Were they the gods of love, then? Not exactly the Aphrodite that he expected.
“Hello there,” they spoke in unison.
“These are my guests. I let them in here, unlike the previous time.”
“Really? She’s still here?”
“This is the second time she’s come here now.”
They were probably talking about Iris. The two gods laughed. Even from afar, they radiated an aura of divine beauty.
“Haha! Oh right, I’ll stop.”
Francis blinked. The once hyper attractive Bahamut was suddenly back to normal. Was that attraction due to the influence of those two?
“You should have continued it, that was so entertaining!” the one on the left said.
The two of them looked strange. As if they were both in between the genders, and yet neither. Both, but also none. The one on the left had shorter hair, and appeared very much like a tomboy archetype of a character.
“No no. That’s mean. And we know what we said about mean.”
“Keep the mean away, love will prevail,” they said in unison.
“Haha. These are the gods of love. Don’t ask them for their gender, they’ll just tell you that it's yes.”
“Ah. Surprisingly relatable,” Francis commented.
The two laughed and stood behind him. Placing one hand on each shoulder, they picked him up with ease. Without even grabbing hold.
“So our genderfluid mortal, who’s your favourite?” They gestured at the people in front of him.
“Oh definitely not Bahamut, right?” one of them asked.
“The boorish barbarian definitely can’t be your type. I think that knight girl suits you best. You have great connections with her.”
“What? No, of course not. He suits the invader. Besides, they’re bound by fate!”
They sounded like two fans arguing over characters in a show. Shortly after, they erupted into a heated argument. The two of them were strangely bipolar. One moment they were madly in love, and the other they were just mad. Bahamut treated them as a comedy skit.
“Don’t treat them like that. Even if I do hypothetically, theoretically, possibly like one of them, she’ll still need to like me. Oh but not Bahamut. He can get far away from me.”
“Yeah... About that... We’re the gods of love. What you felt just now was us. And let’s be honest, he really isn’t your type, and besides, he’s disgusting.”
Left made a puking gesture, and Right dry heaved. Francis couldn’t quite help but laugh. Bahamut slammed the table, glared. The two ladies, oor three if the one in a dress could be counted. Actually how strange it was. Iris looked absolutely dashing in a suit, and Katalina was great in armour. And yet he was just there, in a dress. Talking to the gods, no issues at all.
“I... Don’t want you two to interfere with my love life. Or theirs, for that.”
“Even though we could get you a harem? Any girl, any boy, anyone. Even that princess that’s been eyeing you for so long.”
“No. Don’t interfere.”
“Haha! You picked up a great mortal, Bahamut. Sassy, and.. Interesting.”
“Wait till you hear about what he did before coming here.”
“But I wanna know too...” the original said.
“You’re here too?!”
“Oops. Give me a moment, this might hurt.”
The True Dragon reached towards Francis. The tips of his fingers touched the crossdresser’s chest, and went in. At that sight, Katalina grabbed her blade and stood up. Not only that, Iris got in position as well, almost to say that he was her prey.