Tip-tap, tip tap, tip-tap…
At the noises Prishine’s high heels made echoing through the corridor, yet another person made themselves scares from their path. Leaving only John by the succubus’ side as she lead with a stroll.
What is she to these people? He thought to himself as his gaze followed the person who made themselves scarce. Their leader of somekind?
The majority of people who resided in this fortress, were not human, many of them had tails, horns, bizarre body shapes and odd numbered limbs.
During his orientation month, he was certain that the human students were the majority that attended the academy. Sure, he had seen a few half-bloods, beastkins and even unusual races like oozes and treefolk—not to be confused with nymphs—having seen so many of the non-human races gathered in this fortress made him suspicious.
They were most certainly Moxnet students, it was not though he had any prejudice against them, but he can’t help but wonder where had all these students been during the orientation month, aside from Prishine’s face, he recognized not a single other person in this fortress.
Is this a militia? Have they been avoiding classes? How can they setup such a base when all of us just got teleported in this unknown place?
Noticing his suspicious gaze, Prishine slid beside him and looped her arms with John’s but he quickly broke free and took a few steps backwards
“What are you trying to do?”
“I thought you were looking too tense, so I thought to soothe your worries away~”
John ignored her comment and nudged her to keep walking, “How long until we reach your guest room?”
Initially, she had asked him to follow her to one of her soundproof rooms to discuss something with him in private. At first, John wanted to leave as he wanted nothing to do with her, but when she promised that it was something that concerned the aptitude test that the academy had for them, she got his attention.
“Relaxxx, we’ve now reached my room,” Prishine said as her slender arms pushed open a door along the corridor, gesturing him to enter with her arms and lowered torso “Please make yourself at home~”
John bit his lip, “You said we were going to a guest room, not your private quarters.”
“I said that I am going to bring you, my special guest, to a room where no one will eavesdrop on our conversation.”
“This the only place I am confident where no one will overhear us. Would you please forgive this little girl for not having enough rooms?” Prishine made a pout with her sensual lips, her eyes dewed and sparkled innocently as she behaved like a child.
Ugh… It’s cute when Meli or Mera does something like this but not on this succubus. Why is she so insistent of getting on my good side?
“Is that a no…?” sensing John was not charmed the slightest by her pouting, Prishine squeaked sadly at him.
“As long you don’t try anything funny and get straight to the point,” ignoring her antics, he went inside ahead of her.
Inside the room laid an large bed that hosted a thick feather mattress, solid furnishing of such as cabinets, desks and chairs alike had all been installed. Granted that they both got teleported to this new location not just an hour ago, it was hard to believe that Prishine was able to have such an establishment under her control.
“How’d you have everything here? You have a fortress built, a literal base and everyone right here, do most of you not suffer from teleportation sickness?”
Prishine closed the door behind them with an amusing smile, moving towards the tea table at by the open window, “Take a seat, we have all the time to speak.”
John grabbed a seat and placed his arms on the table, Prishine followed suit and sat with him.
“Tea?” the succubus offered, grabbing on of the teapots on the table .
“Water then?” she switched to another pot.
“Uhh… Sure, plain water is fine”
“Mmm, okay then~”replying with a meek voice, Prishine raised the teapot by the table and diligently poured clear stream of liquid into John’s cup. “I presume you want me to get to the point, so I’ll make this brief, or you’ll show me that handsome scorn of yours~”
“But before that, John. Let me ask you something, have you ever heard of a folklore that had the title ‘The Land of the Dead’? It is quite the famous one.”
“I can’t say I have,” John took a sip of the warm water.
“It goes like this. The land of the dead was a place where a nation had more power and unity that the Dezarith Empire have ever achieved throughout its lifetime. It was said the people born in that nation were blessed with innate magic by the Gods of Ancient.”
A local folklore of Dezarith Empire huh?
“As this nation was more prosperous than any country, naturally, its citizens were also more intelligent and noble than anywhere else in the world. Renowned for its superiority, this nation became the gem of the world for its time, it was so well known that people flocked from all parts of the world just to catch a glimpse of such a beautiful place. However…”
“Such a nation never existed in reality,” Prishine made a flat face. “That story you’ve heard was just the cover up. In actuality, the story about ‘The Land of the Dead’ was a ploy made up by a few highly intelligent bloodthirsty monsters, beasts and demons who lured the curious in so that they could prey on them. Hence, that’s how the story got its name, isn’t it interesting?”
“…Your point is?”
“My point?” Prishine looked confused, “I thought you wanted to know an interesting story.”
“I am not here to fool around,” John lowered his voice.
“Ahahaha, I know~ I was just trying to get your attention.”
“And you’ve just lost it.”
“In all seriousness, I called you here for a specific reason. Do you see this fortress that we are in right now? It is actually an academy facility where every team taking the aptitude test would come receive their tasks.”
“Huh… So that explains it. It still doesn’t explain why you seemed like you’ve been here a long time.”
Prishine let out a curve on her red lips, “That’s because we have been. My followers have simply arrived in this place ahead of time and settled ourselves in~”
“What do you mean by ahead of time?”
“Well, it was fairly simple for me to figure out where the aptitude test would be held. So I came ahead of time to set camp at this very facility before anyone could stake their claim to it.”
John titled his head, “Why?”
“Why? You are a smart fellow, you must know why competitiors do everything they can to get ahead of their rivals. I’ll give you a hint, it is something that involves the barrier that I let you in earlier, something to do with you being able to see this fortress when everyone else can’t.”
John’s eyes widened.
So, she let me in the barrier of this place on purpose… That’s why Bran and Kirk can’t see this place…
Supposedly this fortress was a place for the many student teams to come and receive their respective tasks, but with Prishine and her merry band of students here occupying it and maintaining a barrier that prevented entry, no doubt the progression of the other teams would be hindered.
After all, how would anyone know where to start when they can’t even receive instructions on what they were supposed to do?
“You are going to prevent the other teams from reaching this place?” he answered.
Prishine clapped her hands excitedly, “Bingo! You are super quick!”
“Is that even allowed? Cause I am sure academy staff will be checking on us periodically.”
“I have an informant who told me, the staff won’t be arriving here until a week had passed. We plan to lift the barrier a few days before that, that is after most of us who gathered here had gotten a head start.”
“…Then why call me here? Your plan is already perfect, I probably won’t know where my team is supposed to start until you showed me this place. So why show me this fortress?”
“Actually, I am in need of your assistance. The tasks for each team are divided into three sections, like all tasks, the first section requires each team to allocate a certain relic placed at dangerous spots at this place…” Prishine’s voice faded before she continued again, “…It just so happens that my team, is having a problem on completing one of our tasks.”
John remained silent, he had expected something of a request the moment Prishine had wanted to speak to him in private. He had no doubt that he was allowed to enter and leave this place after being told of what she and her merry friends were schemeing.
“Of course, you can choose to deny my request. However, should you do that, you and your team would be wandering aimlessly in this harsh plane until the academy staff arrives to check on this place. Don’t you think that Team Rectiser would very well benefit from this exchange?”
“You weren’t at the assembly earlier, how’d you—”
Prishine extended one of her fingers and placed it on John’s lips, “Now, now, I did mention I have my way around all information that surrounds me~ Or did you forget, my dear, John~”
John’s heart raced.
Not because he was charmed by the succubus before him, but because he knew the succubus is up to no good, if he accepted Prihine’s proposal now, she might ask him to jeopardize his team’s safety, if he rejected it, who knows what the sly succubus might do to him—or even worse, his teammates while they are in this foreign place, far away from the academy’s compounds.
Prishine had him completely wrapped up in her slimy finger.
If he showed any weakness to her this moment, there was no telling what would happen. If he was overly harsh in his speech with her, he might not get back to his team safely. Prishine’s explanation only solidified that he was in enemy territory, why else would someone reveal all this information to him without asking for anything in return?
So, John took the logical move, he retained his composure, he calmed his heart, relaxed the tense muscles to his back, cracked his neck and stretched his fingers one by one, taking all the time he need to exude a calm intelligible exterior.
“Let me hear about what you need me to do first. Then, I’ll decide whether I’ll accept your offer.”
Prishine’s wine red eyes lit up like the fireworks during New Year’s celebration, “I knew you would come around!”
She’s…excited? Seeing the gleeful succubus, John furrowed his brows.
“It is a simple thing, you would have to go to a specific location and open the entrance that my team and I are unable to.”
“An entrance? What do you mean? And why me?”
Walking to the edge of her bed, Prishine brought a piece of photo and handed it to John. On the photo, there was an elaborate picture of two tall doors, at first glance, they looked just the fancy gates that could be seen on the older monuments in Registoria.
But when he etched his body closer to the image, the patterns that were etched on the doors changed itself, one moment it was swirling, the next it would align itself into cubically, then its colors change, even the thickness of the detailing on the doors expanded and shrinked. It’s almost like…
“The door is alive?” John said out loud, his curiosity got a hold of his emotions briefly. “How did you create an image like this? The patterns aren’t repeating themselves... Even if it’s a recording inscribed onto—”
Prishine cut him off before he could finish, “We didn’t. It was a picture taken from one of the empire’s Royal Explorers group… While they were stranded on sea, this particular door was encountered by them in the middle of the ocean. First they thought it was just a peculiar structure they’ve fond on a small island, but when they opened it, this very door lead them right back home.”
John made a face, such a door never existed in the countless records in A’vetheas’ libraries. To say that a living, moving door that has the ability to teleport people who stumbled on it…
“I need you to help me find it,” Prishine’s voice rang in his ears.
“It’s ridiculous. Even if something like this exists, how would I even find it for you?” his eyes was still glued to the moving image that was before him, he was both alluded and repulsed that something could even exist.
Sure, magic existed in this world, but a living door whose magic was so strong that it even affected the very photo that was taken from it… He was not sure what to think.
“There are a few theories surrounding this mysterious door, and who it appears to. But luckily for us, my followers have encountered it multiple times in this new region that we are in.”
Sensing another reason behind her words John raised a brow, “But?”
“The doors only opens to those who are worthy to it. People who experienced loss first hand, people have strong psychic resistance to mental magic, people who…” Prishine paused and leaned forward on the tea table, her sensual body jiggled as she drew her face closer to John, “…have an untapped potential that they aren’t aware off~”
“It may be a surprise to you, but you are the first person able to maintain a clear mind while speaking to me. You see, my heritage sometimes cause people to mindlessly go along with what I ask of them. But you, John, you are different~” once Prishine finished her sentence, she returned to her seat and awaited a reply from John.
“So, you are using me as a gamble to open the door?”
“That is correct. But rest assured, this door is located near where your team’s first task would be, you would simply have to open the door when you arrived, and that would be the end of it~”
“What if, after you gave me the details of my team’s tasks, I choose to not open the door. What would you do then?”
“I am confident that you are a man of caliber,” she replied as though she anticipated it. “And if you choose to do that, I would be sad to inform you that I won’t be helping you to establish communications with souls that have departed from the mortal realm.”
Unable to comprehend her words, his eyes blinked once, twice, thrice... Then the realization hit him. “Y-you mean…communicate with whoever I want?”
His eyes trembled…
“Aha~ I’ve got your attention, now haven’t I.” Prishine’s thin succubus tail moved behind her in amusement. “But what I’ve said is true. As I am born a succubus, I do have the ability to communicate with those who are in the underworld, though I cannot guarantee the results, I however, do have my own ways.”
“What do you say, John? A small favor for me and I will give you your heart’s desire to meet your precious family.”
John clenched his jaw, he did not like the fact that Prishine knew what happened to the Harvests, ever since his family’s massacre he had not told a single soul about what happened, it was only when he saw Scywell yesterday did the news of his family’s death slipped from him.
But the fact that this succubus already knew about how devastated he was from their deaths was truly disturbing.
Had the succubus appeared to him offering the same deal to communicate with his deceased family back when he returned from Parac Village like earlier, John could easily see himself bending to her will doing anything she wanted to fill the void that was in him.
Luckily, he knew things weren’t that simple. Her offering such a deal to him was almost too good to be true. Perhaps Prishine the succubus simply wished to get to know him better this way, knowing that he had a certain dislike to her sultry attitude. But John can’t shake the feeling that the succubus might have been observing him in secret for a long while now.
Her words that she spoke to him on their first meeting crept into his mind, making him shudder.
“I will be keeping watch over you, John.”
I need to be more careful from now on… This woman is bad news…
He noted to himself, it seems that in his depressive episode, Prishine had intended to exploit him to the best of her ability.
Putting the matter of communicating with the Harvests aside, the fact that she was so willing to give him Team Rectiser’s tasks was a deal too sweet not to be taken, he would be a fool if he rejected her at this spot. It would put them in a head start as much as Prishine’s people.
John felt no particularly strong attachment towards the people on his team, however, they did take him and thought of him as a comrade in after his prudish behavior towards them.
I do owe them this much…
“Give me all of my team’s tasks, only then I’ll see that the door you mentioned gets opened.”
After having agreed to her deal, Prishine lead John down to the reception hall of the fortress where she retrieved item from a follower of hers, leaving John seated on a sofa by himself.
Followers… Why does she call them that?
The countless non-human races that was currently in the reception hall consisted of half-giants, beastkins, kobolds, satrys, and many more that came from uncommon heritages. And, if his knowledge of monsters do not betray him, some of the succubus’s followers had strong resemblance to monsters like orcs, goblins or even undead, races of monster which are mostly deemed to be evil by nature.
This is… certainly not what I expected…
It was not unheard of that people would end up conceiving a child with a monster due to certain unforeseen circumstances. There were even curses and rituals that caused humanoid races to be bounded to a monster for life, but these rituals were only done against those who were sinful or to those have caused misery for people in their community. They were meant more as lifetime punishments in place of torturous execution.
He bore no hatred nor spite towards these people, in fact, he understood why these Moxnet students who belonged to the less conventional races had hid themselves from the spotlight.
Still… For this many unusual types of people to be gathered here… Are all of them even Moxnet students?
All of a sudden, two ample pillows with the texture of human skin found themselves to the back of his skull, cushioning his strained face.
Realizing that it was the breasts of the succubus, John jolt upwards turned behind him. “Prishine, what the hell, can you not?!”
“Aww, I thought we were close enough for that now~”
John wanted to retort, but he decided against it after scrunching his face dubiously at her playful expression. He was better off keeping quiet, the less he spoke to her, the faster he got to return to his teammates.
“Here you gooo~” Prishine extended her slender arm towards John, around her fingertips was a metallic sphere that was engraved with magical runes.
Though unclear to how the sphere she placed in his hands worked, he was certain that it was a magical device that contained all of Team Rectiser’s tasks.
He took the sphere from her, “Is this everything? Are you sure that once we’ve cleared the first task, the second will show itself?”
“You’re a worrisome one, but I expected that. So, let me show you how it works.” Prishine reached to her sides for another metallic sphere that was similar to the one John had in his hands, “This is a mission sphere, you hold it in your palm, then speak your name in your head…” the device to Prishine’s hand gave a red glow, then it projected at screen made of red light before the succubus.
John followed her suit, and sure enough, his mission sphere glowed and projected a screen just like hers, the only difference was that his sphere illuminated with blue light instead of a red one.
Looking at the screen projected before him and the words displayed, John nodded, “I see, they even specified what do you need to do for the first task in detail. Even our names are all noted down, there’s even a map of where my team should go, the academy sure has everything readied for this test. But why is yours a different color than mine?”
“It corresponds to the user’s mana. Alright, look at the upper corner of your interface, there is supposed to be three empty bars.”
“Yeah, I see them.”
“When you complete the first section, the first bar will be filled up, that indicates your completion, if it is partially filled, it means that your team missed something. That’s for most of the teams, but in my team’s case…” She brought John’s attention to her screen, “Look at mine…”
John craned his head towards the red screen projected in front of the succubus, only to discover that the first bar on the upper right corner of her interface was flickering nonstop.
And on her map, a certain blinking dot called to his attention.
“The door is there, correct?”
“Its location is always marked with a blinking dot unlike regular pinpoints. This was the final part that we needed to complete our first task, I believe that my team’s device might have gone faulty after it was given the task of opening the mysterious door.”
“Where is it again?” John said as he compared his map to hers, “Oh, it’s just a few hundred meters from where my team is supposed to go to… Wait, two kilometers beneath the surface!?”
“I am counting on you, John~” Prishine whispered in his ear.
“Yeah, no worries on that, I’ll keep my promise when I get there but still… Two kilometers below surface for my team’s and yours?”
“It’s quite the coincidence.”
Decided that he had stayed long enough, John got to his feet and turned off the mission sphere Prishine gave him. “See you sometime,” he muttered before he left the fortress.
When John’s back have left Prishine’s sights, a metallic clang found itself on the ground, the metallic sphere that Prishine held in her hand had fallen into the ground and rolled away from her.
Her followers did not bat an eye to the succubus’ actions, but simply allowed her to be. After all, the magical device that she held in her hand was not the one given to her team by Moxnet, rather, it was a replica made to look like it.
“Are you sure that was wise, Lady Prishine? Giving his team their mission sphere? Surely, this this is far too much of an effort to test someone who happened to resist your magic?” the man by the reception counter said in a polite tone as he picked up the metal sphere left on the floor by ‘Lady Prishine’
Prishine moved away from him and resumed walking back to where her room was, the man followed after her as though he waited for her to say something to him.
“Lady Prishine, I do not understand, even the big three who you’ve selected to aid you in your efforts to your master—”
Prishine slammed one of her palms to her forehead, her tired expression was evident from the man’s constant pestering.
Finally, the succubus halt her steps and turned to the man. She placed her soft hand at the very base of his chin, lifting his head slightly to her face, eyes squinted as she scrutinized his looks.
“Hmm… Brown irises, a handsome face, a tall figure… A nice jawline too…” Prishine muttered the characteristics of the man she held in her hands, assessing him to the finest detail. “Even then… His innate prowess is much, much more than yours despite how recently he was awoken to his magic... If only you had the same caliber as him, if only you had black hair just like him…”
“R-recent awakening!?” ignoring Prishine’s complaints about his features compared to the invader who left the fortress moments ago, the man yelped in surprise at her words. “D-does that mean he is a full-blooded—”
“Ah-ah~” Prishine placed a finger on his lips, silencing the man before he could speak further. “I am still speaking.”
“It is faint, but I when first met him, I can’t help but to…” a damp tongue popped out from Prishine’s supple lips as she smacked them in a provocative manner. “…taste the demon magic that oozed from him, ahhhhh~” her face became red, her body squirmed, the scent of her feminine juices spread from below her and surrounded the air around them.
“Is that why you asked Erin to spar with him? To assert whether he has demon blood?”
“Tsk, tsk, tsk…” a person from behind the man clicked their tongue. “No you oaf, Lady Prishine asked me to spar with him to put up an act for that Sarvod boy, by doing that she’ll paint me as the bad guy while she is becomes the angel that gifts him the mission sphere. Apparently it worked because it was the first time that good-for-nothing Sarvod spoke to her normally.”
“Lady E-Erin!” the man lowered his torso upon hearing Erin’s voice.
Erin swatted her hand at him, “Just leave it at that disgusting male. You are nothing more than Lady Prishine’s food supply. Given how watchful the academy students are, we can’t have Lady Prishine feed off the vitality of just any males she sees fit. The last thing we need to deal with is unnecessary rumors. Isn’t that right, Saeza, Theza?”
The two girls who previously escorted Erin away from immediately appeared from Prishine’s shadows, they have been hiding themselves there awaiting for further orders from their Lady Prishine.
Saeza, the first girl spoke, “It is the one and only reason…”
Only for her sentences to be continued by Theza, “…That we still keep you around.”
“That said, you won’t be losing your status as my pleasure boy anytime soon,” Prishine’s voice stopped being lurid and returned to her usual way of speaking, her hands to the crotch of the man and grabbed at it. “Sarvod is a difficult one to crack, it frustrates me so when I can just make any man so willingly to drop to their fours and pleasure me… I suppose your eye color and height is similar to his, so I’ll make do with you for now~”
Prishine opened one of the nearby doors, pushed the man in it, making him fall on his back, started undressing herself as she approached him, “Ahh~ Johnnn… Why don’t you know how wet you make me~” she said to the man as though she was speaking directly to John. “If you haven’t treated me like the dirty whore I am~ I might not have you stuck in my head now~”
The door to the room closed with a loud click, sealing Erin, Saeza, and Theza outside with sullen expression.
“I suppose this marks the third time of the day…”
“…That she has gone into heat for the Sarvod male.”
The two other girls spoke, leaving Erin with a twisted look on her face. “John Sarvod…” she growled his name in spite. “You’ll suffer for for this!” Erin declared before she stomped away angrily.
Saeza looked to Theza, “I conject that Erin is displeased for having bested by John…”
“…Or she is feeling left out that Lady Prishine no longer uses us to vent out her sexual desires,” Theza nodded to her friend.
“But I agree with her, Lady Prishine has slightly strayed from her master’s intended path…”
“…We should take precautions in case Lady Prishine becomes further consumed by her lust for John Sarvod.”
The two girls looked straight into each other’s eyes, sharing the same resolute look, it was though their thoughts flowed continuously between one another.
“Countermeasures, to make the male known as John Sarvod…”
“…a docile servant he will be made for Lady Prishine’s sake.”