Beatrice did not know what else to answer to Ember’s proposition. A cute young woman, no older than twenty, encouraging to use her in any manner of “unconventional” ways?
But they are expecting me to perform, Beatrice thought. She opened up her skill list and quickly read through their descriptions again, while they continued through the dreary underground. Her skills had potential but required much investment. I’ll have to go through their enhancement routes one by one and figure out the optimal enhancement route.
But I can’t continue disappointing this cult. This High Priest seems loyal, but if continue to be way below his expectations that could change, and suddenly. If there’s one thing this Priest isn’t, it’s a level-headed individual, Beatrice concluded looking at Lucarad’s back.
Then again, I might be overthinking it. So far this world has been doing nothing else but showering me with willing girls, literally worshiping my name, gifts, praise, convenient developments, and promises of a heroic future. If this was a dream it would seem too good to be true.
A minimal effort of careful consideration never hurt anyone, Beatrice thought. In times like these, overconfidence is the proper stance. I will have to do what I have to do anyway, so being confident will just give me extra respect points without changing the actions I have to take later. Failure is never an option anyway, and even at failure, early confidence could help me bluff, while meekness would only cement my fault.
“You don’t have to worry!” Beatrice said with conviction. “It is only a matter of time before I regain the full extent of my powers. And if Ember is willing to assist, I will gladly accept her aid to speed up that process!”
“Exactly!” The priest agreed. “You need to grow stronger, and I have no doubt you will! Your vigor is already impressive and I sense there are many other areas in which you will not only improve but surpass any living being!”
They exited the winding paths and narrow corridors and through a hidden door in the wall entered a darker, but decorated hall. It had wide red rugs on the floor, though dirty and showing signs of age. The pictures on the walls with intricately cut wooden frames, painted in gold were dusty, Beatrice saw several cobwebs and even one spider that was the size of her glans.
As they walked through the halls, turned one sharp corner, then another, the lighting improved, but little else. The dusty halls were strangely empty. Beatrice noticed that the dusty iron chandeliers were spread unevenly, she even saw the holes in the ceiling, confirming her suspicion that many were removed. The same could be said for other things. The lonely empty tables, empty spaces on the walls… Did this place get robbed or something? Beatrice couldn’t help but imagine what these halls might have looked like in better times.
After turning yet another corner they finally encountered people. Two young men, shirtless, passed out on the floor. The droll that trickled from the corner of their mouths formed a small puddle under their cheeks.
Lucarad and Ember didn’t even acknowledge their existence by looking at them and just walked straight past the unconscious men.
“Are they alright?” Beatrice asked. “Shouldn’t we help them?”
“We have more important things to do,” Lucarad said coldly. “They’ve made their choice. Let them sleep it off.”
Further ahead the trio encountered a small group of people, all men, quietly talking among themselves. They looked like they were somewhere between thirty and fifty years old. Their clothing reminded Beatrice of medieval noblemen. Long costumes with long sleeves, tailored cloth leggings. All in a variety of colors—blue, red, green, and brown. No unifying scheme.
When the men saw the approaching trio, they first all fixed their eyes on Lucarad first. One of the men was about to say something, but then his gaze fell on Beatrice, as did the others. All of them stood speechless, eyeing the succubus from top to bottom. Her long legs, her tail that was wrapped around her waist, her breasts, covered by a thin lace bra, her tiny wings on her back. It didn’t take long for their stares to settle on the futanari’s crotch.
“L-luca, is that—” one of the men finally spoke up.
“What is she?” the other man asked.
“Exactly what you suspect!” Lucarad said loudly, with a smug grin.
“No way,” a third man gasped.
Lucarad, Ember, and Beatrice continued past them.
Once Beatrice was sure they couldn’t hear her, she whispered to Lucarad, “They didn’t seem to react like I was their savior.”
“Yes, well, they’re idiots,” Lucarad disregarded the intelligence of anyone who disagreed with him.
“Will everyone at the palace react to me this way?" Beatrice asked. "What about the king?”
Lucarad stopped. They were standing at the twenty feet tall double doors. They were white with a golden frame and handles. On each of the doors, there was a golden sigil—a sword put through the head of a monster.
“As I’ve set before, our congregation is small,” Lucarad spoke softly. “I hope to gain additional financial support from the king. But that goal is only optional. Every single person—both in the palace and in the entire city—has a badge on them,” Lucarad said and got out a small rectangular golden badge. “That is how everyone tells each other apart from potential refugees or enemies that might attempt to sneak in. And that is the only thing we need from the king—your ability to move freely through the city. And the king will be easy to convince. I will speak first.”
And with those words, Lucarad pushed the doors open.