How long had it been since I had woken up with someone else sharing my bed?
There was a moment once I realized that someone was touching me that I nearly called upon my magic in surprise. The feeling was too foreign until I recalled what occurred. Once the initial startlement abated, I was left with another strange feeling rising in my chest.
I couldn't recall the last time I slept so soundly and peacefully. To wake up and not simply feel tired regardless of how long I rested.
I am still skeptical of how long this would persist, this desire to delay my own death that I have sought for an uncountable number of years. But if this is what I am to look forward to….perhaps it would not be a challenge.
Even more odd was that I did not mind that there was a man currently groping my behind. Beyond the principle of it that was. I did not find it disgusting that some other person touched me in such an intimate way. How long ago would I have incinerated someone for merely thinking of doing something such as this to me?
No, if I were to be honest with my feelings, I found it pleasant. Perhaps not gratifying in a physical way, but emotionally. I was pleased that this man that buried his head in my bosom was desiring me so.
However, with the passing minutes the amusement and feelings in my chest slowly faded and were replaced with something else.
"How long do you plan to squeeze my rear?" I demanded. "And be more gentle, my behind is beginning to sore." He didn't respond so I pinched his arm that was reaching around my waist. "I know you are awake."
"I'm sleeping." He giggled into my chest.
"I would not be surprised if this is something you do unconsciously in your sleep." I released his arm as he relented and became moderate with his fondling. I would not stop him if he was more modest, a reward for the pleasant evening he gave me.
Oddly, I was attaching some importance to physical relations now that I agreed to a relationship. I felt almost embarrassed that I would have willingly offered my body in exchange for what I desired previously.
However, I was content at this moment. As much as I enjoyed the evening and to experience the Magical Environment with other practitioners, I was exhausted by night's end. I wished to retire for the night, but I also desired his companionship, thus I allowed him to enter my bed with the agreement that no coitus would transpire.
I did not even need to dissuade any attempts to push beyond what I dictated. He was a perfect gentleman…..as much as one could be while also having a hand firmly upon my derriere.
"Are you okay?" He peeked open one eye to look at me. "You've been silent for a little while and just staring at me."
"I am merely lost in thought." I assured him.
"Am I bothering you? I'll stop if that's the case."
"…you may continue if you desire." I truly did not mind.
However, instead, he leaned forward to lightly kiss me and then wrapped his arms around me and pulled my body closer so that I was now resting my head comfortably on his chest. A warm sensation soon flowed through my body as I settled into my new position with content.
"We didn't really talk about it, but how was the party?" He asked.
"You lied to me." I looked at him accusatory.
"I lied?" He blinked in confusion.
"I was told that someone was going to die at a minimum. Yet, there were no dead bodies present by the end of the night. What a dull evening and an utter waste of my time."
"Did the person who had their arm exploded not meet your requirements, oh Grimm Queen?" He snorted. "Or the person that got shot in the heart after those two people had an old-fashioned duel?"
I did not understand the logic of such a thing, but it was amusing to watch regardless. Some perceived slight and the other challenged them to a duel of pistols, no Magic involved.
"Mmm, perhaps I will make an exception then. It would be remiss of me to blame you completely for such an unexciting evening in this case."
"I thank you for your generosity." He said dryly.
"As you should." I replied curtly, however, I felt the corners of my mouth twitching into a smile. "I had a wonderful time." I whispered after a moment. "I have not been this happy in recent memories. Thank you for bringing me."
"Seeing you happy makes any effort with it." He said with true sincerity. Even with my inherent skepticism, I could not detect any falsehood in his words.
Why must he say these kinds of things to me when I am unable to separate myself from him? I felt silly letting myself be led by the nose by someone so much my junior. I would have laughed at anyone who told me I would be in this position merely a year prior.
Being intimately embraced by another person whom I willingly allow without ulterior motives.
"Do you wish to….remain here for a period longer? You spoke up important matters before the party that would take you away for a time. I do not wish to intrude upon your responsibilities." Even If I didn't quite understand the peculiarities of what he deemed important in this case.
I would have to ask the Spirit for more information.
"Are you asking me if I want to continue cuddling?" He looked at me in amusement. "Do you want to keep cuddling?"
"Don't turn such a ridiculous request back on me." I huffed in annoyance. "I merely do this for your own satisfaction."
"So you don't like me holding you like this? I don't want to make you uncomfortable, should I stop..?"
"….don't tease me." I said softly, not wishing to meet his gaze.
"I'm sorry, you're just so cute I can't help myself sometimes."
"I, the Grimm Queen, am not cute."
"Stop that." I scowled.
"You are infuriating." I growled.
"Kiss?" He asked with a sincere and idiotic grin on his face.
"...do what you want." I huffed in annoyance once more, finding it difficult to levy any sort of resistance to his antics.
He wasted no time in claiming my lips again and I felt that warmth flow through my body.
Still, he shall be punished for daring to insinuate something so absurd about me. I would continue to ignore the very hard object currently pressing against me below.
"I do have something important to do. To err on the side of caution, I would give myself two weeks before I can check back in while occupied."
"I would assist if you require." I found myself offering without a second thought.
….and it was strange for me to speak the words so easily.
"Thank you." He smiled towards me again and it melted my earlier annoyance. "But in this particular instance, bringing others along is…. problematic."
"I see." I could not claim to understand the intricacies right now as I am still catching up with his culture's magic. "Very well then." I slowly pulled myself from his arms, allowing my feet to touch the ground at the side of the bed. "Come along, I will not laze about for the remaining time we have together." I paused, opening a drawer nearby. "Why are you staring at me?" I shot him an inquisitive look.
"Just etching into my memory, how well that night gown hugs your curves." He said without an iota of shame.
Instead of getting annoyed, I found myself swinging my hips just a bit more than usual as I retrieved a proper garb to change into for the day.
I took more pleasure than I should have, letting him watch me drop my night gown to the ground. "I will take my morning bath. I will perhaps relax for a longer time than I usually do. Providing you well enough to enjoy your new memory so you can take care of your own excitement in the meantime" I glanced down at the obvious bulge pushing up from beneath the covers of his.
"You are a very cruel woman." He breathed out a sigh of acceptance.
"And don't you forget it." Once more, I swayed my hips as I made my way towards the bathroom, in nothing but my undergarments.
Unfortunately, my confidence was merely a projection as I would require a long bath for my own needs.
That foolish man brought about these feelings too easily in me.
"Morning everyone." I stepped out into Gramps' home, seeing a slew of faces I wasn't expecting.
Gramps peeked his head out of the kitchen. "I was hoping you would be back soon. I'm making breakfast, it'll be done shortly." He stated before ducking back in, and I could smell the bacon and eggs cooking.
"Take your time." I replied, going around the table to everyone present. "Good morning, Jinn." I kissed her forehead.
"Back already? Did Salem kick you out?" Jinn asked, brightening up.
Cinder and her two minions saw me and Salem walk out of her bedroom together.
"She did, actually, something about ruining her image infront of her subordinates." I chuckled, moving on to the next. "And Raikou." I was surprised to see my Servant at this particular moment, but it was welcomed nonetheless.
"Master~" Raikou shifted so that it was not merely a kiss on the cheek, but her grabbing hold of me and deepening it for her own pleasure. She only released me once she was satisfied.
"Artoria." I gave her a quick peck on the cheek as well.
"Wilhelm." Artoria smiled, happily accepting the morning greeting.
"And Rin." I swat at her loose ponytail.
"Schweinorg." She grunted, nursing a cup of coffee, not even bothering to get annoyed with me.
I took the empty seat between Jinn and Raikou. "How's everyone doing?"
"Well." Artoria said simply. "Rin is recovering from the party."
"Oh, oh! How did that go!?" Jinn excitedly asked.
"About as well as expected." There was so much to say, where to even start? "Someone picked a fight with Salem. That was fun to watch."
"I heard about that." Zelretch exited the kitchen, several plates floating next to him as they glided to the spots in front of us. "I will be paying a much needed visit to the Zoology Department in the coming days."
"Kind of feel bad for that girl." Rin muttered.
"What happened?" Jinn asked specifically.
"Well, Salem got into an argument with someone from the Zoology Department, someone who makes Chimeras. She was…probably a year or two younger than Rin and a bit of an ego to go with it. She didn't take it well and claimed that Salem was a Dead Apostle based on her looks."
"Oh dear." Raikou said with some concern. "Did it turn out well?"
"The Vice Director arrived. The one with a hate boner for any Dead Apostles." I paused, looking at Gramps. "How does that work in other world-lines?"
"We have an agreement." He said simply, not elaborating.
Well, I don't remember much of that, but whatever, I was getting off topic. "Suffice to say, she was upset for being lied to and her time being wasted. It ended with the Chimera girl meeting Salem in the Arena with the Vice Director overseeing the 'fight'." I added air quotes to the word.
"I can guess how this went. I admit not having much experience with Chimeras, it wasn't really a practice over on Remnant due to Grimm running around. Sort of a taboo to make monsters when they're so prolific in a sense."
"That Chimera girl got demolished." Rin blurted out. "Serves her right though. Met her before, in one of Waver's classes. Head was so far up her ass that she insulted him then left after insulting everyone else that was taking the class seriously."
"Well, you shouldn't be concerned about her any longer. She basically committed political suicide. I would be surprised if you even see after the next few months."
"Really?" Rin looked skeptical. "I mean, yeah it was pretty embarrassing and got people pissed at her, but I would begrudgingly admit she was a genius in what she did."
"Perhaps it is my perspective as an outsider, but I feel this event was counterproductive to the continued prosperity of the Association." Artoria commented.
"You're not wrong, but there was more to it than that." Zelretch stated, taking a sip of a cup of orange juice next to him. "It was intentional. To weed out the undesirables and to be on the lookout for other talents. The young woman in the Zoology department was much too old to act the way she did. Her attempt at 'revenge' was also much too childish and ignorant to ignore. She was on the short list for the next Department Head seat for the Department, but after this event, no one will consider her for any practical position."
"Makes sense." I grabbed hold of my knife and fork, cutting into my perfectly cooked eggs. "Everyone there had some semblance of talent in Magecraft, so they were looking for the ones who could navigate the political spectrum and eek out benefits properly." So they knew who to look out for when filling the upcoming positions of their Department as the old generation goes away.
"God I'm happy I don't have to deal with most of that." Rin muttered. "I just had fun getting one over on that bitch for once."
"Oddly enough, I had fun too. It was entertaining watching people fumble over themselves once they learned I was related to Gramps over here. And to see Salem tear apart some of the really arrogant ones."
I wasn't even the one to get into fights!
That had to be some kind of new record.
"Did Salem have fun too?" Jinn inquired.
"She had a blast. And people there were fawning over her after what happened too. Lots of people were trying to win her over and it didn't even have anything to do with my status."
"I'll go over there and bother her about the details later." Jinn giggled.
"Right." Zelretch clapped his hands, finishing up his meal. "Shall we talk about the thing that's on your mind?"
"Am I that obvious?"
"Yup." Jinn cheerfully replied.
I pinched her cute blue cheek.
"Did you get everything settled?"
"Nope." Zelretch replied.
"But I realized that I couldn't do everything myself, so I enlisted the help of someone else. With their help, everything should work correctly."
"Alright, can we cut to the chase?"
"Very well." Zelretch turned a bit more serious. "Everything is prepared. Or as much as we can. I calculated the optimal time, and to line everything up, I went to great lengths. It will be enough for both of you to sneak in undetected."
"That's great." I sighed in relief then blinked in confusion. "Both?"
"I will be coming as well." Raikou replied, as if it weren't even an argument.
"I will be coming." She didn't even look up from her meal. "I am Master's Servant."
"Don't argue." Jinn's silly tone was nowhere to be seen. "None of us are happy about what happened last time."
"And you will be taking Avalon." Artoria also chimed in.
"I – "
"You will be taking Avalon."
"….I was going to say thank you."
Artoria cracked a small smile and nodded.
"How much time do I have? I haven't exactly gone to say goodbye to everyone and I don't think It'll be a short trip."
"We already took care of it." Jinn spoke up. "They're all aware of how important this is to you, so you don't need to worry. Just focus on the mission that you're going on."
You all are too good for me.
"It sounds like everything is settled then." I relented.
"Enjoy the meal, we'll head out once we're done." Zelretch announced.
And it was a pleasant meal before heading out.
"I'm a bit confused, I thought we had to cross over at the exact same moment in time. Why did we only come to France and not a different World-line where we could access that time period?" I looked around at the wheat field we found ourselves in.
The scenery was nice but….that's about it.
"I said I acquired some help." Zelretch chuckled.
"That would be me, kiddo." A woman's head popped up from the field, clearly having been laying down before our arrival.
"Miss Aoko Aozaki." I greeted the woman I had met at the party. "Now this makes a lot more sense."
She brushed herself off, standing up. "Quite the group you got here. Two Servants…" She eyed Raikou and Artoria. "Probably the most talented Magus of the generation." She glanced at Rin, making the girl blush. "And….I'm sorry, I have no idea what you are."
"Hi, I'm Jinn." She waved.
The Blue tilted her head and laughed. "Hello Jinn." She returned, walking to Gramps. "And then we have whatever the hell he is." She jabbed her thumb my way.
"Handsome? Charming? Handsome?"
"You said Handsome twice." She pointed out.
"It needed to be said twice."
"…It's hard to believe he's your Grandson." She snorted a chuckle again. "Alright, so let's get this show on the road, I got other things to do today."
"One moment, your addition was a last minute detail I have yet to explain." Zelretch stated. "Let me atleast go over the barest important information."
"That would be appreciated." I nodded.
"I realized that if we tried what I suggested, it would still leave room enough for error that there was a significant chance that while not outright shining a beacon on your entrance, that it would be noticeable through certain means. Thus, after hearing that you had a chat with Miss Blue during the Party, the idea popped into my head. Who better to manipulate time?"
"Compliments aren't going to lower my price, Zelretch."
"Worth a shot." He hummed, then continued. "It's simple really."
"And by simple, he means for you." The other Magician interrupted him. "What we're doing is anything but simple. The Old Man said that you've mastered the Magic to a degree, but I wouldn't trust you in his place, so be grateful."
"Uh….is it alright if we watch?" Rin asked sort of meekly.
"Yeah, it's no problem. But you're just gonna need to stand back." She shrugged. "But for a simplified explanation, Zelretch is going to shift the area off the X-Axis of the world, and I'm going to pull you both back to the needed time period on the Y-Axis while he maintains the shift. And it needs to happen faster than you can blink."
"But….the amount of energy you would need to maintain a temporal stasis like that…?"
"The Old Man offered his own 'Time' to use." She stated.
"Gramps?" I looked at him.
"It's not a big deal, I still have plenty of life ahead of me, a few hundred years is nothing." He said dismissively.
"I refuse." I crossed my arms. "Take my time instead."
"Don't be ridiculous." Zelretch frowned.
"This is my business, so I'll pay the price." I shot him an annoyed look. "Miss Blue, please take my 'Time' instead."
The Blue was one of the only ways that 'time travel' like this could work, but it had a heavy cost to it. Especially if she was using it on other people. It used the most appropriate cost, to use someone's own 'time', not to be confused with their lifespan.
While they're nearly identical, there was a difference to them as she could take already established time from someone, rather than 'future' 'time'.
It's literally to burn away parts of someone's time, converting it to fuel the use of the Magic. And now that I think about it, that's oddly similar to what was happening in the Singularities that the creature posing as Solomon was doing.
"I don't really care who pays the price, but do you got enough?" She raised an eyebrow.
A Devil, A Campione, A Dragon.
"Yeah, I got plenty." I held out my hand and she shrugged, taking it.
"Woah." Her eyes widened. "You weren't lying there. I normally have to be careful, like taking a single drop of water from a cup. But for you, it's like I could use a bucket to scoop out of a lake. Since we're not making a permanent change to the world, I don't have to take as much as I normally would have. We can shunt most of the burden off to this 'Singularity' or whatever and from what the Old Man says, it'll rectify itself and bear the majority of the burden after it's resolved."
"Happy to help." I could feel something strange escape from me. It quickly disappeared and I returned to normal, but it faintly felt as if there was something missing inside of me for that brief moment.
"Alright, Zelretch, I got enough here."
"Very well." Gramps relented. "Let us begin. But, please hold onto this." He tossed me a strange looking cylindrical device. "It will record the state of the Singularity you are going to."
"Can I keep it in my ring?"
"That's fine." He nodded. "The last preparation we'll need is this." He held up a cloak of some sorts. "I had to call in a few favors to acquire a Holy Shroud from the Church to hide your existence."
"I think some people would be rolling in their graves if they knew I would be wearing this." I chuckled, accepting it without reservation. I put it on and it felt a mite uncomfortable, perhaps the Holy Nature was clashing with my Devil Side.
"Call upon the spear. You don't need to take it out, but let it resonate with the Shroud and cover you."
I didn't even need to reach out myself, as if listening in, I felt the Spear within my ring resonate and fill the Shroud with its Holy Light. If the creature was able to use Solomon's Clairvoyance, this would hide me from his sight.
"And prepare yourself, there will be no threshold, no indication that something occurred. Once we activate the required spells, you will simply open your eyes and you will be where you need to be. If there's anything you wish to say or do, you have a few moments."
I grabbed Raikou's hand and pulled her to my side. With one last look at the others, they gave all an affirmative nod of encouragement. "I'm ready."
"Miss Blue, I will follow your lead." Zelretch retrieved his Jeweled Sword, an indication that he was serious about this endeavor. "Everyone else, stand back."
She closed her eyes and an iridescent light began to manifest.
There was a reason her Magic was called The Blue.
"Hear me, Lord of All Creation."
"In my name representing Order, I announce."
"Everything will be corrected."
"Order has now fallen."
My vision was overtaken with the blue light, everything became indistinguishable from the all-encompassing iridescent aqua glow. The Blue's chant still rang in my ears as the light died down and I blinked to see that the surroundings were utterly different.
"….Master." Raikou whispered, pulling on my Shroud as she looked to the sky. "What is that?"
I looked up to see that same Ring of Light from before.
"Indication that we're in the right place at least." I admit I felt a tiny bit fearful after seeing it. Being hit by something so powerful left an impression.
"This does not look like the same location." Raikou noted, as we took in our surroundings.
Everything looked like it had been burned down. The fields of wheat, surrounding forestry, any kind of life was but ash that sat upon blackened soil.
"Master!" Raikou tugged on my sleeve again, pointing beyond a few hills ahead to what looked like a caravan of sorts. "Those are not birds, master." She spoke with a hint of worry at some large flying creatures above them.
It wasn't until I Reinforced my eyesight that I noticed what they were.
[The hell are Wyverns doing in this time period and place?] Even Ddraig sounded confused.
"Raikou, let's go." I commanded and she followed me as I moved with a burst of Shunpo to cover the distance as quickly as possible.
It took moments to come upon the Caravan, people huddling behind or underneath wooden carriages and those Wyverns spewing out flames from above with the occasional dive to attempt to grab one of the people.
There were only a handful of people with actual weapons, one with a bow and arrows, one with a pike, but most with pitchforks or farming instruments.
My first instinct was to cast some magic, but that thought was squashed due to the nature of where we were. This time period, showing off magic? That's just asking for people to assume the worst. Instead, I withdrew a handful of spears, just random, sturdy weapons that were among what I hoarded. And one by one, I threw them at the flying draconic creatures in the air.
There were only Five Wyverns in total, but that was still a significant amount to a mundane human. While Four of my spears landed true and impaled the creatures, causing them to fall from the sky, one of them dodged out of the way and instead dived down to scoop up one of the people hiding below.
Raikou was quick and before it could get too close, she cut its head off, making the large beast flop to the ground to the side.
"W-Witch!!" The man that Raikou saved was trembling, pointing his hand at Raikou, perhaps due to the tiny bit of lightning that arced along her blade before she dismissed it. "She's a Witch, I saw it!"
"Knock it off, ya daft cunt!" A bulkier man in what appeared to be some rusted armor carrying the singular pike from before slapped him on the back of the head.
"Saved ya damn life." He said gruffly. "Sorry my Lady." The armored mad bowed his head in apology. "Tis horrid times and the people are on edge. Thank you for helpin this ungrateful brat. His father saved my life, I'd be ashamed to meet him in the Lord's Kingdom if I arrived after the idiot."
The Caravan was obviously weary of our arrival and I stood next to Raikou as they sized us up with clear skepticism in their eyes. No, it was more than that, there was a genuine fear present amongst everyone.
"It's no trouble." Raikou replied.
"Ah, more than this one deserves." He slapped the younger man's head again. "Get back to your cart, ya brat."
The younger man scurried off with haste to the rear of the Caravan.
"If it weren't for you two, we'd not have made it, thank ya both." He lowered his head in thanks again.
"If you don't mind me asking…..why were there Wyverns attacking you? There….shouldn't be Wyverns here." I tried to choose my words carefully, but it just seemed silly to even ask this kind of question to an obvious non-magically inclined person.
"Ya new around here?' He stared at me weirdly. "They're the minions of that cursed Witch! The scourge of France! We've been running away since they burned down our village."
"Sorry, we just arrived in France and we don't really know what's going on. Just saw some people in trouble and wanted to help."
"Blessings to you then, strangers." His expression softened. "Ya look like outsiders, but Ah didn't wanna be rude to our saviors." He obviously glanced at Raikou's probably bizarre outfit in comparison to what he's used to. That or her very generous figure. "If ya just arrived, I suggest leavin all the same. This land is cursed."
"You mentioned a Witch, what's going on?"
He let out a tired sigh. "Those damn fools. They burned that poor lass and now incurred the wrath of hell itself. She returned after being touched by the Devil. The Dragon Witch, Jeanne D Arc."
"What did you just say?!"
And we finally arrived, welcome to Orleans Singularity.