1 Ugly Devilspawn

"That woman is now a notorious criminal all over the world. The bounty on her head is immense," an old man said, glaring at the bartender before him with unfriendly eyes. "If you have any news about her, you better contact me."

"Everything I said was true, of course. She and I were childhood sweethearts, but we split apart after a personal event. I have no way to contact her."

"Did you see her at least once after she began Devouring other people's Heritages?"

"No, I had never seen her after she Awakened her Heritage," the youthful bartender said, "I didn't even know she could Devour other people's Heritages till you told me."

The old man turned to leave but stopped momentarily and asked, "What was your name again?"

"Oh, I am Ethan. Ethan Everhart." 

The old man raised his black hat and gave a solemn nod of acknowledgment. A bell chimed gently above the door as he left.

Ethan released a sigh and slumped to the chair beside him.

How irritating!

About half an hour passed after the old man left, and his pocket hummed with a delicate quiver. 

A tiny head of blazing red hair poked out of his pocket. Her green pupils wide, she glanced around with the stealth and caution of a woodland chicken eluding predators.

Then, she jumped into the air, and crystalline butterfly wings buzzed gently behind her before she settled her attention on Ethan.

"You could have at least defended me when he called me an animal and a slut," she said, expression dark, "you hateful bastard!"

Ethan curiously looked at Scarlett's new Form—Fairy Form, as she called it—and couldn't help but raise an eyebrow inwardly.

What abilities of hers were mixed together to form this... Form

He thought about it and quickly had a vague idea, but he was not sure.

So he just admired her beauty.

In the Fairy Form, Scarlett was barely the size of his palm.

She had red hair akin to fiery embers of fire, lustrous green eyes like emeralds at night, a fair face, and two glowing crystalline butterfly wings on her back.

He tried to let her small form stand on his palm, but her dissatisfaction was evident and with a snort, Scarlett transformed back into her normal appearance.

Her body grew bigger, her hair changed, and her wings were put back. Even her clothes shifted size together. 

Ethan whistled at the familiar look—this form was much more down to earth. His Scarlett.

Beneath the unassuming oversized vintage sweater, which did little to conceal her soft but great curves, stood his childhood sweetheart.

Her raven locks fell down to her butt, while some strands still remained before her fair face, which she pushed to the back of her ears.

Her cute face was adorned with a beauty mole by the side of her cheek. It looked extremely beautiful when she smiles, but she wasn't smiling now.

His gaze moved to her eyes.

They were a deep, soulful brown, and used to be hidden behind the thick-rimmed glasses that she used to wear as a child, but that was no longer; now, she used lenses instead. 

Yes, this was Scarlett in her element, unadorned. Authentic.

"What a beauty!" He sighed in admiration but Scarlett wasn't having it.

Her pretty eyes bored into him, irritated at him for not defending her earlier, and in more… past grievances. 

Her eyes were shadowed, and she got a glass of wine for herself before seating herself on a chair.

Ethan stayed silent for a second.

He knew it was his own mistake the last time, but he didn't want to give the earlier thing with the old man as a point for her to bite at.

"I can sense that old man is far stronger than us. He is obviously an S-Ranker..." he said, "I don't want to mess with him for no reason, especially since he was obviously here checking for your clues.

"Even though your Heritage is strong, you are still just a C-Ranker in the end. You should calm your horses—" 

He paused at her obviously emotionless gaze. She was almost asking without asking: 'Why are you straying from the true subject we have to talk about?'

With a shake of his head, he continued, "If he had found you, you'd be dead. Even I felt chills standing near him."

She said blandly, "My abilities are all becoming a nice combo now that I have devoured some Abilities, especially since my Core Heritage became a B Rank two days ago. So, all abilities I use have B Rank might."

... it seems I really made her furious the last time.

Scarlett became a B-Ranker and didn't brag to him immediately? That meant, she was really, really, really mad.

And he had done enough to deserve it. He knew she must be infuriated at him.

Ethan sighed. 

He felt suppressed.

It was his fault, after all.

Regardless, that didn't mean it was okay to antagonize people who were obviously out of her league. She couldn't just go around and offebd S Rankers while being a B Ranker!

"Just hiding in my pocket doesn't mean you're unkillable. If you make enemies everywhere, it's dangerous for both of us. They could catch even me if they tried hard enough with a good plan—I am not invincible.

"And I even think the old man knew you were here." 

Scarlett's beautiful gaze, languid at first, shrunk slightly. 

"How did he find me?" she asked.

"His eyes," Ethan's gaze shifted to a dark bottle of wine, and it reflected his appearance: a tanned youth with untamed black hair and languid but piercing blue eyes. "His eyes are similar to mine. He could be considered to have a Royal Heritage with more than one ability under it, just like me. 

Scarlett really was scared this time.

Royals were people who had more than one Ability in their Heritage. They have these unique eyes with the ability to recognize other people's Heritage and Abilities at a glance.

It was a powerful ability she had never been able to devour.

Of course, it only worked if you were not looking at another Royalty with multiple abilities under the umbrella that was their Heritage.

Like Ethan himself, who had more than a single ability under the one Heritage that he had. The old man couldn't see his Stats, neither could he see the old man's.

It was just his gut feeling that told him the old man was an S ranker.

Scarlett composed herself. "So what if he is like you? When I grow stronger, it won't be an issue for me to stand toe to toe with him."

Ethan snorted, spinning on his chair while looking at her. She was as arrogant as ever. 

It was not the first time people had come asking him for details regarding Scarlett while acting like regular customers since he was one of the scant few with whom Scarlett had ever been seen together in public.

But it was the first time he saw someone who actually posed a lethal threat to her. He just wanted her to be cautious. 

But he also knew that half her recklessness came from the trust she had in him to protect her, and also from the belief that he had the power if it came to it, so he couldn't really blame her—he had spoiled her too much. 

A palm appeared before her and snatched the wine glass from which she was sipping like a cat. 

Half of Ethan's hand had vanished into the void!

She grumbled in irritation. Then ignored him.

"I am strong enough to protect myself. Even you are not really that much of a threat to me anymore."

Ethab shook his head. "Scarr, I have the power to touch, grope, fondle you as I please. To teleport around at will, and you wouldn't be able to stop me or resist. I can actually smother you if I really want to. But I'm choosing not to, so don't push me. I might just... not be able to hold back."

Scarlett managed to stifle her laugh, her façade of indifference slipping slightly. 

He had at least, not changed much.

"If you ever touch me without my permission, you're finished," she declared, her eyes fierce. "I am strong!"

Ethan simply smiled at her.

"How strong?"

"Try me," she teased, and in a blink, he vanished.

He was behind her!

Scarlett turned, her hand flaring with fire, but he was already back in his original spot, nonchalantly enjoying the wine he had snatched from her.

She clenched her teeth in frustration. 

He was faster. Way faster than her.

She could literally feel his hand pressing against her chest wantonly for a moment, just for a moment, before he was back in his place. He was just far too swift!

Ethan took a leisurely sip of wine and said, looking at his warm hand, "I see, babe... hmm... it's bigger now than what I remember fondling last time."

Scarlett's face reddened.

"Keep it up, and one day, I'll take your power for myself and Devour it, too. Just wait and see, you jerk!"

Ethan smiled, and a second later, Scarlett was fuming once more, covering her chest with her hands while he looked at his own hand curiously.

"You're not wearing a bra, right? And why are your nipples so hard?"

Scarlett bit her teeth.

"Fairy Form!" she shouted.

Ethan vanished from the bar, a chuckle in his wake. Of course, in brute strength, she would be stronger than him. 

He was more of a fast guy. The uncatchable guy.

She smiled, but her smile suddenly dimmed as the doorbell of the bar rang out, and an old man walked in...

Her heart skipped a beat.

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