Later that afternoon, Cornelius, Lau, Katsys and I arrived at Yakuman Castle, where a surprised Lady Kaguya and her two guardians greeted us in the audience room. Ludmila and the younger ones wanted to come along also, but we promised that we’d return the next day. Frankly, I was still a bit worried about the speedy girl, because she had injured herself heavily in battle two weeks ago. Though her wounds had healed quickly due to some high-class potions, I was still a bit worried that she had over-extended herself.
“Oh? Back already? It’s only been a day! Missed me so soon?” Lady Kaguya smiled jokingly at our group. She had already been informed that we had returned for some questions. When her other retainers weren’t around, she behaved less formally around us ever since her rescue. I took it as a sign that we had earned her trust.
On the other hand, I felt a piercing glare from Wen Lu and Wen Zhi. ‘Chill out guys, I already have a master of my own to worry about,’ I thought as I reflexively backed away.
Her eyes darted to the unfamiliar face in our party, a blue-haired bishounen who was wearing a new set of armor that had just been purchased before coming here.
“And who might this be?” Lady Kaguya asked.
“Cornelius von Reichenstein, at your service,” the ‘guy’ promptly said with a bow.
Cornelius was back to her ‘male’ disguise, feeling rather uncomfortable going outside without it. It didn’t seem like anyone around us really noticed that she was hiding her gender, as no one seemed to have given her any strange looks. Honestly, even after knowing that Cornelius was female, her disguise simply confused me all over again. How it messed with my mind was a testament to how well the disguise did its job.
In my mind, I vigorously chanted, ‘Cornelius is a guy. Cornelius is a corny guy. A corny, rich guy,’ repeatedly so that I could prevent myself from letting her secret slip. All I had to do was to treat ‘him’ the same as I always had.
After ‘his’ greeting, Cornelius proceeded to tell Lady Kaguya what ‘he’ had revealed to us already, namely the fact that the Chancellor was indeed the demon who attacked Sanshiro long ago, and that he was now after me, who was believed to be susceptible to demonification.
“That’s… a bit surprising to hear.” Lady Kaguya glanced over to me. “Though I have only known Knight Claude for a short time, I have seen nothing that would indicate that would be the case. Typically, those that undergo demonification possess strongly negative feelings that would hasten the process. That is why our teachings tell us to exhibit control of one’s emotions and discipline of the mind, both of which seem evident by his mannerisms.”
Cornelius’s mouth hung open for a bit. “Truly, Sir Claude appears to be an easygoing fellow… but I can’t help but worry about what the Chancellor-, that demon has said.”
Lady Kaguya rose from her throne and walked over to me slowly. It seemed like she was staring right through me, trying to figure out if I had been deceiving her.
“Knight Claude, you have said that you came from a normal family. A world where the majority of people live comfortably and free from the perils of dangerous beings.”
“Well, there’s certainly no magic and monsters and such roaming around. It would be pretty safe by the standards of this world.”
“Then, do you truly not have any worries deep within? Some dark past, some unspeakable secret that would taint your soul in darkness?” Kaguya’s hand gently rubbed the side of my face.
Reflecting on my past for a moment, I searched and searched my thoughts for anything. Ever since I had arrived in this world, it seemed like everything bad that had happened to me in my previous world had been relatively minor in comparison. The missed opportunities and disappointments had been none other than a lack of will and dedication on my part. Perhaps, I had just been missing the motivation to move forward, and my arrival here had given me just that.
“None that I can think of. I’m pretty content with my life right now,” I finally said.
Lady Kaguya stared into my eyes for a moment. “You… are not lying it seems… but something… something seems to be off… The mind is clear, but the core wails…”
“My core… is wailing? How could that be?” I stepped back to break away from her gaze. Now, I was starting to get worried.
“I am lost as well, Lady Kaguya. What do you mean by that?” Katsys added. It seemed like everyone was drawn to the claims that she had just made.
Wen Lu’s voice drew our focus away from her. “Your memories. How intact are they? I believe that is what Master is alluding to. There are times that Electi are summoned without full details of their past, only to recall them later as certain experiences trigger them.”
I scratched my head. “That’s weird. I seem to remember most of my past. That’s where I get most of my ideas from to begin with.”
“We are not saying that you will lose all memory, but that ‘certain’ memories may have been locked,” Lady Kaguya added.
“That, we do not know. However, there is one thing that can be done. As this country’s Oracle, I can speak to the Gods and try to see into your past through their eyes. Would you be willing to entrust that task to me?”
I stared at Lady Kaguya dumbly. On one hand, it would give me peace of mind to know if I had forgotten anything important. On the other hand, it felt rather unsettling to let someone else peek into the strange thoughts that I had about everything. Especially, since my mind was still likely tainted by the ‘culture’ of my previous world. The last thing that I wanted to reveal was my subconscious caricatures of everyone around me.
“Ah… well…. that’s…”
“Just go ahead and do it,” the Sunny twins said, pretty much in sync.
I looked over to them, only to find that the life had slightly died from their eyes. It was almost like they had gone through the same thing and wanted someone else to feel the pain.
“Ohoho, I won’t hold anything I see against you… as long as we’re on friendly terms.” Lady Kaguya grinned innocently. However, her gaze struck me as anything but that.
I started backing away but Lau gripped my shoulder firmly. “Now, now, we simply must find out why the demon is interested in you…. Isn’t that right, Princess?”
I turned to Katsys in panic, but a look of curiosity was plastered on her expression. “Yes! There are no drawbacks to possessing more knowledge!”
It looked like I had no true allies for the preservation of my own secrets.
Not long afterwards, I was dragged- err, escorted to a large tower near the top of the castle. It stood high above the rest of the castle structure, seemingly touching the heavens.
“Please wait here, everyone. Communing with the Gods is a sacred ritual. Only those involved can pass through here. However, the actual process shouldn’t take too long, so we’ll return within the hour.”
Lady Kaguya grabbed my hand and pulled me through the door. Inside was an empty circular platform that was surrounded by a ring of water. The door closed behind me, and apparently, the Sunny twins positioned themselves in front of it on the other side. Though there was no need to guard the door among friends, it was for the sake of formality.
Lady Kaguya and I walked on a stone bridge leading to the central platform, where the sunlight beamed down from the open ceiling. The ambiance made it really seem like we were about to talk to the Gods. However, how would the Oracle go about doing that in the first place? I was intrigued.
Lady Kaguya simply walked over to the middle and sat down in a ‘seiza’ position. She neatly stretched out the fabric of her robe across her thighs before looking up and motioning for me to join her.
“Lay down in front of me. With your head here.” She pointed to her legs.
Unsure of what exactly she meant by that, I decided to play it safe and lay down on my back… with my head in front of her knees.
“No, silly. Head in lap.” Kaguya grinned at my slow, drawn out movements that revealed my unnecessary caution.
Before I could get up, she lifted my head with her hands and scooted forward. I felt a softness envelop the back of my head as it fit into the groove between her thighs. For the sake of keeping calm, I started envisioning shiitake and grapefruit dancing in my head to counteract the allure of the thigh gap.
‘Get ahold of yourself, Claude. This is just part of the ritual…’
Just as my heart started beating slower, a soft voice sounded above me and echoed around the room.
“Divine Gods, I call upon you in search of your guidance. I, Oracle of the Mitsubishi clan, make a humble request as your follower. Grant me the divine sight to peer into your servant’s inner self. Give us your blessing so that we may seek the truth that lies hidden within him. For he may be the key to the safety and prosperity of this world. Oh, heavenly beings, I ask you again. Please lend me your power.”
After speaking those words, a beautiful chant followed as Lady Kaguya placed her hands over my eyes. I couldn’t make out any of the words as they seemed like a foreign language. However, the voice behind it was beautiful. So drawn into the melody of mysterious words, that I didn’t notice that I was quickly becoming drowsy. Wrapped in Lady Kaguya’s lovely singing, my body slowly felt like it was melting into her.
Gradually, her presence seemed to overlap with mine. I could no longer feel her body against my head. At some point, her voice started sounding like it reverberated from inside me.
I was her, and she was me. The line that separated the both of us had been blurred.
With that, the ritual preparations were complete.
Our collective consciousness stared out into the open space, where we floated in a white haze. There was endless white that obscured everything around us.
“Who are you?” A voice, likely Lady Kaguya’s, called out from within me.
As if responding automatically to that question, the white scenery started to shift. Immediately, brief scenes of my time in this world appeared. Starting from when I was summoned, Lady Kaguya and I watched as my mind played the important moments in this world before me.
“So… that is your master?” Lady Kaguya noted as several fond memories of Eryn popped up.
A wave of nostalgia swept over me as I realized how much I missed seeing her. I had hoped for her safety while I was away, but I knew that she could take care of herself. But now, Cornelius claimed that the Chancellor had set his sights on me. I wanted to head back before Eryn was dragged into his schemes once again.
“From the way you feel, you have a strong connection with her, similar to mine with Wen Lu and Wen Zhi.”
Lady Kaguya could feel the various emotions coming from me as we were connected. As the images played out, she understood better how I had ended up in Sanshiro. However, that wasn’t what she was looking for.
“No… this doesn’t fall outside my expectations. There must be something else… Who are you truly?… Before all of this… Your core beliefs are rooted in your upbringing. That may be where your secret lies.”
As if my mind started to change gears, the current images abruptly stopped. After a few moments of blurry white space, a distinct stretch of buildings that were unlike anything in this world came into focus. Structures of metal and glass stood tall and proud in the distance. Large vehicles moved by themselves along the ground, as if propelled by magic. The bustle and clamors of many people littered the area all around us.
We took a moment to soak in the distinctly foreign scenery, unlike anything that existed in the world we came from. At least, it was foreign considering where I had been stuck at for nearly two years. But once I could distinguish the surroundings, a bittersweet feeling struck me. I felt imaginary tears start brimming in my eyes as I wanted to look away.
My body gently floated down until my toes touched the ground. The feeling of pavement was both nostalgic and unfamiliar at the same time.
I was home. The home of my previous world, before I had been summoned here. The sights and sounds of things that I once took for granted were vividly in front of me. Though I realized that this was all in my mind, it didn’t matter.
“Please… just give me a moment to let it all sink in… just a moment.”
I felt Lady Kaguya wordlessly nod.
(And… a sneak preview of my next writing project)
Why Kill When Witches Can Be Tentacled – Pilot Chapter
A beautiful young lady galloped across the rooftops of a small city, the wind caressing the flowing blouse that highlighted her bosom. With long, magenta hair and skin smooth as the fairest of maidens, any normal man would find themselves aching for a touch.
A simple, gray traveler’s robe hid the luscious curves of a developing woman who had just reached the beginnings of maturity, a body that rivaled those of nobility. However, a short skirt revealed long, thin legs as she bounded over buildings, drawing the people’s gaze from below. For the lucky ones, a glimpse of underwear flashed before their upturned stares.
However, the libidos of the townsmen who gawked at her were quickly doused with ice at the sounds of yelling that followed.
“There she is! Get that Witch!”
Accompanying those cries were bolts of magic that sailed across the skies, aiming to strike the beauty that was on the run.
With a swift leap and a swing of the arm, the girl turned around and flung a firebolt at the nearest magic targeting her before landing on the next rooftop. With an eruption, the two magics collided and shook the air, neutralizing the rest with its impact.
The men in armor, fellow magicians themselves, gritted their teeth and continued the pursuit.
The so-called Witch that the men in armor chased after was Maribell Schuzen, a proud magician herself. But that was not the reason their words held such hatred and disgust. Far from it, magicians were typically regarded well in society, holding coveted positions in a nation’s defense and war potential. A magician could find themselves set for life with a high-ranking title.
However, a Witch was completely different.
Witches were people who had accepted the darkness, forbidden arts by a Demon God who once dominated the world. Those labeled as such were so loathed that any Witches were sentenced to death upon discovery. Upon hearing the beauty accused as such, the townspeople merely felt dread and fear, vacating to somewhere safe immediately.
Maribell grimaced as she continued bounding away.
Damn it! If only I had kept my mouth shut!
Maribell was indeed one of those Witches, stumbling upon the Grimoire of Lies during her travels. Knowing not its true existence, she accidently accepted the alluring powers it held.
The Grimoire of Lies was one of many pieces of the Demon God which bore his abilities. By accepting it, the user could detect the difference between a person’s words and thoughts, perfect for finding trustworthy allies.
Having grown up in an abandoned society, there were many who would take advantage of a lovely, budding woman such as herself, especially one that possessed magic.
However, the powers came with a curse – Maribell was no longer able to lie as a result. That had caused her current situation.
A simple errand to restock her travel supplies had gone awry when someone caught a glimpse of the earring dangling upon her right earlobe. A miniature book that rested gaudily there was the form that the Grimoire took when dormant.
A child approached her and innocently asked what the pretty earring was. In response, Maribell blurted out, “The Grimoire of Lies,” before she could muffle the words spewing out of her mouth with a hand. Those around her instantly recognized the evil artifact’s name and called out Witch! in terror. Even in jest, none would dare utter such a taboo subject.
Her ears and face could have been tucked into a hood, but that would cause more scrutiny of her appearance. After all, magicians flaunted their appearance with pride. It was a mark of their superiority. Hiding oneself while radiating a strong mana signature created more suspicion.
The Grimoire had, unfortunately, chosen a form that was difficult to keep out of sight. Not to mention, she couldn’t easily dodge those with inquiries. This was certainly turning out to be a disastrous day.
Maribell’s attention perked up as she caught sight of the town gates. Past those, the forest would provide her with cover. However, two dozen archers stationed there aimed their spell-based arrows upon her.
“Blast it! Looks like I’ll have to take a few scrapes to get by!” Maribell charged another flame spell and leapt off the roof to chuck it at her foes. Confident that her attack was strong enough to blow a hole through them, her eyes focused forward.
Suddenly, a swift gale caught her from below, too strong for it to be natural. Of course, someone had laid a trap under her, wind magic fierce enough to send her twirling skyward.
Her eyes widened at her momentary slip in judgement. She was helpless as the words Fire! Echoed ominously in her ears, and then, the sharp pain of arrows began to pierce her body. Flame scalded her flesh, ice froze her blood, and thunder pricked across her limbs – places where the magic hit.
With a nasty thud, Maribell fell to the ground, heavily injured by the volley.
The heavy, clunking footsteps of iron approached her. The grins of men claiming victory appeared hazily in her vision.
“Another cursed bitch rid from this world!”
“Aye, too bad this one’s a looker.”
“Are you kidding me? Your dick will fall off if you screw a Witch. Everyone knows that!”
Of course, the people of this world created all kinds of untruths about Witches, just to convince others of their supposed evils. In reality, Witches were simply female magicians who happened to be cursed by a Grimoire. Why only females were chosen – no one knew. But that didn’t stop people from regarding Witches as scourges upon the world.
Maribell dreaded this day, ever since she discovered her Grimoire months ago. Living in hiding was harsh, but being feared by everyone was worse. Slowly, she lost any hope in the world.
“Another chance, another life – anything but this…,” she whimpered to no one in particular. Only the Gods could hear her now.
A twinkle in the sky shone above as if it acknowledged her anguish. The light grew stronger and closer, no longer a figment of her imagination. Maribell’s eyes widened as she realized that it was coming straight for her!
With a thunderous clap, a tremor shook through the city streets, tossing those around the Witch into the air. Like a meteor from Heaven passing judgment on the wicked Witch in their stead, a shrill cry of her supposed last moments broke through the impact. Moments later, dust still clung to the air, disguising the fate imposed by the Gods.
Maribell had expected a moment of excruciating pain to end her sad life, filled with nothing but trouble since discovering her Grimoire. Part of her was relieved that it would all end. Still, the fear of death clammed her eyes shut as she waited for the inevitable.
However, that moment happened not with a bang, but a heavy tug upon her ample bosom, accompanied by a strange Boing! sound. Certainly, this was not the death strike that she expected.
Even stranger, whatever hit her proceeded to wrap itself around her exposed chest as something slithered across its tip, sending a jolt of electricity down her back.
Maribell’s voice leaked out a fierce moan that caused her mana to flare up and explode the surroundings. What others believed was the impact of a meteor had been, in fact, merely a burst of mana caused by the Witch herself.
The resulting explosion had popped her several feet up, causing her body to land with a thud, a subtle sound gone unnoticed among the loud noise. As if her situation could get any worse, her underwear had become damp from the stimulation.
What more of an embarrassing situation could this be!? I’d rather be struck dead instead!
Her mind flared as she wondered how else she would be punished before her fate was sealed. Her answer came from an unexpected source.
“Oof. Why, hello to you too…,” a high-pitched voice rang out.
Through the dust, Maribell could see no one around her. Had she imagined it? But she felt the vibration of those words through her body, right where her… left… breast… was…
Looking down, she caught sight of a thin appendage waving from a bluish blob adhered to her mound.
“Howdy there! The name’s Snazzy-chan! Quite the entrance I made, hahaha.”
A shiver of terror crept down Maribell’s back as she tried to grab the nasty being attached to her. She grimaced in disgust as the feeling of gelatinous slime squished between her fingers while trying to grip the head-sized blob. With no firm texture to grasp, clawing at the thing did little more than bat it around her chest, each swipe sending another jolt through her body.
“Get OFF! What the hell are you!?” she whispered, knowing full well that her pursuers were just beyond the dust cloud.
“Woah, woah! Calm down, hot onee-san! You wouldn’t want to harm a cute, little jellyfish, now would you?”
“A jellyfish! How absurd! We’re miles away from the ocean! I don’t have time for this! I have to escape now!”
The jellyfish, called Snazzy-chan, shrugged with two of its tentacles. A cute gesture it would have been if the situation were different.
“You expect me to understand what ails you? I literally just landed here. Though, what aim Kami-sama has….” A tendril shifted its shape until a thumbs-up was formed.
Maribell ignored it and quickly analyzed the situation around her as the dust started to settle. Somehow, the stimulation had given her a second wind. However, she was still surrounded by the city’s best magicians. Archers and soldiers stood on either side of her, waiting to see if she remained standing.
She would have one chance. By gambling her remaining magic at the archers, she could penetrate their line and use the forest to hide and recover. That was all she could hope for. As she planned originally, her casting began anew.
“Heated crimson from the depths of Hell! Send my foes into an inescapable inferno that-“
“AHHHH! AHHHH!” The jellyfish cried at that very moment, breaking her concentration as it bounced up and down in a fury. That had unfortunately cancelled her spell, wasting precious mana.
She wanted to curse at the blasted thing, but its complaints kept her from doing so.
“Oh my god! What is this!? Where is it!? Where is it!?” the high-pitched voice bellowed out.
Unable to resist, Maribell responded impatiently. “What do you even mean, where is it!? Where is WHAT!?”
“My thingy! I have nothing down there! Despite hanging onto such amazing thiccness, there isn’t a single response! Don’t tell me, jellyfish have no-“
“WHAT IN GOD’S NAME ARE YOU SAYING!?”
Maribell’s roar cut through the vicinity just in time for the dust to clear. The magicians gawked at her in confusion as the Witch seemingly roared at God knows who while in the state of partial undress. Certainly, the explosion had slashed her blouse, leaving her cleavage spilling out. Her skirt and robe had also been swept up and blown away in the wind, leaving a visibly damp pair of panties.
“H-How blasphemous! What manner of perversion is this!?” One of the soldiers shielded his eyes.
“D-Do not think that your sinful body can keep us from delivering justice to one such as yourself!”
“Temptation as a last resort, I scoff at thee!”
As the blob upon Maribell’s chest continued to jiggle and sway against her struggles, ignorant to the dire situation, the men’s bodies had a different reaction. The sultry swagger of her curves, exposed for all to see, couldn’t help but make the men’s armor feel just a tad tighter. Physiological responses had nothing to do with good or evil.
Hesitantly, the men raised their weapons to end the enchantress’s demonic dance of seduction. Surely, there was not a shred of regret upon their faces, they told themselves with heavy resolve.
In the meantime, Maribell continued to jerk to and fro, suffering from the whims of Snazzy-chan, its frantic bouncing causing no small amount of discomfort in her loins.
She wanted to just die. To let this farce be over with. She couldn’t deal with the shame much longer.
Out of the blue, Snazzy-chan let out a cry which shocked everyone, especially those that had overlooked the jellyfish covering the Witch’s chest.
“Oh wait! I feel something! I feel it! I’m going to…”
“Wait, what? You’re going to- oh no! No way! No way! STOP, right this instan-“
Of course, the jellyfish cared not for the cries of the girl. It continued rubbing itself upon her mound, close to reaching climax. And after much effort on its part, it finally reached that point. With a loud cry of glee, the jellyfish felt a rush of euphoria as it ejected something from its body.
Maribell shut her eyes once again, anticipating a dreadful discharge approaching. Her body couldn’t take much more of this. She was at the brink of exhaustion.
Suddenly, a mysterious wave washed over her. A torrent crashed upon the surface of her body and dyed her with its colors. Her face, her stomach, even her arms and legs – from the tips of her extremities to her very core, she felt herself drowning in it as the sensation absorbed into her body.
She cracked an eye cautiously to survey the horrid result. She saw the soldiers in front of her standing stock-still, in awe at her appearance.
What spectacle am I part of now?
Her eyes popped open, attracted to a strange sight.
A miraculous glow encompassed her body, giving her renewed strength. Her recent wounds had even been healed, and the slightest movements were filled with a vigor like never before. Moreover, a comforting fullness of mana gave her confidence that she could vanquish her enemies.
As if reading her desires, flames swelled around her, growing more and more vast until it snapped the gawking men from their stupor and caused them to start panicking in fear.
But with a swift swing of the arm, the flames crashed into the surroundings. A deafening explosion rocked the entire city. And after the dust cleared, Maribell saw that an entire city block had been leveled to the ground. The soldiers from before were nowhere in sight.
“Ah, guess I forgot to mention. Kami-sama gave me a support ability upon reincarnation, but he wouldn’t tell me how to activate it. Found the trigger for it, don’t ‘cha think?”
With that, the jellyfish detached from her breast and bounced onto her shoulder, rubbing its tendrils together as if savoring its new companion. “We’ll be in each other’s care from now on.”
Maribell had no words in response. Her exposed body stiffly walked through the unguarded area to find a hole to crawl into.
Unknown to her, she was just the first of many Witches to band together against their fate, led by the mysterious tentacle being known as Snazzy-chan.
(Now, that’s you’ve finished reading this, did you notice the date this was posted? April fools!
Sorry to disappoint you, but I wrote this as a one-shot just for fun! Hope you enjoyed it! Don’t feel too sad if I got you a bit excited, haha. Thanks a bunch for reading and supporting me with comments!)