“Where do people go when they die?” A small chubby boy asked.
“I don’t know.” A smaller girl replied.
The two laid on their backs, dressed in their pajamas; their eyes observant of the starry violent and ink sky above them. Trees rose in the distance, small and unimportant in the twos’ eyes. The singing cicadas filled the cool summer night as the two laid. Two stars danced across the sky, catching their attention momentarily before it disappeared over the distant mountains out in the great beyond.
“Do you think your dad knows?” The boy asked. “I mean, he’s the one taking you to the funeral…” The boy trailed off, unsure of what it a funeral actually was since he had never attended one before. All he knew was she had said her grandfather died and they had to attend.
“Maybe.” She responded lightheartedly, unperturbed by the gravity of what they were actually discussing in their youthful innocence. “But I think daddy won’t like that, Jax. Daddy hasn’t wanted to talk or play since he told me.” The girl rolled on her side. Her steel-blue eyes caught the moonlight and radiated an angelic beauty. Her light blonde hair a nest for the loose blades of grass for the freshly cut grass.
“I…” Jax didn’t know how to respond to that. “Maybe he needs his space, Cyril. I know when my dad gets made, he likes to lock himself in the room. That’s what mom says.”
“It’s fine.” Cyril responded as she looked at the pudgy Jax Besides her. “I don’t want to talk about it.” While she was pretty in the moonlight, her face showed betrayed her sadness and Jax felt the sudden urge to hold her. He did not understand these newfound feelings he had been getting when he was with her. He suddenly found his cheeks were hot.
“So, how’s the tutors?” He asked, quick to escape the sudden influx of foreign feelings.
“Mm. Boring. All they talk about is math and history.” She said and turned on her back to stare back at the stares above. “How’s school?” Cyril asked.
“Lonely.” He responded without thinking, but the words were out there and he couldn’t take them back.
“Why?” She asked without looking.
Jax thought about whether he should answer her question or leave it. Though, Cyril had never mistreated him; He was still scared about how she would think if he spoke the truth.
“Jax?” She turned to look at him since he hadn’t answer.
“Because no one treats me nice there.” He admitted under her soft stare. “I rather come to study with you.” He looked back into her eyes and felt it was alright if he could stay like this.
“Mm. You know your dad won’t let you do that.” Cyril said with a small smile. “Remember the last time you asked?”
The question struck a painful memory in Jax’s heart and he frowned at it. “Yeah.” He thought for a moment and had an idea. “Why don’t you ask your dad if you can go to school with me?” He felt proud of the idea, but her lack of expression in his idea didn’t make him feel too happy about it.
“Sure.” Cyril said to his surprise. “I’ll ask him after the funeral.” She let out a great yawn and sat up. A woman’s voice called for her. One of the maids for the villa and Cyril called back her acknowledgment. She stood back and waved at the maid who was only at the end of the large outdoor patio. She turned to tell Jax that it was time for them to come in, but Jax was gone.
The field had disappeared and replaced with a parking lot. A large gothic cathedral rose behind her where her country home had been. A large group of people exited it and she looked around in confusion. She was in her mother’s arms now as she raised her head. The night lit up bright as she turned to the right and saw the headlights of a car; Then a long blare of its horn and the roar of its engine.
. . . .
Cyril fought to escape from the car, but she suddenly found a cold weight press down on her. The light she was so frantic to escape from began to fracture as it glimmered above her. She felt weightless herself and she finally registered she was in submerged in crystal clear water. She began to feel a burning sensation in her chest and was quick to upright herself. She felt coarse stone beneath her feet and she pushed off on it. In a blink of an eye, she broke the water’s surface and clung to the first thing within arm’s reach.
Her hands gripped the stone edge of the pool, her eyes obscured by water briefly.
Cold air wafted against her skin, a new sensation that made her freeze in her tracks. She felt the weight of something on her back and she felt the coarseness of the stone against her arms. Before she could come to terms of these new sensations, she felt fire rise in her lungs before it gushed up her throat. Then, against her will, golden liquid spewed from her lips and into the pool of water on the other side of the pool.
The liquid glowed as beautifully as her eyes before it dulled and disappeared into the water. She sighed in relief; her body felt better than a few moments again. The crisp mountain air entered her lungs and it perked her mood up. Now, she registered these newfound feelings. She looked at the stone beneath her arms and brushed the tips of her fingers across it.
I can… feel? She said silently. The stone was cool to the touch, as was the water; but each felt different. None just a different point of pressure. The disturbed water lapped at her chest, each wave renewing its refreshing touch. The stone rough touch was uniform and its grey texture was vivid to her. This can’t still be the game! Alarm rose in her heart as she began to notice more and more.
When the water in front of her returned to its mirror-like surface, she saw her reflection. Two soft doe eyes with two drops of glowing gold looked at her, framed by that flawless fair skin that was her in-game avatar. She touched her cheek with a weary touch. Her supple cheek was smooth and to her surprise, was not just pressure she felt. The tips of her fingers were smooth as well. Then she noticed the snowy white wet hair that was flattened against her head. She picked it up and felt the pressure against her scalp.
She also felt each individual strain between in her hair.
It’s real! She screamed in her heart. Her eyes widened and she looked around now. There was no time lapse in the rendering of her surroundings. The flowers were three dimensional, rather than just pasted pictures to save processing power. The pillars that the flowers hung from had flaws that were definitely not skinned on. She noticed that she was in a small circular pool. The pillars rose from a slightly wider ring that left a two-foot gap between her pool, but it sat nearly half a foot beneath the water surface.
The weight on her back became more pronounced as she began to feel something move; A similar feeling to when something brushed a toe. She turned her head whilst keeping her body still and saw a large white wing. The very tip brushed the surface of the pool behind her with every movement. My wings… Wings were a special trait given to Demi-gods who had finally achieved full divinity, or so the lore was set by her. She got her wings in the last raid, but they had been more of a symbolic gesture from her mother.
She wanted her to become an angel in heaven, or so her dad had said.
While the wings startled her, she pieced together the situation in her head. A conclusion came, but she held it back in fear of her hopes being shattered. First, she’d focus on what was in front of her then she’d figure out the rest. She looked down into the water and saw she was completely naked; her well-endowed breasts bare in the water below. She felt a little discomfort at her nudity. “Clothes.” She mouthed the words, but a graceful voice came out rather than her usual higher-pitched voice, one that was mostly machine.
“Um…” A new voice joined the fray and Cyril froze. “If… you need clothes… I can lend you my robe…” Cyril turned in the direction of the voice and saw a young girl. She could not tell her age as the game world dulled all sense of that. Men in the bodies of young girls, young girls in the bodies of sagely men.
The girl stood in the stone pergola she had created before her death. Three other people stood next to her. A large knight with blonde short hair. His red armor that was ornated with golden dragons was marred with buffs and scratches. His hair was matted and disheveled. In his hand, a heavily damaged sword was pointed at her. Just beside him was a girl with large brown fox ears and equally matted disheveled brown hair. Her Brown eyes were narrowed with fear and she wore a light amount of leather armor. Behind her was another boy with the same disheveled look and leather armor, but held a wand.
The girl who spoke to her had more clean hair, though it was obviously freshly washed. It was silky black and she held no weapon, though she had pinched her blue robes that were wet below her thighs. No one looked at her with hostility, but they were apparent how weary of her they were. She stood before the trio and was on the edge of the pergola where the outer ring connected too.
“Ah…” Avery uttered in confusion but suddenly was reminded of her nudity when her breasts grazed the coarse stone. The unpleasant and harsh feeling sparked her mind back into gear. ” Please.” She nodded towards the girl.
The girl pulled the robe off her back, revealing a simple white dress that went down to her knees where knee-high brown leather boots started. The robe came off like a bathrobe, held together by a few buttons and a leather belt that held a wand. The girl kept the belt and tossed her the robe.
“Priscilla!” The knight hissed, stepped forward and reached for the girl “We don’t know if she’s dangerous!” He pulled her back towards the group.
Cyril felt offended but kept her thoughts to herself as she pulled the robe over herself. She disappeared underneath the water and tried to put the robes over her, but found she could not fit her wings underneath the robe. She resurfaced. “I can’t put it on.” She sighed. “My wings won’t fit. ” The wings themselves stuck out five feet in each direction unfolded; Two-feet and some odd inches folded.
Maybe it was the troubled expression Cyril hand, but Mai sheathed her sword and handed it to Desmond.
“Hey!” He said as Mai dropped the sword in his hands. “What are you doing?!” He asked.
“Helping her.” Mai said. She crossed stepped up to the edge of the pergola, stepped onto the outer ring. “Sit on the stone, I’ll wrap it around you.” She said and pointed to the stone wall that housed Cyril’s pool. The girl in question nodded, aligned herself with the vixen so the men could not see her and heaved herself on the small wall. She handed the soaked robe to Mai. “Turn around, please.” Mai said.
Cyril nodded and turned; the wings bushed against the pillar before they gave Mai a soft wet slap. “Sorry!” Cyril felt her wings brush against something, with the wet slap, rightly assumed she had hit the girl. Mai said nothing as she was surprised by the sudden womanly back of the girl in front of her. The girl looked about her age, she had such a defined back that she felt a hint of jealousy appear in her heart.
Dismissing the feelings, she placed one foot on the inner ring as she wrapped the robe around her back; just beneath the base of her wings. “Grab the ends.” Mai said gently. Cyril did as she was asked and finished wrapping the robs over her breasts. It unsettled her how plush they were when she pressed her arm against them. “C’mon, I’ll help you up.” Mai said.
Since Cyril seemed to have been friendly given their interaction, the three put away their weapons. They all let out sighs of relief as they seemed to age slightly now that the tension had left the all as Mai helped the girl from the water.
The beauty of the white-haired woman made everyone suck in a tinge of air. The curve of her collar to the plumpness of the top of her breasts. Her wide hips showed as they were outlined by the dripping wet robe. Desmond was more enthralled by her beautiful dove wings that seemed to move every now and again.
“What’s you name…Err…” Randol was the first to break the silence. His face contorted. Even his face seemed to bloom red – so did Mai and Priscilla.
“Cyril. Cyril Bailey.” She said. “Mm. It’d be better if we talk in the house.” Her golden eyes moved to the longhouse opposite the pond. Cyril was in no hurry to have introductions dressed in such a fashion. While she had been stuck in a game for half her life, she was not ignorant of the social norms between men and women.
“Just as I thought…” Mai muttered. She suddenly felt… Honored to help her. It took her a moment to notice it when she looked to them, but she had seen her face enough; Heard enough, not to mistake it. “Please, let’s get you something more… appropriate.”
. . . . . . .
Desmond, Randol, and Priscilla stared slack jawed at a large dragon skull that hung over the firepit inside Cyril’s longhouse. By its size, it had to be a greater dragon at the very least. It hung supported by four thick chains from four thick beams that had not rotted from the long years. The longhouse’s floor was ten feet below the plateau’s level and with the walls being five feet taller than the ground; The grand total being fifteen-foot walls that stretched out to sixty feet. Widthwise, it was forty-feet long.
This was only just part of the home. Mai and Cyril had disappeared into a hallway opposite of the front door to get clothes. When Randol had heard this, he doubted there would even be a single fabric that would have survived the centuries. Now that he had seen the inside of the home in pristine condition as if this home had only been built yesterday for a noble – he did not doubt she had clothes.
Underneath the hall was a clear cooking area. Pots and pans hung from a small iron rack a few feet away from the cobblestone pit with utensils. From what Desmond could see, the smoke would channel through the dragon skull where a hole had been cut into the bone. Then it would ventilate out the stone chimney. Desmond actually felt this was quite wasteful for such a mythical beast!
She really turned a magical S-Rank material into a damn centerpiece?!
Desmond’s face twitched at the madness of it all while Priscilla was scared of the skull. She preferred cute things over such dreadful things like dead bones. Even more so after what had happened earlier. She trembled behind Randol who was considerate of her and let her be. Lucky for Randol, the skull was the only death related item inside the hall. The rest was full of gems, weapons, paintings and a single statue of a dancing bear with a lute.
Actually, the hall itself quite the mess. Nothing had really been placed in proper order now seemed that it had any proper order. Kind of like a… teenager?
Was the angel stuck going through some sort of rebellious phase before…? Randol asked himself.
The room itself was lit by four large clusters of glowing white crystals. They were light crystals that were only used in quite important ruins, and the girl had four of them… Randol had seriously put some thought into whom the girl could be, but nothing came to mind. He was not the religious type, he believed in the sword and never bothered with the subject. The only deities he knew of was Alistair to the west, God of Light and Hades to the north, the god of demons. His father cared little for the gods, so there weren’t many statues of deities out in the open at the Capital.
Deeper in the home, Mai stared at the clothes that began to pile on the floor as Cyril tore through four wardrobes. She never spared a second look to any of them, either she was quite the decisive person, or she knew what she was looking for. She would find out soon either way.
The room they were in had been down a hall that led into the mountain and up a single flight of stairs. It was the only room at the top of the stairs and it was quite homely. Build directly into the mountain, the room was made completely of stone. The floor was polished to a smooth shiny surface that felt refreshing to walk on with bare feet. How did she know? Cyril had forbidden shoes to be worn in her room.
The room was about twenty feet wide and thirty feet long. The door was on the north side, center of the long wall. On the south wall was a floor to ceiling window pushed to the east side of the south wall that overlooked the valley. How they hadn’t seen the window earlier, she couldn’t say.
There were a few couches and a small table in between by the window with a single hearth center of the south wall along. Then finally, the west side was where Cyril’s small bed and large amounts of wardrobes. While there were those things, everywhere but the sleeping area was cluttered with different items. The couch was stacked with furs and fabrics. The table was stacked with a variety of tomes. In front of the hearth was several stacks of different metal ingots. The rarest one she could identify was the meteorite. There were at least six different metals after that and they had been obviously stacked by rarity.
“Is… this a warehouse rather than a home…?” Mai asked nervously. She felt the strong urge to swipe something, but she felt guilt immediately after the urge came up.
“Nope. All the warehouses should be in the guild houses.” Cyril answer as she got the fourth and final wardrobe and began to throw items out of it in her search. “This is just the things I had carried on me before I… Well…” She never finished her sentence. She was stalled midmovement, her face dark from what Mai could see and she suddenly felt the room’s temperature begin to drop.
“F-Forget I asked!” Mai said with forced happiness. The suffocating atmosphere quickly disappeared and the room returned to normal. She never suspected that question would have been a big landmine. She really is the Goddess… She said in her heart. The beast folk believed in the True one belief, that Cyril was the creator of the world. Her statues dotted the beastial planes and the mountains at their back; regardless what the Dragon Empire and the Sun Kingdom said – Any true beastmen would recognize her.
“Ha!” Cyril cried out as she pulled a black dress that was near the end of the rack of clothes. She pulled out a black sleeveless dress that fitted nice down to her just above her hips where it became flowy. It must have allowed good movement. There was also an embroidered golden paw above the heart. The single doubt she had was removed then. There it was, the symbol of Cyril.
Cyril, after having gotten her underwear with matching a black bra and panties, tried to put on her dress… But she should have retracted her wings…
“Your grace…” Mai said with a troubled expression. “Shouldn’t you retract your wings?” She stared at the dress scrunched up upon the base of her dove wings while the front dangled freely. It honestly made Mai want to laugh. It was… Adorable.
“I don’t know how…” Cyril admitted with a straight face that looked at the vixen as her golden eyes watched her attempting to hold back a laugh.
Silence fell between them too before Mai couldn’t hold anymore and let out a good laugh before she managed to gather her dignity back up. “My apologies… but… how did you activate the light gems?” She pointed to the two large clustered that lit the room in a comfortable white light.
“They should activate when you enter the room.” Cyril said seriously. Maybe another time she would have laughed at her predicament, but she was still fumbling with the entire situation of being alive – and in a real body at that. So, her emotions were a jumbled mess and it took quite a bit of will power just to not break down on the spot. The fact she could not properly put on her favorite dress, the one her mother made designed for her, was slowly grinding away that facade.
Mai was quick to notice that narrowing of her golden pupils and she felt the temperature rise in the room. She quickly wiped the smirk away and composed herself. “I’m sorry, but I do not know much about how wings work, maybe with a thought?” She heard there were quite a bit of Races that had certain traits that could be summoned or dispersed with a thought, Elementals being one of them.
Cyril nodded and closed her eyes in thought.
The room fell silent. A few moments past and the wings twitched a few times; a frown formed on her delicate lips.
Then the wings were sucked into her back almost silently, which was almost creepy to see, and the dress fell down to cover her body completely.
“I did it!” Cyril’s eyes opened and a beautiful smile blossomed on her face. “Thank you.” She turned to Mai and nodded her head.
Mai smiled back, happy for her to have figured out how to do it; though she was worried about what else she didn’t know…
The two left the room now that she had been properly dressed and went out to join the rest, though, they found the boys completely passed out on the floor by the firepit while Priscilla had curled up on a chair nearby…