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My flight to the ocean was exhilarating at first. I flew as fast as I could, using magic to shield myself from the wind as I shot through the skies. I’m not actually sure what my top speeds were. I think it’s safe to say that I failed to break the sound barrier since there was no sonic boom, but the landscape did turn somewhat blurry beneath me. That was saying something, too, considering how sharp my eyesight seemed to be. When I slowed down over a forest, I could see the individual leaves on the trees, despite being easily fifty feet above them.
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm didn’t last, and within two hours of flying, I had already started to grow bored. Flight had always been part of my life as Devilla when it came down to it, and it was only my memories of being a flightless Jacob that had temporarily kindled fear and excitement within me. Diving after Abigail had forced me to confront that terror, however, and after testing my capabilities for a couple of hours, I couldn’t help but feel that the excitement was wearing off as well. Eventually, I stopped focusing on speed, dropping my air resistance spell and instead projecting the illusion of empty sky beneath myself. With that spell running in the back of my mind, I could allow my mind to wander without fear of being spotted from below.
Unfortunately, my mind kept wandering back to Abigail. More specifically, I kept asking myself what I was going to tell her when I got back. I definitely didn’t want to reveal that this world mirrored a porn game from my old world. I wanted to avoid telling her the exact nature of my past life, too. Humans weren’t precisely regarded with fondness among us demons, after all, and men were literally a foreign concept. Telling her that I wanted to let the heroine incite rebellion before fleeing the tower myself also seemed like a bad move. It was for the sake of my people, but it was only my knowledge of Tower Conquest that made me think that path would work out alright.
With all that said, I really wasn’t sure what I could tell Abigail. If I stuck only to what was safe, she would probably leave me. Since she was the closest thing I had to a companion in this world, I really didn’t want that. Besides, if I was honest with myself, I really did want to tell someone at least some of the truth. Perhaps even all of it, one day. A confidante would make me feel so much better… but that was also the exact thing that gave me pause.
A confidante would make me feel better. It would likely do the opposite to whoever I confided in. As such, I couldn’t help but worry that I was simply being a selfish brat again. Wanting to keep a companion who didn’t even like me. Wishing to tell her things that would only bring her distress. If people thought Abigail was too close to me, it might even cause her trouble after the coup. If I really cared about her, it would surely be best to simply let her leave me. Yet even though my plan would doubtlessly end with her hating me, anyway, I still didn’t want to prematurely sever the relationship.
In the end, I failed to come to a conclusion. Instead, I got so lost in my thoughts that I blew straight by the beach and had to spend five minutes flying back toward shore.
When I had again reached the beach, I was faced with another conundrum. I was wearing heels like I always did. Black ones, that day, with three inches of heel and an open toe that showed off my black nails. My feet never grew tired or hurt, and I tended to fly when I was in a rush, so I rarely wore flats. It was hardly ever a problem. Hardly ever a problem. But I’d never before needed to land on a beach absolutely littered with seashells. They were literally everywhere, some big and some small, some in the shape of cones and others that looked like slightly concave circles.
If I had been walking, it wouldn’t have been a problem. I could have carefully made my way through what little space wasn’t covered in shells, or perhaps crushed them beneath my heels through sheer force, or pressed them so deep into the sand that it wouldn’t be an issue anymore. Trying to alight upon such an uneven surface, however, was a whole other matter. I would be off-balance from the start and would likely fall before I could get proper footing.
In the end, I had little choice but to fly even further ashore, landing on solid ground and making my way back down the beach. I was possibly a touch annoyed at the detour. Enough to stomp my way through the sand instead of daintily picking my way across it, at the very least. Eventually, however, I came to a stop near the edge of the shore.
“Well then,” I said to myself, as cold water washed over my ankles and then receded back into the sea. “What’s the best way to do this…” The most traditional way of getting salt from the ocean was probably to separate some water from the sea and then boil it. I hadn’t thought to bring any materials to hold the water, though, so that was out. In which case, why not take a more direct approach? Rather than trying to get rid of the maltepe escort water, I decided to simply focus on the salt.
First, I spread my magic power through the water before me. Then, when I’d suffused a decently sized patch of ocean with my magic, I focused on isolating the salt. Finally, in much the same manner as I might pull a ball of dirt from the ground into the sky, I drew the salt directly from the water and into the open air.
Water surged up in response to my magic, drawn from the simple force of so much salt rising upward. A moment later, the water crashed back into the ocean, while the salt that had come with it remained hovering in midair. The pure white crystals looked as beautiful to me as they did tasty. Or almost, anyway.
Stretching a hand toward the salt, I curled my fingers toward myself in a gesture to come hither. It was a completely unnecessary piece of showmanship, without even an audience to impress, but I just couldn’t resist adding a little flair to what was otherwise a simple process. My casting quickly drew the salt toward me, and I soon had a veritable cloud of it above my head. From there, I simply opened up my pouch, pointed imperiously toward the opening, and began to funnel the salt directly inside.
Of course, a single pouch would generally be able to hold only so much salt. The amount I had conjured was far too much for the bag I carried, which was only a little larger than a man’s fist. Despite that, I had no concerns at all about being able to fit in as much sodium chloride as I wanted. In fact, despite all the salt that I’d already poured inside it, the bag still looked as empty as when I had started. Just as it always would. That was the nature of the holy item I had taken from the treasury, known colloquially as “the empty bag.” It would reject sapient creatures, and it was impossible to make anything larger than your average human fit in one piece, but it could hold an infinite number of small items. On top of that, no matter how much you stuffed it, it would always look empty. And, much like the holy sword that Luci brought down alongside it, it couldn’t be so much as lifted by anyone but its current owner.
So long as the owner remained alive, at least.
Pushing negative thoughts aside, I waited a few seconds for the ocean to lap against me, and recede, and then repeat the process all over again. Once I was convinced that enough salt had suffused the water, I repeated my extraction process and channeled another cloud of white crystals into my bag. Saturating so much of the ocean with magic power would eventually make a dent in even my magic capacity, so I mixed up my mental image a bit on the third occasion. Instead of saturating the water and coating each bit of salt individually with my power, I spread a solid sheet of magic power under the ocean. I then focused on the idea of catching at the salt while letting water through. I then lifted the sheet of magic up and out of the water, curving the edges inward to avoid any spillage, and brought up another good portion of salt. This turned out to be a far more efficient use of my magic power, so I kept it up. It quickly grew boring and a little tiresome, but within another hour or so, I thought I finally had enough salt to at least start distributing it through the tower. I’d probably have to make more trips in the future, though.
“Maybe I could set up a teleportation circle?” I mused aloud. I could build a small stone structure and stick one inside it. Then I’d be able to transport from the tower to here with ease. Of course, I had never actually cast any sort of spatial magic myself before. I also wasn’t sure humans wouldn’t be able to make use of it if I created one, which seemed like a pretty significant security risk. And finally, there was the fact that I had never really paid attention to any of the details when it came to the teleportation circles at home. Since I’d always had someone else handle the “finicky bits,” I wasn’t sure exactly sure how teleportation circles were supposed to look, let alone how they worked.
I thought perhaps the circles I always used maybe matched? In which case, it might have had something to do with imagining the “sameness” between two places and connecting them. There might be other ways of pulling it off, too. A mental image of folding the space you’re in so that it touches the space you want to be in? Or maybe one could literally open a wormhole between two areas, somehow? The only thing I knew for sure was that I didn’t know nearly enough. Which meant I’d be flying back and forth for now.
“Maybe I should clear some of the seashells, then, at least,” I sighed. A good portion of them would probably come back, but it really was ridiculous how many of them there were. I supposed that was what happened when there weren’t any tourists to pick the things up, though. Indeed, the beach seemed utterly untouched by human hands, let alone demonic ones. No tourists, no local beachgoers, not even a fisherman for as far as the eye escort maltepe could see. This entire area had been left alone for who knew how long before my arrival. I could only imagine that helped make it a pretty good breeding ground for shellfish.
“…I got what I came here for,” I reminded myself. “I shouldn’t get greedy…” Still, if one really thought hard about it, it wasn’t actually salt that had brought me there. It was the desire for something delicious that had drawn me to the sea. And I couldn’t imagine anything more delicious than a good old fashioned clambake.
Shaking my head at how easy I was to sway, I decided to collect a little more of the ocean’s bounty. Walking along the coast of the sea, I sent a wave of magic through the ground, feeling for spaces where there wasn’t earth – where something had burrowed into the wet sand, in other words. From there, I used my hands to dig at the ground, even going so far as to get on my knees. I didn’t pay any mind to getting dirty. I wasn’t sure it would count as a proper washing, but I was fairly sure I could at least get any sand out of my clothes with a little magic after I was done.
My efforts were rewarded, too. I found many of the clams I wanted. There were oysters, as well, which I took eagerly. I remembered them being called aphrodisiacs back on Earth, and while I was reasonably sure that was more myth than fact… Well, I wasn’t on Earth anymore. I was on Solla. And considering this world mirrored a porn game, I wasn’t willing to rule anything out. I grabbed as many oysters as I could find.
I needed seaweed, too, if I wanted a clambake. I used an air shield to keep away the water while searching the shore for some. and ended up revealing some mussels stuck to a set of submerged stones. Of course, I took them. My bag kept anything inside it in stasis, meaning that my seafood wouldn’t spoil no matter how long it took me to eat all of it. Every morsel would remain safe and fresh right up until I was ready to feast.
In the end, I ended up with considerably more oysters than anything else. If you took all the mussels and clams I had and multiplied them by two, you still wouldn’t have enough to match all the oysters in my bag. They must have been reproducing like crazy, which made me wonder again about the possibility of them being an aphrodisiac for real in this world. I would definitely have to try some later.
For now, though, I really had to get moving. I’d spent so long on seafood that the sky had started to darken, and heavy clouds had begun to fill the sky without my noticing. It looked like a storm was brewing, and if I didn’t get home soon, I might just get caught in it.
Lightning flashed through the sky above me, and the clap of thunder that followed felt almost like a physical force. The storm had been going on for half an hour, but the fear of getting electrocuted had kept me from trying to get above the clouds. I was instead hovering in midair, studying the map in a desperate bid to find somewhere to weather the storm. Even though the map was hopelessly outdated, I had to hope that the villages listed on it still existed in some form or another.
I was currently floating above a river, which forked in two different directions beneath me. The river was depicted on the map, thankfully, and apparently, following either branch would eventually bring me to a village. I decided to go with the left side, simply because my map showed it as being near a major road. They seemed more likely to have an inn or tavern where I could wait out the weather, and they would hopefully be more used to strangers.
With the map helping me, finding the village of Derrin was easy enough. With my illusion spell mimicking the dark clouds above me, I was able to fly directly above it without fear of being spotted. Well, not that there was anyone about to spot me. I couldn’t help but notice that the fields and streets were empty and that the windows were all carefully shuttered. Were they expecting the storm to be that bad?
I made my descent a little ways outside of the village, choosing to land directly on the dirt road. I altered the illusion I was casting as I landed, deciding for now that I would simply darken my hair to test whether that would do as a disguise. If it did work, I’d likely want to get my hand on some brown dye. So long as I had a bottle of the stuff with me, I could simply use magic to quickly apply it whenever I feared human company. Stripping the pigment, afterward, would be an even simpler spell. This was all assuming that humans would let me get away with black nails and purple eyes, though.
I began to walk toward the village proper. There were two large stone walls around the town, one surrounding the fields and another encircling the buildings. Only the latter had a gate, however, and even then, it was clearly built solely to keep wild animals at bay. The locking mechanism was a simple latch, and the bars were wide enough apart for me to simply reach in and maltepe escort bayan unlock it. From there, I simply strolled into the village, moving rapidly toward my first meeting with humans.
I was honestly a little nervous. Even beyond fearing for my disguise, I was about to encounter humans for the first time in this life. For the first time in this world. How would humanity differ on Solla compared to Earth?
Judging by the heroine, I knew humans at least could have orange eyes. Was that the result of magic affecting human evolution? Or was it perhaps unique to the heroine herself? It could merely be a reflection of the angels’ influence. I hoped not – I couldn’t alter my eye color with anything other than magic, and if I had to maintain a spell constantly, just to spend time with humans, then I could go ahead and kiss my plan of living among them goodbye. Even if I could manage to cast the spell every moment I was in public, it would be pretty much impossible to work as an adventurer if I couldn’t use my magic and had to hide my inhuman strength.
“If only it was possible to cast two spells simultaneously,” I grumbled, walking down the road. It wasn’t possible, though. I wasn’t entirely sure of the theory behind it, but while spells could be used in conjunction with magical abilities, it was only possible to wield a single actual spell at any given time. It was still quite convenient compared to Earth, where one couldn’t use magic at all, but there was no denying that the system had some severe vexations baked into it.
Above me, another bolt of lightning struck across the sky. It was followed by a peal of thunder, which made it sound as if the sky itself had been torn asunder. Then the rain began to fall. Thick, heavy drops struck the dirt road, turning the tightly packed earth into slick mud that caught at the heels of my shoes. The droplets further struck against me, plastering the thin fabric of my clothing against my body.
I fought the urge to run, too worried that my heels would lose traction in the mud. I couldn’t use magic to get rid of the water pelting me, either, not if I wanted to maintain my illusion of having brown hair. I had no choice but to walk through the village, peering at the various buildings and searching for a proper place to rest.
Most of the houses I saw looked to be residential, but one, in particular, boasted a second story. A sign hung in front of the door, depicting a bed and a mug of beer. Even without any lettering, I could recognize this as an inn. The windows were shuttered, and the door was closed, but a faint light could be seen emanating from the cracks in both.
I grabbed hold of the door’s handle and turned it but hesitated on the final push. I knew I was dwelling a bit, but this really would be my first time among humans, as Devilla. What exactly would it be like?
As a descendant of Luci, I was supposed to honor the goddess’s will and value the sanctity of all sapient life. Tradition held that I would only raise my hand to fight the heroine, herself – and only after she’d thoroughly soaked her soul in violence and grown too strong for mortals to handle, through the angels’ power. All of which was easy to say, but… I had honestly always hated humans, a bit, in this life. The demons were my people, after all, and these naked apes were their oppressors. They were the ones who’d taken our lands, destroyed our homes, and killed so many of our kind.
They were the reason I had no mother in this life. Their thirst for war, their conviction that they were in the right, and their thrice damned belief that humanity could only rest when I and all of mine were wiped from this world – all of it, together, made my blood boil. When I opened the door, would I see people on the other side? Or would I see enemies?
I wasn’t here to cause trouble. If I couldn’t control my temper, I would excuse myself before things went wrong. It was vital for me to know, in any case. Even if everything else went according to plan, I would hardly be able to live among humans if just seeing one made my blood pressure rise.
Taking a deep breath, I shifted my grip on the knob and swiftly pulled the door open. There were humans on the other side, just as I expected. They were primarily gathered around a single wooden table, though a few people were off to the side, rolling dice atop half a barrel. Among them, I saw green and blue hair, paired with violet and orange eyes, as well as more traditional colors. I didn’t see a single person with pure white hair, though, so it seemed that deciding to darken my tresses might have been right on the money.
The people themselves seemed the simple sort. Their clothes were much drabber than what we had in the demon tower and looked to be made of rougher fabric. They also covered considerably more of their bodies, which might have had something to do with the way everyone was staring at me. I hadn’t really thought about it, but I was wearing a backless, black, cropped halter top with a boob window, a very short red skirt, and a pair of black heels that showed off my “painted” toenails. Rather than ending in the furious rage that I had feared, my first encounter with humans might just end up killing me through sheer embarrassment.
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