This chapter is updated by Novels.pl
In the middle of a vast, seemingly infinite white space, an illusory young woman comprised of pale, bluish-white light could be seen looking around with a terrified and confused look on her face. The last thing she could recall was attempting to cross the street on the way to her job. She didn't have a car so she was forced to walk nearly forty minutes to and from work six-seven days a week.
"What happened? Where is this place…?"
Immediately following the illusory woman's words, an eccentric-looking figure wearing a black and white theater mask manifested out of thin air, shouting, "Congratulations, Soul #48859358221! You have been given the exclusive opportunity to reincarnate into a world of your choice. To make your journey a little easier, I will also offer you a total of three wishes… I trust you already have something in mind~?"
Though she was nearly startled to death by the figure's sudden appearance, it didn't take long for an excited smile to develop across the illusory woman's face. For a brief moment, her body became noticeably more solid as she excitedly asked, "Are you serious!? You're telling me that reincarnation is actually real!?"
Snicking her response to the woman's excitement, the masked figure was about to answer when a hand suddenly appeared out of the void, firmly grasping his shoulder before a man with dark skin and even darker hair appeared to say, "I'll take it from here. You can go back."
"Who the fu-"
Before the masked figure could finish his exclamation, the illusory woman watched in confusion as the dark-skinned man pulled his body to some unseen location. A feeling of intense anxiety washed over her, but, before it could diminish her previous excitement, the man smiled toward her and said, "Sorry about that. Lokur can be a bit of a trickster at times. He likes to lure people into a false sense of security using the promise of wishes. While it is true that he would have granted each of them, it wouldn't be long before you came to regret your decision."
"Now then…shall we discuss the specifics of your reincarnation…?"
Observing his Template dealing with the God that had tormented Shion, a smile developed across Vahn's face as he prepared to depart the Actualized World. He wasn't entirely sure his decision had been the correct one, but, knowing Shion would now be able to live the life she always envisioned for herself, he chose to believe it was.
Opening his eyes, Vahn was unsurprised to find darkness obscuring his vision. Instead of panicking, he grabbed the waist of the woman that had made herself comfortable on his face, mumbling, "It's good to see you too, Shiroyasha…" before pressing his nose into the aromatic white fabric pressing against him.
"Mmnnn…you're always such a…naughty boy…"
"Says the woman literally sitting on his face…"
Turning towards the golden-haired goddess wearing bright red lingerie and a transparent white crop top, a teasing smile developed across Shioryasha's face as she asked, "What? Are you worried that I might steal your beloved 'Chichiue' away from you~?"
Glowering in response to Shiroyasha's words, the golden-haired beauty, Mordred, exhaled a pouty snort as she retorted, "Not even in your wildest dreams."
Punctuating her statement, Mordred pushed Shiroyasha off of Vahn's face. In response, the white-haired demoness just snickered before fixing her posture and purring, "So violent…" in an overtly sultry tone.
In an effort to prevent the two from arguing, Vahn rose to a seated position before pulling Mordred to sit in his lap. Her aura of hostility was immediately replaced by an air of bashfulness, a ruddy hue spreading through her cheeks as Vahn wrapped his hands around her waist and gently caressed her abdomen.
"What brings you here so early in the morning? Is it related to the festival in the North…?"
Though she squinted her eyes at Mordred's sudden and drastic change in behavior, Shiroyasha didn't lose focus as she casually replied, "Of course. What other reason could I possibly have to sneak into your room and sit on your face~?"
Understanding that Shiroyasha was just messing with him at Mordred's expense, a smile developed across Vahn's face as he playfully remarked, "Who knows~?"
Rolling her eyes, Shiroyasha reached into the sleeve of her kimono to produce a rather extravagant-looking letter, explaining, "This is a letter penned by Sandora, the Princess of the Salamandra Royal Family. Fearing that it would be imprudent of her to send you a direct invitation, she has asked that the Thousand Eyes Community convey her desire to have you attend her Coronation Ceremony…"
Accepting the letter, Vahn's expression revealed a hint of incredulity as he asked, "This isn't 'that' kind of situation, is it…?"
Adopting one of her characteristically mischievous grins, Shiroyasha didn't hesitate to answer, "Of course it is. You are currently one of the most talked-about individuals in the entirety of the Little Garden. More importantly, you are one of the only Pure-Blooded Dragons residing in the 4-7-Digit Gates. Don't tell me you never considered this sort of development…?"
Ignoring Shiroyasha's remarks, Vahn took a moment to read the rather 'heartfelt' letter penned by the incoming Leader of the Salamandra Community. The wording was extremely formal but Vahn could feel the emotions Sandora must have felt while writing it. There were traces of fear, a hint of nervousness, and a growing feeling of resolution that built with each character written. By the time she had finished writing, it was clear that she had thoroughly convinced herself that she was doing the best thing for her Community.
"This is why children shouldn't be burdened with the fates of billions…"
Though Vahn's were meant as more of an intrapersonal gripe, Mordred didn't hesitate to chime in, saying, "I don't know. She seems like a qualified leader to me. She may be a little young but she is clearly putting the interests of her people before her own. I don't think it's fair to look down on her conviction just because of her age."
Seeing a bit of herself in Sandora, Mordred felt compelled to take the young Dragoness's side. She also believed that Vahn was the best possible choice for anyone searching for a mate. It didn't really matter that Sandora's intentions were motivated by political intrigue and a misguided belief in the importance of blood purity. If given the option, Mordred genuinely believed that her Chichiue was the best possible choice anyone could make in regards to a political marriage.
Shiroyasha, agreeing with Mordred's sentiment, albeit for very different reasons, nodded her head in affirmation, supplementing, "The angry lion girl is correct. Princess Sandora still has a significant amount of room for improvement but it's an undeniable truth that she has earned the respect and adulation of her people. She has been the acting Leader of the Salamandra Community ever since she was a mere eight years old. Viewing her as an ordinary adolescent is ignoring the achievements she had accrued in spite of her age."
Restraining the urge to sigh and roll his eyes, Vahn planted a kiss on top of Mordred's head before answering, "I have never once looked down on her age or achievement. My comment was more a matter of personal opinion. I sincerely believe that children, regardless of the circumstances of their birth, should have the option to live freely and decide for themselves the path they wish to take. As impressive as Sandora's achievements are, it doesn't change the fact that she was denied the option to decide her own fate. She was forced to bear the burden of another and simply performed well…"
Unable to refute Vahn's statement, Shiroyasha decided to shift things back to the more important topic at hand, asking, "So? What are you going to do? Even if you forcibly seized control over the North and ordered Sandora to make the most of what remains of her childhood, do you think that she, a girl with the conviction and capabilities to become Floor Master at such a young age, would simply nod her head and accept?"
Taking advantage of Vahn's silence, Shioryasha's expression became less serious as she reminded him, "That girl, Sarina, was even younger than Sandora when you first encountered her. If you are that concerned with her mental wellness, allow her to spend a few years in one of your Actualized Worlds. That's killing two birds with one stone. Not only does Sandora get to experience what it's like to live a relatively normal life, but, once she has matured, you won't have to feel guilty about her pining after that not so little toy in your trousers…"
"Even if your words make sense, there are some things you shouldn't say…"
Though he could understand where Shiroyasha was coming from, Vahn regarded Sarina, Nono, and even the problem children as exceptions. It would be one thing if Sandora proposed the idea of her own volition. Considering it as an option before they even had the chance to meet just felt…wrong…
Shrugging her shoulders, Shiroyasha averted her gaze from Vahn's as she muttered, "That is one of the things I will never understand about you. I don't know if it's due to sentimentality or some other factor but your behavior is so contrary at times. This shouldn't even be an issue yet you manage to create drama where there was none…"
As much as she had come to appreciate Vahn, there were aspects of his character that Shiroyasha simply couldn't fathom. Sandora had already demonstrated her willingness to 'sacrifice' herself for the sake of the North Side and the Salamandra Community. Had she been a few years older, Vahn wouldn't have batted an eye at her proposition. It wouldn't have mattered if she had been forced to bear the burden of leadership at such a tender age. He would simply do everything in his power to ensure her happiness from that moment forward.
Though no one else regarded her as such, Sandora being what Vahn considered a minor clouded his judgment. This was something that simply didn't make sense from Shiroyasha's point of view. She knew that if Sandora had possessed a more mature appearance, Vahn wouldn't have felt even an iota of guilt. Inversely, he would have absolutely no qualms about her current appearance if she was beyond a certain chronological age. It was easily one of the most mind-boggling and annoying aspects of his character…
Shaking such thoughts from her mind, Shiroyasha appended, "Just do as you see fit. Even if there are times where I can't even begin to fathom the thoughts running through your head, I trust that you will always do your best to help the people around you. Regardless of how things develop, I'm confident that you will be able to set Sandora on a path towards obtaining happiness…"
On that note, Shiroyasha was prepared to leave but found herself unable to do so. The surrounding space had effectively become severed from the rest of the Little Garden. She could easily break out, but, instead of doing so, she looking towards Vahn with a knowing smile and asked, "Oh? Feeling a bit guilty, are we~?"
Offering a wry smile, Vahn extended his hand to grab Shiroyasha's thin wrist, answering, "You came all this way…don't be in such a hurry to leave. At least allow me-"
Meeting Mordred's gaze, Shiroyasha interrupted Vahn by asking, "How about it, lion brat? Mind if I take another seat on your Papa's face…?"
Though she snorted through her nose, Mordred didn't refuse Shiroyasha's request. Instead, a smile developed across her face as she said, "Just don't expect me to support you when your back gives out…"
(A/N: Alternate Titles: 'That's one way to wake someone up…','I blame society…','Get it? Because she is old (O w O)…')
Liked it? Take a second to support Novels on Patreon!