Wuxiaworld > Rupegia > 147 Measure of Strength - Part 3

147 Measure of Strength - Part 3

All of the Celestial Horns adorn their bodies with lots of jewelry, and we don our best clothes and jewels again, then we leave Oritiki's estate.

"How're you all handling being among us naked people?" Oritiki asks as we make our way through the streets.

"I'm fine," I casually reply.

"I can see that," she comments and looks up and down my naked body.

"Too many dicks. I'm horny all the time," Hana says.

"No complaints about that," I say.

"Me neither," Roxanne says with a shrug.

Hana snorts and adds, "Same."

"I feel disgusted seeing other dicks, and so should you," Alissa says to Hana and sends her a slight glare.

"Hey, Wolfy can make any dick he wants, so they're just giving me ideas," Hana defends herself.

"At least be more discreet with your staring, like Roxanne."

"Nah," Hana replies dismissively, and Alissa's tail goes stiff in annoyance.

"I'd just like to say that I'm only dressed like this to please Wolfy," Ciel announces.

I grab her hand and give it a kiss. "And I love every second of it," I softly say to her.

"I don't feel like this is that different from what I usually wear," Yunia says.

"You're wearing more clothing with this bikini than that time when Bastico came to visit us," Roxanne says.

Yunia smiles a little sadistically and says, "You may have not noticed, but Bastico was definitely holding himself back so that he wouldn't drool from desire."

"Did you imagine him staring and drooling at you while Wolfy destroyed your pussy later that day?" Roxanne asks in a teasing tone.

"Definitely not," Yunia responds immediately, a little too coldly.

Roxanne snickers. "I know your type."

Yunia's cold, sharp tone awakens the sub in me for a moment. "You know nothing, Roxanne. Be quiet," she growls, but her tone just makes Roxanne snicker even more.

"I feel a bit more free, but I want to go back to wearing normal clothes tomorrow," Lina brings the conversation back on track.

"Same," Ciel adds.

"But what about the dicks?" Hana asks.

Lina frowns and looks down as she answers, "I don't like them…"

"Same," Ciel repeats.

"I like seeing Wolfy's penis, but I don't feel anything when I see others'," Aoi comments.

"And that's how it should always be," Alissa says with pride and pats Aoi's head, who closes her eyes in happiness.

When everyone goes quiet, Oritiki continues the conversation by asking, "Well, but what about the women? Forgive me for assuming, but you all seem… a little too close to be just 'sister wives.' Especially you four." She points to the two obvious pairs among us.

"Hardly any women make me feel horny. But you do, for example," Hana answers.

"I can see all kinds of naked women during our bath, but I don't feel particularly aroused by them," Yunia answers.

"I get a little excited, of course, but I have little interest in most women," Roxanne answers.


"There's… not many women around here that are my type," Ciel says a little embarrassed.

"I only like Ciel," Lina innocently says, making our hearts melt, especially Ciel's.

"I only like strong women that I can dominate," Aoi says.

"Well, they're all gay as fuck," I say.

"Bisexual," Ciel corrects me and pouts.

I snort as I get an idea. I use [Bind] to control Alissa to say, "I'm 'Wolfy-sexual.' I fuck anything he fucks…" She frowns and tilts her head in confusion. "What…?"

Hana, Roxanne, and I snicker while the other girls chuckle softly.

"I know I've read this erotic novel before," the white Celestial goat comments.

Alissa blinks blankly a few times, then shrugs and whispers, "I guess he's not wrong."

"Alissa's keeping a diary; I'm pretty sure that there'll be an actual erotic novel written about us one day," Hana says.

"Nice," the white goat mutters.

We all go quiet again, so I take this opportunity to say, "Oritiki, there's something I'd like to ask you about."

"What is it?" She responds.

"Why is it that you act independently from the High Council?"

She smiles gently and answers, "The Celestial Horns are the weapons that the Divine yield to uphold justice, and above them, there is only the Supreme-Ruler, so we answer to no one here. But if we don't find any other remnants of our fallen nation, then I guess we'll never serve another for the rest of our lives."

"Do you ever think about raising another generation of Celestial Horns? Leaving your weapons and armor to just anybody could be dangerous," Yunia suggests.

"Yes, we thought about that…" She replies and goes silent. We get the feeling that all the Chimeras nearby just had a mini-seizure, so we don't push them any further on this subject.

--

We climb up for a short while before we reach the Forum, the golden building from yesterday.

There are a few owl-headed and dog-headed Chimeras running about with stacks of paper. The air here feels completely different from last time.

We climb the long set of stairs, then cross through the gaudy golden doors and enter the theater.

This time, the Council isn't sitting in the audience, but are instead seated at a large round table in the middle of the stage. They're all wearing even more jewelry than Oritiki, and there's so much of it that it almost covers their bodies like clothes.

We get a few nods from the Councilors as we approach, then Oritiki takes us to our seats. At the table, there are only two chairs assigned to us while the rest of our seats are positioned behind them. Oritiki gets only one chair, while the rest of her Horns have to sit behind her.

We were expecting this sort of gesture, but getting two chairs instead of one is a bit odd. Perhaps it's Hihiriwa trying to earn some goodwill with us?

"Good day to you, Ryders," Hihiriwa says and gives us a toothy smile. The old dragon-headed man is as cheerful and naked as the first time we met him.

"Good day to you too, Marshall," I reply and nod respectfully.

Yunia sits down beside me since she has the most experience with this sort of thing, while Alissa sits behind her to help translate since Yunia's [Reo Language] is only at level three.

"I see that you're adapting to our ways," Wahinui says, as stern as usual. Now that I've taken a "closer" look at Kaatohe, I think that she's just a hairless and younger version of Wahinui. They really might be parent and child after all.

"It's a nice change, but it won't last. We still find too much comfort in being clothed," I say.

"Hmph…"

Gify drops onto the table and lays down, so I start petting her like a pompous villain.

"Let's begin the meeting," Hihiriwa says and looks around, checking if anyone wants to make a comment, then he continues, "We're here to discuss an expedition towards Ozymandias. Oritiki, I heard that the Horns sparred with the Ryders?"

"Yes, we did. I was curious about their strength, so we arranged duels with each other," Oritiki answers.

"And what of their capabilities?"

"Stronger than any of your soldiers. They'll be fine on their own." She glances at us and sends a kind smile.

"Wonderful, I believe that we can let them act independently, then."

"Also, I'm an amateur pilot, so I don't think that I'd be able to fly in formation during a battle," I say.

"I'll keep one of my men with you to help us coordinate," Oritiki says to me.

"Now, on to the planes. I want to take one Island Winch, the Long Floater, and the Carrier with us, along with thirty Wasps," Hihiriwa continues.

He turns to Wahinui and the two of them discuss the number of soldiers they'll need to man the planes. There's some discussion between him and the other Councilors about the number of planes that should be taken and if it's worth it or not to take the Carrier. The concerns about safety win against the ones about cost, a determination which the Councilors who deal with the Treasury bitterly accept.

"Now, Ryders, how long can your ship stay afloat?" Hihiriwa asks.

I hesitate for a moment to come up with an answer because we've never actually tested that before.

If we encounter any islands or islets on the way, then "forever" because we have [Redirect Mana], but I don't want to explain that skill to them.

I trade a few quick whispers with Yunia about how to word our response.

"We haven't fully tested it yet, but we should be able to travel for a few days without a problem. If it's just floating in place, then we can do that indefinitely," I finally respond.

"I see, then the Floater will be necessary. We'll allow you to use it to refill your ship's mana in exchange for your aid in case of combat," Hihiriwa says.

"Our first priority will always be ourselves and our ship. We also rely solely on our own personal skills; our ship doesn't have any defenses of its own."

"That's fine. In case of attack, you can land on the Carrier and help defend. I'm more worried about monster swarms than anything bigger, and that's where we can use your help."

"We'll be there, too, in case a heavy-class monster attacks," Oritiki says.

I think that by "heavy-class," she means monsters as big as our ship.

"We'll also demand rights over all of our kills," I add.

"Agreed," Hihiriwa says with a nod. "Now, on to the matter of the Gaping Maw… I wish to expend a Light storage gem to cause a runaway mana reaction."

"What?!" Wahinui and another Councilor exclaim in unison.

He smiles a bit mischievously, seeming to find enjoyment in giving headaches to the rest of the High Council. "It's the best way to create enough of a distraction for the Ryders to get past the Gaping Maw."

"That… will be expensive…" The Councilor says and starts to nervously tap against the paper he's writing on with his magical pen.

Wahinui growls in a low tone and says, "Why do you wish to spend so much to help them… explore…?" -She looks at us in exasperation. She doesn't understand why we want to go there- "Ozymandias isn't even the way back to their 'Sky Lands.'"

Hihiriwa smiles calmly, then straightens his posture and raises his head high above the other Councilors. His voice booms across the stage, clearly intended to intimidate the High Council. "We're trading the Light gem for an entire farming island. We'll be able to craft another gem by using the island's gem if need be, and we'll have a whole new island for ourselves."

"Surely there are less expensive ways to distract the Gaping Maw?" The Treasury Councilor asks, also exasperated.

"Less safe ways? There certainly are…" Hihiriwa frowns as he answers and waves his hand dismissively, then he glares and at Councilors and snarls. "But let me remind you all that we also need that distraction to safely tow the island back here."

The Councilors winces slightly at his ferocity.

Numerous alternatives are suggested, which turns the meeting into a heated discussion, but once again, Hihiriwa comes out on top.

It's hard to find a better distraction since his plan has already worked for them once before. The Gaping Maw is a monster, which makes it rather sensitive to Light magic, so they fed it a Light gem and observed the result. A few seconds after eating it, the monster became very angry, but then it immediately curled up and fell asleep since it apparently had a lot of trouble digesting the gem.

So, big snek got a tummy ache?

The most obvious way to try to distract the Maw would be to use the Wasps, but how does the life of a Chimera compare to that of a Light storage gem? Wahinui doesn't want to put their soldiers in danger, but she hasn't come up with any reasonable alternatives yet.

The old cat-head woman narrows her feline eyes in annoyance, then turns to the Horns. "Honored One, couldn't you try to engage the Gaping Maw and lure it away from Ozymandias?" She asks.

For the first time, I see Oritiki acting rather meek and uncomfortable. "You know how fast the Gaping Maw can fly when it's angry. We… aren't confident that we can outrun it," she answers and shifts uncomfortably in her seat.

The Councilors quickly resume their chatter and discuss how they can make sure that the Celestial Horns outrun the Maw.

I interrupt the Councilors and say, "I should point out that we don't need to actually fly my ship to Ozymandias. It's possible for me to use [Gate] and teleport my ship across the Maw's territory if it isn't too far."

"Oh, [Gate]! I heard a lot about that from Domum," a Councilor exclaims, and the others start murmuring excitedly.

"If you can use [Gate] for yourself, then delivering the gem becomes even easier," Hihiriwa says.

"Would you trust an outsider with something so valuable?" Wahinui asks with a raised eyebrow.

"Yes…?" Hihiriwa answers and sighs. "As far as we know, none of the Ryders have the power to distract the Gaping Maw."

Wahinui goes silent and gives him a long stare. Meanwhile, the Councilors grit their teeth in frustration and suggest a few different plans. They want someone to anger the Maw and run away, then I can use [Gate] to help us both escape.

"It'd be simple to just sacrifice a Wasp for this plan," a Councilor says.

"What guarantees that the Maw would go away after they teleport?" Wahinui asks. Surprisingly, she's against this plan. Actually, she's against involving us at all in the distraction.

The Councilors prod us with questions about our powers, mainly [Gate] and its limitations. The Long Floater could possibly outrun the Maw, so they suggest using either it or a Wasp as bait while leaving me as a backup, but judging by its size, it would simply be too big for me.

We shoot down these plans because the girls also don't want to take the risk, Yunia most of all. Even if I set all of my points to squeeze everything I can out of [Gate], the teleport would probably leave me without any MP and force me to use [Redirect Mana], which would exhaust me. We don't even know what's in Ozymandias, so this plan could leave us vulnerable. Yunia also says that the Chimeras aren't offering enough in exchange for us to take on this risk, so no deal.

Hihiriwa finally starts to get angry, and his nostrils light up as he loudly exhales. He suddenly slams his fist against the table and yells, "I'll cover the costs!" The table goes silent, and a few hopeful eyes light up. "But I'll take half of the profits from the farm island until I recoup twice the cost of the gem!" Their hope is snuffed out, and their mouths are left hanging open in disbelief.

"Outrageous!"

"Twice?!"

"Did all of you get your wings broken?! I'm the one taking the risk, so I deserve to get something out of it!" Hihiriwa exclaims, incensed, and the smallest of the Councilors recoil in fear for a moment from his booming voice.

The Councilors all start bickering, but Wahinui puts an end to it as she says, "I'll accept that."

The Treasury Councilor sighs and takes her side. The rest continue to complain for a little while longer, then they bitterly accept the arrangement.

Gods! It's finally over!

Now that the plan has been agreed upon, they start to iron out the details.

"A Gull plane should be strong enough to carry both a catapult and the gem, so you'll be trained to fly it along the way," Hihiriwa says to me, and I nod. "Also, I think that it'd be easier to teleport the gem after you've gotten into position; otherwise, you'd have to fly very slowly."

"I understand. We'll see how training goes," I reply.

--

After that, we retire from the meeting, leaving the old farts to bicker about supplies and whatever else. Hihiriwa's men will be ready a full day from now, so the only thing left to organize are the supplies, and that'll only take a short while. Therefore, we'll depart the day after tomorrow.

Oritiki and the Horns stay behind, so it's just us and our guides again.

"Is there a tavern with music that we can go to?" Alissa asks them and smiles innocently. "I'd like to play around for the rest of the day since we'll be going back to adventuring soon."

"There are a few places. Do you like dancing?" Hukarere asks, a little excitedly.

"Not me, particularly, but the other wives do," she answers.

"Things tend to escalate in places where there's a lot of touching," Ririmu says and gives her a knowing smile.

"Sounds perfect," Alissa answers and giggles cutely.

Oh, how I love you, my cute foxy pimp.

"I don't think you'd do well with rowdy places since there's… well, a lot of unsolicited touching in those kinds of crowded places," Ririmu says.

Oh, right, a bunch of naked people jumping around right next to each other would be too much for us.

"We'll go for a more 'restrained' place," Hukarere says, and we nod in agreement.

I change the topic and ask something that the girls are thinking about, "Are you two coming with us on the expedition?"

"The Honored One could use us as a liaison between you and the Marshall, so we probably will, but I'll ask anyway," Hukarere says.

"This is the best job we've had in a while, so I'd rather keep it this way for a while longer," the raccoon man says as he smiles adorably and scratches his little button nose.

"You're good guides; it's been nice to have you around," Ciel says.

"You guys wanted to have fun, and I guess that's something we're good at," he says with a cheeky grin, and we chuckle lightly.

--

We spend a little while browsing some shops since the taverns aren't open yet, and we buy some jewelry for ourselves. We get metal chains of different alloys, which gives them a variety of colors; some cute tiaras and hair ties for the girls; and a few small jeweled bracelets.

We all agree that leaf-themed jewelry is perfect for Yunia because it just matches so well with her elven magnificence. Roxanne and I look surprisingly cool with geometric patterns and sharp angles. Maybe it's our angular features and (mine, mostly) cool demeanor. Hana and Aoi deserve larger gems because small things just don't suit dragons, for some reason, so they don't get much from this shopping spree. The other three get some cute chains, which makes them pretty happy.

The trinkets are real and not mana solidifications, so we get quite the bargain since the Chimeric coins are smaller than ours. After that, we buy some semi-transparent not-silk robes for each of us. It's the best of both worlds: their nipples and lower lips can be seen, but they also exude the same sexiness as when they're clothed, and as a bonus, the robes don't make me excessively horny like with the Clothes of the Berserker.

We eat a few pastries from some nearby stalls, and I feel a subtle taste of something weird, well, weirder than the usual. I'm not sure if it's the spice or the fact that it's conjured food, but now that I've noticed it, I can't "un-notice" it. The possibility of the food being poisoned starts to float through my mind and makes me anxious.

I buy more of the same chicken pastries from another stall and feel the same weird taste, then I buy some other pastries with chicken and feel it again.

Okay, maybe it's just the meat that's weird or the fact that it's conjured.

I'm not a poison expert, but something that can kill us faster than Ciel can cast [Purify Body] just doesn't exist. There could be a problem if it were something completely novel that the spell won't handle, but there's still the alternative of continually casting [Heal] until the poison runs out.

After a while, the taste fades, and I sigh. I'm just being paranoid. The fact that these Chimeras are all dead must be getting to me. Someone disliking our presence here is one thing, but them trying to assassinate us is something completely different. If the spirits had turned Wicked, then there'd be other signs of it, and Gify is extremely sensitive to such things.

I clear my head and rejoin the bullshit conversations with the others. Ririmu is the sarcastic comedic relief, while Hukarere encourages both him and Roxanne to talk shit.

As the sun begins to set, they take us to the middle levels of the mountain town, and we hear the liveliness of the tavern before we see it. The ground trembles, and the sounds of stomping resound through the air. When we just barely start to discern the muffled music from the noise, the song ends, and the crowd cheers.

We take off our jewels and clothes and put on some simple Chimeric sandals. The awesome feeling of freedom and power from being able to swing my dong around floods my veins, and I smile confidently.

Then we enter the Tuumau Tavern, and we immediately feel the warmth of a vibrant tavern where even the waiters and waitresses are dancing. After a short reception, we enter a very wide dining hall with tables at the edges while the center is reserved for dancing. There's a small crowd of naked Chimeras bouncing around right next to the musicians, but in the middle, there are only couples.

Roxanne and Ciel get a bit excited by the lively mood of the room, then they freeze when both of them grab my hand at the same time. They stare at each other, but Alissa decrees that the order will be Ciel, Roxanne, then her. They quickly agree, and Roxanne releases my hand.

I'm okay with this, but I'm a little concerned about how nobody asked me about my opinion.

I shrug and let Ciel guide me to the center while I put some points in [Dancing]. The current song sounds rather romantic, so I get some quality time with her.

The couples are dancing a sort of waltz, spinning around in circles. They're spread out in multiple concentric rings, and the closer they are to the center, the faster they seem to spin.

After a few seconds of observation, I feel confident enough to enter the dance floor, but I still use Alissa's vision to continue observing them. [Dancing] at max puts me almost on auto-pilot, but I still need to understand how the dance works.

Small-Aoi jumps on the table and asks to dance. After sharing a look with the girls, Yunia grabs Aoi's little front claws and starts an elven waltz following along with the beat of the music. She uses her pinkies to push Aoi's back legs and guide her. She even makes Aoi spin, putting her two points in [Dancing] to good use.

I glue my body to Ciel's and drown out the other girls from my thoughts, focusing solely on her. The music isn't too loud right now, so we can talk a little.

I rest my face against her cheek and ask, "Are you okay with being here and you know… being in your underwear?"

"It's a little embarrassing, but it's not that different from being in a bikini," she answers, and I chuckle at her words. Then I kiss her cheek, and she closes her eyes in delight.

I get a little cheeky and say, "Hey, I'm going to make you spin."

She looks at me in confusion, then I cast [Telekinesis] on her and reduce her weight until she floats.

She opens her mouth in confusion but goes along with it. I push her forward while I remain in place and hold her hand, then I make her spin while she floats away.

She realizes what I'm doing and giggles. When our arms are almost fully extended, I reduce the speed of her spin, then I end [Telekinesis], allowing her feet to touch the ground and stop the spin. I immediately strike a dramatic pose, and she copies it a second later.

I pull her back in while using [Telekinesis] to make her glide towards me, and we continue the dance. I risk a few other complex moves, and she happily follows along.

She loves it all and gives me a deep, loving kiss when the song ends.

Roxanne is next and her song is a little more upbeat. That's perfect because, with the help of [Bind], we can go ham with our silly dancing. She summons her own bat wings and glides around, even without my help.

When either of our bodies can become as light as a feather at will, quite a lot of dance moves become not only possible but extremely easy. Even my sword style triggers, helping me glide along the floor with her more effectively.

She giggles excitedly from our dancing, making me laugh, too, but soon, the song ends, so it's now Alissa's turn.

This next song speeds up the tempo again, but our minds immediately synchronize, and our dancing becomes perfect. We aren't even dancing in the same style as the Chimeras anymore, we're just doing our own thing, but we still remain in the circles, interweaving between the inner and outer layers.

A good portion of the tavern is watching our performance, but I feel neither shame nor shyness. We're confident in our exposed bodies. We're confident in our beauty. We're confident in our dancing. We're confident in each other.

This isn't just a dance, it's an exhibition, or even a boast of our prowess. We're showing them all what it means to dance, and for a moment, we reach the top of the world. Our world, at least.

The song ends, and some Chimeras in the audience applaud us along with my girls.

I let Alissa back down onto the floor, and we go towards our tables.

"I didn't take you for a dancer," Ririmu says in a slightly teasing tone.

"You should've realized by now that we're full of mysteries," I answer with a grin.

"Indeed, that was my mistake," he replies and bows exaggeratedly.

Still feeling like I'm at the peak of my charm, I turn to Hukarere and offer her my hand. "Would you like to dance?" I gently ask her.

She immediately takes my hand, barely containing her toothy grin. "It'd be my pleasure," she answers excitedly.

--

Intermission 16 - Chimera Townswoman

-

I heard that the Travelers went to Jonu and flew the Wasps like maniacs. The old deer was grumbling about some broken wings and raising the cleaning fee. I've heard such spicy rumors about the Travelers, especially about the boy, but that last part just tickles my curiosity.

I wonder where they are right now. Their ship is at the Golden Docks, so I can't stalk them there. The Honored One seems to have taken them to her estate, so I really can't stalk them there either. I've heard that they were seen taking a stroll around town a few times, so there's a chance that I could meet them on the streets.

I stop by the South Common Docks and observe the crowds. Today, there's quite a lot of people around Jonu's.

Wait, they're all women, too.

Oh, don't tell me that they're all hoping to find the Travelers here…

Tch…

I buy some tea and lean against the railing while I think.

I don't have much time left, and it looks like there are a lot of people hunting them down, so I have to do something more drastic. But where should I go now…?

I hear the sound of a water droplet landing in water, then I look down at my teacup and see that something has fallen into it.

Have you blessed me today, Supreme Divine Waimarie?

I hesitate a little, but my [Mana Sense]s tingle, telling me to drink it. I chuckle and pray to Waimarie, then I down my cup of tea.

Wow, this is really mana-rich. But the taste… it's so… familiar…

Oh no…

I start laughing uncontrollably. Then my body suddenly feels so much more energetic and strong than usual. I feel rejuvenated, as if I just woke up from a long, refreshing sleep, full of motivation to take on an adventure.

I've never tasted something so strong and thick. That was certainly a blessing. Thank you, Waimarie.

The tickling quickly builds into a heavy itching, and my legs start to rub against each other.

I'm so filthy. I guess I'll go to Tuumau's…

--

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