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1-36 Twilight Veil

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Author: EnroItzal Original Source: Scribble Hub

Upon the realization of her apparent savior’s identity, Erin had an immediate change of heart. It was better to not receive any help from this person. Although she did not pick up any hostility or animosity from the man who couldn’t be anyone but Aedan, Erin had her hands around the hilt of her swords just in case.

“You’re leaking out an awful lot of pheromones. I assume the culprit to be your Lust Deviant skill, is it not?”

Even though Erin could barely raise her arms, let alone stand on her feet or even maintain her breathing pace, she didn’t give in and struggled to distance herself away from Aedan. Strength was still present in her body but her rationality on the other hand was slowly fading off.

Aedan simpered at her efforts.

“Are you really Aedan?” she asked in between her ragged breaths.

“Who else can I be?” He shrugged. “Being a Dwarrow is just a facade, remember?”

Still wary, Erin probed further. “Is this your real form?”

Aedan hung his head for a while in deep thought. “Minus the glaring features you would expect on a Demi-human, yes. Did you actually think that halfling was my real appearance?”

“To even alter your appearance… why are you going to such lengths?”

“You can’t tell?” Aedan chuckled. “Imagine my surprise. I took you for a seasoned lady and a smart lass.”

“I have loads of guesses—” Erin paused to gather her breath. “—but since you’re here, might as well ask you straight.”

Aedan scoffed in delight. “Cheeky lass, you are. Why does anyone go to such lengths to change their appearance? Why else than to hide themself of course.”

It took a few seconds for Erin to gather her thoughts. “Someone or something is hunting you… but who?”

“You wouldn’t know and you don’t have to know.”

Erin clicked her tongue. “Ah… I see. It’s really a shame.”

Aedan raised an eyebrow. “What is?”

“Your attitude. I was hoping it was just a facade too like your appearance but it appears, you are really an arse.”

“Admirable,” Aedan praised and took a step forward. “In spite of your current state, you’re as fierce as ever, milady.”

For some reasons, being addressed as such by Aedan brought about a wave of unease. “F̲u̲c̲k̲…. You…” Erin squeezed those words out through her rasping breath.

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“I guess you don’t need my help?”

Erin’s expression stiffened at the unexpected offer. “You intend to help me?”

Aedan smiled. “No, I intend to assault you.”

Her ears perked up. Her eyes froze on the smile devoid of any compassion.

The Dragon-kin then burst out laughing.

Realizing that she had been played, Erin grimaced. “How low can you sink?”

“Hey, I’m not forcing myself on a defenseless woman. So… not that low, I guess?”

“Is that what you’re here for? To mock me as a retaliation for your loss this morning?”

“You’re belittling me, milady. I’m not that petty.”

“Then why are you here? You don’t expect me to believe that you are actually here to help.”

“Seeing as how we’ll be companions from tomorrow henceforth, I figure I’ll show some gestures of good faith now.” Aedan then approached Erin with a wry smile.

Erin didn’t know why but she instinctively flinched from Aedan. She tried to worm her way away from the Dragon-kin but she could only do so much. While her stats had a significant increase, it was all pointless if she couldn’t put it to good use. Right now, her mind could only think of copulating. Rather than being weakened by Lust Deviant, it was more of the fact she was unmotivated to do anything but copulate. Her body refused to obey her unless it worked towards the act of copulation.

Despite such intense thirst for carnal relief, Erin just couldn’t figure out why she had none of those desires towards Aedan, who was subjectively much better looking than all the men she came across with his current appearance. Not that she would say it out loud for the Dragon-kin to hear.

Ignoring her refusal and enervated flailings, Aedan helped Erin up to her feet all the while maintaining an indifferent expression towards her struggle.

“Why are you helping me?” Erin asked again. “You don’t strike me as a person who cares about breaking bread with your companions.”

“You’re right, I don’t.”

“Then why?”

“I live in this town, for one.” Aedan stared at her. “And let’s say you encounter a monster in some place that nobody frequents. The monster’s injured but it’s still every bit as lethal. You have the necessary strength and wisdom to take care of the monster. Would you just ignore and leave the monster to its own device or would you try to make sure it doesn’t harm anyone?”

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“I’m being compared to a monster.” Erin was fuming with annoyance. Her ears and tails waved rigidly in response to her vexation.

Aedan’s eyes followed the movement of her ears, which he found amusing. He let his amusement crept to his face.

“Please stop staring,” Erin admonished him. “And please cease your repulsive grin.”

Aedan chuckled patronizingly. “How cute.”

Erin drove her fist into his abdomen but in oppose to her expectation, Aedan stood strong against her strength. It didn’t feel like she hit something unbreakable but she inflicted not even the slightest injury onto Aedan. Perhaps Aedan was simply too strong or her punch packed no strength, she didn’t know.

“Ow,” Aedan uttered but his expression spelled the contrary. “I take it you don’t want my help?”

“Call me cute one more time, I don’t care if you’re some conceited glorified lizard man, I’ll unman you.”

Aedan held back his laughter. “I apologize then. But my offer still stands, are you in need of assistance?”

Eyeing his reaction, Erin made a critical decision. “Fine, I’ll accept your assistance but may I ask how will you provide your assistance?”

Immediately asking Aedan that question, Erin pulled away from him when she perceived his intentions through his eyes.

“What are you doing?” she asked.

“I can conceal both of us from the public eyes but the trick is, I can only conceal myself and in order to conceal another person in tandem, one will need to remain as close to me as possible. As in real close, to fool the spell that we are just one person.”

“No,” Erin refuted firmly. She didn’t bother to ask whether he was being truthful. She figured it was pointless to ask.

“What? You don’t like being touched by a man?”

“At least not by a person with an arse for a personality.”

“Hmm,” Aedan murmured. “Then is it because I’m not a Fae?”

“You could be an Elf for all I care. I just don’t like being carried, especially by you of all people.”

Aedan scoffed. “Your legs are trembling like a s̲h̲i̲t̲t̲i̲n̲g̲ dog. You can barely stand. Good luck walking on your own.”

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Erin shot him a glare. “I’ll manage. I just need you to make sure no one falls prey to my skill and make sure I don’t pounce on anyone as I make my way back to my room.”

“Or I can just carry you back. It’s not that far and it’s a whole lot easier.”

Erin seared her glare at Aedan. “I said no.”

“Then how do you propose I help?”

“You changed your appearance. Do the same thing to me.”

Aedan raised an eyebrow. “You can’t do that by yourself?”

“If I can do it by myself, why would I still ask you?”

“Your Spirit Magic is at level six.”

“Sorry to disappoint. I don’t know how to do that with Spirit Magic. So, are you going to help me or not?”

“Close your eyes,” Aedan said.

Erin blinked. “What?”

“Close your eyes,” he repeated his words.

Under different circumstances, Erin would have outright refuted Aedan but his eyes had a strange conviction to them than usual. Believing in her guts, Erin closed her eyes.

“Now, imagine that you’re surrounded by Spirits and they are at your disposal. All you need to do is ask. Invoke them. And imagine your appearance— changing.”

“What if they don’t listen?”

“Your Spirit Magic is at level six. They will.”

Erin did as Aedan instructed. She invoked the Spirits. As far as she knew, Spirits existed pretty much everywhere. She imagined them as faint tiny balls of light they were when she first laid her eyes upon them. In her heart, she implored them for a way to hide her glaring features.

She could hear some sparkles but no solid verbal response. Just as she thought she failed in her invocation, a message appeared in her mind.

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[Spirit Magic: Twilight Veil – Acquired]

Although Erin couldn’t bear witness to the happening herself, she could feel that there were some drastic changes to her appearance along with the substantial consumption of her Mana. For one, her back no longer felt like something was constantly brushing by. Her hair had become shoulder-length. She touched her head, where her ears were supposed to be, but she felt only the air. She tapped her back and received the same empty sensation. Her tails were gone. A few strands of her bangs dangled in front of her eyes. These few strands were now black instead of bluish white.

It wasn’t just her appearance. Lust Deviant was also suppressed albeit not fully. It was like the skill’s range of influence was reduced significantly but it was nevertheless still a danger to everyone and herself.

“Whoa, not bad,” Aedan blurted out. “Fae really are full of wonders. I guess the envies are justified.”

Accompanied with the Dragon-kin’s reaction, it was enough to let Erin know she had succeeded; she hid her appearance well.

“Not a bad disguise but—”

The skepticism in his tone drew in Erin’s gaze and attention.

“I don’t think we’re fooling anyone with this.”

Erin cast an annoyed glance. “My ears and tails are gone. My hair is black and way shorter. You don’t think it would work?”

“Your ears, tails, and hair are not the only things that made you stand out. You have a figure any women would die for and a height that dwarfs many men. How many women have you seen with such a body and height in this town?”

Besides Nivia and Lyra, Erin herself was the only one that fit the criteria. Erin instantly knew what Aedan was getting at.

“And I don’t think it’s possible for you to change your appearance any further with your current level and Magic Vigor.”

Aedan wasn’t being satirical about her Magic Vigor. Erin could feel that a little more than a third of her Mana was used just to hide her appearance. She doubted it would be feasible if she wished to change into an appearance which bore not a single speck of similarity.

“So in the end, this was all pointless?”

Aedan let out a faint grin. “You can stay here, cross your fingers, and hope that you manage to overcome your plight before anyone chance upon you. Or you can swallow your pride and resort to be carried.”

Erin clicked her tongue. She had never encountered anyone so infuriating. Worst of all, Aedan wasn’t wrong about his statements, he was just being a twat about it all.

“I could just sling my arm around you. Won’t that work?” Erin argued.

“That’s too far. The spell won’t reach you.” His answer was instant.

“What if you carry me on your back?”

“That would work but…” Aedan stifled a laugh as he pointed at her ample chest.

Erin fought down a blush that almost touched her cheeks. In the end, Erin could only relent and swallow her pride.

“Fine,” she said and she glared fiercely into Aedan’s soul. “But you better make sure no one sees us. If you try to get touchy, prepare to lose some fingers.”

Aedan drew a cross on his left chest.

“And we’re here,” Aedan said as he gently laid Erin on her feet before the entrance of Emerald Inn. It was late into the night, an hour before midnight. So there was no one conveniently close enough to witness the easily misunderstood scene pertaining to the two. There were a few guests inside the inn but the door and the walls did their job as dividers.

“I-incredible…” she praised, not at his character but his abilities. Even though Erin was well aware of his abilities before, experiencing it first hand gave her an entirely different impression. Not only was Aedan unfazed by the extra load in his arms, he moved swiftly around the people and obstacles. Not a single person noticed their presence as he carried her through the streets. Not even her Lust Deviant was able to ooze out its effects to its surroundings. Erin gained a newfound respect for him but it was regrettable his character left much to be desired.

“I must say, Aedan. I believe my gratitude is in order. I owe you for this one.” Erin said as she assumed back into her original form. She would like to keep her disguise form but at this point, it would just create complications. However, she was still using Twilight Veil to suppress Lust Deviant.

Aedan glimpsed inside the inn through the window. “There are a few people in the lobby. You sure you can make it to your room without rousing them?”

“I’ll manage. I have to.” Erin took deep breaths, bracing herself for the brief ordeal that she would most likely face as she made her way through the lobby. Although she said that, she wasn’t confident that absolutely no one would fall prey to Lust Deviant, even if it was suppressed. Erin prayed in her heart that she wouldn’t encounter Nivia but it felt more like she had only jinxed it.

“I guess you owe me a favor now?”

Erin stopped in her tracks just as she was about to enter the inn. The way he phrased his sentence was too suggestive to be ignored. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“You don’t think I was doing it for free, right?”

Erin had an absolute face of disgust. “Is that why you chose to help me? You knew I would offer my favor?” She scoffed. “Well, aren’t you petty.”

“Honestly, I thought you knew better. Guess I was wrong. A favor from a Faerie-kin. How many people do you reckon have the privilege of uttering those words?”

“One too many.” Erin placed her hands on the hilt of her sword. She had half a mind to cut Aedan down right here and now.

Aedan then laughed. It wasn’t a chuckle. It was a hearty laugh.

“What’s so funny?”

“I’m joking, you poor lady,” Aedan said as he wiped away a tear. He was still laughing. “Gosh, I haven’t laughed this much in a long time. I think we’ll get along just fine, wouldn’t you say?”

Erin’s darkened face had an opinion on the other end of the spectrum. “What are you, a child?”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” Aedan continued laughing, clutching at his stomach. “I just couldn’t help it. You’re just too gullible, surprisingly. But rest assured, I’m not scheming anything.”

“Sounds like what a schemer would say.”

“Maybe.” Aedan shrugged as his laughter receded. “Anyways, I guess we’re parting ways here. It’s been fun but I better get going.”

Just as he turned to leave, Erin stopped him. “Why did you help me?” She threw the same question again. This time, she intended to gouge out the truth. “I want the truth.”

Aedan glanced over his shoulders. “Why not?” he answered.

“Do you expect me to believe that you’re a charitable person? I may be gullible like you said but I’m not stupid.”

After a brief silence from both parties, Aedan answered, “Sven and Geron would have done the same. They did for me. They found me when I was all alone. Gave me a home and family to come back to.”

“Your charity is the way you’re trying to repay them?”

Aedan shrugged. “Perhaps,” he said.

“…You really love them.”

He chuckled softly. “As mundane as the days could get, I like how things currently are. Well, good night, Erin.” He bade and left without looking back.

Erin didn’t break her gaze away from Aedan until he disappeared into a corner. She had been worried of the prospects when she heard she would be going on an excursion with presumably the most irritating person in the town aside from Kane, she had nothing but the lowest expectations of the outcome. However, at those words and those melancholic eyes which spelled sincerity, she became assured. He was vexing, sure, but she realized he was also someone that could be trusted.

“We could have been good friends if you weren’t such a twat,” Erin said to no one in particular.

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