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Chapter 145: Stealing Wings

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

Camilla was alone. She looked around at her foggy surroundings. Mist twisted and rolled around her as if alive.

“This…is…the Border Forest?”

She didn’t think herself an expert in trees, but she was a good enough tracker, or at least passable enough in tracking, to tell the difference between trees. The north was slightly warmer so the trees had slightly larger leaves and gnarly branches, so the cooler climate in the south at the border meant straight, more upright trees with smaller leaves.

Even if this wasn’t the Border Forest, it was still somewhere south of Moltrost. She tried to get a bearing on her location, but failed. And it wasn’t even close.

“I can’t see anything past all this fog,” she grumbled. “Probably shouldn’t move.”

Moving around in fog was a recipe for getting lost. Strength mattered little in the disorienting nature of the mist. That didn’t stop her from trying to gather more information, but her life sense returned nothing. “Seriously, where is this place?”

Even her nose didn’t work. She sniffed the air again, but no smell of blood or any living creature of flesh and blood came to her, just the damp, cool moisture in the air.

“I can’t even tell what time it is,” Camilla muttered, looking up at the sky. The mist that blanketed the forest blocked out the sun, letting in only the barest of light filtered through the tiny droplets suspended in the air, scattering it so that the light came from all of above, concealing the direction.

That it was currently daytime was all Camilla could tell.

But fog stayed on the ground. So logically, if she climbed up, the fog should be thinner and she’ll be able to better tell where in the world she was. Climbing was a piece of cake. She could probably just straight up to one of the branches.

She stepped up next to one of the trees with a larger trunk and placed her hand on the bark, feeling the rough wood against her palm. It felt real, as if she really was there.

…that was strange. Why wouldn’t she really be here?

An unsettling thought flashed through her mind, but it left as soon as it came, leaving Camilla with a strange frustration eating at her as she tried to remember what it was but couldn’t. How does one go about remembering what one has forgotten when they don’t know what they forgot in the first place?

Frowning, she dug her fingers into a rough protrusion on the trunk that seemed solid enough to hold the weight of her armored body, but it soon gave way and she tumbled back on the ground with a heavy whump that knocked the breath out of her body. At the same time, a sharp, numbing pain shot up and down her spine.

Wincing, Camilla rolled over, but that only made the pain worse. It felt like someone rolled over her hand with a wagon wheel.

“Damn, that hurts. I hurt my…wings?” Her complaint turned into confusion as she looked behind her to check her wound. Not that she knew what she was expecting, but white, feathery wings certainly wasn’t it.

Curious, she flexed some muscles on her back and unfurled her wings, bringing them forward. Compared to her old, leathery wings that sprouted from her lower back, these were much larger and came from her upper back.

Although she had gotten used to her old wings, having these new wings was an interesting experience. She brought them in front of her and examined them in her hands. Snow-white feathers covered the skin, just as she would expect from a bird. The skin underneath was a lot more sensitive than her old pair.

Old pair…where was her old pair of wings anyway?

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Camilla felt at her lower back, only to hit metal. “Hmm? Where’s the hole? Wait, where’s my wings? Did someone steal them?

“Wait, steal…pfft…how can you steal wings? That’s ridiculous.” Giggling to herself, Camilla stopped trying to find her old pair of wings. Instead, she flapped her new pair a few times, wincing as pain shot up the limb.

Physical pain—something that she hadn’t felt for such a long time that she almost forgot what it was like. Gritting her teeth and wiping away tears in her eyes, she reached behind herself again and held her hand over her wounded.

Holy power emanated from her fingers and palms, bathing her wing in a gentle, golden light that seemed to chase away the mist for an instant. The warmth of the light even seeped into her wing and crawled up into her back, filling her body with a pleasant contentedness that washed away even the uneasiness that she had been feeling.

The magic came really easily, too. It’s been months since she’s had such an easy time casting holy magic.

“…wait, that’s not right. Was I ever this good at healing?” Camilla muttered. Healing had never been her forte. Fighting had been, and she usually relied on other templars or priests to heal her wounds unless it was something too minor to bother another with. Or perhaps, she was remembering wrong.

There was no way her magic suddenly improved without her realizing it. Not to mention, ever since she’d become a—

Camilla paused as she suddenly lost her train of thought. “Become…a what? Actually, what exactly am I?”

She looked at her hands, a pair of hands covered in metal. Silver gauntlets with golden accents, looking a bit worn. The metal had long lost its mirror finish, becoming matted with dirt. Her vambraces were in the same condition, and from what she could tell, so where the rest of her armor.

Camilla was no stranger to armor, but she didn’t recognize this set. In fact, the suit of armor that she was currently using had the final piece of each of the fingers sharpened to a point to give it more of an inhuman look and some more potential for damage. Same with the knuckles.

But these were rounded rather than angular.

“What’s going on? What was I even doing? Climbing a tree?” Camilla looked up. Higher up, the branches of all the surrounding trees crissed and crossed, as if presenting a barrier toward her. She couldn’t remember if it had been like that before though.

“Ah, I remember. I wanted to see where I was.” Biting on her lip, she crouched and pushed off the ground with a mighty jump. Once high up, she flapped her wings and took herself up even higher.

Although her larger wings made it a bit harder to maneuver and limited her movement slightly, she managed, dodging past the larger, lower branches. What she couldn’t avoid, she destroyed, swinging the mace that she unclipped the heavy mace from her belt. She wielded the weapon as if it was second nature and the weapon was as light as a feather.

Her wing left tiny eddies in her wake. The light grew brighter, sharp, with each stroke of her wing. “Almost. Almost,” she repeated silently with only her lips moving.

But no matter how far up she flew, the top of the trees remained out of sight.

She looked back, only to find the ground a short distance away. “Huh? What’s happening? I could’ve sworn I…”

Gritting her teeth, Camilla turned around and flew again, ever faster than before. She stowed away her mace and unsheathed her sword. Placing her hand on the hilt of the weapon, she uttered a word that she herself could not hear, igniting the blade.

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The fire grew, exploding upwards in her path and spreading like a great, brilliant umbrella of flames. Flying higher and higher, Camilla drew closer to the blazing inferno.

She didn’t know the reason, yet something in her told her that flying into the flames was the right thing to do. Camilla trusted her instincts.

Saying that she wasn’t afraid would be lying.

Closer and closer. The fire burned brighter, growing from a rich orange hue to a blinding white blaze that rivaled the sun. Camilla shut her eyes, even as the brightness shone straight through her closed eyelids and filled her whole world until it was just her and the light.

— —

Bright.

— —

Camilla scowled. “It’s too bright,” she muttered, squeezing her eyes shut tighter than before, but it didn’t work. Sighing, she grabbed the blanket that covered her body and tried to turn away from the light and put the blanket over her head, but before she could, she found the blanket immovable.

Pulling once, pulling twice. The blanket didn’t move. Yet, the light continued to blind her through her eyelids.

“Blanket?” she murmured, half turning.

“No.” Flat tone. It was a familiar voice—Kagriss—coming from the side that the blanket was being held down on. Camilla smiled with her eyes still shut.

“Kagriss, can I have the blanket?”

“No.”

That was something else familiar. Camilla thought she heard it before somewhere recently. A bit too recently too. As her mind returned to her from the grasp of sleep, she realized with a start what had just happened. However, she didn’t let it show on her face.

Her eyelids fluttered open and she turned to see Kagriss silhouetted against the window, her lover’s figure blocking some yet not all of the sunlight streaming in. And tangled in her long, thin fingers was the blankets. The same ones that Camilla had been trying to pull.

“Are you awake now?”

Camilla nodded. “Yeah. I can’t believe I fell asleep again…”

Kagriss broke into a small smile, a bit bigger than normal. “You should start getting used to it. You fall asleep every time after all.”

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“Urgh. Don’t remind me.” Camilla ran her fingers through her long hair to try and loosen up the strands that got tangled up in her sleep. Silver and golden hair that marked who she was and who she used to be.

Seeing her firmly awake and not about to slip back under the blankets, Kagriss dropped the blankets and scooted closer, right up to Camilla’s face.

Camilla paused, and then pushed her away. “We just did it last night.”

“You don’t think just that is enough, do you?”

“Hmph.”

“Besides, you misunderstand. I’m just curious about something,” Kagriss said as she leaned right back, though not as close as before. But their shoulders still touched. Taking some of Camilla’s hair into her hands, Kagriss began to help her untangle with a comb from the bedside drawer.

Camilla didn’t say anything as she waited for Kagriss to continue.

After a brief pause, Kagriss looked at her. “What’s this about stealing wings?”

“Stealing wings?” Camilla asked, a bit baffled about what Kagriss was talking about. “What do you mean? That’s a rather weird thing to say.”

“I wasn’t the one who said it; you were.”

“???” Camilla reached for the comb to finish up her side and Kagriss handed it to her. Soon enough, her hair recovered its normal, smooth sheen. She went to cast her illusion spell to hide her silver half, but stopped when she remembered that she hadn’t eaten.

Despite snacking a bit the night before, she still craved that strangely sweet taste.

Meanwhile, Kagriss still stared at her, expecting an answer. Camilla could only sigh. “I really didn’t say anything about wings. Not to mention, my wings are perfectly fine, you know?” She leaned forward slightly to free her wings from the sheets and the pair of black leathery wings unfolded, fluttering to air themselves out.

But when Camilla twisted to look at them, a feeling of deja vu struck her, yet she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. Something about her wings… as she racked her mind trying to figure out what that feeling was from, she stroked her wings, shivering from how it felt.

A cold hand enveloped her own, causing her to shriek in surprise at the sudden chill on her sensitive wings. “Kagriss!”

“Your wings are really cute.”

Camilla blushed. “T-thank you? But c-can you please stop. It feels weird…” Kagriss took her hand away and Camilla coughed as she tried to regain her composure. “Anyway, I really don’t know what you’re talking about,” she said, “stealing wings is weird and I maintain I never said anything of the sort.”

“Mhm. Well, I heard what I heard. You probably just forgot. What kind of dream was it?”

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“I don’t remember,” Camilla replied, shaking her head. Or more accurately, she didn’t remember dreaming at all. She probably would’ve had a deeper impression of a dream that she actually talked about stealing wings in. At least it would’ve been a memorable one.

She clapped her hands together, shaking her head free of the troublesome, hard to remember thoughts, and turned her wide gaze onto Kagriss. Or more specifically, her neck. “So, Kagriss, can I have a bite please?”

For a moment Kagriss didn’t say anything and Camilla thought she was going to refuse. She squirmed under Kagriss’s prying, suspicious gaze. The lack of a satisfying answer for that wings question combined with the nibble Camilla the night before probably meant she was going hungry.

Just when Camilla was about to give up on her morning meal, Kagriss tilted her head and pulled down the collar of her shirt, the faintest hint of a blush rising to her face.


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