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Chapter 80: Stars

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Author: TypeAxiom Original Source: Scribble Hub

After exchanging a few more words, Carmen led the others out of the foreman’s quarters. The whole time, only she spoke while Kagriss, Fleur, and Anne didn’t say a word. However, while Kagriss mostly understood what was happening thanks to being able to feel Carmen’s intentions, Fleur and Anne were left in the dark.

As they bid farewell to the cleric that was captivated by Kagriss yet quickly shut down by Carmen, and quickly went on their way south, Carmen gave Fleur and Anne a rundown of what had happened.

They deserved to know, after all.

The reveal of the strange undead facility had been a shock to Fleur, and by extension, Anne, but they managed to keep silent while Carmen was talking with Justin.

They had an estimated three or four days before they caught up with the advance team. The reason the gap was not wider was because the team went mostly on foot with only a few pack animals, and because tracking and fending off Orlog took up a lot of time and energy, making them require frequent rest to be in tip top condition.

However, it was impressive that a single Orlog managed to cause a Church team so much trouble, even if they did only have a single archpriest holding the line.

Unfortunately, just as the skull lich was a bad match for the templars at Amaranthine Point with the help of his skeleton warriors, Orlog with his assumed quick movement and holy magic resistance was a bad match for the archpriest.

From what Justin told her and what she remembered, Father Pavlor was an archpriest mainly focused on large scale ceremonial magic and other magics that affected a whole area rather than a single target.

With him being slow to cast and even easier to interrupt if something unexpected happened, Carmen honestly couldn’t think of a worse choice of an archpriest to send here.

She was speaking with the benefit of hindsight though, so it wasn’t like the Church was stupid—although they still might be.

Although the trip to catch up to the advance team should’ve been relatively peaceful and event free, reality proved to be different, shattering their expectations.

On just the first night, or rather, starting when they were mere hours into the forest at dusk, Fleur began to cough as the strange mana within her body acted up. For the past few days, it had been so docile—Anne’s watchfulness, instincts on matters related to Fleur that bordered on precognition, and timely castings of Cleansing Light had kept that mana under control.

Thus, when the affliction that ravaged Fleur’s body returned with a vengeance, none of them had been expecting it, including Fleur herself. However, at the same time, none of them had been particularly surprised.

The strange mana that none of them doubted belonged to the Orlog monster was everywhere along the trail they were following. Sometimes the trail disappeared as Orlog learned to hide itself from its pursuers, but for the most part, the mana was ubiquitous. The proximity to that mana must have agitated the mana in Fleur so much that Anne’s Cleansing Light could only help Fleur feel a little better, not completely suppress it like it had before.

They had to rely on Carmen’s more powerful spell in order to stop Fleur’s cough. Even that effect lasted only hours instead of a whole day as it had before.

That night, after Fleur woke Anne up with her coughing and Carmen had to rush over and cast Cleansing Light on her so the girls could get their sleep. After resolving to follow the trail from a distance, traveling parallel to it starting tomorrow, Carmen pulled Kagriss over a bit away from the makeshift campsite.

Speaking in hushed tones, she voiced her worries to Kagriss, although Kagriss could already guess. “Fleur can’t go on like this, but I don’t know what I can do to help.”

“I don’t think there’s anything you can do except continuing to cast that Cleansing Light spell on her, Mistress. We don’t know enough about the mana to manipulate it, and we can’t overwhelm it either since your control over holy mana still isn’t strong enough.”

“What if I tried to adapt Cleansing Light into an undead spell?” By now, Carmen was grasping at straws. As soon as she suggested it, she knew it was a dumb idea.

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A few casts of Cleansing Light was fatal to a lesser undead, and an undead version of Cleansing Light was probably equally fatal to a human. She shook her head.

Worry for Fleur made her more irritable and impatient in her thoughts, especially since the strange illness Fleur was afflicted with had something to do with those strange monsters like Orlog. The feel of the strange mana unsettled her, though to a much lesser extent than the monsters in person did.

In the end, the only thing she could do was cast Cleansing Light on Fleur ahead of time to purify the strange mana inside the girl’s body before it could accumulate enough to start to become a danger. However, such a low powered spell wasn’t enough to get rid of the root of the strange mana that had penetrated deep into Fleur’s body starting from her arm.

It gave Carmen a sense of powerlessness, as she felt as if she was just delaying some kind of inevitability.

Sensing her emotions, Kagriss turned to her and held out her arms. “Come here, Mistress. Come on.” She repeated her words when Carmen didn’t move, until finally Carmen shifted over until she was sitting next to Kagriss.

For some reason, Kagriss was oddly warm today, and in this rapidly cooling weather, that warmth was comforting against Carmen’s own cold body. Unable to help herself, Carmen leaned further into Kagriss’s affections.

Carefully as if to not spook her, Kagriss pulled her, almost picking her up, into her own lap. There, Kagriss leaned forward and pressed her body against Carmen’s back, nosing Carmen’s neck, her breath hot against Carmen’s skin.

Despite how sensual it felt, Carmen didn’t feel all that much lust from Kagriss, merely a never ending series of emotions that conveyed reassurance, love, trust, and affection.

“Remember the stars.” Kagriss’s voice was a silky whisper in her ear.

Carmen shivered and looked up at the little silver specks in the sky peeking through the cover of leaves at the top of the tree.

Try as she might, she’ll never reach the stars, so wasn’t working towards such an impossible goal just a waste of her effort? It was better to do what she could.

What she could do now for Fleur was keep her as healthy as she could until Carmen could deliver her to Arvel. Arvel will definitely be able to figure something out.

And even if he couldn’t, there was always Father Pavlor, famous for his powerful spells.

If it was for Fleur, Carmen didn’t mind acting selfish and a little evil. It wouldn’t be that hard to somehow make Pavlor owe her a favor and cash in on that favor by healing Fleur. Pavlor should have no shortage of powerful healing and purifying spells.

However, all that came later. Right now, all she could do was keep Fleur healthy.

Worry for Fleur, as well as the anticipation of hunting another specimen of the undead monsters, had clouded her mind, making her lose sight of what was important.

“…thank you, Kagriss.”

Kagriss didn’t answer. She’d probably say that gratitude was unnecessary, or something like that. Carmen’s mouth twitched as she stopped a smile.

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Suddenly, the gentle nosing stopped, replaced by lips. The back of her neck was usually covered by her hair so it was extra sensitive, and as Kagriss began to nibble and kiss the back of her neck, she shivered.

Licking her lips, Carmen twisted around and kissed Kagriss on the lich’s mouth before pulling back a little, still sitting on Kagriss’s lap. Staring into Kagriss’s eyes, Carmen laced her fingers behind Kagriss’s neck and pulled her down toward herself, even as Carmen leaned backwards.

Hot lips met her cold ones, sealing in a passionate kiss where their tongues gently wound around each other, slowly exploring something new.

Despite not needing to breathe, Carmen felt as if she was suffocating, as if she was being drawn out of her body and into Kagriss’s mouth. However, she didn’t stop. She held on even tighter to Kagriss’s head, trying to come even closer together.

Warmth continuously poured through their connection, both through their mouths and through that strange bond between them. Eventually, those streams of warmth blended together until they became indistinguishable.

Kagriss was a source of warmth for her, just like Anne was a pillar of support for Fleur.

Carmen struggled to remember how she had ever managed to live with Kagriss, and thinking back, her life seemed empty and dreary—cold, even—without Kagriss by her side. With each passing day, she fell deeper into Kagriss’s spell faster than she ever thought possible, until she became addicted to all of Kagriss: her voice, her touch, her presence.

She felt lightheaded from their kiss, as if she was about to faint.

As weak as she felt, she still registered something touching her breasts, massaging them through her clothes. Kagriss had reached around her from behind…

It felt good, and as long as they didn’t go too far, it was fine—or so Carmen thought as she threw herself back into the kiss, letting the pleasure from her chest slowly build up.

Although her breasts were small, the way that Kagriss touched her made it seem like she could actually do things with it. The way that Kagriss lightly squeezed them, squished them together slightly…all kinds of electrifying stimulations found their way into her mind, emptying her head until she only felt Kagriss’s tongue wounding around hers and Kagriss’s hands on her chest.

Could Kagriss feel her heartbeat, pounding in her chest so quickly? It was all because of Kagriss that she was feeling like this.

Suddenly, one of the hands on her chest disappeared, leaving her breast feeling neglected. As Carmen considered complaining or filling the emptiness by herself, the hand reappeared on her back, fumbling for something.

A ray of clarity shot through the dizzying fog in her mind and she pulled away from the kiss. “Kagriss…” she mumbled. “I said to wait until we got back, didn’t I?”

“Sorry…”

“Mmm.” The hand returned to her chest, throwing Carmen back into bliss. But really, the physical pleasure was secondary. What brought Carmen the most joy right now was simply Kagriss’s reassuring presence and the love that she showered her with.

Although she never fainted like she had the first time, nor did she reach that amazing climax that night, it didn’t matter, since the next morning when they separated from their trancelike vigil, Carmen felt recharged, as if nothing would be able to stop her.

The words from Kagriss remained in her mind, erasing her doubts. As long as she stuck to what she could do, she would not have regrets. That’s what she taught Kagriss, and what Kagriss reminded her with when she needed that advice most.

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