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Devon Hyburn, the fourth Prince of Nidia, could hear the bells tolling before he even reached the capital. He had finally returned from the bandit subjugation; however, it didn’t end as he expected. After tracking Denova for two days, he ran face first into the man. Rather, he ran face first into the man’s head, now separated from his body. Denova’s body was lying on the ground, his dick hanging out from the top of his drawers and a hole in his chest. Under the Denova’s head attached to the spike was a small note.

For Devon.

Devon shivered at the memory. He had fought Denova himself, so he knew what a terrifying presence the man was. While he had defeated Denova in combat, that was simply luck of the draw between their special skills. Denova had still escaped, and he didn’t know if he would have ever been able to catch the man. More than likely, Denova would have been in another country and Devon would have returned empty-handed, instead of carrying the head in a pouch on his saddle.

Whoever had murdered him was a terrifying presence indeed, and they knew Devon personally. However, maybe it was… no, he didn’t want to think about the possibility. That woman was long gone, and he was done thinking about the woman who called herself Aria, even if she had been his first, presuming he didn’t count a particular traumatizing event orchestrated by his eldest brothers when he was a young child. Either way, they were both dead, and so was the Bandit King, but the Treasury was nowhere to be found.

Devon shook his head and instead focused on the matter at hand. When he reached the outer gates to the city, the gatekeepers seemed clueless. The bells had only started just shortly before Devon returned. He gave a frown as he kicked his horse into a gallop and headed for the castle.

Of course, the bells only rang when there was a major death in the royal family. They would continue to ring one hour every morning for a week. It was a sort of eulogy to honor the fall of a noble. However, Julian and Gregory had died almost two weeks ago now. It was possible that since there were two deaths; the King had decided to carry out the ceremony for two weeks. However, if this was the case, the guards on the periphery seemed kept in the dark.

As Devon rode towards the castle, the entire capital city seemed to be in a stir. Messengers were racing down the streets at full sprint. There were dozens of whispers as the citizens seemed to gossip.

“… dead…”

“All of them?”

“Just this morning…”

Devon only caught snippets of the kind of talk going around, most of it seemed to be involved around death. However, every conversation seemed to be about a different person, alternating between discussions about men, women, a knight, or a young squire. Devon didn’t wait to get names, forging forward. The palace would be the best place to get the answers he sought.

As soon as he reached the castle gateroom, his frown deepened. There were no guards at the gates, which was something completely unheard of in this city. The palace gates being unmanned was a complete abomination in etiquette. What exactly had happened here?

He galloped into the castle stables and ended up tying his horse up himself. Abandoning the animal, he finally came across a group of guards he recognized. They were entry-level guards given over to be trained by a Knight with a bad reputation. Few Knights wanted to train peasants to hold swords, so it was usually the more questionable Knights that got left with that duty. The Knight had done well as the men were in a proper form, but the Knight himself was mysteriously absent.

As soon as they saw Devon, their form broke, and they ran up to him, bowing in haste while still catching their breaths.

“Guards… what is going on here? Report!” Devon couldn’t stop the frustration coming out of his voice, but the guards didn’t seem to be in a place to notice the lapse in etiquette.

“My Lord, thank the gods you’re here! It’s the King, my lord. The King is dead!”

Devon stared at the man for a solid ten seconds before the message sunk in properly. For a moment, he felt like he was falling, followed by dizziness and an urge to throw up. However, he was a trained soldier, and he knew when to force his emotions down and accomplish what needed to be accomplished. He worked his brain, trying to come up with what needed to happen next.

“That is… then Richard. Richard is next in line to be King. What is he doing?”

The men looked at each other and then back. “That is… he’s… um… barricaded himself in his room.”

“What?”

“That’s where we’re going, sir. We were going to get a ram to break down the door.  He won’t speak to us.”

Devon frowned, but after a moment he nodded to them. “Do as you were ordered, I’ll be heading to my brother’s room.”

The men gave rough bows and took off running, and Devon immediately started heading for the room of his brother. Devon supposed he couldn’t blame Richard. Richard always had problems with his own self-confidence since he was a child. Two weeks ago, he was the third child of the King and had no responsibility or expectations. Then, his two brothers and his fiancée died, and he was propelled to the heir to the throne. No… I suppose his fiancée probably died a long time ago. The woman he thought was his fiancée, this Aria, was some kind of spy or the like. He didn’t want to think about her right now, let alone the last night he had seen her.

Instead, he focused on the now. With the King dead, Richard was propelled to the King of this nation in less than a month. That was enough stress to wear on anyone. Devon needed to be at his most supportive at this moment. He had to be by his brother’s side. Between the two of them, they could handle anything that came.

As he turned into the hallway of his brother’s room, there was a crowd of anxious people. A half dozen guards, an anxious Knight, the Duchess Melinda Fry of all people, and a few servants of the castle.

One man was banging on the door. “Your sire, please, open up!”

“Stand aside!” Devon stated as he walked up.

As people turned and recognized them, they immediately gave out relieved expressions and dropped into curtsies and bows.

“Ah, Prince Hyburn. You arrived in the nick of time. I was about to pull the former prince out by his ear.” Melinda crossed her arms in front of her chest.

Devon gave the woman a respectful nod. To Devon, it seemed like over the last few months, Melinda had come to life. He didn’t know her well, but he did know that after her husband died, she had become introverted. She stopped going to balls and started spending all of her time focusing on her garden. Although she always wore a straight back and had a wicked tongue, her fire seemed to be going out. That was, until about two months ago when the life was breathed back into her. The source of that was, of course, Aria. Back to her. Why does it all keep going back to her?

Devon stood in front of the door, but instead of knocking, he put all of his strength into his leg. A single kick and the door burst open with a snap. The door did give significant resistance, and if he wasn’t a tier three, he likely wouldn’t have been able to open it either. The nearby guards stared in amazement as the door burst open.

“I knew the fourth prince was strong, but…” That was the words coming from the only Knight Devon had seen since he entered the castle.

He walked into his brother’s room to find it completely absent of light. It was eerily quiet and devoid of life. The balcony door was open, letting our cold bursts of morning air, which was becoming crisp in the fall months. Through the sheer canopy covering, the prince could see his brother lying face down on the bed. He gave a wry smile at how childish his brother was being. He would be King by the end of the week, so Devon knew he needed to do something to snap him out of it.

He approached his brother and touched his shoulder. Immediately, he was aware that something was wrong. His brother was cold to the touch, having none of the warmth of a living person. As he turned him over, he could already see the blue skin that lacked circulation. Richard’s body was stiff as he tried to move him. He immediately understood his brother was dead, but he couldn’t make sense of it.

“It was her…”

The voice caused Devon’s gaze to shift to the corner of the room, hidden behind the bed. There was a huddled up mass there, and with hair that looked like it had been partially torn out, destroyed makeup, and a wrinkled dress, it took Devon a moment to recognize who it was.

“Sylvia Marionette?”

“She did… all of this. To punish me.” Sylvia’s voice was dry and hoarse like she had cried until the point that she couldn’t cry any more.

“Who did this?”

“That… demon.” Sylvia’s eyes narrowed, but in the end, the anger just couldn’t be expressed, turning into dry tears instead.

“Demon?”

“Sir…” The knight behind Devon got to a knee as he spoke. “There are… other deaths.”

“What do you mean?” Devon turned away from Sylvia for a moment.

“Um… Knight Gravon and Knight Childeen. Duke Tigen. Master Senia. Hastor Millian and his wife. Derek Senda and his daughter… the reports are still coming in.”

“My sources have already reported various entire families being wiped out. The Rhine family. The Stone Family. The Paiters.” Melinda had entered the room as well; she spoke up and then froze for a second when her eyes fell on Sylvia, giving the girl behind him a sympathetic look. “Duke Marionette, as well.”

“All… loyal noble houses…” the words left Devon’s lips.

“She did it,” Sylvia spoke up again. “She-she killed them all. She said she would make me pay. She said she’d take everything from me. She did…”

“Speak girl, who?” Melinda was less sympathetic than Devon had been.

“It’s all my fault…” a realization flashed in Sylvia’s eyes. “I did this. I… just… I just wanted her to pay. I wanted to wipe that condescending superiority off her face. I j-just… I just wanted Richard to notice me. And then she took my identity. She took… took… e-everything…”

Devon stared down at the girl as she broke into tears. Suddenly, Melinda’s eyes flashed, and she turned to Devon.

“That girl, use analyze on her.”

“Ah? What? Okay… I guess…” Devon squinted at her, he had never been good at the analyze skill, but a moment later the name popped up. “Eh?”

However, the name he had expected was not the name he had seen. Cornelia Bartrum, the first princess of Daphne. How was that possible? Aria… why did this all keep coming back to that woman?

“What did you see?” Melinda demanded in a voice that was unbecoming for a Duke talking to a prince.

“Cornelia… Bartrum… she appears as Cornelia Bartrum,” Devon shook his head. “Aria… what did you do? How…”

Sylvia held up the ring. “Sh-she poisoned me. With a cursed ring. Julian was going to come up with a way to take it off, but then she killed him! And she told me, she said she’d take the rest from me… and then my lovely Richard, oh gods…”

Devon didn’t know if she had heard when Melinda mentioned her dead family. She seemed more shook up about Richard than them. It was possible she was suffering from shock. Either way, he didn’t want to exacerbate the situation.

“Stop playing the ‘she’ game, who are you talking about?” Melinda snapped, ignoring Richard’s attempt at concern.

“Who do you think?” Sylvia snapped back, raising her finger. “Cornelia! Or the demon who possessed Cornelia… or maybe Cornelia never existed in the first place. I offended Qetesh, and she was sent back to punish me! To get her revenge, the god of sex and vengeance!”

Melinda put on a disbelieving voice and spoke lightly. “I’m sorry to tell you, girl, but Cornelia died…”

“Of course, she died!” Sylvia replied sharply. “I’m the one who did it. We all did. All the nobles. We killed her together. Me, Julian, Richard, you, even Devon here! She’ll be coming for you next! I don’t know why she didn’t already.”

Not the one.

Devon remembered the dream-like event when he had last seen the woman calling herself Aria. He had been frozen, and they had, done things… He would have thought perhaps that he had hallucinated the whole thing, except for the existence of the medallion. However, she had looked relieved from the moment he went inside her. She had said that what happened, had already happened, and she couldn’t change the course of events. Given her supernaturally beautiful appearance, her sexual aptitude, and her incredible body… a sex goddess wouldn’t be far from Devon’s assessment of her from that night.

“Me? Girl, what are you talking about?”

“O-of course,” Sylvia stiffened. “The Harvest Festival, not the earlier one. The underground party. I-I made her the sacrifice.”

Melinda frowned thoughtfully. “Those nasty things Julian throws? I never go to those things.”

“What do you mean, sacrifice?” Devon glared at Sylvia.

“You know… you were there. You saw… w-what we did to her. What we shoved inside her. It was my first harvest… I d-didn’t know they would go that far. B-but… it’s her fault! She shouldn’t have stood in my way.”

“What did you do?” Devon felt an extreme rise in anger and he nearly grabbed her by the throat had Melinda not put a hand out and stopped him.

“W-why are you angry at me?” Sylvia pleaded. “Yo-you’re just as guilty as me. You all go to those things. R-rape those women. I saw you r-raping her just like the rest of us.”

“By the gods…” Melinda took a step back, fear and disgust on her face before turning away and whispering. “Cornelia…”

Devon lowered a glower on Sylvia. “I don’t go to those things. On the night of the harvest, I was guarding an underground tunnel beneath Reinhart’s tower. All I found were nine strangely beguiled monsters. A letter I had received had warned me about the robbery, but the location was wrong.”

“N-no… I saw you there!” Sylvia insisted.

Devon waved his hand, and a second later a second Devon appeared out of nowhere, wearing a mask. Melinda took a step back and made a shout in surprise while Sylvia made a noise.

“When I was eighteen, I swore I’d never go to one of Julian’s parties. I had gotten this skill and used it to send a fake me. Its orders were simple. Don’t touch anyone unless they give you a coin. If it was forced to rape, the penis would lose all volume, effectively faking penetration. It was all I could do to fend off the first prince.”

“So… you never… then we never…” Sylvia turned her head away.

It appeared that Devon’s illusion had once been bought by her as well. Devon shook his head sadly. He was still regretful of that. Aria had been right. In a lot of ways, he had just been a coward. He hid behind plausible deniability. He formed the illusion so that he never knew what happened at those meetings. He saw the coins increase, and he knew something bad had to be happening, but he had avoided it. As she had said, he stuck to his own convenient interpretations of things.

Of course, Devon had gone once, a month previously. Cornelia had forced him to break his oath. However, even then, he wasn’t able to protect her from the damage he feared would happen. Even though Devon lived hiding from the reality of his family, he had hoped to keep one family member from falling under Julian’s perversion.

“Sir?” A voice came from behind, and he came out of his thoughts and turned to see the Knight bowing with his head down.

“Yes?”

“What should we do sir? We need orders.”

Devon nodded. “Find out everything you can about the Harvest Festival. Not just the events prior, but the underground parties we all know Julian holds. I want to know who was there and what happened.”

“Sir…” the Knight gave an unsure look. “The nobles will never admit-”

“Not the nobles. The servants. Bribe the guards, the coachmen, the servants… anyone who admits to seeing anything. Also, go out and make a tally. I want a list of everyone who is dead. What were they doing before? Did they have any issues leading up to the event? Bad dreams? A cough? Anything.”

“Yes, my lord.”

“We’ll also need to close off the city gates. We need to reassure the public we are doing something. Right now, it’ll likely look like a plague. Let that rumor run, say that it’s a plague that only targets magic users. That’ll keep the public from panicking. Let the noble houses know that it is likely transmitted by physical contact. Suggest that it was brought in by a foreign dignitary. That should keep them from blaming us for the-“

“My Lord!” Melinda suddenly gave a cry.

Devon turned around to see that Sylvia was now standing up on the ledge of the balcony.

“Sylvia? What are you doing? Get down from there.” Devon took a few steps out towards her.

“Sh-she’s not done,” Sylvia shouted. “She hates me the most. She’ll be coming for me. She already put something inside me!”

“Something?” Devon looked on in helpless confusion. “Sylvia, your status is blank, you have nothing wrong with you.”

“It’s going to tear me apart. She’s going to make me pay more than any other. I can’t- I can’t do it. Tell everyone… I’m sorry.”

“Sylvia, no! Just get down…”

However, her eyes had already glassed over like she was looking at the beyond. “Richard, my love, I’m joining you soon.”

She fell back and Devon ran as fast as he could to the Balcony but he was a few steps short. A moment later there was a scream from down below. Devon looked out over the ledge and winced while Melinda followed, giving an unreadable expression. Down below was a body that had struck the ground headfirst. Her neck was bent in an unnatural position, and blood was already starting to pool from her body.

Devon left the room somberly and started to sign orders to keep things under control. He had meeting after meeting of angry dignitaries and upset families. He signed off on dozens of letters of condolence, and as the sun started to set, he felt like he had barely even scratched the surface of the duties he needed to perform.

Meanwhile, the reports had finally come in, and now Devon read through file after file spread out on his lap and the floor in front of him as he sat on the throne. It was a horrible tale of kidnapping women, raping them to death, or if they survived, wiping their memory and dumping them at their houses, often to be rejected by their confused husbands. He read in disbelief as he found eye witness report after eyewitness report of the depravity and horror his family had bestowed on their people. It wasn’t just his family, it was the whole noble line. Dukes, Marquis, Knights… the numbers were larger than he could believe.

The one night he had gone himself, he had seen a taste of how deep these things went, but he had arrived early and hid his eyes in the receiving room as to not see how many or how bad it was. It was an institution that had deep roots throughout the capital, and might even be said to be what this country was known for by other foreign dignitaries.

Now Devon knew why his country, despite being considered a bit poor on trade, received so much attention by other larger countries. If you pulled away the attractiveness of this sex trade, the country was likely a smaller producer than Daphne. The King’s entire dynasty was grown on giving dignitaries the freedom to rape and murder its citizens.

“How many in all?” Devon asked.

There was a clerk that had been standing in attendance for the last hour as he read report after report, going through everything that their remaining force, which included the city guards and only a dozen knights, had gathered in the light hours.

“About three-fourths of all the nobles in the capital city are dead. Their ages range from eighteen to seventy-two. They include a majority men, but plenty of women as well.”

“And where were they on the night of the Harvest.” Devon wore a dark stare that he didn’t realize he had on his face.

The clerk twisted uncomfortably. “That is… difficult to tell. Of those testimonials I trust, servants have been able to identify nearly seventy nobles that they claim to have seen at this underground… er… event. Of those, all seventy have been found dead this morning. Other families are not as willing to talk although at least one noble admitted that her husband was not home that night and would come home once a month smelling of other women. Of those that allowed us to search the room of the deceased, we found a mask in the majority.”

Devon nodded, but as he watched the clerk twist, it was clear that he had something else to say. “What is it, speak!”

The clerk gave a nod. “That is… sir… a rumor that has been going around as well.”

“Tell me it.”

“It has been said that many nobles have been recently going to clinics and churches trying to get a certain status misalignment removed.”

“A curse, is it?”

“I don’t know. The name of this status has never been seen before. It’s called the Black Widow. Every report of attempted anti-curses failed. However, it seemed to have no apparent status defects, so most nobles thought to ignore it.”

“Black Widow?” Devon frowned.

Black Widow would likely refer to a woman whose husband recently died. She’d wear black and grieve over her husband’s loss. That was the extent of Devon’s knowledge. However, there was a flash in his memory that teetered on the edge of forgetfulness. He had picked up Aria’s forged Guild card. He had only glanced at her skills for a moment, but something about the word Black Widow was familiar. Then, the reality of what Sylvia had said came crashing home.

“Cornelia Bartrum.” The words came out of his mouth.

“Ah, yes… the corpse that was believed to be the burnt princess was exhumed from the tombs and analyzed per your request. The corpse appears to not be Cornelia Bartrum. Furthermore, I just received word from the kingdom of Daphne. They sent a most recent painting of the princess…”

“And?” Devon leaned forward.

“The woman we had housed for about a month was not Princess Bartrum, but an imposter.”

Devon nodded, already expecting the answer. “She did it. She was in league with the Bandit King… or possibly his prisoner. I wish I had been able to catch him and interrogate him. She called herself Aria. She had been selected as their sacrifice for this sick ritual. She had the motive, she had the capacity.”

“But… I’ve read about these sacrifices, the things they do…” even the clerk looked a little sick. “She couldn’t survive that.”

“But she did… and she got her revenge… her class is unique. Something called Seductress…”

“I’ve never heard of it.”

“No one has, at least, no one I’ve been able to find. But she did it. She killed everyone who raped her. They undid themselves.”

“You say the Bandit King, but assassination doesn’t sound like something they’d do. Perhaps she was working with the demons then? She was friendly with Reinhart after all…”

Devon winced at that. That was the other blow. Reinhart had fled around the same time as Aria, and after finding monsters in the cellar of that tower he did some careful prodding to find out that Reinhart was, in fact, a spy from the demon continent. He was likely half-demon himself. Devon found evidence that Reinhart had been using potions to suppress his demonic nature. However, for some reason, he couldn’t bring himself to associate Aria’s actions with Reinhart’s. He just didn’t believe she was a demonic spy.

“What of the three girls that hung around Aria… err… the Cornelia Imposter?”

“Ah,” the clerk realized he wanted to change the subject and thus examined his papers. “You mean Melinda, Destine, and Mary. As far as I can tell, they are innocent of any charges. They were as duped as the rest of us. However, they also voiced strong support for Cornelia Bartrum.”

“So… they don’t believe that Cornelia was really Aria…” Devon sighed.

“No…” the clerk looked a little sheepish. “They believed. They simply support her anyway. I think it was the older one, Melinda, who put it simply. She said ‘If the girl did it, she did it for a reason. After what I’ve heard, I think she had a more than valid reason’.”

Devon gave a wry smile. He never spent much time with Melinda, but he saw a lot of Aria in her. He would have to watch her more carefully in the future. She was a cunning one and with the power vacuum in the capital city right now, Devon had to choose his friends and enemies very carefully.

“Shall we… pursue the girl? Even if she wasn’t the source of the curse, she knowingly impersonated a princess and was likely involved in the robbing of the royal palace. That alone is a punishment of death.”

Devon froze… he had been avoiding thinking about it. Aria did attack the throne. Any way you saw it, she had betrayed this country. At best, she was a traitor, at worse, a king slayer. Regicide, assassination, theft, impersonation… her list of guilt was a mile long. His emotions were a jumbled knot of confusion, and he had no clue how he should go about dealing with her. On the surface, he thought she needed to be jailed, as she was a danger to the throne. However, deep down, he still didn’t think she held this country any malice. She acted and reacted, but in the end, she only went exactly as far against this country, as this country had done to her.

“No…” Devon said after a few moments of thought. “We will keep the issue of Aria quiet. We will keep the story as it is. Cornelia died by a fireball during an attack by thieves. I pursued the thieves and killed their leader. Let the foreign nations know that a strange sexually transmitted disease known as Black Widow spread out from the city, but it seems to have burnt itself out. Hint that it might have been a demon orchestrated disease, and they won’t ask too many questions. If any guard’s memory of Cornelia doesn’t line up with the facts, give them a few coins to jog their memory.”

“Yes, my King.” The clerk bowed.

“Ah… I’m not King, that is…” Devon tried to protest.

“But… you are next in line, my lord.” The clerk gave a wry smile.

The realization struck home at that moment. As the last living heir, he was king of the nation. Aria, whoever she was, had driven herself into his life like a typhoon, and in its wake, he had moved from a relatively low position to the king of a nation in the middle of a crisis. She had murdered his family, but at the same time liberated the capital from their cruel and inhumane acts. Worst off, she had stolen his heart and then left a mass of destruction in her wake. Devon himself didn’t know what he would do if he ever saw her again. He was just as likely to kiss her as cut off her head.

The clerk was waiting for an answer, so he straightened his clothing, sat up straight, and started to act the part of a king.

________________________________________________

Various human looking creatures with differing animal parts sat in a poorly lit room. There was a tavern-like section where people could relax, get a drink, or play one of the various table games set about. There was also a secondary section which consisted of a line of receptionists in a situation more akin to a DMV.

The door opened, and a couple walked into the space, the biting cold of the outside blowing in as they opened the door. It shut behind them, sealing off the snow drifting in from the outside, but a few looked up and readjusted their cloaks to maintain their warmth. A few others snuggled closer to a dwindling fire that seemed to serve as this places source of warmth.

The mysterious couple wore long woolen cloaks, and their faces were wrapped up in scarves that protected them from the snow outside. They looked around the room as they shook off the snow that had fallen on their shoulders. A few patrons looked back, but besides being a little scrawny and a little short for adventurers, they did not draw any particular notice.

The pair began moving their way to the receptionist section of the room, standing in a line that already contained a wolfman, a dwarf, and a man with red eyes.

“Would not be necessary…” One of them spoke up in a pouty sounding voice that was just deep enough that it wasn’t explicitly feminine. “If Vessë did not give money all away.”

The other snorted like she had heard this before. “It was stolen. How can I make a name for myself if I run around and support myself with stolen goods? We did save that village from financial collapse after their famine, didn’t we?”

“And Vessë cheated. Sex with half of village.” The shorter one replied.

“Ah… well, it did get a little wild there for a bit, but leveling…”

“Vessë level 30, no level without class up.”

“True… but there are still skills to consider… they say they get harder to train when you class up…”

Their hard-to-understand conversation was ignored by most although it sounded like the typical banter of adventurers. The fact there was a woman came as a surprise to a few though. Women were rarely adventurers. However, the few that stayed with it long were known as some of the fiercest bunch. They had to be given the world they lived in.

“Can I help you?” a male receptionist asked as they came up to the front.

“Well, hello…” The taller woman said, reaching out as if to touch his hand on the counter, but then falling short.

“Vessë need to stop seducing…”

Despite the fact that she was wearing a cloak with a hood up and further had a scarf around her face, her body’s femininity still seemed to leak through her winter clothing. As a result, even without being able to see her, the man was blushing a bit as she eyed him intently with a predator-like gaze.

Ignoring the smaller one, she began talking. “We’d like to join the guild. We’re adventurers. Subjugation quests, fetch quests, guard quests… these are the things an adventurer like me should have been doing from the beginning.”

She said it in a self-important way, but the receptionist didn’t notice. He had been watching her eyes, which almost seemed to draw him in like deep mesmerizing pools. He’d never been the kind of guy to hit on patrons, but even without seeing her face, he was already considering asking her out to eat later. However, the smaller one made a noise with their throat and he shook out of it. The taller one gave the other one an annoyed look, but the smaller one just kept looking ahead.

“Th-that’s right. I’ll just need your information. Its 50 silver per person to join. You’ll get a guild card and your rank will start out as class copper also known as F class. You can pick up tasks on the board-“

“Yes, yes, we know the adventurer routine. Heard it all before. Just give me a card.”

The smaller one put out 100 silver coins. “Rest of money, won’t eat tonight.”

“I won’t let my cute little Min go hungry. I’ll get us some grub-“

“Cheater.”

“M-min? If it’s for you-“

“Rather starve.”

“Don’t be like that!”

The receptionist was having trouble keeping up with the pair, and after a moment finally shook himself. “That’s good, okay, I need your information.”

“Ah, that’s right! I’m Aria, and this cute, sexy, beautiful man is my wife, Min.”

“Flattery… Failed.”

The one calling herself Aria looked disappointed that her words didn’t sway the other who had their head turned away while looking upset. However, the top of their cheeks not covered by the scarf were turning red, suggesting that the words may have been working after all. The clerk gave a double take at a man that she just called her wife.

He gave his head a shake to recover. “Al-Alright, then I need to know what class you are.”

“Ah, I’m a- pew…” her mouth got caught on the scarf and she had to spit it out.

In annoyance, she reached around and started unwrapping the scarf. Like that, she ripped off the coverings and then pulled back her hood. The man inhaled his breath at the sight. An otherworldly beauty with golden brown hair stood before him. Her eyes practically glowed blue, and she had milky white skin completely devoid of imperfection. She was like a goddess suddenly coming to life.

There was the shattering of some glasses and the scrapping of a seat. Suddenly, everyone in the room was staring at the supernatural beauty, even though it was only her face that could be seen. She gave out a glowing smile laced with sultry seduction. It was the kind of smile that made someone’s life feel lighter just by seeing it, but also hinted that there was more to come if you but gave her everything you had. Many men were ready to throw their purses and lives at her already.

“Excuse me, let me introduce myself again.” Aria shook back her hair, dropping flecks of snow onto the ground like a snow fairy, “I’m Aria… and I am the Seductress.”

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