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“Aria… Crish said you didn’t stop by today. You doing alright?” Peers was lightly shaking my shoulder, bringing me out of my sleep.

“Mm…” I moaned, a crashing headache hitting me just as my mind started to work once again. “J-just a headache. Mana exhaustion.”

Even though the tent was rather dark, suggesting it was already passed sunset. I still buried my head in the pillow, avoiding any light stimulus as long as my head continued to pound.

“Mana exhaustion? You should be careful of that. It can be lethal.”

“Mm…” I gave a noncommittal response.

In truth, I’d read that mana exhaustion had never resulted in a death. It was merely one of those wives’ tales of this world. If you become mana exhausted after a long battle and already near death, death was nearly certain. That was perhaps one of the sources of the myth. Of course, if you exhausted your mana while standing, passed out, and then your head hit something on the way down, killing you instantly, that would seem like another likely source of rumors and superstition.

“Crish was worried about you.” Peers’ voice took on a slightly amused edge.

I could only respond with a snort. “I doubt it, then why didn’t he stop by?”

“Haha…” Peers let out a laugh. “It appears like Cecelia is watching him like a hawk. Apparently, she gave him her virginity last night and he proposed to her this morning. It looks like your plan worked. She’s been going nuts with jealousy that last month or two with you spending so much time with Crish.”

“Speaking of jealousy, you’re the one that ‘guarded’ our tent while we worked on enchantments.” I murmured into my pillow.

“Hah, that’s true… in retrospect, she might have moved even faster if I wasn’t playing chaperone between you two.” I could feel Peers sitting down on the bed, his hands lighting scratching my back affectionately while I kept talking through my pillow.

His voice didn’t sound worried or upset, so I decided to take the situation with Crish as settled. In truth, Peers wasn’t that jealous, but he did feel the need to make his presence known whenever I found myself alone with Crish. In truth, I saw Crish more like a big brother than anything, so Peers slightly jealous side was cute. Compared to the hateful glares Cecilia had sent my way over the last few months, it was downright endearing. Unlike the little girl who had forgiven me after I made her a stuffed teddy bear, something this world did not have in the least, Cecelia likely still saw me as a threat to her man. She might have even done something about it if I wasn’t on the council’s good side.

“Why don’t you sit up? I can get you some headache tea.”

“Mm…” I gave another noncommittal response, but that didn’t stop him from slapping my butt before standing up and walking out of the tent.

Headache tea was closest this world had to Tylenol. It tasted like bark, but it did the job surprising well, which might mean it actually did contain acetaminophen, or some magical version of it. I was never clear where magic ended and science began in this world.

“Illusionist again?” When my eyes fluttered open, I had immediately locked onto the text in my vision.

This was the third time I had lost my choice of skill on account of passing out. The first time was also caused by mana exhaustion. The second time was as a result of the cruel practices of those nobles. I was beginning to feel like the choice gave you about one hour to make a selection. Any longer than that, and you lost your choice and the system auto-selected for you. As to what system was in control of this crazy world, I didn’t have a clue.

However, the shock of seeing an auto-selected skill, and one I’ve seen before, quickly led me to ignoring my headache. Forcing myself to pull away from the bed, I sat on the edge, while once again pulling up my status screen.

My illusion resistance had reached 10! Furthermore… Illusion magic, something I had to have triggered this. It could only be your new skill.

{Illusionist (Passive) – Basic Mastery of Illusions.}

{Illusion Breaker – +5 Wisdom, +10 Illusion Resistance, 2X Experience on Beguiled Targets}

It had the same name as previous skills offered, but it functioned radically different. This skill… isn’t it a bit overpowered? To instantly master Illusion magic? To gain a 10 resistance to it? If I used the title, which was thankfully just a normal title unlike Godkiller and Reborn, that’d be 20 resistance. This ability was absolutely ridiculous. It was as ridiculous as Phoenix Rises, or Limit Break, or Possession…

I very nearly gasped when the connection came crashing home. Every one of those skills was given after I passed out unconscious, unable to select something. It was almost as if when the system took away my ability to select, the new ability it created was slightly more powerful to compensate it. In fact, after my class up, how many skills did I gain that were evolutions to pre-existing skills? Those were supposed to be exceptionally rare, yet nearly half of my level ups had resulted in them, some becoming quite powerful.

It was then I also noticed that I should have had an extra point saved up. Upon leveling, I had two points. That second point was now gone, but instead of handing me two skills, I got this one skill which seemed more powerful. The only conclusion I could make was that this was a second-tier special skill. In essence, the system had selected an illusion-based skill, and then selected that skill again to evolve it.

Wait… is that something you can do? I had always assumed the special skills gave me three choices. I could pick one of them or I could pick none. Was there a third option? Could I pick a special skill I’ve already obtained and level it up to be even more powerful? In that case, it wasn’t that I had obtained a bunch of 2nd class evolution skills by chance, it was that the system was auto-selecting preexisting skills I had frequently used to make them even better. This is an ability no one else in this world would know about. It was also likely only came with my class up. Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to level up again! As soon as Peers gets back…

My mood suddenly sank. I now had a significant amount of resistance to illusions. Illusion magic assuredly wouldn’t work on me anymore. As to why I had no illusion resistance before, it was because I had never resisted it. The Cambions were the first people to use illusion magic in my presence. The bedroom magic wasn’t something I openly resisted. Mostly, it just fell apart on its own and it was Peers who finally  broke the spell. Thus, I never had the opportunity to truly resist the spell.

Of course, I wasn’t an idiot. I had long known that the Cambions wrapped themselves in some kind of magical spell. My magic skill was at ten and I already had unlocked advanced magic. There was no way I wouldn’t be aware of when magic was being used or not. This is why captives often needed to be kept in a dreamlike state, because anyone could see the magic being used, and grow suspicious. I had also assumed that it was some kind of illusion. It seemed unlikely that every person in the village was supernaturally beautiful. For the first point, beauty was subjective, and my beauty standards did not match this world’s beauty standards exactly, yet every Cambion looked like the hottest people alive by my standards.

I knew from the beginning that their looks were being pandered to me. However, that was no different than my own beautification skill. It made me more attractive to the Cambions in return. How was that any different? Therefore, I hadn’t tried to mentally fight against or remove the spells, first because I thought it would agitate them, and second, because I didn’t care. What if Peers was a little uglier? I had fucked goblins and orcs before. It shouldn’t matter.

So, why did my heart feel so afraid of seeing his real form? I didn’t want to break the illusion spell. I wanted to keep it as their secret. They never dispelled it on their own, so I left it as just everyone keeping their own secrets. I was happy living the rest of my life this way.

Now, I had no choice in the matter. This damn system, and whatever bastard God or devil who ran it, decided to force it on me when I refused to take it myself. It was no accident that the same and similar abilities cropped up every time I leveled. I wasn’t naïve enough to assume it was just because I was still under an illusion’s affect. Whatever power ran this game system wanted me to break through the illusion. To me, it even felt personal, like someone was deliberately trying to strip me of my happiness.

I had been raped and brutalized sense I had been to this world, and all I wanted to was to settle down and find happiness. Why did the system try to prevent this? Hatred. That was the word that I started to feel. It was a deep hatred. This world, this system, it had taken so much from me. I had lost everything when I woke up here. Part of me had assumed I died and this was some kind of reincarnated life. My high mental resistance was the only thing that kept me going. Yet, in the end, the system refused to just be done with me. What did it want? I hated it. I hate it! Hate!

When the curtain was suddenly opened and someone stepped in holding a plate with a tea pot, I was standing up on the side of my bed, a grim look on my face. My eyes met with the thing in front of me.

“Uh? Aria? Are you doing okay?”

It was Peers’ voice, but that was the only thing that looked familiar. The illusion spell had changed more than I ever thought possible. I had been prepping myself mentally to expect the worst when I saw Peers. However, my rising anger had caused me to lose my resolve and when Peers finally showed, I could only be stunned into silence.

“So… they are monsters after all.” I muttered to myself.

“Huh?” Peers thankfully couldn’t hear me speaking under my breath.

I could only lower my head, unable to meet his eyes anymore. Peers wore the same clothing as before, but his skin was gray. He looked a bit like a goblin, but much taller and greyer. His lips protruded out strangely, and he had very large eyes that nearly popped out of his skull. He’d look like a tall Roswell alien, except his skin was more desiccated and wrinkly, his eyes more protruded and his features more monstrous. Any question on whether Cambions were demi-humans or a type of demon immediately left my mind. They were simply a humanoid-like monster like goblins, orcs, or pigmen. It was clear, once you saw one.

I also now understood why few nobles would take Cambions in as sex slaves. Once a noble saw their ugly visage, it was difficult to even trick yourself into sleeping with one. It made sense when you thought about it. Had Cambions even been slightly attractive, even in an abstract or exotic way, humans would have taken them in as concubines and sex slaves. It could only be the horror of this appearance that persecuted these monsters to the edges of the known world.

“A-aria?” Peers was looking at me, his ugly protruded eyes holding an expression I took as worry, although I realized I couldn’t read this face as well as the illusion.

“No…” I muttered to myself.

“No?” Peers gave a confused look, turning down to the tea. “Oh, you mean, you don’t want any now? I know it tastes bad…”

He still looked uncertain as I stood there, my eyes lowered, my hand in a fist trembling. What did it matter if he was ugly? He wasn’t really much uglier than a goblin! When had I become so shallow? I’d slept with monsters before. It didn’t change his personality! It didn’t change the man he was on the inside. This didn’t change anything!

Do you hear me, you fucking bastard! You haven’t changed anything! I screamed at whatever system did this. I won’t let you take away my happiness.

Just as it looked like Peers was going to say more, I reached up and grabbed the straps of my dress, pulling them over my shoulders. The dress itself was loose, and it immediately fell down my body, revealing my naked self. Before Peers could do more than raise an eyebrow, I attached the Reborn skill. With my mental resistance exploding past 100, any reservations I felt immediately disappeared. My charisma exploded, and even a Cambion like Peers could only help but drop his jaw at the sudden onslaught of charm erupting from my body.

“Fuck me, Peers. I want to feel you inside me.” I said with pleading eyes, even though those eyes wouldn’t meet his.

Of course, with my charisma, this was akin to stripping away Peers’ choice in the matter. Even if he caught something odd in the way I reacted to his appearance or touch, my godlike charisma overwhelmed any restraint and concern he felt. The grey monster could only push me down on the bed while I let it have its way with me.

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