I decided to do what Brooke suggested, and take the opportunity of being a Prince to get myself sorted out. The next day, I asked my mother for several tutors and began to take lessons. I had snuck into a couple of lessons at Amaryllis, but getting a real education as a male in this world had always been difficult. I had been left ignorant of this world for far too long. I wanted to learn more about science, magic, and history.
In fact, I was particularly interested in history. It seemed like the history I knew did not match with the history being told by the demons. They could be lying, of course, but Lilith seemed to confirm some of it. Lilith wasn’t the true demon lord, but someone who had taken on one of the real Demon Lord’s inheritances. It had likely shown her the demon’s plans, and thus she dedicated her life to keeping the demons from coming back.
The evil queen who had tried to monopolize the hero’s semen likely wasn’t an evil figure either. She probably was trying to keep the demon blood from spreading too much, while also maintaining the human population. All those children who had died were probably experiments she had performed trying to purify demonic blood from men.
What she found was that men without demonic blood were infertile, riddled by the demon’s curse. That 1 drop of blood was enough to allow men to be able to have children, but the price was that only one in a thousand were male. Or maybe the evil queen had made one in a thousand male, knowing that if 50% of the population was male, even with a single drop, the demons could have returned.
At least, that was what I was able to reason out from my previous knowledge of history. However, that was the extent of my knowledge, and I really wanted to learn more. I was really interested in finding out why it was Rebecca and Ashley who became demons. Technically, male demons would be preferable. They sacrificed hundreds of students to make it happen, yet it ended up as two girls who got the demon possession, while all the men who died were untouched. Was it because of me?
I was in that demon summoning circle. I heard their whispers. Ashley and Rebecca had the criteria of “male blood” to be possessed, and it was their close links with me that caused them to be selected. Was that the truth? I had so many questions. What was the history of this world? How had things gotten to this state? What else was out there? Most importantly, what did I want to do about it?
As a prince, I was supposed to be creating an heir. However, this body wasn’t my original body, and anyone I slept with wouldn’t have my demon free genes. Or was it my soul that mattered? I didn’t even know that for certain. In other words, creating a male heir was nearly impossible right now, and I wasn’t sure how interested I was in trying that anymore. In truth, I wanted to focus on myself.
I took up training with Brooke again. However, with my body being a different height and shape, my way of fighting changed a bit. Brooke tried to help me get acclimated to my new body, even though once I was healed, I’d after to reacclimate myself to my original body again. That was just a consequence of this weird road I walked.
Ever since our talk, Brooke had been acting a bit different too. I’m not sure if it’s because she sees me with a different face, or because some part of what happened before had affected how she saw me. She seemed nicer and more forgiving than she used to be. Brooke had been through an ordeal as well, so I didn’t want to point out her changes. She had to deal with her own issues just as I had to deal with mine.
“That little girl, Charlie… have you heard anything about her?” I asked Brooke after one such training session.
She shook her head. “No, I haven’t heard a thing.”
I nodded, expecting as much. I had been inquiring about that little girl from the moment I learned that Brooke was alive in the mine. No one else in the mine was familiar with a little girl that fit her description. I supposed I could request a search for her like the manhunt for Caleb, but it felt a bit strange to abuse those resources like that it and it would definitely draw attention and questions my way I was not prepared to ask. Charlie would continue to be another regret in my life, but I was determined to move on.
With that in mind and not wanting any more regrets, I decided it was time to officially reveal myself to Lyra. I left my room to be followed by two female guards. Ever since my last disappearance, mother made sure that I couldn’t go anywhere without guards. This was unfortunately non-negotiable. That woman was not someone who could easily be manipulated, even if she did have a weakness for sexual teasing.
I did eventually have to tell her a lot of what happened to me while I was gone. It would have been nice to keep some secrets from Mother, but she had ways of learning the truth. At the very least, I didn’t want her to harass Brooke, so I told her something akin to the truth. I told her that I had been kidnapped in the street and confused for a woman, forced to work in the mines and that when the collapse happened, it had opened up an escape route. As for Brooke, she was just a white girl who had looked after me in the mines and we started a sexual relationship. That was the story that I chose to tell for my own safety.
Any talk of demons, demon lords, or the hidden demon castle were not things I was going to share with anyone. To the Queen’s credit, she was truly horrified by what happened. Her side of the story was simple. While I was lying in a coma after being poisoned, she had gone to various healers and magicians who had claimed they had the ability to cure me. Lilith was one of these women. She had come with the promise of a body that would be protected and kept out of harm’s way. That’s where she decided to hide my soul, although I never found out where the original Caleb’s soul went if he even had one.
Eventually, as she was growing desperate, the two demons, Ashley and Rebecca, likely lured here by looking for Clyburn, chose to cut a deal. They’d be allowed to dig and search for something under the city, and they would provide me the cure. I woke up, and they began digging. The Queen claimed she didn’t know where they got the workers to dig, but it sounded more like willful ignorance than something she truly hadn’t expected.
The country of Matahari was a rough one, Queen Talitha Sakina was not for the people. A few lower-class citizens being snatched off the street or dying in some mines was of little consequence to her. What did ignite her fury was the fact my kidnapping resulted from that. I also let it slip that the demons had said around me that they had created the poison that killed me. This further enraged my mother, who went on to put a price on their heads.
On the one hand, Ashley and Rebecca were two girls that I knew. On the other hand, they were truly demons. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stress that point to mother enough. I had impeded the demon’s progress just a bit, but there was no force that could truly stop them at the moment, except maybe Lilith. Furthermore, there were two more Demon Lord inheritances out there. Should I take them and destroy them? Should I even get involved? The only think Lilith seemed to want me for was making babies. That seemed to be the only thing anyone wanted me for these days.
I turned into the hallway that housed my harem. The hallways now had five girls in all. Brooke, Lyra, Kemala, Rhea, and Veronika. Yes, my supposed daughter was added to my harem while I was kidnapped. Apparently, this was supposed to happen when she turned thirteen, but due to obvious reasons, I was not able to officially accept her. The night of the parade when I went missing, the reason my daughter had shown up was to be personally accepted as one of my women.
As to her true identity, Mother would only claim she was Caleb’s daughter, and not accept that this made no sense. It seemed like when you were rich enough, you made reality, not the other way around.
“Father!” Veronika immediately raced into my arms, giving me a hug.
I was surprised to see her. Most of the harem minded their own business, and they certainly didn’t wait for me to come. On the other hand, her calling me father made me feel a bit complicated too. She was supposed to be my new lover, then calling me daddy was a kind of play I still needed to warm up too. My girls back in Amaryllis had told me many times that I could bang my daughters, but knowing that it was accepted in this world and actually doing it were two different things.
Her shout seemed to have notified the other four women. Kemala peaked out her door nervously and then stood there, her hand on the doorframe as if she was preparing herself to slam it shut and lock it at any point. Rhea was even more nervous, looking like she wanted to pass out. Seeing Veronika casually hug me made her almost have a heart attack. Brooke also stood at her door, but her arms were crossed and she had a bored expression on her face. The only one who remained in her room was Lyra.
I nodded to her door and glanced over at Brooke while patting Kemala’s head softly. “Have you talked to her at all?”
Brooke glanced over at Lyra’s room and shrugged. “She asked me why I was here, but I told her she’d need to ask you. She seems very conflicted right now. You really need to have a talk with her.”
I lowered my head and nodded. “I know. I haven’t been fair to her. Well, I made my choices because I didn’t know what the truth was at the time. I was scared, but perhaps that’s just me making excuses. I’ll go talk to her. Veronika, can we talk later?”
“Y-yes daddy…” She took a step back, biting her finger seductively. “You need to let me know when we’ll be having sex. I want to carry daddy’s baby real soon.”
I blinked and gave the best smile I could. The first time I had spoken to her, Veronika seemed a bit shy, but now she had really bloomed out of her shell. I glanced over Kemala and nodded.
“I haven’t even done anything with Kemala yet. So, don’t feel too eager. We have time.”
Veronika tapped her finger on her lips. “Ah… so daddy is saying her must taste his sister first before his daughter. Veronika understands! Please have your sister soon!”
Kemala’s face exploded in red and she turned away. “Th-that… I will… if brother wants… that is…”
I shook my head. Talking to these two thirteen-year-old girls was dangerous. I didn’t know if I could control myself, even if they were related. Rather, they weren’t related to Clyburn at all! As for their age, Hannah was only 13 when I started playing with her. I was younger at the time, but I didn’t see much of a difference between the me who played with my big sister Hannah and Madison and the me who is playing with these two girls.
I supposed the reason I had been holding myself back in a lot of things had been that uncertainty. Now that I knew how I had come to this place, I was more comfortable truly letting go. Patting Veronika on the head and watching Brooke give me a disgusted snort before returning to her room, I ended up knocking on Lyra’s door politely.
“C-come in.” A voice said quietly.
I opened the door and stepped in. Lyra’s room hadn’t changed much since the last time I had entered it. She still had the shades up, and she was on her bed hiding. She seemed to be the kind of girl who liked hiding in her room when things grew complicated. In her mind, things had to be screwed up.
She had been pursuing Clyburn for years, and just when we might have formed a relationship, she was sent here to be some prince’s concubine. Then, she gets here to find that the prince was in a coma and had a reputation for abusing women. After several months, perhaps she convinced herself she could return to her beloved untarnished. Then, in my excitement, I pushed her done and slept with Lyra, except to her, I was this Caleb. Now she feels distraught and empty because she thinks she cheated on the man she loved.
At the time, I thought I was dead. For all intent and purposes, my body is barely alive now, so it wasn’t an outrageous belief. However, now I also knew I was absolutely still Clyburn. I would have my body back one day. Yet… I had already tarnished Lyra with another man’s body. Let’s not think about that. That only made things more complicated.
Lyra lifted her bed from her sheet and looked over at me, her expression muddled. “I’m not pregnant yet, by the way.”
I nodded. “Then, do you wish to… try again?”
Lyra looked away, “I don’t… I don’t know. When you disappeared for the last two weeks, part of me felt genuinely relieved, and part of me felt scared you wouldn’t come back. What does that mean?”
I pulled out a chair from her writing table and then sat down. “It means, you don’t know how you feel about me.”
Lyra bit her lip, her eyes turning a bit watery. “Is it too late? Will Clyburn even… will he even accept me?”
I nodded to myself and then looked up at Lyra, “Lyra, it’s time I told you something.”
“Hmm?” Lyra’s eyes perked up at the intensity of my expression.
“I come from another world,” I explained. “When I was twelve, I remembered everything from my past. In that world, men and women were born at the same rate. There was no demon’s curse.”
“S-so… you’re not really Caleb?” She asked, her eyes growing suspicious.
“Actually, I’m Clyburn! That’s why Brooke is here! It’s kind of complicated, but my ship was attacked by pirates and then crashed and I got really injured. Lilith took my soul and put it in this body so that she could repair my body in peace without the threat of demons.”
“Lilith? The… demon lord?”
I nodded. “You see… Lilith isn’t a Demon Lord. She’s a demon hunter. The Demons actually thought I was their demon lord for a while. That’s why the came to the city looking for me.”
“Demons…” Lyra nodded.
“Right… I got kidnapped and was forced to work in a mine while I was dressed as a girl Callie. That’s where I met Brooke. Then we found the Demon Lord’s castle buried underground, and I took the Demon Lord’s inheritance and it sort of went… well… it went, poof. And then half the city went poof. And here we are.” I smiled.
Lyra smiled back. “Here we are.”
“Anyway… the point is, I’m the blessed man. I’m from another world, and I’m also really Clyburn. So, you don’t need to feel bad about when we had sex, okay?”
“Yes!” I laughed. “I’m Clyburn! I had just woken up from my coma and had no clue where I was. When I saw you, I was so happy to see a familiar face, things just sort of got out of hand. However, you don’t need to feel like you cheated on me, okay? I’m the same guy, even if my body is different. So, you can, you know… love me, and I love you, and that’s fine.”
“Right…” Lyra lowered her eyes, laughing softly.
“So…” I let out a breath. “That about sums it up.”
“Yeah… it does…” Lyra’s smile disappeared and her expression turned cold.
“You… expect me to believe that garbage!”
“Of everything I’ve have been through! All the tears I have shed! You think you can just say your Clyburn and I’ll believe such a bald-faced lie!”
“I-it’s not a lie!”
“You arrogant, egotistical bastard!” Lyra flung her sheets away, standing up, her face completely red.
“Ah… no, I mean… I’m really Cly-“
“Don’t say it!” She snapped through gritted teeth. “You don’t have the right to say his name! While you were off doing god knows what, I checked out and found the truth. Clyburn was in an accident, and he died in a crash.”
Tears began to form on her cheeks, “I thought I could move on. I thought if I just got to know you, then maybe… maybe my life would be worth living. Then… then you pull this shit! You knew… you knew what happened to Clyburn and you didn’t tell me! Instead, you decided to make up this ridiculous story to try to trick me into sleeping with you!”
“Th-that’s not true!”
“You even bought his bodyguard who you dug up god knows where to try to sell it. I can’t believe I started to like you!”
“Lyra… I know you don’t want to hear this, but you’re upset over nothing… I-“
“Get out!” She screamed, grabbing a shoe from the floor and tossing it at me.
“I can prove it! Ask me anything! I’ll know-“
“I said… GET OUT!” She started running at me with the next shoe, her face full of rage and murder.
I leaped out the door and slammed it close behind me before she could attack. I heard her kick the door from the other side, and then she broke into long wailing sobs. I felt like I was about to fall into tears too, but for a completely different reason. I gritted my teeth and hit the wall with my fist.
“ ’Tell her the truth.’ They said. ‘Be honest and it’ll all work out.’ They whined.” I spoke to myself. “Fucking idiot!”
I looked up and saw Rhea watching him from her door. She squeaked as soon as she looked at me. I wiped the ugly expression off my face and tried to force a smile for her sake.
“It’s okay. I’m not angry… at her. Just angry at myself. I forgot for a bit that my life sounds a bit fantastical when it’s just all said out like that. I’m sure she’ll come around… eventually. If not, I just got to return to normal and remove all doubt, right?”
Rhea stared at me quietly. Then, she looked in both directions as if making sure no one else was nearby. She skittered out of her room like a scared rodent. With her head down, she walked all the way up to me, and then she lifted her head up and kissed me on the lips. Rhea was a pretty girl, and I was very curious what her personality had been like before she encountered the real Caleb who tortured her so.
Of course, I was also cautious, remembering that the other girl had tried to kill me once. So even though she was kissing me, my hands instinctively grabbed her own to make sure she had nothing. She shoved her fist into my open palm, and then I felt something drop into it. It was only then that she pulled away, looked around again, and then ran back into her room. I kept my hand closed and then moved it into my pocket.
After that, I turned around and walked away, not looking back at the hallways again. My two guards who had been standing at the end of the harem hallway stood up and followed me.
My fingers felt the item she had given me, and I realized it was a folded-up piece of paper. I carefully made my way back to my room without giving the guards any indication of the thing in my hands. Only with my doors shut and the guards on the other side did I finally open it up and glance at the contents.
You are still in danger. They will try to kill you again.
The font was not particularly stylish, and there was no signature, but I was certain it was Rhea who had written this note. I didn’t know what she knew, and I don’t know why she felt the need to warn me. However, I felt for the first time like she might be someone I can trust. I had six months left in this place, and as Brooke said, I needed to make the best of it. Finding out who tried to kill Caleb, and prevent that happening to me, that was now priority one. I crinkled the message up in my hand, tore it into pieces and then tossed it away.
“I’m always in danger,” I said to myself. “Bring it on.”