Chapter 164 - Trust

“Aaaah,” Elise sighed in satisfaction as she collapsed next to Leon and buried her face into his shoulder.  She lay there for several long moments, naked and breathing hard, basking in the afterglow of great sex and in the relief that Leon had survived the battle he and Alix had described to her.

The silence was only broken when Leon hesitantly asked, “… So, can I move now?”

“No!” Elise said, playfully pinching him in the ribs.  “Your punishment isn’t over yet!”

Leon’s arm twitched as he struggled to keep from pulling Elise in closer, while her eyes sparkled in delight.  They had returned to her mother’s estate not long after meeting up in the Tower, and they immediately made for Elise’s private wing, stopping only to help Alix get settled into a guest room.  Their clothes were removed as fast as was possible once they were in Elise’s bedroom, but when Leon moved in for a kiss, Elise had instead pushed him down onto the bed and enacted her punishment for not sending a letter: forcing him to lay back and not move.  If his hands went anywhere near her body, she had said, she would stop immediately.

Suffice it to say, as much as he wanted to take a more active role, Leon managed to restrain himself.  Elise didn’t make it easy, though, as she had made use of more than a few tips from her mother to drive Leon crazy.  She went slowly in the beginning, dragging out the foreplay and pushing Leon to the edge multiple times without letting him go over.  Eventually, she mounted him, but continued to tease and torture him with short, slow hip movements.  However, after an hour or so of fun, she decided it was time to end things, and so finally gave Leon his first climax while she drove herself into her fifth.

“Got any idea of when my punishment will be over?” Leon asked as he gave a suggestive look to his lady.

“Hmm, let me think about it,” Elise teasingly answered.  “In the meantime, you can tell me more about that battle at your post.  I can tell you skimmed a lot of details, given that you didn’t even mention your ascension to the fourth-tier…”

Leon smiled, then said, “That was a lucky accident.  I barely managed to ascend just before the Valemen surrounded our tower.”

“Lucky indeed,” Elise responded, “but that doesn’t explain the fire that your cute new squire mentioned.”

Leon looked away from Elise and stared at the ceiling.  He had no idea how to explain his use of demonfire, so he went silent for a few seconds while he pondered what to say.  In the end, he had to ask for help.

[Any advice, demon?]

[Hmm?] Xaphan muttered in surprise; he been actively trying not to pay attention to what the two lovers were doing, so Leon had to explain the situation.  [Personally, if you trust her, then I don’t care what you say to her,] Xaphan answered.  [The only thing that would concern me is whether or not she would take kindly to knowing a demon is living in your soul realm.]

[Yes, that’s the part that’s giving me pause.  Demon worship is illegal in this kingdom, and though I’m not exactly worshipping you-]

[Even though you probably should be,] Xaphan muttered.

[- I don’t think it’s a distinction many would care to make,] Leon continued, ignoring Xaphan’s comment.  [If anyone in power here knew about you, I would be willing to bet I’d be on a one-way trip to the headsman’s block in less than a day…]

[That would be mighty inconvenient,] Xaphan said.  [Do you trust her?]

[I do,] Leon answered without hesitation.

[Does she trust you?]

[I believe so.]

[Then I don’t think it matters whether you tell her or not.  Now that I’m thinking about it more, though, I would prefer that you try to take the option that doesn’t expose me.]

[I can understand that…]

Leon thought on the problem for another few moments, then turned back to Elise.

“I love you,” he said.

“I love you, too,” she answered, but her eyes quickly narrowed.

“I trust you more than anyone else,” Leon continued, “but my fire is something I’d rather not speak about for now.”

“That doesn’t sound like you trust me very much,” Elise said, her gaze turning hard and cold.

“I do, but this is something that affects more than me.  I would put my life in your hands in a heartbeat, but I can’t make that same decision for others.  So for now, I have to ask you to leave me with this one secret.  Please.”

For a second, it seemed to Leon like Elise was about to explode with anger, but then her eyes softened and she turned away and said, “… I will let you have this one secret, then.  But, I want to know everything else!”

Leon smiled and almost leaned down to kiss her, but he remembered her orders not to move just in time.

“Thank you, my love,” he said.  He proceeded to tell her all the details he could about the battle, including the effect thunderstorms have on him.  Elise was a little confused—that is, until she remembered that Leon’s real name wasn’t Ursus, but Raime.  Things were a little easier to accept then.

But, that also reminded her that she had a little secret of her own.

“Leon,” she said, her tone turning from playful and teasing to deadly serious, “there’s something I think you should know…”

“What is it?”

“House Raime has—or I suppose, had—a special relationship with Heaven’s Eye, in the past.”

Leon raised his eyebrow to indicate his interest, but he remained quiet and let his lady talk.

“I don’t know the exact details, and I suspect that there are few alive that do, but House Raime was much closer to Heaven’s Eye than a noble family has any right to be.  I’m pretty sure that relationship extends well before the time when they were petty kings of the Great Plateau, and long before the First Bull King united these lands.”

“What was the nature of this relationship?” Leon inquired.

“I… like I said, I don’t know the details, but Heaven’s Eye has always supported your House, and the Tower in Teira is probably older by tens of thousands of years than the one here in the capital, maybe even older than any other Tower in Aeterna…”

“So, you’re saying that Heaven’s Eye was started in Teira?” Leon asked.

“No, just that that’s where the first Tower was built,” Elise answered.

“Then… that’s not a lot to go on,” Leon said.

“I know, the evidence for it is mostly circumstantial, but it’s just a feeling I have.  There’s more to what’s between Heaven’s Eye and your House than the usual business relationship we have with other noble Houses…”

“How do you know all of this?” he asked, confused as to why she was suddenly telling him these things.

“My mother forced me to work in the Tower for a while, and I came across some old documents from an agreement to lease a vault between the head of House Raime and the Tower Lord in Teira.  That document was more than fifteen thousand years old!  It got me curious as why there was a Tower there so long ago, so I did some digging.”

Leon frowned again, hesitated for a moment, but then told Elise about his family’s archives below the palace ruins in Teira, indicating just how old House Raime was and implying that was why Heaven’s Eye set up in their city.

Elise’s eyes widened in response, and she stared at Leon in disbelief.  “Really?!” she asked intensely.  “That place sounds like ruins found within the Four Empires near the center of the plane!”

Leon blinked, not quite sure how proceed, but he nodded to confirm that what he said was accurate.

Elise pushed herself up off his arm so she could look into his eyes better.  This put her naked body on full display, but there wasn’t the slightest hint of amorousness in her eyes; rather, they were serious mixed with some fear and panic.  “Don’t tell anyone else what you just told me!” she ordered.

Leon quickly nodded and said, “I won’t!”

After a moment of staring into each other’s eyes, Elise calmed down and went back to snuggling up against Leon.

“There isn’t really anything we can do about it now, but when we get a little older and a little stronger, we should go visit those archives.  I’m sure there are plenty of secrets hidden away within…”

Her statement reminded Leon of the locked door within the archives.  He had almost completely forgotten about it until right that moment, but he decided not to mention it.  It wasn’t a pressing issue, so he decided that he’d simply show it to her when they made their visit.  Instead, he wanted to change the subject and try to alleviate some of the tense atmosphere that had been created.

“Speaking of strength,” he said, injecting some playfulness into his tone, “I noticed you ascended to the third-tier.”

Elise smiled with pride at her lover’s words.  “Yes, I achieved it only a week or so after you left.  I was planning on surprising you by being much stronger when you returned, but instead you came back two years early and as a fourth-tier veteran knight to boot!”  She acted like she was offended, but the impish smile on her face betrayed her.  Leon instinctively tried to pull her closer, but all he got was a pinch in the ribs for his trouble.

“You’re still being punished, Sir!” Elise said.

“Still?” Leon asked dejectedly.  Elise had gotten herself off using his body five times, but he’d only climaxed once.  This left him still quite ready to go, and it was starting to feel torturous to not move and embrace the gorgeous woman at his side.

“Until I say otherwise!” Elise said happily.

Leon sighed in frustration.  Elise took a little pity on him, but that pity was still dwarfed by her mild sadism, so she still demanded he remain still.

After a few moments of silence, Leon decided to confide in her something else, and said, “I was attacked on the galley on the way to Cyrene…”

“Oh?  What did you do, insult a sailor and start a brawl?” Elise asked jokingly.

“No,” Leon answered seriously.  “They knocked out the entire crew, then tried to infiltrate my cabin and kill me in the night.”

Elise’s joking demeanor vanished when she realized the gravity of what Leon had just said; an attempted assassination was just as serious as repelling a Valeman raid.  “Tell me everything,” she said.

Leon obliged, filling her in first on the three thugs, then on the two men who followed later.

“… and the weaker of the two wore this ring,” Leon explained, showing Elise the emerald ring he still wore.

“I was wondering where you got that, and why you weren’t taking it off,” Elise said.  “I was just in too much of a hurry to bring it up before now…”

“Well, it has an invisibility enchantment on it.  I can turn invisible for a significant amount of time while wearing it, so long as I stay away form other mages or magical implements.”

“Hmm…” Elise thought for a minute.  “Do you have a copy of the enchantment?”

Leon nodded.  He still retained the copy he made to study—it had been with all of his books, so the Valemen didn’t get their hands on it.

“Where is it?” Elise asked.

“In my pack,” Leon answered, nodding to where it had been unceremoniously dropped by the door.  He was about to rise and get it for her, but Elise pushed him back into the bed with a look of warning and rose to get it herself.  Leon didn’t argue, as he was too busy watching her walk around without any clothes, something which she noticed, so she played it up a little with some exaggerated movements and struck a few highly suggestive poses when going through his things.

“You don’t have a lot of clothes in here,” she remarked as she returned to bed with the copy of the enchantment in hand.

“Valemen got to most of it.  Went missing during the battle.  I’m basically down to three outfits…”

“Well, that’s something we can fix later, as you won’t need clothes for the rest of the day,” Elise said with a devilish smile, which Leon happily returned.

Elise sat on the edge of the bed with her back to Leon and closely examined the enchantment.  It was incredibly complex, and she could tell it would take an in-depth examination to determine where it came from.

“I’ll have this sent to some people in the Tower.  We’ll find out who made this enchantment, and who, if anyone, it was sold to,” she said confidently as she rolled it up and placed it on the bedside table.

“In the meantime,” Leon said, “can I move yet?”

Elise stared at him.  It was obvious merely from the tent he was pitching in the bedsheets just how much he wanted to move, so she made a show of thinking about it.  Just as it looked like Leon was about to lose control, she smiled at him and said, “Well I suppose you deserve a reward for surviving that Valeman attack and coming back to me… I suppose I can deign to end your punishment…”

Leon immediately sat up and snatched her up into his arms.  She almost yelped in glee, but Leon sealed her mouth his own while pressing her down into the bedsheets.

When they separated, Leon sadistically smiled at her and said, “You had your fun with me, now I feel it would only be fair if I had my fun with you…”

“Oh, you’re sooo scary!” Elise cried in an extremely sarcastic tone.  “Won’t someone please come and save me from this despicable beast?  I’m but an innocent maiden about to ravaged by a monster!”

Leon gave her an evil look and an eviler chuckle, then started to kiss his way down her body.  ‘You don’t even know…’ he thought with glee.  She had made sure to agonize him with her slow and methodical actions, especially during their foreplay, so he intended to pay her back in kind; he still had plenty of tips and tricks he’d been given by Charles and Alain that he was eager to try.  So he massaged, pinched, twisted, and kissed his way further and further down her body, his every move eliciting another moan of pleasure from his lover.

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Chapter 165 - Relaxing in the Capital

Chapter 163 - Two Years Early