A massive explosion occurred in the distance, the power of it rumbling through the air and the very earth beneath our feet. I caught Megumin and her staff as she collapsed, having just cast the spell.

"That one was bigger than last time," I commented as I gently propped Megumin up against a tree, keeping a hold of her staff so I could use it next. We were back at our normal Explosion spot, rather than having found a new one. After all, we had already ruined this bit of land. There was no reason to ruin another.

"Lunch was enough to level me up," she said, sounding pleased. "Which gave me the skill points I needed to upgrade it more."

I had forgotten that people leveled up just from eating in this world. Granted, most foods gave little to no experience, and even over a lifetime, it would only barely be enough to get a commoner who wasn't especially wealthy to level ten to fifteen. But better quality ingredients, especially those from monsters such as dragons, gave much more XP.

I used nice ingredients whenever I cooked, but nothing especially fancy, so the XP gain was small for the others. For me, the gain was so negligible that I didn't even pay attention to it. A week of fancy meals wouldn't be enough to get me even 0.01% of a level.

Dragon meat apparently gave a lot of XP, but it was rare, expensive, and apparently, no cook on the planet was able to make it taste anything but awful. And 'a lot' was still relative. I was pretty sure I could eat an entire dragon and still barely notice the XP gain. My party would probably gain a few levels from it, but it just didn't seem worth the effort.

The two of us silently watched the mushroom cloud of the Explosion slowly do its thing, expanding as the smoke, dirt, and ash dissipated into the air. And as the last traces of it disappeared, Megumin spoke up. "How are we gonna get back? Did you change one of your teleportation spots?"

I paused. That was a pretty reasonable guess. The Konosuba teleportation spell had a limit of being restricted to three locations. Changing those locations wasn't difficult, but you could never have more than three. It wasn't uncommon for adventurers to have two that they kept the same and a third one they changed as needed.

But, as I had mentioned to Momo during dinner the previous night, I was done pretending to work within the limits of this world. Honestly, there was no real reason to in the first place, other than not sticking out. And not only was I way beyond not sticking out at this point, but there was no reason to not stick out.

Besides, Megumin was at 100 Affection, and I was going to have to tell her the truth eventually.

"Actually, no," I said, turning to her. "The truth is, my teleportation skill is different from the Teleportation spell. In fact, I have a lot of skills you won't find in this world because I'm not from here. I come from a different world with different magic and skills."

"Oh," Megumin said, blinking. "That makes sense."

I cocked my head. "Your reaction feels kind of…underwhelming," I replied.

She rolled her eyes. "I mean, you're a demon, right? So of course you're not from this world."

"What?" I asked, confused. "No, I'm not a demon. What made you think that?"

Now it was her turn to look confused. "Because you're super strong, super sinful, and you transform into a shadowy tentacle monster so you can have sex with more girls at once," she pointed out as if I were an idiot. "That's classic demon stuff."

I pinched the bridge of my nose. "I'm not a demon," I repeated. "I'm just…a horny chimera."

"Oooooh," she said in understanding. "That makes sense too. Wait, if you're not a demon, how did you come to this world?"

"Because I have an affinity for Void, which is what separates worlds," I explained. "I can travel through it. Not freely, not yet, but enough that I was able to find this world." At least, that was the official cover story. I was keeping the Gamer power a secret and had no plans on changing that.

"That's even cooler than being a demon!" Megumin replied with excitement, though she wasn't able to move yet. "Can you show me some Void stuff?"

"That's actually why I'm telling you right now," I said. "I have some other spells I wanted to experiment with."

I had a skill combination in mind that I had planned for a while. It meant sacrificing some Void skills, but I had thought it over enough, and I was confident it would be worth it. In the worst-case scenario, I talked to Kyu about ways to regain skills I combined, and she said she could offer them as quest rewards, but that most of them would require a relatively difficult quest. So not something I could rely on to get infinite skills, but it was a good safety net in case I fucked up and got rid of something vital.

"This is [Void Call]," I said as I raised Megumin's staff, more for the dramatic flair than the extra boost in power, and cast the spell at a tree a few hundred feet away.

A sphere of nothingness appeared halfway up the trunk of the tree, completely encompassing its diameter. It then immediately disappeared, leaving nothing behind, not even the tree trunk that had once been there. The top half of the tree, no longer supported by anything, fell to the ground, smashing into surrounding trees and branches on its way down.

"Hmm," Megumin hummed thoughtfully. "Seven out of ten for power, but one out of ten for presentation. It's boring."

The corner of my lips twitched upwards in amusement. Only Megumin would see a portion of the world erased by the Void and call it 'boring'. "Then maybe you'll like this one more," I said. "[Void Collapse]."

A small pinprick of Void appeared above the fallen tree, and suddenly the air was whipped into a frenzy as the spot of Void consumed everything around it. Leaves were sucked up into the hole in the world, with branches soon following. It grew in size until it ran out of detritus to absorb, where it collapsed in on itself, leaving nothing behind.

"Four out of ten for power, and six out of ten for style," Megumin said, unimpressed. "Those spells are just too weak to be compared to Explosion."

"That was me using minimal power for both," I explained.

"What?!" she yelled. "How dare you! You always give full power, no matter what!"

I rolled my eyes and ignored her in favor of activating my skill merger perk.

Skills [Void Call] and [Void Collapse] successfully combined!
New Skill added
[Void Implosion] - Level 35
Create a singularity of Void at a point within line of sight. Surrounding materials are violently sucked into the singularity and converted into energy, which is then expended in a violent attack when the singularity collapses.

"I was saving my mana because that's not all I've got," I said. "I can combine different skills together, and I just combined both of those, creating this one." I raised my staff again. "[Void Implosion]," I declared, pouring a bit more mana into it this time.

Like with [Void Collapse], the spell started with the appearance of a small hole in reality where I aimed it. But the force of its suction was far more powerful. The air around us, even from this distance, turned into a maelstrom as it rushed towards the singularity. The fallen tree below it was immediately sucked up into the skill, wood cracking and crunching loudly as it was forced into a space too small for it to fit and broken down.

The still-standing trees were starting to creak and bend towards the center point when it suddenly stopped, going still for just a moment before a loud crack filled the air. Dozens of black lightning shot out from the center point, tearing into the surroundings before disappearing.

Megumin and I looked on in stunned silence. The ground was bare of any vegetation or wood, leaving behind only loose soil with furrows where it had been torn by that black lightning.

"Nine out of ten, both in power and presentation," Megumin said after a moment, her tone impressed. "It's almost as good as Explosion."

"Then you'll love what happens when I mix it with Explosion," I said with a grin.

Her eyes widened. "I- you can do that?" she replied, equal parts excited and offended. "The thought of using Explosion as a mere ingredient and not the final goal is heresy. But…" she trailed off. "Is it possible that there exists a beauty beyond Explosion?"

Skills [Void Implosion] and [Explosion] successfully combined!
New Skill added
[Void Star] - Level 50
Give birth to the beacon of Void

"Let's find out," I said, noting but ignoring the ominous and short description. I once more raised Megumin's staff, but this time I pointed it at the crater we normally aimed at. [Void Call] and [Void Collapse] were both mid-range spells that I knew were safe in relatively close proximities, and there was no reason that would have changed when I combined them.

But now I had added in [Explosion], which was definitely not a spell you wanted to use anywhere near you. Unless Momo was there with her barriers. I was going to miss having that option when she retired, but I'd cross that bridge when I got there.

To mark the moment, and to indulge Megumin, I decided to give it a short aria. "Born of darkest depths and brightest lights," I intoned as I poured most of my mana into the spell. "I beseech thee to consume this world. Be born, [Void Star!]"

There was a moment of silence as nothing happened, though I felt my mana drop considerably so I knew the spell had worked.

And then that silence grew deafening as a black orb slammed into existence in the air above the crater and the air around us simply ceased to exist.

Before I could start worrying about the sudden vacuum, air from behind us rushed in to fill the space. Branches whipped furiously and the entire forest around us groaned as trees were bent. More than one of them fell over, roots ripping out of the ground and spraying dirt into the air.

At the crater, stone and dirt were sucked into the black orb hanging in the air, though all I could hear was the rushing wind. Finally, after what felt like minutes but was barely a few seconds, the air calmed down and the suction stopped.

Only for the black orb to violently expand, growing to a size that encompassed the ground more than a hundred feet below it in less time than it took to blink. It disappeared after a second, leaving a perfectly smooth indentation in the ground where it had overlapped.

Which was when the sound hit us. It was a sound so loud and harsh that comparing it to thunder was like calling thunder a bit of static. Megumin and I both flinched as it washed over us, and it left my ears ringing. I quickly checked both of us, but thankfully it hadn't been loud enough to injure our eardrums.

Finally, things calmed down. There was no trace of the skill left, save for the destruction it had caused. I was in a state of shock. I had expected it to be powerful, but that was far beyond my expectations. But, in hindsight, maybe it shouldn't have been. I had combined two of my most potent, if not my most useful, Void skills and then combined that with a spell already capable of destroying a castle.

Add in all the boosts I get to Void spells, and the boost from Megumin's staff, and it tallied up to a lot. Strong enough for the list of beings in DxD that were too powerful for me to kill to shrink by quite a bit.

I was pulled out from my musings by Megumin tackling me to the ground. "M-Megumin?" I asked, caught off guard.

"Eleven," she said, her expression twisted into manic arousal as she straddled me. "That was an eleven! No, a twelve! Higher! Infinity!" She reached down to the hem of her dress and pulled it up and over her head, tossing the garment to the ground. She was left completely naked, save for her socks. She had stopped wearing panties to our Explosion trips a long time ago.

"How are you even moving?" I asked in confusion. She still had zero mana.

"Through the power of explosions!" she cackled as she worked on undoing my pants. "And how horny that last one made me. Now stop asking questions and fuck me!"

I was still working on mentally catching up to what was happening, but I didn't need to be told something like that twice. My clothes disappeared into my inventory as I grabbed Megumin's hips, and after a quick application of [Imbue Elasticity], I was pushing my dick deep into her tight snatch.

She moaned at the sudden insertion, her back arching as I filled her. She leaned back, placing one of her hands on my knees. My dick pressed up against her stomach, resisting the angle she was putting it at, and emphasizing the bulge in her lower stomach where my dick was stretching her out.

She looked down on it and placed her free hand over the bulge, feeling where the skin was stretched with the force. She rubbed the tip of it, and I could just barely feel her touch from inside of her, so faintly I wasn't sure I wasn't imagining it.

"Even after so many times, I'm surprised something so big can fit inside of me," she said with wonder in her eyes and tone.

Without [Imbue Elasticity] and how high of a level I had gotten it to, it probably wouldn't have been. But I don't say that. Instead, I just thrust my hips upwards, pushing deeper into her and causing her to make a noise that's somewhere halfway between a yelp and a moan.

"Less talking, more moving," I playfully ordered her. She smirked, but after putting both hands on my knees to support herself, she started gyrating her hips. Both of us watched the subtle bulge in her stomach shift and move as the angle of my dick changed inside of her. I felt myself twitch inside of her, both the sensations of her moving around me and the sight of how much I filled her up were turning me on.

As Megumin moved side to side, I started thrusting up into her from below, starting slowly. She let out a quiet moan. That quiet moaning turned into a series of gasps as I increased my speed, bouncing her on top of me. She threw her head back as I pounded her from below.

I didn't stop accelerating, not interested in drawing this out or being gentle. From the way her pussy writhed and gripped me like a vice as she repeatedly reached her climax, and how she was moving her hips in time with me, I was pretty sure Megumin agreed. Not that she was in any state to say so.

So it wasn't long before I reached my own climax. I grabbed her hips and pulled her down as I thrust up into her. She let out a loud moan of pleasure that echoed through the trees as she came again, and it increased in pitch as I came as well, filling her with my hot seed.

Both of us went slack after our orgasms ended, recovering from the exertion. Megumin's petite body shone with sweat and her chest heaved as she recovered her breath. I watched her, entranced, enjoying the sensation of still being inside of her.

"You liked that new skill, huh?" I asked with a grin.

"I never thought my love of Explosion could be replaced," she said while catching her breath. "But now my eyes have been opened. Explosion was only the starting point. There are wonders beyond it that I must reach." She looked down at me, manic energy still present in her eyes. "You have to teach that to me."

With one of my Void Shield rings, it would be safe for her to use it. But there was a bigger problem. "You have a long way to go before you're ready," I told her. "It's flashy, but even I can't cast it more than once without waiting for my mana to refill. You'll need ten times the amount of mana you have right now to use it."

She furrowed her brow, but instead of looking dejected, she looked determined. "You'll help me get there, right? I'll sell my soul to you if that's what it takes."

"Still not a demon," I replied. "But…sure. Stick with me, and I'll help you climb this path that we've discovered. The path beyond Explosion."

She beamed at me, pure happiness on her face. But then she frowned and looked back at the crater where I cast the spell. "Do you think anyone noticed it?"

Hundreds of miles away, deep within the Demon Lord's castle, protected by its wards, the Demon Lord was listening to the daily report from his aide.

"-no new reports from any of your Generals," the aide was saying. "Hans and Wolbach are still on vacation, Seresdina has just arrived in the same town as her next target, Sylvia is overseeing preparations for her assault on the Crimson Demons, and your daughter..." The aide stopped, trailing off.

"What has my daughter done this time?" he asked, tired acceptance clear in his voice.

The aide nervously continued. "She... she got bored and decided to play a game with her troops. None of them are injured too badly, but nearly all of them will have to be taken off of active duty until they recover."

He sighed. "I swear she's doing this on purpose," the Demon Lord remarked. "Despite her love of fighting, she hasn't taken well to the responsibilities of actually leading."

"Perhaps giving her a non-leadership role might be a good idea?" the aide tentatively suggested.

"No," the Demon Lord firmly replied. "She is my daughter and my heiress. She needs to learn. I'll talk with her-"

He cut himself off and froze as he sensed…something. His gut roiled at the overwhelming sensation of powerful magic being cast, somewhere far away from here. He couldn't tell exactly where, only its general direction, nor what kind of magic it was. But whatever it was, it was more dangerous than anything he had ever experienced.

"Did you feel that just now?" the Demon Lord asked his aide.

"I did, sir," the aide replied, fear plain on his face. "Only a little, but…Gods Below, what was that?"

"I don't know, but I intend to find out," the Demon Lord replied. "Send messengers through my territory, see if anyone noticed what happened. Speed up the preparations for Sylvia to assault the Crimson Demons; they're the ones most likely to have cast such a spell. And pull Seresdina from her mission, send her in the direction of the source of the spell instead to investigate."

"Yes sir!" the aid replied before running out of the room, leaving the Demon King alone. His fingers tapped the desk in front of him as he mulled over this new development. This hadn't felt like what had happened a few months ago, a burst of divine energy falling from Heaven. This was something…different. Something that felt vaguely familiar, but he could not place it.

Whatever it was, he'd find it. And when he did, he'd either destroy it or make use of it, as he did with all things. He'd allow nothing to stand in his path.

"Nah, it'll probably be fine," I replied after a moment of thought. "A big explosion is pretty normal for this area."

"That's true," she agreed, relaxing. She stood up, pulling herself off of my dick, causing both of us to shudder at the sensation. Then she walked to a nearby tree and bent over as she placed one of her hands on it, the other reaching back to grab the soft skin of her ass, which she pulled taut, splitting her lower lips and revealing her pussy, dripping with my semen. "Now come fuck me again, and don't stop until I can't walk."

I grinned. Well, who was I to deny a request like that?

Early that evening, as Megumin was passed out in bed, unable to move as she had requested, I took Darkness out into town. I originally planned on saving her for last, just to eke out a bit more of denial play with her, but all of the others except for her were already out at dinner or in a bath, so I went ahead and invited her out.

The streets of Arcanletia were filled with people, tourists and locals alike, traveling from place to place. Most were, at least. A number of them were standing still, crowding around shop stalls and performers.

Darkness was, for once, dressed not in her armor but in a pink and white sundress and accompanying white hat. She looked rather cute in it, actually.

"You know, you could pass as a noble's daughter dressed like that," I pointed out as we wandered.

She tensed. "Y-you think so?" she asked, nervously avoiding eye contact with me.

"Oh, totally," I continued, the grin on my face widening. "In fact, if I didn't know any better, I would assume you were one."

She glanced at me and spotted my grin. She sighed, her shoulders slumping. "You know, don't you?"

"Know what?" I asked, feigning ignorance, a grin still on my face.

"You know who my father is!" she insisted. "There's no way you don't!"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," I replied. I paused a beat, then added, "Lalatina."

"Nooooooo," she moaned miserably while clutching her head in embarrassment. "Please, call me anything but that."

"You don't like your own real name, Lalatina?" I teased her. Dustiness Ford Lalatina was the heiress of the local noble, but she wanted to experience being a crusader so she took on the name of Darkness and became an adventurer.

"Forget you ever learned it!" Darkness replied. "Actually, how did you find out? And when?"

"Oh, I knew pretty much from the start," I revealed casually. "You think I wasn't going to look into the weirdo Crusader who wanted to join my party?"

Darkness paused. "Wait, you've known I was a noble since back then? And you've still treated me like you did?"

"Well, I figured a masochistic slut like you would enjoy it," I replied, ignoring the way she tensed slightly in pleasure as I casually insulted her. "Besides, I could more or less guess why you'd hide it, so I saw no reason to act otherwise."

Darkness seemed almost taken aback. "O-oh," she replied, blushing. "Well, I umm... I appreciate it. I don't want to be treated any differently or special from any other adventurer."

"Don't worry, I won't treat you differently for secretly being a noble," I reassured her. "Only for being a filthy whore."

"Hnngh," she made a strangled noise as she bit her lip to contain a moan. "You can't just switch moods like that!" she complained.

"Sorry, do I need to lube you up first?" I replied with a waggle of my eyebrows.

Her face turned red, but she didn't seem to know how to respond to that, because she just turned her head and looked away. "C-come on, let's go check out that shop."

I followed her into a shop filled with baubles and trinkets, the kinds of things you had no real use for but you'd get it to remember a trip by and pay at least twice the price of what's reasonable for it. Classic tourist trap stuff, really.

But Darkness was having fun looking around and seeing what they offered, so I didn't say anything and just let her have her fun. While continuing to tease her, of course.

"What do you think of this necklace?" she asked, holding it up to her chest and displaying it to me.

I took a moment to carefully examine it, not so subtly glancing at the relatively small amount of cleavage her sundress showed off. "Hmm," I said, staring. "I think it would look great on Momo."

[Empathy] picked up conflicting emotions of disappointment and excitement as I deliberately neglected her and made it about another girl.

She put it back and grabbed another one. "How about this one?"

"It matches Megumin's eyes."

"And this one?"

"That would contrast Aqua's normal outfit nicely."

"Hrrk. How about this? Does this color make you think of anyone in particular?"

"Isn't that the same shade of yellow that Sena was wearing yesterday?"

"You- fine. How about this one?"

"That would look cute on Yua's collar."

"Even Yua?! Wait. No, you're right, that would look cute. Here, you have to buy it for her."

I grinned. "Sure, I'll go ahead and buy it now. Meet you out front?"

She nodded, a little dejected. A few minutes later I met her at the front of the store. "Wanna grab a bite to eat?" I asked her.

"Sure," she agreed, still a little down, and we wandered the streets a bit more until we found a nice little restaurant that wasn't too crowded. It wasn't anything fancy, but neither of us really cared about that.

A fairly cute waitress led us to a table. "Here you guys go, a nice romantic table for two," she said as we sat down. I glanced at Darkness, wondering how she'd react to the assumption, but she didn't react at all. I wasn't even sure she heard it.

"And here are some menus," the waitress continued cheerfully as she placed down two pieces of paper in front of us.

I glanced at it before sighing and then handing it back to her. "This isn't a menu," I noted. It was, unsurprisingly, an Axis Order signup sheet.

"Oh? It's not?" the waitress asked in perfect innocence. I had to give her credit for her acting skills. "Silly me. Oh! But if you sign up to join the Axis Order you get a 10% discount on meals here! Doesn't that sound worth it?"

"I'll give you a bigger tip if you stop trying to get us to sign up," I said tiredly.

"Deal!" the waitress replied as she snatched up the signup sheets. "Here are the menus, take as much time as you need."

The waitress left to go serve other tables, leaving me and Darkness alone to talk. "You gotta be pretty careful in this town, huh?" I said, trying to make conversation.

But Darkness didn't respond, still sulking. I sighed. It seemed my teasing earlier went a little too far. Thankfully, I had already prepared a solution. I was planning on using it later, but in hindsight, I probably should have deployed it immediately.

I slid over a small bundle of colorful and soft paper, like the kind you would put into a gift bag to hide what's inside. "I was going to wait a bit longer for this," I said. "But here, this is for you."

"What is it?" she asked in confusion as she unwrapped it, revealing the second necklace I had secretly purchased from the shop earlier.

"This is the necklace that looked best on you," I said. "You kept picking all the wrong ones."

+8 Affection with Darkness
For showing that you care for her beyond her fetish

Once again, I was treated to the sight of Darkness's blushing face. Her mouth opened and closed a few times as she tried, and failed, to come up with some words. Her emotions said everything she wanted to though. Gratitude, surprise, and embarrassment were all strongly emanating from her.

It wasn't often that I was nice like that to Darkness, but that wasn't because I didn't care for her. In fact, in many ways, I already considered her part of my harem. All of the teasing, denial, and long-drawn-out process before bedding her was just foreplay that she got off on and I found endlessly amusing.

But at the end of the day, she was one of my girls, and our date was a good way to make sure she knew that. I'd probably give in and fuck her sooner or later, but that wasn't today. I was still enjoying messing with her, and she wasn't close enough to the edge yet.

As Darkness struggled to put the necklace on, forgetting how the clasp worked in her embarrassment, I spotted a flash of color through the front window of the restaurant. I looked, more out of curiosity than anything, and then froze.

The flash of color was the red hair of a familiar figure. Wolbach, a Demon Lord general and half of an Evil Goddess who is looking for her other half. If she was here, that meant I was here at the same time as the canon group. Which meant I had some things I needed to take care of.

"Oh? Aren't you already wearing a necklace?" I asked Darkness as I turned back to her.

"Huh?" she replied, confused. "Oh, right. I am." She pulled at the thin silver chain around her neck, lifting the purple pendant out from between her boobs and into view.

"What is that symbol?" I asked, using [Sound Domain] to make sure we were both heard by the entire restaurant.

Darkness looked at me, confused. "You don't recognize it? It's the symbol of Eris-sama. I guess you could say I'm a fairly devout follower of hers."

Silence settled over the restaurant at her words, and now all eyes were on us. Darkness looked around in confusion, noticing the strange reaction but not understanding what was happening. "I had no idea you were such a loyal follower of Eris," I said, continuing as if I hadn't noticed their behavior.

"Yes," Darkness said, bemused but not worried. "I pray to her every night, and-"

She cut herself off and froze as someone at a nearby table spit on the ground, glaring at her. She turned to them, confusion in her eyes. "Wha-"

Two more people spit. Then another two. Soon, the entire restaurant had spit on the ground and started glaring at Darkness, who was quivering. Not in fear, but in confused arousal.

"Axton, what's going on?" she asked, voice shaking.

"I wonder?" I asked with a smile.

"I'm going to have to ask you to leave," our waitress said as she came back to our table. She was glaring now, with no trace of her earlier peppiness left. "We don't serve people like you."

"W-w-what does that mean?!" Darkness asked energetically, her face growing red as she grew excited from the targeted abuse. "Just because I worship Eris-sama-"

The entire restaurant, the waitress included, turned their heads and spat at the mention of Eris. Darkness bit her lip and clenched her fists. To all appearances, she looked upset and on the verge of tears. But anyone that knew her would recognize the masochistic pleasure she was getting from this experience.

"Come on Darkness, let's go before they flood this place with spit," I said, standing up. She nodded and followed me with shaky legs out the door, past the gauntlet of glaring customers.

Darkness was practically panting by the time we made it outside. "Axton!" she said. "They- they abuse you just because you worship a different goddess here!"

"So it seems," I said with an amused grin. She reminded me of an excited puppy who had just found a new toy. "Why don't you go try telling someone else about who you worship? See if it's everyone and not just that one place."

"That's a great idea," Darkness agreed, stars in her eyes. She rushed to a nearby stall owner, showing him the necklace with Eris' symbol on it. The stall owner spat and started packing up his things, refusing to look at her. Darkness squirmed in pleasure before moving on to the next person.

With Darkness sufficiently distracted, I was free to slip away. I had kept an eye on Wolbach with [Void Sight], so I still knew where she was. She had made it a couple streets ahead of me by that point, but that was better for me. There's no way I could be following anyone I couldn't see, right? This way, she wouldn't notice me at all.

She walked into an inn, which made it harder to follow her. By which I meant I had to put in a modicum of effort. I slipped into an alley where no one could see me and then activated [Void Shift], rendering myself invisible and intangible so I could follow her more discreetly.

I still didn't risk getting too close. I very much doubted she would be able to sense me, but there was no benefit in risking it. So I just waited in the lobby of the Inn, standing near one of the walls so no one would walk through me because it was disconcerting whenever that happened. All the while, I watched her enter her room with [Void Sight], pondering what my plan was.

I still had a quest to take down the Demon Lord, and one of the bonus objectives was taking out all of the Generals. That didn't mean I had to kill them all, I just had to make it so they were no longer a General. Which was my plan for Wolbach. But there was a little more to this situation.

If Wolbach was here, that meant there was a good chance that the same events as canon were unfolding. Which meant that not only was Wolbach here, but so was another Demon Lord general; Hans, the poisonous slime.

The main problem was that I wasn't confident I would recognize Hans. He just looked like a fairly normal dude, as far as I could remember. At least, his human form did. As a slime, he was a rather talented shapeshifter and could look like anyone.

Now, to solve that, I could just start using [Observe] on everyone. He wouldn't be able to hide from that. But that sounded annoying, so I decided to bet on my luck that another canon event was about to happen.

Wolbach left her room a few minutes later, having changed into something more comfortable. She headed for the inn's bath, which was exactly where I was hoping she would go. Not because I wanted to see her naked, at least not just because of that. But because the canon event I was hoping for was a discussion between her and Hans that happened in a mixed bathing area.

I watched as Wolbach undressed, showing off her rather voluptuous figure, and then headed into the mixed bathing area. Like all open-air baths around here, it was fairly impressive and made of natural rock formations, giving it a nice vibe of relaxing on a mountaintop.

There was no sign of Hans yet, but there was still plenty of time for him to arrive. I walked into the men's changing room in preparation for entering the bath myself. At this time of day, there weren't many people there, so the room was empty. But I waited, still invisible. Now that I knew that Wolbach was staying here, I could approach her at my leisure. And right now may be as good a chance as any, but I didn't want to make any moves on her before Hans appeared, since I needed to identify him.

Though I also needed to track him. "Tara, are you busy right now?" I asked her through our mental link.

"Not really, just working on a new warding circle. Why?"

"I might have a target that needs to be followed soon, and I'll be busy with another one. Can you wait on standby?"

"Yes sir!" She replied enthusiastically. I got a vague sense over our link that she was saluting.

With Tara on standby, I settled in to wait, watching Wolbach relax in the hot spring with only a small towel to cover herself. I wasn't sure why she was bothering when she was alone in the bath, but it also didn't really matter.

Thankfully I only had to wait a few minutes before a man entered the changing room. He looked familiar, and a quick [Observe] confirmed he was my man. Hans, the poison slime. Something that became even more obvious when he looked around the room, making sure it was empty, before suddenly shapeshifting to be nude save for a towel around his waist.

As he entered the bath and approached Wolbach, carefully avoiding any water I noted, I reached back out to Tara. "Alright, he's here. Come to my position, and make sure to be invisible."

A moment later, Tara appeared at my side. Even if it was a place they hadn't been to or seen before, my familiars could teleport to my side, and I to theirs. It was a useful feature of the familiar link. "Where's he at?" Tara asked, looking around.

"In the bath, approaching the woman," I answered. "He's going to talk with her, and then leave. Once he leaves, I'll be approaching the woman. I'll need you to follow the man and either find out where he's staying."

Tara gave me a sidelong glance, one I could only see because of [Void Detect]. "You're going to mate with her, aren't you?"

I rolled my eyes. "That is not my plan," I replied. "I mean. Not yet. Eventually sure, but not here. Unless it just happens naturally. But no, it's not my plan. I plan to flip her because I know what she wants and I can give it to her." I paused. "And no, that wasn't an innuendo."

"Sure, sure," Tara replied, not entirely convinced. "What's the plan for the guy?"

Hans had reached Wolbach now and was crouching behind her, talking to her in hushed tones. I quickly checked with [Sound Domain], and sure enough, they were having the same discussion as canon. "He's a Demon Lord General that plans on poisoning the source of the hot springs, breaking the treaty that Wiz has with the Demon Lord to not harm innocents. I plan on taking him out before he can."

"Oh. Okay, yeah, I'm down for that," Tara replied. "I'll make sure not to lose him! Or do you want me to do it myself?"

"Just track him," I told her as Hans stood up, his conversation with Wolbach finished. "He's a slime. You wouldn't be able to take him out cleanly and would risk too much collateral when he fought back. I'll take care of him."

"Roger that captain!" she replied, and yes she was saluting. It was cute. Hans entered the room then, shifting back to a normal set of clothes. "Target spotted. I won't lose sight of him!" She scampered off, trailing behind Hans with [Void Shift] active.

Confident I could leave it to her, I waited a couple minutes before stripping, dropping [Void Shift], and then entering the bath, fully nude and visible. Wolbach's eyes instantly jumped to me as I entered the bath, and she adjusted her towel, making sure it covered her important parts.

But I just smiled and gave her a casual nod of greeting before getting into the hot spring myself, picking a spot that wasn't too close to her, but still close enough to carry a conversation without shouting. It helped that it wasn't a terribly large hot spring.

She eyed me slightly warily, but when I didn't make any moves or start staring at her or anything, she relaxed. The two of us soaked in the hot spring in an only slightly awkward silence as I gave her time to get used to me being there and think over my options for breaking the ice.

Only for her to break it first. "It's a nice city, isn't it?" she asked suddenly. "Arcanletia that is." Her voice was higher pitched than I expected. Sweeter sounding too. It was a nice voice, actually.

"Oh it's beautiful," I agreed easily. "All you have to do is fix the inhabitants and it'd be perfect."

Wolbach smiled in amusement. "Yes, they can get a little overbearing, can't they? But it's still worth it."

"That's true. We wouldn't be here otherwise."

First Impressions Perk Activated
+25 Affection with Wolbach

"What brings you here then?" Wolbach asked. "Here to see the sights? Or the hot springs?"

"Mostly the hot springs," I replied. "My wife is expecting a child you see, and she wanted to come to visit before she couldn't travel anymore."

"O-oh?" she said with a slight stammer, a spike of guilt radiating from her. After all, Hans had just finished telling her his plan to poison the hot springs. "Congratulations. Will your wife be joining us?"

"Nah, she's out with some friends that came with us," I said. "They're having some girl time and left me all by myself. So I decided to come to take a soak, and see if I couldn't find anyone interesting to talk to." I grinned at her. "How about you? What brings you to the city of hot springs?"

"I'm looking for someone, actually," she answered. "Well, sort of. I went to meet them after a long time separated only to find they weren't there, and no trace of where they went. I had traveled a pretty long way and felt weary, so I came here to relax, and ask travelers if maybe they had seen them."

"Well, I'm a pretty well-traveled adventurer, maybe I've seen them?" I asked.

"I don't know what name they'd be using, but they're probably someone strong and violent," she said. "She'd look a little like me, but would be a beast-person with cat features."

"Hmm," I said, pretending to think it over. "Those are some pretty bad guesses. Completely off the mark."

Her brow furrowed and she looked at me in confusion. "What- what do you mean?"

"I mean your other half isn't like that at all," I casually revealed. "The Violence half of Wolbach currently has a very different form than what you just described."

She froze as understanding shot through her and she realized this wasn't a chance meeting at all. That I knew exactly who she was and what she was after. She seemed ready to bolt, but she stopped herself as she realized something else. "You know where she is," Wolbach declared, tense.

"I do," I confirmed. "And better yet, I can deliver her to you. But, considering I'm doing such a big favor for you, I think it's only right that I ask for a little something in return, don't you?" I grinned, and from the way she narrowed her eyes at me, I'd guess that my once-friendly smile seemed much less so now.

"What are your terms?" she asked warily. I noticed she covered herself a little more thoroughly as she did, no doubt fearing that I'd ask her for her body. Well, it was tempting, but I wasn't an idiot who only worked to satisfy short-term goals.

"A hundred years of service," I declared. "Or until the end of my life, whichever is shorter."

"A hundred years?!" she replied, shocked.

I shrugged. "I mean, you're a goddess, right? A hundred years is nothing to an immortal like you."

"How do you know- no, more importantly, are you really being so bold when you know who I am?" she asked, glaring at me.

I grinned. "Oh, you'll find there are very few beings I wouldn't be so bold with. Especially when I have what they want."

She didn't seem to know how to respond to that beyond continuing to glare at me. "Make it twenty-five years, and I'm not formally agreeing until I'm reunited with my other half. I'm not completely convinced you're actually right or will uphold your side of the deal."

"Of course, that's just how business is done," I replied with a grin. "Twenty-five is far too low though. How about seventy-five?"

"That's way too long for something I could do on my own, even for a goddess," she countered. "Thirty years."

"On the track you're going? You'll be lucky if you find her in seventy-five years. Sixty-nine years."

"...I refuse to serve for such a juvenile number of years. Thirty-five years"

"Sex jokes not your thing? How about sixty-six and two-thirds of a year?"

"Ah yes, 66.6, or 666, because I'm an evil goddess. Very funny. No. Forty years, and I won't go one year higher."

"Deal," I agreed. Not that the number of years actually mattered. I was confident I'd need less than a year to woo her completely until she wouldn't want to leave. But she didn't need to know that. "Oh, and just to be clear, serving me means leaving the Demon Lord's army."

"Of course," she said, her emotions a mix of annoyance, regret, hope, and expectation. "My allegiance to him is far less than my desire to become whole again; that isn't a problem. Just tell me where I can find my other half."

"She's not nearby," I said. "Meet me in Axel, the town of beginnings. Wiz has a shop there, and I'll meet you there, a week from today. Just tell her you're there to meet Axton, and she won't give you any trouble."

Wolbach tensed again. "Wait, you're Axton? The one who took down Beldia and Vanir?"

"The one and only," I replied, flashing a grin. "Oh, and Hans is going to be added to that list shortly. I can't let him poison the hot springs after all."

Her shoulder slumped. "Of course you know about that too. Fine, do as you wish. I won't warn him, and I'll be in Axel in a week." She stood up, water falling down her body as she carefully kept her towel in front of her. "But don't expect me to be friendly until you make good on your side of the deal."

"Of course, of course," I replied easily. "I'll see you then, Wolbach."

She gave me one last half-hearted glare before she turned around and headed for the woman's changing room. Which just so happened to give me a perfect view of her average-sized but very shapely ass.

I sighed as she rounded the corner, leaving my sight. I didn't bother using [Void Sight] to watch her any further. I'd gotten my show, and I'd have forty years to make sure I'd get plenty more.

"Still following that man?" I asked Tara.

"Yep! He's just walking around town so far."

"Good. Let me know if that changes."

I relaxed into the water as I closed my eyes and cast about with [Void Sight]. I found Darkness not too far from where I had left her, two members of the Axis Cult walking away from her, their expressions annoyed. Darkness was, of course, panting and looked very pleased.

I decided to let her keep having fun for a bit and then collect her so we could actually get some dinner before heading back. Until then, I'd relax in the bath, enjoying a quiet moment to myself, and make plans for how to seduce Wolbach.

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AN: I wrote this chapter over the course of yesterday and today. I really hit the groove with it, though the Darkness and Wolbach scenes ended up seeing a few revisions. The way Axton got away from Darkness was originally different, but it felt too mean, so I had to change it to something she'd enjoy, instead of it being actually bullying.

And my original plan had Wolbach being lewded first before he revealed that he knew who she was. But as soon as I started writing the Wolbach scene, I decided I didn't like that. Her seduction will be slower and more spread out instead, and I've got some fun plans for it.

I'm liking this new schedule, though this chapter was almost delayed because the muse hit pretty hard for my next side fic, which I also ended up writing a ton of words for in short order. I'm excited for that one to be released. I shouldn't be starting a new fic, really. But side fics are for doing whatever my muse demands, and prioritizing my whims has been great for my motivation for writing in general, so I apologize for the multiple teasers and lack of follow-up, but they'll get more love soon. Probably.

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the chapter!