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[Ayuseya’s point of view]
“I can’t believe that idiot!” said Nanya.
“Master simply wished to peek at us, no harm done.” giggled Shanteya.
“I won’t accept it! He can peek at me if he wants to, but Ayuseya and the other women are out of the question! Besides, he was talking to himself like some sort of madman.” Nanya shrugged and got back in the water.
The other women around us could finally relax after the pervert was gone. They probably didn’t notice who it was, since Nanya was the first to hear him and jump into action right away. Thanks to her, the others didn’t see Illsy up there, alone.
“Why am I out of the question?” I asked Nanya with a bit of tremble to my voice.
“Well…” she blinked surprised “You don’t want him to look at you that way, right?” she asked.
“Why?” I asked her, furrowing my brow.
Shanteya and Nanya both looked at each other.
“Well, you were more or less a victim of this marriage. Yes, Illsy did save you and is a good guy and major pervert, but we never thought that you were thinking about… well… you know.” Nanya tried to form her words, but she stuttered.
“Because I’m a princess?” I asked them.
“That and… We never thought you had any interest in him as a man.” she said.
“But I do…” I squinted my eyes at them.
Indeed, I wasn’t one to properly express my desire to go after him, but I thought I made it clear that I do hold feeling for him. My heart belonged to Illsy, and I wouldn’t mind being his second wife after Nanya, however, it seemed as though I wasn’t clear enough.
Looking down, I clenched my fists under the water. I knew what I was feeling, and I didn’t want to be left behind by either of them. Why should I even be left behind? I was one of his wives, so I had just as much of an equal right to go after him as they did.
Shanteya touched my arm, and with a smile, she told me “You don’t need to rush these things.”
I looked at her, then at Nanya. They were both thinking the same thing, that I was rushing it.
“What if it’s not like that?” I asked, but my voice was weak.
“Remember how I told you that demons can be very possessive about their mates?” asked Nanya, tilting her head to the left.
“Yes?” I asked furrowing her brow.
“Although Illsy made it clear that he loves us all equally, he is a man, after all. I don’t mind him loving other women, but when those women desire his body… then I might get a bit… jealous.” she glared at me.
It was a threat. If I stepped too close to Illsy, Nanya was willing to attack me to keep him away from me.
I gulped and looked down, avoiding her gaze.
“That’s what I thought. You are not ready yet, little dragon. Don’t rush it when you yourself aren’t willing to fight for him. Unlike the el’doraw here, our kinds choose mates, which we claim as OURS. If you aren’t ready to state your claim on him in front of others, then you better step aside or wait until you are strong enough to do it.” she sighed and then leaned closer.
She lifted my chin up, and I looked into her black eyes.
“Don’t cry, Ayuseya. It’s not your fault… it’s simply not time yet.” she smiled and then hugged me.
Am I crying? I can’t tell… I thought.
“When you make up your mind, and your heart is as clear as day about this. When there’s no doubt, no fear, no worry about it, I won’t mind you having him for a night or two.” she smiled and then went back to her spot. “We’re not children. This isn’t a game, princess.” she looked into my eyes “If you want him, you state it clearly, but first to yourself and then to him. Once your heart is clear, you can just hope his is as well. If not, you will wait for his. It’s that simple.” she smiled.
I gulped and looked down.
Was I so indecisive? No… am I so indecisive about this? I love Illsy, right? Or am I just forcing myself to do so because I feel indebted to him… Do I feel the need to repay him somehow? I thought while looking at my reflection in the water.
“Well, a good way to find out is to ask yourself this…” I looked up at Nanya when she spoke “Can you imagine him looking at you naked and you wanting his hungry gaze to savor your body? Can you imagine yourself being touched by another man besides him? Are you willing to let another woman, a stranger take him away from you? Can you let yourself give up on him even if he says no to your love the first time? Do you desire and see no problem in carrying his child?” she showed me a small smirk.
I understood in that moment that for her, those questions have been already answered, but for me, they were in debate, and I had no idea how to get out of it.
My gaze slowly fell back at my reflection in the water. Nanya’s words echoed in my mind, but my heart felt empty. I couldn’t tell the difference between duty, desire, and debt.
It’s not fair… I thought and then closed my eyes for a moment.
“I’m sorry, but I’ll get out early…” I told the two as I got up.
“We barely got in?” Nanya said raising an eyebrow.
“I know we stayed in line and even waited for them to replace the water, but I can’t stay any longer… I need to clear my head, to think things through.” I told her and showed her smile, but my pain was reflected in my eyes.
“Very well… I won’t stop you, just don’t get lost out there.” she leaned back and closed her eyes.
“Thank you…” I said and got out.
I wanted to get changed and get out of there quickly. As I stepped out of the bathhouse, I would try hard to stop the tears from soaking my cheeks.
[Nanya’s point of view]
“Was I too harsh?” I asked and let out a sigh, but refused to dunk my head under the water.
“Maybe.” Shanteya told me.
“I simply don’t trust her…” I confessed and looked up at the ceiling.
“She’s a princess… She was raised differently than us, so I can’t really tell if she has the best of intentions for Illsy or not. Unlike us, she could very well return to her kingdom and rule it as a Queen. You and I, we are bound to Illsy for life from now on. I’m aware of this, and I’m willing to protect my husband with my life if I have to, but she… I never saw the resolution in her to go this far. I never saw her desire to go after him, her conviction to stay by his side and the strength of heart to not let anyone else have him.” I said.
“You think she doesn’t have this resolution and conviction you speak of?” Shanteya asked me with a calm tone of voice.
“Hm…” I crossed my arms “Let me put it this way. If you saw a wench approaching Illsy and knew well she had evil intentions, what would happen to her?” I asked.
“Let’s just say, I would need to apologize to Illsy for staining my clothes with a stranger’s blood.” she smiled calmly.
“Well, you are a former assassin… but yes, and I would have just broken her legs a couple of times.” I shrugged.
“Men do often say that women are scary.” Shanteya giggled.
“Yes, mother once told me that we women are like predators, and the men are like lambs. Even if they are strong as a bear, to us, they are lambs, that’s why you must make sure to eliminate any and all other predators aiming for your prey.” I laughed.
“Interesting way of putting it, but you have nothing to fear from me.” Shanteya looked down.
“Why do you think so?” I asked.
“Nanya, I am not an idiot. I can tell.” she showed me a pained smile.
“What do you mean?” I furrowed my brow.
“Unlike you and Ayuseya, I am… dirty, unclean.”
“Illsy doesn’t care about that.” I stated.
“On the outside, no… He will always state that he doesn’t care about it, but on the inside, it’s another matter. Maybe even he doesn’t realize it, but the fact that he kept me as simply his slave is proof of this.” she sighed and then looked into my eyes “It’s not about the power of his buff, Nanya. It’s about the way he truly feels about me. You and Ayuseya, he loves, but I am loved in another way. I am loved as a friend… a companion, but not a wife, a lover.” she showed me a pained smile.
“That’s not true.” I tried to say, but even I was doubting my own words.
“A simple question makes the entire difference… and asking me has been proven to be his most difficult of trials. I’m not going to be the one to ask him to make me his wife because in his eyes, I am not.” she shook her head “Deep inside, he waits for me to say that I wish to be free. Once that happens, there’s no way for him to regret it.”
“Why would he regret it?” I asked a bit confused.
“In everyone’s eyes, a woman who was touched by another man is a dirty woman… that’s a truth everyone’s hearts declare. No one wants handed down goods.” she looked down at her reflection in the water, but she didn’t cry.
“Shanteya… that’s not true.” I said it again, but this time, I embraced the woman. “He’s just an idiot who needs a bit of time… and if he doesn’t… ask him to release you. If Illsy can’t love you, then I’m certain someone will.” I told her.
In that moment, I heard her whimper.
“But what if I want Illsy, and I don’t want another man? What if I want only him?” she began to cry.
The strong assassin woman could finally weep, all because of an idiot pervert we all loved and deeply cared about. Yet, one thing remained true… these sort of things had their own manner of solving themselves, and sometimes it took time even when you bluntly stated them into their face.
[Illsyore’s point of view]
I landed in a bush and scared a pack of wild wolves…
Good thing I had my Magic Armor up, otherwise, I would have been walking with a blackened eye and a couple of broken ribs. On another note, I had no regrets about the divine scenery I was granted sight to. Unfortunately, that old pervert had to see it too.
Why should my beloved Nanya and Ayuseya be glared upon by an old man who could barely keep it up?
It was inconceivable, but before I could complain any further, I had to return to the city. With a light step, I began to run back. Big was the surprise of the guards when they saw me.
They asked me something in their language, but I couldn’t understand their words.
“I don’t understand what any of you are saying, can I just go through?” I asked.
The two of them looked at each other and then back at me. I had no idea if they were letting me go past, so I tried my luck, if they pushed me back, I could always jump in. Fortunately, they didn’t stop me. Then again, if I were to explain to the guards that I got punched in the face by my own wife for trying to sneak a peak at the naked women in the bathhouse, they would most likely try to arrest me.
After walking for a bit, I was greeted by someone.
“Illsy…” Ayuseya said.
“What are you doing here?” I asked surprised.
“I wish…” she looked down and then to her left. “I…” she looked back at me and stopped, looking back down again.
“Come on, say it. What’s on your mind? You’re my wife after all!” I showed her a bright smile.
She bit her bottom lip and looked into my eyes. After gulping once, she finally gathered the courage to speak up.
“I want to talk to you… in private.”
“Alright… Should we go back to the inn?” I asked.
“No.” she shook her head and then clenching her fists, she bowed and asked “Can you please take me outside of the city and make a room for us there?”
“Sure…” I was a bit taken aback, since I had no idea where all of this was coming from, but if she wanted to have an honest talk with me, who was I to deny her this?
Note from the Author: Thank you for reading this chapter! I hope you enjoyed it!
These parts were a bit smaller than usual (around 2000 words each) because the split felt a bit odd for me if I tried to separate the whole chapter into only 3 parts.
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