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The Covet Corner Hotel Ch 11

Coyo Oct 21st, 2017 (edited) 377 Never
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  1. Tags: Dragon, Smut
  2.  
  3. Chapter 11
  4.  
  5. Section 1
  6. Unexpected Placement
  7.  
  8. The Covet Corner Hotel.
  9.  
  10. To some this miraculous establishment is an abomination that must be purged from this world, to others it is a symbol of hope for a peaceful coexistence between the world of man and monsters, but to those that live in it, they simply call it home.
  11.  
  12. We start off the morning just like any other - the guests were waking up, the nocturnal mamono were heading off to bed, and Gramps was waiting at the counter in the lobby along with Lily for their usual routine.
  13.  
  14. “And all that happened while I was gone?” Lilly asked, bearing a shocked expression on her face as she leaned to towards the edge of her seat.
  15.  
  16. “Hehe, that’s right. You would not believe how happy everyone was once we got rid of the smell.” Gramps chuckled.
  17.  
  18. Lilly had just gotten back from visiting her parents along with her older brother the day before, and seeing that the lobby looked mostly the same as she left it, although a bit cleaner, she assumed nothing had happened. It wasn’t until Gramps had told her of the arrival of a certain guest that she found out about the events that had unfolded.
  19.  
  20. Although she was glad that she didn’t have to deal with the chaos that resulted from all of it, Lilly couldn’t help but pout.
  21.  
  22. “Why do all the cool things happen when I’m not here?”
  23.  
  24. Gramps continued to chuckle.
  25.  
  26. “Oh, trust me, you probably wouldn’t have wanted to be here. Wish you were though, would’ve been much easier to deal with everyone if you were.”
  27.  
  28. “You’re probably right,” stated Lilly matter-of-factly, a slight grin on her face.  
  29.  
  30. She probably would’ve complained about the smell too if she had been there.
  31.  
  32. “But enough about the hotel, how was it visiting the family? Your folks doing alright?”
  33.  
  34. “Yeah, they’re okay. Big brother looks just like dad, and mom still looks as pretty as ever - we even brought big sister along this time. I think she really enjoyed it.”
  35.  
  36. “Did she now? That’s good.”
  37.  
  38. ‘Big sister’ was actually Lilly’s sister-in-law, her brother’s demon wife. Although the blue-skinned woman was polite to most people she met, she had a tendency to not get along with the majority of people for one reason or another. It was a relief to hear that it was going smoothly between her and the in-laws.
  39.  
  40. Lilly was nodding to Gramps statement before continuing.
  41.  
  42. “When we got there, I got to show her my favorite bakery and had her try their homemade candy.”  
  43.  
  44. Lilly placed her hands over her cheeks, a smile creeping over her face as she remembered the sweet tastes of the several candies she had while back home.
  45.  
  46. “They made a new one too – I had brought a sample back for you, but…”
  47.  
  48. “Let me guess, you ate it?”
  49.  
  50. Once again, Lilly pouted, nodding her head as she stared down at the floor below her hanging feet.
  51.  
  52. “Don’t sweat it. It’s the thought that counts.” He told her, patting her head between her horns.
  53.  
  54. The alice looked up at Gramps with a smile on her face before turning her head to face someone that both of them had failed to notice.
  55.  
  56. A man.
  57.  
  58. There was a single man in the lobby, and he had almost reached the counter before they finally noticed him.
  59.  
  60. “Oh, hello there!” Gramps announced, turning his attention to the newcomer, “Welcome to the Covet Corner Hotel.”  
  61.  
  62. “Hello…” the man responded, looking at his surroundings with a hint of confusion in his eyes.
  63.  
  64. “Surprised?”
  65.  
  66. “Hehe, yeah. I wasn’t expecting this place to look so nice on the inside in all honesty.”
  67.  
  68. The man wore a heavy coat that was visibly wet from the time spent in the rain before arriving into the hotel, but not much else could be seen beside his head which had previously been covered by his hood.
  69.  
  70. “Hmm? Why’s that?” Gramps asked, giving off a convincing impression of intrigue.
  71.  
  72. He and Lilly could already guess what the man’s answer would be, however, it had become a game between them to guess where some of their guests arrived from depending on how confused they were when they stepped in along with their responses.  
  73.  
  74. “To be honest, I didn’t actually think this was an establishment at all. If it wasn’t for some old man I came across earlier who told me where this place was I would’ve never gotten here. Good thing too, since all the other inns in town were booked solid.”
  75.  
  76. Gramps raised an eyebrow and looked over at Lilly who simply shrugged at the man’s response.
  77.  
  78. “There are rooms available here…right?” The man asked, a slight worry evident in his voice.
  79.  
  80. “Why yes there is!” Lilly responded in her usual cheerful way.
  81.  
  82. She and Gramps would have to discuss about this later…
  83.  
  84. “Oh, thank goodness. And how much is it per night?”
  85.  
  86. “First night’s always free,” Gramps told him.
  87.  
  88. This time it was the newcomer’s turn to be confused.  
  89.  
  90. “Free? Is there some sort of promotion or something?” he asked, tilting his head to the side.
  91.  
  92. “Nope, that’s just how we do things here.”
  93.  
  94. It was an odd method to simply give away a room for free - surely, they must charge for the other basic amenities or expect their guests to stay longer than one night. But he decided it was best not to dwell on that matter, especially since it wasn’t as if though he had a choice to stay anywhere else.
  95.  
  96. Gramps pulled out the stack of clear cards he was keeping in his back pocket, handing one over to the man who, like the many before him, stared at it with a mix of confusion and curiosity.
  97.  
  98. Just as he was about to ask what it was, the card began to flash a series of colors, switching between them with incredible speed. The man faced the two in front of him, to which they simply smiled at him as if though this were completely normal. The card continued with its flurry of colors, slowing down between the changes until it finally decided to remain a single color.
  99.  
  100. White.
  101.  
  102. His card had become a pristine white.  
  103.  
  104. In a matter of seconds, another feature was made visible in the top half of the card. A collection of blue dots similar to snowflakes seemed to have sprinkled across the card, eventually forming a pattern between them. As more and more of these flakes formed, the numbers ‘197’ made itself apparent on his card. It seemed that this would be his room number.
  105.  
  106. When he turned to face the two once more, he was left confused yet again. But this time it was due to the expressions of shock and surprise that the old man and the young demon girl had before turning to each other and confirming what it was that they saw.
  107.  
  108. “Is something the matter?” he asked, almost hesitantly.
  109.  
  110. “Well…” Gramps began, “Not really. It’s just surprising that you got that room is all.”
  111.  
  112. “Is there something wrong with the room?” he asked with obvious concern.
  113.  
  114. “There’s nothing wrong with the room itself, but - well you’ll see when you get there.”
  115.  
  116. “Can I take him?” Lilly asked.
  117.  
  118. “Hmm… alright. Probably for the best anyhow, seeing as she likes you more than me. Oh, but…” Gramps paused, leaning in and whispering something into her ear.
  119.  
  120. It was a little rude to whisper in front of a guest, especially if it was related to the room he was assigned, but the newcomer didn’t say anything.
  121.  
  122. After Gramps finished with whatever it was that he was telling her, for Lilly was far too excited to pay attention, she hopped off the stool she was sitting on and quickly ran down the hall that led to the back of the lobby. Neither Gramps nor the newcomer could figure out why she looked so thrilled.
  123.  
  124. “So anyways… welcome to the hotel. My name is Gramps. If there’s anything you need or if there are any problems just let me know and I’ll see what I can do. The little blonde that just took off like a racehorse is Lilly.”
  125.  
  126. “Ah yes, I guess we did forget to introduce ourselves. My name is Damian.”
  127.  
  128. Damian took off his coat to reveal the clothes he wore over his thin body. His coat protected him well, for it seemed his plain grey shirt and brown pants had managed to stay completely dry. Before long Lilly returned to the counter, carrying a round clay pig with a large cork on its back that sealed the opening it had.
  129.  
  130. “Okay! Now I’m ready! Please follow me, Mister...?”
  131.  
  132. “Damian.”
  133.  
  134. “Alright, Mister Damian, please follow me.” She told him, grabbing his hand and leading him towards the elevator as the contents of the pig shaped jar rattled within.  
  135.  
  136. Section 2
  137. The Sixth Floor
  138.  
  139. Damian rubbed his eyes once more.
  140.  
  141. He had to be seeing things. He had to.
  142.  
  143. But no matter how many times he blinked or rubbed his eyes with his pale hands, his surroundings remained the same.
  144.  
  145. After stepping out of the elevator, he had somehow ended up on a narrow path within the mountains. He could feel a cold breeze brush by them coming from his left side, to which the path led higher up the mountain to its snow-covered peaks. The path to his right, on the other hand, led down the mountain and towards the valley. Right now, it seemed as if though he and Lilly were within one of the crevices that had formed over the ages. The high stone walls were too far for anyone to reach and became gradually more jagged the further up it went. It was as if though someone had decided to smooth down and straighten the walls, but gave up when they could no longer reach it.
  146.  
  147. Along the straightened portion of the wall were evenly spaced wooden doors, each one with a room number carved into the wall beside it.
  148.  
  149. How in the world they had gotten here was truly a mystery, but it seemed that all this was completely normal for the young girl who was tugging on his hand and leading him down the mountain.
  150.  
  151. “How did we get here?” he asked, marveling at the sights.
  152.  
  153. “Here? We took the elevator silly.”
  154.  
  155. “…no, I mean, how did we end up in the mountains?”
  156.  
  157. “Oh! That’s because we’re not really traveling through a mountain range, we’re still in the hotel. This just looks like we’re in the mountains is all.” She told him nonchalantly as she continued to lead him through this themed floor.
  158.  
  159. It was hard to believe that this was all fake, it all seemed too real for it to be a facade. Even the clouds above them seemed to move across the sky, making it truly seem as if though they were outside. Damian had heard that a particularly wealthy noble had once charmed the dining room of his home with a powerful illusion spell, making it seem as if though it were located on a tropical island far away.
  160.  
  161. Least to say, he always left his guests with quite the impression after showing them around his home.
  162.  
  163. It wouldn’t have been too hard to believe if they had done something similar in the lobby… but to do so on the entire floor of a hotel would be quite the massive expenditure. It left him in awe as they continued to walk around and the illusion failed to fade away - how such a place could be hidden in the back alleys of a city was beyond his understanding.
  164.  
  165. As he was continued to be led by Lilly, they soon arrived at an area that was far different from the rest. They had turned in to a hall, but unlike any of the previous halls there were no doors on either side of the wall, instead there was simply a large opening on the right-hand side. Above the opening hung a large sign proclaiming, “The Covet Corner Bank,” with the image of a raccoon’s tail in the background. Although he found the sign’s design to be a bit odd, Damian did not have long to dwell on such thoughts for his attention was quickly stolen by what was standing inside this supposed bank.
  166.  
  167. Dragons.
  168.  
  169. Wyverns to be precise.
  170.  
  171. Never had Damian seen this many dragons gathered in one place before. The city had only recently become a monster-friendly territory, so there weren’t that many mamono out and about, let alone any dragons. This was his first time seeing any of these scaled powerhouses, let alone six of them all in one place. There were six uniformed guards scattered around the area, five of them wyverns, all scanning the room for any suspicious activity. The sixth guard was a hobgoblin, who stood near the corner of the room and kept her gaze fixed on the ceiling in a daydream like fashion.  
  172.  
  173. Behind one of the counters, Damian could spy a sixth wyvern, garbed in a tight blue business suit as opposed to a security uniform, indicating that she was as a teller. Besides a blue oni, the remaining tellers all appeared to be gyoubu danukis dressed in similarly matching business attire.
  174.  
  175. Lilly pulled him into the bank where she began to look around, seemingly searching for someone in specific.
  176.  
  177. “Lilly!” cried out a voice from the side.
  178.  
  179. A danuki in a similarly designed uniform as the tellers, though one of clearly far greater quality, came out from her office to greet Lilly.  
  180.  
  181. “Lilly, how are you?” she asked loudly, clasping her hands together and bowing slightly with a smile across her face.
  182.  
  183. “Hello, Daria! I am doing well, how are you?” Lilly responded with a smile.
  184.  
  185. “Busy as usual. Ah, hello there! I am Daria, I am the manager of this bank. Who might you be?” She asked while greeting the newcomer.
  186.  
  187. “I’m Damian.”
  188.  
  189. “Ah, well welcome to our bank Damian. Now, Lilly, I see you brought your piggy bank. Were you planning to make a deposit into your junior account?”
  190.  
  191. Lilly nodded her head.
  192.  
  193. “Excellent! Since it’s still early, there’s barely anyone around so you can just walk up to any of the tellers and they’ll help you with that in a jiffy. Now as for you…” She said, turning back to Damian, “Did Lilly bring you here to open an account with us? We offer a variety of options and include special rates for newcomers along with other services such as loans and currency exchanges if needed. Or did Lilly simply bring you along so that you could see the dragon guarded bank?” she asked with a chuckle near the end.
  194.  
  195. If Damian had known that there was such a thing as a dragon guarded bank, especially here, he would’ve immediately asked to be allowed to see it - but that wasn’t the case. Lilly simply looked up to Damian before telling him what to do.
  196.  
  197. “Show her your key.”
  198.  
  199. Listening to Lilly, Damian quickly pulled out his white card and faced it towards Daria so that she could read the numbers written at the top. She looked over at his room card nonchalantly, with the remnants of her smile still on her face.  
  200.  
  201. The smile was the first thing to fade from her face.
  202.  
  203. Her eyes widened slightly before turning to Lilly to confirm the numbers written on the card. Lilly simply stared back at the danuki as she absorbed the moment.
  204.  
  205. “Really? Him? With her?”
  206.  
  207. The alice nodded in response, rather calm given the circumstances.
  208.  
  209. Daria blinked a few more times until finally readjusting her uniform and asking the two to follow her.
  210.  
  211. Before doing so, Lilly ran up to one of the danuki tellers and placed her piggy upon the counter, telling them she’d be back in a few minutes to make the deposit.
  212.  
  213. Daria leads the two behind the tellers, passing a few closed doors until entering a room that was mostly empty save for a single podium at its entrance of and two guards who stood opposite against the wall. Between the uniformed red oni and wyvern was a glistening steel circular hatch door with a giant central wheel to open it. Both of the guards straightened themselves upon seeing the branch manager enter with the others.
  214.  
  215. Without a word, Daria pulled out her green room key card from the shirt pocket of her uniform and slid it across the top of the podium near the center. The edges of the podium lit up with a green color, making both of the guards nod before finally welcoming her. Lilly was the next one to swipe her card. It was clear in color with numbers written across the top, but Damian couldn’t read them. Like the danuki, the podium also shone a green hue, showing that she was indeed who she appeared to be. The guards greeted Lilly as well and now looked at the newcomer with curiosity.
  216.  
  217. “Go on. Just swipe your card like we did.” Instructed the danuki.
  218.  
  219. This whole experience was odd for him, magic always was, but Damian continued to do as he was told. Sliding his white card across the space, the podium once more glowed with a dull green confirmation.
  220.  
  221. The guards’ eyes widened slightly, each looking at the other from the corners of their eyes as if to verify what it was that they had just witnessed. To Damian’s surprise, they said nothing of it, only greeting him before the oni turned around from her spot and began to spin the wheel of the door.  
  222.  
  223. The veins in the oni’s neck and arms began to pop out as she pulled on the door, but she made no audible indication of the amount of strain she was putting into opening it. The door seemed to have been incredibly heavy, probably in order to limit who would be able to get in.
  224.  
  225. Once the hatch was wide open, Daria stepped through the opening and into the hallway that it revealed. Both Lilly and Damian followed her in as the guards remained by the door.
  226.  
  227. They walked down the snaking hall, taking several turns until finally stepping into a vast treasure room. The hallway led to a raised walkway, while beside the three where the floor would be was mounds upon mounds of gold, jewelry, and other valuables. Damian couldn’t discern exactly sure how far down the floor to this room actually was, but with just the amount on the surface, he was certain he could live out the rest of his life without any worries.
  228.  
  229. At the entrance of the room, the walkway split into three paths. Two of these paths followed the walls of the room while the final one which they were taking continued straight, leading into the largest pile of treasure that had somehow collected over the walkway.
  230.  
  231. Upon reaching the pile, Daria looked around the room, searching for something.
  232.  
  233. “Where is she? Damn, did she bury herself again?”
  234.  
  235. Daria continued scanning the room, but Lilly, on the other hand, decided to walk up to the mound blocking their path. She marveled at it for a second and then squatted down, reaching towards the pile with her hand and taking a single coin.
  236.  
  237. With this the mound began to shake, coins and trinkets sliding down into the other mounds as the sounds grew in intensity.  
  238.  
  239. Soon afterward, the top portion of the mound exploded, launching all sorts of valuables across the room accompanied by the ear-splitting roar of a great beast. Damian and the danuki covered their ears as the creature continued its cry that bounced around the confines of these walls. With great effort, he managed to peer over the mound to see what monster was unleashing this unholy sound.  
  240.  
  241. The green scales, the outstretched wings, and the razor-sharp claws.
  242.  
  243. It was a dragon.
  244.  
  245. A true dragon.
  246.  
  247. “WHO DARES TRY TO STEAL FROM MEEEeeeeeee…? Lilly? Boss? What are you doing here?”
  248.  
  249. The booming voice of the winged creature that was followed by smoke died down as it realized who it was that had awoken her. Lilly simply smiled, tossing the coin she had grabbed back into the pile of treasure the dragon was standing in.
  250.  
  251. The dragon slid down the mountain of valuables until she was at eye level with the group. The smoke that had previously been escaping through her mouth was now leaving through her nostril, albeit at a reduced amount. She then proceeded to lie down on the pile, resting her head on her hand as she waited for someone to explain why she had been woken up.
  252.  
  253. “Calynn,” the danuki began, “this man here, Damian, is apparently your roommate now. He will now be living here with you.”
  254.  
  255. The dragon raised one of her brows before her eyes lazily looked over to Damian. She surveyed him for merely a second before turning her body to lay on the other side, facing the pile and giving the three a view of her backside with her wings folded over most of it and her long purple hair.
  256.  
  257. “I don’t want him. Take him back.”
  258.  
  259. Damian blinked in a surprised fashion.
  260.  
  261. “But Calynn, he’s your roommate,” Lilly responded, a slight hint of agitation evident in her normally cheerful voice.
  262.  
  263. “I don’t care. I will not share my space with – that!”
  264.  
  265. Daria turned her head to Damian, raising both her hands defensively to him with an apologetic expression for the dragon’s harsh remark.
  266.  
  267. “Calynn, you know the rules. He got assigned to your room, so he gets to stay in the room.”
  268.  
  269. “That thing doesn’t HAVE to stay here. Nothing says that they’re required to stay here or in the hotel. I don’t want that scrawny whelp anywhere near me or my precious horde.”
  270.  
  271. Lilly pondered for a moment on how to convince the stubborn winged lizard.
  272.  
  273. “Well… if it really is a problem, I guess I’ll have to tell Gramps about it and see what he wants to do.”
  274.  
  275. The dragon’s ear fins twitched in response.
  276.  
  277. “That insufferable human…” Calynn mumbled before letting out a prolonged sigh and turning her head ever so slightly so she could see Lilly from over her shoulder.
  278.  
  279. The dragon turned her head so that she could see Lilly from the corner of her eye.
  280.  
  281. “Hmph…Fine! But they are not allowed to stay in my room! I don’t want another annoyance waking me up.” She said aloud before returning to face her pile with a pout.
  282.  
  283. “Thank you, Calynn,” Lilly told her with a smile.
  284.  
  285. Daria was surprised that Lilly had somehow managed to make Calynn agree with her, but it was best not to linger next to the dragon lest she changes her mind about it. She gestured to the two to follow her, leading them back to the split in the walkway and taking the left one along the wall. Halfway around the room was a single door with the numbers 197 engraved into it. From there Damian could see another giant hatch door a fair distance behind the giant mound they were previously in front of, but he wasn’t given much of an opportunity to look at it since Daria rushed them into the new room.
  286.  
  287. Once inside, Daria let out a sigh of relief.  
  288.  
  289. “Thank goodness…”
  290.  
  291. She led them inside and into the living room, revealing that they were inside a small cozy apartment. The floors and tables were all covered with a thin layer of dust, while all the furniture had been topped with a protective sheet of cloth. It seemed that no one had been in here for quite some time.
  292.  
  293. “Please forgive us for this room’s sorry state, we didn’t believe anyone would be staying in here anytime soon and…,” Daria began, “but don’t worry, everything is in working condition! We make sure to give this place a thorough cleaning every few months as well as a monthly maintenance inspection.”
  294.  
  295. She walks over to the couch, removing the protective cloth and causing some of the dust on it to fly into the air. Daria motions to the two to sit down before doing the same to the lone chair across from it for herself.
  296.  
  297. “Well… this is where you will be staying. I know this is a bit odd, but please allow me to explain.” Daria let out another sigh before continuing, “You see, Calynn is one of my employees, specifically she is one of the guards…sort of.”
  298.  
  299. “Sort of?”
  300.  
  301. “Yes. Sort of. You see, while most guards are actively trying to make sure that nothing disturbs the peace within this bank, Calynn doesn’t really do anything like that.”
  302.  
  303. Damian was about to ask another question, but Daria seemed to have sensed his confusion and raised a single finger to his lips, signaling him to wait for her to continue.
  304.  
  305. “While Calynn doesn’t exactly do those things my other employees do, she does indeed guard something - she guards her gold. The thing is, that room we were just in is part of the apartment. That treasure room is Calynn’s room, and everything you saw in there was her property.”
  306.  
  307. Damian blinked a few times, surprised by the amount of wealth that dragon had accumulated. He had heard stories of how dragons would greedily hoard all sorts of things, especially gold, within their homes, but he never imagined it would be to such a great extent.
  308.  
  309. “I know, almost hard to believe.” She said, seemingly able to read his thoughts. “But yes, like I said, everything in there belongs to her. The actual vault is behind that giant pile she has formed in the center of the room - you might have been able to catch a glimpse of it just before we entered this living room. The reason why we have it set up like this is so that if anyone were to somehow miraculously get inside the vault, Calynn’s fortune would act as a decoy and make them believe that they’re in. Once they lay a finger on any of it though… well, you saw how she reacted.”
  310.  
  311. He had to admit, this was an interesting security measure, certainly one that no thief would ever expect and therefore would easily fall for.  
  312.  
  313. “I do have one question from all of this though… how did you convince her to agree to this arrangement?” Damian asked her.
  314.  
  315. A sly smile formed over the danuki’s face, along with a hint of pride for being able to do something no one had managed until then.
  316.  
  317. “Hehehe… well, in all honesty, I was extremely lucky with how the opportunity presented itself to me. You see, Calynn’s former home in the mountains had been destroyed. It seems that a landslide or something had caused it to cave in. We had crossed paths while I was looking for wyverns and I had asked her to be the guard of the vault. Initially, she said no, but when I told her that I’d give her a place to stay and would pay her to just lay around as well as make sure no one touched her gold, she took an interest.”
  318.  
  319. Damian blinked a few times, turning to Lilly to see if what the danuki said was true. Lilly simply shrugged.
  320.  
  321. “I know, a bit hard to believe that a dragon would accept anything, but it’s true! I swear it on my tail! Since then, we have officially become the only bank in the world to have a full-fledged dragon working as a guard. I heard that one had tried to get a wurm once, though I don’t think they exist anymore…”
  322.  
  323. Having dragons, even if they were just wyverns, was an incredible feat on its own. The only reason he had even known about wyverns was that he had heard that some humans were capable of riding them and those that had a rider were much friendlier to other humans. Still, though, he had never even imagined finding one working at a bank, let alone as many as he had seen when he first walked inside.
  324.  
  325. “Now then, since you’re up to speed with what’s happening, how long do you plan on staying here?” Daria asked.
  326.  
  327. “Wait, what do you mean? I just got here! I was only planning to stay a few nights before taking off.”
  328.  
  329. “Ah, you don’t know yet. Well, Gramps and Lilly have probably told you that the first night is free, but this room is a little different. If you’re assigned to this room, you don’t get charged for any additional nights as well – a complimentary suite you might say. So, if you plan to stay here for a while, please make sure to let me know as soon as possible.”
  330.  
  331. Damian titled his head in confusion, as it seemed incredibly odd to simply allow something like that, but it seemed that the danuki had no intentions of explaining the arrangement any further.
  332.  
  333. “Well, I believe that covers everything. If there’s anything you need, just ask the guards and I’ll make sure to do what I can.” Daria said, standing up from her seat.
  334.  
  335. “If there isn’t anything else, Lilly I can help you with your deposit back at the front?”
  336.  
  337. Lilly stood up from the couch and both said their goodbyes to Damian before heading out the door.
  338.  
  339. Damian sat there for a second, wondering what to do in this vacant space.
  340.  
  341. He stood up and decided to take a look around his room, then maybe take some time to explore this hotel. It definitely wasn’t any regular hotel, so it was bound to have a few more interesting sights to see.  
  342.  
  343. ***
  344. At the vault doors
  345.  
  346. “That scrawny little guy is being paired up with her. I almost feel sorry for him.”
  347.  
  348. Both the wyvern and the red oni guards were looking in through the open vault doors with an equal mix of interest and confusion.
  349.  
  350. “Heh, almost.” The wyvern chuckled at her co-worker’s statement.
  351.  
  352. Although both were interested to see what would happen to the newcomer, they weren’t allowed to leave their posts unless there was someone to replace them.
  353.  
  354. “He’s probably going to wet himself after seeing her... being a dragon and all.” The wyvern said with a small smile on her face.
  355.  
  356. “This again?”
  357.  
  358. “What, you know it’s true.”  
  359.  
  360. There was a hint of pride in her voice when she said that.
  361.  
  362. This was a regular debate between the two. They always argued which one of the two was the more fearful guard, since keeping up appearances was part of their job.
  363.  
  364. “I don’t know Vee, he didn’t seem all that impressed with you. In fact, I don’t even think he paid any attention to you. Must’ve been too distracted by these babies.” She lifted up her arm whilst pulling up on her short sleeve, flexing her arm and causing the veins to bulge under her red skin with a wide grin across her face.
  365.  
  366. Being covered in scales, it was rather difficult to displays one strength without lifting a boulder or crushing it. Not only that, but being a wyvern, her body, although toned, was thin and sleek in order to ease her ability to gain speed or make tight turns during flight. It also didn’t help that the red oni was far larger than her while in her humanized form… in her draconic form on the other hand, it would be a very different story.
  367.  
  368. “He was obviously looking at you in order to distract himself from my terrifying image. Dragons are known for their strength and don’t need to subject themselves to such lowly means of demonstration.”
  369.  
  370. “True… DRAGONS are, but you’re only a wyvern.”
  371.  
  372. “Hmph. Even so! Wyverns are still dragons! And dragons are feared by all!”
  373.  
  374. As the two were bickering while facing the open door, they failed to notice the third person that had entered into the room only moments ago. It wasn’t until he stepped behind the green scaled woman that the red oni’s eyes caught him, causing her wyvern companion to turn her head. What she didn’t know was that this man seemed to have known this would happen, for he leaned his body forward and placed his head right beside her just as she was turning, causing her cheek to land onto his puckered lips.
  375.  
  376. There was only one man crazy enough to make her land onto one of his kisses.
  377.  
  378. It was her rider.
  379.  
  380. Her face immediately flushed at being surprised by him, making her skin almost match the red oni’s.
  381.  
  382. “Derek! W-What are you doing here!?”
  383.  
  384. The man simply smiled, pulling out a small box from behind that was tied up in a green-striped cloth.
  385.  
  386. “I brought you lunch. You were in such a rush this morning that I noticed you forgot to pack it, so I decided to make it and bring it to you.”
  387.  
  388. If the wyvern’s cheeks weren’t already red from receiving his sudden affection, they would’ve blushed now.
  389.  
  390. “It’s your favorite.” Derek continued, “I even cut it in little triangles just the way you like them.”
  391.  
  392. A small smile was made visible on the red oni’s face as she watched her co-worker writhe in embarrassment by her rider.
  393.  
  394. “Ah well, best not distract you from your work anymore, I wouldn’t want to get you in trouble.”
  395.  
  396. He leaned in and kissed her other cheek before waving goodbye to the two guards and walking out of the room.
  397.  
  398. “Derek!” The wyvern shouted before he turned down the hall, causing him to face her.
  399.  
  400. She raised her claw up to her face and blew him a kiss. A heart shaped smoke cloud escaped from her lips, flying forwards until it slowing down and dispersing half-way across the room. Nonetheless, Derek pretended to catch her kiss and held it to his heart before finally leaving the room.
  401.  
  402. It was almost hard to believe that the two had been trained to kill as dragon and dragoon.  
  403.  
  404. When he disappeared into the hall, Vee turned to face her red oni coworker that was donning a wide conceited grin that seemed fitting for a cheshire.
  405.  
  406. “Feared by all, huh?”
  407.  
  408. “Shut up. I can still throw you over a mountain.”
  409.  
  410. Section 3
  411. Too hot to handle
  412.  
  413. This was indeed an interesting hotel.
  414.  
  415. Damian had ended spending a lot more time in his room than he had expected to, playing around with all the odd bits and ends scattered throughout. If it wasn’t for that slime woman dressed as a maid appearing to give this room one last cleaning, he wasn’t sure if he would’ve figured out how everything worked. But in the end, he managed. He even had enough time to wander around the hotel, discovering a small market near the base of the ‘mountain’ where he bought all sorts of foods and ingredients.
  416.  
  417. At this moment, he was cooking something his mother always used to make back when he was young. In all honesty, he was a bit surprised to find all the ingredients he needed for it, since usually there’d be one or two things he had to replace, but today he’d be able to follow the original recipe exactly. It had been so long since he had been able to do this, so he was a bit excited about it, occasionally lifting the lid of the pot to take in the aromas.
  418.  
  419. Little did Damian know that he was not the only one enjoying the smell, for an unexpected visitor made itself aware to him just as he placed the lid back down.
  420.  
  421. The door closed, and right in front of it was the dragon he was designated to be the roommate of. She did not announce her entry, allowing the door to do that for her, as she sniffed the air with her eyes closed. After confirming that the peculiar scent was emanating from this room, Calynn stepped forward without hesitation. In a few seconds, she arrived at the kitchen where Damian was cutting a few fruits to snack on while he waited. He was a bit surprised to see her up and in here, but didn’t say anything of it since this was her room before he came along. Once again, she took in the smell that had invaded her room and had managed to draw her out of it before finally turning to look down at Damian.
  422.  
  423. “Human. Give me a sample of whatever dish it is that is creating this smell.”
  424.  
  425. “… would you like to say that one more time?”
  426.  
  427. “Are you a dullard? I DEMAND you give me a portion of what you are cooking.”
  428.  
  429. “Fuck you, no.”
  430.  
  431. Damian wasn’t having any of this. There was no need to be so rude when asking for something, even if she was here before him. He had planned to offer her some if she was awake, but after seeing her attitude he had changed his mind.
  432.  
  433. “Insolent little-!”
  434.  
  435. *BAM*
  436.  
  437. Unable to react, Damian had been effortlessly thrown towards the nearest wall, falling to the ground soon afterwards - it all happened so fast. When he tried to sit up, his wrist exploded in pain, causing him to grip it whilst groaning.
  438.  
  439. Calynn paid him no heed, for to her he was the equivalent of a chair being in the way of what she wanted. Her claws tapped against the tiled floor of the kitchen, making her way towards the steaming pot where Damian was cooking his meal. It was a completely new smell to her - the herbs, the spices, she had never been around such a blend of delicious aromas – and it was making her mouth water. She swiftly lifted the lid of the pot. A rush of steam flew up into her face, though she showed no signs of irritation. Why would it? After all, her skin could withstand the heat of a volcano if it needed to… at least for a short period.
  440.  
  441. She peered inside, seeing the browned meat boil in its own juices amongst the variety of colors that seemed liked vegetables. Calynn usually ate her meat raw, just like her mother, only occasionally burning it with her breath if the taste was particularly terrible. It was a sign of weakness to eat food that was cooked… but this was surely an exception. Just as gold was more valuable once it had been refined from its ore, food too could be made even more delicious once it had been cooked.  
  442.  
  443. Do dragons not possess the highest strength both of body and mind? Do they not keep the very finest of treasures within their grasps? So why should they not also consume anything but what could be considered the most delectable of meals that could be offered?
  444.  
  445. Tossing the lid to the side, Calynn reached into the pot, stabbing one of the chunks of meat with her claws and raising it up to her face. She took in its smell once again until she opened her mouth and took the entirety of it into her mouth in one bite.
  446.  
  447. She chewed a few times, allowing the juices to flow out and spread across her tongue before finally swallowing it.
  448.  
  449. “Mmm… this is quite go- ah! AH! AAGGHHH!!!!”
  450.  
  451. What was happening?!
  452.  
  453. Her mouth, her throat, it was burning!
  454.  
  455. How was this possible? She who could breathe fire was having her insides burn!
  456.  
  457. Calynn waved her claws several times towards her open mouth with her tongue hanging out of it, hoping to lessen the pain surging through it.
  458.  
  459. Her eyes were beginning to tear up, her insides felt like they were being scorched up, and her stomach began to ache – she was going to be sick. A lump began to form in her throat as her mouth salivated heavily. Cold sweat was dripping from her forehead, and worst of all, she could smell the smoke rising from her nostrils.
  460.  
  461. Calynn clutched her jaw, trying her best to keep it closed until she could find somewhere to release this buildup of heat, but there was no time!
  462.  
  463. All she could manage to do was turn to the wall opposite of Damian before finally letting go of her mouth and releasing what she was trying to hold in.
  464.  
  465. *VOOSH!*
  466.  
  467. A fireball was shot out, flying through the air, and landing on the wall. It dispersed soon afterward, leaving behind a small puddle of some form of molten liquid on the ground below the dented wall that had become blackened from the flames.
  468.  
  469. Her mouth was dripping with the glowing red concoction as it landed onto the ground. She grabbed onto the counter, steadying herself as she took in a breath of air after having spit that out. But Calynn’s body was not done just yet – once more her whole form convulsed, and with nowhere else to go she faced the wall once again.
  470.  
  471. *VOOSH! VOOSH!*
  472.  
  473. Two more were fired into the wall beside the first one, both causing similar indents to the first, leaving behind a scorch mark in the area of impact along with a puddle of molten liquid that was somehow incapable of melting through the floor.
  474.  
  475. Calynn took a few deep breaths, it seemed like she was preparing herself for a fourth shot, but instead, she spat out the remnants of the molten liquid in her mouth onto the floor.
  476.  
  477. Turning to face Damian, who had just sat up after having watched the whole spectacle, she gripped her throat in hopes of soothing her pain before finally speaking to him.
  478.  
  479. “HUMAN!”
  480.  
  481. Her voice was hoarse and cracking at the amount of strain she was putting on it.
  482.  
  483. “FIX-” she coughed several times to the side, causing a few more drops of molten liquid to fall onto the floor, “-fix this!”
  484.  
  485. Damian only looked at her with disdain in his eyes.
  486.  
  487. “No. Go fuck yourself.”
  488.  
  489. “NO! If you don’t help me, I swear to you I will break every bone in your body until you are nothing more than paste!”
  490.  
  491. “And if you do that, you’ll still be here writhing in agony with absolutely no idea what to do.”
  492.  
  493. “Tsk-” she clicked her tongue.  
  494.  
  495. Her nose was beginning to run, she didn’t know how long it would be until it became too much for her bare.
  496.  
  497. “Fine! Gold! I’ll give you a portion of my treasures! Now tell me how to end this torment!”
  498.  
  499. “No.”
  500.  
  501. The look in his eyes could rival that of a dragon’s.  
  502.  
  503. He was determined to watch her suffer for her actions and did not care what the price for it would be.
  504.  
  505. The sweat continued to pour from her flushed skin, her body practically screaming at her at this point to stop this madness.
  506.  
  507. She knelt down onto the ground in front of him. If she hadn’t already been tearing up from what was happening to her, she would’ve at this very moment.  
  508.  
  509. “P-please…” she cried, letting out a soft whimper, “Please... just fix this.”
  510.  
  511. Silence.
  512.  
  513. He watched her pitiful display with the same expression he had been wearing throughout this fiasco, his face slowly curling into smile at this display of humility.
  514.  
  515. Raising his good arm up towards the opposite side of the room and towards the cold box called the fridge, he told her the one thing that could stop all this.
  516.  
  517. “Milk.”
  518.  
  519. She looked up at him for a brief moment, a plentiful stream of tears still flowing from her eyes, before swiftly dashing to the fridge like a raging minos and flinging the door open with considerable force. Inside was a corked jug of white liquid labeled ‘Milk’, to which she quickly snatched and popped the cork before raising it up to her mouth to chug it down. Trails of milk ran down the sides of her mouth as she took in the beverage with amazing speeds, as if she was an oni with her favorite bottle of sake. She only stopped when there was just about a cups worth of the soothing liquid left, having seemed to regain her composure after dulling that fiery pain.
  520.  
  521. Calynn placed the jug back into the fridge before turning to face Damian, her expression returning to the same irritated and conceited veneer she had before everything had occurred.
  522.  
  523. “How, dare you!”
  524.  
  525. “Wait, what?!”
  526.  
  527. “How dare you trick me into eating that horrible agonizing mockery of a meal!” she yelled at him in a slightly hoarse tone.  
  528.  
  529. “That, thing, whatever it was, was not food! It was obviously some form of trap or bait, not meant for actual consumption! How dare you simply allow me to sample it! To imagine, someone like me having to go through that, a dragon would never fall for something like that! How dare you just place it in front of me without telling me that I wasn’t supposed to eat it!”
  530.  
  531. Damian just stared at her in silence.
  532.  
  533. Without a word, he stood up from his spot, and walked over to the broiling pot. Seeing him move caught Calynn’s attention, so she quietly watched him.
  534.  
  535. With his good hand he took the ladle he had left on the side of the stove and reached into the pot, scooping up a chunk of meat similar to what Calynn had taken earlier. Blowing on it a few times, Damian cooled it down before putting it into his mouth and chewing it whilst turning to stare back at his dragon roommate. He continued to chew slowly, taking his time to savor his meal before finally swallowing it. But that was it - no screaming, no sweating, no attempts to drink what was left of the milk, no severe discomfort whatsoever.  
  536.  
  537. “You were saying?” stated Damian coolly, shooting her a smug grin.  
  538.  
  539. She was stunned.
  540.  
  541. A mere human somehow besting a dragon! The sheer audacity! And at something that felt like burning!
  542.  
  543. “I think you owe me an apology.”  
  544.  
  545. “Me? Apologize? Whatever is there for I to apologize for?!” Calynn yelled back frustratedly, coughing a few times at the end.
  546.  
  547. “For what? You barged in here, acting all rude, and then threw me at a wall so you could try to take my dinner! And now that your bull-headed behavior finally bites you in the ass, all of a sudden it’s my fault that you were being thoughtless?!”
  548.  
  549. “Such insolence - I was not rude and I was certainly not being thoughtless!”
  550.  
  551. “Oh no? So, you’re saying that I somehow made this elaborate plan to get you to eat that?! That somehow, a high and mighty dragon was tricked by a ‘lowly’ and ‘simple’ human so brutally that they were forced to grovel at his feet for mercy?! Really? You believe that? Or perhaps…,” Damian paused, confidently taking a few steps closer to the enraged dragon before continuing, “Or perhaps you’re implying that you already knew what was going to happen from the beginning? And so, you willingly decided to let that all happen? I wouldn’t have guessed you were a closet-submissive.”  
  552.  
  553. Calynn was fuming, literally.
  554.  
  555. Smoke was rising from her nostrils as she stared Damian down, yet his body did not flinch.
  556.  
  557. Never had anyone infuriated her quite like this before, not even that scoundrel Gramps.
  558.  
  559. What he implied had left her stuck in a corner. Either she could admit to having indeed treated him rudely, something that no honorable dragon would ever admit to, admit to her inability to spot a trap when laid right in front of her, which would be an affront to the intelligence of all dragons, or… say she desired to grovel at his feet. This was truly the greatest insult a human could ever say to a member of her proud race.  
  560.  
  561. Her? Desiring to act like an insect under the heel of his foot!? If she hadn’t been forced to use up all of her fireballs, she probably would’ve burnt him to a crisp the second he uttered those words.
  562.  
  563. Instead, she just stared at him with nothing but anger in her eyes.
  564.  
  565. Before she did something that she would regret, Calynn stomped out of the room, leaving behind a trail of rising smoke until finally slamming the door with such force that it left the wood looking warped.
  566.  
  567. Damian sighed, gripping his arm as he was reminded of the pain whilst he looked around the room.
  568.  
  569. The kitchen looked like a battlefield… he wasn’t sure how the hotel would handle this news…
  570.  
  571. ***
  572.  
  573. Several Hours Later
  574.  
  575. It was the dead of night.
  576.  
  577. No one could be seen throughout the halls of the sixth floor.
  578.  
  579. Well… almost no one.
  580.  
  581. There were only two guards in the hallway in front of the bank, one being a werebat whilst the other was a werewolf. The bat’s ears twitched slightly as she turned her head towards the distant sounds coming from the rooms – some being moans, others being the sweet pillow talk between lovers, and occasionally the sound of someone sneaking in a midnight snack when they shouldn’t be. This was the usual orchestra of sounds the night would produce during her shifts.
  582.  
  583. Her partner, the werewolf, was busily sniffing the walls and floor, taking in the aromas of all those who passed throughout the day. Usually, she wouldn’t be this active, since the scent left behind from others tended to be from the regulars who were always here, but tonight was different. Someone new passed by the bank, but something was wrong. She continued her fervent efforts as her co-worker did her best to hear past the loud sniffing.
  584.  
  585. “Hmm…” the werewolf muttered.
  586.  
  587. “Hmm? Did you find out what you wanted?”
  588.  
  589. “Not quite… but I think someone moved in.”
  590.  
  591. “Moved in? You mean, into the bank?”
  592.  
  593. “Yes. Someone came in today, someone new. A man. But I can’t find his trail when he left, so he must still be inside.”
  594.  
  595. The werebat turned to face the locked metallic gate which protected the bank at night, trying her best to sense any sound that would be coming from inside, but heard nothing.
  596.  
  597. “Hmm… if he were just hiding, I would’ve heard him by now. You might be right.”
  598.  
  599. The werewolf continued to sniff, as if though not satisfied with her partner’s confirmation.
  600.  
  601. “Is there something else?”
  602.  
  603. “Yes… I smell something… something burnt.”
  604.  
  605. ***
  606.  
  607. Inside the apartment 197, there is nothing but darkness.
  608.  
  609. The smell of soot and sulfur lingered in the air, even after the source had long since been extinguished. The kitchen, although clean, seemed as if though there had been a struggle with the three indents on the far wall where it was barraged with fireballs and the crack where Damian had been thrown, not that it could be seen with the lack of light.
  610.  
  611. If anyone had been left in here, they wouldn’t have guessed that they were in a kitchen.
  612.  
  613. The darkness was accompanied by a silence, the absence of sound perfectly matching the room’s level of light.
  614.  
  615. It was a stillness that could only be found at the late hours of the night… at least until-
  616.  
  617. *CREEAAAAK*
  618.  
  619. The door leading from the vault into the room opened - slowly at first, as if though the culprit was hesitating, before swinging open with determination.
  620.  
  621. Calynn stood at the doorway, biting her lip for what she was about to do. She walked through the doorway, her eyes unaffected by the darkness that would overwhelm even most mamono, and headed straight to the bedroom. She truly couldn’t believe what she was about to do.
  622.  
  623. Taking a few deep breaths to calm her nerves, Calynn lightly knocked on the closed door to the bedroom.
  624.  
  625. “HUMA-“ she paused abruptly, letting out a violent series of coughs. Her voice was clearly hoarse and struggling to maintain the volume she had initially began with. “Human! I wish to apologize for my behavior from earlier!”
  626.  
  627. A dragon, apologizing for its actions. Indeed, these were odd times. Someone like her should never have to apologize for the actions she chooses to take. But she did indeed act very rude to the newcomer –  this was the sole reasoning her pride was willing to accept for behaving in such a courteous manner. The mere thought of desiring to be put through what happened earlier made her blood boil… BUT NOW WAS NOT THE TIME FOR THAT!
  628.  
  629. “Hmm… Human!?”
  630.  
  631. No response.
  632.  
  633. “Human!”
  634.  
  635. Calynn turned the handle of the door and entered the bedroom, letting her eyes land on Damian’s bare chest as he slept. He hadn’t noticed her in his slumber.
  636.  
  637. She looked at him in disgust, it seemed he was one of those who enjoyed sleeping in the nude, like a wild animal. Even though one of his legs and his waist was under a blanket, she surmised he likely wasn’t wearing anything underneath it all.
  638.  
  639. “The sheer audacity of this human. Sleeping through my heartfelt apology.” She muttered under her breath.
  640.  
  641. Damian, still unaware of her presence, reached over to scratch his arm, causing his face to twitch at the pain that surged through him, yet he remained asleep.
  642.  
  643. The dragon raised an eyebrow, taking notice in the discoloration of the skin on his arm. Normally it would be impossible for anyone to see it in this darkness, but dragons had made caves their homes for countless eons, even before the Demon Lord arose, so their eyes were naturally attuned for gloomy environments.
  644.  
  645. She walked up beside him, eying his arm with curiosity until kneeling beside the bed to examine it.
  646.  
  647. It was indeed bruised, and slightly swollen by the looks of it. She poked him with her claw to see his reaction, and to no surprise, he winced in pain but remained asleep. If she continued to do so, she was certain he’d eventually wake up.
  648.  
  649. She looked back at his arm and then at her claws, letting out a sigh as she closed her eyes to concentrate.
  650.  
  651. Extending a single claw out, a faint white light began to form at the tip of her claw, invading the room with illumination. She opened her eyes and pressed her claw against the bruise on his arm, causing the glow to dissipate until the room returned to its previous darkness.
  652.  
  653. Once she was certain her magic had successfully made it through to him, she stood up and began to leave the room.
  654.  
  655. “You should feel honored, being healed by a dragon.”
  656.  
  657. ***
  658.  
  659. Several hours later
  660.  
  661. Calynn yawned, waking up from her slumber from atop of her hoard. She rubbed one of her eyes, wondering why she was waking up so soon after falling asleep, and wishing she would go back to sleep soon. She scanned her surroundings, only seeing the piles of treasure she had amassed throughout the ages, but looking down from her bed something caught her eye - something new.
  662.  
  663. It was a bottle.
  664.  
  665. She slid down from her pile, eventually reaching down to the bottom where she picked up the bottle. Her eyes widened for a split second, and a smile began to creep onto her face.
  666.  
  667. It was a sore throat remedy… for dragons.
  668.  
  669. ***
  670.  
  671. That morning
  672.  
  673. At the lobby of the Covet Corner Hotel, Gramps and Lily could be seen with a crowd of mamono surrounding the counter as usual whenever a new guest arrived.
  674.  
  675. The werewolves who had gotten back from their night shift had taken quite a liking to the new arrival, as he had entered their quarters and asked them for help without a shred of fear in his eyes. If it weren’t for the fact that they were still on the clock, they would’ve made him a member of the pack… but instead, they escorted him down to the front desk.
  676.  
  677. However, neither respect nor professionalism could keep them from sniffing the newcomer incessantly or standing at an unnerving distance from him.
  678.  
  679. As the team made every effort to memorize the smell of the newcomer, Damian was just stepping out of the elevator, unable to see them through the crowd that formed around the counter.
  680.  
  681. Although he did have the intention to talk to the old man with the odd nickname, there was something he had to check first.
  682.  
  683. He turned towards the entrance…or rather, entrances. He didn’t notice so many doors when he first walked into this place. Each door was different from the other, each one opening and closing at varying intervals, letting a guest walk in or out of the hotel. But what was truly odd was the locations each door revealed when it opened. Some displayed sunlight, others night, some were raining while some were clear. Damian scratched his head as he looked at all the doors and all the places they were leading to… was he where he thought he was… better yet, how in the world was he going to get back if he wasn’t?
  684.  
  685. “Hey! You lost?”
  686.  
  687. “Huh?”
  688.  
  689. Damian turned around to face the voice.
  690.  
  691. It was a woman… a hairy one at that. Her dark dog-like ears were drooping slightly, complementing the hint of annoyance on her face that less than cheery mood clear to everyone around her. From behind her, the crowd that was previously surrounding the counter had begun to disperse, as a red headed demon woman was gleefully jumping around while hugging a man’s head to her chest.
  692.  
  693. “Are you lost…sir?” she asked again, adding sir to the end in an attempt to maintain some level of professionalism, although her voice said otherwise.
  694.  
  695. “Umm… sort of?”
  696.  
  697. The werewolf let out a sigh and crossed her paws, drumming her claws against her bicep as she waited for him to continue.
  698.  
  699. “Uh… you see, I came here yesterday, but I can’t remember which door I came through.”
  700.  
  701. She let out another sigh.
  702.  
  703. “Did you take a shower between then and now?”
  704.  
  705. “No, I ha-“
  706.  
  707. “Good.”  
  708.  
  709. Without warning she pulled him towards her with a forceful jerk, placing a paw in front of her face to keep him from accidentally head-butting her. Bringing him much closer to her than he was comfortable with, she placed her nose over his hair and took in a deep breath through her nose. After taking in a few more whiffs, she shoved him away from her, though gently this time.
  710.  
  711. She sniffed the air a few times, sometimes bending down near the ground to take in its odor before returning to her original position to smell the air again.  
  712.  
  713. The werewolf guard did this several times until finally stepping forward towards the doors. She turned her head several times as she tried her best to filter out all the new smells covering the old ones.
  714.  
  715. Every few steps she would repeat the process, taking in the smells throughout the area and then taking a few steps forward. Some of the guests weren’t entirely sure what she was doing, but it was never a good idea to get in the way of a werewolf, let alone one in a security guard uniform.
  716.  
  717. Soon the two found themselves in front of a simple undecorated door, to which she sniffed a few times before it opened, surprising both her and the returning guest walking in.
  718.  
  719. “Oh, sorry!” She stepped to the side, allowing the resident into the hotel before closing the door and sniffing it once more.
  720.  
  721. She waved her clawed paw towards Damian, signaling him to approach her. Once he was close enough she grabbed his arm, bringing it up to her nose so she could take in his odor once more, before releasing him from her grip and returning to the door. After a few more audible sniffs, she nodded and turned to face Damian.
  722.  
  723. “This is it.”
  724.  
  725. “Umm… okay? Thank you?”
  726.  
  727. “… do you know how to use it?”
  728.  
  729. “…”
  730.  
  731. The werewolf sighed once again, obviously wishing he had said yes so that she could leave.
  732.  
  733. “You at least remember where you came from… right?”
  734.  
  735. “Yes.” He told her sternly, not enjoying the tone in her voice.
  736.  
  737. “All you have to do is think about where you want to go and turn the handle. Simple. If you think of anywhere else, it’ll try to take you somewhere either close or similar, so make sure you know where you’re going and which door you can get there with.”
  738.  
  739. “Okay… is that it?”
  740.  
  741. “Yep.”
  742.  
  743. Without waiting to see if he had any other questions, the werewolf turned around and walked away, eager to end her shift and go home.
  744.  
  745. Damian stood there for a moment, watching her leave. As thankful as he was that she helped him get back to his door, he was somewhat glad that she was leaving. The tone in her voice bothered him.
  746.  
  747. He turned to face the door he had walked through the day before, and took a step forward to grasp the handle. Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes to remember the alley the old man led him through on that rainy day… who would’ve thought it would lead him here. With the image now vivid in mind, he opened his eyes and pushed the door open.
  748.  
  749. Rain.
  750.  
  751. That was the first thing he heard.
  752.  
  753. Not the creaking of the door, nor the sound of a cat jumping out of the nearby pile of trash, but rain.
  754.  
  755. Damian was once again in the alley he had gone through in order to reach this hotel, and, just like last time, the rain was pouring down hard with a thunderous roar. He leaned his body out through the doorway to look up at the sky, only to be greeted with dark clouds and a face full of water.
  756.  
  757. He retracted his head back into the safety of the hotel.
  758.  
  759. The sky was filled with clouds, blocking out the sun and making it almost seem like it was night time. The storm he had walked through the day before was nothing compared to how it was today, and it seemed like it would only get worse.
  760.  
  761. Damian let out a sigh, closing the door and turning around towards the counter.  
  762.  
  763. He was hoping the skies would have cleared up by now, but it seemed like he’d have to stay another night at this hotel…
  764.  
  765. As he began to walk towards the counter, he wondered how common his situation was in a place like this. Most people seemed to be going about their day just like any other day, in fact, it seemed like most people enjoyed this place. There was a certain kind of joy in the air, it wasn’t quite like one you’d see in a festival or a pub, but just enough to notice the difference. It was odd…
  766.  
  767. Before he realized it, he had made it to the counter.
  768.  
  769. It was no longer surrounded by the guests that were there earlier – only the man named Gramps stood behind the counter, the small blond from yesterday nowhere in sight, busy rearranging things that Damian could not see.
  770.  
  771. “Welcome back.” He greeted, letting go of whatever he had in hand before turning to face Damian.
  772.  
  773. “Hello,” he responded, “I would like to change rooms.”
  774.  
  775. Gramps raised an eyebrow.
  776.  
  777. “Change your room?”
  778.  
  779. “Yes sir, that is what I said.”
  780.  
  781. “May I ask why?”
  782.  
  783. “It’s quite simple really – my roommate is crazy and she almost killed me last night. If it weren’t still raining where I came from I would’ve already checked out. And if I had paid for the room, I’d ask for a refund.”
  784.  
  785. Gramps eyed him for a moment, before simply shrugging and taking out a clear card from somewhere behind the counter.
  786.  
  787. “Now, normally we wouldn’t allow room changes out of an occupied room so quickly after checking in unless it was an emergency… but how about this. I’ll let you stay in whichever room you get from this card. Deal?”
  788.  
  789. “Deal.”
  790.  
  791. Damian didn’t care which room he got, he just didn’t want to stay with such a brute in his room.
  792.  
  793. Gramps handed him the clear card, and as soon as it touched his fingers it began to change colors just like the first one he had gotten the day before.  
  794.  
  795. However, unlike the last one which took a minute or so to assign him to a room, this one merely took seconds before turning to a white color with the number ‘197’ on it.
  796.  
  797. “Huh?!”
  798.  
  799. “Hehehe… looks like you’re staying in that room,” Gramps said, doing his best to pretend that this outcome was unexpected.
  800.  
  801. “I can’t stay in that room!”
  802.  
  803. “No… hmm. How about best two out of three?” Gramps asked, wanting to humor the man, before holding out yet another clear card.
  804.  
  805. Damian swiped it from his hand almost immediately.
  806.  
  807. This time the card didn’t even go through the various colors, just changing directly white and revealing to him the room number he so desperately wished he wasn’t assigned to.
  808.  
  809. Damian dropped the card on the table.
  810.  
  811. “I am not staying in that room. I’ll sleep out in the rain if I have to.”
  812.  
  813. “Why are you so desperate to get out of that room?”
  814.  
  815. “Didn’t you hear me the first time? She tried to kill me!”
  816.  
  817. “Well, you wouldn’t be the first one that’s happened to.”
  818.  
  819. “N-not the first?! What kind of place does this to their guests!”
  820.  
  821. “Look… explain to me exactly what happened and don’t leave out any details.”
  822.  
  823. Damian told him of the events that had occurred the night before, how he had been cooking and she threw him against the wall, as well as when she spat out fire after burning her mouth on his dinner.
  824.  
  825. Gramps listened to his story patiently, nodding at the details as he heard them, even smiling when he heard that Calynn couldn’t handle spicy meals.
  826.  
  827. “So that’s what happened.”
  828.  
  829. “Yes, that’s why I want to change out of that room. I don’t care if I have to pay, just let me move.”
  830.  
  831. “Hmm… normally we don’t move people out of the room because of issues with the roommate… in all honesty, it’s pretty rare for there to be any problems to begin with.”
  832.  
  833. “But you do make exceptions though, right?”
  834.  
  835. “…”
  836.  
  837. “Oh, come on, you heard what she did! I can’t stay in a room with a sociopath like her!”
  838.  
  839. “I heard, but that’s not what’s bothering me.”
  840.  
  841. “…what? How isn’t it?”
  842.  
  843. “Hmph, that dragon is all talk. She absolutely hates me because I always call her out when she’s being reckless. But somehow, I’m still here. So, there’s nothing you really have to worry about - at least nothing permanent.”
  844.  
  845. Gramps took a quick glance over Damian before continuing.
  846.  
  847. “Either way, have you gotten yourself examined at the infirmary? If she threw you against a wall, there may be some injury that you may not have noticed but should get checked out.”
  848.  
  849. “Hmm… well, my arm was pretty bad last night, but it felt fine this morning.”
  850.  
  851. Gramps raised an eyebrow before opening his mouth.
  852.  
  853. “Alright, how about this. Get yourself checked out at the infirmary we have here and tell me how it goes. If you’re still adamant about changing rooms, we’ll see what we can work out.”
  854.  
  855. “…fine,” Damian replied with a stern expression.  
  856.  
  857. Damian was led to the infirmary by Gramps, which was conveniently located near the counter of the lobby. In a matter of minutes, he was led to a separate room by a succubus and told to wait until one of the nurses came in to perform the checkup.  
  858.  
  859. There he sat, on top of a flat cushioned table just long enough for him to lie on top of, but too narrow for his liking. He looked around the room, noting the odd differences he wouldn’t normally see, such as the drain holes spaced every so often across the floor, or the diagrams featuring the anatomy of a certain few mamono.
  860.  
  861. While he has distracted by the anatomy of an arachne, the door clicked before swinging open and allowing a nurse with her teal-blue hair tied in a bun into the room.
  862.  
  863. “Hello, my name is Ariel Nolwenn, and I am the nurse currently assigned to you.”
  864.  
  865. Damian had turned his head when he heard the door opening, but he wasn’t exactly prepared for the odd sight that stood before him. In front of him stood a woman about a head taller than him if he were standing, wearing a plain light blue short-sleeved dress that extended down to just above her knees. It looked more like a long shirt than a dress if he were being honest. But it wasn’t the dress that caught his attention, but rather it was the lack of anything below her knees.  
  866.  
  867. She wasn’t wearing any pants.  
  868.  
  869. Normally the women he had come across would wear something if their dress were that short, but then again, he hadn’t really met many who would wear anything that short.
  870.  
  871. Of course, that alone was enough to catch his attention, but it was soon accompanied by the woman’s apparent absence of any form of footwear.
  872.  
  873. She was standing before him barefoot, not even a pair of sandals separating her and the cold vinyl floor.
  874.  
  875. Trying his best not to stare at the odd choice his nurse made in deciding what not to wear, he returned his gaze back up to meet her eyes… only to be distracted with what she was carrying. In her hands, she was carrying a pitcher of water and an empty cup, and beneath her armpit she held a clipboard along with several papers.
  876.  
  877. What in the world was going on with this lady?
  878.  
  879. “Hmm? Something wrong?” she asked, looking down to her feet and wriggling her toes a bit before looking back up at him, “Let me guess, it’s the feet, isn’t it?”
  880.  
  881. “Uhmm… sort of?”
  882.  
  883. Ariel let out an annoyed sigh before stepping towards the table and setting down the pitcher and the cup along with her clipboard.
  884.  
  885. “Damn raccoon.” She muttered, lifting one of her legs up behind her and inspecting it with one of her hands as the other held onto the table for support. “She told me that no one would be able to tell. Damn liar. I should’ve known better than to trust her.”
  886.  
  887. And with that question answered, things had turned from odd to confusing in a matter of seconds for Damian. What was she so worried about people noticing that necessitated her examining her own foot? Whatever it was, it must have been pretty important to bother her so much.
  888.  
  889. “Is something wrong?”
  890.  
  891. She let go of her foot, allowing it to rest on the ground once against before waving her hand dismissively to him.
  892.  
  893. “Oh no, it’s nothing you need to worry about. Now then…” she took a quick glance over her clipboard before continuing, “Damian, just give me a minute to look over this sheet and get everything ready. You just stay right there, okay?”
  894.  
  895. Damian obediently did as she said, remaining where he was as she traced her finger across the sheets of paper on the clipboard.
  896.  
  897. “So, you’re just here for a routine check-up? Any reason in particular? Have you been feeling sick or anything of the sort recently?” she asked him while pouring herself a cup of water from the pitcher she had brought in.
  898.  
  899. “Well, not really, I feel just fine. It’s Gramps that wants me to get this… umm…”
  900.  
  901. Damian stopped halfway through his sentence as he lost his train of thought due to Ariel – more specifically, what she was doing with her water. He had expected her to drink it or to offer it to him, but instead, she was pouring it onto her neck and letting it run down her body until falling onto the floor. Her dress seemed to be resistant to water, since it seemed to allow the water to run over it without absorbing it into its fibers.
  902.  
  903. “Hmm? Oh, don’t mind me, it’s just so awfully dry in here. Please continue.”
  904.  
  905. She poured herself another cup, but halfway this time, and splashed it into her face. The water eventually reached the floor and flowed into the drain holes scattered throughout, preventing it from forming a puddle.
  906.  
  907. “Uhh, yeah… Gramps was the one who wanted me to get this because of… umm… roommate issue.”
  908.  
  909. Damian was still confused as to what this woman was doing, but then again, nothing about this hotel quite made sense to him.
  910.  
  911. “Ah, I see, ‘roommate issues’. Did you forget the safe word?” She responded with a sly smile.
  912.  
  913. Damian furrowed his brows.
  914.  
  915. “No, not like that.”
  916.  
  917. Ariel chuckled and waved her hand at him once more.
  918.  
  919. “Oh, I’m only teasing. You need to have a sense of humor in my profession, I didn’t mean any disrespect. Now then, as for your check-up...”
  920.  
  921. The nurse opened a cabinet under the table, removing a device unknown to Damian. It seemed to be a scepter of sorts, brown in color, with a large oval glass stone embedded in the neck about a fourth of its length from the top.
  922.  
  923. “Now then, I’m going to let this little thing take a look at you and see if it picks up anything. Just sit still and we’ll be done before you know it.”
  924.  
  925. She smiled and tightened her grip on the device, causing the stone on the neck to glow white for a second. After a few seconds, the stone flashed several different colors – first blue, then purple, white, and finally blue once again – before returning once more to its initial translucent hue.
  926.  
  927. Ariel blinked with a dumbfounded look on her face.
  928.  
  929. “… Let me try that one more time.”
  930.  
  931. Once again, she tightened her grip and the scepter’s stone let out a white glow just as before. And just as it did previously, it flashed the same colors before becoming clear.
  932.  
  933. “…”
  934.  
  935. She turned around to look at her clipboard, shuffling through the pages she had attached to it until reaching the page she was looking for.
  936.  
  937. “Red, blue, green, purple… but nothing about flashing them together…” she muttered under her breath.
  938.  
  939. Ariel faced Damian, trying her best to not seem completely lost with the situation.
  940.  
  941. “You wouldn’t by happen to be a wizard of sorts, would you? Or magically inclined in general?”
  942.  
  943. “No? I’ve never been good at magic.”
  944.  
  945. “Hmm… do you have a charm on you maybe?”
  946.  
  947. “Not that I know of, no.”
  948.  
  949. The nurse stroked her chin for a moment as she thought of a reason for why her device was giving her a reading she wasn’t expecting.
  950.  
  951. “Could you stand up for a moment, I’m going to see if we can pinpoint where this is happening… or if this thing is simply broken.”
  952.  
  953. “Okay…”
  954.  
  955. Damian got off the narrow bed he was on and stood there in front of the nurse.
  956.  
  957. “And if you could, extend your arms and legs out.”
  958.  
  959. He spread his legs out wide and stretched his arms out to the sides, making his body resemble a starfish.
  960.  
  961. Ariel knelt and activated the scepter once more. Much like the previous times, it glowed white for a few seconds, but this time it switched to a green glimmer and remained as such.
  962.  
  963. She panned the device over his leg as it continued to release a green light from the stone, doing the same to the other leg.
  964.  
  965. Raising herself up, she passed the tool over his left arm, and then the stone began to flash just as it had before until it ceased once again.
  966.  
  967. “Hmm… well, now we know something here is the problem…”
  968.  
  969. She pondered for a moment, setting the scepter down onto the table and picking up the clipboard once again to look at the page that she was previously looking at. After murmuring to herself a few times and flipping between a few pages, she set it back down on the table.
  970.  
  971. “To be perfectly honest with you, I’m not sure what’s going on. Stay right here, I’m going to get the doctor to see if she knows what’s going on.”
  972.  
  973. With that, she walked out of the room and left Damian alone with his thoughts once more.
  974.  
  975. He rubbed his arm as he pondered what it was that was causing such a confused reaction from the nurse and her peculiar device. His arm felt fine. In fact, he felt better than usual, but he thought it was just from getting a good night’s sleep.
  976.  
  977. He continued to wonder what it could be, but was distracted by the sound of hooves hitting the floor steadily becoming louder with each passing moment.
  978.  
  979. As soon as it stopped, the door opened to reveal the source of the sound.
  980.  
  981. “Hello Mr. Damian, I’m Doctor Agnes Wells.” She announced as she clip-clopped into the room.
  982.  
  983. The white coat she wore almost blended into the white hair of her equine body, and the horn on her forehead that split her bangs almost seemed to glow.
  984.  
  985. She was followed in by the odd nurse that was here moments ago, who proceeded to shut the door once they were both inside.
  986.  
  987. “Nurse Nolwenn here told me that you’ve been giving one of our tools some odd results, so if you don’t mind I’d like to witness this alleged anomaly first hand before I start making any decisions. Is that alright?”
  988.  
  989. Damian nodded at the unicorn, who in turn gave him a warm smile before turning to the nurse.
  990.  
  991. Once again, they repeated the procedure. She activated the scepter, this time beginning at his chest near his heart, and just as before the stone glowed green, but as soon as she motioned it towards his arm it began to flash several colors until dying down.
  992.  
  993. “Hm.”
  994.  
  995. That was the only sound that came from the unicorn after seeing this.
  996.  
  997. She looked through the clipboard Ariel was previously flipping through, scanning through its contents in order to make sure she didn’t miss anything, but in the end, she found nothing.
  998.  
  999. “Well? What do you suppose we should do?” Ariel asked the unicorn.
  1000.  
  1001. Taking in a deep breath, Agnes began to roll up her sleeves.
  1002.  
  1003. “Looks like we have to do an in-depth examination to determine what’s going on.”
  1004.  
  1005. Damian instantly leaned back after hearing her say that as she rolled up her sleeves to her elbows.
  1006.  
  1007. “How in-depth are we talking?!”
  1008.  
  1009. She looked at him slightly confused, but then let out a small laugh as she realized what he was thinking.
  1010.  
  1011. “Oh no, no, no! Nothing invasive will be necessary!” She told him while waving her hand at him, “We’ll be doing the same thing as before, except instead of that tool we’ve been using, I’ll be the one to do it. Now, if you could please stretch out your arm like before.”
  1012.  
  1013. Damian calmed down after hearing what she was going to do, and just as with the examination from the scepter, he extended his arm out for her.
  1014.  
  1015. Agnes stretched out the palms of her hands towards his arm, but remained several inches away whilst closing her eyes to concentrate. Her horn began to let out a hazy white glow into its surroundings, showing that she had begun to use her magic… whatever it was.
  1016.  
  1017. “Hmm…” she murmured.
  1018.  
  1019. Her fingers twitched and her brows furrowed for a moment, making both Damian and Ariel look at each other in concern.
  1020.  
  1021. Soon, it was over.
  1022.  
  1023. The doctor retracted her hands away from Damian, her horned returned to its regular brilliance, and she opened her eyes to the two.
  1024.  
  1025. “Quite the interesting case you have here.”
  1026.  
  1027. “What is it? Is something wrong with me?”
  1028.  
  1029. “Haha~, oh no dear, you’re doing quite well… but before I tell you what it is, I’d like to know if anything out of the ordinary has happened to you recently. More specifically, to that arm.”
  1030.  
  1031. Damian let out a sigh, growing tired at having to retell what happened the night before, and thus he condensed his whole story down to a mere two sentence summary.
  1032.  
  1033. “My roommate was an ass and threw me into a wall. It hurt pretty badly at the time, but when I woke up it was fine.”
  1034.  
  1035. “And this roommate of yours…” The doctor replied, a raised brow accompanying her broadening smile, “She wouldn’t by happen to be… a dragon, would she?”
  1036.  
  1037. “Yeah! How did you know?”
  1038.  
  1039. She couldn’t help but let out a chuckle before answering him.
  1040.  
  1041. “There aren’t many creatures capable of casting what I just saw on your wrist to that magnitude. That, and most of the ones that are wouldn’t toss a man into a wall, usually it’s the bedroom.”
  1042.  
  1043. He made a face at that last statement, but she continued without paying him any mind.
  1044.  
  1045. “Now, what I did was basically take a peek at your mana. As you know, all living things have and release mana. By examining a certain individual’s mana, you can find out a lot about them – like who they are, what they’re like, and even some of their preferences. With it, we can also determine the state of the body, and find out if they’re in pain or if there are any underlying conditions they’re unaware of without using traditional methods like cutting them open or bleeding them.”
  1046.  
  1047. She turned to face the nurse who was still holding the scepter tool.
  1048.  
  1049. “Unfortunately, it’s fairly difficult to simply be able to discern such information from one’s residual mana. We mamono naturally have this ability, but it usually only works with larger or more pure quantities, such as spirit energy. Even so, it would take several samples in order to finally be able to understand what it’s telling us. On the other hand, some species of mamono – such as unicorns, succubi, and certain types of mermaids – have a far greater capacity for uncovering this information in their own unique way. But this is why we here at the clinic rely on this tool. The colors it displays tell us the state of the body through absorbing some of the residual mana.”
  1050.  
  1051. She held out her hand, silently asking for the scepter from the nurse.
  1052.  
  1053. Once in hand, she activated it and turned it so that the glowing stone would face Damian whilst in front of her stomach.
  1054.  
  1055. “As you can see, currently it is green. This indicates that everything is in place and functioning normally as it should be. But as you know there are other colors as well, such as red or purple, which are usually bad for you. But sometimes we get other colors, such as-“
  1056.  
  1057. She lifted the tool up to her forehead so that it would be near her horn, causing the stone to shine a bright blue.
  1058.  
  1059. “Such as blue. Blue signifies some sort of recovery assistance magic is present, like healing. Now… as for what happened to you.”
  1060.  
  1061. She closed her eyes for a moment whilst still holding the scepter in front of her forehead. Her horn began to glow once more as it did when she was examining him, causing the stone in the scepter to also shine brightly until it began to flash blue and eventually return to its clear color.
  1062.  
  1063. “There we go.” She muttered as she opened her eyes again and brought the scepter down to confirm the stone had deactivated once more.
  1064.  
  1065. “Now, like I said before, this device was made to absorb residual mana to interpret the state of the body. The main word being ‘residual’. Any more than a small amount and it’ll overload and stop the process. Even so, it still should be able to give a reading. As you saw when it was by my horn, it was probably shining blue, but when my horn began to release more mana it flashed before deactivating – logically it should have flashed blue, correct?”
  1066.  
  1067. Damian nodded.
  1068.  
  1069. “Very good. Now we go to your readings. When we scanned your arm, it began to flash several colors. Normally this never happens, but after taking a closer look with my own innate magic, I was able to determine why.”
  1070.  
  1071. She cleared her throat before continuing.
  1072.  
  1073. “You see, whenever magic is cast onto someone or something, usually it will ‘stain’ the affected area for some amount of time. For the most part, it’s only for a couple of hours, but certain spells can remain for a lifetime if not properly taken care of. Therefore, we have the several colors on our device so that we can discern if anything had been used recently on the area.”
  1074.  
  1075. She activated the scepter in her hand once more and used it on his arm, causing to repeat the process from before.  
  1076.  
  1077. “The first color we saw was blue. As I stated before, blue represents some sort recover magic. After taking a look, I could verify that there was a healing spell used on you.”
  1078.  
  1079. Damian glanced down at his wrist, remembering the pain he had felt the night before.
  1080.  
  1081. “What makes this interesting was the sheer power behind this spell. Although the spell itself that was used seems to be a simple one, with how much was put behind it one could easily confuse it for an advanced or even expert levelled spell. But that’s not all, the very fact that I could even detect the amount of mana used, which is what caused our tool to overload, is what really makes this intriguing. And this brings us to our second color.”
  1082.  
  1083. At that moment, Ariel had begun to pour water on herself again, gaining the stares of both Damian and Agnes.
  1084.  
  1085. “Oh, don’t mind me, please continue.”
  1086.  
  1087. “Ahem, as I was saying. The second color was purple. For the most part, purple is not the color you would want to see when being examined. The reason being, purple signifies the presence of a curse-type spell.”
  1088.  
  1089. “A curse? Like the ones that make an entire family die in water?”
  1090.  
  1091. “Hahaha, oh heavens no… well, I mean technically you could, but something like that’s so difficult to produce that you’d be better off just drowning them yourself.”
  1092.  
  1093. Damian’s face lost a shade of color when she said that so casually, causing her to let out a laugh.
  1094.  
  1095. “Oh dearie, I didn’t mean to scare you like that! But yes, it is within the same vein of magic. You see, like I said before, spells usually stain the target’s mana for some time – but curses function a bit differently. Instead of being momentary they linger, attaching themselves to their target.”
  1096.  
  1097. Damian furrowed his brows, not entirely grasping the concept.
  1098.  
  1099. “Hmm…a bit too complex for you? Ah, how about this – it’s like water and honey. Water will wet your skin for some time, but it will eventually leave on its own, while honey on the other hand is far more persistent. If you don’t wash honey off, it’ll remain on your finger and continue making it sticky for some time until it’s finally all removed.”
  1100.  
  1101. “Oh – I think I get what you are saying now.”
  1102.  
  1103. “Yes, curses are just like honey – though not as sweet. They will remain on the person, sometimes only lasting as long as the amount of mana provided by the caster, or sometimes they will feed off the very mana of the target, it all just depends on what it was and how it was casted.”
  1104.  
  1105. “But wait, didn’t you say the spell was a healing spell? I thought curses were bad, not helpful.”
  1106.  
  1107. “Haha, now you’re beginning to understand why this is all so very fascinating. What I said earlier, about how long a curse may last, the same principles apply to certain spells, meaning they’re casted in a similar manner to a curse.”
  1108.  
  1109. “…huh?”
  1110.  
  1111. “Oh, right – you are magically inexperienced. Let’s see, Uhm… hmm…”
  1112.  
  1113. “It’s like adding flour to the water,” Ariel interjected.
  1114.  
  1115. “Yes, exactly! Thank you, Ariel. It’s like that. This will make the water stick on your skin for a greater length of time comparable to how honey would, but it will eventually come off on its own. And this is what your roommate did to the initial spell, they changed it in order to make it act like a curse. By the looks of it, it’s the type that’ll only last as long as the mana provided when it was initially casted. Our tool must’ve picked up on this trait and confused it for a curse, since it’s quite rare for something like this to be used for anything other than a curse."
  1116.  
  1117. Agnes readjusted her coat, clearing her throat once more before continuing.
  1118.  
  1119. “In all my professional years, I can honestly say that I had never actually seen something like this. It was always theoretical, but so impractical that no scholar ever thought it worth the effort to ascertain. This is the first time I was able to see someone that had it done to them. You see, when someone casts any form of healing spell onto someone else, one of two things should happen. Either all of the mana from the spell is used up in order to heal and fix the issue, or the target is completely healed and the spell simply disperses into the surroundings. The issue with the first outcome is that most of the time the very thing the caster was attempting to repair is left in an unfinished state, while the latter is a waste of mana that may leave the caster exhausted if they do this too often.  
  1120.  
  1121. What this particular spell does is ensure the full use of the healing portion of the spell by having it bound to you similar to a curse.”
  1122.  
  1123. “Huh… then why isn’t this method used more often?” Damian asked.
  1124.  
  1125. “Oh, that’s easy.” Ariel explained this time, “Curses are extremely difficult to learn, let alone cast to begin with. Therefore, they aren’t used very often – it’s far easier to just launch a fireball at someone than it is to curse them. But to be able to modify a spell to make it act like a curse, or just modify a spell in general, is absurdly difficult. You’d have to be an expert in the field of magic and have massive amounts of mana to ensure that it’s properly casted. It is not a simple task.”
  1126.  
  1127. “Exactly, thank you, Ariel.”
  1128.  
  1129. “…so, is that how you guessed my roommate was a dragon?”
  1130.  
  1131. “Yes. Well… mostly. I had heard yesterday from Lilly that someone had been assigned to be a dragon’s roommate. I just thought it an odd coincidence that the following day a man comes in after being thrown into a wall and possesses a spell with enough mana to last… hmm… maybe a few years… maybe a decade.”
  1132.  
  1133. “Really?!”
  1134.  
  1135. “Hmm… maybe a little less, but you don’t seem exceptionally clumsy. You don’t break your bones very often, do you? But yes, by the looks of it she’s probably the one who casted this. There are very few individuals with the mana reserve necessary to power this, and along with their knowledge of arcane magic I could definitely see her being able to pull something like this off pretty easily.”
  1136.  
  1137. “Wow… I guess she must’ve felt pretty bad about it…”
  1138.  
  1139. “Hmm?”
  1140.  
  1141. Damian sighed, deciding it was about time he fully explained the events of the night before. He told her about how he was cooking when she came up to him and demanded some of his food. How that led to him being slammed into a wall and having her blast the adjacent wall with her fireballs. When he finished, the unicorn could be seen giggling at the outcome while the nurse was shocked that he survived after denying a dragon’s wishes and humiliating her.
  1142.  
  1143. “Amazing. Simply amazing. Hahaha!”
  1144.  
  1145. “Hmph, it didn’t feel amazing at the time.” He commented whilst rubbing his wrist.
  1146.  
  1147. “True. Well then, I guess we’re just about done here, but before you go there’s something I’d like to give you before you leave. If you could please step out to the front and wait there until I get it.” Agnes said, heading towards the door and opening it for the two to step out.
  1148.  
  1149. Damian and Ariel both left the examination room, soon to be followed by the sound of Agnes’ hooves once they were out in the hall. The two went towards the entrance of the clinic as the unicorn went the opposite direction. Ariel went behind the counter and began to fill out some paper work, leaving Damian standing there wondering what in the world he was going to receive.
  1150.  
  1151. “You live in room 197 on the sixth floor, right?” Ariel asked.
  1152.  
  1153. “Yes? Why do you ask?” he replied.
  1154.  
  1155. “Oh, I just need to know who we have to charge for your check-up. Since you live there we’ll charge it as an employee physical.”
  1156.  
  1157. “Umm…?”
  1158.  
  1159. “Don’t worry, it just means we don’t have to charge you specifically for this since you live in that room.”
  1160.  
  1161. Damian wasn’t sure why, but he was glad he didn’t have to pay for any of it. Then, off in the distance, he could hear the sound of horse hooves clopping down the hall.
  1162.  
  1163. In a few second, the doctor appeared with a bottle in her hand.
  1164.  
  1165. “Sorry about that, we don’t usually get many cases that require this.” She said, placing the dark green bottle on top of the counter for Damian to grab.
  1166.  
  1167. “What is it?” he asked, eying the crudely drawn wyvern on the label of the bottle.
  1168.  
  1169. “Medicine. For your roommate.”
  1170.  
  1171. Damian tossed her a confused expression, to which she gave a small giggle.
  1172.  
  1173. “As you probably already know, dragons are very powerful creatures and are capable of breathing fire. What most people tend to forget is that while in their humanized forms, dragons are much weaker than they are than when in their true draconic forms. Not only are they more susceptible to outside influences, but they are even in danger of harming themselves in this form, particularly when they breathe fire.”
  1174.  
  1175. Damian widened his eyes slightly in realization.
  1176.  
  1177. “Breathing fire, although incredibly effective against most enemies, puts an incredible strain on the dragon’s throat in their human forms. To think she fired out three fireballs… quite amazing she didn’t come down here immediately afterwards… but, where was I? Ah yes, the bottle. A dragon’s power is a bit of a double-edged sword – due to their great magical capabilities they also possess an incredibly high resistance to magic of all types, including their own. This makes them particularly… difficult patients. The only ways to properly treat a dragon would be to either enhance their natural regenerative abilities, use an incredibly difficult and powerful healing spell, or revert to more ‘traditional’ methods such as herbalism or apothecary. This is a special juice extracted from a fairly powerful plant, it should soothe her throat a bit and help her recover more easily.”
  1178.  
  1179. “Um… thanks?” he said, taking the bottle in his hand.
  1180.  
  1181. “And don’t worry about paying for it. We have tons of this stuff and the wyverns here barely ever need it. It’ll probably go bad before they ever get around to using all of it. Use it as a way to return the favor for what she did.” She told him with a wink.
  1182.  
  1183. “Oh.”
  1184.  
  1185. Damian looked down at his arm, letting out a sigh before reaching out to grab the bottle.
  1186.  
  1187. “Thanks again.”
  1188.  
  1189. “Anytime.”
  1190.  
  1191. Damian walked out of the clinic, looking down at the bottle and his arm once again. He closed his eyes while taking in a deep breath, and began to head towards the elevator.  
  1192.  
  1193.  
  1194. Section 4
  1195. Treasured
  1196.  
  1197. Several days had passed since that day Damian had become close friends with the wall.  
  1198.  
  1199. In fact, it had been close to 3 weeks.
  1200.  
  1201. And somehow, it had not stopped raining back where Damian came from.
  1202.  
  1203. Since it seemed like he would not be able to continue with his travels, for the time being, Damian had decided to talk with the danuki since it appeared that he’d be staying a bit longer than expected. As if though she had been anticipating him to tell her he’d be staying, she already had everything prepared. She had an open job position, a uniform his size, and a contract ready to be signed with a sign-on bonus all tucked away in a drawer by her desk when he came to see her.
  1204.  
  1205. Apparently, anyone that was assigned to his room was automatically considered a guard of the bank, which is why he wouldn’t have to pay for the room. But if he wanted to get paid anything extra, they’d need to actually do guard work, and not just lounge around in their underwear all day in their room.
  1206.  
  1207. Although he understandably was against the idea of signing anything given to him by a danuki, she assured him that he could leave anytime once he was able to, he’d just have to return the uniform… and the bonus if he left within six months of signing the contract.
  1208.  
  1209. He wasn’t very fond of that last detail, but he’d just have to make sure he had most of it still on him that could be covered with his pay if he was going to leave.
  1210.  
  1211. Even so, he would be hard-pressed to find any other place that would offer him the same benefits this raccoon woman was offering him.
  1212.  
  1213. There was one issue with his employment though.
  1214.  
  1215. He was weaker than the rest of the guards.
  1216.  
  1217. By a significant portion.
  1218.  
  1219. As such, the contract obligated him to train with one of the former guards acting as his trainer in order to close the gap in strength. And today was training day.
  1220.  
  1221. Jack, his trainer, was a human who used to be an adventurer before he and his wife stumbled upon the hotel. He was a nice guy, but he had a tendency to mix the memories of his adventures with Damian’s training exercises. One day he put him through an obstacle course and started firing toothpicks while yelling ‘Dodge the manticore spines!’ It wouldn’t have been so bad if there weren’t so many people around… and if he wasn’t such a great shot…
  1222.  
  1223. Still, it would be a lie to say he wasn’t able to keep things interesting. As such, today was another training day and the theme was grizzly wrestling.
  1224.  
  1225. He lost…
  1226.  
  1227. Several times.
  1228.  
  1229. How could someone who was barely paying attention pin him down so easily? She even fell asleep on top of him one of those times!
  1230.  
  1231. Jack told him that monsters had a tendency to be bigger and stronger than most humans, so Damian had to get used to going up against them if he was going to be a guard.
  1232.  
  1233. Although he had a good point, Damian felt like he probably shouldn’t have gone against an opponent like her until further along in their training.  
  1234.  
  1235. He was simply glad that the day was over and he was back at his room.
  1236.  
  1237. Like the first night he had stayed here, he decided to cook the very same home recipe he had made the day he arrived.
  1238.  
  1239. As he stirred the contents that were close to done within the pots, he looked over to the wall nearby that still had the remains of a scorch mark left behind.
  1240.  
  1241. He had gotten to learn a bit about his roommate over the last few weeks. Not from talking to her personally, but rather from his co-workers and Jack himself. Calynn didn’t seem to be the most active amongst the guards. In fact, she spends most of the time sleeping in one of her piles, undisturbed by the outside world. It had been several months since most of the guards had last seen Calynn.
  1242.  
  1243. It seemed that Calynn would habitually wake up once every few months for food, to which the branch manager herself would deliver to the vault. His co-workers often joked that their boss should have been born a kikimora instead, considering how she drops everything she’s doing to wait on the dragon.
  1244.  
  1245. While reminiscing in his thoughts, Damian failed to notice the sound of the front door opening followed by footsteps soon afterwards.
  1246.  
  1247. It wasn’t until she cleared her throat that Damian realized that Calynn was standing on the other side of the counter behind him.
  1248.  
  1249. “Human, I de-” she cut herself off, rethinking the arrogance in her approach, “…I would like to sample whatever it is you’re making.”
  1250.  
  1251. Damian looked at her for a moment, before turning around once again to face the food.
  1252.  
  1253. “No.”
  1254.  
  1255. Calynn’s nostrils flared, but she held back her impulse to yell at him, instead turning to the side so as to imply she was heading towards the door.
  1256.  
  1257. “Fine, it’s not like it smelled that great to begin with…” she mumbled.
  1258.  
  1259. “You wouldn’t like it.” he responded dismissively, not hearing what she said, “It’s spicy. But...”
  1260.  
  1261. Reaching behind the large pot in which he was cooking his meal, he pulled out a small pan with something fairly similar cooking inside it.
  1262.  
  1263. “I did make a smaller batch without all those spices, just in case you wanted to try some.”
  1264.  
  1265. Blood rushed to her cheeks at hearing his thoughtful proposal.
  1266.  
  1267. Thankfully, the scales scattered on her face kept it from becoming too obvious.
  1268.  
  1269. “Thank you, human.” She told him, trying her best to maintain her composure.
  1270.  
  1271. “Damian.”
  1272.  
  1273. “Huh?”
  1274.  
  1275. “My name. It’s Damian. Thought you should probably call me that since we’re living together.”
  1276.  
  1277. Calynn’s lips tightened, but she continued.
  1278.  
  1279. “Thank you… Damian.”
  1280.  
  1281. Being asked to be addressed by name – quite the arrogant little human now, wasn’t he? Her mother always spoke of others by species, only reserving to use their names if they were powerful like a dragon. The only humans she heard her mother ever address by name was a king from a far off land and the knight that had bested her…
  1282.  
  1283. Still, this human was interesting, to say the least. Very few could get a reaction from a dragon like he did from her when they met, and it seemed that he learned to keep her in consideration when going about his day.
  1284.  
  1285. Buried in her thoughts, she didn’t notice Damian had poured the meal into a bowl and placed it in front of her. The smell of the food brought her out of it just as he placed a fork beside it.
  1286.  
  1287. Ignoring the offered fork, Calynn stabbed her clawed finger into one of the meat chunks and placed it within her mouth.
  1288.  
  1289. Very much like the first time, when she bit down onto it the juices flowed out, letting her taste the flavor within.  
  1290.  
  1291. It was odd for Calynn.
  1292.  
  1293. To eat cooked foods.
  1294.  
  1295. Usually she would eat raw meat that was freshly killed for her. The taste of blood was something she was all too familiar with. The only times her meals varied was when the creature she ate had a unique or controlled diet. She had once eaten a goat that almost exclusively ate onions. It was possibly the oddest goat she had ever eaten. A bit sour, but still fresh in flavor.
  1296.  
  1297. She was relatively inexperienced when it came to cooked meals. Her mother said that it was a sign of weakness to cook every meal, needing to put in such efforts to keep themselves from being harmed by what they eat. The only exception was if there was nothing else to eat, and the only thing available was something truly disgusting. Then one could burn it to a crisp with their breath in order to make it edible.
  1298.  
  1299. However, mother wasn’t here anymore, and whatever Calynn had in her mouth right now was absolutely delicious!
  1300.  
  1301. “Hmm… you have your uses hu-… Damian.” She said as she stuffed another chunk of her meal into her mouth. “You may be worth keeping.”
  1302.  
  1303. “Huh?”
  1304.  
  1305. She swallowed her food before responding.
  1306.  
  1307. “It was nothing – I would like you to cook again. Tomorrow. And if possible, again the next day. Along with the following day, and so on.”
  1308.  
  1309. “Umm… I’m not so sure about that. I usually cook enough for myself to last a few days…”
  1310.  
  1311. “If there’s anything you need. Tools, ingredients, assistance. I can obtain it or be of use.”
  1312.  
  1313. This was an odd sight for Damian, especially with the hint of desperation noticeable in her voice. He wasn’t entirely sure how to answer, but the prospect of not having to worry about his food costs tugged at his mind.
  1314.  
  1315. “Well… I guess if you’re getting everything, we could try to work something out.”
  1316.  
  1317. A small, but victorious, smile formed on the dragon’s lips as she heard him say that. It did not leave her face as she finished her meal and thanked Damian, nor when she returned to her gold pile to resume her slumber.  
  1318.  
  1319. ***
  1320.  
  1321. The following day  
  1322.  
  1323. The bank was busy as usual. People coming in making deposits and withdrawals, couples applying for loans, and newcomers opening accounts.
  1324.  
  1325. A regular day at the Covet Corner Bank. Save for one tiny detail…
  1326.  
  1327. Within the vault, in room 197, two individuals could be seen walking into the room.
  1328.  
  1329. One was the branch manager, the gyoubu danuki known as Daria, followed by the resident of the apartment, Calynn.
  1330.  
  1331. “Did something happen in here?” Daria asked, turning to the dragon for a response.  
  1332.  
  1333. Instead, Calynn stepped forward and began to lead her through the room.
  1334.  
  1335. It was odd seeing Calynn up and about. Especially since the last time she had gotten up before Damian’s arrival was over three months ago, and over eight months since she had physically left her room. Seeing her walk through the bank towards the danuki’s office was quite the spectacle for everyone there, it would probably be what everyone talks about for the next few days.  
  1336.  
  1337. But it was so unlike her usual self.
  1338.  
  1339. Normally she’d just knock on the vault doors and let one of the guards get Daria in order to make a request, which usually was some type of food she was in the mood for. If she ever did walk out of her room, it was really only to stretch out her legs and make another food request. But this time, it wasn’t a meal – not a steak, not a lamb, not even a drink – but something else.
  1340.  
  1341. No matter how Daria looked at it, she couldn’t guess what it was that Calynn wanted, but she followed her through the apartment until both of them were in the bedroom.
  1342.  
  1343. “Alright Calynn, what is it? Why are we here?”
  1344.  
  1345. The dragon remained quiet.
  1346.  
  1347. Instead, she raised her hand and pointed it towards the bed.
  1348.  
  1349. Daria wasn’t sure what it was. The bed seemed perfectly fine, a little messy but it was practically new since it had only recently begun to be used. She looked at the bed, and then the dragon, doing so repeatedly until something clicked in her mind.
  1350.  
  1351. Unease spread throughout her face in a moment, quickly followed by a slight blush.
  1352.  
  1353. “I… I… I didn’t know you were like that…”
  1354.  
  1355. She had no interests in women herself, but she never imagined Calynn to prefer the fairer sex… then again, she didn’t really know Calynn all that much past her love of gold and general laziness. Still though, did she have to choose her of all people?! Daria could’ve easily rented out an entire brothel filled with succubi if that’s what Calynn had wanted…was it that she had grown feelings for her? Imagine, a dragon falling in love with danuki, how could something so absurd ever happen!
  1356.  
  1357. Her tail was beginning to fidget.
  1358.  
  1359. She didn’t like where this was headed, but where else would she get a full-fledged dragon to guard a vault? She wasn’t being given much of an option. Half the reason this bank grew so quickly was because it advertised itself for employing a true dragon! If they lost her, then surely things would make a turn for the worst.
  1360.  
  1361. She had to swallow her pride and do what was best for the bank and her future.
  1362.  
  1363. She only hoped Calynn would be gentle with her.
  1364.  
  1365. “…if that’s what you want…” she said with a shaky voice.
  1366.  
  1367. She began to unbutton her shirt, revealing the black lace bra she wore under before tugging down on her skirt.
  1368.  
  1369. Calynn’s eyes grew wide just as she raised her other hand and began to shake them at Daria.
  1370.  
  1371. “NONONO! Not that!” she exclaimed, once again pointing at the bed, “I mean I want that! A bed!”
  1372.  
  1373. “Oh!” Daria lifted up her skirt back into position and began to button up her shirt, “Thank the demon lord…” she muttered under her breath.
  1374.  
  1375. “So, a bed huh?”
  1376.  
  1377. “Yes. I want a better one. And bigger. Much bigger.”
  1378.  
  1379. “…how big?”
  1380.  
  1381. “Big enough to not fit through the doors in here. But small enough to fit through the vault doors and be into my room.”
  1382.  
  1383. It was an odd request… it wasn’t food for starters, but she’d get anything to keep her most valuable guard happy.
  1384.  
  1385. “Alright, I’ll get it. When do you want it by?”
  1386.  
  1387. “Today.”
  1388.  
  1389. “…”
  1390.  
  1391. Daria closed her eyes and tried to think where she could get a luxury bed in a few hours.
  1392.  
  1393. “…alright. I’ll do what I can.”
  1394.  
  1395. Daria walked up to the bed, pressing her hand against it to test how soft it was and gauge the quality, making mental notes to make sure she acquired one significantly better. When she was done, she turned to face Calynn.
  1396.  
  1397. “Calynn, I don’t mean to be rude but – Is there any reason you’ve been so active as of late? I wasn’t expecting to see you awake for another two months at the very least.”
  1398.  
  1399. Calynn furrowed her brows at the question, turning her head to the side to not face Daria as she answered.
  1400.  
  1401. “My roommate has been waking me up with his actions.” She said coldly.
  1402.  
  1403. Daria raised an eyebrow.
  1404.  
  1405. Calynn wasn’t exactly considered a light sleeper by any standard. She had never woken up whenever the guards had to walk through her room to get into the vault. In fact, she didn’t even stir in her sleep when they had the Giant Ants come in to remodel the layout of the apartment a few years ago. Whatever Damian was doing in order to disturb her slumber must have truly been quite the commotion for it to affect her.
  1406.  
  1407. “Alright... so you want the bed today, correct?”
  1408.  
  1409. “Yes.”
  1410.  
  1411. Daria let out a sigh, but nodded as she walked towards the door and compared it to her size.
  1412.  
  1413. “I’ll make sure to get one in as soon as I can.”
  1414.  
  1415. “Thank you.”
  1416.  
  1417. The danuki once again nodded, and then left the apartment to get what she needed.
  1418.  
  1419. Upon hearing the door shut behind the danuki, Calynn walked towards the kitchen where the phone sat on the counter. Picking it up, she lightly pressed her claw against the button marked zero and waited.
  1420.  
  1421. “Hello, this is the lobby. Gramps speaking.”
  1422.  
  1423. “Give the phone to Lilly, old man.” She snarled in reply, her voice dripping with distaste.
  1424.  
  1425. “…Calynn? You’re awake? I thought it would be Damian considering the room number.”
  1426.  
  1427. “Lilly…now.”
  1428.  
  1429. A light chuckling could be heard from the phone.
  1430.  
  1431. “It’s nice to hear from you too. Unfortunately, Lilly isn’t here right now. She’s showing a nice young lady to her room right now. So, looks like you’re stuck with me.”
  1432.  
  1433. Calynn had to pull the phone away from her for a second and take a deep breath. Why did this day have to be so difficult for her? She let out a sigh, a tinge of smoke rising from it as she suppressed her outrage of having to deal with this fool, before lifting the phone back up to her face.
  1434.  
  1435. “Very well… We are replacing the mattress supplied in this room later today. I would like to know what should be done with the old one.”
  1436.  
  1437. “Getting a new bed? Hm. Well, if you’re doing that I’ll send someone up there to pick up the old one in an hour or so. If you could, since you’re in the vault, could you leave it right outside your room? That way they won’t need to go through with getting the extra guards or someone with clearance to get it.”
  1438.  
  1439. “That can be arranged.”
  1440.  
  1441. “Alright, that’s basically all you have to do.”
  1442.  
  1443. With that, Calynn hung up without saying a thank you or a goodbye. Hearing his voice always made her blood boil.
  1444.  
  1445. She walked back to the bedroom, grabbing one the end of the mattress, and lifted it to a sideways position, causing the pillows and the blanket to land onto the floor. She paid them no mind and began to effortlessly drag it out of the room.
  1446.  
  1447. Just outside the vault, a red oni and a minotaur were conversing in order to pass the time as they stood there. Currently, they were talking about Calynn who had decided to make an appearance today, and how the atmosphere suddenly felt hostile when she walked to the branch manager’s office. The minotaur admitted feeling a chill course down her spine when clocking in before turning around and seeing her. Very few could get her to do that, let alone without even seeing them.
  1448.  
  1449. And then the knock came.
  1450.  
  1451. Both the oni and the minotaur looked at each other, half expecting the sound to have come from the other, but after seeing each other’s reaction they turned to face the vault doors. Daria had walked out of the vault just a few minutes ago. And the man that had been assigned to the room had also left earlier this morning. That would mean…
  1452.  
  1453. The vault door began to creak as it was being opened from the inside.
  1454.  
  1455. Both guards stepped away from the door just as it swung open. Before they could react, a mattress was tossed onto the floor in front of them and the vault door slammed shut once again.
  1456.  
  1457. They both look at each other again and questioned what in the world just happened.
  1458.  
  1459. ***
  1460.  
  1461. Several days had passed.
  1462.  
  1463. Damian was still living in the hotel.
  1464.  
  1465. He had gone back to check on the door every day, and each day it had been raining. At one point, he went through and found a local tavern where he asked about the rain.  
  1466.  
  1467. The barkeep laughed at his question.  
  1468.  
  1469. “It’s the rainy season boy. We’d be lucky if it would stop for just a few hours in the week.”
  1470.  
  1471. It had always been like this in this city. Months at a time with nonstop rain running down the hill the city was placed upon. In return, they only suffered mild and short winters, which was one of the few things that made this place livable.
  1472.  
  1473. It would be at least another month until there was any chance of the season coming to an end.
  1474.  
  1475. Until then, he would have to continue his stay at the hotel.
  1476.  
  1477. It wasn’t bad, per se, in fact it was quite nice in the days that had passed.
  1478.  
  1479. The dragon was becoming increasingly friendly with him, even if she would never admit to it. Although he was enjoying her gradual change in attitude with him, Damian was a bit uneasy with it due to their initial mishap.
  1480.  
  1481. Even so, it seemed that she wanted to work past that. She even got him a new bed, both as an apology from before and as a thank you for agreeing to cook for her.
  1482.  
  1483. The bed she had gotten him wasn’t just any bed either, it was quite possibly the comfiest bed he had ever been on – like sleeping on a cloud. Plus, it had enough room to fit an entire family if need be. Though, there was just one minor issue with this luxury…
  1484.  
  1485. It was too big.
  1486.  
  1487. They couldn’t fit it through the apartment door and set it up in the bedroom.
  1488.  
  1489. Calynn apologized profusely, claiming she was assured that it would.
  1490.  
  1491. She promised she would do what she could to replace it with a mattress of equal or better quality that could fit. But until then, she would ‘allow’ him the honor of sleeping in her room for the time being. Which, all in all, would have been alright, if a bit odd.
  1492.  
  1493. Of course, nothing is ever that simple for Damian.
  1494.  
  1495. The first night he tried to sleep on his new mattress was the night he found out that the treasure room was kept to a near freezing temperature at night. Even whilst fully clothed and under his blanket, he couldn’t keep himself from shivering or his teeth from chattering.
  1496.  
  1497. After about an hour of that, Calynn couldn’t take it anymore and slid down from her gold pile. Before he even had a chance to turn around and question what she was doing, he felt a tug from behind him as he was pulled into the embrace of the dragoness.
  1498.  
  1499. How did she get under the covers so quickly? He was unsure – but what he was sure of, was that she was warmer than a campfire in the dead of winter. He unconsciously adjusted himself as she began to whisper to him.
  1500.  
  1501. “You humans are too delicate to your surroundings. The flames within me keep me warm, so since you’re far too weak to handle this I will share my warmth with you, Damian.”
  1502.  
  1503. She draped one of her wings over him, making it act like a second blanket.
  1504.  
  1505. “T-thank you.”
  1506.  
  1507. “I just want to go to sleep! And this was the only way.” She scoffed, as a small smile crept onto her face unbeknownst to him.
  1508.  
  1509. From then on, every night, he would fall asleep in the arms of his dragon roommate.
  1510.  
  1511. To him, it was an odd arrangement, but it was too warm and comfortable for him to complain about it.
  1512.  
  1513. Since then these small changes continued on around him. Whenever he returned to the room after being out all day, she would wake up and greet him, unlike the general indifference he would receive from her before. He even pinched himself a few times when he could’ve sworn he heard her compliment him or his cooking.
  1514.  
  1515. It was like this for a while… until tonight.
  1516.  
  1517. As it had been for the past several days, Damian had been sleeping in the warm embrace of his roommate, but this time she reminded him that she was a dragon.
  1518.  
  1519. Waking up from his slumber, he was dreaming that he was drowning. When he opened his eyes, he realized that he could not breathe.
  1520.  
  1521. Damian awoke in the iron grip of her hold, struggling for air as she pulled him in tighter. She murmured in her sleep, unaware of what she was doing as Damian did what he could to pry her scaly arms off him to no avail.
  1522.  
  1523. The past few mornings it had been difficult to get out of bed because of this, but he never found it to be quite this difficult!  
  1524.  
  1525. He patted her arms in hopes of waking her, but she didn’t even stir. He even reached behind him and slapped her face a few times, but it seemed that dragons were notoriously thick skinned. He didn’t have the air in him to yell at her, and he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to take in another breath if he tried.  
  1526.  
  1527. Options were wearing thin, and he was running out of time before he would surely pass out in this woman’s death grip.  
  1528.  
  1529. He reached out across the mattress, hoping he could grab onto the edge and perhaps pull himself out from between her before it was too late. Reaching as far as he could ahead of him, he could not make it to the edge, but his hands felt the touch of something cold and metallic. Without thinking, he grabbed it and pulled… only to realize it was a stray gold coin Calynn had brought onto the bed with her.
  1530.  
  1531. In that moment, her grip tightened, pushing out whatever air he had in him, and Calynn’s eyes shot open. But rather than roar or yell at the possible intruders, she immediately looked down towards Damian and loosened her grip when she saw he was still in her grasps.
  1532.  
  1533. Damian gasped for the much-needed air that he was hoping for.
  1534.  
  1535. Still, the dragon was on high alert. With Damian still in her arms, she sat up and scanned the room for whoever was foolish enough to touch her gold.
  1536.  
  1537. “Reveal yourself now intruder! If you do, and return what you have taken from me, I will let you leave with your life!”
  1538.  
  1539. Seeing that there was no response, Calynn was about to stand up and search the room, but was stopped when she felt someone tap her arm.
  1540.  
  1541. Looking down at Damian within her arms, she saw him open his hand to reveal a single gold coin.
  1542.  
  1543. Her stern face melted away as she let out a sigh.
  1544.  
  1545. “It was only you? You scared me. I thought someone was coming in here to steal my valuables.” She told him, squeezing him slightly towards the end.
  1546.  
  1547. Damian coughed a few times as she squeezed him, causing her to loosen her grip once more.
  1548.  
  1549. “You were holding me too tightly in your sleep. It was getting hard to breathe.”
  1550.  
  1551. A look of worry overtook her face.
  1552.  
  1553. “Oh… I’m sorry… it’s just…” she replied, looking to the side.
  1554.  
  1555. “What? What is it?”
  1556.  
  1557. “That damned demon lord.” She muttered.
  1558.  
  1559. “Huh?”
  1560.  
  1561. “It’s because of her… and this body she gave us dragons.”
  1562.  
  1563. “What?”
  1564.  
  1565. Damian had no idea what in the world she was talking about. But he could feel her grip tightening around him and began to worry.
  1566.  
  1567. “I can’t take it any longer!”
  1568.  
  1569. Calynn spun him around and pinned him onto the bed, moving with such tremendous speed that Damian couldn’t even react to her words. Before he knew it, she was panting on top of him.
  1570.  
  1571. “MATE WITH ME!”
  1572.  
  1573. “WHAT?!”
  1574.  
  1575. What was wrong with her? Damian had never seen her like this before, but he couldn’t do anything about it either. He was stuck under her grasp as she continued to pant, her face becoming flushed as she longingly stared into his eyes, and her legs were becoming slick as her juices began to run down her with anticipation.
  1576.  
  1577. He didn’t know it, but she had been craving him for days now, with fear the only thing holding her back. But not fear that he would deny her, not that she cared, but rather a fear of harming him in the process of satisfying her growing lust.
  1578.  
  1579. She had barely touched him on the first night, or so she believed in a fit of rage, and she had managed to throw him into a wall whilst nearly breaking his arm. The memory of seeing him in pain that night filled her with both guilt and fear.
  1580.  
  1581. Even so, as the days went by, she could feel a closeness between them beginning to form, and with it a craving that could only be from the body of a succubus she was given. Pride would not allow her to succumb to such basic desires, but with each passing day she could feel that wall slowly breaking down and giving in to the overwhelming lust. The last line of defense was something no dragon should feel…
  1582.  
  1583. Fear.
  1584.  
  1585. She was afraid of losing him due to herself.
  1586.  
  1587. Much like her gold, he had become valuable to her, perhaps even more so than the entirety of her hoard, not that she would admit to it.
  1588.  
  1589. But this confusion of emotion was too much for her to bare and driving her mad. Her body, laced with the magic of the succubi that prodded at her mind constantly, was finally making her give in to her desires and twisting her thoughts.
  1590.  
  1591. She would not lose him.
  1592.  
  1593. He belonged to her and no one else.
  1594.  
  1595. There would be no one he would crave except her!
  1596.  
  1597. And she would make sure he would always stay be her side!
  1598.  
  1599. Calynn leaned in towards Damian, locking her lips with his to force him into a kiss.
  1600.  
  1601. It was her first kiss…
  1602.  
  1603. Although awkward, and confusing, Damian succumbed to her kiss. There was a certain warm sensation that had begun to spread through his body through her kiss. He wasn’t sure what it was, but it felt familiar… it felt safe.
  1604.  
  1605. It was similar to the warmth she’d share with him while sleeping, but this time it was smothering him like a wildfire.
  1606.  
  1607. She broke the kiss and stared longingly into his eyes, panting heavily as her body began to flush pink. Damian was panting as well, his body craving for more, and his eyes…
  1608.  
  1609. “Wait. Where’d your cloth-” he began to ask before being interrupted by a claw raised to his lip.
  1610.  
  1611. “Shh…,” whispered the now naked Calynn, “Magic of dragons.”
  1612.  
  1613. Before he could object to such an answer, she had already begun to lift up his shirt to remove it. Although not satisfied with the answer, he lifted his arms and allowed his bare chest to directly feel the cold air of the vault.
  1614.  
  1615. She fell upon him, rubbing her breasts against him, sharing with him her warmth and protecting him from the cold as the familiar sensation began to spread through him once again everywhere their skins touched.
  1616.  
  1617. What was happening? Damian wasn’t entirely sure.
  1618.  
  1619. Just a few minutes ago he was gasping for air, and now he was under the scaled winged beauty that was his roommate as she rubbed her naked body against his. His mind couldn’t make sense of it… or it refused to do so.
  1620.  
  1621. He wasn’t sure if he’d be able to understand, but he didn’t care. His mind was having difficulty thinking of anything else than what was happening to him at that moment.  
  1622.  
  1623. It was yearning for more.
  1624.  
  1625. Her lips returned to their place over his.
  1626.  
  1627. This truly was her first time kissing another man.
  1628.  
  1629. Her tongue entered his mouth, rubbing against his own tongue, and reveling in the sensation with little thought. Her mind had given up on thinking, and her body was in control, doing as it pleased to release the pent-up desires she had built up.
  1630.  
  1631. The two stayed like this for what seemed to be several minutes, Damian’s body relaxing under the weight of the scaled fire-breather above him, the two uninterrupted as they danced with the other’s tongue.
  1632.  
  1633. But soon, Calynn broke her kiss, instead choosing to continue to do so with his neck.
  1634.  
  1635. She had long since noticed the pressure he had formed in his groin, and her body was practically quivering in anticipation for it.
  1636.  
  1637. The dragoness began to kiss and lick her way down Damian’s body, memorizing his smell and taste as she ventured downwards.
  1638.  
  1639. Although his chest was now open to the air, he did not feel cold. Something was burning inside him, and it would not be bothered by something as simple as the cold temperatures of the room.
  1640.  
  1641. Eventually, Calyyn reached the only thing blocking her goal… his pants.
  1642.  
  1643. While kissing just below his belly button, her claws positioned themselves to the sides of his waist, lightly sliding over his skin along the way until slipping into his pants and pulling them away from her prized possession.
  1644.  
  1645. There it stood, his erection standing tall, no longer constrained by the fabric of the pants that had been removed.
  1646.  
  1647. Calynn could almost feel herself drooling over it. Although she herself had never seen one herself, she wasn’t unaware of what it was nor what to do with it. As a dragon, she found the very thought of copulating with a man vile and disgusting, but the former her could not be seen anywhere at this moment. The essence of a succubus that was within her was leading the way, showing her what she truly wanted and not what she believed she wanted.  
  1648.  
  1649. Spending only a moment to marvel at her first sight of a penis, she began to lick it, starting from the base and working her way up to the tip, occasionally tasting the precum he had been forming.
  1650.  
  1651. For Damian, the sensation was unlike anything he had ever experienced before. He had always heard that mamono were in a different league when it came to lovemaking, that partaking in it would leave anyone craving for it till the end of their days. Nothing but exaggerations… or so he thought, until tonight.
  1652.  
  1653. Everywhere she had traced with her tongue was heating up. His mouth, his neck, and everything down until where she was right now was on fire. But it did not burn. It was as if though they were yearning to return into contact with the source once again so that they may be engulfed in the flames of passion she had ignited them with. And perhaps that which was most affected was the very same part which had been coated the most with his lover’s saliva.
  1654.  
  1655. His cock was burning in desire, swollen in anticipation, and almost twitching in excitement. It was as if it had a will of its own, but Damian too shared in what it wanted. He looked down to the dragoness as she continued to savor him, wrapping her tongue all over his member, coating it in her fluids.
  1656.  
  1657. Seeing him stare longingly towards her, Calynn couldn’t help but smile.
  1658.  
  1659. That which she desired most from him was being achieved.
  1660.  
  1661. He would soon become hers.
  1662.  
  1663. She raised her head over his rod, licking her lips before finally taking it into her mouth. The sensation was as if though Damian was melting in her mouth, both for him and for her. She began to lower herself onto his member, reaching a little over halfway before returning to the tip.
  1664.  
  1665. This may have been her first time with one, but she knew what she was doing. She continued her motions, bobbing her head up and down his cock, occasionally causing him to let out a groan. She curled her scaled fingers around the base of his shaft, playfully squeezing it every few seconds as she let him fall deeper into blissful pleasures.
  1666.  
  1667. Calynn was too concentrated with what was in her mouth to notice Damian reaching down to her. His hands cupped the sides of her face, gently at first, sliding up as if though to caress her. But what she failed to realize was that he wasn’t doing this to do that…
  1668.  
  1669. His fingers slid up, wrapping themselves around her horns, and once he formed a solid grip around them, he pulled them towards his crotch.
  1670.  
  1671. She gagged from the unexpected forcefulness of her lover, ramming himself into her like that without any warning.
  1672.  
  1673. Damian held her there for a moment… and then he felt something different.  
  1674.  
  1675. Her throat, it was vibrating, and although it felt nice it was also getting hotter.
  1676.  
  1677. He looked down at the winged woman, only to be met with cold eyes. Her brow was furrowed, filled with anger at his actions as she tried to growl at him but the cock in her throat was preventing her from doing so properly. But what caught his attention most of all was the rising smoke coming from her flared nostrils.
  1678.  
  1679. Damian immediately let go, raising both his hands to his sides before he made it worse for himself.
  1680.  
  1681. Calynn rose up, coughing a few times from the forceful entry before glaring at Damian whilst growling once more. Still, even whilst she did so, her clawed hand was pumping his cock, squeezing it just a bit too tightly for his liking and making him let out a yelp as a warning for him to never do that again.
  1682.  
  1683. After doing so, she returned to where she was before being so rudely interrupted by the very man she was pleasing.
  1684.  
  1685. She continued with her motions, suckling on the tip of his penis every few times she raised herself back to the head of his member, as her hand pumped the base. Soon Damian would be reaching his climax, and it seemed that Calynn could tell as her speed increased.
  1686.  
  1687. Before he could tell her, he only managed to mumble.
  1688.  
  1689. “I’m gon-” and he climaxed, releasing his semen into her awaiting mouth.
  1690.  
  1691. She made sure not to spill a single drop, savoring its flavor as if though he made it especially for her. Although it lacked quantity, it was a particularly tasty snack.
  1692.  
  1693. With a satisfied sigh, she released him from her mouth and began to rise.
  1694.  
  1695. Even though Damian hadn’t done much, he was panting from his orgasm as he watched her rise, seeing her swallow his seed. She crawled over him, her long slender body motioning in front of his view and passing through until finally reaching her nether region. She sat up in the kneeling position, just a few mere inches away from his face.
  1696.  
  1697. She slid one of her clawed fingers down through his hair until reaching the back of his head and pulling him into her crotch.
  1698.  
  1699. “Eat.” Calynn demanded with a forceful tone.
  1700.  
  1701. This was for what he did to her earlier…  
  1702.  
  1703. Reaching out his tongue, he licked the lips of her reddened folds. It was a meek lick, like that of a tired puppy, but it seemed that Calynn was particularly sensitive, as if though she had been craving for this spot to receive attention as she pampered Damian.
  1704.  
  1705. A lick here and flick there, Calynn was letting out small moans and yelps with even the tiniest of motions he was doing to her. With each stroke of the tongue, Damian became more confident with his movement, closing the distance between himself and her.  
  1706.  
  1707. He wrapped his arms around her thighs, each of his moves gaining vigor with each passing moment, and with it the volume of Calynn’s moans increased. With her free claw, she reached up to her chest and squeezed it tightly in her grip.
  1708.  
  1709. How had she gone so long without feasting on the pleasures of the body? Why had she done so? Was it because she was a dragon? Was it pride? Did she believe that gold would give her as much pleasure?
  1710.  
  1711. She did not know.  
  1712.  
  1713. But she did not care either.
  1714.  
  1715. It did not matter anymore.
  1716.  
  1717. Right now, all that mattered was Damian.
  1718.  
  1719. Her moans continued, bouncing throughout the walls of the vault, and echoing back to them. She would not last very long. Her body was practically twitching as it neared her long-awaited orgasm. She pulled Damian as close as she could to him, doing her best to not let the excitement get the best of her and become too forceful.
  1720.  
  1721. But with one last slide over her clit, she peaked, pressing his face into her loins and letting herself be overtaken by pleasure.
  1722.  
  1723. Her body was hit with a wave of sensation, one that could not be contained.
  1724.  
  1725. She pressed herself against Damian as her body convulsed until it finally waned down.
  1726.  
  1727. Calynn let go of his head, letting it fall back onto the mattress as she looked down to him.
  1728.  
  1729. He made a few expressions, stretching out parts of his face after having been rammed against the wall of flesh that was Calynn, but he did not say anything about it.
  1730.  
  1731. He knew better.
  1732.  
  1733. She sat over him for a moment, breathing heavily as she waited for her body to calm itself down from her orgasm.
  1734.  
  1735. Looking down at Damian, she couldn’t help but smile once more.  
  1736.  
  1737. Dragons. They were such complex creatures.
  1738.  
  1739. Why did they deny themselves such worldly pleasures? Did they not already indulge their greed with their hordes of treasures? Why could they not do the same with their lust?
  1740.  
  1741. With Damian as her lover, she could now do so.
  1742.  
  1743. He would become her most valuable treasure.
  1744.  
  1745. Her tail brushed across his body, only to be obstructed halfway.
  1746.  
  1747. She turned around to see what it was that had gotten in the way of her tail, to be greeted by Damian’s swollen erection.
  1748.  
  1749. She just came, but she could feel herself getting excited at the sight of Damian’s engorged member, standing there as if begging for more attention from the mighty beast before it.
  1750.  
  1751. Without saying a word, she rose from atop of Damian, turning herself around and settling down right by his penis. She stroked it softly with her claw, being careful to not graze the skin of his cock. He was ready for her.
  1752.  
  1753. Calynn reached down onto herself, stretching open her labia to reveal the pink folds inside as she positioned herself over Damian’s awaiting cock.
  1754.  
  1755. She lowered herself until the lips of her pussy were kissing the head of his penis. She wanted to ram herself on top of him, but she had to be careful and keep excitement from getting the best of her. Humans were frail after all.
  1756.  
  1757. She took in a deep breath.
  1758.  
  1759. Slowly.
  1760.  
  1761. Lowering herself onto his member, Calynn began to take Damian inside of her, little by little until reaching its base.
  1762.  
  1763. She took in another breath.
  1764.  
  1765. Raising herself up and descending herself back down. She began her motions, although slow at first, she couldn’t let her strength be too much for him to bear.
  1766.  
  1767. Her tail pushed against Damian’s chest as it assisted her in her rises, the very end circling around his head as the very tip sat beside his ear. Every time she fell down against his hips, the end of her tail would rise and flick against his ear in time with her groans.
  1768.  
  1769. It tickled Damian, so he tried to move it, only to have it return next to him immediately afterwards. Seeing that it would not leave him, he grabbed onto her tail and pulled it away from him, only to be greeted with a yelp.
  1770.  
  1771. Huh?
  1772.  
  1773. Damian squeezed the end of her tail, making her let out a gasp and slam herself onto him.
  1774.  
  1775. She tried to pretend as if though nothing was happening, but he could see that she was shaking every time he tightened his grip. He pressed his thumb against the underside of her tail, watching her as she bit her lip and continued to ride him.
  1776.  
  1777. Calynn was having a hard time as it was trying to control her urges, but now he was doing this to her as well! Such insolence…
  1778.  
  1779. Humans truly did enjoy testing their limits.
  1780.  
  1781. But she would not give in! At least… not completely.
  1782.  
  1783. Her hips hastened in speed, her ass slapping against the skin of his crotch as she panted while being subjected to the ecstasy of their bodies. She couldn’t believe she was panting from only this. Dragons were known for their strength and stamina, among other things, but here she was, panting like a kobold.
  1784.  
  1785. She never imagined herself to be in such a state. She had barely done anything and she was gasping for air. Was this normal? Was it abnormal? Damian seemed to be holding up well… wait… he was holding up well.
  1786.  
  1787. The pride of the dragons swelled up inside her. She could not let herself be outdone by a mere human, no matter how talented he may be!
  1788.  
  1789. She leaned forward, resting her hands against the mattress for support as she continued to ride him with newfound vigor, sliding back and forth in front of him. The dragon’s slender back moved like waves on the ocean, her ass slapping against him along with her tail. Her wings folded against her, covering a good portion of her, but Damian could still see her flushed face as she closed her eyes and bit her lip between the pants.
  1790.  
  1791. If she kept up this pace, he wouldn’t last much longer, Damian thought as he let out a moan of his own
  1792.  
  1793. Calynn pounded her skin against his, letting the sounds of the slapping bounce throughout the room mixed with the duet consisting of their moans, groans, and murmurs.
  1794.  
  1795. In time, she returned to her previous position, but she did not stay in the kneeling position. The dragon proceeded to raise her legs one at a time until she was squatting over him, her shoulders resting on her knees. Once again, her tail pressed against Damian, but not with same pressure she had been exerting moments ago.
  1796.  
  1797. Stretching out her wings, she began to rise and fall on his rod just as before, flapping her wings when she rose. Although they seemed rather small, Damian could feel the force behind them with every gust of wind she pushed down with each rise.
  1798.  
  1799. Calynn brought her clawed hand between her thighs, her fingers sliding by her opening as Damian penetrated her whilst stimulating her clit with the bridge between her fingers.
  1800.  
  1801. Just a few more falls and she would reach her peak once more.
  1802.  
  1803. She squeezed her fingers around Damian’s cock, slathered in her juices, feeling it twitch inside her as he too was close to obtaining his climax.
  1804.  
  1805. This would do it.
  1806.  
  1807. With one last flap of her wings, she rose until only the very tip of his penis was barely touching her folds, only being held in place by her fingers that were keeping her folds open for him, and slamming her behind down onto his crotch like a meteor.
  1808.  
  1809. If it weren’t for the mattress, Damian might’ve broken his pelvis mid-orgasm.
  1810.  
  1811. Damian let out a yelp intermixed with a moan, a call of surprise and pleasure when she struck down on him like so, as he released his seed inside the awaiting dragoness.
  1812.  
  1813. Amidst his own sounds, Damian was unaware of Calynn’s own orgasm as she too let out a gasp and tried her best to hold back her own moans of ecstasy. Her insides feeling the hot warm semen entering her body, greedily swallowing it up and preventing even the smallest of drops from going to waste.
  1814.  
  1815. She did it.
  1816.  
  1817. She lasted longer than him.
  1818.  
  1819. If only for a second.  
  1820.  
  1821. She would not be bested by a human.
  1822.  
  1823. With a triumphant smile, she leaned backwards, keeping herself from completely falling on Damian by holding herself up with her arms – she couldn’t show him any signs of weakness, not at such an intimate time. His penis slid out of her with ease, becoming flaccid with each passing second while still completely soaked in her fluids. She raised her hips with her legs, allowing for her tail to slide between them so that she could properly lay on her back.
  1824.  
  1825. Adjusting her wings, she fell backwards, landing besides Damian and turning to him as he was still panting.
  1826.  
  1827. They spoke no words.
  1828.  
  1829. They only stared at each other.
  1830.  
  1831. A smile forming on each other’s lips, that eventually grew into giggles.
  1832.  
  1833. Damian leaned towards Calynn, and pressed himself against her for a kiss.
  1834.  
  1835. He stayed in her embrace, sharing in her warmth she provided, until falling asleep in the arms of his dragon lover.
  1836.  
  1837. She nuzzled him closely to her, and joined him in his slumber…
  1838.  
  1839.  
  1840.  
  1841.  
  1842.  
  1843. Or so she tried.
  1844.  
  1845. Calynn had yet to fall asleep.  
  1846.  
  1847. It had been over twenty minutes since Damian had passed out securely in her arms, but even with him being in the safest spot here she could not enter the realm of dreams.
  1848.  
  1849. She sighed… wondering what to do.
  1850.  
  1851. This bed was too soft…
  1852.  
  1853. With Damian still sleeping in her arms, Calynn stood up from the mattress and scanned the nearby mounds of treasure in her room.
  1854.  
  1855. After spotting her favorite (and largest) mound, she carefully made her way to it, being sure to not disturb the one she held dear in her arms. Thank goodness they were both such heavy sleepers.
  1856.  
  1857. Reaching the top of the pile, she dug out a small crevice with her feet and seated herself upon her valuables, making sure that her most prized one rested atop of her.
  1858.  
  1859. Before leaning back into her spot, she opened up her wings and surrounded the two within them, holding Damian close to her as she descended into the pile.
  1860.  
  1861. She sniffed his hair one last time, smiling at the greatest treasure she had obtained in so many years… and joining him in his dragon’s slumber.
  1862.  
  1863. ***
  1864.  
  1865. On the sixth floor of the Covet Corner Hotel, there were many things to be seen.  
  1866.  
  1867. Towards the front of the hotel was known as ‘The Valley’ of the sixth floor, in which several stores stands were set up, selling their fresh fruits, vegetables, and other trinkets. Although it paled in comparison to the size of the Bazaar, it was a much calmer atmosphere that would attract quite a few regulars, especially those from Zipangu.
  1868.  
  1869. On the opposite end of the floor was ‘The Frozen Peaks’, the coldest area within the hotel that was maintained at freezing temperatures within the halls. There are even areas where it snows, allowing for anyone to enjoy the fun of a good snowball fight.
  1870.  
  1871. And in the center, which neither fully belonged to the valley nor the peaks, there was only a single point of interest here other than the rooms themselves.
  1872.  
  1873. The Covet Corner Bank.
  1874.  
  1875. It was as busy as usual.
  1876.  
  1877. People coming in and out, some leaving with more than they walked in and others with less as they went about their withdrawals and deposits. One couple was applying for a loan in a separate office within the bank with the mershark loan officer, while a few newcomers were being explained how to open an account by one of the danuki tellers.
  1878.  
  1879. But today was different.
  1880.  
  1881. Entering through the vault doors were two people.
  1882.  
  1883. One was the branch manager Darla, whilst the other was the guard trainer Jack.  
  1884.  
  1885. Jack had come by to check up on Damian, who had missed the last two scheduled training sessions without a word. Today was to be the third, but he decided it would be best to see if something had happened to him. Being a former guard to the bank, and an adventurer prior to that, he understood that sometimes things just happen.
  1886.  
  1887. Darla also hadn’t heard anything from the two for the past few days, and she wasn’t expecting to for a few more. Ever since Calynn became more active, she had been ordering groceries and ingredients on a weekly basis rather than the usual large-scale meals she ordered once every few months. But if this was something concerning either of the two, she wanted to be sure that everything was alright.
  1888.  
  1889. The two walked along the snaking path in silence, they both knew what the other was thinking, but neither wanted to admit to it and were only hoping they were wrong.
  1890.  
  1891. Before making the final turn that would lead them into Calynn’s treasure room, the danuki stopped in her tracks.
  1892.  
  1893. A confused expression ran across her face, leaving Jack wondering what in the world she was trying to figure out.
  1894.  
  1895. Just as he opened his mouth to ask what it was, a gasp that belonged to neither of them suddenly echoed through the hallway.
  1896.  
  1897. They both looked at each other, still confused, but only to confirm what they heard was indeed what they thought it sounded like. They both turned back to face the direction they were heading and continued, finally entering the Calynn’s room.
  1898.  
  1899. At first, it seemed as if though nothing was happening. Not a dragon nor human in site, only the mounds of glittering gold, jewels, and other valuables. But Daria continued with the expression from before, her ears still picking up a low but repetitive sound that was definitely coming from this room.
  1900.  
  1901. “Ahhh~”
  1902.  
  1903. Again, the gasp.
  1904.  
  1905. As soon as the two heard it, Jack raised his hand and pointed to top of the largest mound.
  1906.  
  1907. Peaking right above it was a pair of horns, bouncing just barely above the pile. He had managed to spot it right after hearing where the sound was coming from.
  1908.  
  1909. The two circled around the area using the walkways – although it was longer, it was much quieter than stepping onto a vat of coins. Watching their step, they gradually drew closer and closer to the side of the room. The first thing they saw was a tail, then the wings, followed by claws and…
  1910.  
  1911. “Calynn! Are you naked!?” Daria blurted out.
  1912.  
  1913. Straightening her back, Calynn turned to the sound with wide eyes.
  1914.  
  1915. “Boss?!”
  1916.  
  1917. Her face instantly reddened after seeing the branch manager within her room, and she quickly raised her scaled arms up to her body to cover her bare chest.
  1918.  
  1919. Just under her, sitting on a throne made of gold coins and trinkets, was Damian. His hands resting on Calynn’s hips, an expression of surprise and confusion written all over his face, along with a lack of clothes to top it all off.
  1920.  
  1921. “Pppfffhahahaha! Well, would you look at that! Haha!”
  1922.  
  1923. Jack had ended up bursting into a fit of laughter at the situation.
  1924.  
  1925. This was why he couldn’t make it to the training. Calynn was too busy keeping him occupied with more important matters.
  1926.  
  1927. Daria, although incredibly relieved to see that the two were alright, had her eyes covered. Calynn didn’t want to be seen, so she was trying her best to avert her gaze from the spectacle. Jack, on the other, didn’t care and simply kept laughing.
  1928.  
  1929. Stepping forward towards the two, Jack took out a notepad from his back pocket and began listing the positions they could do in order to make up for the days Damian had missed.
  1930.  
  1931. Daria simply muttered to herself, deciding whether or not she should order takeout for these two… and maybe get them a few extra towels as well…
  1932.  
  1933. END OF CHAPTER
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