Demon Queened - Chapter 8

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I stared at the horned wolf girl in my bed, hardly able to believe what I was seeing. My mind was reeling with the implications - had the wolves I fought actually been demons? 

…No, I was sure they weren’t. While there were varieties of demons who could transform, they always reverted to humanoid form after death. In fact, I was willing to bet that sleep was what undid Bailey’s transformation.

But why hadn’t she transformed earlier? Why hadn’t she even tried to communicate her true nature? And what was a demon doing in the outside world, living among a pack of monsters?

I had endless questions, and only one recourse if I wished to find my answers. I reached out to grip Bailey’s shoulder, gently shaking the wolf girl awake.

“Bailey?” I called out. “Or… I suppose that wouldn’t be your real name, would it?”

Bailey stirred with my touch, blinking the sleep from her dark brown eyes as she woke. When she saw me sitting next to her she went rigid for a moment, then let out a loud yelp and scrambled across the mattress on her hands and knees. Before I even had time to react she pressed herself flat against the floor as if supplicating herself before me.

I lifted my hand toward Bailey, then let it drop when she whimpered. “Bailey…” I knew that wasn’t her real name, but I couldn’t bring myself to refer to her as ‘wolf girl’ or some such. “I’m not going to harm you. I thought you’d realized that by now.”

Bailey didn’t respond to my words verbally, but some of the fear seemed to leave her features as I spoke. She lifted her head up from the ground and looked into my eyes. I got the feeling that she was searching for something, though I couldn’t say what. Whatever she found seemed to make her happy, as her drooping tail shifted into an energetic wag..

“Bailey,” I began again, moving toward the foot of the bed. “I need you to talk to me. What were you doing in the outside world? Why were you among those wolves?” I stood, walking around the bed to reach Bailey and crouch beside her. Reaching out, I took one of her hands in mine and looked her directly in the eye. “Who are you, Bailey?”

Bailey responded by licking my nose.

I pulled away from Bailey in my surprise, falling backward and catching the floor with my hands. Bailey watched me, her mouth hanging open, a surprisingly large tongue sticking out the side of her mouth. There was a look of amusement in her eyes, but she didn’t laugh or smile. She just watched me.

“...You don’t know how to talk, do you?” I accused, pushing myself back onto my toes and into a kneeling position. “Just how long were you living among those wolves? Your whole life?”

Bailey stared at me blankly, not giving away anything, but the gears kept turning in my head. Bailey, a demon, had been living among monsters. Members of her own base species no less. Was that why they had taken her in? But then how had she ended up with them to begin with? Where were her parents? Was there a chance they were in the tower?

I didn’t think so. I didn’t think we had any horned wolf girls in the tower, actually. I’d never even heard of the species before, but I couldn’t be sure. It wasn’t as if I’d memorized every type of demon, after all. Even if I had perhaps been supposed to. 

“I’m going to have to make an appointment with her, aren’t I?” I muttered to myself, grimacing. Well, I would have had to meet with her eventually anyhow, if I wanted to introduce potatoes to my people’s diet. Nothing major happened in the tower without Sylvanna’s input, after all. 

Perhaps sensing my apprehension, Bailey leaned forward and gave my face another lick.

“That was cuter when I thought you were just a wolf,” I grumbled. Despite my words, I couldn’t help the faint smile that crept across my lips. Bailey responded by licking my cheek yet again, wagging her tail all the while.

“Alright, alright, already,” I groused, choosing to rise before she could give a repeat performance. Bailey tried to copy me, to my surprise. She managed to get all the way upright, but her legs began to wobble unsteadily. I grabbed hold of her shoulders, pulling her against myself before she could fall.

It was pure misfortune that Abigail chose that moment to open the door.


“I can explain,” I promised. “Or… Well no, I can’t really explain it. But there’s a very good reason that I’m holding this naked woman upright.”

“I don’t need excuses, Devilla,” Abigail replied, rolling her eyes. “I don’t care who you’re having sex with. But maybe leave a message with one of the other maids if you’re having an overnight guest? I could have walked in on something really awkward.”

“That’s not what’s going on!” My protest was somewhat undercut, however, by Bailey choosing that moment to lick at my earlobe.

“I’ll just leave you to it,” Abigail said, not bothering to hide her amused smile as she turned toward the door.

“By the Goddess, Abigail, I’m telling you it’s not what you think! This is Bailey. The horned wolf I brought home yesterday. Remember?”

“The…” Abigail turned back around, her pitch-black eyes wide open. “Holy hell, Devilla, what did you do to turn a monster into a demon!?”

“I did nothing of the sort!” I protested. “She transformed all on her own. I can only imagine that she’s a demon who got separated from her parents and taken in by a pack of true horned wolves.”

“That’s impossible,” Abigail countered. “Monsters hate their demon counterparts.”

“But she was with a pack,” I insisted. Although come to think of it, they had treated her rather cruelly. Was that why she’d hidden her humanoid form from me? Because she thought I would treat her as they had? That still left the question of why she’d risked me seeing her in this form. Sleeping next to me had been an unnecessary risk, surely. Had she simply been that desperate for contact? Or did it have something to do with me being humanoid too? I wished desperately that Bailey could just talk to me.

“And then there’s problem two,” Abigail continued, shifting her gaze from me to Bailey. “Devilla, I’ve never heard of a horned wolf girl before.”

“...Neither have I.” I turned my attention to the girl in my arms. She looked up at me in turn, her eyes wide and innocent. It was hard to believe she’d kept the company of wild animals until just recently. “I thought perhaps it was simply a gap in my education… Yet if there’s no such thing as a horned wolf girl, how in the world did we end up with one? And how did she end up running with a pack of monsters?”

Bailey let out a soft whimpered, pressing her hand lightly against my chest. Her eyes seemed to be pleading with me for… something.

“I don’t know what you want,” I complained, “I don’t speak wolf. And you don’t speak Sollanian.”

“I think she wants down,” Abigail translated, pointing to Bailey’s legs. They were shaking fiercely, making it obvious that only my grip on her shoulders was keeping her upright.

“Ah. Sorry Bailey,” I apologized, lowering her carefully to the ground. Bailey immediately moved to crouch beside me, knees spread wide and hands pressed into the floor in front of her. Her mouth was open once more, and her tongue was again sticking from her mouth. Her tail was wagging happily behind her, showing off clear excitement.

“Horned wolves are pack creatures, right?” Abigail asked me, crouching down in front of Bailey to take a closer look at her.

The wolf girl snarled in response to Abigail’s attention, pulling her lips back and baring her teeth.

“Stop that,” I commanded in the firmest tone I could manage. I worried that making demands would simply make me sound like a spoiled brat, but Bailey at least seemed to respond to it. She stopped growling and turned her head toward me.

“Yes, they’re pack monsters,” I confirmed, once I was certain Bailey was through with growling. “What of it?”

“Well, I don’t know if it’s the case with horned wolf girls, but a lot of the pack-type demons can communicate telepathically. If Bailey has something like that, then maybe you can tap into it and ask her some questions?”

“That’s possible?” I asked, surprised. I knew of pack-based telepathy, but I had always viewed it as a closed system. 

“I’ve done it before,” Abigail informed me. “Back when I was dating a werewolf. It took a lot of magic, so I could only maintain it for a few seconds, but something tells me that won’t be a problem for you.”

“If all it takes is power, then no, it shouldn’t be an issue…” I agreed, looking down at Bailey. She tilted her head to match my gaze. Was it really possible to know what laid on the other side of those brown eyes?

“It also takes trust,” Abigail continued “But I think it’s safe to say she trusts you. A lot more than she does me, anyway.”

“I’m not entirely sure why,” I admitted, with a shake of my head. “I killed the rest of her pack, and almost took her life as well. She has every reason to hate me, yet she went so far as to put herself in harm’s way when she thought I was endangered...”

“Maybe you’re just not as hateable as you think you are,” Abigail suggested. “I mean, compared to how you were before, you’re as sweet as a sugar bun.”

“Your attempt to cheer me up is appreciated, but I’ve already decided to stop lying to myself.” My lips formed a smile, but I doubt it reached my eyes. “I’m nothing more than a spoiled princess, turned queen. There’s certainly nothing about me that could inspire such loyalty as she’s shown.”

“Okay, there’s a lot I want to say to that, but let’s start with you constantly assuming you know how people feel! You just take it for granted that we all hate you, and that we always will.”

“It’s hardly an assumption,” I protested, trying not to flinch under the force of Abigail’s glare. “Even before I gained memories of my last life, I knew how my people viewed me. I simply didn’t care.”

“But you’re different now,” Abigail insisted, “if you let people get to know you as you are now, things can change.”

“...It’s a tempting thought,” I confessed, with a sad shake of my head. “But it’s impossible. The way I acted, the things I did - the things I failed to do, as your ruler… None of it goes away just because I’ve changed. What’s done is done, and nothing I do will ever wipe it away.”

“You don’t need to erase the past to make room for your future, Devilla. And even if you did, even if everything you’ve said so far was true, none of it has a damn thing to do with Bailey. She never knew the old you.”

“No,” I conceded, turning my attention back to Bailey. She had hardly moved during the conversation, only moving her head back and forth to follow our voices. “Bailey doesn’t know who I used to be. She only knows me as I am - as the one who killed her family. I don’t understand how she could like me, anyways.”

“Then ask her.” Abigail’s voice was soft, to the point where it would have been inaudible to anyone but me. Yet still, I could hear the note of desperation in her voice. And the exasperation, too. “Stop saying you know how everyone feels and ask.

I stared at Abigail for a long moment, before again shifting my gaze to Bailey. Kneeling down beside the horned wolf girl, I looked her squarely in the eyes. Perhaps sensing the seriousness in my gaze, Bailey chose not to lick me for once. 

“I’m going to try and communicate with you now,” I declared. It felt a little ridiculous speaking out loud when the whole reason for this was that Bailey and I couldn’t understand one another. Still, it somehow felt proper to express my intent. It was the least I could do before forcing my way into a bond meant only for her pack. Bailey’s only response was to tilt her head to one side.

“How do I do this?” I asked Abigail. I kept my eyes on Bailey as I spoke, wanting to establish as much of a connection as possible. It seemed to be the right choice, as Bailey’s tail began to wag from the attention.

“How do you… Devilla, how do you not know how to do this?” Abigail demanded. When I turned my attention to her, she had her hands on her hips and a judgemental look in her eyes. Or at least I thought it was judgemental? The pure black eyes made it difficult to tell, as always, but I was certainly feeling judged beneath her gaze.

“I didn’t pay much attention to my lessons,” I admitted, a little embarrassed. “I always thought the Rite of Insight would teach me everything I needed to know…”

“Did you skip out on learning how to use your brain, too?” Abigail chastized, exasperated. I couldn’t be sure, but I thought she might even be rolling her eyes at me.

“If you’re quite done poking fun at the holes in my knowledge, I’d very much appreciate an actual answer,” I grumbled. Honestly, I had no one but myself to blame for these gaps, and I knew it, but that didn’t mean that I wanted to have them rubbed in my face.

“Fine, fine. I guess it makes sense you haven’t really devoted much thought to it, considering how little sex you’ve had - but you actually don’t need to sleep with someone to use their abilities. Swallowing a hair or two will work just as well as sexual fluids.”

I stared at Abigail, mouth ajar and eyes wide. I lifted a finger, then let it drop limply to my side. “Sorry,” I murmured. “Can we start that over from the top? I think I’m missing something crucial....”

“Let me guess - you’ve never actually used sex to copy someone’s abilities before?” Abigail gave me a smile. I think it was meant to be reassuring, but it seemed more amused than anything. “I’m surprised you didn’t try it right after we slept together. It’s pretty much the same as potions. Except instead of taking in bits of magical plants, or monsters, you’re swallowing part of a demon and channeling your magic through that.”

“That’s… Good to know, but not quite what I was asking…”

“Then what? Don’t tell me you’ve never used a potion, either?”

“I haven’t, actually,” I admitted. “But again, not the issue at hand.” 

Potions had never held much interest for me, but I at least knew what they were and how they worked. By turning magical plants or monster parts into something consumable, one could temporarily access the natural abilities of a magical organism. Collectively known as ‘Wild Magic’, these abilities straddled the line between divine and arcane magic, accomplishing things that shouldn’t be possible despite using the same magical energy that went into spells. Each species of demon sported at least one form of wild magic, and they could range considerably in power, effect, and usefulness. My own wing sprouting technique fell into this category, as did Bailey’s theoretical telepathy. 

Unfortunately, even if you consumed a potion you still needed to provide your own magical energy to make the wild magic work. Not only that, but when compared to those who could natively use the ability, utilizing a potion required almost three times as much magical energy for less than a fifth of the effect. It was rarely worth the effort. Lucy hadn’t even bothered with them in Tower Conquest. But there was something about the whole thing that bothered me.

Namely, that no one had ever told me demon parts worked the same way. 

“Abigail. Are you telling me I can copy someone’s wild magic if I eat them out?”

This time it was Abigail’s turn to stare slack-jawed. Her mouth opened and closed several times, before she let out a strangled noise and started clutching the sides of her head. “Are you seriously telling me that nobody ever gave you the sex talk!?”

“Not in this lifetime, no… Actually, my tutors didn’t cover anything sexual at all.” I could only imagine that those conversations were generally left to the parents, of which I had none growing up. “So, quick question, if you will - what precisely would happen if someone ate me out?” Say, someone like the heroine?


I stared at Abigail in surprise, then cocked my head curiously to the side. “Nothing?”

“Nothing,” she repeated, with a firm nod. “Demon Queens are fallen angels, right? Divine beings? You can use our powers, but yours are totally beyond us.”

“I see…” I murmured. Divine beings. I’d been quite attached to that description, once upon a time. But now that I knew my soul had started off in a mortal body, the whole thing felt a bit pretentious. 

Still, if it meant Lucy wasn’t going to unlock any new abilities from sex with me, it was probably for the best.

“Well. New discoveries aside, I’m glad to have a way to converse with Bailey,” I declared, glancing down at the horned wolf girl. She looked up at me, dark eyes wide, her tongue lolling out of her mouth. I chuckled, then reached out to grab a couple strands of her hair. I didn’t pull them out but used a tightly compressed blade of air to slice through the strands.

“...This is most definitely going to get caught in my throat, isn’t it?” I complained, staring at the hairs clinging to my fingers. I could understand why most people took the time to turn ingredients into potions, now, but I didn’t want to keep Bailey waiting. So I balled the hairs up, pulled a tiny bit of water from the atmosphere, and inserted the hairs into the center of it. Then I shaped the water into a small marble, with the knot of hair in the center, and froze it. With that, I only had to pop the ice into my mouth and swallow.

“...Did it work?” Abigail asked after a moment, staring at me intently.

“I’m not sure yet...” Since I’d never done this before, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would it come to me as a sudden instinct? Would I feel some strange sensation? After a minute passed without any noticeable signs, I started to worry. “Perhaps I’m doing something wrong…”

“It’s a little hard to get right the first time,” Abigail explained. “Try closing your eyes and feeling for something inside you that doesn’t belong.”

I shut my eyes as instructed, though I felt a little silly doing it. Searching inside me for something that didn’t belong? I wasn’t even sure what that meant. After a moment’s thought, I decided to reach for the magic circulating within me.

I felt the warmth of my power, a pleasant current that was constantly running just beneath the surface. It was a stream that ran through my entire being, and by connecting to it I became intimately aware of every cell within my body. Including something that most definitely did not belong.

It’s hard to explain exactly what I felt; it was like there was something embedded within my being. It wasn’t anything unpleasant. It was warm, like my own magic, and if I wasn’t looking for it I likely wouldn’t have found it at all. It was akin to finding a grain of sand embedded within a diamond. It was ultimately a bit of rock, made of the same base element as the gem surrounding it, but it was most definitely not the same as what encompassed it. 

“I think I’ve got it,” I declared, grinning. “Though there’s actually two of them. What do I do now?”

“She must have two abilities,” Abigail explained. “Hopefully one of them’s telepathy, but the only real way to find out is to run your magic through it. She’ll probably sound pretty distant if it works - my ex always did.”

“Understood.” I did as Abigail instructed, channeling my magic through one of the new foreign imprints I had found within me. As the arcane energy flowed through me, it took on an unfamiliar shape; A form of wild magic that I never would have been able to cast before. It was a little thrilling.

There was something about the process I found peculiar, though. When I’d consumed Bailey’s hairs, I’d more or less absorbed a tiny bit of her essence. I understood now that running my magic power through her essence, instead of my own, was what would allow me to duplicate the effects of her wild magic, at least to a limited degree. But the strange thing was, the essence itself was not arcane, or even mortal in nature. It was actually divine.

Of course, that isn’t to say that it was holy magic. In the mortal realm, only the heroine and I could wield that, and even then, the heroine could only channel it, requiring an angel to actually generate it. The heroine simply used what my aunts in heaven provided.

So what was it that I was feeling? It was almost like a great power had passed through the core of Bailey’s being, leaving an indelible mark in its wake.

Was that why wild magic could do what normal spells could not, despite using the same base energy? Was it really just arcane magic, shaped and empowered by this divine residue? And if so, was it perhaps possible to use the holy magic within me in order to achieve the same effect? I couldn’t channel holy magic into the world without knowing the right words, but perhaps if I used it internally, I could convert my arcane energies into wild magic.

I wanted to experiment, but not with Bailey. This was magic to connect our minds, after all; if I tried homebrewing it, there was no telling what the effects might be. I’d have to experiment with potions at a later date.

For now, I pulled back on my magic and channeled it through the second node I’d discovered. Although it worked much the same way, it gave me a very different result. It wasn’t just the shape of the magic that formed, but the feeling that it gave off. The first time I’d done this, it had felt warm and soft. This time it felt destructive. Perhaps this was the power found within her horn? I’d have to test it out later. For now, I channeled more of my magic through the first imprint, allowing a tendril of my power to slip out into the world.

“Now what?” 

“Just press your magic against her head. If she lets you in, you’ll know.”

I nodded, doing as Abigail said. When I pressed my magic against Bailey’s skull, I felt something pressing back; Another magic, probing mine. I didn’t probe back, instead choosing to wait. After a moment, I felt a faint spark of energy running through my tendril of power.

Bailey? I thought, as loudly as I could. Can you hear me?

The response was almost instantaneous. I wasn’t sure what Abigail meant about her being distant, as the signal I received was loud and clear. It wasn’t actual words that flowed into my mind, though. It was a mix of sensations, emotions, and raw concepts. I felt her joy at being able to communicate with me and her desire for more head pats. I could also sense a deep wish to serve me. 

Why? I asked, trying to convey the feelings of ‘curiosity’ and ‘uncertainty’.

The response I got confused me, at first. Even after I managed to parse through the flood of images, feelings, and concepts, I wasn’t sure how to respond. Bailey’s image of me was simply too bizarre. 

She saw me as strong. That much was true. She saw me as a leader - not technically incorrect. But she also saw me as being of mercy and kindness, at least if I was interpreting her messages right. Her “word” for mercy was a gentle, soothing sensation that chased away the pain, while kindness was conveyed through the pleasent sensations of a hand running through one’s hair.

I took out your whole pack. I sent her images of the battlefield, and all that I had done.

But according to her, it was her pack’s fault for attacking someone as strong as me. It was only natural, in her mind, that they had all been wiped out. A mistake on their part, nothing more, but in the wild a mistake was all it took to end a life. The fact that I’d spared even one of them showed my mercy. On top of that, I had taken the time to heal and wash her. She wanted to serve the strong leader who’d shown her such kindness.

How did you even get in that state, anyway?

Bailey whimpered faintly in response, and I could feel her hesitation. When I pressed though, she gave me her reluctant answer.

Apparently, the other wolves hadn’t liked her very much. In fact, they’d abused her pretty heavily. They nipped at her whenever she took human form, forcing her to stay as a wolf. They wouldn’t let her sleep with them, because she always changed in her slumber. They gave her only the barest scraps of food to eat, keeping her weak and dependant on the pack.

If they hated you so much, why did they even keep you around? The thought flashed through my mind, too quick to stop. I paled when I realized what I’d just transmitted, but Bailey didn’t seem to mind. She simply responded with an image of an older wolf.

Who is that?

That elicited a stream of heavy emotions. Love, anger, sadness, and grief. Then came a stream of images, memories. A baby wolf, drinking from her mother’s teat. That same wolf, older now, hiding behind her mother’s legs as she growled at their leader. The mother sleeping with the leader, and bearing more children. The loss of that mother to the stress of birthing.

Without a word, I wrapped my arms around Bailey and pressed her head against my chest. She stiffened in surprise for a moment, but then leaned into the hug.

Perhaps it was for the best that Bailey’s mother left this world before I took on the pack, but it was clear that Bailey still grieved her loss. It was a feeling I knew all too well.

But there was still one question I absolutely had to ask.

“Your mother… wasn’t like us, was she?” I asked, speaking out loud for Abigail’s benefit even as I conveyed the question to Bailey through our mental link. “She was a normal horned wolf?”

Abigail, gasped but I ignored her. My focus was entirely on Bailey. If my suspicions were true, it certainly answered my original question. She was with the horned wolves because she’d been born among them. But then there was the question of how? No demon had been born to a monster since ancient times. Since there weren’t any written records of it, the very concept was still nothing more than a theory.

“Nor… mal…” Bailey whispered.

My eyes went wide. Not at the agreement, which was coming in clearly through our mental link, but at the word. It was likely the first such utterance Bailey had ever made. Her very first word. And from what I could sense, the wary look in her eyes was her trying to gauge my reaction.

“That’s right,” I confirmed, giving Bailey a gentle squeeze of encouragement. I smiled too, though I was careful not to show my teeth. I could only imagine that she’d interpret it as a wolf might: a sign of aggression. “Normal. Is that your first word?”

“Normal…” Bailey repeated, with increasing eagerness. “Normal. Normal! Normal!”

“Wait,” Abigail interjected, kneeling down beside me and Bailey. The wolf girl glowered at Abigail for the interruption, but I stroked Bailey’s hair encouraging her to calm down. “Was that a yes? Her mother was really a monster?”

“It would seem so,” I affirmed. “It’s quite the discovery if you think about it. Though I do wonder how it came about…” I shook my head, dismissing the thought. There were certainly demons who would love to study Bailey, but I had no intention of putting her through such scrutiny. Perhaps once she was able to speak for herself, and could establish proper boundaries, I would ask her if she’d mind an examination. For now, it would just have to remain an enigma.

“Oh, well. I suppose it’s enough for now that we’ve settled the mystery. Who’s hungry for breakfast?”

Abigail stared at me, mouth slightly open, black eyes wide with disbelief. “You want to eat breakfast? You just proved the origin of your people, and all you want to do is eat?”

“Unless you have a better idea, yes.” I released Bailey as I spoke, standing upright. “I suppose I’ll have Bailey shift back into wolf form for now. I’m really not looking forward to explaining the necessity of clothes to her…”

A thought on the subject was all it took. Instantly, fur began to sprout across Bailey’s flesh, and her body started to shift. Her mouth pressed out into a snout, her chest turned broad and cylindrical, while her legs began to shrink inward and her fingers and toes melted into paws. Within moments I was staring not at a naked girl, but at a horned wolf.

“Aren’t you at least going to tell someone?” Abigail demanded.

“I suppose I can tell Sylvanna when next we meet. Though I’m hoping to put that off for a while, now that I don’t have to ask after the possibility of a horned wolf population in the tower…”

“Ah…” Abigail tensed with those words, letting slip a small noise before rapidly covering her mouth with a hand and turning her head away from me.

“...Abigail. Please tell me that reaction doesn’t mean what I think it does.”

“Well…” Abigail hesitated, before reluctantly turning her eyes toward mine. “Remember how I said Mifa and I were running around like crazy, trying to keep anyone from realizing you were gone?”

“I vaguely recall something of that nature, yes,” I pushed aside the twinge of guilt I felt at that. I didn’t expect to be gone so long, and I really hadn’t thought it would be that big a deal. I’d have to be more careful on future excursions.

“Well, there miiiiight have been one person who figured it out,” Abigail confessed. “By which I mean that there was definitely someone who figured it out.”

“Sylvanna.” I pressed my fingertips against my forehead, sighing loudly. I had never actually experienced a headache in this lifetime. I was fairly certain I was immune to such ailments in my current body, but today it seemed I’d be putting that to the test.

“She said she wanted to meet you as soon as you got back,” Abigail continued “I put it off last night, considering… Well, everything. But if we don’t go meet her soon, she’ll probably force the issue.”

“Fine. I’ll go meet with her - after breakfast.” Abigail opened her mouth to protest, but I raised a hand to stop her. “There’s a dish from my past life that I’ve been dying to recreate, and I refuse to put it off a minute longer. Sylvanna can wait an hour, surely.”

“She’s not going to like it,” Abigail warned me, shaking her head.

“Then we can both be unhappy about the meeting. Just like always.” I walked past Abigail as I spoke, heading toward my closet. I knew that I was being contrary, irresponsible, and spoiled. It was obvious that I needed to meet Sylvanna as soon as possible. But I honestly didn’t appreciate the way Sylvanna always talked down to me, and I had no intention of dealing with it on an empty stomach.

I heard Abigail sighing as I opened the closet door, but she still followed after me, helping me strip off clothes I’d been wearing for far too long. I desperately wanted a bath actually, but my stomach was demanding attention first. So I simply used a little magic to dispel all the dirt on me.

After that, I wasted no time heading out of the room. Bailey bounded forward, too, taking her place beside me even as I walked down the hall. Usually, I’d be headed to Abigail’s house at that point. Her mother’s kitchen was well stocked, and it was of a decent size. More than adequate for my cooking lessons. Fries took a lot of oil though, and I didn’t wish to waste theirs. And I wanted a nice, thick tomato sauce besides. As such, it was in the royal kitchen that I would be making, and tasting, my fries.

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