I could feel that there was more to my abilities than what I had understood but I was fine with that. I could feel a huge increase in the mana and power within me. Both my plant and beast had five shining stars floating around inside them, one less than my mana core.
Baby steps was all I could tell myself though I wasn't sure that could be considered accurate, it hadn't even been a week since this all started and I kept growing stronger at a crazy rate. My abilities didn't level up again, but the scope of my beast and plant ability increased exponentially, and there was still more I needed to comprehend.
I opened my eyes to glance around and noticed that the changes in me had not gone unnoticed. Several were staring at me, all of my women had very hungry looks in their eyes as they gazed at me, Tracy included. Jessarn and those with him who had noticed had complicated looks on their faces, it confirmed to me that they hadn't been intending to be completely truthful with me. Perhaps I would get lucky and this change would make them reconsider. If they did it would make things easier for both sides.
I wasn't sure if I was ready to kill humans yet.
I closed my eyes again hoping to accomplish what I had initially intended before my beast and plant abilities distracted me.
Gazing into my mind ability I let myself embrace it and figure out what I could do with it. I no longer hesitated, my bonding ability was already worse than what I feared I could do with the mind ability. As I had hoped there was a portion of the ability that did help to shield my mind from influences both internal and external, better yet it was a passive ability like the change in my body. It strengthened my mind allowing me to be less affected by what was happening around me and let me think clearly. It didn't erase my emotions just made it easier to ignore them. Like the body ability it was supposed to kick in when it appeared but my own innate fear had kept it from working. I sighed at my own fears that had made my life harder to handle then allowed my mind ability to work like it was supposed to. With my fears removed my mind ability was able to work like it should. I felt my mind become clearer and a wall form around it blocking out many influences.
I could do more with the ability, but that was like all of my abilities. I didn't yet have the time to explore it in detail. I was reassured by the natural mental defense I had now but I hesitated to open my eyes. Would my emotions towards my girls change now? Without opening my eyes I knew that the residual effects of the old marital bonds had disappeared. Only the active bonds would have any affect on me now.
As I hesitated I had a stray thought that made me wonder if I could complete the set and add a golden gem and become a a twisted emperor too. I shook my head and criticized myself for being a weak willed coward. I had been allowing myself to go with the flow and let my emotions guide me. That was fine when the world was hinting that the apocalypse was about to start. Now that the apocalypse was in full effect I had to take charge of my life. That was the only way I could guarantee my own safety and the safety of those I cared about.
I opened my eyes and looked around. It might seem cliche but the world seemed different now. With the influences on my mind gone it felt clearer letting me observe more around me. More importantly my two other emperor abilities increased my senses immensely. No longer would Mary and Dena be able to sense other beasts and plants before I did.
"Master?" Mary called out nervously as she approached me.
I looked down at her surprised by her nervous attitude. Seeing her gaze up at me nervously was incredibly appealing and would have driven me to find somewhere private to indulge in her. Now I could resist, but only barely. It seemed that while my mind was clearer my own lust was not considered a influence it would block.
"What is it Mary?" I asked her.
Mary stared into my eyes for several moments then seemed to relax. "I was worried master had changed." she told me honestly her face once again returning to the expressionless one I was used too.
"Why?" I asked her surprised.
"The plant emperor form also affects the mind like the beast emperor, but it is not companion friendly." she told me.
I frowned, I hadn't noticed any changes in my mind that would make me want to harm or push away my companions. Then again my plant form wasn't active yet. I would have to take that into consideration before I tried to use it.
"Its fine. I activated my mind ability to help keep down the influences on me." I told her then reached out and pulled her into my arms. I could still feel the reassuring and calming effects from her but it was significantly reduced when compared to before.
Taking a deep breath I shifted my gaze to Tracy who was standing behind Mary where Mary had left her. My desire for her wasn't gone, she was still a very attractive woman that I had once had a crush on, but the need to keep her at my side and claim her as my own was almost gone. I was a bit sad about that, but if she did chose her family over me it wouldn't cause as much trouble. I would be able to let go.
Tracy seemed to sense the change in my gaze and squirmed uncomfortably.
"Don't give up on her too quickly." Mary repeated to me before leaving my side and returning to Tracy.
Before I could further explore that link and maybe her mouth I felt the presence of several beasts heading towards quickly. They were in the air and two of the presences seemed familiar. Thankfully there were only six so I shifted my gaze from Mary and turned my attentions to the birds that were approaching. I couldn't see An or Gel, but I could make out three other birds that didn't blend into the sky nearly as well. They were all larger than the falcons making me sure that they had been scouts.
As they came closer I was sure that a pair of them were either dark brown hawks or eagles, while the last was a pure white crane. Moments later the five birds landed a short distance away from us. Surprisingly there were a pair of humans riding on the back of the crane which was the largest of the birds. The two of them together had made up what I thought was a sixth bird in the sky. They were a boy and a girl in their preteens and appeared to be siblings. The boy seemed to be the younger of the two with dark brown hair and gray eyes while the girl was a bit older in appearance with long dark brown hair, gray eyes. Both were skinny and dirty.
"Welcome." I called out to the group.
"Your aura has changed." Gel commented.
I nodded but didn't elaborate on the reason.
An, Gel, and the crane all shifted into human forms. The crane turned out to be a female, worse she was even prettier than An. She seemed older, early twenties with a athletic build and generous curves along with snow white hair that reached to her waist and bright sapphire eyes. Similar jean shorts and loose shirt could not hide her beauty. Worse her aura was the strongest I had encountered up to now.
I cringed just looking at her as my lust went into overdrive. There was no way I was going to be able to bring her back with us without Megan throwing a fit. She was never going to believe that I didn't have any interest in her. She was right, but that was beside the point. Worse I couldn't blame my beast ability on my attraction to her. Why couldn't I just be satisfied with the women I already had?
"Welcome." I greeted them opening my eyes and forcing down my desires. She was not mine and I had enough women issues to chase after another one.
"Thank you." the crane woman replied. "We are happy you were willing to meet with us. These two here are Daniel and Danielle siblings who were once the children of our previous owner. As they were kind to us and did not mistreat us we have taken them under our care." the woman told me.
I nodded, "That is fine, they are welcome to join us if they wish." I told her.
"Even if we do not wish to join you?" the crane asked me.
That would suck. I hesitated for a moment as I gazed at the siblings. They pair seemed rather nervous as they returned my gaze without flinching. I could sense that they were both awakened but I couldn't tell what color their cores were. However the simple fact that they were awakened meant they were worth the effort. I nodded. "If they wish to come with us we will take them, even if you and yours do not." I replied turning my attention back to the crane woman.
"Good." she said giving me a bright smile that caused my heart to throb. Then the five birds took off leaving us on the ground watching them fly away. I watched them as they disappeared into the distance. Once they were out of sight I looked back at the children and smiled at them. They cringed and stepped back from me.
Seeing that Tracy started to laugh. "I have no idea what you did but your aura is too intimidating now." she told me.
I sighed then tried to tone down my aura. It didn't work, maybe because I had no idea how I was emitting an aura in the first place.
"I will try and control it, but we should be leaving here soon." I replied to Tracy.
"What about us?" Daniel asked moving to stand in front of his big sister.
"We will take you with us." I replied. "We don't have much yet, but we should be able to get you some food and clean clothes, or at least cleaner clothes, and a shower."
"Why didn't they stay?" Tracy asked.
"She was an empress, Gel and An were probably just looking for humans to take these two as staying with beasts would be hard on them." I replied voicing my thoughts.
"So we were used?" Tracy asked.
I nodded. "Yep." I replied though for some reason I didn't mind. Adding two more awakened to our group, even if they were young wasn't a bad deal for us.
"She was very pretty." Calidia teased.
"One word of that to Megan and I will find a way to punish you." I teased her back making her smile mischievously.
I looked back at Jessarn and his group. "Are you ready yet?" I called out. "There is still a lot I need to get done today!"
Jessarn hesitated then nodded. "We are ready." he told me. "We have five silvers with us who have filled their space pockets with supplies we can contribute once we arrive." he informed me.
'Five?' I asked Calidia mentally.
'Seven.' she replied the actual number of silvers in Jessarns group. I could accept them holding back a bit just in case, informing us that they had supplies was at least a step in the right direction. In his place I would do the same, and the two I held back would have the largest space pockets filled to the brim.
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