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Chapter 31: Chapter 31. Ophelia’s Past

 Woken up by the songs of birds heralding the arrival of the first rays of the sun, the first thing Ophelia saw when she opened her eyes was Kara's still-sleeping face, whose limbs were entwined around her like constrictor snakes, their bare chests pressed strongly against each other.

 Due to her deep slumber, it took Ophelia a few moments to grasp the situation she was in and recall the actions preceding her sleep, remaining quite perplexed at how a simple kiss that she initiated could lead to over 3 hours of love-making, during which in her mind there was nothing else but the desire to merge both her body and soul with Kara, whose touches not only made her feel pleasures she couldn't have imagined possible but also seemed to open the way to an inexhaustible source of vitality, providing her with an extremely addictive sense of power.

 Ophelia wasn't quite sure what to make of her behavior from the previous evening. On one hand, she felt a bit embarrassed because her actions and words at that time were not typical for a young woman of noble origins like herself, who learned from a young age how to restrain her emotions and not make her desires known. On the other hand, she felt very proud that she could make Kara so obsessed with her, the image of Kara's eyes filled with desire and adoration, which was etched in her mind, being clear evidence that Kara was willing to do anything for her.

 'I didn't expect us to take things so far... Maybe the stress I've been under lately finally got the better of me and led me to succumb to pleasure. Or perhaps Kara's overwhelming attractiveness is to blame. Her body, her voice, the way she moves... damn, I never thought someone could make me feel so excited... Anyway... maybe I let things get a bit out of control, but the result is quite satisfactory. From what I've deduced so far about Kara's personality, after those passionate hours, I don't think it will ever cross her mind to give up on me, even if my enemy is the whole world...'

 "Good morning, Ophelia...", Ophelia suddenly heard Kara's lazy voice. As Kara brought her face even closer, she naturally captured Ophelia's lips in a kiss full of tenderness and affection, Ophelia being once again enchanted by the freshness of the air exhaled by Kara and the addictive taste of her lips.

 'It's clear to me now... More than likely, Kara is responsible for me becoming so excited last night...', Ophelia thought, feeling her entire being melting from the pleasure she experienced, all worries leaving her mind, and her body becoming soft as if made only of water.

 However, it seemed that Kara had no intention of going further and, after kissing Ophelia for a few minutes, she pulled her face back to the position it had been while she was sleeping, Ophelia not knowing whether to feel relieved or regret that things stopped after just a kiss.

 "I'm very happy, Ophelia... I know I can be a bit possessive and a bit stubborn at times, wanting things to unfold the way I desire... but... I'll try to control myself as much as possible. Yes, I won't be the kind of girlfriend who..."

 "You don't need to do that, Kara. I like you just the way you are, with all the little bit of possessiveness you might show..." Ophelia interrupted, slightly amused by Kara's use of the word "little" when talking about her possessiveness, as she remembered how Kara cut Mason's hand when he tried to grab her arm, an incident that happened when the two of them didn't even know each other.

 'It's truly strange that something that scared me so much now seems like a romantic gesture...', Ophelia thought, a bit surprised at how much her perception of Kara had changed in less than a day.

 "I like you a lot too, Ophelia!... And the fact that you agreed to be my girlfriend is the happiest thing that has ever happened to me in my entire life...", Kara said in return, then, she once again brought her face close to Ophelia's and gave her another kiss, this time much more passionate than the one she gave her when she first woke up.

 "Hmmm, Kara. You're really good at kissing... And the techniques you used last night... Tell me honestly, how many partners have you had in the past?", Ophelia asked after Kara let her breathe for a few seconds while showering her face with kisses.

 "None... You're my first girlfriend... As for the techniques used... well, I got some printed materials from a female friend of my father's...", Kara replied as she continued to kiss Ophelia's face, who seemed very pleased after hearing those words.

 "Hmm, then either you have a natural talent or you're capable of learning extremely fast..." Ophelia concluded, truly satisfied with Kara's performances, as Kara had managed to bring her to climax countless times.

 Considering the information that popped into her mind when she woke up, related to a new skill she acquired, whose effects included an increase in her ability to induce pleasure, and recalling that most of the time she made love to Ophelia, she let herself be controlled more by instincts than reason, unconsciously using the new skill, Kara tended to believe that she might indeed be talented in the field of intimate interactions. However, she didn't confess this to Ophelia since she hadn't had the necessary time to analyze the information related to the new skill properly. Also, she didn't want Ophelia to think she had become too proud of her abilities immediately after making love for the first time.

 "Anyway, Ophelia... Now that you've agreed to be my girlfriend, I believe you have enough confidence in me to give me more information about your past. Of course, it's not a problem if you can't tell me everything about your identity, but I think it would be good to at least tell me what the issues are that you said you might need my help to resolve..," Kara said, intending to limit herself to kisses until she properly analyzed the new skill she obtained because she didn't want either of them to experience unforeseen effects.

 "Yes... I think I have enough confidence in you now to tell you everything about me. Well, Kara, listen carefully, because I'll only say it once......... I am the Great Demon King...." Ophelia said in a very serious tone, trying to appear very intimidating.

 "Huh, seriously? Damn, thinking that I just fought The Demon King until he couldn't move a finger. Does that mean I'm the new hero?", Kara asked in a teasing tone, being absolutely certain that there was no chance Ophelia wasn't human.

 "Uhh, I thought I could trick you... I forgot for a moment that your nose is more sensitive than that of a d... uhh, a wolf's," Ophelia said, a bit dissatisfied that her prank didn't work at all. "Putting jokes aside," Ophelia continued, "the truth is that I am the eldest daughter of Marquis Delafire, who died a year and a half ago along with my mother and my 2-year-old brother during a so-called attack by a bandit group. Although these things happened on the other side of the kingdom, I'm sure the news reached here..."

 "I'm sorry to hear that you've suffered such a great loss...", Kara said, intending to hug Ophelia to console her, but realizing that this action wasn't quite appropriate while they were both completely undressed, she had to settle for gently stroking Ophelia's head.

 "It's okay... I've already come to terms with it. So, after my father's death, as his only heirs were my younger sister, who was only 17 at that time, and me, I was the only one eligible to inherit the title of marquis, this being something I didn't think would be possible after the birth of my younger brother, whom my father intended to make his successor. Because as long as he had no son, my father had prepared me to take his place, it's not like I had no idea how to manage the territory and businesses that were left to me as inheritance, however, after two months of putting everything in order, various problems started to arise.

 Merchants began to come with documents claiming that my father owed them large sums of money, or lesser-ranking nobles with territories adjacent to mine came seeking funds for various projects my father had agreed to... Although I realized something was wrong, the fact that these documents had my father's seal couldn't be denied, so I had no choice but to pay, as there was a risk they might complain to the king, forever tarnishing my father's name,.... and it was likely that I would never be approved for the marquis title in that situation.

 Things continued in the same manner for about four months until almost all my funds disappeared. But I didn't even have a month to rejoice in finally getting rid of these issues, as an order from the king arrived, informing me that I had to prepare an army to secure the border with the Generous Mountains region, which is more than three-quarters in my territory, because there was information that the oni clan populating those territories intended to attack us, most likely within a year.

 However, is it possible to raise an army when you have almost no money left? Though those unfit for combat and those with low levels were willing to fight for a smaller sum, primarily to defend their families and households, anyone competent in battle preferred to abandon everything and try their luck elsewhere, unwilling to risk their lives for almost nothing in return. Even the knights who were under my father's command didn't seem too enthusiastic about going to war for free, stating that their loyalty was to my father, and I, who had not yet been appointed marquis by the king, had no authority over them.

 But just when I thought there was no hope left, my uncle, whom I hadn't seen in over 5 years, returned from the capital, and after paying his respects to his older brother-s grave, whose funeral he couldn't attend, he offered to lend me the money needed to assemble an army of around 2000 men and proposed to bring in his son to lead it, who was a highly renowned adventurer in the capital, considered the ninth-strongest Rank A adventurer in the kingdom.

 Even though this offer seemed too good to be true, I didn't believe my uncle was the kind of person capable of deceiving his newly orphaned nieces, so with no other options available, I decided to accept his offer, and he lent me a sum of 500,000 gold coins, which I was required to repay without any interest over a period of 5 years.

 Once I had the funds, I immediately began preparations to assemble the army. However, due to the constant presence of my uncle and his son, I couldn't assert my authority through any means, and all the orders I gave were completely ignored. Moreover, rumors about my incompetence began circulating both in my territory and the surrounding ones, administered by lesser-ranking nobles, many suggesting it would be more appropriate to offer the marquis position to my much more capable cousin to ensure the region's stability.

 Observing all these developments, it didn't take me long to realize that everything that had happened was a scheme orchestrated by my uncle to help his son obtain the Marquis title. So, when he visited me proposing that his son marry my younger sister, I was already convinced that he was my greatest enemy, and I categorically refused. Seeing that he had no chance of convincing me, he revealed his true intentions and started resorting to all kinds of threats, invoking clauses from the contract I had signed with him that could force me to repay the entire loan within a year. However, despite his efforts, I continued to reject him, leaving him with no choice but to leave in anger.

 As expected, less than a week after the quarrel with my uncle, I received a letter from the king informing me that my uncle had filed a complaint against me, so he would send a representative to mediate the conflict and oversee preparations for the defense of the shared border with the oni clan.

 Although the king's representative seemed impartial, there were hidden clauses in the contract I signed with my uncle that allowed him to compel me to repay the money in less than a year, so I had no choice but to return 80% of the amount I still had from the loan, and within the next 5 months, I had to repay the remaining 100,000 gold coins I had already spent. As for the Marquis title, it was decided that a public duel between me and my cousin, or our representatives, would take place after 5 months to showcase which side was more capable, as the king needed someone both powerful and popular to secure the border. In summary, if I win, the king will officially appoint me as marquis and lend me the necessary funds indefinitely to organize the army and, if my cousin wins, he will be named marquis, and my sister will be obligated to marry him.

 Once the agreement was reached, the king's representative took upon himself the duty of administering the territory, allowing me the time needed to gather the sum of money I had to repay and to prepare for the duel and he guaranteed the safety of my sister for the next five months, so I contacted immediately the members of the adventurer team I had been part of after my father decided not to continue to train me as his successor, because I wanted to rejoin them to increase my level and earn the necessary funds because, on my own, it was almost impossible considering that I specialize in fighting from a medium range, which is not ideal when facing a large number of enemies as found in Dungeons, which are the best source of experience and treasures. But as my situation was known throughout the kingdom, everyone found various reasons to refuse to accompany me, as supporting me meant becoming enemies with a powerful Rank A adventurer who had a good chance of becoming a marquis. Failing to find another team or form one myself, I had no choice but to leave, hoping that in an area where I wasn't recognized, I would have more success.

 "So, that's pretty much the whole story. What do you think?", Ophelia asked Kara after summarizing the events that brought her to the current situation, where she had to find someone to explore a Great Dungeon with her.

 "Uhh, so many intrigues... I always thought the lives of nobles were too complicated, but I didn't expect so many problems...", replied Kara, who felt that her time spent in The Great Moonshadow Forest was nowhere near as stressful as Ophelia's last year because all things were much simpler. "Anyway, from what I understand, as long as you have enough money and your cousin is eliminated. all your problems will be solved, right?" Kara concluded, wanting to understand Ophelia's immediate goals more clearly.

 "Yeah, I think that sums it up... Anyway, the most important thing for me is to retrieve my younger sister. As for the marquis title, considering how ungrateful and disloyal all my father's subordinates were, I think it's not worth trying to obtain it...", replied Ophelia, analyzing Kara carefully to gauge her attitude.

 "I understand. Then it won't be difficult for me to help you. And even if it were challenging, know that I would still stand by you, especially now that you're my beloved...", Kara told Ophelia without hesitation, making Ophelia to be very delighted after hearing these words.

 "Thank you so much, Kara! You're the best...", Ophelia said, leaning towards Kara and kissing her on the lips in a very coquettish way.

 "Yeah, yeah... And so it will be forever... But I wanted to ask you something about your story because one thing isn't clear to me. How come only your younger sister's marriage was discussed, and there was never any mention of your marriage? Considering how beautiful you are, I expected at least one person to propose to help you get out of this predicament. From your story, it seems like you only dealt with eunuchs..." Kara said, not believing that Ophelia's beauty had no influence on what she suffered.

 "Well... there were quite a few such cases...", Ophelia hesitated, sure that Kara would show her 'small' possessiveness once she found out exactly how things stood.

 "So who?... Your cousin?" Kara asked, trying to appear indifferent.

 "Well, yes... and my uncle... the king's emissary... maybe even two of the adventurers I used to be on a team with... about 10 nobles, some very wealthy merchants... maybe even the king..." Ophelia began to confess, thinking it was more important to be honest with her new lover than to assure the kingdom's survival, while Kara's eyes turned increasingly reddish, indicating that she was not as calm as she wanted to appear.

 "So what do you think?" Ophelia asked after listing more than 100 people in total.

 "Hmmm... What do I think?... I think I should have prepared more diamond-clawed bears..." Kara replied, the intense redness of her eyes foretelling difficult days for those who harbored impure thoughts about Ophelia.

***Author's Thoughts: It was a rather long chapter, but I hope it was also a very beautiful one (at least I liked how it turned out). I'm curious about what you think of the plot's development, so if you have time, feel free to leave a comment expressing your opinion.

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