When I woke up, Diana had her wings wrapped around me, her large breasts pressing into my back.
This… is a problem that I really should have seen coming.
I probably could have, but last night… my thought then…
I tried to get out of bed, but there was something in the way.
Diana's wingtips clung into my chest with as much strength as she could muster.
I looked over my shoulder to her still sleeping face and it was obvious something was wrong. Her face was scrunched in pain and the breath from her nose was getting heavier and heavier, although I don't think it was any kind of menstrual pain or something. I've heard that shit gets bad, but I think at the very least she would be clutching her stomach instead of mine or something like that.
Is she having a nightmare?
I kept still for a time for the dream to end somehow, but it probably wasn't going to end anytime soon. If anything I wanted to be able to turn around so that her wingtips could at least dig into my back instead. My stomach was starting to hurt a bit too much to bear.
So I decided to turn-
"FATHER DON'T GO!" Diana screamed, her wings wrapping around me as tightly as she could.
I coughed for air as she continued squeezing me tight. Turns out she was pretty strong and a very deep sleeper.
With the shock gone, it was obvious that she needed someone to calm her down. My hands reached around her head and pulled her into my chest.
I know I was going too overboard with how close I was doing these things, I honestly didn't know what else I could do. I knew I wanted this sort of thing to happen to me as the solitary years in front of the screen passed by. My parents had hugged me, obviously, but after school ended, something convulsed inside me when they tried, and after that I knew I could never love them again.
Those years were still there, as much a part of me as my own shadow, and this isekai changed nothing, only the chance to do dumb shit with Harpy slaves.
I hate everything about this.
She's still asleep. She can sleep so much, can't she?
I strained my fingers through Diana's hair, those soft strands lulling the thoughts away.
A few more minutes like this wouldn't hurt, right?
I woke up at midday.
AH FUCK ME!
"Wait, where's everyone else?" I asked.
"The light-weights haven't woken up, so what you have now are among the strongest stomachs in the company." Captain Herzt stated, the grog still heavy in his breath as he locked me in the Rust Bucket.
So only you.
"Guess it's just the two of us then?"
"Probably," Herzt sighed, although it sounded more like he wasn't very interested in being here. "I'll grab a pole and we can start block training."
"Sir, I've already been through that last week and it's basically impossible for me alone to do anything."
"Isn't that the point?"
"What do you-"
"The rats will come at you with anything they can grab their greedy little hands on, from frying pans to spoons. If you can't deal with a long branch then I'm not allowing you into combat."
"So how do I deal with a long branch?"
"In combat you're alone. Only after that can you properly fight with someone by your side."
What sort of bullshit logic is that?
"So I need to figure that out myself?"
"Can I at least get a hint?"
"You get hints when you actually think for once."
DONK DONK DONK…
"Hello Captain! Sorry we're late!"
Late? The sun's going down. What sort of damn booze did they get at the wake?
"Oh! Meig! Artyom! Come over here and let me catch a breather!"
Wait, that Artyom guy. FUCK! ITS HIM! THAT FUCKING DUMBASS GUY FROM BEFORE! THAT CASUALLY RACIST ASSHOLE! FUCK ME OF COURSE HE'D BE HERE!
Shhh… keep calm, maybe he's forgotten about that- OF COURSE HE WOULD REMEMBER THAT! HOW THE FUCK COULD HE NOT?!
"Amshy, what's wrong?"
"Sorry sir." I apologized.
"Artyom, do you know Amshy?"
"Yes sir, I delivered the summons for Lady Seraien and Amshy said he'd pass the message on."
"What happened back then?"
FUCK ME NOT THIS!
"Uhhh… Amshy opened the door and then he said he would tell Lady Seraien and then I asked if he wanted to join the tournament to which he said no and then that was that."
"Nothing else of note?"
"He did seem rather annoyed when I brought up getting ladies at the tournament…"
"OH!!! So Amshy swings that way does he?"
"NO I'M STRAIGHT! COMPLETELY FUCKING STRAIGHT!" I screamed into my helmet, which punished me as it echoed like a bell. "Besides, I have two girls in my retinue now."
"So then why are you so annoyed? Haven't you had your way with them already?" Herzt inquired.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Don't worry lad, there are plenty of women around here who'd be willing to do it with you. Just walk around Gate and you'll find one."
"Look I'll do it when I feel like it, can we just drop this and continue training?"
"Okay lad, but don't you worry, we'll set something up later just for you."
"Artyom take over here. I need a break…" Herzt said.
"Gotcha Captain. Hey Mejg, you mind helping me into my armor?"
My longsword rang against Artyom's shield, only for his counter attack to scratch the Rust Bucket, signalling whatever the score was in his favor.
I struck again, but his shortsword parried it, followed by a shield bash that lost my footing long enough for his blade to once again scratch my armor.
Again and again my blade was blocked and again and again did the sound of clashing steel screech into my bones.
"Can I at least get a hint where to start?" I cried, now having gotten more used to the echoing of my helmet.
Artyom merely glanced back to the uncooperative Herzt.
"Slow down then. No need to be so aggressive."
I've already tried that. There has to be something more. Honestly I think I'm being too slow. I…
Where are his openings? I'm not seeing them if anything. We probably had similar movesets but-
Artyom took this opportunity to close in and thrust his blade upwards across my breastplate. I was barely able to move my shield arm before he stopped his blade before it could pierce my jugular.
Artyom just chuckled, confidently spinning his blade back as jeered me on.
"Come on Amshy, I thought you'd be better at this."
I'm too slow for this.
"Can you please not call me Amshy?"
"Call me either Ash or Amai'ishi. Amshy just doesn't work, okay."
"What do you mean?" Artyom snorted. "How could I say… whatever the hell that latter one is."
"Then just call me Ash."
"What sort of name is that? Isn't that like calling yourself Death, or Flame?"
I wasn't going to get anywhere arguing, as usual.
Artyom isn't going to listen. No one will.
I'm on my own here.
I've always been on my own.
I'm always going to be fucking alone. Even me talking about this makes sure that I'll be alone. I'm so fucking pathetic-
Artyom's shortsword once again screeched against my armor.
"Stop your daydreaming Amshy! The rats sure won't give you a chance at the rate you're going!" Artyom jeered at me again.
He readied his stance once again, nodding in my direction for me to ready myself.
I obliged him.
The weight of the Rust Bucket, its inadequate fit, the weight of the blade in my hand, all of it disappeared. My eyes focused, my breath steadied and something in my heart stirred.
I was ready.
Artyom's shortsword once again surged forward, but my longsword managed to block his strike.
I backed off to gain more time to react, but Artyom was fast, his strike aiming at my side. Somehow I managed to block with my shield, the heaviest and most awkward thing I had on me.
I wanted to ditch it.
"Amshy! Don't ditch your shield! You're going to need that for-" the Captain's voice was barely audible or relevant.
I stepped back, ditched the shield, and two-handed the blade as best as the grip would allow. I had been gaining muscle mass ever since I'd sucked blood, but it was now obvious to me that Artyom and every other soldier here was on the whole much stronger and even more experienced than me.
With the strength of two-handing though I might at least stand a chance.
Artyom blocked my strike with his shield, but the sheer momentum staggered him long enough for me to withdraw my blade and react to his next attack.
"Well at least you're getting interesting now." He laughed.
I attacked again in a downward strike, but it was replied with a clang of blade on blade as Artyom parried it.
Once again I struck and Artyom was getting defensive.
"Artyom, Amshy! Reset!" Herzt ordered.
The two of us stopped and reluctantly backed off from each other.
"Amshy keep your damn shield on! No matter what happens, I want that thing glued onto you!"
The first time I get an advantage and the Captain denies me it.
We squared off and went at it.
Our blades clashed again and again.
It was obvious how useless this shield felt.
"Amshy use your shield properly!" Herzt ordered.
I'm tired of this.
I felt something stir inside me, perhaps that was just the adrenaline.
No it's something different… something undeniably powerful.
"Hey, hey, don't slow down now!" Artyom jeered as he gained the upper hand.
I continued to block his blows as best I could, but I was at my limit.
Then I saw an opening.
I hurriedly tried to capitalize, but that window was getting smaller and smaller.
If only I didn't have this stupid shield slowing me down. If I only had more power! If only-
Wait, I do.
I beckoned whatever power I had felt only a few seconds prior, every millisecond of nothing an agonizing affair.
Then it responded, warming my chest and flooding through my arteries with viscous force.
I willed it into my sword arm, and it surged through. I pooled it in my hand and it flowed through my palm and coursed its way onto the slashing blade.
Artyom's blade caught mine, resounding that clash of steel on steel.
Then a black tide burst from the impact, cascading across both of our swords, the momentum of my blade flushing a whole meter of air with night.
The wave splashed against Artyom's armor as the black smoke made him cough and sputter for air, staggering back away from our melee.
"AMSHY! WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU DO?" Herzt roared.
I didn't reply as I was too fixated on the remaining smoke that flowed off my blade like arctic air.
I thought I'd be in shock over this, but under my armor the smoke compressed me with the warmth and softness of a blanket.
I think it was the first time I'd ever felt so accepted.
The lurking miasma overflowed through every crevice and chink in the Rust Bucket, forming a marshy fog at my feet. It even flowed out through my helmet, but my vision was unimpaired.
Wait- I can't move.
Actually I could move, but the armor-
The armor joints screeched like chalk as I tried to move, echoing into my bones. Then I noticed the sharp edges of blackened rust that had formed along the rims of my visor, their dull rocky glean just barely far away enough to be in focus.
My... magic... had locked me inside my own armor.
"AMSHY! WHAT IN THE FUCK DID YOU DO!" Herzt roared at me.
I… I don't know…
"I FUCKING KNOW ITS FUCKING MAGIC YOU DENSE FUCK! I'M ASKING WHAT THE FUCK KIND OF FUCKING MAGIC THAT WAS!"
"I-I-I don't know sir… maybe some kind of discharge of sorts?"
"Discharge? DISCHARGE? Of course it had to a fucking virgin who fucking discharged on my fucking watch!" Herzt fumed.
"I-In any case sir, you mind getting me out of this armor? I'm sort of stuck."
Herzt simmered down as best he could, then with a heavy sigh, gave the order. "Mejg, Artyom, let's get him out of there."
"BUT SIR, HE-"
"That's an order Artyom!"
"Yes sir." Artyom said, coughing out the remnants of the miasma from his lungs.
Mejg was already silently working away when Artyom stumbled to my side, his eyes seething with burnt pride.
It took seconds for them to find out that I was now sealed inside by the black rust.
"What are we supposed to do now?" Mejg said pragmatically.
"Leave him in there overnight. We'll figure something out tomorrow." Artyom stated with cruel apathy.
"Artyom, we're not doing that." Mejg declared.
"Yeah, what Mejg said." I agreed.
"We'll need some tools regardless," Herzt sighed, "I'll get some things, you three just stay there."
Not like I can go anywhere anyway.
I was still positioned in the same way that I had when I'd stopped emitting the mist, which meant that my posture wasn't exactly normal. Looking down and examining my sword is fine, but good luck holding that pose for more than a minute. With someone like Artyom being near me, being stuck here only meant this could get worse.
"I think it'd be better if he was lying on his back." Artyom said.
"Why do you think that?"
"Well I imagine if he's stuck like this, Amshy would at least like it if he was lying down on his back."
"Okay so how are we going to get him on his back? The armor's pretty heavy you know."
"Artyom… what are you thinking now…" I said cautiously.
Artyom grabbed the front of my armor and pushed slightly, trying to judge how much force he'd need.
"Going to need a bit of a wind up here…" He muttered.
Artyom pushed me hard, lifting my feet off the ground and toppling the heavy plate armor over with me inside of it.
The armor crashed to the ground, the impact sending grains of black rust spilling from its crevices. The force had allowed me some limited semblance of movement in arm and leg joints, but there were more frank matters to attend to.
"WHAT THE FUCK ARTYOM! THAT FUCKING HURT YOU FUCKING ASSHOLE!"
"Hey, it's not my fault you got locked up inside the Rust Bucket."
It is your fault asshole.
"Besides, I can see that you can move your arms just a bit."
"I can't move my arms enough to do anything dipshit."
"Well it is enough for me." Artyom proudly stated.
"ARTYOM, MEJG, WHAT HAPPENED NOW?" Herzt roared over to us, carrying a buckets worth of tools from the blacksmith.
"This dumb fuck pushed me over!" I shouted as best I could inside my helmet.
"Respectfully sir, it did manage to get rid of some of the… rust… inside Amshy's armor. See, he can move a little now. That suggests that if we continue to apply that much force then we can probably get Amshy out of there if we come back after getting some supper."
"We're not leaving Amshy here overnight." Mejg declared.
"We're not leaving him overnight… but with the amount of work that this could take, I believe that we should get some food inside us first."
"We're getting Amshy out of there right this instant, Artyom. That's an order." Herzt said, tossing a hammer to Artyom from the bucket.
"Understood sir." Artyom said, although he gave me another look like he could easily do something with that hammer that I wouldn't particularly like.
Or, he'd just be a deadweight.
"Sir," Mejg asked, "Where's Peter?"
"The smith went in for the night. He's still training the boy, but seeing the Rust Bucket really pisses Keryn off. It was his training piece after all."
"You boys need a hand?"
I know that voice.
"Lady Seraien," Herzt said, "Why are you here?"
"I needed a walk and saw you guys working on a suit of armor belonging to my student so..."
"Lady Seraien, we are handling the situation."
"Herzt, don't go all elite on me. I'll get him out for you."
"We'll get him out."
"With one deadweight and no smith skills between the two of you, you won't get him out of there for two days. Please just let me through."
Herzt stared back at the squatting, bored shitless Artyom and just sighed.
"Fine. It's on you. Mejg, Artyom, let's go."
I heard Artyom's clanking greaves walk away alongside the heavy boots of Mejg and Herzt.
"So how've you been doing Ash?"
"I am very, very tired."
"You're doing pretty well considering you ejaculated all over yourself."
"It's the appropriate scientific term." Inks mused.
What could I do but sigh. That's Inks for you.
"So yeah, how's it going?"
"I'm kind of trapped in here."
"Yeah I guessed that much. An ejaculation of that kind tends to clog fiddly things like that pretty quickly. Especially Chainmail. Chainmail's a bitch to clean."
"C-can we please use a different word instead of… that."
"Oh come on, you've been in bed with both of those girls so I thought you'd have done it with one of them by now."
"Just because I get into bed with two girls doesn't mean that-"
"Yeah, yeah, sorry about that. Let's get you out of there first, then you can get into specifics about why your instincts didn't overcome you." Inks said, kneeling down beside me while she inspected the rust and Herzt's handiwork.
"I'm kind of impressed that you're so calm at the moment."
"I'm not calm, I've just had to come to the realization that this helmet is slowly suffocating me and I need all the air I can get."
"Okay, helmet first then?"
"Y-yeah, I think that would be a good start."
Taking out a small smith chisel from the left behind tool bucket, Inks started to work on the helmet.
"That better?" Inks said, having taken apart the helmet's visor.
I coughed warm, rusty air out of the helmet, letting the icy air blast my sweating face.
"Ah fuck that's cold."
"You'll get used to it." Inks smirked.
"Okay, so you got my visor open. What now?"
"I don't think I'd be able to get you out in one day…"
"Unless I used some of my own magic to get you out, although it's probably going to hurt."
The choice was actually pretty one sided.
I'd stay in bed for a whole week away from those fucking pricks, so honestly what the hell.
"Please just get it over with."
"You're… not going to hear what it is?"
"I'm not entirely in the mood to be lectured on some obscure magical technique and its historical implications right now."
"Okay, I'll be quick then. This is a Martial oriented Earth skill all about shock and force. Normally I could use your armor to puncture your ribcage, but I'm trying to strip you naked instead."
"I meant the armor, it doesn't extend to cloth because shockwaves and that."
"I'm going to need to get the resonance going first. If you hear some weird thumping in your armor, that's what I'm doing."
Pressing her gloved hands on my breastplate, she began.
"You can hear it now?"
There was… a heartbeat… with an incredible bass to it.
"Yeah I hear it."
"Good, relax everywhere you can and when I give the word, just breathe out slowly."
"One, two, three, breath out."
I breathed out.
Inks' martial hand came down on my breastplate and I could hear her gloves slap against the steel plate.
The armor bounced into the air like a rubber ball. What may have only been a few centimeters felt like I had been sent into space. The Black Rust jettisoned itself out of the armor, mixing with the gravel of the courtyard that rattled from the impact.
"You alright there?"
I coughed out more dust from my helmet.
"I told you it would hurt."
"Yeah, and I still feel like shit."
"You'll be back with Teia and Diana soon. Just think about those cute girls cuddling up and nursing you back to health."
"I'll still have to come down here again though."
"You don't like those guys, do you?"
"No, not one bit."
"Don't blame you, but things are going to get hot enough around here, so just put up with it."
There are always more important things, aren't there?
Don't say anything, just live and survive like the puppet you are. Society demands it of you, you useless pawn.
String yourself like a spring and watch them prod away at you, just waiting for the trigger to snap and let the world watch you ignite into a blazing, consuming inferno.
"1, 2, 3, Breathe out."
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