Tales of an Enchantress – Chapter 28

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I pulled out a hand full of herbs, stuffing them in my mouth and chewing it akin to chewing tobacco as I waited for Peers to return. After chewing for a few minutes and sucking out the juices to swallow, I spit the rest out in a bin. This was the best method of birth control I had access to at the moment. “The herb” as it was called is used by most women who wished to prevent themselves from becoming pregnant. It was this world’s version of the pill.

There is also a magical enchantment in this world, but it involved going to a church. The enchantment lasted for roughly one month. I had sought out a birth control enchanted item, but alas I had never heard of one. I never was able to ask Sandor and Pratter if they could make something like that, but the second-rate enchanters I’d met on the way from the human continent to the demon continent seemed unable to manage something like it. I’d imagine it’d be pretty common if it existed at all.

I was always looking for an alternative though, as I wasn’t fond of the current type. Such as when I was captured by the slavers, I had been off the herb for a while. I could have become pregnant during those sexual encounters or even the ones I faced with Peers. Peers said it was impossible for a Cambion to impregnate a human woman when he was gathering life, but the unique skill Fusion that had regrettably been granted to me with my class up made me deeply nervous of any unprotected sex.

So, even though the herb had negative connotations, often being associated with this world’s sex worker trade to the point the herb’s unique flowery scent on a woman was virtually a scarlet letter that marked her as ‘easy’, I had chosen to take it regularly. Unlike a world with medicine, the herb had no particular dose, and drinking it as a tea was considered ineffective. Thus, I had to chew the herb and spit. It reminded me of my great uncle, who used to chew tobacco before he ended up having half of a jaw removed. It was one more reason I generally disliked the herb. It’s just… I liked sex more. So, the herb was one of the many requests I had made on the list for potion making, even though it was for my own personal gratification. What they didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.

Peers poked his head inside my tent after I finished rinsing my mouth out with salt water and what I was pretty sure was baking soda to remove the herb’s distinct smell. As I wiped my face, triggering the immaculate spell just in case, I glanced up eagerly at Peers. After a second he gave a light nod, and I broke into a smile, running up to him.

“You convinced them?” I tried to confirm, waiting for a nod before continuing. “You’re the best!”

I wrapped my arms around Peers and kissed him thoroughly. It was a passionate kiss, and if I had been in my bedroom instead of the lab, I might have pulled him on my bed for a quickie before we left. Instead, I pulled away and blushed as he made a regretful sigh. Then I turned to leave the tent, grabbing his hand as I went. This news was exciting for more than just getting my equipment upgraded. Other than my tent room and my lab which sat right next to each other, I hadn’t been out of the tent for more than a few minutes and hadn’t seen any of the rest of the Cambion colony.

It only consisted of the sixty people, so I didn’t think there was much to see, but even a third tent would break up the monotony of seeing the same things every day. Once we left the tent with myself in the lead, I immediately realized I had no clue which direction this enchanter was. Peers gave me a wry look as he passed me and took the lead. I followed behind, my excitement only slightly diminished for the moment.

As I suspected, the distance wasn’t far, and the tent we came to was no more remarkable than my own tent. Peers poked his head in and made a quick greeting and I quickly followed in behind him.

“So, Peers, this is the human woman we’ve taken on as our guest recently. I see she is as beautiful as the rumors have suggested.”

My mouth fell open the second I walked into the tent. For whatever reason, I had certain expectations when I considered the “enchanter” of this colony. I imagined someone like Reinhart. They’d be more haggard, with a sense of maturity and knowledge in their eyes. It certainly would have been an older man who had experienced much of the world. Rather, the person I saw didn’t look much older than Peers. Like Peers, he was incredibly attractive, with a fine physique and soft lips.

I shot Peers a look and breathed easy that he had been looking in another direction when I first saw the enchanter. I feared my eyes might have betrayed some arousal towards this man. The Cambion policy of one sexual partner per foodstock strangely had ingrained itself into their entire culture. As a result, despite being sex demons, the Cambions were perhaps the most monogamous group of creatures I had ever met. The idea of cheating on your mate was unheard of. Those that fed not only fed on one target until death, they refused to have any emotional relationships with any other Cambions for the duration of being a feeder.

During one of Peers stories, he had suggested that when the colonies were larger in size, there had even been periods of prejudice where feeders were considered the lowest forms of Cambions exactly because of their tendency to have multiple sex partners. Even if every sex partner lived a couple years, and they only had 2-3 their entire life, they might find themselves rejected by the monogamous nonfeeders. At least, that might have been the case if the population of Cambions wasn’t so dangerously low.

The end result of this was that Peers had been designated not simply as my assistant, my guardian, and my watcher, but also my life partner. Of course, for him, this was a blessing. He could be useful to the colony without continuing the acts as a feeder. As feeding still held slight negative connotations, it would seem like everyone struggled to find a useful job within the colony, and only if they failed to make themselves useful enough were they given feeder jobs.

Furthermore, while I hadn’t been told this directly, if I were start chasing after other Cambions, it would create quite a scandal. Even the sultry seductress herself Mary only every maintained a flirtish atmosphere. I might have been less enthused had I known her for what she actually was, a complete cocktease! Therefore, one couldn’t blame me for worrying if Peers caught me looking at another man.

Someone who knew me poorly might think I was disheartened to find myself in a monogamous relationship amongst a colony of top-tier beauties. While the rewords I obtained for polygamous relations in the way of experience bonus would be missed, the truth was that the colony provided safety for me. I didn’t need to get any more powerful as long as I could remain here safely. So what if my levels stagnated? The idea of becoming a hero died with Min.

In truth, when Peers absorbed lifeforce from me, the act created a euphoric druglike feeling, and when I absorbed back, it created a loop of pure sexual bliss. That’s to say my sex life was very satisfying, thank you very much, and I had very few qualms about remaining with Peers for a long time. In another life, I might have even been happy being with Denova the bandit king had he not turned out to be such a sociopath, so of course I could find happiness here with Peers. My eyes might occasionally wander but I had no plan to “cheat” on him.

It isn’t like I’m beyond regrets. Part of me wishes I could make more of a difference, but I believed I could make a deference to the sixty beings here. I could help revive a species that is near extinction, and even if the demons and humans will never love me for it, it’s the best someone like me can manage.

“Hey, Crish, I see you’re still trying hard to finish that rune.” Peers was speaking casually with the enchanter while I worked on schooling my face.

“Of course, Mary says if I can show myself with enough aptitude then I won’t end up a breeder.”

“Don’t you believe all that crap the elders spout about heirachies.” Peers responded. “Mary did away with that shit, and It ain’t coming back.”

“I’m sorry, mate.” The one he called Crish raised his hands. “I got nothing against the breeders. However, Cecelia says she’ll only marry me if I become a respectable man and breeders don’t fit her ideas.”

“Cecelia again? Really, man, you’re still hung up on her.” Peers turns to me and gives a week. “This girl Cecilia grew up with Crish. They were childhood friends for years. It was always assumed they’d end up together. Suddenly, one day, she started ignoring Crish, dressing nicer, and talking about big dreams…”

“Peers! Can you not in front of the new girl?”

“Ha ha!” Peers only laughed as Crish glared at him.

It was exactly in Peers nature to speak so openly and not really care about the consequences. That was the kind of guy he was. For a Cambion who art involved illusion and deception, he was shockingly open normally. As to my thoughts on this Cecelia, she was being a cocktease and trying to make Crish work for her. Before becoming a Seductress, I might have hated girls like that. However, the current me found the situation as entirely within expectations.

“Anyway.” Crish shot Peers one last warning look before turning to me. “Peers here tells me you were interested in enchantments. I’m afraid the best I can do is make warming stones and coolers. I’ve only reached Enchantment level 2, and the book I have has a sudden jump in complexity that prevents me from figuring out the trick behind the more complex running system.”

Although I only vaguely understood some of what he was talking about, I couldn’t help but narrow my eyes and lean forward, looking over his shoulder at the book he had pointed to.

“May… I look at this?” I asked cautiously, already reaching for the book before he even gave a nod.

“Be my guest.” Crish said before looking up at Peers, who only gave a shrug before finding a place to lie back and relax as always.

As for me, I curiously read the first chapter of the book. It looked like a incomplete book with many various pages ripped out or degraded beyond reading. I must have been spoiled by all the finely written clean cut books Reinhart and the King had. Among the more common people, books were much rarer and books with desirably skill information in them were rarer still.

However, the first few pages simply detailed the process of enchanting items. I already had a level of the Enchantment skill, but I had only obtained it by leveling my basic skills and it merely stood for imbuing something with a magical spell. That spell could easily be temporary or permanent, and I knew little about the difference between the two.

However, as I read the book, I was starting to see a pattern. In essence, it was simply an act of coding. There was a magical language which was known as runes, you inscribed a rune into an object, and then you activated the program through an initiation code, otherwise known as magic. I had once help a guy friend set up a website. Basically, all we did was download a preexisting code we liked, and then swapped out pictures and stuff, slowly making alterations one code at a time until we had the website we liked. The website never launched, but I quickly realized that this was the same way. You could pick a base rune, making small alterations and see how they effect the overall programming.

The first rune, this was a heat capturing rune, which essentially did the equivalent of imbuing a substance with thermal properties. More specifically, it allowed it to retain heat and hold it for a long period of time, only slowly losing it.

“Yeah, that’s where I was stuck.” Crish responds sheepishly as he looks over my shoulder. “I can replicate those runes on certain materials, but not on others. It seems to work best with soft earths, while I haven’t successfully been able to enchant any cloth per Mary’s request.”

“Ah, isn’t that because you haven’t changed the angle for resonance?” I muttered half-consciously as I flipped through the pages.

“Eh?”

My eyes widened as I looked up at the shocked look Crish was giving me. A second later his eyes grew thoughtful, and then he pushed an object before me. It looked a bit like a stone tab, but the tingling on my skin suggested that it resonated with magical energy.

“This is a rune I’ve been working on. Show me what I’m missing.” Crish responded carefully.

Although I had never seen a rune before, the book I had been looking at didn’t seem that hard to figure out. Rather, the entire book was dependent on something I had learned in seventh grade. It was essentially geometry. The book used equations to plot magic along an x and y gradient. Although there were indeed some pages missing, a basic understanding of math probably could have carried you the rest of the way, right?

“Ah, don’t mind me,” I waved my hands, immediately discrediting those thoughts. “I know very little about this.”

It was more than likely I was missing something really obvious that made this far harder than it looked. While I could account for my Chemistry knowledge adding to alchemy and potion making, simple geometry being able to solve enchantments seemed unlikely. Even if the language seemed to be based mathematically, it couldn’t be that simply, right?

“Please, humor me.” Crish insisted.

His eyes didn’t hold any malice or ferventness, he genuinely just wanted to see what I’d do. So, I grabbed the crayon-like marking device he had been using and glanced down at the rune pattern in front of me. It looked something like the rune drawn in the book, however, Crish seemed to have changed a few lines. As Crish said, the problem wasn’t that the formation was glitched, it was that the material didn’t match. So, we were considering it that way, then… I instinctually erased a few of Crish’s marks and made a few changes of my own.

I was immediately concerned Crish might suddenly grow angry when I changed his work, but he merely looked intently as if he was waiting for something. After making the marks that seemed right while comparing them with the book a few times, I reached the point where I wasn’t sure what else to do. If the rune worked, it should work at this point. However, most magical success in this world seemed to be accompanied by a flash of light, a puff of smoke, or some kind of tangible change. Even when making potions, this was typically true. In the cases it wasn’t, my analyze skill always did the trick instead. So, without any flash of magical flare, my only assumption was that I didn’t do anything.

I shook my head and gave him a shrug as I handed the rune back to him. “I’m sorry, that’s all I can do.”

Crish didn’t seem upset. Instead, he pulled the run up to his face, looked at it for a few seconds, and then placed it on a quilted blanket that had been lying on a near bench. He casted magic into the rune and a second later there was a blinding flash that forced me to cover my eyes.

“Ah!” Crish exclaimed as he looked down at a the glowing blanket. “It worked.”

I was going to respond with a question but all thought left my mind a moment later when I saw a familiar flash of words pop up in my vision.

{Rune Creation has increased to Level 1!}

{Enchantment has increased to Level 2!}

My class was called an Enchantress after all, perhaps this opened a new path towards creating enchanted items. My eyes began to burn as I stared at the blanket emitting a light magical aura. Whatever the case, it seemed like I had discovered another route towards becoming useful.

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