Chapter 3 – Revival

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Voices forced my awareness to return.

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“Tiana!”

Tiana!

They were annoying, so I shut them out. I felt too tired and too cold to care about them for some reason.

“MELIONE! Get over here!”

I cracked my eyes open to see two men, one heavily bearded and muscled, the other slender and clean-shaven, staring down at me with worried faces. The heavy guy allowed himself to be pushed aside by a young brown-haired woman with glasses.

“These injuries…” she fretted. “She should be dead.”

I was right. It wasn’t worth the bother. I closed my eyes again.

“Tiana! Stay with us! Melione, can you…?”

“I’ll try…,” the girl answered, with no confidence in her tone. I felt a warm glow wrapping me from head to toe. It felt like nothing I knew, but something within me recognized it.

This is Healing magic, it told me. It was memory from experiences Robert Stewart never had.

After it had enveloped me for a time, I felt a bit of vitality returning. Then, an intense hunger.

It was pure instinct. As energy returned to me, my eyes snapped open. I reached up, pulled the girl healing me downward and sank my fangs into her neck.

“Ah!” The girl cried out, but she didn’t resist it.

The clean-shaven man protested, “Stop it,Tiana! That’s Melione!”

I ignored the demand. All I cared about at that moment was the wonderful liquid flowing into my mouth.

“No, it’s… okay,” the girl assured the man, although her voice sounded weak. She held me behind my shoulders to help me stay in place. “I’ve got my amulet. I won’t get charmed.”

“Wow. That’s kind of hot,” a male voice to the side stated.

A different female voice answered in disgust. “Shut up, Ryuu.”

At last, I realized what I was doing. Horrified, I opened my mouth and let go of the girl. Melione lowered me back to the ground with a gentle smile.

“I’m so sorry!” I exclaimed, then felt shock at my own voice. It was too high, and too soft.

“I imagine that helped, didn’t it?” the girl asked. “My powers alone didn’t seem to be enough, with those wounds.”

Clean-shaven guy produced a blanket and covered me. “Healing magic or not, she’ll be getting cold fast. She needs warmth and shelter. We have to bring her back to the village.”

She? I wondered, then my mind at last began sorting things out.

In stories with a gender change, the character invariably goes through the process of checking for the changes with their hands, but now I didn’t know why. With my head becoming clearer, the differences in body contours were obvious. The sense of touch was available in all the relevant parts, and I could feel how those locations had changed.

What locations? Nope, I’m not doing it. Readers can figure out what I mean for themselves. I don’t need to spell it out. Nor will I be describing all the other stupid little life trials this change will be putting me through in the subsequent days. They happened. ‘Nuff said.

I’m a girl, I concluded. Then, ridiculously, my brain noted, I don’t know how to be a girl.

I looked around. In the book, six people were in the Hero’s quest party. I could already tell who ‘Ryuu’ the hero was. He had black hair, Japanese features, and a ridiculously manly posture. Add the oversized sword, and it became a certainty. That thing had no place outside an Anime. Next to him stood a woman with blond hair and fox-like ears who looked like she performed her own haircuts using the short-sword hanging by her side.

The fox girl is Brigitte. She’s a fox-kin huntress and occasional thief. The guy supporting my back is Arken, the attack mage and archer. He’s an elve, and about three hundred years old. The big guy is Graham. He’s a human adventurer.

Which, of course, left only one choice remaining for me.

Supporting character number five… Tiana of the High Forest, a.k.a. Lady Tiana Pendor. Half-vampire, half-fairy knight. Fairy society forced her out as a toddler when her paternity became known. She had been raised by her fairy mother in human society, and worked at all times to control her vampire side. Due to her non-human strength, she had trained since childhood to become a knight, despite female knights being only slightly more common in this society than in medieval Europe. As Brigitte and Melione demonstrated, female adventurers existed, as did female soldiers, but women in positions of authority were rare.

Her own function in this party, guiding and advising the Hero, had been the price she paid for her dubbing at the tender age of fifteen. No lands came with the deal; she was strictly a knight-errant. She might or might not receive some holdings once it was over.

A knight without holdings would only keep their title as long as they could personally contribute to the King’s strength. She had understood the message behind that price as, Fail, and you will lose your knighthood just as quickly.

The books had mentioned that Tiana was half fairy and half vampire, but they never described her actually feeding on someone like that. In fact, I distinctly recall reading that the King had told the other party members I did not need to drink blood.

In the moment that I remembered that, I knew it had been a lie. The King had a foster parent relationship with Tiana, and he had been well aware she still needed blood. All monsters need some source of stabilized mana to prevent miasma breakdown, and vampires, no matter how civilized they had become, were still monsters. She just needed a lot less often than a true vampire. He had told her to keep the blood thing secret from the Hero and others.

The end of volume five had been a massive battle against this dragon. Tiana had shed her armor so that she could materialize her wings and attack the beast in the air, planning to force it to the ground to face the rest of them. Her attack had resulted in a fatal injury to her unprotected body. The last line of the volume had been the dragon’s jaws clamping down on her as he caught her mid-air. The fans of the series screamed with indignation at the extreme cliff-hanger.

That writer totally failed to get across just how freaking large that beast was!

Fifty or so yards away, a massive carcass sprawled across a hilltop. It was smoking, as were the remains of the burnt-out brush around where it had fallen. I had apparently been thrown a considerable distance in the crash landing.

A dragon. That was an actual dragon. A dead one, thank goodness. Carbonized, because the entire carcass had burst into flame upon dying

It was easily as big as a blue whale.

“Can you sit up?” asked the clean-shaven man. I nodded and the man helped me into a sitting position, repositioning the blanket to go across my back and shoulders.

“We need to move,” Melione stated. “We’ll help you walk, okay?”

“Ryuu, we need to fetch her armor,” Graham told the hero, who looked like he was wondering how to help in some way.

Arken helped me stand and held my right arm as Melione took the other side.

As we began walking, Brigitte frowned at me.

Tramp, the woman mouthed, and turned away.

“Huh?” I responded, puzzled.

“What is it?” Melione asked.

I shook my head, deciding that saying anything about Brigitte’s message would just make whatever it was worse. “It’s nothing.”

The blond adventuress shot another look over her shoulder, and I finally put it and things from the books together. Brigitte likes the elve. And she thinks Tiana is her rival.

I had been leaning more against Arken than Melione because of his strength, but Brigitte clearly had a different interpretation. I shifted my weight toward the girl.

“Thanks,” I told Arken. He nodded and let go.

Melione was studying Tiana’s face with concern. “We need to clean that blood up before it dries.”

I realized I still had it on my lips, and a bit running down from the corners of my mouth. Embarrassed, I quickly licked it up.

It really is delicious.

The girl looked away, blushing.

I was surprised at her reaction until I realized the significance of the comment about her amulet.

Right, I’m half-vampire, and if I don’t take precautions when sucking blood…

I hope that amulet really did tone down the ‘vampire charm’! I don’t need more complications right now!

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- my thoughts:

Okay, so it's a gender-bender. But I'm not playing it like the typical gender-bender, so if either GL or disguised BL-cause-he's-a-guy-inside is what you are now expecting...

No. I'm taking this thing down a different path. But now you've met the MC as you will know her for the rest of the story. Please continue to enjoy!

Check out my other novel: Tales of the ESDF

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