5’am. It was the crack of dawn. Where the sunshine only barely shone through the horizon down to Ranate. Illuminating the world with warm, fuzzy light. It was the light I very much needed in my journey.
For context, the last day of my training had already passed, which was yesterday. Ana and I had spent it all on devising ways of utilising my abilities to their maximum effect. Aiming to bolster my chances of survival wherever possible. It was constant days of mixing and matching ideas and strategies in conjunction to training in general. After each day besides the last, I was essentially a dead man walking with how tired I was. My energy would be completely wasted, gone to oblivion. But it wasn’t pointless, at the end of my training, with the hard work; sweat, tears and all. It had allowed me to arrive at quite an interesting position, where I could finally start taking some confidence in myself.
On the last day of my training, it was just about rest. I had already learnt what I needed to do and achieve, it was just a matter of being able to use it on the go. Plus, it made next to no sense to waste precious energy from the day before when on the next day I would begin my journey.
So, on the last day, I just conserved it. I ate a shit ton, I rested for hours, and I spent time with Ana. We both didn’t actually get to do much together however, as Ana’s own workload began piling up from spending so much time with me. It was just time spent together via simply being with one another. Though that didn’t stop her from kissing me repeatedly as we went to bed. Her soft supple lips were something I could never get bored of. Though I will admit the sight of them was slightly terrifying after being devoured by her not too long ago.
‘Oh well… When I get back, there’ll be plenty of time for us both.’ I reasoned, within my mind. Hoping to stick to optimism where possible.
You could call it ignorance or blind faith, but I was confident I would get back. After all, I never felt more like a knight, soldier or part of something important than I did now. My magic training, my physical training and just being on a mission that was of importance made me feel important. Like I belonged here.
‘Of course, in reality it was due to those no good council members that I’m doing this mission in the first place.’ I thought. But still, I valued the opportunity that I got, the chance to learn and become someone better. I knew I wouldn’t ever get something like this back in Vascar.
“Are you ready, dear?” I heard a voice call out behind me. Concerned but confident was the tone I’d describe.
“Yep, no need to worry about me.” I replied, obviously to Ana, who was the owner of the kind voice.
“Remember, use the environment to your advantage. Your greatest strengths are hunting, marksmanship and survival itself, but now magic can be of use to you too.” She said,
“I’m aware, Ana.” She didn’t need to retell me my own greatest strengths, but I guess her worries got the better of her for a brief moment. “ But, really, I’ll be fine. I promise. And it’s all thanks to you.” I confidently assert. The levels of gratitude I had for the giantess beside me were immeasurable. There was probably no one person in this world I respected, loved or cared for more than Ana. I wouldn’t dare embarrass her out here either. Ana herself probably wasn’t too happy with me being thrown to the wolves, with how the situation had basically turned out. But she repressed those emotions for now.
“Of course you’ll be fine, who else is gonna rub my feet if you’re not around? “ She playfully mocked with a small smile. Further easing the mood. Such qualities about her made her truly special in my heart. It almost made it possible to ignore the rather gross sentiment she made near the end of her comment. Having spent time in her footwear before, I could confidently say I wasn’t for rubbing her feet, or doing anything with them for that matter… Unless she really wanted me to do something of course.
“Well, stay safe yourself, Ana. I’ll be going off with this uh-”
“It’s called a Bullorg.” She corrected me, before I could even identify what the creature was.
I was riding atop a rather interesting creature. I’d never seen anything like it. It was like a horse, with bull-like horns and bloodshot red eyes that glowed in the dark. Making it impossible to lose in the bed of night, provided you aren’t super lost.
“ We believed that for someone of your size and current abilities, this one should be fine to handle.” She explained.
“Well, I’ve had horseback training being a squire of Vascar, so this shouldn’t be too difficult.”
“Well, we just don’t have many tiny creatures like that in Ranate, our wildlife is rather large. This will have to do.” Ana explained, taking a two second long pause before resuming. “One good thing about it is that it's quite fast and agile. Also it’s extremely quiet despite its speed.”
“ I see.” I look down on the creature I’m gonna ride on soon. At the fur and skin it has, the majestic mane atop its head. It was quite a spectacle to think I was gonna traverse with this thing on my journey. I also had a few bags on this bullorg, strapped on to its sides. One of the bags contained my invisibility cloak that we had the tailor make for me as well as many other essentials that I needed.
“ I’ll see you in a month. Or even longer if need be. Unlike the rest of the kingdom, I won’t write you off for dead if you need a little bit longer.” Ana bid her farewell. I hold my palm up and wave back at her. As my journey officially began.
The bullorg begins picking up the pace. First a walk, then a trot and finally begins galloping at near full speed outward. I could feel the cold Ranate air push up against my face, sending shivers all down my body. The area we were heading into was full of vegetation, boreal forests in a taiga like biome. The overall chilly air was a staple of such an environment, and with it being so early in the morning, that coldness was only amplified ten fold.
From the capital city of Ranate, Zleuser, where I currently was, the simplest route to the Karkiman Empire, where I was to infiltrate from, was to follow the road from the capital that led towards it (bolded diagonal dotted line that goes north west). The problem with this was it would be almost guaranteed that I would be attacked or questioned from crossing the border there. It was close to their neighbouring empire that the Karikiman Empire was at war with too, so chances of guards patrolling all around there was high.
However, I also didn’t want to needlessly wander around in the Ranate wilderness. That too was a dangerous endeavor. So spending too long here by taking a long detour to the western direction wouldn’t be favorable either. Taking the marked route was the fastest way, but would lead to the most danger, whilst going too far off course would take too long and trap me here in the Ranate wilderness for the night. ‘ Quite an annoying conundrum’ I thought to myself.
Ultimately I decided that I would try to enter from just east of the most northern Ranate city on the map. That area was in more mountainous terrain and was hard to navigate from, which made it difficult to guard. Normally this route would be out of the question for someone like me, but this bullorg creature should be able to handle it. At least going off of what Ana’s told me beforehand. This area was slightly off the route, so while it would take a bit longer, it wasn’t horribly too much extra.
No doubt, there’ll be some bandits or trouble spelunking about the border area at those parts, but even then it would still be the safest route.
‘Guess I don’t have much choice here, do I?’ I pointlessly wonder in my thoughts. For now, I just followed the guided path, and planned to deviate from it when I was a bit more north. I needed to use my food and water sparingly, and had to feed the bullorg creature too when it would eventually become low on energy.
– – –
(Third person perspective switch. Ana, a few hours later.)
The kingdom of Ranate, was full of trembling earthquakes, giant rivers that could be mistaken for endless lakes along with towering structures that dwarfed over people. Well… At least, if you were a human.
“ Emily, it’s only a little bit longer.” A voice called out. Prim, proper, yet powerful and commanding. It was graced with a rather kind tone too.
“ Y-your majesty, with all due respect. I’m simply not built for this much walking.” Another titaness replied.
“Enough with the ‘your majesty’ title, just call me Ana like you normally do.”
“ But, we’re in public-”
“ We’re out in the countryside, at the farmlands of Zleuser. We’re quite a ways away from anyone that would actually care for those kinda sensibilities.” She replied. Aiming to ease the formalities between the two of them.
“ Y’know, my poor tiny human did not sign up for this today.” Emily answered back, making a slightly sarcastic tone. Throughout the route, Emily had been walking in a rather odd way, as if in obvious discomfort. Her knees bent slightly inward toward her centre of being, and her face slightly flustered. The giantess pointed out how awkward the situation was for her human to Ana.
“Who’s idea was it to stuff him ‘in there’ of all places beforehand? I told you already we were going to see how the others were handling the next batch of humans today.” Ana commented, in a slightly averse and indirect way. Averting her eyes towards Emily’s crotch as she looked back for a moment.
She was making reference to former Marvialasian soldier, Sir John el Berg, who was trapped within her cooch. Due to the sheer size difference, it was hardly like shoving something large or massively noticeable down there. Instead, it was a slight ticklish, but desirable sensation. It was as if John was lighting a warming fire within her merely by existing, and she was free to either set it further ablaze or put it out. While obviously she wanted to fish out her tiny man from her privates, or even start playing with herself to indulge in her fantasy, Ana prohibited it on account of not wanting to waste time. That and the fact that she knew Emily would pick the latter of the two options.
“ You’re a demon, Ana. I can’t believe you’d do this to me. I just need like 6 minutes to myself and I'll be done…” She pleaded, hoping to stir Ana into a different direction. “I bet he’s enjoying himself down there, I wanna be able to enjoy him too.” Her face was blushing red, not from embarrassment however. “ I can feel him kicking, punching, squirming around.”
“ We don’t have time. You did this to yourself. And I doubt someone like you’d be satisfied with a mere 6 minutes of fun. At the very least, you’re gonna have to wait until we actually get where we need to be.” She replied, after giving off a sigh.
“ I bet you wanna do this with Leon don’t you? Hmm, isn’t that right princess? Too bad you already started the marriage ceremonies, now you can’t do this till the third one. I bet you wanna shove him in deep so bad and begin-” Emily teased while making a gesture of something being inserted to her nether regions while talking with one of her hands. Even referring to her friend as princess rather than her actual current title of queen.
In truth, Emily wasn’t wrong however. Ana had wanted to do such acts with Leon, but for one the man in question wasn’t present. And more importantly, they had already done the first marriage ceremony. Which prohibited insertion or anything similar to inserting a male human to the pussy of a giantess from in between the first marriage ceremony to the last. Hence being a law that only really affected married couples.
It was a law Ana herself had made, in hopes to stir away anyone who would merely get rid of their humans after being able to produce an heir. She thought of it as an extra insurance measure. Which meant she of all people couldn’t be breaking that law, as being the figurehead for human rights in her queendom.
“ I take it back, go back to the ‘Your majesty’ act please.” Ana answered. Not even giving Emily’s ideas the time of day. Rather, slightly frustrated at it being pointed out that she couldn’t do anything of the sort with Leon for almost another 7 months. It was known there were 45-46 days in a month, and 8 months in a year. With 3 months out of those 8 having 45 days. At least in the world of Celessa, that’s how it worked. 2 months were dedicated to each season. The first season of a year was winter, followed by spring into summer, finally then by autumn.
It had been roughly a month and 10 days since the first marriage ceremony on the first winter month, since the fateful day Ana dumped her entire weight on her little man. When she sat on him, crushed and grinded him against her rear and made him feel every ounce of her love. It was the day they were wed, and forever bound to love one another.
However they couldn’t do the ultimate act of pleasure, the act she most undeniably desired. All because of the rushed marriage they planned. Ana looked back at Emily with a slightly saddened gaze, trying to see the couple do what they couldn’t. Emily instead however looked embarrassed. As if remembering the two giantesses weren’t in a private room, or Ana’s castle. Causing a blush to be plastered across her face from realizing what she had just loudly announced. Ana simply gave off a small chuckle in response to it.
“Wow, and like, a lot of humans work around these parts. Some of them must have heard you really shout out your vulgarity…” Ana nonchalantly commented. As if trying to maximize the damage to Emily’s pride, and to embarrass her further. Obviously it was just some friendly banter between some friends in the end though. A form of chatter great for lifting up the mood.
“I’ll be quiet now.” Emily finally submitted to her own nerves. While a loud, cheerful and teasing woman she was, she was easy to embarrass. She would never act this way near anyone but Ana, but much to her own dismay, she was in a field where her voice could travel quite far.
“ Good news is that we’re a few minutes away now.” Ana commented.
“Finally. Though seriously Ana, I don’t think I can do this much longer. My legs feel like they’re gonna give out.” Emily exhaustedly announces. Her voice reverberating around. The woman wasn’t the type to be walking around places much. That and she was just a bit lazy.
“Speaking of, how is John? How much has he changed in the past couple months?” Ana, once again dodging Emily’s proclamation, asks her about her human.
“John? He’s doing great. So great in fact I’d say he’s in a good enough condition to marry.”
“ So, he’s about past tier 5 in the scope of our plan?” Ana questions.
“Yeah. I’m proud of the little guy.” Emily stops walking momentarily and squishes her thighs together a bit, as if allowing the inner walls of her pussy to begin clenching in on themselves. This was her way of showing gratitude to her little man, at least when he was stuck in this kinda situation. He too had been enchanted with pain redirection and some others, the extra tightness of her inner walls squelching together as if to crush him only made him revel in orgasmic euphoria. “ It isn’t easy coming back from the brainwashing from Marvialasia.” She says as she continues walking once more.
“ From what the little men who’ve already succeeded in rehabilitation from our program have said, from a young age they’re indoctrinated to hate non-humans. Especially species that pose a challenge to Marvialasia. They host rallies, parades, events and celebrations to express their hate of the non-human races.” Ana explains, with a slightly disgusted look on her face. “ All while their ugly ruler prospers, promising them all a better life at the end of their wars.” She scornfully spits out. Not literally, but in a figurative manner. While Ana could excuse the enemy-like mentality of many Marvialasian soldiers, she struggled to feel the same way for their leader. If anything, she wanted to be the first to end his reign. Now with Vascar thrown into the mix as well, they had become her enemies too.
“How would they even know any better? It isn’t like they can just meet up with a giantess, or a dwarf or whatever in that kind of environment. They can only do as they know from their education.” Emily sympathetically voices.
“ They’re a misunderstood people. I’m glad our own kingdom has started taking a chance on their actual citizens. They aren’t all monsters.”
“Well, that's all thanks to you.” Emily expresses her gratitude towards her friend. Who didn’t pay it any mind. When Ana was driven to carry out a cause, she wouldn’t stop for a mere congratulations for half-assing a solution to a problem.
The two continued their idle chatter as they walked. They were heading towards the southern part of town, far from the actual city-like area that Ana and Emily would normally stay in.
The further you got away from the capital, the more farm lands, and less well esteemed households you would find. Conversely the less rich and entitled elitists of the older era too. It made this area the perfect ground to allow a budding humanity to grow.
It was all a part of Ana’s plan. Tiers were a term that Ana and Emily had coined to differentiate the different levels of mindset each captured Marvialasin soldier was. Each expedition to the border, their group would capture a hefty amount, both of men and women. The soldiers themselves didn’t even know they were being sent on what normally would be a mission to their deaths. ‘How else would you describe a border patrol mission against titanic creatures like us, the giantesses?’ Instead they were rage fuelled, and driven by their nationalistic pride to serve their country, and try to eliminate Ranate. So much so that most hadn’t even questioned what would become of them after accepting their mission. Any people who were hesitant had their families threatened. Making it impossible to even attempt to go against the land.
The idea of poor, bitter and resentful Marvialasian soldiers who didn’t even want to invade or go anywhere near the border, but had been forced to, pervades into both Ana’s and Emily’s mind. The two women thought of the same picture in their heads.
An image, a landscape full of vegetation. Rain, thunder, earthquakes… Earthquakes?
At least to a human they must have been. Marvialasian humans would run, cry, beg and try to escape away from the Ranate soldiers they would be fighting against. Each step the giantesses would take would leave the very earth rumbling. At least at an era when their use of magic wasn’t so vastly superior to Ranate’s, this image would continue to exist. ‘And what would the Ranate soldiers do to these poor humans?’
Both the giantesses knew.
Stomp them, crush them, eat, gulp and digest them whole, torture them, break them apart, or capture them to be further interrogated. The giant folk of old, back before the Darlington-Bliss were in charge, were far more cruel, far more reactionary in response to conflict. Such tragedies were hard to ignore. It was stuff that Leon might even be somewhat unaware of.
While Leon was given a watered down explanation of events regarding the past of the kingdom. Obviously it was heavily limited, Ana would not permit the librarian to scare off her lover so quickly. And for history itself, even Ana didn’t know everything. She was still quite young herself, when compared to the older giantess present at the capital, her knowledge would be somewhat limited. But she still obviously knew far more than her curious lover. Her position as queen and princess forced her to be at least somewhat educated on the history of the kingdom, but she never got to see or feel the hateful events before. Only learn them, and grow to hate her own land’s history.
It all began with a surprise attack towards Ranate, with heavy machinery fired against them. Ranate easily could outclass such things, giantesses were the farthest thing away from ‘weak’.
However, the humans adapted, they learned. Soon, tactics, unsavoury methods of warfare and such were practised. And to seal the downfall of their own, Marvialasia even began learning magic. The combination of all these events eventually put Ranate at a longstanding disadvantage.
It was only due to their sheer size, and power that these giantesses could even fight back at all. It would take many humans to face off against a singular giantess. And when magic and enchantments began being thrown into the mix, on the giantesses side, finally the tide was turning.
The giantess folk were conditioned for the longest time to be reactionary, to fight, to mindlessly act savage and writhe in the pleasure of destroying their enemies.
At least, that was the simplified barebones of Ranate’s dark past with Marvialasia. There was obviously far more, but she wasn’t thinking about that all now. The thought of people like Jade the Cruel from the last reigning family made her wince, as they were responsible for so much of her present anguish. She wanted to focus on the current problem. Unlike those lost in the past, Ana wanted to figure out a way to begin heading towards the future. And she had luckily already arrived at her conclusion. That being, she would strive to improve the relationship of the two species where possible. Which is where her plan came in.
Humans from Marvialasia were divided into tiers after they were captured. They would not be harmed, or put in a dangerous environment. Their torture was strictly prohibited too. At least for all that wouldn’t hurt any citizens of the kingdom.
The tiers were as follows,
Tier 1: Fresh capture/ Hates all non-human races.
Tier 2: Indulging in small talk and conversations with giantesses.
Tier 3: Engages in small activities with non-human races and species.
Tier 4: Recognizes their own problematic behaviour. Aims to better themselves.
Tier 5: Establishes meaningful connections with giantesses or other non human species.
The tiers would all be divided into groups, and each group would enter a property in Ranate. All of this would occur within the capital city of Ranate, and within the trade central, near the center of the kingdom with another trustworthy group of Ana’s comrades. The city at the center was quite a popular place for many giantesses to purchase some things. Even Lisa from the council went there every 2nd or 3rd week for some mysterious purchases of her own. Though Ana wasn’t sure what in the world Lisa was up to at all. People like her made Ana slightly scornful as they actively stood against her plan. An act that she thought to be for the basic rights of humans.
Tiers 1-3 Marvialasian humans would all be exposed to giantess culture and behaviours, and be allowed to express their own ideas and values. Oftentimes their own beliefs were hostile, especially at the lower tiers. But, Ana had requested the giantess guardians that would take care of these people to be patient with them. She herself, at the early days of being a princess candidate, would also be a guardian of many humans herself. Such devotion to make change only improved her own image after all. Though the older faction who were against the Darlington-Bliss family would always try to spin the narrative against her. Ultimately they would fail, but their attempts did not go unheard.
As the tiers increased, the levels of exposure to the giantesses would increase too. Ana herself had only dealt with tier 1 to 2 humans in the past however, so she rarely got to even touch them. Nowadays, many of the more ‘loving’ giantesses acted as guardians for the humans.
‘Some of them are a little too loving…’ Ana muttered aloud, baffled at some of the sights she had witnessed from the more playful parts of her community. While she was glad the plan was working so well, some of the acts she’d seen were a little bit much for her. At least when she thought about it rationally. ‘Who knows what I'd even be thinking or doing under the sheets with my little man once the third ceremony was over…’
Humans were a hot commodity for giantesses. They weren’t sold or anything, nothing that would dehumanise them to that extent. Instead, tier 5 humans simply got to stick with the giantess they would get to form a connection with. And some giantesses now were a little too excited to gain their first human, and so the volunteers to become their guardians would increase. This process only increased the amount of exposure giantesses got with their humans too, allowing a change of perspective to occur even from her people.
“I reckon that’s for the better.” Emily commented in response to Ana’s muttering. Eventually leading to more pondering about Ana’s plan for the two. “Back when we started this all, our people were so sceptical and awkward about this whole plan. So this is a massive improvement.”
As the humans ascended the levels, they were allowed more and more luxuries in their lives as they would be relocated with many of their group mates to better places. While essentials like food and water would always be given, the opportunity to live closer to the city awaited those who wanted to assimilate into society. Those that capped off at tier 2 or 3, often were left to work at the farm lands. Something these humans more often than not wanted, rather than getting closer to giantess society.
Right after someone would confirm the capped off tier 2’s and 3’s were safe to keep in the kingdom, they would be responsible for assisting their guardian giantesses with general tasks. Sometimes even helping out in the process of converting humans to their side too, though from a safe distance. That aspect too was a nice addition to Ana’s idea. As allowing converting humans to see where they once were would almost always have an effect on them, one that would further their contemplation of beliefs. It was a key goal of the program not to just force an idea on them; They were just recovering from being forced into such a prior mindset after all. It made sense for them to grow and choose their own beliefs as they converted. As long as they did actually convert somewhat in the end, the project was considered a success.
Almost no humans were stuck at tier 1 by the end of the program cycle. Which was an important aspect. If a sample size of 300 humans were present initially at tier 1 at the start of a program round, then 290, more or less, would have been converted. Leaving a measly 10 or less of stubborn tier 1 humans. This was the most successful conversion out of each of the tiers. Tier 2 into tier 3 had 250 successfully converted out of 290, and tier 3 into 4 would have a measly 70 out of 250. Of course, the numbers were hypothetical, but the relative percentages of success were roughly similar each time. Tier 5 was the sole outlier in this trend of data, with 50 out of 70 converting to tier 5 from tier 4. Perhaps people that already took a step forward at tier 4, being already out of the haziness of their brainwashing were able to move on quicker. Either that or the level of progression from tier 4 to 5 wasn’t too significant compared to other levels. Regardless, the fact was that tier 1 to tier 2 was the most successful conversion. Most likely, the most important one too as it would differentiate victims of Marvialasia to true believers of their hostile culture.
These ones that were still left were deemed as hostile enemies. Even Ana couldn’t justify keeping a potential enemy that just wouldn’t convert to their side. It was bad for her image, and it even increased the risk of everyone else falling under threat of a potential attack if a massive buildup of them were to arise. If she had the political security of being able to relax the doubts some giantesses had, for the humans still being sanctioned despite being enemies, she would use it. But she didn’t have that influence, not yet at least.
Normally a potential attack wasn’t something to worry about from humans once they were captured. As they were all split into groups, with small numbers of them existing around one giantess at the early tiers. Even without magic for the giantesses in the early years of the plan, the humans weren’t a threat with such a tiny number of them.
A problem only arose when too much was present. Then they had to be eliminated.
Ana initially proposed to her assistants and friends that only the oldest tier 1’s who wouldn’t convert would have to be eliminated. But the fact that ‘What would the remaining tier 1’s in the same group think?’ Was brought to her attention by them.
Ana thought, pondered and wondered about a possible method that wouldn’t involve killing off the tier 1’s. But she couldn’t figure something out. She was forced to work with them out in the farm lands for this plan, so her resources were limited, and more importantly the other giantesses generally didn’t approve of tier 1 humans who just wouldn’t convert. Not to mention If even only some of them were killed to prevent a giant influx of them building up, it would lead to the survivors being even more skeptical of Ana’s policies.
It was a dirty move, she knew it was. But in the chess board called politics, sometimes you had to sacrifice your pawns to save more important units. That was the only option she had left. She was scornful of her lack of ability to prevent this, but not feeling guilty. They were the enemy. That was a fact.
To separate the resentful, tier 1’s who wouldn’t convert into their own separate group and crush the entire group together at once. That was the option she was left with.
‘I mean, the tier 2’s aren’t exactly super approving of us either. But at least they stop with the ‘I’m gonna save my country from you dirty bastards!’ Talk to our faces.’ Ana reasoned in her mind. For as long as that enemy hating mentality continued, they were a danger to Ranate.
All it took was just a small step forward; for them not to be put into danger. Ana’s group would try so hard and to no avail. And yet, a tiny amount of Marvialasian humans still chose that option. To cling to their hate. To their resentment.
These same people wanted to hurt not only non-human races, but even humans who chose to side with the giantesses. They were a menace to the cause.
Such fierce determination to stick to their propaganda only made Ana more furious, especially at the first time she discovered that such a problem was occurring at all.
The horror of the younger princess, only but a few years ago, learning that the more resentful, failed tier 1 humans must be scrapped entirely. Crushed and erased, as if they never mattered at all. She remembered staring into the blood stains on the ground of the separate execution room after such a group being present.
She, the titaness, began losing herself with her thoughts. Her rage became fueled by the anger she felt toward the situation when she remembered when she had to crush the soldiers herself. Years ago.
She couldn’t entrust many people with this project when she began. So she had to do it herself. The sounds of people screaming with resentment, cursing her and her lineage were hard to forget when she began. At the same time however, she steeled herself to her mission. And simply hid her feelings away behind her mask, behind the facade of a cool headed leader. Behind the reputation of being a Darlington-Bliss.
“Ana, hey? Are you doing okay?” A voice softly perturbed her inner thoughts. It was Emily’s.
“Yeah, I just got a little worked up thinking about some stuff.” Ana replied, after having a rather large sigh.
She understood that this was her own naivety, her own kindness being used against her. Logically it made sense. Kill off the enemies and save the majority. But emotionally, it was a bit harder to justify. Not so much the fact she had to kill humans. No, not that at all. She was a strong willed queen now, and a princess of Ranate before. She wouldn’t lose her calm after just a simple matter. It was more so the fact that the entire predicament felt so avoidable. That if the tier 1 humans just even slightly changed, she could justify keeping them in her land safely. ‘But alas, life wasn’t so nice.’
She was at mercy to the pride of some Marvialasian soldiers, to their indoctrinated beliefs. With no one left to direct her anger to but their ruler himself.
Emily simply stared at Ana once more for a few seconds. Who, despite her discomfort, started walking up a bit closer to her friend. Both the giantesses were of noble descent, and were rather close as friends too. She patted her hands on Ana’s shoulders, hoping to cheer her up.
“This was the best outcome. No one else in the history of the kingdom would give this much of a chance to the enemy. At least not this successfully.” Emily reasoned.
“Yeah… Thanks, Emily” Ana responded. Trying really hard to take Emily seriously without reminding herself of the fact that a human was inside Emily right now. Though at this point, even Ana began wondering how Leon would feel inside her. Wiggling around, trying to escape or maybe even go in deeper. She took any opportunity to distract her mind.
“We’ve arrived, I can see the building from here. It's slightly hidden in the woods.” Emily pointed out, finally gaining a sense of relief as the two giantesses arrive.
The tier 1 and 2 primary facility, painted in floral white with a red brick roof. While it was a far cry from the luxuries present in the capital. It was much nicer than the neighbouring surroundings. Its exterior was quite sturdy too, with plenty of windows allowing a view of the outside world for anyone inside. There were plenty more similar facilities in the nearby area, but this was the main one, which housed somebody that Ana wished to speak to.
The queen, and behind her, Emily, walked up towards the entrance.
Ana knocked on the door with her knuckles at the back of her hand. Creating a rather loud thud, a noise of wood being struck against by a blunt force. The humans inside would definitely hear such loud thuds.
However, the door itself was unlocked. It lightly squeaked and opened from Ana just knocking. Prompting her to enter the facility.
“Excuse me.” Ana’s voice echoed throughout the room as she walked inside the entrance to a building. Ana remained standing in between the doorway. “ Maria and Lindsey, are you two there?”
Footsteps quickly began building up, getting louder and louder as each second passed.
“Ah, your majesty, you’ve arrived.” Lindsey answered. Courteous in nature. The giantess in question wore a bandana across her head, with a red crop top that showed her abs off. She wore black trousers. Lindsey was a rather naturally athletic giantess, one with a sharp eye too.
“I know it's rude to immediately ask, but is there a spare uninhabited room somewhere?” Ana politely asked.
Lindsey raised her eyebrow, confused towards Ana’s statement. She steps to the side and see’s Emily behind Ana. Sighing instantly at the sight of her.
“To the left of the tier 2’s room, there’s an empty room. Feel free to use it… Emily.” She answers, pointing with her index finger towards the available room. Guiding Emily with a slightly disappointed but not unexpectant gaze.
“Sorry Liz, but I’ll be borrowing it for about 6 minutes.” Emily states as she colloquially calls Lindsey her nickname. She walked quietly to where she was guided, with her legs still bending inward. Her face flustered.
“Yeah… 6 minutes. I’m sure.” Liz answers, giving off a slightly rude and sarcastic tone before letting out a soft chuckle. “So, Ana, what can I do for you today?”
“I want to know how the procedures are going. Have the results changed or are they the same? Along with the rate of giantesses picking up humans from the tier 4 and 5 facilities.” Ana asks. “Oh, and the socio-economic status of what giantesses are picking up humans. As well as last time’s percentage of the ‘tier 1’s being removed’ from here.” Ana spoke, making sure not to say words like ‘eliminate’ or things that would stir great hostility.
“Sure thing, come on in. We can discuss the first couple things you said once we’re inside.” Liz replies, guiding Ana towards the central room. “To answer your last question though, the percentage has gotten a lot better. Last time, only 2 were stuck at tier 1. It appears even Marvialasia’s brainwashing hasn’t been as effective as it once was. Not that it isn’t a problem for us still.”
The facility was a house-like structure that stuck out like a sore thumb. Out here where wilderness and farmlands dominated the area, there was suddenly a fairly well made home. Quite a large one too.
The specific location housed mainly tier 1-3 humans. Often, tiers 1-3 and 4-5 were separated. Not intentionally, but it just so happened that those in tier 4 began heavily disagreeing and being uncomfortable around tier 1-2 humans. Even tier 3’s made a sort of ripple in the system. Not to mention, tiers 4-5 generally wanted to be closer to the cities anyway.
The system currently was working as intended.
‘But, I feel like there’s still some sort of problem.’ Ana wondered. ‘ As if we’ve overlooked something important.’
Truly, that was one of the key reasons for her coming here. Not just to check on the progress of her program, or to even plan some adjustments to it. But rather to check in on some things, and to confirm the individuals who would come take care of the humans. Ana wanted to make sure she was getting everything right, so she had to make sure her hunches were checked for.
‘After this, I’ve still got the issue with Vascar to deal with…’ She thought. Already getting exhausted from a mere reminder of her own workload. ‘They increased the number of soldiers at our border with them, and it seems like that’s only gonna increase. These people are also the same scum that made Leon’s life before a living hell too… I should probably nip this problem in the bud.’ Ana reasoned. Arriving to a solid conclusion.
In its simplest terms, Ana would capture the capital of Vascar via right of conquest, taking the kingdom for her own. Obviously in a manner that wouldn’t harm innocent civilians. She would try diplomacy and negotiations first, but coming this far she had a feeling it wouldn’t be so simple. Vascar was clearly a diversion in the grander scheme of things. Most likely as a ploy from Marvialasia. Hence, first she would have to deal with Marvialasia, or else fear an invasion from the opposite direction. This was a fact that made it rather annoying to just start fighting back against Vascar, now that they’d allied themselves with Ranate’s enemy.
Vascar themselves weren’t too much of a threat, it was solely their relationship with Marvialasia that proved annoying for Ana.
‘Hmm, what to do?’ She pondered.
Ranate was put into a rather risky position. However, with all the pieces in the right places, It would be possible to grow as a queendom, as a country. Perhaps even evolve to become an empire if everything went especially well.
There wasn’t much to lose. At least on a scale for countries and leadership. Ana Darlington-Bliss knew her next move, as she prayed for Leon’s safety. Who was the key figure in her makeshift plan.
“Have a seat.” Lindsey prompted Ana. Ready to begin their discussion.
“Yeah.” She answers, before wondering in her head. ‘I wonder what Leon’s doing as of now?’
– – –
(Back to first person perspective on Leon)
Almost nightfall had arrived. It was currently the late evening where the sun was starting to set downwards from the sky, escaping from my view and into the distant horizon. Thankfully despite that, the climate was also changing, I could feel it. The chilly colds of Ranate were left behind me as I approached northwest. Replaced with the more bitter kind of cold seen on mountainous areas.
However, in the specific route I was taking, the mountains in the way made it rather difficult to traverse. Not to mention the altitude made it a bit more difficult to breathe in. Luckily, in front of me it was all downhill so there was that to look forward to.
It was quiet here, almost silent if you barred the sounds from nature itself. Being a mere human in Ranate, that kind of silence was impossible to get with the constant sound of footsteps always afoot.
I could hear running water near me. ‘Perfect,’ I thought to myself. My stead was getting tired too, I could tell as it was slowing down again. While this wasn’t my first time setting up camp on this journey, it was still unnerving. Especially now. I searched my bag, the one on my bullorg to take a look at the map.
My relative position was given by the red flag, which was slightly into Karkiman empire territory, and I was still quite close to the borders. ‘If there’s one thing I know about borders, it's that there’s always danger around.’ I was always quite good at reading maps, but training in Ranate to learn how to read my surroundings made it a unique strength of mine. I was able to understand the environment around me and apply it to understand where I was. ‘Quite the essential skill for any adventurer.’
I unpacked my key belongings and set up a tent. I gathered some firewood, and focused as I shut my eyes. Sensing the ethereal energy inside me and closing myself off from my surroundings. I located the innate mana within, and circulated out to my palm. A second passed, two seconds passed. Finally, on the third a sense of heat was given off as I opened my eyes to find a flame resting on my palm. It was flickering brightly, but still rather small. An intentional choice by myself as to not waste mana where it didn’t need to be wasted.
I bent down, on one knee as I fed the firewood my flame by extending my palm outwards, towards it. In a mere instant, it engulfed the wood, the twigs and branches soon began erupting in a hot fire. One that provided me and by stallion of sorts warmth.
‘Hah, easy as cake,’ I mocked, in my mind. ‘... God damn it, I wished I had some proper food on me right now.’ I cursed as the thought of cake only fueled my hunger.
I once again approached the bullorg, this time going to the other bag I had. It was full of essentials, like food and clothing as well as some other essential items handed over by Ana. As for water, I luckily had a river near me for that.
‘What a slow day.’ I thought. Mundane days of travel were never my favourite. I sighed and approached the campfire I set to heat up my food.
As if lost in a trance, I kept staring into the fire once I had approached it. Hoping to fight away my boredom. My thoughts began contorting and bending. I found myself remembering some details Ana told me from yesterday.
‘The mission requires you to find some intel that can bring harm to Marvialasia, either directly or indirectly. The sooner you get it, the sooner we can move to the next stage of the plan.’ Ana explained, in bed with myself yesterday. Though I was only thinking of the key parts of what she'd told me. Our actual conversation was on a lot more stuff.
I had dozed off a little remembering what happened yesterday, getting a small nap in. An effect brought by looking into the fire for a little too long. I wasn’t sure how many minutes had passed but certainly I had gotten a little bit of rest in.
‘Now for the plan itself’, it all made sense to me. Yet, I couldn’t help but scoff at how broad of a goal that was. ‘How was I supposed to know what would bring significant harm to Marvialasia?‘
In truth, I hadn’t the faintest clue. Though that was to be expected. I knew that I would only figure out a plan once I got there. Then I could-
‘Quiet footsteps. Human sized, someone running. They were getting louder and louder.’ I analyzed, at the mere instant of hearing the unfamiliar sound.
I was up on a mountain, somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Footsteps like these shouldn’t belong here. Either a human is running away from something, or someone is running towards me.
A figure appeared in front of me as the seconds passed. A man slightly taller than I, and bulkier too came charging at me. He was carrying a large axe which he grasped with both his hands.
“AARRRGHHH!” He screamed.
‘Yep, it was the latter.’ I deduced before shifting into a battle position.
I quickly focused on my own mana, which luckily I already had gotten the feel for just mere moments ago from lighting up the campfire… And absorbed the Ethereal energy, or mana I should say, from the direction right in front of me, right where he was.
Suddenly I felt very warm, but the environment itself became cold. Simply absorbing the mana robbed this place of its warmth.
‘It's nightfall, and now that I’ve made it even colder-’
Ice began forming on the ground, with the grass itself becoming icy. I wasn’t sure of the process of why or how this occurred, but from messing around with magic in general on the last couple days of my training. I had realised that I had to really utilise the full scope of my abilities.
The charging man, who seemed to be going for me, ready for the kill had slowed down. Trying to process what was going on, but it was already too late.
He was slipping. In the presence of the icy grass, he couldn’t keep his footing. Giving me the perfect amount of time to roll over to my bow.
He was of a rather large build, and definitely wasn’t the most agile man out there. I had already gotten my bow out, in position ready to shoot.
He was scrambling about, trying to get up, but it was too late.
I released the string, sending an arrow, infused with mana on the tip towards his path. Naturally, that meant it was hot, scorchingly so in fact. The mere instant it landed on his thigh, where his pants were, they were set ablaze, with a fire that continued on to the rest of his being.
It appeared he didn’t have any magic, or skill of it himself. Lucky for me I suppose. I watched him burning away, writhing in pain. The ice from earlier was all melting due to his inflamed being.
‘There’s more?!’ I realized, alert from the sound of more footsteps. Readying my arrows towards the darkness, nightfall was upon us now. Putting individuals stuck in my position at a disadvantage.
“WAIT! Wait, Stop!” Another man cried out, with his arms up in the air. Running after him was a woman, who also had her hands up. As if trying to show me they meant no harm.
“Please! Stop, we’ll leave you alone. Just stop burning our friend.” The woman begged. She too was muscular, with blonde hair and with a dagger in a small sheath at her waist.
“...” I stand in silence, in position. Not buying a word they say. “Drop your weapons, and kick them over here first and keep your hands up after. Then I’ll listen.”
Both began doing as I directed them.
I looked back at the burning man, the poor soul who I left in pain, he was crawling over towards the direction of the river, probably in a vain attempt to douse himself in water. In truth, I couldn’t master the proficiency of magic in a mere couple of days. The elites of this field probably spend months to years on some techniques, a couple days wasn’t gonna make me an expert. Because of that, my flames on him weren’t perfect. In fact, while they hurt, he probably was still fine. The reason for hurt was more so an effect of my mana scorching him. To be honest I wasn’t quite sure how or why that happened, or even what to rationalize it as. But, the next time I get an opportunity to learn about this stuff, I definitely will. What did make sense was that I could make specialized arrow tips, like the ones I had on me, get really hot. Those arrow tips could then make fabric and other plant based material light on fire on contact.
I look back at the two, seeing they weren’t planning anything else. After confirming, I faced the burning man again, and took away my mana, which was stuck onto him in the form of heat on the arrow tip. The flames wisped away. Leaving the brute with an arrow jammed into his thigh. At least he wasn’t at immediate risk of infection considering I literally sent him on fire.
“Hauff, aughhhh.” He groaned, in obvious pain. I signaled to the other two that they could help the brutish man after stepping towards their weapon. Making sure they couldn’t retrieve them.
‘Now what… I didn’t plan on this.’ I wondered, with angst. A slight panic. A thought that I should have just killed them when given the chance.
While I wasn’t exactly someone used to the act of killing, it wasn’t necessarily something that I was opposed to in dire times. Something of a defense mechanism I had built up from being a squire at Vascar. To me, there was something natural about it, as if it was a part of nature. That being said, such acts still made me slightly uncomfortable. By contrast, the act of one of the titanesses from home crushing a man made me very scared. That felt unnatural, as if being reduced to a bug. It couldn’t even be compared to human conflict.
‘I’m out here alone. I can’t afford to be kind…’ I thought.
I decided to speak up. Attempting to be stern and powerful.
“Speak, what were you doing?” I asked, with a harsh tone. I had given enough time for the two to make sure the brutish man had sustained non fatal injuries.
“W-we’re mere bandits sir, we had no idea a noble like you were around.” The man, the unharmed one, spoke.
‘Noble?’ I questioned in my head. ‘How did they know I was a noble? No, wait. That can’t be right. There must be some confusion here somewhere.’
“How did you know I was of noble blood?” I asked. Glaring at the unharmed man.
“Why, everyone knows in Karkiman that nobles only know how to use magic.” He said, fear plaguing his every word.
‘Do they now…’ I pondered. Suddenly an idea flashed through my mind.
“Say, I have some ointment and some healing herbs, surely those could help you.” I referenced, allowing for a smile to plaster itself on all three of their faces. “As a noble, of this empire of course, why don’t you lead me down this main road in exchange. Do that, and all will be forgiven.” I lied, trying not to break the poker face of a pompous and privileged man. “Of course, after I confiscate your weapons along with any other goods you folks have.”
I show them the map I had, and ask for their assistance in showing me the fastest route to head west. From what little I knew of this country, I knew that bandits that didn’t fit into social norms had a huge bounty on their heads. Simply alerting someone in a position of power would be enough to put these folks into a huge amount of trouble.
“If you head just west of here, and forget about the main road for now, you can actually skip the dangerous down climb later and head straight there. Following this route is a little bit faster, and will get you to the main route later anyway” The woman answered.
Truthfully I knew where to go, what I didn’t want to deal with however was any more bandit groups. It was quite common in this great big world of Celessa that bandits would be present near the borders of any country. Of course not right next to them, where government appointed guards may be, but a little bit away from the actual border itself. In other words, like a place where I currently was.
“Good, we’ll split off at the next town.” I told them. Allowing them to breathe a collective sigh of relief knowing I would get out of their hair soon enough.
These folks were merely an extra insurance measure. I was glad I didn’t need to kill them out of self defense, but absolutely would if they proved themselves dangerous enough.
‘Yeah, that's just how the world worked. The strong kill the weak, but it doesn’t excuse the immorality of the issue.’ I thought.
To take pleasure from the unwanted suffering of individuals was something only a demon would do. Yet, it was something people back home, back at Ranate, were definitely doing. Taking pleasure in the pain and suffering of humans . For example, the gargantuan sized figure known as Lisa, from the council meeting, popped into mind. Just what had she done before? How much had she killed before? Was she still torturing humans even now? She definitely seemed the type.
Such thoughts pervaded my mind. Like who else I knew would have killed before.
‘What about Ana?’ I questioned. ‘Surely she must have. She was a ruler, a figure of power. You don’t get to such a position without making some sort of sacrifice, or show of power.’
While the notion made me slightly afraid to think of what poor fate must face those that would have defied her in the past. I was strangely not uncomfortable on the matter. Was it due to it being Ana? The literal beacon of hope for Ranate?
She was someone that wouldn’t kill or harm someone for no reason. If she ever did, I knew in my heart of hearts to hear her out first.
‘God, I wanna see her so badly now.’
It had just been just a day, on a very important international mission, but my own head was filled with nothing but loving thoughts of my wife. Queen Ana Darllington-Bliss. Even right now I was sure she was figuring out a plan for what the next ideal course of action is.
To fight back against Marvialasia, to fight against Vascar. To change Ranate culture in such a significant way never seen before.
‘And here I was, someone who was nothing more than an insignificant squire, on a journey helping her.’
I cracked a smile, alarming the bandits near me who thought I was planning something for them, as I began walking to my steed.
“You all got horses I assume?” I ask.
“What the fuck is that?” The man replied, rather in a rude fashion as he finally took a look at my stead.
“It’s a bullorg, no big deal, quite common where I’m from,” I answered. Keeping up the act of confidence as some righteous noble from this land.
“A what?!” He mouthed, not even voicing his words properly.
The brutish man finally replies, actually trying to answer my question.
“We have two horses, sir. I ride alone on mine, and these two ride together.” He respectfully answered. Quite a different tone of voice for someone who was charging at me moments ago. Leaving me slightly bewildered at his sudden change of attitude.
‘Were nobles of this land really something to be feared that much? To that extent? I mean I suppose I did have the edge over these people with my magic…’
I was left pondering, in response to his sudden show of respect towards me, as I resumed my journey once more towards Marvialasia.