Chapter 24: A taste of luxury (2)

Her actions were interrupted by her master’s forceful words, “The bath should already be prepared for you, remove your clothes and clean yourself.”

Lenia was about to comply with his orders but suddenly hesitated. For some strange reason, she felt embarrassed to show her naked body to her master. She couldn’t explain the feeling well since this was her first time feeling as such.

Why am I nervous? I should not feel embarrassed, I don’t understand.

She thought to herself innocently. Lenia wouldn’t hesitate to kill another if her master ordered it and yet there was a certain innocence to her that she could not fully understand.

This was her first time feeling shy and after removing her clothes, she crossed her arms deliberately over her chest as well as tightening her legs to hide her groin. Aleks, who was unaware of her actions, had not yet turned to look at her as he seemed to be in contemplation. Lenia felt her cheeks burn up in anticipation of his eyes on her naked form.

When her master did turn, there was an awkward moment of silence. Lenia couldn’t see any expression on his face beneath the mask and had no idea what he was thinking. She was greatly embarrassed by her strange emotional state.

What the hell?

Aleks smoothly turned to the side as if it were natural and something he had already planned to do.

“Lenia, while you don’t necessarily need to hide your body from me as I did create you after all and already know every detail, you should begin to learn that it isn’t appropriate to show your body to just anyone. I suppose that since you are just newly born and perhaps haven’t developed an adult’s sense of propriety just yet, this may seem like a foreign concept to you.”

Aleks coughed through the mask. While he certainly wouldn’t shy away from gutting a man, he would never take advantage of a woman.

Kill one, absolutely if necessary. Although I don’t take pleasure in it. However, I would never take advantage of a woman in such a way!

That was Aleks’s bottom line. Others might think him a monster, psychopath or a variety of other terrible things but he never once considered himself as anything but a reasonable man.

Well I did strangle a few… there were also children I killed while devouring their souls… but that was a completely different matter. Let’s just let the past be the past!

Or so he told himself.

Aleks hastily pointed towards the bathroom and said, “Go, wash yourself and freshen up. The clothes we ordered brought should be here by the time you are done. You do not require makeup or perfume, your natural beauty is already beyond the realm of mere mortals.”

Lenia felt her cheeks become even rosier at her master’s compliment. She was happy that at the least, he found her beautiful. Without wasting any more time, she entered the bathroom and closed the door. Some time passed as she lay in the tub, soaking in the warm water and looking over her own body. She had only been alive for a short time and she was still unfamiliar with her body.

Lenia lifted her legs out of the water and ran her hands over her smooth skin, using the soap provided to clean herself. Her mind drifted to her master who was always in her thoughts and she thought of her feelings when he looked at her. It made her body feel hot, especially between her legs. This was a strange feeling to her, but she thought it was not an unpleasant one. She continued to run her hands down her body, admiring her curves, especially her round and firm breasts. While walking through the city she had observed other women’s chests and compared them with her own and she felt that her chest was much firmer and more well formed than any she had seen. Her breasts were firm and yet, soft and supple. She was amazed by how they felt in her hands and the way her nipples became hard as she caressed them.

What is happening to me?

Those thoughts stopped her in her tracks and she gently slapped her face, bringing herself back to reality. It was difficult for her to maintain focus with these thoughts and she tried desperately to get herself back on track.

Alright, let’s hurry and finish. Aleks is waiting for me.

With her thoughts once again on the mission, she quickly hurried and finished bathing, drying herself with a towel and then wrapping her body in it. Meanwhile, while Lenia was busily bathing, Aleks was completing a different task.

This ‘Soul Realm’ ability is immeasurably useful. Not only can I store a seemingly infinite amount of objects within the realm but I can also peruse said objects with my mind’s eye. The only problem is the time it takes to appraise and sort everything. My current abilities, granted by the power bestowed on me by the ‘Tower of Babel’, is still insufficient to process so much information within a short period of time. It seems absolutely necessary to locate the ruins of the ‘Tower of Babel’ as soon as possible. However, do they really exist in this place? I feel a strange connection calling me somewhere to the southwest, but the distance is far. I suppose I will find the last piece there.

With his mind’s eye, Aleks scoured through his ‘Soul Realm’ to take stock of what he obtained from Don Jesef’s vault. It was mostly useless junk to him but there were dozens of weapons, armor and other trinkets which might be useful in the future once he obtained more subordinates. There were very few objects with magical properties however.

“That reminds me, Lenia found two daggers and leather armor which she felt a magical aura from.”

Aleks pulled his thoughts from within the realm and quickly located the daggers she had removed from her thighs before entering the bathroom.

Hmm.. these daggers appear to be enchanted with increased penetration. They should be able to easily pierce through even plate mail. They also ignore half of a person’s magical defense. Very useful for an assassin but it should add to Lenia’s arsenal as a ranged weapon or for a potential surprise attack. For now, she can use these. Later I will outfit her with proper equipment for her class.

Aleks placed the two daggers back in their small sheaths and placed them on a small wooden table near the large bed.

“Only one bed… It is clear that staff misunderstood our relationship. Well, this is to be expected. A man and a woman show up in a hotel near the ‘Red Light’ district late at night… “

Aleks shook his head and picked up the leather armor that was placed near the bed on the floor with the dirty ragged clothes Lenia had been wearing.

This armor is hardened leather, decent defense with excellent mobility. Not really suited to a knight who should make use of heavy armor due to their high strength. Well, I suppose there isn’t just one type of knight, some prefer mobility over the extra protection. This armor seems to be enchanted with a slight magical damage reduction of 10%. Better than nothing and of some slight use. It’s rare to find equipment enchanted with magic so Don Jesef probably treated this armor as if it were a treasure, but it’s only moderately useful. How much could I possibly expect from gangsters and thugs? This is not really suitable for Lenia so I will store it.

There was quite a bit of gold and jewels obtained as well. Several thousand gold and silver ducats was a small fortune which showed that these Don’s were decently wealthy. Ducats were the official coin of the Republics and also recognized throughout the continent. Although many kingdoms had their own form of currency, not many were as widely recognized as the Ducat. These coins could be used anywhere and were usually more valuable than the coins of other kingdoms having a higher silver and gold quantity.

Aleks stored the leather armor away and reached slowly towards the gold mask on his face. He caressed its smooth surface gently and with reverence.

None of that matters though.. Only this mask is important.

Aleks had yet to send his thoughts into the mask. A part of him was nervous, hesitant and even somewhat afraid.

Ishmael.. What state are you in? Have you retained your sanity? Will you know who I am? Will you be able to forgive me?

These questions lingered in his mind and he grew concerned. It was these questions that were the reason he had only placed the mask on his face but had not attempted to communicate with the soul within. He was afraid Ishmael would no longer be the man he was. Even if he were just a soul imprisoned in a mask, Aleks had never forgotten the brother he admired so much. The thought that his mind might have regressed or sunk into madness was a frightening reality that Aleks wasn’t yet prepared to face.

The mask will surely increase my powers, I can feel a resonance. I might even gain a new ability. I have to be careful though in case of any hidden dangers. I will only know for sure once I send my consciousness in. Now is not the time though. There is still too much to do and I don’t know the danger I might face within the mask’s inner world. If for some reason my consciousness becomes trapped or some other unforeseen circumstance happens then my plans here will fall to ruin. I will wait until my business here is settled before sending my thoughts within.

Aleks suddenly felt tired as if the weight of the world rested on his shoulders. He sat down on the bed and sighed.

“These new robes and my new cloak are somewhat dusty but relatively in good shape. They just need a good cleaning. As for the important matters, it’s just a matter of time, a luxury I have in abundance. Either way, it’s not like I have any other choice.”

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