Chapter 28

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Content Warning: Dubious consent (explained in TL note)


     At first, Ayra thought he and Janus were buried under the snow.
However, looking closer, they were not surrounded by loose snow but were in an igloo made from hardened snow.
The powerful mercenary must have made each brick with his bare hands; the igloo was large enough to house even the horses.

     One horse was dozing while standing; another was lying on its side, acting like a cushion for Janus.
Near that horse’s head, Ayra’s wet and cold clothes were spread out in the corner.
It wasn’t until he saw his clothes that Ayra remembered they had been in a landslide.
He lost his memory after his protective shield was pounded by several boulders.

     “How long have I been unconscious?” His first worry was time.
Ayra was deeply relieved to hear that he had only fainted for a few hours.
At least his territory was not doomed yet.
“What happened with the landslide?”

“We avoided the landslide with your magic, but the following avalanche became an issue.”

     Ayra could roughly imagine what had happened.
The snow drenched them both, and their body temperature would have dropped rapidly.
Therefore, the mercenary would have built an igloo and peeled off their wet clothes.
‘And, to preserve body temperature, he would have…um…while naked…’

When Pebble, anxiously hovering around his master, clung to the young lord’s heated cheeks, Ayra returned to his snapped back into reality.
Despite the fact that this was done to restore some warmth to his core, Ayra still felt somewhat embarrassed to be naked.
Eyes downcast, he said, “Thank you.
Otherwise, I may have frozen to death.”

     “It’s nothing.” Janus shrugged his shoulders, as if this really was ‘no big deal,’ and stroked Ayra’s back with a warm hand.
Startled, Ayra’s body recoiled.
Goosebumps, unrelated to the chill, raised all over the young lord’s body.

“What was in your dream for you to mumble about killing humans?”

     “It was just a nightmare…” Ayra frowned evasively.
Inwardly, though, the young lord had already perceived it wasn’t a simple nightmare but, rather, he had entered someone’s mind.
Like the main character in his favorite magic novel series.
Ayra really had no desire to know how the main character of that series felt when he had soul-connected with the final villain’s mind while dreaming.
Besides, Ayra didn’t even have a nice principal or a brilliant mage best-friend to rely on… 1

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     ‘So, this is how unpleasant it feels to read someone else’s mind.’

     Becoming a whole different person felt honestly horrible.
When Ayra stroked the artificial spirit, Pebble’s round, black eyes shined brightly.
He thanked his past self’s wisdom for creating this spirit as a medium for his awakened magic…

     His self-praise naturally flowed to memories of Pebble’s warning that manifested just before the landslide.
His brows furrowed automatically, and checked Pebble’s notification again.


‘There will soon be a landslide.’


     The fact that Pebble predicted the landslide meant that ‘someone’ knew that the landslide would occur.
This spirit could read minds, and it wasn’t like the mountain had a mind to read.
So the explosion, which echoed after Pebble’s warning, might have been the sound of someone deliberately causing that landslide.
Ayra clamped his lips tightly shut as he recalled his family’s unfortunate carriage accident.

By the way…

     Janus’s hand was incredibly distracting.

     He desperately tried to ignore it by thinking about other topics.
but he couldn’t help but pay attention.

      Warmth slowly permeated into his cool skin from those hot hands.  The mercenary rubbed at the border between his hair and the nape of his neck with his finger, stroked his protruding neck bone, before stroking down his vertebrae.
When Janus covered the young lord’s hips with his palms, Ayra realized that he wasn’t wearing any underwear.

     “I’m going to get dressed now,” Ayra said suddenly.

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     After all, one person in this relationship had an affection value of ‘2’ for the other, and the other entered into the relationship in order to puzzle out the mysteries of his ‘lover’s’ identity.
Since they were both naked, a strange vibe settled between them; Ayra, embarrassed, slowly squirmed away.
It would be an understatement to say that this relationship progressed too fast.

     Of course, if one were to wear wet clothes, their body temperature was sure to drop immediately.
Ayra’s mana had run low in order to prevent the landslide, but at least he had enough to wring the water out of his clothes.
He turned around and tried to reach out to his clothes, but his way was blocked.

When Ayra looked down, a thick forearm had wrapped itself around his waist.
As soon as he looked up again, Janus called out to Ayra in an affectionate voice.
“I’m feeling excited, darling.”

     Janus smiled mischievously; his red eyes shone.
Ayra almost jumped out of the mercenary’s arms.
He had failed to do so because the arms wrapped around his waist tightened like a boa constrictor.
The young lord felt something blunt against his hip; he had wondered if that was Janus’s other arm.
However, when Ayra realized that Janus’s other arm was placed on his shoulder, he released a sharp gasp.

     Isn’t his *size* insane?

     “I still haven’t received my payment to guide you to Dallum Gorge, right?”

‘He’s talking about payment? Here? In this situation?’

     Ayra froze, spine rigid; Janus slightly frowned and stroked the young lord’s cold skin.
The mercenary then smiled as if he was in a good mood.
His giant hand stroked from the back of Ayra’s neck to the divots in his shoulders before squeezing the young lord’s cold ears to share his warmth.

     “I’ve been hugging you all this while, and you’re still so cold.
I like that,” Janus whispered.

     Ayra also liked Janus’s body as much as the mercenary liked his.
Even though the two were in a cozy igloo, the man’s body temperature wasn’t normal.
Even though it was cold enough to see his breath every time Janus breathed, the mercenary’s body was still stably warm–like a human radiator.

However, in this situation, Ayra wanted to be as far away from Janus as possible.
Since he had woken not too long ago, Ayra, in unguarded drowsiness, had not reacted much to his unexpected nakedness, but he was incredibly embarrassed to feel his bare butt on someone else’s thighs.

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     To be exact, his bare butt on someone’s club-like thing… Why was it growing even larger…

     Ayra squirmed; something else twitched in response.
Appalled, Ayra protested, “You said you wouldn’t force yourself on someone who’s uninterested.”

“Yeah, that’s right.
That’s why I’m trying to make it good for you.
Is it perhaps your first time?”

     “It’s not my first time, but–!”

     …It was his first time with something so big!

     Of course, regardless of his mental age due to both his previous life and current life, he had never been in a relationship until he was of age.
The Labyrinth, in particular, was a place that encouraged free-spirited romance, so he had dated a couple of times before.
He had definitely spent more time on research rather than pursuing fleeting romantic interests, though…

     In addition, around once a month, one could witness naked deviants in public spaces–perhaps they had cracked under the stress of research.
Even without considering those instances, it was common to see the naked bodies of experimental subjects.
He had seen big and little *things,* but Janus was truly… on another dimension.

     When Ayra kept struggling to escape, Janus’s easy smile suddenly dropped off his face.
Beautiful, jewel-like ruby eyes stared at him; it felt like his pupils were laden with emotions incomprehensible to ordinary people.

     Those pretty eyes looked briefly upwards, as if the mercenary was wondering what he should do, before rolling back down again.
Ayra swallowed dry saliva.
“Fine, alright… Just don’t put it in,” The young lord hurriedly said, before Janus’s eyes had completely turned back down to him.

‘Would it honestly be that big of a deal to give up my body at least once?’ Judging from both their physiques and statures, the young lord didn’t think that Janus would spread his body and lay down for him.
Though, he didn’t particularly want to lay down for Janus either.

​​     In any case, he had to prevent this outrageous *thing* from being inserted into him.

     Janus hummed–neither acceptance nor denial.
Ayra was surprised to feel the mercenary’s hand, which had been caressing his waist, suddenly rested underneath Ayra’s armpit.
The mage said, voice like a reed shaking in the wind, “I still have to cross Dallum gorge… Ngh, and there will be more work there as well…”

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     “Fine, alright.” Janus said.

     Ayra suddenly felt the cold attack his body and trembled.
Janus securely wrapped a cloak around him firmly and lined himself against the young lord’s back.
“So, don’t be afraid.
I’ll make you feel good–I won’t put it in”

     With a frivolous chuckle, Janus raised Ayra by the armpits and seated the young lord on his thigh.
This position made it seem like the two were hugging each other.

     Ayra’s toes squirmed when the soles of his feet touched the cold floor.
It felt like his feet froze in that short moment of contact; the young lord tried to endure but couldn’t help but lightly stamp his feet to restore some feeling.
Janus noticed and wrapped Ayra’s feet with his bare hands.  Perhaps this position was a bit uncomfortable, after brief contemplation, Janus soon shifted.

     Wondering what the mercenary was doing, Ayra watched as he took off his shoes.
Immediately, the young lord saw un-tanned bare feet–did the man not wear socks on such a cold day?

     “Here–now your feet won’t freeze.” Janus personally placed his shoes on Ayra’s feet.
The fit was a bit loose due to the other’s large size, but Janus’s body temperature still lingered in the shoes.
The warmth certainly drove the cold away from the young lord’s feet…though wearing nothing but a cape and some shoes made him feel like a pervert…

Ayra’s body, which had become rigid with fear as the mercenary’s hand clothed him with what little clothing available, slightly relaxed afterwards.
Come to think of it, though the mercenary had occasionally given off strange vibes, he had never acted violently towards Ayra.
Unexpectedly, the concept of a ‘lover’ must be somewhat meaningful to this man.

     However, Ayra immediately refuted that idea.
‘We became lovers so casually…what kind of meaning could there even be?’

     Ayra deliberately lowered his eyes, ignoring how the other touched his body.
He looked at the horse–the one Janus had been leaning on–breath…the rise and fall of its chest…trying to ignore how the mercenary’s burning fingers’ gentle strokes made him feel–the lust that rose within him.

     ‘Something different…Let’s try to distract ourselves.’

     For example, he should think of why he brought Janus here.
How strong of a mercenary Janus is.

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