Chapter 4490 Putting Down Old Flames
Chapter 4490 Putting Down Old Flames
"Can I say that I am really uncomfortable with this reunion?"
Ketis smacked her palm against her face. "This isn't supposed to be a picnic, Ves! If it wasn't obvious to you already, you're supposed to man up and make peace with us all. You're not going to get past us if you continue to deny the obvious."
"And what is the 'obvious' that you are referring to?" Ves suspiciously questioned. "By the way, why are you even here? Whatever flame that once sparked between us has snuffed out a long time ago. As far as I am concerned, you are happily married to Joshua. He is a much better fit to you than me in my opinion."
"That may be true, but we humans don't always abide by what is correct and proper." She responded. "Can you truly tell me that you have never thought about whether you should have entered into a relationship with me instead of Gloriana?"
Iris Jupiter coughed. "Don't deny your true feelings, you fool. The first step to making progress is acknowledging the truth that you have always tried to deny because it wasn't convenient to you. That may work for you while you are living your life as normal, but now that you have embarked on a greater journey, you're not allowed to sweep the dust underneath your carpet anymore."
Seeing that Ves wouldn't be able to overcome this hurdle without confronting a number of painful truths, he sighed and decided to be more forthcoming.
The women were right. Continuing to resort to outright denial and evasion wouldn't get him anywhere.
"Alright, I was interested in you all, is that what you wanted to hear?!" He forced himself to say. "I have tried my best to forget about feelings towards you, and I think I did a good job of doing so. I have already moved on and so have most of you. I really don't see the need to retread the past and think about what I could have done to end up with you as opposed to Gloriana."
"Gloriana isn't as good for you as you think." Lady Aisling Curver claimed. "Have you ever properly acknowledged how that witch manipulated and coerced you into becoming her eternal boytoy? There is a difference between being polite and respectful towards a woman and letting an abusive Hexer ruin your life to the point where you have nowhere else to turn! Can't you acknowledge all of the crimes she committed to string you along her finger?!"
So it was about that, huh? Ves felt extremely upset at being forced to confront this issue. THe only reason why he didn't shout back was because enough years had passed for him to be able to look back at his past behavior and circumstances from a more detached perspective.
Ketis found herself nodding in agreement with Aisling. "I can accept getting beaten by another woman. I am no stranger to competition. Losing is just as part of the game as winning. What I can't accept is that Gloriana cheated her way to victory. While I followed all of the rules, she just inserted herself into your life and forced you to keep your attention on her with her invasive actions and her damned perfumes!"
"Hey! Don't insult her scents! She smells good! It's one of my favorite parts about her!" Ves complained. "Look, ever since I… went through an involuntary augmentation process, my sensitivity towards a lot of stuff has dropped. A lot of food has become a lot blander for example. While my physical tolerance for pain and hazardous environments has grown, I miss some of the pleasures that others have taken for granted. Gloriana has at least brought back a part of that in my life."
"Maybe I should have doused my body in hypnotizing smells as well." Lady Aisling Curver furrowed her brows. "If something as simple as titillating your sense of smell is enough to reel you in, then I should have paid more attention to this variable."
"Pleasant scents alone cannot form the basis of your attraction to your current wife." Patricia Cain clearly observed. "You can have each of us apply the scents that appeal to you if you inform us of your desires. There has to be more substantial reasons why you have eventually decided to put Gloriana above the rest of us. We wouldn't be here if that was the case."
"What do you want to hear from me, then? Why does this even matter when one of you is already dead and gone while the rest of you have settled into your own relationships?"
"I'm not entirely dead, Ves!" Aisling claimed! "Pieces of me still live on inside of you and those other 'spirits'! You can bring a semblance of me back anytime."
Ves did not bother to respond to Aisling's absurd proposal.
"We are not going to leave unless you properly deal with us." Ketis stated as she moved her hands as if she was holding her Bloodsinger. "Take it from a Swordmaster like me. If you want to unlock your potential and harness a greater form of power, you must prove your worthiness. Your conduct up until this point falls short of what is required of you, so stop being a pussy and step up already!"
He never asked to undergo these trials! Although he read hints about tests and other stuff from the knowledge granted by the Orven Ritual Sacrifice Altar enlightenment fruit, he just thought that all of those ordeals were actually drug-fueled trances. He also thought that any failures experienced by those who attempted to become orven gods were all caused by botched or sloppy rituals.
Ves tried his best to gather his thoughts and figure out a way to get past this uncomfortable reunion. He would rather suffer the complaints of Melinda than keep his temper in check in front of these women!
"I may… not have been entirely fair to you all." He admitted as he turned to his earliest crush. "Patricia, I had a crush on you back when we were younger. Your performance was much better than mine and you were practically the belle of our class. I had fantasies about you, but I never dared to ask you out on a date. We lived in two different worlds as far as I was concerned. I never thought I could measure up against you until the time we graduated from the Rittersberg University of Technology."
Patricia calmly nodded. "I could guess about your feelings towards me. You are not the first boy who looked at me in this way. You were not wrong to hold yourself back, Ves. I would have rejected you if you attempted to make an advance on me. That might have changed once you have graduated, though. At one point, your successes and your growth have made you more… attractive to me. If you contacted me by the time you have become a well-established Apprentice, I would have responded differently to you. Do you regret that, Ves?">
He shook his head. "Nah. We both went our separate ways after we graduated. Sure, we met with each other a few times during a couple of tournaments, but we simply didn't belong in the same orbits. I think I managed to get over my childish crush towards you at that time."
Although Patricia did not look completely satisfied with his answer, it at least sounded honest enough.
"I acknowledge your words."
Ves turned to Iris Jupiter. "As for you, I won't deny that I enjoyed your presence. In the short time we have been together, I felt comfortable and became engaged in the topics that we talked about. Now that I am looking back at this period, we definitely had chemistry going on between us. It's just… our identities make it impractical for us to further our relationship. I'm a Brighter while you are a Vesian. I don't know about you, but I am not a fan of Romeo and Juliet."
Iris frowned. "We spent time together despite our awkward identities. We aren't as different as you think we are. I was a Vesian dissident. I opposed the traditional order of my state at the time. If you showed more sympathy for my cause and offered to provide aid to the Vesian Revolutionary Front past your mission, you would have been able to meet with me again."
"I don't care one bit about the Vesia Kingdom." Ves flatly said. "You clearly care a lot about the state of the Vesia Kingdom and the welfare of its underclass, but what does that have to do with me? I don't even care about the Bright Republic anymore. While I don't think it is necessary for us to share the same interests in order to make a relationship work, I don't think it was meant to be considering you are such a strong Vesian nationalist."
"So that is your answer to me, Ves?"
"Yes, Iris. Can I move on, now?" He turned to Ketis without waiting for a reply. "As for you, I have already supplied you with my reasoning. I know that you and many other people can't fathom why I would possibly reject your hints and maintain my professionalism, but this is what I was taught in school. Patricia can attest to that. There are strict boundaries between teachers and students, and I have always respected them because I would be abusing your trust in me if I acted on your vulnerabilities."
That seemed to trigger Ketis. "I am not a weak and vulnerable girl! I am a woman! I have even become a swordmaster! If this weird dream sequence hadn't deprived me of my Bloodsinger, I would have chopped off your other leg for that remark!"
Ves remained unimpressed. "You were a child back then, Ketis. Your growth circumstances were hardly ideal. I know the Swordmaidens did their best to raise you as well as the other girls that came under their care, but I don't consider their approach to upbringing to be comprehensive enough. You spent so little time with men who you can treat as peers that you were just beginning to cope with attraction. Your crush on me was just as juvenile as my crush on Patricia."
"You treated me like a child!"
"Maybe I did." Ves admitted. "I don't see anything wrong with that. Look, I rejected your advances because I did not think you were ready for that and because I don't think we would have been great together."
"Do you think I am ugly, Ves? Do you despise my messy genetics or my unfeminine appearance? Is that the reason why you went with Gloriana instead?"
Ves coughed. "Please don't put words in my mouth! You are beautiful, okay! There are many forms of beauty out there. Just like there are many pretty mechs, there are also many pretty girls. Gloriana is like a slender and agile medium mech while you are a stockier and more massive heavy mech."
"ARE YOU CALLING ME HEAVY?!"
"Can we please move on, Ketis?! I still have to go through Aisling."
"Fine." Ketis huffed in a familiar manner. "The real me won't be happy if she heard what you have said., though."
"I'm not here to please you or anyone else." Ves mildly replied before he turned to the last lady. "As for you, Aisling, my repulsion towards you is quite simple. You deprived me of my freedom. You forced me to go along with you. The sole reason why an elite Gauger like you expressed interest to me was because of my design philosophy and potential. Nothing more. For all of your obsession towards me, your affection was never pure."
"You can say the same about Gloriana. Perhaps the only difference is that she got to you first. I was trying to correct the damage that she has done." Lady Aisling Curver shot back.
"I never asked for your 'help'!"
"You never asked for Gloriana to utterly ruin your relationship with the Friday Coalition either! Why have you never confronted her on that, Ves?! Why did you let her get away with this and many other actions that have proven detrimental to your life and career?! Why was she allowed to get away with her misdeeds while I received the full brunt of your animosity?!"
Ves… found it difficult to formulate a proper answer to that. Lady Aisling Curver may have been a madwoman, but the same could have been said about Gloriana as well.