Edited by: Priapus, Old man of the mountain, Immortal Spank


– Lumine –

Most of the commissions and other related things she'd finished in the region have been relatively simple for the most part. Destroy a Hilichurl camp here, arrest a group of Treasure Hoarders there, challenge a powerful spirit taking the form of a massive wolf, defeat a dragon—most of them were just 'beat that thing up. Please and thanks.'.

And Lumine wouldn't complain about that. It made her life easier, and combat was most of what she knew anyway. It was the best and easiest way to earn money so she could continue looking for her brother, who was in god knows where.

There was the occasional delicate situation here and there where simply beating up whoever was responsible wouldn't fix things, but she managed. Mainly with the help of the friends she made here, like Jean and Diluc. Also, Venti sometimes, whenever he wasn't drunk in the tavern.

Honestly, she liked the Adventurer life. She was an explorer at heart, and the reason she was in Teyvat in the first place was that she was exploring whole worlds alongside Aether to find a new home before that haughty bitch decided that, no, fun wasn't allowed and proceeded to separate them.

It's already been so long since that happened. Like, what, a year? Not much, seeing that they were several centuries old, but it certainly felt like it. In average human years, she was… maybe twenty-one? Or something.

Still, she didn't know what she would be dealing with when she took this commission. Some weirdo was attacking the Dawn Winery for whatever reason, destroying tons of cargo and wasting gallons' worth of good alcohol.

And it wasn't a simple 'catch them, beat them up, and throw them in jail' situation either. Whoever it was, they were strong and far too quick for the knights to catch. A cryo vision wielder and an expert marksman.

It's not like they were stealing the contents, either. No, they're just destroying everything with no rhyme or reason. They were dealing with a nutjob who was trying to ruin alcohol for the sake of ruining alcohol.

…Is what she thought at first, but the Dawn Winery belongs to Diluc, so wouldn't it be conceivable that he might have some enemies? Probably. It wouldn't make sense otherwise unless this were a provocation from another region that wanted to cripple Mondstadt's economy.

But that wasn't likely either. Besides Snezhnaya, Mondstadt had no issues with any other region.

Lumine yawned and rubbed her eyes, looking out the window of the winery. She wasn't going to pretend that she knew how the politics of these lands worked. She was probably missing some critical information, if that's the root of the problem.

Ugh, I'm so tired. She thought to herself.

She was still betting it was an enemy of Diluc, though. The Abyss Order hated him for thwarting damn near all of their plans in this region, and those guys are powerful. They could afford to do something like that.

Lumine didn't know they had vision-wielders, though. Joining them was like blasphemy, right? They're like the devil worshippers of Teyvat.

"What are you thinking about?" Paimon asked with a glass of wine in her tiny hands as she sat on Lumine's lap. "Is it Crimson?"

Lumine looked down at her companion with a concerned frown. How did she do that? Honestly, Paimon sometimes scared her with how sharp she was. It's a shame that it only happened in the most mundane of situations.

"Uh, yeah…"

"You like him~"

"Shut up." Lumine scoffed.

"You do~"

Before they devolved into one of their silly arguments, Lumine stopped as she caught something in the corner of her eye. A small figure was approaching the winery from the woods. A white and blue glow shimmered from one of the bushes, prompting her to act.

Took them long enough.

"Eh– what the– Lumine?!"

Ignoring Paimon's confused cries, she stood up and kicked the door open, using some Anemo power to propel herself toward the target, who shifted their aim from the cargo to Lumine, letting go of their bowstring. The Traveler's eye narrowed before she easily deflected the arrow, continuing her charge at the short individual.

Whoever it was, they suddenly vanished. Lumine couldn't make out what they looked like or even what they were wearing. It was midnight and even darker in the woods she chased them into. They were relatively nimble, however.

She used more wind to increase her speed, blocking and deflecting the arrows coming her way with her blade. Lumine was catching up to them, but then another cryo-infused arrow soared toward her, and she made the blunder of blocking it as well.

The elemental energy burst in response, instantly freezing her blade and arm. The Traveler clenched her teeth before quickly breaking the frozen bit by smashing it against a tree. Unfortunately, this cost her her momentum, as she eventually lost track of the target.

"Damn it…!" She scowled.

That was, honestly, very annoying. She'd never failed a commission before, and this would look terrible on her previously perfect record. God, now she would be in a bad mood for the rest of the night. Right before her journey to Liyue too…

Her gaze sharpened as she heard rustling from the nearby thickets, twirling around and pointing her blade at it.

"It'd be smart of you to come out of there." She said threateningly. "Slowly."

None other than Crimson walked out, looking a little surprised as he put his hands up.

"Good evening?"

Lumine blinked a few times, then sighed deeply, putting the sword in its sheath.

"Sorry about that." She apologized.

"Oh, it's nothing." Crimson, as always, simply waved it off as he got closer. "By the looks of it, I'm guessing you were fighting something?"

"Chasing someone." She corrected. "They were responsible for destroying the winery's goods. They got away, though."

Crimson gave her a bizarre smile for whatever reason, but Lumine chalked it off as nothing. It couldn't be him—whoever that was, they were much, much shorter than him. They were the size of a child.

Besides, he wouldn't do that. He's a good person and loved alcohol too much to pull off something like that.

"Unfortunate."

"What are you doing here anyway?" Lumine asked.

"Commissions." He answered, pointing south. "Some Treasure Hoarders were spotted south of the winery. I heard something on the way there and thought I'd investigate."

Right, stupid question.

"Would you like to join me?" He offered. "The guild is paying rather well for it. You can have 75% or something. I don't particularly care, I'm just doing it to waste time."

"I'd love to, but I think I'm done for today." She shook her head. This failure kind of soured her mood. "I have to go back. The culprit attacked so suddenly that I had to leave Paimon alone in the winery."

That was probably a mistake. There was no one to stop her from drinking everything she got her tiny hands on, and while Lumine didn't leave her alone for too long, that little gremlin could be fast if the situation called for it.

"Right, your flying pet."

"She's not my pet."

"Fine, your flying daughter." He 'corrected' himself. Before she denied that too, he continued. "I'll walk you there."

"You don't have to."

"Oh, but I insist." He offered her his hand. "I can't possibly let a beautiful lady walk alone in the middle of the night. My mother raised a gentleman, after all."

Lumine felt heat in her cheeks, but she didn't decline his offer, holding his colder hand with her smaller one. She didn't know why her heart would start beating so fast whenever he did one of his 'gentleman' antics, but she didn't dislike the feeling either.

She's going to miss him when she's off to Liyue… Unless…

But she couldn't do that, right? That'd be asking too much of him, and Lumine had yet to pay him back for all the times he'd helped her out. Hell, without him, she wouldn't have enough supplies until a few months later. He'd accelerated her plans heavily after lending a hand in that big Treasure Hoarder raid.

At the same time, it's not like Mondstadt was his home either. He wasn't obligated to stay here. If anything, he was as much of a traveler as she was. He probably didn't want to stay in one place for too long, right?

It was worth a shot. She could use someone as reliable as him in her search for Aether.

"So um…" She started hesitantly after they stepped out of the woods.

"Yes?"

"Since I'll be leaving Mondstadt soon, I was wondering if you would maybe…" She could feel her blush growing redder. "Join me? And I guess help me look for my brother. I mean, unless you have something to do here. You don't have to, obviously. It was never your responsibility."

Lumine quickly realized how shameful she sounded, trying to backpedal. Why couldn't she just ask for help like a normal person? Why was she like this? Actually, no, how could people do this so casually? Asking for help sounded terrible, and she didn't know why.

"Hmm…" He squinted his eyes and rubbed his chin in thought. "Well, I haven't had my fill of Mondstadt yet, to be honest with you."

Lumine couldn't help but feel disappointed. Yeah, that was fair; it's not like he was obliged to help her find Aether. She should be helping him do whatever he wants. He had already done so much for her.

"But I want to explore other regions, and doing that with you sounds much more pleasant." He added, giving her hope. "How about this: You'll go ahead of me, and I'll catch up a few days or a week afterward."

"Really? You'd do that?"

"Of course." He nodded with his usual smile. "I have told you that we travelers must stick together, haven't I?"

God, hearing that made her feel so many positive emotions at once. She wasn't ungrateful for the help Jean and the knights had generously offered her, but spreading wanted posters and a few squads to look for Aether didn't exactly do much.

Having someone so powerful who also worked for a multiversal organization lend her a hand might make this search much more straightforward. With Crimson around, they would make a lot of progress she otherwise could never make on her own.

"Thank you so much!" Lumine could not help but embrace him tightly. "I promise I'll pay you back for this, no matter what I have to do."

"Don't worry your pretty head about it." He snorted, returning her hug.

His body temperature was strangely cold now that she noticed, but he did mention that he was a 'frost' dragon at some point, didn't he? Still, Lumine found it comfortable, like the coolness of a pillow and how nice it was to hug it.

Eventually, not wanting to look like a creep, Lumine backed off, blinking as she saw Crimson looking curiously to the side for whatever reason. She followed his line of sight, looking at a distant hill.

"What? What are you looking at?"

Crimson paused for a moment, then answered.

"Oh, it's nothing." He shook his head. "I just thought I heard something."

"Ah…"

"Come on. Let's keep moving." He said, retaking her hand. "Wouldn't want to keep your daughter waiting."

"She's not my– ugh, nevermind."

Lumine knew he'd keep saying that if she gave him the reactions he wanted. It was teasing 101, and she knew better than to play right into his hand.


– Aether –

His golden eyes narrowed when he gazed down at the fancy winery from above a tall mountain. It hurt him, standing there doing nothing while his little sister searched for him across the whole region, but he couldn't do anything about it. Not now.

He wanted to go down there and embrace her, especially after so long, but unfortunately, he had far too much on his plate to be distracted by this. They would eventually meet, he acknowledged, but only after she learned the truth about this world and its miserable gods.

He didn't think telling her about their atrocities would be wise. His sister had always been relatively pure-hearted—taste in men notwithstanding—helping those who needed it no matter what. If she were to learn what he was trying to do to this world and its gods before she knew the truth…

Well, knowing her, she'd try to stop him herself.

He must wait until she grows tired of them and their people. Her conviction in them would waver, and once she learned the terrible truth—the cataclysm caused by their hands… Then, and only then, they'd reunite.

"Hello there."

The Abyss Prince paused, glancing behind him to see the red-eyed man that was with his sister, smiling at him with his hands inside his pockets. When the hell did he get there? He knew this man was rather sharp from his previous observation, but he didn't see, sense, or hear him.

"You know, I usually like to assume the best in people." He said. "So, could you explain why you're stalking the girl?"

The Abyss Prince said nothing, merely slightly annoyed as he gazed at the man.

"A man of few words, hm?" He kept yapping. "That will not help your case. You still look like a creep."

As he stepped forward, two Abyss Heralds appeared out of nowhere, wanting to protect their prince. The completely unintimidated man didn't even flinch, continuing to walk toward the Abyss Prince.

"Not another step." One of the Heralds said. "Lest you meet a most gruesome demise."

"Chilling." He chuckled mockingly. "Look at me; I'm shaking in fear."

The two heralds charged simultaneously as the Abyss Prince looked away. He wasn't a fan of bloodshed, so as annoying as the man was, he didn't want him throwing his life away for no reason.

The sounds of flesh and bones being torn apart made him sigh.

What a fool. The Abyss Prince. You should've walked away.

He didn't hear the man scream, so it was quick. That was something, at least.

Only for him to see the decapitated head of the herald roll next to him, prompting his eyes to widen. He quickly turned around to see the man staring at him with a smile, his hands and face stained with the blood of two Abyss Heralds.

"Any more?" He asked, stopping his advance as soon as he was close enough to address him directly. "Or are those two weaklings all you brought, Aether?"

Aether said nothing.

"Surprised, are you?" Crimson tilted his head. "I'll admit, the void stench threw me off for a few minutes, but it didn't take long to figure it out. You do look like Lumine."

"You're no man." The Abyss Prince said coldly. "You don't belong here. What are you?"

He was dangerous. Very dangerous. And someone like him hung around his sister far too much for his liking. There's no telling what he'd do to her.

"I'm many things." He answered. "A humble dragon, the son of an almighty goddess, and the best brewer in the multiverse. My alcohol is to die for. Literally. I can assure you that."

"Another repulsive god." Aether scoffed with a scowl.

Crimson paused and blinked.

"Is this directed toward me or my mother?" He asked, trying to sound like a smartass. "Because if it's the latter, then I promise you, you'd want to take that back."

Aether extended his arm toward the 'humble dragon,' using his abyssal powers to force him to kneel. Even he couldn't handle the pressure of the Abyss Prince, falling to his knees. Crimson struggled and failed to stand back up.

"Oho? Isn't this interesting?" He hummed, not one bit worried. He sounded intrigued, even. "A mere wave of your hand, and you're already the most powerful individual I've seen in this world."

"You're not as afraid as you should be."

"Afraid of what? Death?" He chuckled. "Please, that stops being frightening by the third time it happens."

"Silence," Aether spoke, shutting him up. "What are your intentions with Lumine? If you lie, I'll kill you."

"Ah, an overprotective one, are you?" Crimson raised a brow. "I can relate, but you must know when to let your sibling make their own decisions, even if it would hurt them. Otherwise, they will never learn and grow. Too much coddling will only suffocate them, not protect them."

Aether was getting angrier with every word he uttered.

"I did not ask for a lecture."

"I'm only saying that as an older brother myself–"

"Answer the question."

Crimson sighed deeply, then met Aether's enraged stare with one filled with malice.

"I've never had one of your kind, you know." He said. "I think she would make a fine new toy."

The Abyss Prince's scowl deepened as he clenched his hand in an attempt to crush the bastard god's throat, but before he could do so, Crimson smashed the ground with his fist, causing a mini-earthquake that broke Aether's balance, causing him to let go of his hold on the dragon.

Crimson was already punching Aether's face faster than even some of his Abyss soldiers could see. But the Abyss Prince was no slouch. He efficiently reacted to the blow and drew his sword, deflecting the attack.

The attack's shockwave nearly caused a whirlwind to form. Aether acted quickly, opening a portal under him that transported him away from the dragon. Crimson simply turned to look at him with a smirk, effortlessly spotting him. That punch would've been devastating had he not blocked it.

The Abyss Prince glanced at the winery and grimaced. He couldn't afford to fight here, not when she was nearby, but he also couldn't let this self-proclaimed god do whatever he wanted.

"Crimson…" Aether said his name venomously as he opened a portal behind him. "We will meet again soon…"

He stepped through the portal and closed it behind him, already planning to deal with that revolting reptile in human form. Aether couldn't let some god touch his precious sister as he pleased, for she belonged to nobody.

Only him.


– Crimson –

Interesting.

I only left the house to waste time and avoid Lisa for a while. I didn't think I'd stumble on Lumine's brother so randomly like this. Well, not quite randomly—I did feel his presence whenever I was with Lumine a few times before, but he was rather good at hiding, so I didn't care enough at first. Well, to be more honest, I didn't feel like it.

But today, I thought I'd investigate since I had nothing else to do. Why was there a void presence following Lumine almost everywhere she went? It turns out her brother had me wholly fooled at the beginning. He felt nothing like her, and his scent was masked by the void aura surrounding him.

When I got closer, it became more apparent to me. I'm not sure why he felt the way he did or why relatively strong beings were guarding him, but I'm sure Lumine wouldn't be thrilled to hear the news.

So I won't tell her. Out of courtesy, maybe. He's hiding from her for a reason, so I'd rather see how things play out naturally. I suppose I'll be nice for now. Perhaps because I respect his strength, as I know that if we fought right there and then, I'd lose, as much as I hate to admit it.

He is far beyond anything I've encountered in Teyvat, likely more powerful than that Lightning Goddess in Inazuma. At the very least, I know that there are things that could pose a threat to me, and I always love a good challenge. How exciting.

His animosity sure was strange, though. Well, not really. I get hating gods; many are annoying and petty to a comical degree, but just because a few did something wrong doesn't mean all of them are terrible. Most of the older figures in my family are considered benevolent, as unbelievable as it sounds.

As long as you ignore the conquests and genocides we used to do. But those things happened eons ago; we can't be held accountable for something like that forever, especially when we helped more worlds than we destroyed. Otherwise, mortals wouldn't build statues and shrines for us out of love.

Eh, I'll be sure to beat him to a pulp the next time I see him anyway. He annoyed me with his holier-than-thou attitude. I don't understand why he left his sister stranded and looking for him like this, but I find it despicable as a brother myself.

"Tomorrow?" I raise a brow, looking at Lumine, having just finished our food at the tavern back in the main city. "I thought you'd stay for at least one more week."

"At this point, I feel like we're stalling for no reason." Lumine shakes her head, gently patting Paimon's head, who is out cold from drinking too much wine. "I need to start moving soon. Find some answers."

It'd be hilarious if I told her what I was doing just a few minutes ago, but I'll hold off on that for now. It's even funnier that way. Probably. Either that or I'm making a big mistake, but I'll take the risk. Mistakes can be funny, too.

"I see."

"The problem is that I'm worried about what this… weird criminal is doing." She sighs, sipping from her glass of root beer. "I don't like leaving jobs unfinished."

I bite down a laugh as this subject comes back up.

I just remembered Diona and the ideas I put in her head. A much older lady welcomed all my other visits to the bar, with the tiny cat girl nowhere to be seen. I did not think she'd be busy committing genuine crimes.

It's utterly hilarious. I've never seen someone hate alcohol so much that they'd go out of their way to sabotage their kingdom's economy for the sole purpose of getting rid of it. This is gold. I didn't think it would've been this entertaining.

She took my advice far too literally and is attacking one of the biggest producers of alcohol in all of Teyvat. Directly. Using actual physical weapons. Of course, I don't blame her for misunderstanding my meaning. She is only a child. I can't expect a child to use politics or a more subtle method to destroy the industry.

Oh, I must continue fueling the fire and see where this will end up going. It's way too funny not to. The knights will probably not be able to jail a child, but they wouldn't let a crime of this scale slide. Also, watching Jean lose her mind over this would be amazing.

I may risk it and assist the girl too. Give her pointers and tell her where to hit to hurt them even more. The knights would begin thinking it's an unprovoked attack by an organized group when it's only good ol' me and their precious bartender mascot.

Beautiful. This sounds just beautiful.

"Don't worry, I'll handle it," I tell her.

"You would?"

"Yes." I nod. "I can't let someone ruin my drinks. I'm a brewer myself; I cannot let this go unpunished."

I can if it's funny, though. But she doesn't need to know that.

Lumine does seem grateful, but for some reason, she groans.

"You keep doing things for me, making me feel bad." She says truthfully. "I don't know how to return the favor."

"Again, I don't mind it." I shrug. She's not convinced, so I try a bolder maneuver. "But if it bothers you so much, how about when we meet again at Liyue, we go on a date?"

"Ah…" She blushes, shyly twirling a lock of her hair. "Well, sure, I don't mind. Sounds good to me."

"Excellent. A date it is," I say, getting up from the chair. "I'm sure you're tired, so I'll be taking my leave now. Be sure to sleep early. I'll see you tomorrow morning to bid you farewell."

"Sure." She smiles. "Goodnight, Crimson."

"Goodnight." I wave.

I exit the tavern with a yawn. I think I've had enough adventures for today, so I might take a nap.


– Sucrose –

She couldn't thank that adventurer enough for the sample he'd given her.

Little was known about dragons since most had either died or disappeared, leaving only their lesser Vishaps brethren in this world, so any knowledge about them was precious. Sucrose had already made several breakthroughs from this one scale alone.

And this tiny thing was beyond astounding. When Mr. Crimson said that it could withstand the hottest and coldest temperatures, he wasn't exaggerating. Using some of her tools, Sucrose replicated the heat of lightning using a mixture of concentrated Pyro and Electro energies, and it didn't even leave a scorch mark.

She tried the same with Hydro and Cryo, which also did nothing to it. Using blunt force wasn't effective either. It easily endured the harshest punishment her tools could dish out. Something like this could make the perfect armor and even great weapons, seeing how sharp it was.

But this wasn't the most exciting thing about the scale. Looking into it more, Sucrose discovered that there were magical properties fused into the biological makeup. But unlike the magic she was used to, it was something… different. Alien.

And whatever it was, it felt alive, like it had a mind of its own.

It was like everything she knew about dragons meant nothing. No, more like she wasn't looking into dragons but an entirely new species that's several times more mesmerizing. Something new that you couldn't find anywhere in Teyvat. It reminded her of the Traveler and her flying companion in a way.

It was certainly something to the young alchemist. She had never come across something so perplexing before. It was so very captivating, nearly hypnotizing her. She wanted to share this with her teacher but knew she couldn't.

Unfortunately for her, after a few days, the scale began to deteriorate at an exponential pace. it turned pale and brittle, so much so that, once Sucrose touched it at some point during her research, it immediately turned into dust. It lost its magic completely. How fascinating.

Sucrose had impressed herself that she managed to get everything she could want in just a few days, and one might think that there weren't many things to discover, but her filled, hundred-page notebook would say otherwise.

Her intrigue and excitement about this subject caused her many sleepless nights. Sucrose hid this scale as if her life depended on it because she knew the Grandmaster's less-than-favorable view of the man, er, dragon. If Jean knew what she'd gotten her hands on, it would be confiscated.

There were many close calls with Albedo looking at her suspiciously and almost figuring out what she was doing, but thank the archons, her teacher was dispatched somewhere else in the region—something about the ancient dragon corpse in Dragonspine.

That was good. Sucrose was beginning to run out of excuses, and while she felt awful about lying to Albedo, she knew she couldn't let him know about this. Not now, at the very least. Sucrose realized that she was a bit greedier than she thought she was afterward.

And her appetite for knowledge was not sated.

Obviously, she still had many questions, but it would take far too long to conclude. Probably years, if not decades. This was on an entirely different scale compared to what she was used to.

Who cared about common Hilichurls and regular dragons when she had this?

So instead of wasting time deciphering what she had learned, asking the expert would be more efficient. It wasn't rude, right? It wasn't like she would demand answers from him—mostly politely asking him. Like an interview. No disrespect anywhere, so it's okay, right? Right.

And this time, she was willing to pay him for the knowledge, no matter the cost. She couldn't have him go empty-handed, even if he insisted that he didn't care as much. Sucrose would feel even worse if she didn't give him something.

It was bad enough that all she did when he gave her his scale, which looked very painful when ripped one out, was a bow and a 'thank you'.

She knocked on the door of his house, feeling very nervous. She was a bit more confident than before, but the possibility of him rejecting her was there. Sucrose knew it was inevitable, but she didn't want her questions to be very personal.

He was one-of-a-kind. A dragon she'd never seen before. The fact that he could turn into a very attractive humanoid was already fascinating. This reminded her, seeing how handsome he was, would he be attractive to dragons in his dragon form? Or did his species view beauty differently?

As she was lost in her thoughts, the door opened suddenly, making her jolt. To her surprise, Mona was looking at her with curiosity behind the door.

"Ms. Megistus?" Sucrose blinked.

"Isn't this a surprise?" Mona smiled slightly. "It's rare to see you outside your lab for once. How have you been, Sucrose?"

Mona was highly respected for more than her general knowledge and skill in astrology and magic. She possessed confidence and was very kind to everyone. Sucrose looked up to her very much.

But still, Sucrose didn't know she had a place for herself. Her tendency to… overspend on research material was widely known. Since when was she able to afford a personal residence?

"Oh! Um, I've been fine; thank you for asking." The green-haired girl scratched her cheek, still a little confused. "Did I get the wrong house?"

"Hm? What do you mean?"

"I thought this was Mr. Crimson's home."

"It is," Mona confirmed. "I'm his roommate."

…That makes so much sense. Kind of. She wasn't aware that they knew each other, much less lived together.

"Ah, so it is." She smiled. "Is he inside?"

"He is. He just came back a few minutes ago." Mona confirmed. "Do you need something from him?"

Lucky.

"Um, yes. I wanted to talk to him about something."

"Why?" She asked with a raised brow. "What do the Knights want from him this time?"

"Oh, no, I'm not here on behalf of the knights." Sucrose denied. "This is a personal visit, I promise."

"Is that so?" The Astrologist hummed, looking curious.

"Let her inside, Mona," Crimson said out loud, making Sucrose's ear twitch. "I'm curious to hear what she has to say."

"Yes, I was about to invite her in." Mona rolled her eyes before smiling at Sucorse as she opened the door wide. "Come in."

Sucrose mirrored the kind smile, feeling comfortable in Mona's presence. She was free for the rest of the day since she'd finished her other responsibilities very early. So she was thankful for that.

And her sleep schedule didn't exist anymore, so she could afford to stay up late anyway. Hopefully, the same could be said for him. She did not want to bother him any more than she already had.

"So, how has my favorite alchemist been?" Crimson said, sitting on a couch and waving a bottle of expensive wine at her. "Hopefully, the knights didn't take what I gave you."

"Oh, I made sure to hide it." Sucrose shook her head, taking a seat on the opposite side. "But unfortunately it–"

"–Turned to dust, didn't it?" He cut her off with a snort. "Yes. It does that when–"

"–There isn't enough magic to sustain it." She finished the sentence, nodding enthusiastically. "Right?"

"Hmm, you've done exemplary research." He smiled. "That's correct. Good job."

Sucrose barely contained her excited squeal at the confirmation. So, she was right all along! She wasn't 100% sure about anything she wrote down in her notebook, so hearing she was correct even about one thing made her feel giddy.

"I'll leave you two alone. I'm sure you'll be at it all night." Mona quipped, not quite interested in this conversation. "I'll be in my laboratory if you need me."

Sucrose watched the Astrologist enter another room, locking the door behind her. She wasn't here for this, but she was still curious.

"Since when did you two know each other?" She asked Crimson. "Ah, but you don't have to answer if you don't want to."

"Through Lumine." He said after drinking from the bottle. "The house was sealed, so I told her she could live with me for free if she broke the spell."

"I see."

"But that's not why you're here," Crimson added, leaning forward. "Tell me what else you learned."

"Oh, I wrote everything here." She responded, showing him the notebook. Sucrose felt a bit shy as she asked for a small favor. "W-would it be okay for you to look over it and tell me what you think?"

"Of course. Give it here." He extended his hand.

"Thank you so much!" Sucrose handed him the notebook with enthusiasm. "I have so many questions…"

"And I'm here to answer them," Crimson said kindly, flipping through the pages. "...You've been busy, haven't you? You certainly wrote a lot."

"It's a hundred-page notebook." She confirmed.

"And you filled all of it?" He hummed. "Lovely handwriting. I could learn a thing or two."

Sucrose blushed at the compliment.

"You don't mind if I keep it with me for a little while?" He asked. "I'd like to read it in my own time."

"Feel free to do so." She nodded.

"Great." He put it on the table in front of him. "Now, what would you like to know?"

"Right." She took out a piece of paper from her bag before unfolding it. "I wrote down all of my questions here."

"Did you now…" He muttered. "A bit excessive, don't you think?"

"I just didn't want to forget anything. That's all."

"Right…"

For some reason, he sounded less excited about this than before. Eh, it was probably nothing.

"So as I was researching, I noticed that the magic that powered the scale was of a different origin entirely." She said. "Something almost sentient. Could you explain to me what that is?"

"Draconic magic. Something exclusive to my kind." He answered. "But it only gets to that point after refining it enough."

"Fascinating. And how much refining would it take to reach that level?"

"As long as it would take a star to die."

"...Oh." Her eyes widened, not expecting that answer at all. "Wow."

"It is an intricate process." He added. "Not many live long enough to achieve that level of mastery."

That was a lot to process. That would mean Crimson was far older than she thought he was. Older than even the Archons of Teyvat. Would that mean she was speaking to an actual god from a different world?

This was exciting! Sucrose quickly took another notebook and began writing down everything he had told her.

"Then how come you look so young?" She questioned. "You say you're older than stars, but you look in your early twenties. How long is your lifespan?"

"We're immortal." He answered. "Though, in the sense that we cannot age once we reach our prime. We can still be killed."

"I see…"

Then him being as old as she thought was just the minimum. He could be far older than she could ever imagine.

"Okay, something else I was wondering." Sucrose said. "Considering you've told me that you are capable of shapeshifting and seeing that you have magic in your very biological makeup, would that mean you are technically genderless? If not, then do female dragons of your type exist?"

"While we have magic in our blood, we are mostly biological, not magical. We are born either male or female, like most other species." He responded. "I have a twin sister, in fact. As I told you before, we are limited in our shapeshifting. I can't even change what I look like in my human form."

"Interesting." She nodded. "So then, how do dragons procreate?"

"Pardon?"

"As in, do they lay eggs? Is it through a magical process? Or are they viviparous?" She questioned. "Is there a specific ritual for it, or do they breed like primates and most mammals?"

"Ah…" Crimson blinked. "Well, when I'm like this, I'm practically a human for the most part, so the latter."

"I see, I see." She furiously wrote that down. "Would that mean you have similar-looking genitals?"

"Odd thing to ask someone, but yes, they're very similar."

"Would it be alright to show me?" Sucrose asked.

"This is going much quicker than I thought it would."

"Hm?"

"I said yes." He cleared his throat, stood up, and started unbuckling his belt. "Yes, you may see it."

Sucrose got closer as he dropped his pants, only just realizing what the hell she asked him to do. Her face flushed as she saw his genitalia, too mesmerized to look away in embarrassment. She was clearly pushing her luck with him and should've just stuck to standard questions rather than this. Who would even ask someone to 'see their genitals'? Was she insane?

Would this be considered sexual harassment? In this context, asking a person to drop their pants like this wasn't ethical. At the same time, he looked super casual about it. Not one bit uncomfortable. Gods, Sucrose felt so bad for pushing him, but at the same time…

Maybe it wouldn't hurt to ask for more. If he were okay with this, maybe it would be acceptable to proceed. She would definitely pay him back no matter what it took, and the moment he looked uneasy, she'd stop and leave immediately.

He was right. It did look exactly like a human penis.

It was big, though…

Nonetheless, Sucrose tried to keep her composure. As weird as this was, it was still interesting to her.

"I-if your biology is this similar to a human's, d-does this mean that–"

"Cross-breeding is possible, yes." He nodded as she continued staring at his… thing. "I was born half dragon, after all."

That was so fascinating. No dragon in Teyvat was capable of procreating with humans as far as she was aware. And he was born that way? The way he said it made it feel like he eventually became a full-blooded dragon or something entirely else.

"You may inspect it closer if you wish."

"Huh? May I truly?"

"Of course!"

…No, wait, this was weird. He almost seemed too happy about it.

"You, uh, you're quite agreeable."

"I am?" He blinked in confusion before smiling. "I simply like to help, that is all."

Oh gods, she sounded too condescending there, didn't she? Was she acting ungrateful? How could she, after everything he had done for her? He's been kind since they met at the bar; all she did was take and rudely demand things.

This made Sucrose feel terrible. She should be ashamed of herself.

She might as well accept his generosity. It would be insulting otherwise.

"S-sorry, you're right." She said.

…She knew she shouldn't, but she was just so curious. She's gotten this far, so might as well just see where this was going.

The Favonius Alchemist got much closer and hesitantly began 'inspecting' Crimson's penis by touching it. At this point, Sucrose had no idea if something like this would ever fly in the Knight's HQ if she was discovered, so she was glad she was doing this here. It was her first time doing anything close to this… bold.

It would twitch every so often, getting bigger before her eyes. Although she knew this was a very normal reaction—nothing new to her—it still got her heart pounding. She knew physical stimulation would feel good for him, so at least she wasn't worried about hurting Crimson.

It became much bigger than she thought it would once it got fully erect, and she continued stroking it, feeling its weight, length, and rigidness. Sucrose was amazed. Was it like this because of his heritage, or was Crimson just special? Because to normal humans, he was much larger than average.

"Apologies." He suddenly said with a sigh. "I have been rather… pent-up for a while now."

"A-ah, no, I understand." She waved it off, having stopped stroking but still not letting go of his dick.

Gods, he really must be with his cock still throbbing like this. Now she just felt bad for him. Sucrose had little to no experience in sex, but being blue-balled like this must suck. He's making himself suffer only so she can study him up close.

Suddenly, a passing thought in her mind gave her an idea. Now's her chance to pay back his kindness. Instead of money, perhaps she could give him some relief. After all, he got an erection because of her, so it's only logical that she took care of it. She needed to fix this.

Sucrose's face turned bright red. But at the same time, she didn't want to look like a creep. She needed an excuse. Even a flimsy one would do.

"Um…" Sucrose hesitated. "Mr. Crimson? Would it be alright if I took a… sperm sample?".

"A sample?" He blinked, but then his eyes widened in realization as if he understood her intention. "Ah, I see. Sure, you may help yourself."

He didn't seem to view her in a negative light, which was all Sucrose wanted at the moment. He must be in so much discomfort if he was okay with this, which made her even more determined to help him out.

"Thank you…"

She swallowed and went back to stroking, this time more focused in case she said or did anything stupid again. She just had to get him to ejaculate once, and that's all. It's her first time, but it shouldn't be too hard, right? Right. She knew the procedures, so she shouldn't have trouble with this.

Sucrose felt him wrap an arm around her and bring her closer to him until she was leaning against his chest. For whatever reason, this made her feel fuzzy. Her heart rate was going wild at the physical contact. She never thought she'd ever do something like this with a handsome man like him. It wasn't a bad feeling; if anything, she enjoyed how close they were. It felt a bit… intimate.

She had no prior interest in sex or romance. To her, what mattered most was knowledge. True, she had some friends, and she loved them to death, but it's not like Sucrose went out of her way to make friends.

Was this what she was missing out on? If so, then maybe she should've listened to her teacher and taken more breaks to socialize with other people more. It felt nice and comforting.

Slowly, Sucrose got into it, and as Crimson lifted her head by the chin to make her look at him, she closed her eyes, feeling his lips touch hers. She didn't know why she let him do this. It had nothing to do with the sample or relief, but admittedly, she enjoyed it a lot.

She also enjoyed his hand squishing her butt as they continued kissing, but wouldn't admit that. Sucrose felt like she was melting at his gentle touch, almost forgetting that she was giving him a handjob.

Eventually, he broke the kiss and gave her a slightly strained smile.

"You might want to prepare yourself." He said. "I'm at my limit."

She nodded and put her hand in front of the head as he began shooting his semen. She felt her core burn at the sight, resisting the urge to rub her thighs together. Eventually, once it stopped, Sucrose backed away from him, and with what little clarity she had, she took a small vial from her bag and poured most of the load in.

The Favonius Alchemist gave him a respectful bow, her face red from embarrassment and arousal. Still, she managed to give a small smile, at least. Excuse or not, this will be an immense help in her research.

"T-thank you so much for the sample." She said quickly. "And I'm sorry. I– I didn't mean for things to escalate this way…"

"No need to explain yourself. I understand." He shook his head. "If anything, I should be apologizing. I got a little too into it, but I still shouldn't have forced myself on you like that."

"Oh, no, it's alright!" Sucrose responded. Honestly, she felt good now. Weird, but good. "I um… I've never done something like this in my life before, so I was a little out of my depth, but I did enjoy it as well."

"Oh… Well, that's a relief." He said, pulling his pants back up.

"I shall take my leave now." She nodded. "Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions. And for…"

"Of course." He smiled. "Be sure to visit soon so that we can do it properly. After a lovely date."

Sucrose's face went even redder at the thought. This all happened because she had zero social skills and she kept escalating the situation, but maybe it wasn't all that bad. On top of a very valuable sample, he showed her that she really was missing out on a lot.

Perhaps, beyond his knowledge, Sucrose should seek more from Crimson.

"I–I'd be happy to." Her heart skipped a beat as he winked. "I'll see you later."

Sucrose she left the building, closing the door behind her. This night was wild. She didn't think for a moment that this was ever going to happen. If word got out that she gave him a handjob, then she might as well kiss her career with the knights goodbye, especially considering how much Jean hated him.

But for her personally, this wasn't so bad. She got a few things confirmed, and she left her notebook with him. So the next time they met, he'd have read it and explained everything adequately.

And sure, she might've skipped a lot of steps with him, but a date sounds nice.


I'm still not used to writing things going fast for the character since I like my build-up (a bit too much, I think) but it is what it is. I don't want Crimson staying in Mondstadt forever.

Also, and I can't believe I have to say this shit again, but this fic shouldn't be taken seriously. It reads like a 'glorified porn story' because it is. It's a blatant power fantasy because I don't care enough about Genshin Impact to be making something serious or deep about it. Most of my other stories are character-driven with genuine thought put into it, but not this.

Sure, I might add some character development here and there, but if you're reading this and expecting something profound, then just stop. Least I want to do is waste your time.

This only exists because I want to write GI girls getting fucked. Nothing more and nothing less.