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Chapter: 55


I ended up spending most of the nineteenth day exercising. Well, it was mostly just cardio in the form of walking around to see who could use some help and then going on a run with some of the Volcano Hounds, but still. I couldn’t exactly do any strength training since there weren’t any good weights to lift outside of random rocks and bodies. Regardless, I tired myself out as well as I could so that I could get some of the best sleep possible later in the day since I felt like it had been a while since I last got a great night of satisfying sleep.

Waking up was part of sleeping, obviously. Waking up in a nice way was an important part of getting nice sleep. It doesn’t matter how well one rests if they wake up in a less-than-desirable way. Somebody could sleep for a full eight hours without any disruptions that entire time… until it is time to wake up, and then have all of that sleep ruined by something like a child jumping on their stomach without warning.

Now, the way I woke up wasn’t that unpleasant. In fact, it was… incredibly pleasant in a certain way. Unfortunately, the heat of the situation ruined it.

I woke up to a soft, warm body on top of me. A body that generated far more heat than what any normal body should have been able to generate.

It took my eyes a moment to focus on just who it was after groaning from how hot I felt and the extra weight on to of me, but I finally realized who it was.

Kaila.

There she was, directly on top of me with her chest pressed down against me and her chin resting right against the top of my own chest as she watched me with wide eyes, her tail wagging in the air above her.

I rubbed my eyes and said, "Kaila? What are you doing?"

"Bored," Kaila answered. "Want to play."

"I’m surprised Enna even let you in here."

"She didn’t. Tried to stop me. Had to sneak in."

"That makes more sense."

Kaila giggled atop me and wiggled down against me. "Alpha is comfy. Could sleep here."

"I’d rather you not."

She frowned. "Why?"

"You’re too hot, in multiple meanings of the word. I wouldn’t be able to get any rest."

"Multiple meanings?"

"Yeah. Your temperature is too high, so I feel like I’m going to get burned from you on top of me, and you’re too attractive, I would just want to have sex if we sleep together."

Kaila looked like a light bulb appeared over her head and smiled. "Oh!" Her smile then turned sultry and smug. "Alpha wants to breed me? It would be an honor to have Alpha’s pups."

"One, I don’t think breeding anybody is appropriate right now. Two, I’m not going to bring children into this game."

"Hmm… could mate without breeding."

"I’m still not sure it’d be appropriate to do anything like that given the circumstances."

"Why?"

She was a very curious girl. "Because. I’m in a position of leadership where everybody is forced to obey me. And I’m leading us to win this game and earn all of our freedoms. Having sex is the last thing I should be doing right now when there are countless other things to do."

"Alpha is smart, but also dumb."

I raised an eyebrow. "Yeah?"

Kaila nodded. "Alpha doesn’t even need to help. His help doesn’t speed anything up and only makes himself feel better. No need to exercise so much, either. Once Alpha does everything you need to do in the mornings for the game, you have the rest of the day to do whatever you want. But you worry about things you don’t need to worry about and spend your time doing things that don’t have any effect. Waste of time."

"Exercise isn’t a waste of time."

"You do it alone. Playing with us would be better and more fun."

She probably had a point there. With the way that Volcano Hounds played… I would probably burn far more calories trying to avoid dying while wrestling with them and being chased by them than by going on walks. And probably have more fun while doing so, too.

"Mating would be better, too. All the hounds without mates would be happy to mate with you. Enna, too. I’ve seen how she looks at you. She probably wants to be bred by you more than anybody else. I can smell it on her whenever she’s around you or looking at you."

That… was probably too much information, depending on just what it was that Kaila was smelling, and that would probably be extremely embarrassing to Enna. That was information Enna never needed to learn about me knowing.

And once again, before I could reply, Kaila continued on. "Something more important than all that, too."

"And what would that be?" I asked.

"Fun. What’s the purpose if not having fun? There is no point to anything if not having fun. Even in battle where we might die, we should still find fun in it."

"That’s a… very simple way of looking at things. What about things in life that aren’t fun but need doing?"

"Make them fun!"

"What about something like grooming?"

"Wrestle in water!"

"Cleaning?"

"Nothing to clean other than our bodies!"

"I guess you are probably used to living pretty simple lives. You don’t have to deal with things like going to work, cleaning your place, washing clothes, or anything else like that. No paying bills, taxes, obeying stupid laws that limit the amount of fun you can have on your own property—when living as simply as you all do, it makes a lot more sense to just do whatever you have fun with and nothing else."

"Why have all that other stuff if you don’t have fun with it?"

"Because I was born into a world where those systems already exist."

"Who made them in the first place? Why?"

"People who believed it was either for the greater good or people who wanted to take advantage of others."

"Why not stop?"

"Because you can’t just stop. If you stop, you either go to jail, die homeless in the streets, or try to survive out in the wilderness and probably die from some infection. There’s no real choice involved. You’re forced to in the same way that somebody holds a gun to your head and says that you can choose between living or giving them all your money. Sure, you might technically have a choice, but it’s not a real choice."

"What’s a gun?"

"Let me rephrase. Imagine somebody holding one of their claws to your neck and saying that you have to choose between your head being cut off or giving them all the food you’ve hunted. There is no other option. You have to choose one or the other."

"Oh. I would fight."

"That’s not an option."

"It’s always an option. Even if it’s an impossible fight and I might lose before I even get to do anything, it’s still my choice. Would rather fight than live by something I don’t like."

"What about your situation here? You were all brought here to fight against your will."

Kaila shook her head. "But it’s fun. We get to explore and hunt and fight!"

"And if we fail, your entire race is going to potentially be enslaved or massacred."

"Then we’ll have fun fighting until we can’t anymore. Death is the same. We all know we’re going to die. That’s why we have as much fun as we can. Having fun is the best revolt."

I might have assumed that Kaila and the rest of the Volcano Hounds were… pretty simpleminded, but it turned out that it was wrong to ever do that. Realizing that, I felt pretty bad. No matter how conscious I tried to be of stereotyping others or making assumptions, I still did it. "A revolt against?" I wanted to confirm her meaning.

"Death. Death is the only thing that we all have to face whether we want to or not. There’s no cheating it. Everything dies. Some things might take really long time to die, but they still die. Everything does. It can’t be escaped or cheated. When we realized this… we used to have an alpha who was stronger than anybody. Nobody has ever been as strong as him. But, he killed himself. He said there was no point to anything because everything ends. Lots followed him. Because he was the strongest alpha, everybody took his word. But… not everybody wanted to die. They still wanted to live and hunt and have fun. If nothing matters because everything ends, then having fun with the meaningless is how to revolt against death. That’s why no matter how serious or bad something might be, you should still have fun and do what you want to do. A pack member dies, you get sick, you lose an arm, you starve, your mate chooses somebody else, your parents die… bad things happen no matter what, and having fun despite them is how to rebel and take control. Having fun is the most important thing in life. If you can have fun no matter what, you win, and nobody could ever defeat you. That’s what we believe!"

"You might not be as literate as a philosopher, but those guys talk in boring ways anyways. You’re smart, Kaila."

The compliment made her ears twitch and her tail wag even faster. "My mother taught me all that. Said that no matter what, I have to always have fun. I was sad when she died… but I wasn’t going to lose to sadness. I went running until I had fun! Ran to the top of a volcano and saw the sun fall in the distance. It was bad that she wasn’t around anymore, but I still was, and being alive meant I could still run and find nice sights like that. Being able to have fun no matter what is the most important thing somebody can do."

I wanted to poke her beliefs a little. "And what if that fun hurts somebody else or takes away their fun? What if somebody has fun killing others who want to live?"

"Then you should fight against them and have fun fighting! Even if you’re weaker and die, at least you had fun!"

"So, having fun is the most important thing, combined with survival of the fittest and saying that even somebody being murdered should find fun in it."

Kaila nodded a couple of times.

"I can’t say that’s the most ethical approach to life, but you do have some good points there. Not to mention… you’re probably right about me. I’ve been stressing out over what I should or shouldn’t do, when instead I should allow myself to have fun. The only difference is that instead of force my fun onto others, I’m only going to have fun with those who want to have fun with me."

"You’re nice for an alpha. An alpha usually does whatever he wants with whoever or whatever he wants. If they don’t want to submit, they need to fight back and win."

"Yeah, definitely some flaws with your ideology there going by human, moral standards. Anyways, if somebody wants to do something with me, and I want to do it as well, then I shouldn’t stress out too much over how improper it might be. All that does is add more stress on top of all the stress I already have. I’m sure there are others who would have an issue with it since they might consider it an abuse of power… but I’d rather believe in yours and Enna’s ability to consent and say no if you’re not interested than think of either of you as too afraid to say no."

"Good! Does that mean we can mate? Breed?"

"Was all of that just an attempt to convince me to mate with you?"

Kaila grinned the widest smile I’d seen from her yet. "Some. Also could tell you’ve been worrying about things and wanted to help if I could. Also why I’m in here. Sharing warmth always makes others feel better."

"I appreciate it… but you have to keep in mind that we live in a volcanic region that is always hot, and that I’m not the same species as you. I get hot a lot more easily than you do and don’t have the body to handle the temperature. If you want to cuddle like this, then we’ve got to go set up a tent in the snow region or something."

Kaila shook her head as quickly as her tail wagged. "Too cold! Felt like I was going to freeze to death!"

"That’s part of what makes it perfectly for sharing body warmth."

"We’ll figure something out. Though, I do have to admit that the extra warmth of your body might make some things more enjoyable."

She tilted her head. "Like what?"

"The inside of your mouth—well, the inside of your entire body, is definitely going to be hotter than what any human’s is. Not to mention that you drool a lot, so it seems like you produce more… fluids, in general."

"What’s more enjoyable about that?"

"I guess you wouldn’t be able to really understand that unless you’re a man who has been with women who had cooler bodies."

She still looked confused. Cute, but confused.

As much as I wanted to have some fun with her right then and there, I had to take care of other matters first. She helped me understand that I needed to relax a bit more and to allow myself to have fun, but my important responsibilities came first, such as claiming new territory, managing research and building—basically, everything related to the game. Especially the territory claiming since somebody else could beat me to that.

I also wanted to try my shot with Enna first. It just felt like the right thing to do given how I flirted with her more than anybody else. If I was going to do anything with anybody, it was going to be with her.

For the time being, I placed my hand atop Kaila’s head to pet her. "I might take you up on that offer to mate tomorrow, alright? But only if I don’t wake up with you on top of me."

"Deal!" Kaila agreed almost instantly.

Ace_Arriande Had my Easter break last week in case anybody was wondering why there was no chapter. Hope everybody had a good week!

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