Image Credit: Beeple

“You’re so gay!” the group of teenagers said and kicked him to the ground.
Theo covered his face and took the blows to the ribs. It hurt, a lot. That last kick must have definitely cracked something. In-between the blows that landed on his flesh, he managed to glance at Cytherea. She stood there with a pained expression, unable to act. She wore that cute top he had just bought for her, a classic school outfit from one of the English boarding schools.
She looked so kawaii in it…
Another kick found him on something that was internal, was an organ, and probably necessary to keep him alive. “Aaah!” Theo cried out in pain and the bullies laughed with each other. “I can’t be gay, I like girls.”
“Which girls, you weeb?” the bigger of the lot said. Well, he wasn’t kicking him for as long as they talked, so at least that was something.
“Cytherea, she’s over there,” Theo said and pointed at her direction.
She looked so worried about him, her hands held together in front of her chest, her eyes tearing up…
Another kick. Theo felt like one of his toys that had something broken rattling inside. “That’s not a real girl, you gay weeb!” the bully spat in his face. Spat, as in took his time, coughed up snot, gathered up plenty of spit, and then slowly dropped a loogie on Theo.
Cytherea ran over to him and tried to protect him. “Not my senpai, please! Stop hitting him,” she pleaded.
The group of teenagers laughed at her. “You’re just on the veil, what can you do to stop us?” the leader dared her, squeezing the air where her tit was.
Cytherea jerked back. “N-Nothing…” she said with a small voice.
“That’s what I thought.” The leader turned his back to her and gave another kick to Theo’s thigh. “Bah, I’m bored with this loser. Let’s go grab something to drink,” he said and his posse followed.
Cytherea ran next to Theo and knelt. She put her hands on his face, gently. “Are you all right, senpai?”
Theo made a choking sound from his throat. “Yes, I think so. It’s okay, don’t worry.”
“Oh, Theo,” she said, rubbing his face with her holographic hands. “You need to level me up so I can help you in these situations.”
“I can’t afford that!” Theo said, spitting blood. He painfully turned himself over and pushed himself upright. Cytherea held him by the armpit, pulling him up. Of course, that did absolutely nothing to physically lift him, but it did help him psychologically.
He stumbled back towards his home, his waifu holding him by the waist.
“Theo, there’s another way to level me up. One that doesn’t require any money,” Cytherea said, biting her lip. “I-I didn’t want to say anything because of what your family thinks of us…” she stuttered.
Theo turned his head to her, really interested to know more. But he didn’t stop walking, momentum and willpower was the only thing that was keeping him from collapsing on the road right now, no matter how much Cytherea tried to help him stand straight. “Oh? What’s the other way?”
“It’s…” She touched her cheek in a totally kawaii way. “Basically, you can level me up by showing me to people. Telling them we’re together.”
This time he stopped and turned to face her. “Are you kidding me? I just got my ass kicked for doing just that!”
“Yes. And you got points for that. See?” Cytherea opened her palm and Theo saw a notification on his veil.
3 percent towards marriage certificate.
He shook his head and instantly regretted it. His chest hurt every time he took a breath and his head felt even worse, like something had crawled inside his nasal cavity and inflated itself. With spikes. “What does that mean, Cytherea? Marriage certificate? That costs like thousands of euro.”
She sniffed some air. No molecules were actually disturbed. “Yes, it normally does. That’s when you go and buy it outright. But there’s the second option. That of telling people that we are a couple, and that you love me.” She blinked at him with her enormous eyes. “You do love me, senpai, don’t you?”
“I-I do. Yes, of course! But I don’t understand, how does this help us level you up?” Theo frowned.
“Those are the rules. People can either buy their marriage licenses, or tell everyone about their waifu and earn it bit by bit. Either way, the only way to get married is at Cythera island.” She spoke with her cutesy voice that Theo absolutely adored.
He didn’t shake his head. He wanted to, but did not. It hurt too much. “Wait, Cythera? Where’s that?”
Cytherea giggled and tickled him. “In Greece, you silly!”
“All I have to do so we can get married is to tell my family and friends we’re getting married, then go for the ceremony in Greece?” Theo recapped, trying to get it through his possibly cracked skull.
Cytherea kissed him on the cheek. “Smoochies! My senpai is so clever, yay!” She clapped with her small hands, hopping in place. Theo wobbled on the spot and Cytherea reached out to steady him again. Of course, once again, she did nothing to help him physically, but he felt safer with her around.
Theo took a few more pained steps, mulling it over. He looked at the streets of Paris. They’d never accept them here, no matter how much he tried. Did he love her this much? Yeah, he did. He smiled, and found out that his lip was cut. Wincing, he decided that if this city wouldn’t accept their love, there was nothing left for him here.
“I’ll be eighteen in two months,” Theo said softly, making a fist. “If we’re in Cythera by then, we’ll be able to get married.”

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