~ Chapter 31: The impossible promise (Part 2) ~
My suggestion about using [Speedy Rooster] was once more met with a heavy opposition from the dragonesses.
On our way there, the villagers thanked us and even some of the Paladins greeted us. Now, they were either neutral or admiring us. It was a rather strange turn of events, but what I didn't know was that throughout most of the battle, Seryanna and Kataryna acted as the main battle force, keeping the undead at bay. They even helped the Paladins take a moment of rest when they exhausted their energy.
In other words, we were the local heroes, even Kleo had her tiny bit of fame. Either way, with the village secured, we had no reason to stay, but just when we were about to get to our Khosinni, Iolaus stepped in front of us.
“I guess old grudges can't be healed that easily...” said Kataryna.
The nearby Paladins all watched him, while Seryanna threw a gaze at Great Paladin Baltros. The dragon shrugged, not even he knew what this was all about.
“What do you want, Iolaus?” asked Kleo in a harsh tone as she stepped forward and glared at him.
This time, she didn't wish to hide.
The dragon looked down and clenched his fists for a moment. It was clear he was going to make a very difficult choice.
Taking a few steps forward, he placed his hand on his sword and unsheathed it. Seryanna took a step forward and placed her hand on her hilt. Even the Paladins started to murmur among themselves.
“Oi! Oi! Is he serious?” one of them said.
“Just let it go, Iolaus...” another urged him, but the gaze in the man's eyes was a firm one.
Then, he dropped the sword next to him. He dropped his shield as well. Those represented both his pride and strength, yet he cast them away like they were nothing.
“W-What are you doing? W-What do you want from me? Haven't you done enough already?!” Kleo shouted.
This time, she was the one on the edge.
“Fufu! This is fun!” Kataryna was overjoyed for some reason.
Then, in front of everyone, Iolaus dropped on his knees and bowed in front of her.
“Please forgive me, Thraherkleyoseya Draketerus!” he shouted as hard as he could.
“W-What?” she said surprised.
“Iolaus! No matter what, bowing down before a necromancer is unacceptable of a Paladin!” Great Paladin Baltros shouted.
“I don't care! I'm not here neither as a Paladin or as a disciple of the Temple of Light! I'm here as Iolaus von Striggnyark! A dragon fool who fell in love with the charming dragoness Thraherkleyoseya Draketerus!” he shouted.
“Y-You... What are you saying?” Kleo asked as her cheeks turned pink.
“Your friend, Alkelios told me that to love means to accept one another entirely! That if I truly loved you, I didn't care what your element was even if it was the complete opposite of mine! That if I love you, I should accept you entirely without exception!” he shouted the words I said to him.
It appeared as though, they had a bit of impact on him, more so than I believed.
“You're saying that you still love me... even though I'm... even though I'm a necromancer?” Kleo asked as a few tears ran down her cheeks.
“Even if we are the complete opposite elements to each other?” she asked.
“Even if we worship different gods?” she asked.
“Yes! Neither our gods, our elements, or even our social statuses can have a saying in true love! I am a follower of the Light, of the gods Lumenya and Lumenos, and that in itself gives me the right to love you more than ever!” he declared with an unwavering voice.
“What are you saying, you fool! The temple of Light forbids such a thing!” shouted the bucket head Baltros.
“Tch, annoying bastard.” I grumbled.
“Yes! The temple! The priest! But not the gods themselves! In all legends, in all stories, we learn that Lumenos is not only Lumenya's husband, but also Nocturnia's! My god can love both Light and Darkness, therefore, so can I, his follower! That's why I pledge here that I truly love Thraherkleyoseya Draketerus!” he declared at the top of his lungs.
“WOW!” I said surprised.
“I will not permit it! You will lose both your rank and status, Iolaus!” shouted Baltros.
“I don't care! It's not the temple who dictates my fate, it's my god!” he declared, and it was clear that he was struggling terribly with his decision.
To put it simply, he was stepping on absolutely everything he had worked on until then just to be with Kleo. He could literally even lose his life if that was so.
“You fool... why? After so many years... why?” Kleo asked crying.
“Because I love you, my sweet Kleo... And I was a fool to believe that something like Elements could stand in our way.” he told her with a soft smile and tears in his eyes.
Up until then, he held his head bowed, but now, we could all see that this proud draconian was crying.
“I never stopped loving you... you idiot.” Kleo replied, and taking advantage of the moment, I gave her a light push on the back.
Iolaus caught her in his arms, and the two shared their first kiss for the first time since they split up.
“This traitor!” shouted the bucket head outraged.
“Oh shut it!”
The one to scorn him was Kataryna. She shot a blast of cold ice and froze the dragon instantly.
“He's still alive, but if anyone wants the same treatment, I have enough Magic Energy for all of you fools!” she warned them.
The Paladins all shook their heads vigorously and took a small step back. After the battle, they were all well too aware of our combat prowess. Above all, they were even confronting Seryanna and me. They had no chance of winning.
“Still, I cannot allow this.” said Seryanna as she stepped forward.
“What?” I said surprised and looked at her.
“Keep quiet for a moment, Alkelios.” she shot me a glare.
“Sister, what are you talking about, isn't it over?” Kleo asked surprised.
“No.” Seryanna shook her head. “He hurt you. He caused you to be hunted down. He denied your right to be happy. I don't have a problem with him apologizing, but I have one question. Do you think you are strong enough to protect her and yourself?” she pointed her sword at him.
Iolaus had a complicated expression on his face, but with one gaze at me, he replied “No.”
“I thought so...” Seryanna sheathed her sword and let out a sigh.
“Even so! I will protect him!” declared Kleo.
“It's not about that.” she then looked into Iolaus' eyes.
“Well, if that's thee case, let me have a few words with him.” I suggested.
Seryanna looked back at me and then at Iolaus.
“Very well...” she said.
“I don't understand.” Kleo said confused.
I smiled and walked over to him.
“Come on.” I offered him my hand.
“I will be right back, my love...” Iolaus told Kleo and gave her a kiss on the forehead.
Taking my hand. I then made a powerful leap, which sent us flying to the edge of the village.
“Ah! Crud! I forgot about the LAAANDING!”
I slipped, stumbled, and crashed like a suicidal lemming. Having a dragon in full-plate armor crash on top of me wasn't fun either.
“Ugh... are you alright?” I asked him.
“Yes... What was that?” he asked rubbing his shoulders.
“A silly mistake... Anyway, do you understand what Seryanna was talking about?” I asked him.
“Yes... I'm not strong enough even to protect myself, but now, I have to protect her as well.” he clenched his fist.
“Good!” I smiled.
“Even so, it's not the end.” I patted his shoulder.
“But, what can I do?” he asked me.
“I know! How about you go to Tomeron and asked Brekkar to be your master? I'm sure the old general will be more than thrilled to have someone to beat around!” I told him with a nod.
I could sense fear in Iolaus' eyes.
“After what you said there, I doubt the Paladins will let you off easily. Well, by the time they manage to get the idiot out of Kataryna's ice prison, we'll be long gone. During that time, you will head off to Tomeron.” I nodded.
Iolaus squinted his eyes.
“That might work, but how strong should I become?” he asked.
“Hm...” I rubbed my chin. “How about until you have a Breakthrough?”
“WHAT?!” he shouted.
“Relax! With Brekkar there and my help, it will be easy. Then, you will be able to protect Kleo from anything!” I nodded, satisfied with myself.
“True, but... Not even in a life time will I be able to reach such a power level.” he said a bit depressed.
“Well, this is what it means to fight against all odds. How much do you love Kleo?” I asked him.
“I practically gave up my entire future for her back there... I have nothing left... Is there anything else I can give?” he told me with a wry smile.
“Your life...” I replied.
“Y-You want me to die?” he asked surprised.
“No!” I gave him a chop on the head.
“OW!” he groaned.
“Give your life to her... and maybe she will give hers to you.” I winked at him.
“Huh?!” he blinked confused.
“Are you serious? Think again about what I just said.” I told him squinting my eyes at him.
He can't be that dense, can he? I wondered.
Five minutes later.
“Erm... You want me to make a master-slave contract?”
I gave up.
“No! MARRY HER!” I gave him another chop on the head.
“OW!” he groaned.
Letting out a sigh, I couldn't believe how dense he was about this... Then again, it was the shard laughing of the broken pot here.
“Just go out and declare this in front of them. Those idiotic Paladins will think you are nuts, won't succeed in a billion years and leave you alone. Once things settle down, and you had your Breakthrough, you can rekindle your feelings for Kleo. This is probably the only way you can SAFELY be with Kleo! Problem solved, right?” I said with a smirk.
“True... that might work...” he nodded.
“You'll still need to ask Brekkar for help though.” I told him.
“I understand.” he nodded.
“Well, let's get back then... But we'll walk this time. I don't want to jump and accidentally land in a manure pile!” I shuddered at the thought of such an event.
Needless to say, I could have just wished for it not to happen, but it sort of slipped my mind.
“Thank you, Alkelios.” he told me.
“Anytime!” I laughed.
We both returned to the site, where Kataryna took a new sitting position on top of the ice sculpture's head.
There, once again, Kleo stood in front of Iolaus, but this time, we had more spectators.
“Did the crowd grow bigger?” I asked Seryanna.
“Yes.” she replied then asked me “What did you tell him?”
“Oh, you'll see!” I smirked.
“Thraherkleyoseya Draketerus...” he began.
“Y-Yes.” she blinked surprised.
The dragon then dropped on one knee.
“What is that fool doing?” a Paladin asked, but Kataryna's glare stopped him from commenting any further.
“Thraherkleyoseya Draketerus, I plan on reaching a Breakthrough. When I do, I will return to you and then... I want you to become my wife.” he declared.
“Oh, my!” Kataryna was giggling.
“He didn't, did he?” the Paladins started to murmur among them.
“So young... to say he wishes to marry as such a young age. What a fool.” one of them commented, but I couldn't find the fellow.
“I'll pray for his soul.”
“There goes our drinking nights!”
“Damn, I missed my shot!”
What was with that last one? I wanted to cry out.
“Yes... I'll wait for you, but if I reach it first, I'm going to be the one to make you my husband!” she declared with a smile.
“Then it's a race!” declared Iolaus.
A what now? I thought.
“Yes...” she giggled.
The two of them shared a tender moment, while the rest of us felt like we witnessed an incredible moment. As for the silver-scaled dragoness, she was all giddy about it.
I was wondering what went on through her head? Maybe she just liked moments like this one?
Either way, with this, the matter was settled. Kleo and Iolaus became once more a couple.
“I hope he won't betray her again.” whispered Seryanna.
“If he does, I'm sure Kataryna will have a say in the matter, and we too.” I kissed her cheek and held her hand.
With this over, we prepared our Khosinni and decided to part ways. Iolaus was going to head off to Tomeron, while the four of us would continue our journey towards Drakaria, the capital of Albeyater Kingdom.
Before we parted ways, I shook Iolaus' hand and asked him: “Will you be my friend?”
“Huh? What a strange thing to ask... what's this?” he was surprised by the sudden pop-up.
“Your choice.” I told him.
“Yes.” he nodded.
“With this, you should have an increased speed with your level up. Give my regards to old man Brekkar!” I told him.
“Will do, my friend! And please, keep Kleo safe for me.” he smiled.
“I will... the problem will be who will keep us safe from her pranks?” I sighed.
“Hahaha!” he left while laughing.
“Weird fellow...” I muttered as I returned to the group.
“You know, you could have stayed with him.” Seryanna told Kleo.
“No...” she shook her head “I would have been more of a distraction to him than help.” she said.
“Indeed.” all of us said it at the same time.
“Hey! That was mean!” the black-scaled dragoness pouted.
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