~ Chapter 42: A friend's advice (Part 1) ~
[Seryanna's point of view]
The news Princess Elleyzabelle brought me was devastating. When I closed the door behind me, I felt like I didn't have the strength to even stand, but as a knight, I couldn't allow myself to succumb to my current situation. I wasn't allowed to show such a weakness...
I tried to think in a positive way, that maybe somehow somewhere there was still a small light of hope. If right now I was fighting in a war campaign and found myself trapped in a fortress surrounded by enemy troops, giving up or succumbing to despair would only lower the morale of my troops. Thus, I had to stay strong and fight until the very end because I could never know when that ray of help would appear.
Taking a deep breath and with a calm look on my face, I made my way through the Royal Palace until I reached the back exit. From here, it was a straight path to the big smithy next to the wall, where the best blacksmiths of the kingdom forged their armors and weapons.
Three big furnaces were lined up one next to each other, puffing smoke through their tall chimneys. More than a dozen different anvils were lined up in front of them and several dragons were energetically hitting quenched pieces of metal held within their pliers. Among them, I saw my friend as well, Dregarya Gorrashy.
With the typical leather apron that most blacksmiths wore, thick leather gloves, and a big hammer in her right hand, she kept tempering the blade of a sword. Her black eyes were focused on the piece of metal in front of her, ignoring everything and everyone around her. Thanks to her outstanding talent as a blacksmith, she became like this every time she started to work.
She's still at it as usual. I thought and let a small smile appear on my lips.
I passed through the soundproof barrier in front of the smithy, which prevented all the noise of the forge from reaching the sensitive ears of the nobility living inside the Palace, and I made my way to her.
The loud sounds of metal being worked on could be heard coming from everywhere inside the smithy. Almost none of the blacksmiths here paid any heed to me, and those who did merely nodded their heads as a greeting.
Once I reached the dragoness' location, I took a seat on a nearby chair and waited patiently for her to finish her work. Interrupting her would have been rude, and last time I did so, she scolded me for half an hour.
As far as looks went, she was about average height for a white scale. The color denoted her Light element affinity. Although she didn't have a pair of wings like most dragons with that scale color, she had a long, strong prehensile tail without any spikes on it. Her silver hair was unwashed as usual and kept in a pony tail, while a single strand of regal blue color flowed over her right cheek. As a woman, she was beautiful, and the pair of white diamond shaped scales on her cheeks accentuated that beauty.
I was a bit envious of her looks, but I had still to Awaken, so I always put such matters aside.
About one hours later, Dregarya finally finished her blade and cooled it off in a nearby barrel of water.
“Whew! That took long enough!” she wiped the sweat off her forehead then turned around.
Our eyes met for a moment, but her gaze quickly fell on my armor.
“Ack! What did you do to my baby?!” she cried out.
“Greetings, Dregarya. I apologize, but my armor became like this after I had a fight with a Breakthrough Awakened and an army of Draconian Undead on the way back to the capital.” I replied and got off the chair.
“Ah! Take it off! Take it off! I need to fix it!” she said and immediately started to undo the straps on my armor.
Her tail was a bit too good at removing this armor, but before she managed to do so, I stopped her with a chop on the head.
“Owie! Why did you hit me?” she asked with teary eyes as she rubbed the struck place.
“You are not going to undress me like this in front of all of these men.” I said and pointed at the blushing dragons behind me.
The moment she started to undo my straps, the whole smithy turned quiet like a graveyard.
“Ah! What are you looking at you slobs! Get back to work!” she shouted at them.
“Yes, m'am!” they replied and the noise returned.
“Hard to imagine that you are the actual boss around here.” I shook my head while holding my chest armor with one hand so it didn't fall off.
“What can I say, it just happened.” she shrugged like it was nothing.
“I hardly doubt it can be said so, after all, you are also known as Dreggor the Legendary Blacksmith.” I smiled.
“And thanks to that stupid nickname, everyone keeps assuming that I am a man.” she shook her head.
“Well, where can I change in some privacy?” I asked.
“Use the room over there.” she pointed at a door next to the forge.
It was the kitchen used by the blacksmiths here. For being too lazy to go bother the cook to make them a meal and being too stubborn to move until they finished their work here, the King was forced to build them a kitchen here in order to stop them from fainting and looking like ghosts every time they started hammering.
“A change of clothes, please?” I asked her.
“Hm...” she rubbed her chin and then looked to the left at a pile of armors.
Two moments later she returned with a set in my size.
“Use this.” she smiled.
I nodded and took the set with me into the kitchen. Once inside, I began to change my armor. It wasn't like I didn't have anything underneath it, but ever since Alkelios saw me naked, I honestly didn't wish for another man to see me even if by accident. It probably was wrong of me to feel like this while still a knight, but for now, I didn't mind it that much.
Once I was changed, I looked now just like any other Royal Guard in the Palace.
I stepped out of the kitchen with the broken armor in my hands and handed it over to Dregarya. She started to cry when she checked the cracks.
“What hit you, Seryanna? A mountain?” she asked.
“It was close, but no, just a very powerful dragoness.” I replied.
“So, who is it?” she asked.
“Kataryna Greorg.” I replied calmly as I took a seat on the chair which I used earlier.
“Never heard of her. Is she strong? Has she any good armor or weapons?” she inquired.
“She is very strong, but I did not see any out of the ordinary weapons or armors. She was mostly wearing casual clothes made out of cotton or leather. No dresses, only pants, and from time to time, I did happen to see her wear normal steel armguards.” I replied.
“Are you serious?! How did she battle with only that?” she asked.
“Kataryna is a very powerful ice mage. She could easily freeze an entire battlefield or cast countless ice spears at the enemy. However, I suspect that her specialty might be in some other form of combat.” I replied.
“So, she's using magic only against weaklings? ACK! It cracked more!” she said as a piece of my armor broke off in her hand.
“Your armor saved my life, Dregarya, thank you.” I told her.
“That's the role of an armor. If it did that, then it worked!” she said.
“By the way, did anyone out of ordinary dropped by here?” I asked.
“Yup! You see, mister sunshine who wants to take over your grandpa's army made me a visit the other day.” she said.
“Is that so?” I blinked surprised.
“Yes. He ordered me to make him some sort of armor with the materials he brought me. Do you know what materials those were?” she asked and looked back at me.
“No.” I shook my head.
“Draconitium and Dregaryum.” she said.
I blinked surprised. I heard of both of those metals and they were considered to be rare and highly valuable. Not everyone could afford an armor or weapon made out of those, the reason being their endurance, unique properties as well as the ease with which they could be enchanted.
Draconitium was a rare metal discovered by dragons a very long time ago. It had the property to quickly absorb magic energy. When doing so, it increased it's endurance. Most of the armors and weapons of Royal Knights were made out of this stuff. As for Dregaryum, that was another rare metal which was discovered by Dregarya herself. It had the property to dampen the effects of any physical or magical attacks.
Thanks to the special armor she made for my grandfather, Brekkar Draketerus, she was brought to the palace and granted the title of Legendary Blacksmith. As a result, she made another armor for the King, the First Prince and several of their most trusted knights. Afterwards, because other nobles and knights kept pestering her to make them armors, she asked the King to grant her permission to accept to work only for those she wished to. As such, the pestering stopped because nobody wanted to go against his Majesty.
“What did he say?” I asked as I squinted my eyes at her.
“That it's going to be needed in the upcoming war, so I would do good not to betray the kingdom.” she showed me a smirk.
“I highly doubt something like that could happen, given your 'special' circumstances, but what war was he talking about?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“Hey! Keep that a secret! I still want to get laid next week!” she poked her tongue out at me.
“You should watch your language.” I smirked.
“Bah! Details!” she shrugged.
“Still, this news about a war... What could he mean? The humans have not shown any serious movements since their defeat 38 years ago. Besides the usual skirmishes on Ragold Island and the battlefield to the south of here, there were no signs of an upcoming war.” I said as I rubbed my chin.
“I know. Scar Battlefield is a mess. The whole plains there were turned to charcoal by Brekkar, and Ragold Island is where Prince Charmeill and Princess Natalia are stationed. With those two there, the humans would need at least two Breakthrough-ers of their own.” she pointed out as she skillfully took apart my armor.
“Strange indeed... Maybe he knows something we don't?” I asked.
“I doubt it. That guy would have told me if there was any danger of something bigger.” she said with a smirk.
“That guy? Sigh...” I shook my head at how she addressed someone of his status.
“Details.” she shrugged.
“Anyway, how long will it take for you to fix my armor?” I asked.
“I have no idea... Even the enchants received damage... Honestly though, the more I look at this armor, the more I can't help but think that you were ridiculously lucky to have escaped unscratched from those battles.” she let out a sigh as another piece broke in her hand.
Hearing the word 'lucky' made my heart squeeze, and I furrowed my brow.
“W-What do you mean?” I asked in a wavering tone of voice.
“Just look at this.” she showed me my armguard.
“I don't see anything wrong.” I shook my head.
“Look.” Dregarya said and placed the piece of metal on the anvil.
Lifting the hammer up, she then let it fall pulled by gravity alone. Normally, a strike like that should have meant nothing, I had received worse, so I showed no sign of worry on my face, but when the hammer hit, the armguard shattered like it was made out of glass.
“My friend, your armor is nothing more than a piece of junk right now... It needs to be reforged and enchanted from scratch.” she grabbed the remains and then tossed it in a pile together with other damaged armors.
“There's nothing you can do?” I asked.
“Nope. Damaged beyond repair. But as I said, you were seriously lucky... Too lucky... How did you survive again?” she asked tilting her head.
I let out a sigh.
“My boyfriend helped me, I guess.” I said.
“Your what?” Dregarya looked at me with sparkling eyes.
I think I made a mistake... I thought, but it was too late.
The prehensile tail of the dragoness was swaying in the air just like that time when she figured out a way to combine Draconitium and Dregaryum to make a powerful armor for my grandfather. The gaze in her eyes was one of a predator who just found a juicy prey.
With a gulp, I tried to look around and find a way out, but before I could act, she placed her hands on my shoulders and showed me a big grin.
“I want to hear EVERYTHING about it! Including how your first time with him went!” she snorted.
“I'm still... a virgin.” I whispered that last part.
“Even better! I'll teach you how to capture him!” she snorted again.
“Why are you like this?” I asked with a whimper.
“Because it's positively, absolutely FUN!” she laughed.
Without being able to say even a single word against her, I was dragged back into the kitchen, where we would have a bit more privacy. At the very least, I didn't have to spill all of my secrets back there where the other blacksmiths could hear me. It was a bit of a sensitive information.
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