~ Chapter 48: Self-destruction (Part 1) ~
[Kataryna's point of view]
Seryanna was a strong dragoness. She withheld her tears with all of her might and didn't try to let her suffering be shown to those around her. Normally, this pep-talk should have been done by her Master, a colleague she trusted, or Kleo, but I honestly didn't believe any of them would be able to help her out.
All of them would have just stopped at her door and not try to force themselves inside like I did. If I went about that way, then eventually Seryanna would have let me in, but only AFTER the light in eyes was completely gone without a chance of ever returning. At that time, even I wouldn't have been able to do anything. Everyone's words would have simply flew past her like they were nothing, and the only one who could have an effect wouldn't be able to reach her.
As for Awakening... although not many seemed to talk about it, there were countless dragons out there who died of old age and never Awaken. I did all I could for Seryanna, now everything depended on the strength of her will and desire to be freed from her own chains.
Now, Alkelios was another piece of work... He was a human, but not even one from this world as far as I understood. The way he saw the world was quite similar to someone who achieved a Breakthrough, but unlike them, he had neither the power nor conviction to reinforce his own beliefs. As such, he would end up being tossed aside or slapped from left to right by the beliefs of others. He was in the 'wrong' while they were in the 'right'.
That being said, I wasn't too sure on how to approach him... If he thought like someone with a Breakthrough, then his stubbornness would be as big as mine. Last time I ended up suffering greatly, I secluded myself for several centuries, letting the world pass by me like it was nothing. If I were to take that period as an example, then this time I would have to do the opposite of what I did with Seryanna, meaning wait for his feeling to settle down a bit and then try to talk to him.
“What do you mean he's not here?” I asked and furrowed my brow.
“Alkelios didn't show up here ever since you left. Did something happened?” Collentra asked.
He was not at the inn. This meant he was moving around Drakaria or maybe something really happened to him. Since he was in that sort of mental state, I wouldn't be surprised if he picked a fight with a guard and got himself tossed in jail.
“Let's just say he's not feeling too well.” I said scratching my head.
“Is that so. Will you be staying any longer here?” she asked.
“No. We're currently staying at the Palace. Well, Alkelios will continue to stay here. I'll pay for a month in advance.” I said and then took out my coin purse.
“Thank you for your patronage.” Collentra showed me a smile.
After I paid the required fee, I went out to look for the foolish human.
Now where could he be? I wondered.
[Alkelios' point of view]
Weird how a breakup could have such an effect on me. I felt like the whole world was coming down on my shoulders. I wasn't able to see straight, my steps were heavy, and even breathing felt like a chore.
Ever since I left the Palace, I dragged myself through the city, waiting for the moment when my body was out of strength, and I would collapse, but blasted be my stats because it had been way over 48 hours and I was still walking.
At one point someone managed to pickpocket me and stole my sword. That was the only thing of value I had on my person. There were no coins, no jewels, nothing... The thief spat at me asking me why I was poorer than him. I laughed at his remark and then continued to move through the city, walking down the streets like an old ship looking for a place where it could become a wreck.
I thought about drinking myself to no end, but I hated alcohol. No, to be more specific, they had no beer. Not like I had that much of an experience as a drinker either. Romania's legal law for drinking was 18, but like any other kid out there, I took a few sips of beer and wine before I was of age. I never got drunk though, at most just a bit tipsy, but considering my age, a glass of wine was enough to do the job.
I thought about starting a fight, but seriously though, could any of these dragons be a match for me? If I wished hard enough, I would probably stumble onto someone who could kill me with a slap, but at this moment, I didn't even feel like I had the strength to properly wish for something.
To put it simply, I was depressed and I felt like nothing mattered anymore.
When the sky darkened again, I thought about trying to go for a run out of the city. It didn't matter if I didn't return here. Who would wait for me? I had no family left... I was alone in this strange world where the only human I had ever met tried to kill me!
So many times I felt like screaming at the sky and asking that God-like why he sent me here. Why did I have to fall in love with Seryanna? Why did I have to got through this?! Couldn't I have lived better if I was sent in the same place where the other humans from Earth were? At least... with them... I wouldn't have to feel like a stranger every day. I wouldn't need to worry for my life and constantly put up the mask of someone who didn't care.
I was an 18 years old human... still a kid, maybe? I was scared... I was afraid... But I knew... I knew I wasn't supposed to be like this, to show fear, to show uncertainty. In a land filled with strong, imposing dragons... how could I show fear?
But... even so... I'm a human... I'm not allowed to be afraid? I'm not allowed to cower? I'm not allowed to love? Hah! Love... Of all people, I fell in love with a dragoness. And even then... I couldn't hold on to her and lost her... I failed her... I let her go... I guess, no matter your Luck, some things are never meant to be? Or maybe... I didn't deserve her from the beginning? Who am I to deserve Seryanna? She's a dragoness, and I'm a human... She has to be with her kind, not me... who is of the same species as those who killed her family. Did she think about this every time she looked at me? What did she feel when I embraced her... Did I force her to betray herself... and her dead parents? Why didn't she just kill me back then? Why? WHY?! WHY?!!
As I thought this, I bumped into someone. I didn't apologize, just went around them, but they grabbed me by the neck and a sudden cold swept through my body as well as the area around me.
“Oho~ So this is where you have been wandering about?”
I recognized the voice. It was Kataryna.
Looking back at her, I saw one of her eyes twitching.
“Erm... can you let go...” I said.
“No. You are thinking of doing something stupid, aren't you?” she asked squinting her eyes at me.
“Just run through the fields until my legs give up... Look I can defend myself if something happens.” I said and tried to pat my sword, but it was gone “Ah! It got stolen. I forgot.” I said and then shrug “Then I'll just punch them or summon Jophiel...” I mumbled.
“As if that Phoenix is going to reply to your call when you are like this.” she snorted.
“Just let me go, Kataryna, I'm not in the mood for anything.” I said.
“No.” she told me and then punched me in the stomach.
I don't know what happened next because I blacked out.
When I came through, I was in my bed at the inn, resting in my bed. I was changed out of my armor to normal everyday clothes. The pieces of armor laid on the chair next to the table. It was all ragged and barely holding up together. No sane adventurer would wear something like that.
“You've finally come through. I was getting worried.” said Kataryna after she entered the room with a jug of water in her hands.
“Worried? Why?” I asked.
“You've been out for two days.” she told me.
“Ungh... Really?” I asked rubbing my forehead.
“Yeah. A whole 34 hours!” she said as she placed the jug on the table and then walked up to me.
“Was I sick?” I asked.
“Nope, just very very tired. When I found you, you were pale as an undead and moving like one too. People were starting to wonder if by chance you were starting to change. A guard was even considering 'putting you down'.” she replied.
“That bad?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Yup. How are you feeling now?” she asked me.
“Better... but who changed me?” I asked.
“I did.” she smirked.
“You forgot the pants.” I squinted my eyes at her.
“Don't worry, I tried to attack you in your sleep, but you're body was too tired to react to anything. I actually slept naked next to you, and you had no reaction.” she waved it off as if it was nothing.
“You tried... You actually tried? Isn't that a crime?!” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“Would you report it?” she smirked and pushed out her chest.
I looked away. “No...”
I then laughed. She laughed as well.
“Alkelios...” she started talking “I know you're going through a lot because of what happened. Seryanna is as well...”
I gathered my knees to my chest and looked out the window.
“I'm not worthy of her...” I said.
“That's what you believe, but you know that's not the truth...” she then stopped and scratched the back of her head. “Ah, giving advice to you is tough...”
“Sorry for being a pain, but hey! Look at the bright side, I'm the bastard who didn't manage to get it up even when two stunningly beautiful women offered to be with him! Your efforts on this piece of junk human are undoubtedly wasted!” I laughed, but it was a forced one.
“That's not true.” she furrowed her brow.
“How could it NOT BE!” I shouted and glared back at her.
“Alkelios...” she tried to speak, but I stopped her.
“Listen, Kataryna, I appreciate your efforts, but... let's face it... I'm not some great guy. Like that bastard said, I'm weak. I couldn't even protect the woman I love! And honestly speaking I don't feel like I want to love another... I'm just a broken mess right now. My lover and friend was in a pinch and all I did was make it worse for her... I don't think you could understand how I feel.” I glared at her.
Instead of a raised eyebrow and a smug expression, Kataryna looked pained and lowered her gaze.
“You can't know what I've been through in my life either, Alkelios, but let me give you a piece of advice...” she then looked into my eyes, a gentle look was on her face “Right now, you are an emotional mess. My guess is that you can't even think straight and as soon as something ticks you off, you burst out into a shout like you did earlier when I contradicted you. Right now, you probably hate yourself, you loath the way you acted or think, but that's NOT the real you. Alkelios, you aren't someone who is like that. No matter how much all those voices in your head scream that is the truth, you know it isn't. If you don't believe it, then believe in me, your friend. The only reason I'm here. The only reason I picked you up the street and dropped you back at the inn before you died off of exhaustion was because I CARE about you as my friend.” she stopped and took a deep breath.
I couldn't retort a single word. No, I had things I wanted to say, but they all would come out of that part inside of me which I didn't want to show, that darkness that kept whispering in my ears that I was nothing but a piece garbage. I didn't dare say those words... they weren't mine, maybe.
“In the past 500 years... you have been the very first sapient being, human, dragon or otherwise, who came forth and honestly asked me to be their friend... no strings attached. Everyone else who approached me wanted me for my power or lusted after my body. The moment they spoke the word 'friend', I killed them. But you... you, back there, in that cave, you asked me to be your friend because you really wanted to. I have a feeling your skill activated only because I was also looking for a true friend and not a self-proclaimed friend with hidden intentions.” she said and then stood up and walked over to the door.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
A small advice: if you are skipping through scenes and lines, you might find yourself later on wondering why my characters act in certain 'illogical' ways. 🙂 Every line they say or think is important.
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