~ Side Story: The memories of an old general (Part 2) ~
[One day later, after conquering Callus]
“Two down, one to go...” I said as I looked at the captured human commander.
“You will not win! Humanity had yet to show its might!” the pitiful fool glared at me.
He spoke in the human language of his kingdom.
“Is that so?” I spoke in the same language.
There wasn't even a drop of energy in the tone of my voice. It was as if I was speaking while being locked up in a very boring dream.
I approached him and then I grasped his left arm and shoulder.
“W-What are you doing?” he asked, fear showing up on his face.
“Me? Nothing? Just... this...” I said and then I brutally ripped out his left arm right out of its socket.
I tossed the limb to the combat pet belonging to Decizor while ignoring the man's screams. The beast ate the fresh meat, slurping up the blood. It was a large Dayuk of the Ice Element. A powerful beast, but not one that was easy to tame.
“You are noisy.” I slapped his jaw, dislocating it, then I punched his stomach, making him puke out his last meal.
“What shall we do with him?” asked the soldier in charge of him.
“Kill him.” I replied calmly, then I looked to the rest of the captured human soldiers.
They were all trembling and looking at me with fear in their eyes.
“This is the human army? Pathetic...” I spoke in the human tongue.
They showed no mercy to the civilians, so I had no intention of showing any mercy to them.
I took a deep breath and then unleashed a fiendish fire over them. It was just your average [Fire Breath] spell cast without a chant. Since they had no means of defending themselves against it, they all burst out into flames and died while screaming in pain.
I watched the entire scene, letting their suffering quench the thirst of my revenge.
[Two hours later]
Decizor walked up to me in a hurry and stopped me from marching forward. Fortress Sendra was next.
“Sir Brekkar! We found something!” he said.
“What is it?” I asked.
“This...” he showed me an unfinished letter.
I took it and furrowed my brow at it. The letter was written in the human tongue.
Which one was this? Erm... Nocturn? No... Majin? No... Opharya? Ah! The language of the Ten Swords Kingdom! I thought after I managed to figure it out.
Knowing the enemy's language was an important skill all the dragon generals acquired over time.
“What is this? Is this true?” I asked as I looked back at Decizor.
“Yes, Sir Brekkar.” he nodded.
“Then... this will sadden his Majesty... Send a messenger back to Drakaria and tell him to take this letter as well. Have the men scour the fields and search for Prince Coshun's body.” I ordered.
“Yes, Sir Brekkar. But... shouldn't the troops get some rest before marching forward?” he asked.
I glared back at him. For a moment, I was about to shout in anger at him. Only the sight of the tired soldiers leaning on the wall far behind him stopped me from doing so. It was then when I realized that I had marched them for three days straight. If they weren't dragons, they would have certainly died or collapsed of fatigue already.
I'm losing myself to my own emotions... I thought and shook my head.
Letting out another sigh, I pressed at the center of my forehead with the back of my clawed finger. Even I was feeling tired, but not as much as they did. Sometimes, I forgot that Breakthrough Awakened dragons were far more resilient than simple Awakened ones. There was enough energy in these old bones of mine to conquer ten more fortresses!
Well, I thought of myself as old, but truth be told, I looked rather young, just like that old lizard tail on the throne of this kingdom. It was the advantage of a Breakthrough Awakened. Unfortunately, my beloved Sendra was only an Awakened, and time was slowly catching up to her. The wrinkles of old age and the pains in her bones started to show up lately. Well, I still loved her just as much as I did back when we were young, so I was also partially to blame for this.
I guess... I'll never get the chance to hold her in my arms again... I thought and the pain of losing her spread through my chest.
[The following morning]
I woke up with tears pouring down my cheeks. It was the first time I cried since I heard about the invading human army. For a moment, I wished it was all just a bad dream, but I had no such luck. The horrible truth was in front of me... From my window, I could see the freshly made graves of the victims that fell prey to this invasion. Their bodies had been turned to ash to prevent them from returning as undead, and all that remained was a wooden pole with the name of the deceased inscribed on it, if they had been identified. Those who haven't were left as 'unknown victim'.
Of course, I went through the painful process of identifying everyone I could. Friends, family, or simple acquaintances were all there. All of them were there, none had survived.
A knock at my door forced me to stop my tears and straighten myself. Such a face was not one the general of an army was supposed to have.
“Come in!” I ordered.
Decizor entered and saluted.
I was standing in front of the window.
“What is it?” I asked.
“We found some survivors... but...” he stopped and gulped “There's a human among them...”
His words made me knit my brows in confusion.
“What do you mean a human?” I asked.
“You should speak with him, yourself, Sir Brekkar. The dragons claim he saved them...” Decizor replied.
“That's not possible...” I thought and shook my head “Where are they?” I asked.
“In the barracks. The soldiers are keeping an eye on them. They were able to hide in a hidden room under the floor at the back of the building. One of our soldiers happened to find them by chance.” he replied.
“I see...” I closed my eyes for a moment “Wait for me there. I will change and then join you.” I told him.
“Yes, Sir Brekkar!” he saluted and walked out of my room.
After he was gone, I shook my head. I could guess this human was up to no good... Maybe he was one of the adventurers who took down the messengers? Still, I had yet to find out how their bunch managed to infiltrate the kingdom so easily. My guess was that they used a more remote part of the shore, or perhaps they climbed the steep cliff side. If one had the strength and the means, it wasn't impossible.
When I reached the barracks, I found the human sharing a cup of warm soup together with a dragoness. It was a rather odd scene, but once I made myself present, they stopped their meal.
This human does not fear me or hate me... I thought as I looked at him and then I turned my gaze to the dragoness She's worried... for his safety?
The signs were clearly there, but it didn't make any sense. I knew all humans weren't all bad just as all dragons weren't all good, but... this... I found odd.
“They say you saved the dragons here... Is that true?” I asked while glaring at him.
First sign of fear. I thought.
“Yes, Sir Brekkar.” he nodded.
“They were my friends, and I'm sorry I couldn't save any more...” he bowed his head to the ground.
No, he knelt in front of me...
Is he shedding tears? Why? I thought.
“You there. Speak. Is this true?” I ordered the dragoness next to him.
“Yes, my husband speaks the truth, my lord.” she knelt in front of me as well.
Husband? What? my mind stopped at this word.
What she said made not only me, but the dragon soldiers around me as well both confused and surprised at the same time. I did not view this as treason, but more as an impossible fact. Yet, I had to admit, even I heard the remote rumors of dragon-human or dragon-elf couple living on the outskirts of the kingdom. To see one was... unexpected.
“You married a human? Why?” I asked confused.
“Out of love, my lord.” she spoke.
“You love this human?” I asked again.
“Yes.” she replied without hesitation.
“I love her as well, that's why I did not hesitate to betray my own kind for her.” the man replied without hesitation.
What is this? Some kind of joke? I wanted to ask, but I left these questions only for my mind to hear.
Looking back at the survivors, I saw dragons of various ages, both men and women, as well as children. They were all civilians, dragons that did not know how to hold a sword and never did hold one.
Yet, how did they enter the barracks? I wondered.
This was a question I didn't hold for myself.
“My father is... was a noble who worked at the fortress for the Draketerus family. When I was young, he told me of a secret room in the back of the barracks. When the battle started, we took refuge there, while the other civilian groups hid inside the fortress.” the dragoness replied.
“She speaks the truth, my lord.” one of the old dragons here vouched for her.
Several others followed suit.
“I understand... And how were you not found?” I asked.
“The soldier who came to check this place... I killed him and then I wore his armor in order to distract the others from finding this place. When your army came, I took refuge with my wife again...” the human replied.
“Where is the armor and the body of the human?” I asked.
“The armor is on that table.” he pointed at it. “And the body is in the barrel over there.” he moved his hand to the left.
I looked there and then gestured one of my soldiers to check it out.
The dragon walked over to it and opened the lid. He grimaced at the stench.
“This is definitely the body of a human... It stinks.” he said.
“Very well. You may live human.” I said.
“Thank you, my lord!” he bowed his head, and so did his wife.
A human-dragon couple... I never thought I would see one... I shook my head and then left.
This event thought me that maybe... not all humans were bad?
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!
Technically, this should have been the second Side Story, but as luck would have it, I was unable to finish the first one, and since this one is easier... well... better than no post, right?
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