~ Chapter 53: The return of the Human Hero (Part 1) ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
Flying through the open sky was the best!
I could feel the wind as it flowed around my wings, giving me lift into the air, and it was fun to control the direction I was heading into with a simple movement of my wing muscles and tail. Although a dragon wasn't the most aerodynamic species of them all, having a lot of Magic Energy to help sustain their mass was an important factor in keeping them up in the air. In my case, I needed to consume a lot more since I was flying with the help of spells in my half dragon form. Unlike Kataryna and the rest, I couldn't take the full-beast form as the natives of this world called it.
When I first changed into this shape back when I first entered the forest, I had no idea what I was to expect. I feared the possibility of not being able to change back and also the fact that I might not be able to properly use my new body from the very first go. It was indeed like that, I had to stay in that shape for two weeks until I got used to it enough.
Flying was another matter though. It was only until two months ago that I was finally able to get the hang of it, afterwards, the process went smoothly. Sailing through the sky became my main form of transportation only because I enjoyed the feeling it gave me. It completely relaxed me.
Anyway, at this moment, I was heading towards Drakaria. Today was the appointed day of my reunion with the King as well as my friends. I was past Pertiko village and approaching Toros. The time was maybe somewhere around 9 or 10 AM, meaning that I would reach Drakaria around noon.
I couldn't wait to meet Seryanna again!
Speaking of her, I was currently using the red dragoness as the beacon to guide me with my [Dragon Tamer] skill. If I didn't have this handy function, I would have been forced to either travel by road or leave earlier in order to get my bearings straight. The way I was doing it now required me only to follow the green arrow visible only to me and enjoy my morning flight.
In this shape I was quite fast. Surprisingly, faster or maybe just as fast as Gragh'jaggar, the armored giant chicken, which ground speed could reach way past 100km/h. It was an insane speed for this world, but a nightmare for a passenger seeing how this world's roads weren't that great.
Only after using that mount several times did I realize that the why mankind on Earth was able to reach such high speeds with ease was mostly thanks to the smooth roads and good springs. Shock absorption was the one thing I missed the most when traveling on the ground. Basically, it was like traveling with an indestructible fast sports car that had no springs or seat belt on a country road stacked with boulders.
“Hm? That must be Toros.” I said as I spotted the fortress town at the edge of the Great Chasm.
Seen from above, it didn't look very big, but the roads were a jumbled up mess. That pattern was intentional though. It wasn't like the builders had no idea what a straight line was, but in case of an attack, the twisted roads familiar to the inside troops and foreign to the enemy would give them the field advantage.
Honestly speaking, when I was still human and living in Romania, I often thought that construction engineers were dimwits who had no idea how to build in a straight line, but as I traveled through Albeyater, and I grew a few more neurons between my ears, I understood that it had to do with both the history and the 'feel' of the city. It wasn't that hard to build straight roads, but every single city in Europe, unlike the USA, had a history of war that spanned over centuries. There weren't that many which were spared from the bloodshed. As such, they were initially built with the intent to confuse the enemy, then as technology and civilization evolved, the new buildings were built as a continuation of the old ones, keeping the same pattern. If it was an instinct of the local people to do so or not, I had no idea, but in this new world I was living in, it all made sense.
After all, war was always knocking on the kingdom's door and many dragons feared a second human invasion.
Flying over the Great Chasm was an interesting experience as well. I felt like I was getting sucked into the darkness, but at the same time, I was completely untouched by it because of the simple fact that I was up in the air.
It was incredible, and I suspected that in the future it was going to be a great tourist attraction. It was the Grand Canyon of this Kingdom.
When I crossed over, I saw the inn where we reunited with Kataryna and Kleo after we left Toros. That town was also home to an embarrassing memory. From up in the air, I could see many dragons traveling towards the capital or the nearby villages.
Back then, I wasn't able to see it, but across these plains, there were many small villages spread out. Even when flying here from the Seculiar Forest, I could see smoke rising left and right, and my keen eyesight caught the shape of the simple buildings. It was a shame I didn't notice them back when I was flying with Kleo and Kataryna.
Lately, I've grown the desire to go out and experience this world as it was. There were many things I had yet to see and being stuck in Albeyater felt like such a shame. I also wanted to meet some fellow human heroes who were trying to make this world a better place rather than attempt to subjugate it.
Maybe once I'm done with my job in Drakaria and everything settles down, I can go and look around the world. After all, I'm more or less immortal now. I thought to myself.
Being a half dragon granted me a similar life span as a normal dragon. If I didn't reach a Breakthrough, I would have probably lived about just as much as Seryanna did, which wasn't such a bad deal. With me reaching a Breakthrough, however, I gained immortality, just as Kataryna once did. I wasn't going to age any more than this, meaning that I was going to be forever a 19 years old man.
Grooming an awesome beard was now nothing more than fleeting dream...
Then, as I flew closer to Drakaria, I began to see certain differences from when I last saw it. The city was vast as usual, beautifully built like a white marble sculpture. It was a symbol of Albeyater's greatness, its determination, its power. But around it was the stain called the Brekkar Army.
I stopped mid-flight and looked down at the countless tents spreading on the plains. It was two, maybe three times larger than it was nine months ago. The feeling it gave off wasn't a welcoming one. If so I desired, I could wipe them out now, but all of these were dragons employed as a soldiers in an official army. Any act of violence against them was treated as an act of violence against the Kingdom itself, although, I had a feeling Breakthrough-ers were an exception to this rule.
“This might be a problem...” I said to myself when I noticed the big line at the entrance to the city.
They were checking everyone thoroughly, and there were many that wished to enter. They didn't look like refugees, but it made me wonder why the security tightened up like this.
As for why it was going to be a problem, well... It was a long line... a very long line.
“Meh, I'll just go stealth mode and fly over.” I shrugged and then moved on.
I was a Breakthrough-er myself, and I had a meeting with the King, there was no way in Hell I was going to wait patiently at a line like that.
So without further ado, I wished for no dragon to spot me as I made my way into the city, and at the same time, I used a spell that camouflaged me with my surroundings, in this case, the sky.
I payed close attention to everyone on the ground and in the air, then I picked a spot behind an old building where I wanted to land. Once I did, I folded my wings and looked around to see if anyone spotted me.
I'm safe. I thought and let out a sigh of relief.
Walking through the city in my half beast form didn't pose any threat, I had an anthropomorphic body, but the main problem were my scales. Gold was a sign of royalty in this Kingdom, and I had a mix of Red, Gold, Black, and White, forming streak patterns, which I found gave me both an imposing and awesome look. It was as though I was designed for glorious battles.
Luckily, the color of my scales didn't represent my elemental affinity. The moment I changed, I literally gained ALL elemental affinity. There was no spell I couldn't use. I was like a version 2.0 of a Jack of All Trades, good at everything, master of everything.
Speaking of which, that camouflage spell was also a spell of my own design, not something I had gained through my cheat abilities. This also meant that it wasn't easy to develop. It was hard... painstakingly hard, but when you had a heard of man-eating giant sheep hot on your tail, you tended to learn fast.
Thus, I switched to my human form, which was no different from before. I had no scales on my body, and my eyes were the same as before. I looked a little bit older, as much as a growth spurt of a few months allowed, but that was about it.
I didn't need to change my clothes, seeing how they stretched back to accommodate my new size. It was an armor I had enchanted myself with my ability [Pony Power]. The name, unfortunately, wasn't something I could change, but every time I used this skill, I had to shout it out. I, a powerful anthropomorphic dragon, while making my armor in the heat of fire and under the powerful strikes of my hammer, had to scream 'Pony Power!' every single time I had to enchant it with my desired spells.
This was definitely the work of that blasted no good God-like with a naming sense so bad even the God of Bad Naming Sense would cringe upon hearing it!
As a result, my annoyance and embarrassment when enchanting were at their very peak...
I also had other neat crafting abilities that allowed me to make the best of armors and weapons. Of course, all of them were at Level 5 upgrade, and I had plenty of other combat skills as well. The only one I couldn't find was one that could help me with learning other languages besides Albeyater draconian. Most likely someone else took it, so I only ended up with a third rate skill that allowed me to learn the language faster, but not insanely fast.
I also had a lot of spare points I didn't use. The reason was quite simple. I had the most important ones: close combat, ranged combat, magic combat, crafting, gathering, tracking, and item storage. The last one was one of the first ones I had acquired. I desperately needed it. After all, my [Purse] ring was getting full, and I didn't know how to make one.
Although it was convenient, but each use consumed a lot of Magic Energy, going from anywhere around 10 Magic Energy Points to 100 if I pulled out an alchemy lab. Compared to this, the [Purse] ring was insanely convenient as it didn't require any Magic Energy to activate. I only had to recharge it now and then, while my skill ate my Magic Energy like some starved sheep.
Speaking of which, the armor I was currently wearing was probably on par if not better than the one Seryanna used. It was one of my weakest ones though. If I pulled out my latest combat armor, that thing was a monster...
As for weapons, I carried a short sword and a wide blade longsword. In half-beast form, they were the equivalent of a short sword and a dagger. Enchants on them allowed them to be incredibly durable and impossible to steal. They also could amplify my elements and allow me to cast a spell by pointing the tip at my target. The longsword was especially made to give physical boosts and increase its sharpness, while the short sword was focused more on spell casting.
In other words, the big one was for melee combat, while the small one was for ranged combat.
I had yet to try a bow.
“The palace should be... that way!” I said as I pointed left and started walking.
Thus, I reached the outer wall.
“It was the other way, wasn't it?” I told myself and let out a sigh.
When not using Luck actively, I tended to get lost... quite often.
I never had this predicament when I was a human, but my senses changed after achieving a Breakthrough. Just as Kataryna said, I saw the world with different eyes, or rather... I had clearer view than I did before. Worries and fears I used to hold in my heart all seemed to have vanished. It wasn't overconfidence or anything, just the simple fact that I saw what laid behind them and what would happen if I kept letting them have a hold over my heart.
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!
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