~ Chapter 55: Nine months ago (Part 1) ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
I was currently standing in the middle of the throne room of the king of Albeyater Kingdom, holding a nuclear bomb above my head and threatening to wipe out the entire capital alongside my fiance and friends.
Was I insane?
That was a mild way of putting it.
This whole charade started back when I met the dragon sitting on the throne in front of me for the first time nine months ago...
Feryumstark Seyendraugher was an imposing man by many standards. He was a just ruler with an iron grip over all those who thought of going against him, but lately, he was a bit out of it. The main reason was his wife, Elliessara, who had been poisoned 38 years ago by a presumed human ambassador.
Normally, one would think that his rage and anger against my species was going to have reached insurmountable heights, but this wasn't the case as I would come to learn.
Just by sitting in front of him, I came to remember what happened that night...
[Nine months ago]
I was standing in front of the king of Albeyater Kingdom, Feryumstark Seyendraugher, and behind him was his beloved ill wife.
The dragon was reading the letters he received from Brekkar and his daughter, Elleyzabelle. Meanwhile, I was waiting at the window, praying in my head not to get killed. I was afraid, deadly afraid because this dragon far surpassed my imagination. He wasn't just powerful-looking, he was indeed a real life monster with unfathomable strength. To be honest, I couldn't even see Kataryna winning against him, and this dragon had yet to show his medal in battle.
At the same time, I, a human hero, was standing in front of him, waiting...
“These are genuine.” he said as he calmed down a bit.
The blood lust in the air faded away, and I could feel my tensed body starting to relax.
“I know... But that was still scary.” I complained.
“My apologies. The last human I trusted... didn't end up being too honest about it.” as he said this, he turned around and looked at his sleeping wife.
“To be honest, that's a wise move to make no matter the species.” I showed him a wry smile.
“True. The letter from Brekkar told me something interesting... You are not of this world it seems?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
“Ah, yes. Do you want to hear my tale? It might take a while.” I smiled.
“I would very much like to. Have a seat. I'll go tell the maids to bring us some snacks and tea.” he then pointed at a chair next to me.
“I appreciate it, thank you.” I nodded and smiled.
“Honest... I like that.” he smirked.
His words confused me a bit.
After I sat down, the king went to the door and without opening it, he ordered the servant on the other side to bring us tea and snacks. When he heard the confirmation reply, Feryumstark walked up to me and pulled a chair in front of me, on which he sat down.
“So where should I start? Ah yes! Earth!” I said with a smile.
I then began to tell him of how I got sent to this world, how I met up with Seryanna, Kleo, Brekkar, then Kataryna and Iolaus. I told him how I met the merchant in Toros, and even how I ended up meeting Draejan. I didn't forget to tell him about the event in Pertiko and how I met another one of my people, but I left all the intimate and personal details out of the story. Somehow, I doubted he wanted to know how good of a kisser Seryanna was.
Basically, I didn't tell him a single lie and told him only the truth.
Some might say that it was a stupid move to do. Even I would have told myself that. Information in this world could mean the difference between life and death, however, was I really in such a position where I could withhold it? I was in front of the most powerful dragon in Albeyater Kingdom, whose wife had been poisoned by a cunning and lying human. If I wanted to have even a spec of a chance to receive help from him or prove that I was on his side, I had to let him know of the truth, the whole truth.
“And then I finally decided that I spent enough time waiting. I tossed aside all worries and fears, sneaked inside the palace and went to meet with Seryanna. After a bit of talking, I proposed to her. This was several hours ago. Right after I left her room, I came here.” I nodded as I finished my tale.
“So it's her scent that's lingering on you.” he smirked.
“Quite so.” I nodded.
“How do you feel about the prospect of marrying a dragoness?” he asked me.
“I'm feeling quite excited and happy, to be honest. I love Seryanna, that's why I want to stand by her side for as long as I am still alive.” I nodded.
“What if the humans heroes or kings of this world ask you to betray her?” he squinted his eyes at me.
“Then I hope they already reserved a place in the graveyard for themselves because there's no way in Hell I'm going to do that! I rather be a traitor to mankind and embrace the woman of my life than to lose her and gain some points with some unknown king or human hero.” I clenched my fist and unknowingly released a bit of my killing intent.
When I realized this, I calmed down and apologized.
“I like your reaction, Alkelios. If you had lied just now or showed hesitation, I might have been more wary of you, but I can see that your heart and head are in the right place. Seryanna found a good mate in you.” he smirked.
“Mate is a bit weird of putting it, husband maybe?” I laughed.
“For dragons its the same thing, so don't take it as an offense, young one.” he told me.
“Alright, I'll remember that.” I nodded.
“Now, you said you cured Brekkar, and his letter confirms this. Although it's hard for me to believe it... but if that's so, then you are one of the best alchemists in this kingdom. No, you might be one of the best on this continent.” he crossed his arms at his chest and looked down, pondering about something.
“How about I try and see if I can cure the Queen as well?” I asked with a shrug.
The king raised his head and looked back at me surprised.
“Just like that? What do you want in return?” he asked.
“Nothing really.” I shrugged.
He titled his head confused.
“Hm, but I guess not asking for anything would be rude. Still, it's the truth that there's nothing in particular I want as a reward for this. Not now, at least, maybe later or maybe never, but what I do know is that by curing her, I'll help both you and this kingdom. This kingdom is loved and protected by Seryanna and Brekkar, who's my friend. If I can help them, I will.” I nodded.
“That's mighty generous of you.” he smirked.
“What I do want, not connected to this matter, is if you could solve the issue with Draejan.” I told him with a wry smile.
“Hm... I can't do that.” he returned to his thinking position.
“Why not? Care to explain?” I asked.
“You are a human of Earth, so you don't know the way things work around here. Legally speaking, he didn't go against my word nor did he abuse his power by dragon standards. On the other hand, you lost a duel against him, broke the promise made during the duel and even took the chastity of his legal fiance. On top of this, you are a human with no demeaning noble status, while he is the son of a Duke and also my grandson. In a matter of speaking, he has a right to sit on my throne just as much as Princess Elleyzabelle does. Politically speaking, you are an intruder in this kingdom as well as a human, a species that's currently at war with mine, while HE is a dragon with royal blood flowing through his veins and a respected member of the nobility of this kingdom. Basically speaking, you have absolutely no standpoint on which I can dissolve his engagement with Seryanna, no matter how it came to be. At the same time, if not for your draconic friends, especially Kataryna and Brekkar, I would be forced to take you into custody and drop you in prison for trespassing.” he explained in a calm yet cold tone of voice.
Everything he said was absolutely correct. I had nothing to stand on in this kingdom, and by meeting with Seryanna I broke more rules than I could count. Maybe tossing me behind bars was the most lenient of punishments he could give me.
“Isn't there any way I can just make all of that... disappear?” I asked.
“If you asked this of me as a reward for saving my wife, maybe. I would come out as having been forced to give it, but your standing among the nobles as well as my daughter's would fall as a result. You would be no different than any other human out there in their eyes.” he said shaking his head.
“That, I would like to avoid.” I let out a heavy sigh.
Hearing this made me feel rather disheartened.
“Usually, in such a situation... to make things one had once did disappear is rather difficult. There's also the matter about the neighboring countries. Albeyater receives war support every time we go into battle against the invading human armies. We are the front line, so we take the brunt force. We suffer the most losses, so the other kingdoms compensate through an offering of gold, armors, weapons, food, or dragons. This trade is also heavily dependent on the way their politicians view me.” he said.
“The way their politicians view you?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
In my mind, I couldn't see how the two of them were connected. Albeyater's internal matters were their own, so why did it matter if the king looked good in their eyes or not. Then again, what did that even imply since he had secluded himself in this room ever since his wife got poisoned?
“Dragons are long lived and some have remarkable memories. In the outside world, even though I haven't stepped onto the political stage in a while, I am still viewed as a powerful and dominant dragon King. If a human were to come along and force me into making a deal with him, the other kingdoms would only see it as me giving in after my wife got poisoned. They would use this to point at me as being untrustworthy and hold back on their war support funds. This would in turn deal a heavy blow to my kingdom and make us vulnerable during a future invasion.” he explained with closed eyes.
“And that's not all, is it?” I asked with a wry smile.
Opening his eyes, he looked at me and replied “No.”
“A kingdom is supported by the commoners, but the nobles are those who lead them, while the king leads the nobles. Any change the king makes has to be approved by the nobles first before it reaches the commoners. Failure to follow this process leads to tyranny and rebellion. Of course, this does not work when the king is good and the nobles are corrupt. At that time, the king and the commoners are part of the rebellion, while the nobles are those who withhold the old ways.” he explained.
“In other words, loosing the trust of the neighboring kingdoms means losing the trust of the nobles inside your kingdom?” I asked.
“Precisely. If the outside sees me as weak, it's in their better interest to replace me. Therefore, a rebellion will be supported by the outside through the war support that was supposed to go to my troops. This does not mean that a trustworthy king would step up to do the job. There's a high chance the whole rebellion will be led by corrupt nobles, leading to the ascension of a tyrant on the throne.” he explained.
“Out of the frying pan and into the fire, huh?” I remarked and let out a heavy sigh.
“Indeed.” he nodded.
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