~ Chapter 63: Assassination attempt ~
[Seryanna's point of view]
Two months have passed since my wedding with Alkelios, and as Knight in the service of her Highness, Third Princess Elleyzabelle Seyendraugher, I had the responsibility of standing by her side, ready to obey her orders and march into battle the very moment she ordered me to do so. At the same time, I was to protect her and keep her safe. My duty also included patrolling Drakaria or some other settlement and maintaining the law and order there. It was mandatory of me to keep up with my training and if needed be I had the obligation of taking a Squire under my wing and giving them the basic Knight training before they themselves were going to pledge their loyalty to the crown an become respectable Knights.
Because until recently I held an Unawakened status, my duties were mere limited to keeping the Princess safe and patrolling here and there. No Awakened dragon Squire was going to listen to me and respect my authority, so I was not pressed with this matter. Even after Awakening, I still wasn't pressed about it because I requested from her Highness time to grow accustomed with my Awakened status and time to learn how to better become a Knight.
The truth was another though, we didn't know whom to trust. The matter with Draejan at that time was a serious one that had to be settled first before we expanded the Princess' influence. Then, after that annoyance of a dragon was gone, the matter with my marriage popped up, which granted me a few more months of leeway.
Having a squire wasn't mandatory, but there was a certain background political pressure from dragons and dragonesses who saw this small detail as a weakness or opportunity of sort. With Kataryna and Alkelios who were also serving her Highness, those who knew better shook their heads at the mere thought of our Party being weak. At the moment, Third Princess Elleyzabelle was the only royal, besides their Majesties, with two Breakthrough-ers under her service. This in itself spoke more than enough about the strength and political influence.
Thus, I had some a lot more free time on my hands than other knights did. So I spent every moment of it together with Alkelios or my friends. Ever since Dregarya left to the front-lines to 'fix' the Crown Princes' armor and equipment, I found myself leisurely taking walks through the capital or visiting Brekkar's Inn to play with little Askanti. The little dragon was cute enough to make my heart melt, and the more time I spent with him, the more I was thinking about having one of my own.
The idea wasn't new, it popped up in my head and during my pillow talks with Alkelios several times. The subject was also mentioned by my friends and acquaintances when we were chatting, especially now since I was an Awakened and also married. However, both of us felt like it wasn't the time yet to have a child. We weren't that much in a hurry.
Today was also one of those days when I went to visit Collentra and Bayuk at the Brekkar's Inn, but I didn't stay for too long. Two of their maids were already cuddling and spoiling little Askanti, so I resumed myself only to watching from afar. After two tankards of ale, I left the Inn and decided to spread my wings a bit.
I took flight into the air and after passing the aerial guards, I flew towards the Gold Scale River. Thanks to a certain silver-scaled dragoness and a certain husband of mine, these dragons and dragonesses had a tough time with their patrols. Every now and then they saw someone rising up and then flying away at insane speeds which they could not follow or give chase after.
The first time this incident happened, it caused a lot of panic and wrong reports regarding them. Talks of spies and whatnot spread around like wildfire, but after they learned to distinguish between the two, they didn't even bother trying to give chase after them anymore. Still, there was a positive point to add to this. Thanks to the trouble Alkelios and Kataryna gave them, the aerial guards became more vigilant and focused on their jobs. From one of the more carefree posts many lazy guards aspired to grab a shift in, it turned into one that required a strict discipline and high awareness. It wasn't a job for just any dragon who Awakened.
It also became mandatory for any dragon who took flight to announce the guards of their intention so as to not be attacked by them by accident. Least to be said, Alkelios and Kataryna were completely oblivious to this rule. They came and went as they pleased without bothering of telling anyone anything.
After reaching the Gold Scale River, I landed on its right shore and began to take a stroll. Coming here often calmed me down, and it reminded me of what Kataryna thought me that night. My husband as well was a bit fond of this location as it was also here where he was helped to realize his own mistakes and find the courage to go on the path he desired to.
If not for Kataryna, the two of us would have never ended up together. Ever since she appeared before us, willingly and unwillingly, she made use realize how much we loved each other. The silver-scaled dragoness was our matchmaker, teacher, rival, and friend. She was one of the most wonderful dragonesses I had the pleasure of meeting even if our first encounter was on the edge of the blade. That was why, deep inside, I had no problem with her becoming Alkelios' second wife. It was just that I didn't want to tell him that polygamy was more or less accepted within the Albeyater Kingdom, especially among nobles. As for polyandry, it was wildly known that a strong dragoness will have multiple dragons around her. Although, as far as I knew, both my family and the royal one kept to monogamy, and maybe out of sheer luck, Alkelios didn't had the chance to interact with those who practiced either polygamy or polyandry.
Letting out a sigh, I stopped at an open patch of grass and laid down on the ground. The sound of the flowing water put me in a serene mood, and a small smile appeared on my lips.
As I stood here like this, I remembered the day of my wedding, most specifically, the moment when my grandfather arrived together with his Majesty, the King.
I was waiting inside on the left side of the entrance of the temple, just as the custom required. It was from here where I had to start my walk towards the altar. Normally, it should have been my father who took my hand and guided me there, but given my current circumstances, grandfather took up this role.
The old dragon burst into tears when he saw me, startling the King, who for a moment thought he had stepped on the old dragon's tail. While his Majesty went to sit next to his wife, the Queen, grandfather approached me and told me that seeing me like this couldn't have made him happier and prouder.
Secretly, I did ask him if he believed I was betraying our family for marrying one who was born and raised as a human, but to this, he shook his head and told me the following words, which I would always remember and keep close to my heart.
“Alkelios is one of the bravest, most honorable, and honest dragons I had ever met! And I'm certain your parents, blessed be their souls, would agree with me. Your grandmother too, she would have loved to see you in this dress and maybe change it here and there as she saw fit. Sendra was a stubborn ol' dragoness. I'm really proud of you, Seryanna... You did well, and I can only wish for you to have a wonderful life by the side of your chosen mate.” he spoke with tears in his eyes.
At the end, he made a bow before me.
When the time to begin the ceremony was announced by the singing of the choir, grandfather took my hand and escorted me to the altar. There, he made a prayer to Drakartus and then left me in his grace.
Rare were the moments when I saw my grandfather shed such honest tears. I also felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders, and I could breath better. Knowing I had my family's support was a nice feeling, one which I treasured.
Then came the time of the party and grandfather sent Alkelios flying outside of Drakaria. All of our guest watched with big eyes the entire scene.
“You missed the wall, you old fool!” his Majesty pointed out from within the crowd.
“Oops! Meh, he'll survive.” the dragon shrugged and burst out into a loud laughter.
“Should I go after him?” I wondered.
“No need to. I sent an official order to allow Alkelios to enter the capital without needing to stay in line or pay the fee.” her Majesty reassured me.
With a wry smile I returned to the party. It didn't take too long for my husband to show himself back at the palace. Upon his return, Alkelios was congratulated by everyone and then he gave a speech about how he felt now that he became a half-dragon and my husband.
“So a speech, heh?” he let out a sigh and then looked at his audience. “When I arrived on this continent, I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Seryanna. Unfortunately, at that time I was running from a giant hound and was far weaker than I am now. And let me tell you, the Seculiar Forest is teeming with dangers at every step of the way! If you are not strong, you will end up eaten alive in there. And just this fact alone is enough to tell you about the strength and courage my wife had when she ventured inside numerous times despite not having achieved yet Awakened status.” he looked at me and showed me a gentle smile “Ever since I first laid my eyes on her, I fell in love with this dragoness.” he then looked back at the crowd “It took me more than it should have to accept this, but eventually, thanks to my friends who stood by my side, I came to realize that she was the one I wanted to spend my life with. I don't regret the decisions I made to reach this point. I don't regret becoming a half-dragon. If anything, I am grateful for having met Seryanna and for having fallen in love with her. I am also grateful for having such wonderful dragon and dragoness friends around me. They taught me many things and always helped me in unexpected way. Thank you!” he bowed his head in front of the crowd and everyone started clapping.
His speech was wonderful, but after the reception was over and we returned to our room, we both were quite eager to get out of our clothes and under the covers of our bed. In a way, mating season didn't really mean much for us. Although, he did miss two of mine, but he won't the third one.
It did make me curious to know if as a half-dragon he was going to go through it as well or not. Usually, during this period, our bodies became quite sensible and our sense of smell and touch was heightened, making us aware of the little details we used to ignore up until then.
While I was reminiscing about such things, I felt the presence of several individuals approaching me from behind. They were trying to use stealth and take me by surprise, but they had a long way to go before they could get past me unnoticed. After all, I had a prankster little sister who could literally blend herself with the surrounding darkness, and I had to sharpen my senses in the Seculiar Forest, where the giant spiders and the giant snakes lurking within the river were always looking for some unsuspecting prey to attack. Compared to them, these dragons were as loud as my drunk grandfather.
“Show yourselves. I know you are there.” I spoke in a calm and relaxed tone of voice as I got up and turned around.
A throwing knife flew from a nearby bush at me, but I merely tilted my head to the right to avoid it. Afterwards, six wingless individuals jumped out of their hiding spots and circled me. They were throwing their killing intent at me, making their intentions clear, but their outfits hid away their identity.
Black hoods covered their heads, casting down a shadow on their face, while the long cloaks over their shoulders hid the rest of their bodies. They were also a wearing a mask to cover their nose and mouth, making it more difficult for me to identify them.
I'll need at least one of them alive in order to get some answers as to why they are sneaking around like this. I thought.
“Are you going to introduce yourself at least?” I asked them in a polite tone of voice as I unsheathed my sword.
They looked at each other and then nodded.
Without a warning, they unleashed several fire spells on me. Two of them turned into living flamethrowers, two cast exploding fireballs at me, and the last two poured liquid fire on me. Normally, all of these attacks would have put in danger even the life of a Godlike Adventurer, but for me, they were a joke.
I jumped to the left, ignoring their attacks and fire sticking to me, and aimed my sword at the first one of them. He jumped back and tried to block my attack with his dagger, but the difference in strength and quality was obvious. My blade went straight through his weapon and cut him in half.
Before his body fell to the ground, I jumped towards the next one and aimed to cut him at the waist. He too tried to block it out of reflex and died while doing so. When the body of the previous dragon fell on the ground, the body of the one I had just attack was separated in two halves. I punched the upper part in the chest and sent it flying toward the third assassin.
This one jumped out of the way and unsheathed her two short swords. She was glaring at me, but I found her intimidation to be rather cute. Before she could act, I struck her with my knee in the chin and then headbutted her into the ground. My sword's blade pushed through her back, sectioning her heart in half.
Three were down, three more were left. They stepped back, fear washing over them after my display of power.
“This isn't what we were told! Why are you so powerful?! You are barely a one year-old Awakened!” the dragoness assassin shouted at me.
“Under normal circumstance, I should have been weaker. It's clear that all of you are past Power Number 400, but... that's under normal circumstances.” I smirked and swiped my sword through the air one, getting rid of the fresh blood on it.
“What?” she looked at me in surprise, but I had not intention of revealing her how I became so strong so quickly.
This was also the reason why despite the fact that I was originally called to the capital to represent the Third Princess in the upcoming tournament, in the end I wasn't allowed to participate in it. I was far stronger than the vast majority of competitors and even the Queen saw no reason as to why I should prove my strength in the arena. Thus, my power remained hidden for now.
Of course, Alkelios was aware of how strong I was. He was aware of my body's limitation and even sensible spots. My husband took his sweet time exploring and discovering how I loved to be touched by him.
Ah! No good! I must focus on this battle, not think of perverted things... I thought and then let out a sigh.
Without further notice I ran towards the dragoness who spoke and punched her right in the stomach before she could run away. She let out a pained screamed and then fell unconscious on the ground.
“Now then! Only the two of you are left.” I said with a smile as I sheathed my sword and proceeded to crack my knuckles.
The remaining dragoness and dragon looked at each other and then nodded once. It made me curious about what attack they wanted to try, but then I saw them turning tail and running away as fast as they could. I was disappointed by this, so I didn't even bother chasing after them.
Aiming my hand at the dragon, I unleashed a [Fire Spear] attack. It was just like an [Ice Spear], but after penetrating the target, it exploded. The man's armor was unable to defend him from my spell and his body blew up into a thousand pieces.
“Next would be her, right?” I said and then aimed my hand at the dragoness who was running in the opposite direction.
This time, I concentrate more Magic Energy into my spell and unleashed a fireball at a speed faster than sound. It caused a powerful shockwave the moment I cast it, lifting the dust around me. As for what happened when it touched the target, if it didn't pierce through, it would create a splash of liquid fire. The mere touch of it could melt a soldier's armor and instantly carbonize their body.
As a Superior Draconian of the High Flame, my fire element attacks and resistances were quite high when compared to your average Draconian of the Flame. I learned about this little detail through my own experience as well as from what Kataryna taught me.
I can't feel the presence of any other dragon sneaking around, so I think I'm safe. But who in the world would try to assassinate ME? I thought as I put out the fires caused by my attacks with a few [Water Sphere] spells.
I could have absorbed the flames for their energy, but I needed to train my other elemental attacks as well. So, it was a win-win situation for me.
Looking back at where the unconscious dragoness laid among the others, I walked over to her and stripped her naked before tying her with a rope. With their kind, it was never certain where they hid a small knife to use to escape. I also looked inside her mouth for anything hidden, like a poisoned capsule or a needle. Afterwards, I used a small, but powerful magnet and searched for hidden blades within her flesh. I found two of them, which I swiftly removed.
Normally, I wouldn't have checked for such things. As a Knight, I was taught that the only way to deal with spies or assassins was by killing them quickly. The reason behind my change in tactics was Alkelios, whom I told a few days ago about how I felt like someone was following me through the city. His first reaction was rather amusing, as he believed it was a pervert who was chasing after my tail. He wanted to find the dragon and beat him to a pulp.
Once I managed to convince him that it might be just a silly thief, an assassin, or maybe a spy, he calmed down a bit and asked if I wished for him to take care of him. I refused his help, but he suggested that I should at the very least try to capture one of them alive in order to interrogate him or her. He then instructed me on what I should do to accomplish this. He even provided me with the magnet.
After I checked the pockets of the dead assassins for any clue as to why they approached me like this, I took the captured dragoness and flew back to Drakaria. Unfortunately, there were no clues to be found.
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!
Seeing how things have been a bit hard for me lately, I will try and focus around posting only at the end of the week, during a Friday or Saturday(ish). I'm going to try the weekly chapter dump version of the schedule to see if this fits me better.
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