~ Chapter 64: Accidents happen ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
At my wedding, I had the pleasure of being introduced to several nobles who were on good terms with the Draketerus family as well as with their Majesties, the King and Queen of Albeyater. Among them was a certain Viscountess named Allevania Reyazes, she was a beautiful dragoness with silver scales like Kataryna, but of a faded dull color when compared to hers, blond curly hair, and a bit chubby when it came to her figure. The territory she managed was to the south of Drakaria and had as a capital the town of Ruyzar. Unlike other such settlements in the Albeyater Kingdom, this one was focused on the trade of paper and writing tools.
The reason why this Viscountess peaked my interest was because she had the peculiar hobby of collecting maps of all kinds. The dragoness loved maps of all kind, be them fake or real, all that mattered to her was the skill with which they had been drawn. At the same time, she imported and exported maps of all the continents to various curious or interested nobles on the Dragon Continent.
At the wedding, she even explained to me in an almost agonizing detail how much she loved maps and would usually buy one whenever she had a bit of pocket money left. Unlike other dragons or certain human nobles who were used to spending ridiculous amounts of their family fortune on their own hobbies without caring if they went in the red, this dragoness was keeping a close eye on her finances. Even if she were to find the rarest map of them all, if her personal budget wasn't enough to acquire, she wouldn't use her family's fortune or the collected tax money.
After talking with her, I agreed to visit the Viscountess Reyazes' territory as soon as I had the chance in order to procure some of her treasured maps to use during my travels into those other continents. The King and Queen also had a say in this matter and urged the dragoness to accept, as both of them guaranteed for me.
Reaching the town of Ruyzar was nothing more than one hour flight in my half-beast form. A Khosinni carriage would have brought me here in about ten hours, which was a lot even when considering the fact that a day had 32 hours.
I landed in front of the entrance gate to Ruyzar town early in the morning, around 10 AM by my estimates. After I talked with the guards stationed here, I was led to the Viscountess' mansion. At this hour, everyone was already awake, and I could see the shops focused on selling paper and writing utensils trying to appeal to passing travelers to buy their wares.
Speaking of which, I remembered that Andromeda and Tomeron were mostly focused around selling weapons and armors to all the brave adventurers who wanted to set foot in the Seculiar Forest. Needless to say that the capital had the best wares in the kingdom in all domains.
To be honest, I didn't had the chance to practice writing that much ever since I came to this world. True, Seryanna helped me a lot with it, and so did my other friends, but I was never put in the situation where I had to write a formal letter or something like that. In a way, it was good. I was more of a fighter and a speaker than a writer.
Viscountess Reyazes's mansion was located on the East side of the town. It wasn't the big building in the city as I had expected. When asking the guards about it, they told me that initially, this town belonged to another family, but after a corruption scandal they were executed and the Viscountess took their place. The building at the center was in fact a garrison for troops led by a dragon captain approved by Viscountess Reyazes and his Majesty, King Feryumstark. The esteemed captain also happened to be her husband, Viscount Leonar Reyazes.
Upon arriving at the mansion, I was greeted by a dragon butler, who guided me inside and served me some tea and cookies while I waited for the dragoness to get ready. It didn't take long and for some reason, he felt the need to apologize for this 'unpleasant circumstances'. I honestly had no idea what he was talking about. I just arrived a bit late, it wasn't like I dragged an entire parade with me and I was making them do hand stands while I waited.
About half an hour later, the Viscountess entered the room.
She was as charming as she was when I first met her at my wedding. Viscountess Reyazes was wearing what appeared to be a luxurious white and caramel colored long Victorian dress. The jewelry adorned on her combined with her gentle smile, her elegant mannerism, and silver folded fan in her hand gave her the air of a rich noblewoman with quite a bit of authority. In her current form, she was quite similar to a human in appearance, minus the eyes and the scale on her cheeks and neck, which gave her a strange allure. Her tail was hidden under her dress, but despite being known as a winged dragon, in this form, she showed no sign of them.
Compared to her elegant presence, I was currently wearing my prized battle armor and had Heaven and Hell hanging at my waist.
“My apologies, Duke Yatagai. It is unfortunate that I kept you waiting, I do hope you will forgive me.” she said and bowed her head.
She caught me with a cookie in my mouth, which I quickly ate like a hamster and gulped it down without breathing.
“No problem! No problem! Anyway, it's a pleasure to see you again, Viscountess Reyazes.” I said as I got up.
“The pleasure is all mine, Duke Yatagai. You seem to be doing well. May I ask how is the Duchess doing?” she asked with a smile as she walked to the other side of the coffee table and took a seat.
I sat down at the same time as her, but when she asked about the 'Duchess', my brain had a moment of lag.
Oh, yeah! Seryanna! I'm a duke, so she's a duchess! I thought and with a smile, I replied “Seryanna is doing well, thank you.”
“I personally find it quite strange that she's so stubborn about keeping her position as a Royal Knight, but that dragoness has never been one to fall in line like the rest of us.” she giggled.
“Fall in line?” I raised an eyebrow.
“Yes. Most dragonesses her age usually take a part of their family's territory and begin to manage it while their husbands assume various positions within the army. My husband for example is the Captain stationed here in this town.” she said.
Did I mishear that? Did she say husbands? As in more than one? I thought and then I asked “Oh? I didn't know this. Will I have the pleasure of meeting him today?”
“It's not impossible, but with you arriving unscheduled like this, he is probably being informed of your presence here only now.” she remarked.
“I do apologize for my early arrival. It just that it happened for me to have some free time, so I flew over as fast as I could. It was a good exercise for me too. I can't let my wings get rusty now, can I?” I laughed.
“I understand you perfectly, Duke Yatagai. I too go for a flight from time to time. But in regard to my previous comment about the Duchess, I hope you don't take it as though I am against her current active duty, in fact I am quite pleased to see her doing so well. Ever since that tragedy 39 years ago, that dragoness wasn't the same anymore. It was Duke Yatagai who managed to change her for the better.” she said.
“Ah, no, I wasn't thinking about that. But yes, I too am pleased to see her doing what she likes. Maybe after a few decades have passed, we will settle down somewhere and learn to manage the land. So far, we are young and wish to be as active as we can.” I smiled.
“That would be for the best, indeed.” she nodded.
“Now, about those maps we talked about?” I asked.
“Ah yes, certainly! After I returned to my territory, I used my connections to bring in a famous cartographer to make copies of the maps I had. As much as I wished, I couldn't just part with my unique babies.” she said while letting out a sigh.
Babies? I thought and then I said “It doesn't matter as long as I can understand what's written on it, and I have all the locations of the settlements and other major geographical formations.” I said with a smile.
“Of course. Now as for the payment.” she showed me a smile.
Nodding, I was about to take out the gold coins I had prepared, when all of a sudden three wingless dragons came crashing in through the windows. They were all wearing some sort of black cloth and leather getup with a hood over their heads and a mask over their mouth to better hide their identities.
“[Black Arrow]!” one shouted.
“[Wind Scythe]!” the second one shouted.
“[Poison Cage]!” the third one shouted.
All three of them aimed three different spells at the Viscountess, who was too surprised by the sudden intrusion to do anything about it. The one who moved to her defense was none other than I.
These attacks were all quite dangerous for the simple fact that even one of them could easily kill someone like the Viscountess. The [Poison Cage] trapped its victim with vines soaked in muscle-numbing poison all the while strangling it to death. The [Wind Scythe] was a spell from the Wind element, which created a blade of wind with the help of magic. It wasn't as powerful as a [Water Scythe], but it was hard to detect and thus dodge. As for the [Black Arrow], it was merciless piercing attack from the Darkness element, which could quite literally create a hole even through the thickest armors. Calling it a piercing attack was a given. However, given how lethal all of these attacks were, the Viscountess wouldn't have stood a chance against them.
Using my speed, I rushed in front of her and took the blunt force of all of these spells. Poisoned vines coiled around my body, the wind scythe struck my abdomen, and the arrow struck my chest. If I was as weak as the dragoness behind me, I would have been killed instantly. Thus, these attacks only irritated me at best.
“Annoying.” I said as I grabbed the vines with my hands and ripped them out of the ground, canceling the spell.
The poison didn't do anything to me because the vines didn't touch my bare skin, just my armor. Even if they did, this amount was easily manageable.
The other two attacks didn't even scratch my armor.
“What? How?” one of the attackers asked.
“Show status of target.” I said as I looked at him.
[Species]: Draconian of the Wind
Uwaaa! So weak! I thought and then let out a sigh.
“Doesn't matter! Kill him!” the other said.
Honestly, I didn't even bother to check his status, just that one was enough to give me a good idea of how powerful they were. As such, I rushed towards the one who shouted and punched him in the chest.
“Ugh... Disgusting...” I muttered.
The problem with my punch... if I could call it that, was the fact that I didn't hold back. It was one of those punches I used against his Majesty, King Feryumstark. More so, it was a punch that didn't focus on piercing but rather on sending the shockwave and force of the impact throughout the opponent's body. The end result of this was right in front of me.
There was a rather big hole in the wall, and the ground was cracked in several places. The debris was scattered in front of me in a cone area, and the body of the dragon was turned to mush. His remains were now spread in a blood spatter mixed with pieces of flesh, bone, and internal organs.
Because of this gory display of power, everyone in the room was now frozen stiff. It was easy to expect the fact that there was nothing they could do to win this battle. Unless I was up against another Breakthrough-er, chances were I wouldn't need to use even half of my true power.
However, if these three were assassins, then I had a limited amount of time before they returned to their senses and ate a poisoned pill or something to keep their mouths shut. Thus, I rushed up to then and punched them in the stomach. This time, however, I used a lot less force, just enough to knock them out where they stood.
With these two on the ground, I knelt next to them and checked to see if they had anything in their mouths. They were both holding some sort of pill under their tongue. I took it out and then I wrapped them up in enchanted rope like a pair of Christmas Gifts.
“Now then, where were we, Viscountess Reyazes?” I asked with a smile.
With a wry smile, she looked back at me and then at the splatter of blood that used to be a dragon.
“Erm... Take your time to recover then, I will handle these two.” I said as I scratched the back of my head.
“Yes... I will...” she said, but shortly after a butler and two guards came in to find out what was with that loud noise.
After a brief explanation, they helped the Viscountess walk out of the room and sent a messenger to her husband, informing him of the situation.
Until he arrived, I checked the contents of the pockets of these two assassins and using a magnet, I pulled out the blades hidden inside their flesh. Unfortunately, I was unable to find any note or clue as to why they targeted the Viscountess. My only option now was to wait for them to wake up and then convince them to talk.
Before I left the wrecked room, I took a moment too look at the dragon I killed today. Honestly, it didn't feel like I did something wrong, but I was a bit bothered by the fact that I wasn't able to properly control my power. This was proof enough that I had yet to fully master my power, and there was the chance that I wouldn't be able to do so for quite some time now.
I'm a bit afraid now that I might harm those far weaker than me... I thought as I imagined myself playing with my future children and accidentally injuring them because of my lack of control.
Honestly, just imagining it made my heart shrink in pain, so I was determined to learn how to control my power properly before a tragedy such as this one repeated itself.
At the very least, I know that I shouldn't let this fear control me. I should talk with Kataryna or Brekkar about it as soon as I get the chance... I thought as I looked down at my fist clenching and releasing it.
This wasn't the first time I experienced what it felt like not to have control over my own strength. Back when I was still in the Seculiar Forest and learning the craft of Blacksmithing, I often broken my tools or hammered the heated metal too hard because I wasn't able to control the strength behind each strike.
It took me a while to get used to it, but I was able to do it in the end.
Right now, my inability to control my strength wasn't as terrible as it was several months ago when I was breaking almost everything I touched. As long as I was focused on what I was doing and didn't forget what my power was capable of, accidents like the one with the assassin would normally not happen. After all, I even checked his status first, I should have been aware of how weak he was, yet I failed to scale down my strength in that split second and went for the kill.
“Maybe it was just a slip-up?” I wondered as I looked at the stain on the ground.
At the very lest I didn't feel guilty for killing him. I didn't feel joy either, just a bit of fear and disappointment for being unable to control myself.
Letting out a sigh, I walked out of the room and soon joined the Viscountess. We resumed our talk and decided upon a different payment for the maps. Instead of gold and gems, I was to give her one of my mass-produced swords and armors for her husband to use. I was better off like this as well because I honestly had no idea what to do with the items I created and simply donating them to the armory didn't feel right.
Once we finished the deal, Viscountess Reyazes told me that she was going to bring the maps personally as soon as they were finished. Not long afterwards, her husband arrived in tow with a dozen soldiers armed to the teeth and looking as though they were about to head to war.
It took us another half an hour to explain to the Viscount what had transcended at his home while he was away. Once everything was clear, and we deemed the area secure, I grabbed the two assassins I had tied up and flew back to Drakaria.
Normally, they would have stopped me and interrogated me to see if I wasn't a part of this crime, but I had the title of a Duke and both of them were well too aware of my connections. Besides, what would I have had to gain from all of this?
Still, I did find it odd that someone would try to assassinate the Viscountess. Even she was surprised. Unfortunately, I didn't have the required know-how and desire to torture these fellows on the spot. If I did, I would have done it. Thus, I decided that bringing them over to Prime Minister Elovius would have been the smarter move. He had a good track record in regard to making dragons spill the beans.
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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