~ Chapter 77: The journey ahead (Part 2) ~
[Feryumstark's point of view]
My grandson, Draejan struck landed a terrible blow on the economy and safety of my people and if not for Alkelios and his friends, the losses would have been more devastating. A complete loss wouldn't have been out of the question, seeing how we were meant to be struck from multiple directions at the same time. That insectoid army he spoke of at the end really had me worried. I never thought such a species could exist. If they were monsters or something else, I couldn't tell. The only one who could answer my questions was none other than Alkelios, but he was gone.
In these past few months, things hadn't been easy for anyone here at the palace. The ambassadors came and went faster than a dragon could count them, all of them trying to find out if we were either weakened by this war or not. Hearing of someone as powerful as Alkelios didn't came easy to any of them and before I knew it, Elliessara was already swamped with countless marriage proposal from all the nations on the continent.
If Seryanna had more influence in politics than she did on the battlefield, then maybe this wouldn't have happened. Those foreign dragonesses were more than happy to see that she was thinking of a military career. It was easy to die in battle, therefore, any sane dragon would wish to leave behind as many eggs as possible; either an heir or a disciple to carry his legacy and wealth. The dragonesses were usually the one to aim for this, but many of them had some sort of hidden agenda.
A Breakthrough-er dragon had less chances of dying in battle than a simple Awakened one, which meant that the best way a dragoness could use the name of her husband was as a threat. Nobody wanted to see a Breakthrough-er leading the attack force in a battle between nobles.
I should know best, during my younger days, my wife often sent me to find something she fancied like a rare flower or a special perfume only to end up in a battle, which obviously resulted in me crushing the no-good noble who dared to unsheathe his sword before me.
When I got back to the palace, she would just guide me to the bedroom and tell me that I did good. By the time I figured out that I had been played it was already too late, and above all I had no reason to get angry at her. Elliessara, like most dragonesses, knew very well how to relieve the tension of her husband before he set something on fire out of anger. Seryanna, on the other hand, made me believe she was not the sort to do something like this. She was the one most like to burn down the house out of anger.
For this reason and a few others, I had called her and all of Alkelios' friends for an audience.
At noon, when the sun was up in the sky, Seryanna, Kataryna, Thraherkleyoseya, Iolaus, Brekkar, and my wife were all here in the Audience Room waiting to hear what I had to say.
Besides us and a couple of trusted guards, there was no one here. I could speak freely about the matters that troubled me, at least up to a certain point.
“I take it Alkelios has yet to return?” I asked them.
Everyone turned their gaze at Seryanna, his wife.
“No, your Majesty. I have waited for almost three months now and I have yet to see any sign of him. If he did return, I'm certain I would be one of the first he would contact.” she replied.
“That skill of his, right? Well, if that's the case, then what I am about to tell is all the more important.” I said in firm tone of voice.
“We are eyes and ears, your Majesty.” said Brekkar as he made a bow.
“With Alkelios' absence there are several matters that need to be addressed. I will start with the most important one and then proceed with those that are not so urgent and may be discussed at a later time.” I said and then turned to look at my wife.
In that moment, they all could guess what I was about to say. They knew the reason why Alkelios was so important to me and to my Kingdom. It wasn't because of his outrageous Breakthrough-er power, his Godlike skill as a Blacksmith, or the Buff he could offer to others through his [Dragon Tamer]. The reason why he was so important was far more personal to me.
Looking back at them, I said “Last time Alkelios looked at my wife's status, the [God's Demise Poison] had countdown clock was set at 5 years 3 months and 2 days. If it hasn't changed at all, then now it would show that she has around 5 years left to live.”
“Is the Cure-All Leaf tea working?” Brekkar asked.
“Yes.” I nodded. “That is the main reason for her time increasing.”
“But even with the tea, it's not guaranteed that we can continue to extend her life like this, right?” Kataryna pointed out.
“Yes. Alkelios mentioned that this tea was the same as a strengthening tonic which would help her on the long run but it should never be considered a permanent solution. That's why once she gets close to the foretold time of her death, my wife will move away from the capital to a remote location where the spell won't affect anyone.” I explained.
“But that would be in more than four years from now, right?” Brekkar asked.
“No, that would be in two years from now. I don't wish my wife's remaining time on this world to be spent arguing with foreign politicians about some nonsensical things. During the following years, she will help the Albeyater Kingdom as much as she can while also making sure to prepare someone to take her place in the political theater.” I explained.
“That person will be my daughter, Elleyzabelle.” Elliessara announced.
“The Princess?” Seryanna said.
Out of all of them, she was the one who showed the most surprise. The others acted as if it was something obvious.
“I have chosen her for multiple reasons, but until my husband's death or willing abdication, the crown shall not pass to her.” my wife told them.
“She will gain the temporary title as the most powerful dragoness in the Albeyater Kingdom, but this will be so only if she manages to prove herself. For this reason, a month from now, I plan to send her off on a diplomatic mission as a special ambassador.” she explained.
“Your Majesty, please forgive my rude question, but why do you speak as though Alkelios won't return and you will certainly face off death?” Seryanna asked.
This dragoness was worried about the possibility that we might haven given up on her husband, but this was far from the truth.
“Seryanna, I understand your concern, but please understand that we are in no position to wait for him. True, he has helped us a lot, and we will always be thankful for that, but our kingdom cannot wait while he is gone. No matter what sort of hero or god he may be, we will need to focus on our lives and continued with the possibility that he may be late for his return, or he may never return at all.” Elliessara told her in a calm and caring tone of voice.
“I... I understand. Please forgive my rudeness.” the dragoness made a bow in front of us.
“It's alright, we understand that it must be very hard for you not to know the fate of your husband. If I was in your place, I would feel the same.” she said.
And you would also scheme more than an entire battlefield of dragonesses put together on ways to get me back or draw the attention of the gods to force them to bring me back. I fear that if I was the one struck with that poison, this country would have went through some frightening changes in order to save me... What did Alkelios say about that sort of governing form? They were fearanies? No, tyrannies! I thought and then silently nodded.
“While we do not know what fate has in store for Alkelios, we must do whatever we can in his absence. Just because a dragon has proven himself to be an astoundingly powerful, generous and kind individual doesn't mean we should become dependent on his strength. Do remember, young dragoness, Albeyater Kingdom did well to survive without him around for centuries, and it will continue to do so until the gods above decide otherwise.” I spoke in a calm tone, but I was firm and strong enough to remind her that she was standing in front of royalty.
No matter how dear of a friend Alkelios was to us, our priorities were clear.
“Our help?” Kleo asked as she tilted her head to the left.
“Yes. My wife mentioned earlier something about sending my daughter on a diplomatic mission as a special ambassador. During this journey, I wish for Sir Seryanna and Sir Kataryna to be her escorts and help her out with the negotiations where it is needed.” I said, but I could see it on their faces that they were a bit confused.
“Duke Yatagai left us with the cure for my condition before he left for the battlefield. Among the many ingredients required to make it, there are some that cannot be procured on the Dragon Continent. Therefore, I will leave this task for the three of you. This way, when Alkelios does return, he will not need to worry about traveling all around the world to obtain them. If fate is on our side, then he will only need to concoct the cure.” Elliessara explained.
“During your travels, you will also be able to learn whether or not he landed on some other part of this world. You will also learn of the movements of the other Earthlings and see whether they resemble Alkelios in mind and personality or if they are similar to the one who plotted against us together with Draejan. At the same time, you will also strengthen our relationship with the foreign nations and if possible make allies where there were none.” I said in a firm tone of voice, trying to express in words just how important this entire mission was.
As a King, it would have been a simple matter to order them to do it, but these dragons and dragonesses weren't like my soldiers or knights. It was more than enough for me to ask them nicely to do it. If they were aware of what was at stake here, then they would always try their best to complete it. An ordinary soldier or knight might not think like that. They would be more concerned about their reputation and payment. As for the very loyal ones, they more than often tended to slip into extremes.
Thus, I judged that these dragons and dragonesses before me had a far higher chance of completing this insane missions than anyone else did.
“I understand, your Majesty. I'll make sure to watch over both Seryanna and Elleyzabelle.” said Kataryna with a smile.
“We will give you all the funds you may require for your journey.” Elliessara said.
“About that, your Majesty. Where exactly will we need to go?” asked Seryanna.
“First, you will head to the Relliar Continent, where you will meet with King Kragarr, then you will sail to the Dwarf Continent and meet with the elders there. Since we have no intention of stepping on the Human Continent yet, you will need to set sail from the Dwarf Continent North and reach the southern part of the Elf Continent. On that side, you will most likely encounter the El'doraw nations. Travel through them in terms of peace and reach the empire of the elves which can be found at the heart of that continent. Once you will be done there, you will sail back to the Dragon Continent.” I explained.
“Such a journey would take at least a year to make even with our fastest ships.” Seryanna said.
“True, but I estimate at least two years. Some of those kings are rather stubborn and the materials we require from them might not be so easy to acquire.” I nodded.
“Maybe if we send them some gifts?” Elleyzabelle suggested.
“Gifts? What sort of gifts?” I asked.
“About that, I think I may have something for the dwarfs.” Seryanna said as she remembered something.
“You do?” I asked surprised.
“Before my husband and I went to the Pustia Battlefield, he told me that he wanted to visit the other continents, including the Dwarf one because he was curious about how advanced their metalworking was when compared to his. He also was of the opinion that he might discover new ways to improve his work. That was why he prepared a gift for the dwarfs.”
When I heard her, I blinked surprised. It was surprising to hear that Alkelios, who had a Godlike skill as a blacksmith, still had more to learn about the craft. Any of his weapons and armors could be considered at the very least Legendary Artifacts capable of incredible performance. Proof of this was the spare ones he offered to my army during the war. They increased their survivability chances considerably.
“What is this gift you speak of?” I asked out of curiosity.
“A hammer, my King. A Godlike Blacksmith's Hammer.” she replied.
“Oh! That would be indeed a great gift to offer to those pesky dwarfs! I'm certain they won't even mind helping you out!” I said with a pleased look on my face.
“Let us hope so, your Majesty. But what about the others?” Brekkar asked.
“We could offer the elves some of the potions Alkelios made? Oh! I could send the Elf Empress a recipe for the Cure-All Tea that Alkelios urged me to drink. Ever since I first tried it, I made small modifications to the way it was prepared to bring out a more pleasant taste.” Elliessara suggested.
“Tea?” I asked confused “Why not a sword?”
When I said this, my wife simply closed her mouth and looked at me with a raised eyebrow. I knew in that moment that I have spoken about something I knew nothing about.
“Really, my dear? You would gift an elegant lady with fine tastes in art and music a sword?” she asked.
“I... erm... I'm sorry.” I said lowering my head.
“Apologies accepted.” Elliessara nodded with a smile.
And this was why the dragonesses were the strongest in our kingdom.
The rest of the audience we talked about the finer details of their journey, and at the end of it, I invited Seryanna and Kataryna to wait for a while so that my wife would discuss with them the matter of the numerous marriage proposals aimed at Alkelios. That was definitely a subject for which the presence of a King was not needed, so I retreated to my quarters.
As for the others, Brekkar, Kleo, and Iolaus, they were left to think on their own about what they would want to do in the following years. Because if they went together with Kataryna and Seryanna, they would not return for more than two maybe three years.
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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