~ Chapter 84: For my fluffy friend! ~
[Seryanna's point of view]
The King couldn't risk to have us dragons in the same room as the humans, so our negotiations were postponed for until they decided to leave the capital. This didn't mean that Princess Elleyzabelle couldn't go to the Palace and try to engage in casual talk with the various nobles who could be found here. On the contrary, she used this opportunity to get to know the various political faces in the Sarakus Kingdom. If she could gain their support, then the King would be more inclined towards signing the treaties.
The reason why Princess Elleyzabelle didn't finish the negotiations already wasn't because of her diplomatic skill but rather because of the unique circumstances the Sarakus Kingdom found itself in. This relliar kingdom was located right on the northern side of the Relliar Continent. It was considered the Vanguard of the relliars. If it fell, the humans could proceed to invade and conquer the whole continent.
What was offered through these treaties wasn't only the monetary gain from the free trade between the Albeyater Kingdom and the Sarakus Kingdom, but also the military backing of each other. If an invasion were to occur on either side, they would send help immediately and welcome the refugees if there were any.
Considering the long distance between the two continents, however, one may be inclined to think or believe that our help would either reach them far too late, so Princess Elleyzabelle had the difficult task of convincing not only the King but also most of the important nobles with a voting right within the royal court.
As far as I was explained, this was also a very risky proposition because it could rally the human kingdoms into believing that the relliars were preparing for war. This, however, was only half true. They were preparing for a defensive war against the humans because the movements on the Human Continent as of late had been rather strange.
When I heard this, I remembered what Alkelios told us about all those humans from Earth being scattered across our world with the purpose of helping us fight against a so-called Demon King no one knew anything about.
It was true that both monsters and sapient species could be corrupted by evil magic. I have seen this result in the Seculiar Forest where a lot of Spike Wolves ended up as Corrupted Spike Wolves. I also read once a report about a humble farmer succumbing to the evil corruption and beginning to attack his fellow villagers. He slaughtered two families before the knights were able to cut off his head and end his killing spree.
A Demon King, if I were to go by what the legends said about them, they were entities that far surpassed any so-called hero or Breakthrough-er. They ruled over powerful Demon Lords, each with their own army commanded by 16 Generals. These beings were perverted corruptions of evil, or so they said. His Majesty, King Feryumstark, told us that he once fought against a Demon Lord. Although he won, such foes were very powerful and cunning. The were not to be underestimated as even the weakest among them could take down a country. Still, not even he knew how the Demon King appeared or how both monsters and normal citizens ended up corrupted by his power. What we did know was that the Corrupted deviated in both behavior and strength. Some were weaker than their non-corrupted counterparts while others were stronger. Because of this as well as the uncertainty of what sort of danger these creatures posed to us, none of the kingdoms made an official move against them.
This, however, didn't mean that the 10 million human heroes didn't try to do anything about it. Maybe they were increasing their strength and expanding their influence for when the foretold day would come. When thinking about their potential and skills obtained from the God-like, it wouldn't be a surprise if some of them could end up shifting borders and changing the terrain. After all, Alkelios could do it, so who was to tell that there weren't other similarly powerful individuals?
That being said, these treaties between the Albeyater Kingdom and the Sarakus Kingdom could end up being the key to the survival of both of them. As of right now, all the sapient species were divided within their own continents and at war or odds with one another.
While Princess Elleyzabelle was dealing with this matter and Kataryna was fleeing from Tanarotte, I enjoyed the time I spent together with little Shelly. I often dropped by in the morning to pick her up and then returned her in the late afternoon when it was time for her to go to bed. She often took naps in the middle of the day. During that time, we stayed in the shade, and I would either read her a story or gently pet her soft fur. When Shelly coiled up in my arms like that, holding her fluffy tail between her paws, and twitching her little ears when I petted her on the head, she reminded me of my pet squirrel Tulip.
Since that incident with the one who wanted to hit Shelly, the human delegates stayed clear of my path and avoided me like the plague. I never saw that man again either, and I cared not for his fate. With a broken hand, he most certainly got dismissed from the guard detail and sent back to the Human Continent, or worse, he was abandoned here.
Three days had passed since then and today we were on our way to meet King Kragarr in the audience room. Princess Elleyzabelle received a summon, but we had no idea what this meeting was going to be about. Kataryna and I were going to act as her trusted guards.
When we reached the doors leading to the audience room, we arrived just as the humans were making their leave. They stopped in front of us and glared at us for a moment.
“Is there a problem?” Princess Elleyzabelle asked them.
The relliar guards maintained their position and didn't interfere as it could cause a diplomatic problem.
“Plenty, but if I were to list them all, I would end up staying here all night!” said Bishop Whatshisname with his chin raised up, trying to look big and important.
To me, he looked like an overgrown tub of lard covered in expensive clothing so people would have something nice to compliment when looking at him.
“Bishop Bassar, today your visit with his Majesty was rather short, wasn't it?” Princess Elleyzabelle ignored his comment and asked with a smile.
“Hmph! My business is of no importance to you! Besides, this will be the last day we will have the unpleasant luck of stumbling upon each other! I shall consider it as a service of my behalf that I let you continue with your useless negotiations in this kingdom.” the man retorted with disgust in the tone of his voice.
“A pity. It was nice meeting you, Bishop Bassar.” said Princess Elleyzabelle in a polite tone of voice.
He ignored her and then walked off with his military escort right behind him.
The knights looked at us as though they wanted to spit on our faces and then stab us with their swords right here where we stood. Their killing intent was pathetic when compared to ours. I could have unleashed mine and make them soil themselves, but I didn't want to cause any more trouble for the Princess.
“Do you think they will try anything?” Kataryna asked as she looked at them.
“Let us hope not.” Princess Elleyzabelle replied.
We entered the room and met the King. That day, we were informed that the human delegation was unsuccessful with their negotiations and decided to return to the Akutan Empire. It was a good news for us because we could finally restart our own negotiations.
After the meeting, I went to play with Shelly, but I couldn't find her. The servants didn't know where she was and when I asked the Prime Minister, he wondered if maybe she was together with her mother.
I did spend quite a lot of time with her recently. Did I interfere on her mother-daughter bonding time? I thought as I returned to my own room.
The following day was the same, and so was the third day, but this time the servants didn't even let me enter Shelly's room.
Confused and a bit irritated by this strange behavior of theirs, on the fourth day I decided to ask the King directly before the negotiations begun and I lost my chance to do so.
“Your Majesty, I apologize for my rude interference, but why are you keeping Shelly away from me?” I asked him.
He remained quiet for a moment and so were my friends.
“I'm not.” her replied as he looked into my eyes.
“What do you mean? I've been trying to meet with her for the past three days but be it the guards or the servants, they all refused to let me see her. They even stopped me from knocking on her door, which I find terribly suspicious. Your Majesty, what happened to Shelly?” I asked as I snapped my tail in the air, causing the Royal Guards here to place their hands on the hilts of their swords.
The King raised his hand and the guards relaxed.
“There is a good reason for that.” he said.
“Princess Eshantiel, my daughter, has been missing for the past three days.” he declared.
“What?” I asked snapping my tail and accidentally making a crack in the floor.
The King gulped.
“At first, we thought it was you, but no kidnapper would dare return to the scene of the crime.” he said.
“Of course it wasn't me! If I wanted to kidnap her, I would have just flown away! Not like you could stop or catch me!” I declared with a nod.
“She does have a point.” Kataryna said.
“That's what we concluded as well. While some of my advisers disagreed, they had no proof to point towards you as being guilty of such a crime. At most, you were only found guilty for ruining the kitchen and scaring our cook when you tried to bake cookies with Princess Eshantiel.” he said.
“Oh, I remember that incident. The royal kitchen looked as though it fell prey to the fury of a hurricane.” said Kataryna with a smirk.
“Your Majesty, I do find it rather unwise for you to look at any of my associates as guilty of kidnapping the Royal Princess. The Albeyater Kingdom wishes for peaceful relationship with your Sarakus Kingdom. As such, we would have nothing to gain from committing such a distasteful act.” said Princess Elleyzabelle with a serious look on her face.
“Who is the main suspect?” I asked, cutting in on the conversation.
“That would be... the humans.” said his Majesty.
I snapped my tail in the air and silence fell over the entire room.
“On what evidence?” I asked.
“We began looking for Princess Eshantiel on the same day as her disappearance. My best men are on the job and from what they had gathered it seemed like Bishop Marconium Bassar used bribery and threats to get through to some of the servants living here. For what end they couldn't tell, they were just told to reveal their usual programs and keep quiet about it for a couple of days.” he said.
My tail snapped in the air again.
“I presume the kidnappers made use of this information to sneak inside the Palace. Fear not!I have sent my best knights after them. Whoever took my precious daughter will pay with their lives!” declared the King.
“But if the human delegates are to blame, then won't it be difficult to accuse them of such an act? They aren't the only humans in your kingdom, are they?” Princess Elleyzabelle asked.
What she was saying was right. Unless his Majesty had absolute evidence that the true criminals were the human delegates, then any accusations brought against them could easily spark another war with the Human Continent, which was exactly what everyone was trying to avoid. Unfortunately, a servant's word could not topple that of the Bishop's.
“Then I will go after them!” I declared.
“You? But Duchess Draketerus, how can we allow you to go after them? Aren't you part of the dragon delegation? If you attack them like that without any proof, then...” he said but I slammed the ground with my tail, cutting off his words.
“Every moment I lose listening to your excuses is a moment I spend away from Shelly's fluffiness! I will do whatever is in my power to find her! And I wish the gods to hear me and grant me the luck I need to do so in this quest of mine!” I declared in a firm tone of voice.
“What?” the King furrowed his brow as he looked at me. “Please reconsider, Duchess, this matter could spark a war between the humans and the dragons!” he said as he got up from his throne.
“Then there is nothing to worry about if that is to happen. If they are innocent, it will be our problem, but if my knight here succeeds in finding the location of your daughter, I do hope we will be properly rewarded.” Princess Elleyzabelle said with a smile, trying to turn this situation to our advantage.
“Wouldn't it be seen as a disgrace towards my own Kingdom if my guests are the ones to solve this delicate matter?”
“What matters most, your Majesty? An act of good will done by the dragons for the relliar people that may or may not be perceived as a disgrace towards the Sarakus Kingdom or... the life and safe return of your own daughter?” the Princess asked as she narrowed her eyes at the relliar king.
“Ugh... When you put it that way...” he looked down and clenched his fists.
“Besides, no horse can outrun a dragoness like Seryanna Draketerus when she spreads her wings and flies through the sky.” said Elleyzabelle with a smile.
“That is true. Now, before I leave...” I said and then unsheathed my sword and cast it ablaze “Is there anyone stupid enough at this court to try to stop me or hindering me in my pursuit of the bastards who kidnapped the princess?” I asked as I spread my killing intent around.
None of the nobles or guards replied, but a lot of them trembled when they felt the pressure of my presence.
“Good.” I said and then sheathed my sword after I stopped the flames.
“As the King of Sarakus Kingdom, I allow you, Duchess Draketerus to proceed with this mission of yours! I have just one question.” he said as he looked right into my eyes.
“Hm?” I tilted my head to the left a little.
“Why would you go to such lengths to save my daughter? Even taking the risk of sparking another all-out war between humans and dragons?” he asked.
Silence fell on this entire audience room as they awaited my sincere answer.
“Why? Isn't it obvious? Because she's my fluffy friend!” I declared proudly and then walked away, leaving the king and the entire court dumbfounded by my reply.
I said no lie. Besides, his Majesty was probably well aware that I wouldn't stand by idle and await for the reply of his subordinates. This human hunt was one in which I also desired to participate.
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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