~ Chapter 88: Fires at the docks (Part 3) ~
Half an hour later, there was not even a single one of them standing, and all three ships had sunk to the bottom of the sea. I stood there among the flames, watching as the last one of these disgusting fellows perished.
“Is it over?” Kataryna asked as she landed outside of the flaming inferno.
“Yes.” I replied.
If not for my affinity to fire and my well controlled Magic Energy, I would have burnt and suffocated as well.
“Are you going to put out this fire or should I?” she asked.
I lifted my hand up and touched the gentle flames. They were loyal to me, obedient, yet they were also a power that was hungry for destruction. My affinity with this element had its own faults. It was at times unstable while also quite easy to lose control over, but the worst part was that it whispered me to set it free and unleash its wrath upon the world.
It was such an easy to understand desire and if I obeyed, I would feel calm, relaxed, at peace even.
“Yes.” I replied to Kataryna as I kept that desire in check and put off all the fires around me.
It was like they simply ran out of fuel.
“Then we should return to the capital. I've taken the liberty to speak with the Lord of this region and he agreed to take care of the relliars until an official from the capital arrived. I made sure he understood that his Majesty wouldn't be so kind if he came to hear that these poor folk were treated badly by him until their situation was resolved.” she explained with a smirk.
She probably threatened him... I thought, but I let it go.
This matter was finally done with. The human delegates had been punished and Shelly avenged.
“Let's go back.” I said with a smile.
We spread our wings and took flight. Our journey back would be a relaxed one. None of us would be in a hurry, and during our camping time, we would get plenty of rest before departing again. It would take us around two days to reach the capital.
When we got back, we received the good news that the negotiations with King Kragarr Ruvus had been successful and that a trading treaty had been officially signed. Not only that, but we also signed a contract of mutual military assistance. If either kingdom would be under attack by a foreign nation, the other would do its best to both accept refugees and send forces to help out.
This was indeed a joyous moment and the King held a great feast in our honor.
At that time, I finally got to see Shelly again. She was bundled up in clothes that hid her shaved appearance. For relliars, their fur was like the scales of a dragon, a part of their identity and natural beauty. I couldn't imagine what she must have felt when she was shaved by that monster.
When she entered the room, everyone was quiet and were looking at her.
“Mewhello~” she said with a shy look in her eyes and carefully approached us.
She used a long purple velvet scarf to cover her neck and head. Her tail was also hid behind her clothes.
I got up from my seat and approached her.
She look up at me for a moment and then lowered her head.
“I'm sowy...” she said and then started to sniffle.
“Why?” I asked as I knelt before her and gently placed my hand on top of her head.
Her little ears twitched under the cloth.
“I lost my fur... I'm not fwuffy anymore... and... and that man... he said mean things about you. For a moment... mew... I-I believed him. I'm sowy!” she said and tears trickled down her cheeks.
“Is that why you asked the guards not to let me inside your room?” I asked her.
As soon as I returned, I rushed to see this little kitten, but she refused to see me. Because it was her will, I didn't try to persuade the matter anymore. I thought that maybe she got frightened after she heard what I did to the humans.
“Yes...” she nodded.
“It's not because I took revenge for what happened to you?” I asked.
“No!” she shook her head fast and because of that, the scarf was pulled aside, revealing her bald head.
When she realized what she had done, she looked back at me in shock. She was trembling and there were tears in her eyes. No doubt she thought that I was going to abandon her because she had lost her fur. That was a foolish thought.
With a smile on my lips, I embraced the frightened child and gently nuzzled her like I did before.
“Shelly, no matter what, you are still an adorable fluffy relliar princess whom I cherish very much and if anyone dares to say otherwise, they will be burnt to a crisp!” I told her.
“Y-You'll be my fwend even if I'm not fwuffy?” she asked as her tears dripped down her cheeks.
“Of course.” I nodded and then placed a kiss on her forehead.
The relliar stopped trembling, but she continued to cry as I held her in my arms. Those who witnessed this scene remained quiet and allowed this moment of healing to take place.
After the party, everything seemed to have returned to normal. I continued to play with Shelly, who for the most part didn't show to have any remaining psychological scars, but my instinct told me this wasn't true. She also stopped hiding her shaved fur around others and just calmly waited for it to grow back.
On the day of our departure, we offered our farewells to the King of the Sarakus Kingdom, his Queen, and all those we had met there. Princess Elleyzabelle had to extend her farewells to multiple relliars whom had helped her with the negotiations in various ways.
Although when we first arrived at the capital most of them were against our presence here and didn't even think about supporting the treaties, right now that didn't seem to be the case anymore.
For me, the most difficult farewell I had to offer was with little Shelly. She didn't want me to go, and I understood why. Over these past several days, she had gotten terribly attached to me. I was her friend and also her savior, and no one blamed her for thinking like that. Yet, in the future, given her delicate political position this relationship could be seen as both something good and bad. I wasn't a fool not to understand something like this.
“Don't go...” she told me with begging eyes.
I looked into her eyes and then patted her head.
“Although I will be quite far away from you, I will still be your friend. If Albeyater and Sarakus continue with this friendly relationship, then in time, you will see me again. Maybe when you are older, you will come visit me. I hope that then you will also get to meet my husband, Alkelios.” I told her with a smile.
“B-But I don' wan' you to go...” she sniffled “What if the bad man comes again and hwurts me?” she asked.
Hearing this, the little one confirmed one of the things that I had feared. Despite her strong front, she didn't just get over what happened to her. It was impossible and highly unlikely. Nonetheless, if she continued to be dependent of me like this, than she would stunt her own growth.
I looked into her eyes, and I knew that what I was about to say was not going to come as easy. These words could even make the fluffy one hate me.
Before I did so, I knelt before her and placed both hands on her shoulders, so that she would not turn away when I spoke with her.
“Shelly, when we came to Sarakus, we came looking for the Baby Tooth of a Relliar Royalty. It is something that Albeyater is desperately searching for, yet we leave with empty hands and hope that through some miracle and good will, your father, the King, will be able to acquire one for us.” I said and then let out a sigh. “Shelly, my mission here is over, and I must move on. I know and understand that what you have been through was terrible. I was the one who rescued you, after all, and I know it's not easy to accept or move past that. The bad man might still haunt your dreams and cause you to fear others, but that will only be so if you let him do it. Neither I nor anyone else here has that sort of power.”
“But what if I can't do it?” she asked.
“Of course you can. All of us did in one way or another. All of us had that sort of a bad man we were afraid of at one point, someone who was haunting our dreams and causing us to look away in fear, but all of us fought back and won. That's why you can do it. When he appears next time in your dreams, don't look away from him, don't run away, don't scream for help. Fight him! Shout at him and use every single drop of your will to make him bend down to you, to make him shake in fear of you, to make him go away. I can't do that for you, only you can. Remember these words of mine, Shelly, remember them well.” I told her and then gently squeezed her shoulders.
She didn't say anything, she only looked into my eyes.
“Shelly, I know that in the eyes of all those around me right now what I am about to say is something terrible, but listen well for it will give you the strength you need in the future.”
“Out there, in the real world, you will find a lot more bad men, maybe some even worse than the one I had killed.”
She started trembling, but I held her tight and forced her to look into my eyes.
“But the power they hold over you is something that you will offer to them by being afraid of them. Fear is not something to hide, to fight against, or to ignore. Fear is something that you must understand. If you fear the bad man, ask yourself why you fear him. What is the cause of that fear? Shame? Pain? Insults? Find the reason of the fear, then see if it is really worth to let it exist inside your heart. Look at each and every bad man you will encounter right in the eyes and then ask yourself if you really are afraid of him or if HE wants you to be afraid of him? If it's the latter, then never give him the satisfaction. You are still young, right now, Shelly, but you have a lot to grow and a lot to learn. You can live a life in which you protect yourself from bad men or you can live a life in which their influence over you means nothing. You can live a life in which you hold a strong fire within your heart, and every time they try to put it out, you cut them down with your sword.” I stopped and took a deep breath in.
“Dwon't fight fwear... dwon't hide it... dwon't ignore it...” she repeated.
“Yes, understand it and then conquer it. If you learn to do that, then there won't be any more bad men out there, just fools who try to stand in your way. Light the fire in your hear and never let it be put out!” I told her as I gently squeezed her shoulders.
“Mn!” she nodded and showed me a smile.
“Good girl!” I said and patted her head, making her twitch her ears and wave her tail.
“Um, you said you needed a baby tooth?” she asked.
“Yes.” I nodded.
“Would mine work?” she asked as she pointed at her open mouth.
“Yes, I think it would, but didn't you already lost all of your baby teeth?” I asked tilting my head to the left.
“Mn!” she shook her head left and right. “Wait here!” she said and then ran back to her room.
We waited for her calmly. No one commented on the words I threw at Shelly, and she herself didn't seem to have taken it badly.
Maybe I am good at this parenting thing? I thought.
When she returned, she had a small decorated jewelry box in her hands.
“Here!” she said and then handed it to me.
I picked up the box and opened it to look inside.
“This... Is this your baby tooth?” I asked surprised and then I showed it to Elleyzabelle.
“Mn!” she nodded happily.
“I think it's the real thing.” Elleyzabelle said.
“We never had a custom of keeping our baby teeth, but I guess... in light of recent events, maybe we should start a new tradition?” King Kragarr wondered as he rubbed his chin.
“It might prove interesting, indeed.” Elleyzabelle replied with a nod as she packed the tooth within her [Purse] ring.
“Why did you keep it?” Drameer Ruvus asked.
“Mmm? Because mama once said that it bwing good luck?” she replied.
“Good luck? Did say that?” Drameer tilted her head in confusion.
“Maybe this is Alkelios' luck at play?” wondered Elleyzabelle as she looked at me.
“No, I don't think so. His luck wouldn't have had an effect on an event that already took place in the past. I think that maybe... this our own luck?” I replied as I looked back at her.
“Maybe.” she showed me a smile.
Looking back at Shelly, I gave her one last hug and then told her “Grow strong so no bad men will dare touch you again.”
“Mn!” she nodded with a smile and wiped her tears off.
We departed on good terms and made our way toward Nirvill Port where we would board our ship.
This was what happened on the Relliar Continent. I made a new friend, and we successfully completed our mission. A year later, I would begin to receive letters from Shelly almost every month. It was her mother Drameer's idea.
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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