~ Chapter 15: Unforeseen danger (Part 1) ~
[Seryanna’s point of view]
Of all the stunts Kleo could pull, making me wake up in Alkelios’ bed was by far the worst! I don’t deny the fact that it felt good to be embraced by him, but why couldn’t he just keep his hands to himself? Touching my back scales and grabbing my bottom was crossing the line! A respectable gentleman dragon would never dare to behave in such an inappropriate manner, especially towards an unmarried dragon maiden like myself!
Oh yes! He’s not a respectable gentleman, he’s a human… How could I forget that small detail? I asked myself while walking down the street.
Kleo was severely scolded for what she did, and grandfather made her promise never to use that spell on any of us again. She didn’t comply the first or third time, but cutting off her budget for her trip to the capital convinced her otherwise.
As for Alkelios, even if he was innocent, he still dared to touch me like that, so I had to make sure to teach him a few things about draconic basic common sense in the following days. Our two species were far too different to be together in the manner he wished for. Even if he came from another world, that was no excuse.
Dragons and humans could at most be friends, maybe difficult allies, but lovers was out of the question. I already had a hard time dealing with those of my kind because I had yet to awaken, but if I brought a human mate into the mix, I could end up even being labeled as a traitor to my own species and kingdom. Maybe that was looking it at it in a bit of an extreme way, but it certainly wouldn’t have been good for my master.
Being looked down upon by the other nobles for having a unawakened knight is hard enough, but if I were to have Alkelios as my lover, I could end up being forced to leave her side. Something like that… I can’t let it happen to her, I can’t abandon the Princess like this, not after all she did for me… I thought and let out a long sigh.
There was no need to debate about this, my loyalty towards the Princess was more important than my love life. Besides, humans were known to have a very short lifespan. If I remembered right, by the age of 40 they would all settle down and have children, then twenty or thirty years later, they would die. In other words, the time I had with Alkelios was only of a few decades, a mere moment for a dragon, and this was only if he stayed by my side and didn’t get bored of me.
Stopping in my track, I looked up at the sky for a moment. Three dragons in their awakened forms were either doing some test flights or simply stretching out their wings. I also yearned for the moment when I could see the land from above and feel the gentle winds caressing my scales. The other day, when Kleo dive-bombed right on top of Alkelios, she was trying out some flight tricks. Because she didn’t properly stretched her body before flying off into the sky, she ended up with a terrible muscle cramp while in midair.
The chances of her actually falling with pinpoint accuracy on Alkelios were incredibly low. She still had some control over her direction, so at best, she should have landed in some nearby trees or in the middle of the open road outside of the town.
I guess his Luck works in mysterious ways… Hm, did he by any chance wish for me and him to be together? I asked myself, but then I remembered his warm embrace as we laid there in his bed together.
Blushing strongly, I shook my head and slapped my cheeks.
No! Don’t think about that! It was a one-time thing! It’s NOT going to happen ever again! I WON’T let it happen again! I told myself and as soon as I calmed myself down, I took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly.
A few other dragons were throwing me a questionable look, but I ignored them. I was really glad no one was thinking of me as proper mate material, or that I may actually desire at one point to have a mate. Hearing the women snicker and scorn around me was the last thing I wanted.
Sometimes, I just wished I had the authority to beat them into a bloody pulp, but as long as I was the Princess’ knight, I had to keep a hold on myself and not do anything stupid to bring harm to her reputation. Nonetheless, if these cowards ever tried anything against me or her, I was free to bust their heads open. Although, I had to wonder if by any chance being friends with Alkelios, a human, was in itself a risky situation for the Princess. In the end, if she ordered me to sever ties with him, I would do so no questions asked.
At the moment, I was making my way towards the dragon who had a connection to the bandit group that I borrowed the [Purse] ring from. He was a merchant of used armors and swords near the Two Spirits inn. Thanks to Alkelios’ help, it was finally time for me to end this unpleasant chapter of my life.
The way this deal worked proved to be very smart and cunning of the bandits. I couldn’t kill them, but I could stop or rough them up a bit if I caught them in the act. I also had to let them go with a ‘warning’ of never trying that again. From another point of view, there was nothing wrong with this deal. I wasn’t breaking the law because either killing or arresting them was only up to my own judgment. The worst thing that could happen to me was getting the reputation of being a merciful or lenient knight.
Of course, this whole deal applied only and only to this peculiar group of bandits from which I borrowed the ring, and they were all a very troublesome bunch. The Twin Daggers was what they were called, and I heard rumors that their leader was stronger even than my grandfather.
Standing before the entrance to the second-hand item shop, I took a deep breath and then stepped inside.
“Welcome! Welcome! To Tellios’ Shop of Wonders!” the brown-scaled draconian said the very moment he saw me.
He was taller than me by two palms and most of his face was covered in scales, and a pair of slit, brown eyes were looking back at me. Although selling some rather dubious sets of armors, he was wearing a long red robe with silver embroidery, no weapons and no jewelry.
“I’m here about The Twin Daggers.” I told him with a stern tone of voice.
“Oh? You are that knight, erm… Sir Seryanna?” he asked after he scratched the back of his head with a claw.
It was rather doubtful that someone living in this small town didn’t know of me already.
“Follow me.” he said calmly.
The merchant walked away from the counter and moved to the back of the store. There, he took out a key from his left pocket and opened an old wooden door. A pair of barely lit stairs led us to the basement, where a green-scaled dragon awaited us. He was taller than the merchant, with well formed muscles and scars to prove his strength. The tip of his tail was cut off, and his weapon of choice seemed to be his fists.
Despite his fearsome look, I could easily tell that he was far weaker than me in terms of strength and even he knew this.
“Step aside, the dragoness is here for business.” said the merchant.
“Hmph!” he snorted and moved to the left.
I ignored his glare and entered the room.
There were two dragons there, both of them wearing long, black robes with hoods over their heads, covering their faces to keep me from identifying them. One was seated and the other was standing next to him. They were looking at some scrolls stacked on the table, but they put them away the moment they saw me.
“The knight? What can we do for you?” asked the seated one.
“I’m here to return this.” I told them and then placed the ring on the table.
“What’s this?” asked the man with a raised eyebrow.
“My business with your kind is now over. I have no need for this thing anymore.” I told them firmly.
“I feel thirsty, be kind and go bring us something to drink. Some tea, maybe?” the seated man said and looked up at the one next to him.
The dragon left immediately, going to the room in the back. I squinted my eyes at him as he did so, assuming that maybe they weren’t planning on letting me get out of this deal so easily. It mattered not. To me, all of them were weaklings who deserved to be cut down or thrown into jail for the crimes they had committed.
“Don’t worry, he’s only bringing something to drink, not call for backup.” said the one sitting at the table when he saw me reaching for the hilt of my sword.
“Let us hope so.” I told him , squinting my eyes at him.
“Like I said, you have nothing to worry about. But tell me, are you certain we can’t reach some sort of… compromise? Your services are rather invaluable, and we would appreciate it if we could continue this small ‘trade’ of ours.”
“Fortunately, there is no need for our deal to persist any longer. My business with the ring is over, and I wish to have no further business with your group.” I stated my mind clearly.
“I have to say though, I am rather surprised by this sudden turn of events. Didn’t you require this ring for another half of year or so? They are quite rare and no one wished to sell you one last I remember?” he asked, trying to get a bit more info as to why I would suddenly need to cut off from this deal.
My reasoning was simple enough. I had obtained all the Bloody Mushrooms I needed thanks to Alkelios, and my grandfather’s life would be out of any danger for now. Why would I continue to further deal with these scums when I had only to lose?
Of course, I didn’t wish to let them hear my thoughts on the matter and simply refrained from answering his questions. It would take more than that to pull my tongue.
“I need not explain myself to you.” I cut him off sharply.
“Unfortunate… truly unfortunate.” he said shaking his head.
The other dragon returned with two porcelain cups of tea and placed one in front of me.
“Please, have some. It’s our way of ending these sort of… ‘deals’. A kind gesture from our behalf? The finest tea in the capital! Rossenrhode.” the hooded man stated and then took a sip from his cup to show me that there was nothing wrong with the beverage.
Hm, I am a bit thirsty, and the aroma is pleasant, but I’m in the enemy’s lair… I shouldn’t… I thought, but the tea smelled very good, it overflowed my senses.
Before I could further debate how wise it would have been to drink it, my hand already reached for the cup.
Just a sip wouldn’t hurt, right? I thought, but then something strange happened.
I, who proud myself with incredible dexterity and swordsmanship. I, who learned the art of sword fighting from my grandfather, a veteran general. I, who am a knight serving the third princess of the Dragon Kingdom Albeyater… I didn’t judge the distance right and accidentally bumped the cup, spilling the tea over the table.
My hand froze in that spot, and I looked surprised at what just happened. The chances of someone like me doing this were incredibly low, nearly impossible. Even drunk to the point where I could barely stand, I could still grab hold of a cup of tea… So how? How was it possible for me to spill the tea?
“T-This… d-do not worry, we’ll bring you a new cup.” said the dragon who was standing.
The other one was shocked by this as well, but I found it odd for that to be so.
Something’s not right… I thought to myself and pulled my hand back.
“It appears I’m not feeling too well… Either way, I already gave you your ring back, so there’s no further need for us to continue our deal. Next time I catch your men looting or stealing, they will be judged appropriately on the spot.” I declared and then turned around to leave.
The brute at the door looked back at his boss first.
“Let her pass…” said the hooded man.
The dragon stepped aside, and I made my way out of the basement and out of the store.
Once outside, I took a deep breath in and exhaled slowly. Looking back at my hand, I couldn’t help but recount what happened back there and how strange that event was.
For me to do that… How? If it was poisoned then… Was this Alkelios’ doing? I asked myself, but despite the seriousness of the situation, I just had to remember the way he touched the scales on my back and made me moan, or how his hands felt grabbing my bottom.
I blushed and clenched my fist.
“For this, I’ll let you off…” I told myself and then walked away from there.
The human was probably still at the herbalist, asking about the various plants we discovered in the Seculiar Forest. Seeing how I already finished my business, I decided to head there and meet up with him.
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