~ Chapter 26: Dankyun’s arrival at Fellyore Magic Academy (Part 1) ~

[Dankyun’s point of view]

I waited patiently at the border of the dungeon territory. Just a moment ago, one of the soldiers entered it briefly and measured its level, it was 64. A rather small level for a dungeon with a territory of this size. I doubted the academy needed so much, but most importantly I couldn’t see Nanya sacrificing her own Magic Energy to help out a Dungeon no matter the reason. Ever since I knew her, that woman hated Dungeons to her very core. You could say that was the reason I got close to her. She simply enjoyed destroying the cores of any dungeon we encountered.

The weapon she used, The Dungeon Slayer, was a powerful weapon unlike any I had seen before, and it worked wonders against them. Of course, such a beautiful sword was unfit for someone like her, especially since she refused to use it too often, so I closed my eyes towards my own hate for a while and got close to her. When the time was right, I stole the sword, killed the dungeon and activated the deadliest traps in there. The foolish woman thought I was after the Supreme Skill. That came merely as a bonus, the beautiful sword she carried was my true prize! After all, such enchantments were hard to find, actually, they were impossible to find, and in all my life, I had never heard or saw anything like it, a true treasure among treasures!

“Master… danger… in the forest…” something spoke.

I turned my head and saw this pathetic little runt who appeared from behind a tree. His left hand was broken, his right leg was splintered, and he basically looked like he had a run-in with an ogre. Raising an eyebrow, I unsheathed my sword and pointed it at him.

“Speak!” I ordered.

“Traps in the forest, master… I didn’t see one, but… then… I flew through sky. It shattered my magic armor…” he said after he knelt before me.

Nothing he spoke of interested me in the slightest.

“You are on a dungeon’s territory, isn’t that to be expected?” I asked.

“Yes, but… but… there was no building there! It was a trap placed in the middle of the forest like it was summoned especially for me!” he told me, but I could tell something else was scaring him.

Nevertheless, it was quite clear he failed miserably in his mission. Judging from what he told me, he wasn’t even able to get through the forest, let alone sneak inside the academy’s buildings and find out information about Princess Ayuseya. He failed me miserably, and for that, I saw no reason in letting him keep on breathing.

“You have done enough.” I said and a small smile appeared on his face, believing that he was spared. “Dismemberment by horses is your reward for your failure!” I declared.

“What? Milord! Have mercy!” he pleaded, but I ignored him.

Four of my soldiers approached him and dragged him off. One muffled him to keep his squeals and screams silent. It was best that way. There were many nobles out there who preferred to listen to the lullaby sung by tortured folk, but I preferred their silence.

While he was being tied down to four horses, I moved closer to the edge of the Dungeon Territory and waited for my troops to be done. It didn’t take long to rip him apart, these were draft horses, the strongest when it came to leg power, and also the only ones capable of carrying draconian soldiers. Human horses were so small when compared to those in Teslov or those on the Sorone continent.

“It has been done, milord!” said one of the Emperor Rank commanders.

“Good! We advance now.” I ordered.

“Any special orders for us?” asked the el’doraw assassin as she approached me.

“Yes. I wish you to continue the mission of that pathetic piece of flesh. Find me the location of the dungeon and its core. Find out where Princess Ayuseya is hiding. Find out what you can about Mad Destroyer Nanya.” I ordered calmly as I stepped into the Dungeon Territory.

My sword trembled a bit when the enchantment of Fear was activated. It would cause the dungeon core to tremble before me and maybe even force it to make some unwilling mistakes. If it attacked me, then I had the perfect excuse to destroy this place Nanya found refuge in. Of course, I could always instigate an attack. In any case, I planned on making my stay long and painful for her until I found out where exactly my pet was hiding.

[Nanya’s point of view]

Seeing Illsy show so much fear towards Dankyun reminded me of how powerful my stolen sword really was. Many saw it as a true treasure when it came to that, but for me, it was nothing but a reminder of the suffering I went through because of it. I often wished to simply throw it away in the nearest river, but it was too powerful to let it land in anyone’s hands.

Back then, when Dankyun stole it from me, he told me that only a fool would think about giving up such a powerful weapon. Only a madman would think about becoming weaker in a world where the strong ruled the weak. Maybe that was true. I was a mad woman who wished to cast away her fangs because those were fangs forced upon me not earned through hard work. To receive it, all I had to do was be born, nothing else.

What sort of father would create and gift such a thing to his own daughter? A weapon meant only to shed the blood of unworthy… mates. I thought as I looked towards Therion City.

When Dankyun betrayed me, I thought I was never going to see it again. I thought that I was finally rid of it, but just like a boomerang, the blasted thing was now coming back to me.

Out there, the man who betrayed me, who killed my party, robbed me, and left me for dead in a dungeon was heading towards my little sanctuary out here, in the Shoraya Empire. If I could have chosen, I would have wished for this cursed reunion to never happen. I struggled between two thoughts: retrieving my sword and killing Dankyun. I didn’t wish for the first, but I desired the latter.

If it was the old me, the one he left for dead back in that dungeon, I wouldn’t have struggled with this dilemma. I would have jumped out of Illsy’s grasp and ran towards him roaring like a maniac. I would have given my all to kill him without a single care about who got hurt in the process… The old Nanya died in that dungeon.

Closing my eyes, I remembered the moment… It was dark, it was cold, and I was bleeding a lot. My friends were dead, and one of the monsters left in the dungeon was feasting on Zero’s insides. The stench turned my stomach upside down, and I knew I was to be next. I couldn’t move from that place, I was trapped. Second after second, minute after minute, time passed by and slowly dragged me towards my end. My mind refused to hope for a way out, refused to accept the possibility of an escape… I simply waited… waited to be killed.

It was then when he came and rescued me, a young magician with a bright smile, the one named Tuberculus. He killed the monster, well… barely. After he freed me, he gave me a healing potion and brought me outside. I was a total mess, but if it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t have survived. Of course, young as he was, he kept hitting on me for a while until he realized that I had no desire to be loved or love another. Last time I tried, I ended up betrayed, robbed, and nearly dead. Love was only a tool foolish people used to exploit others, and I was just another unlucky sucker.

Saying that I didn’t trust anyone wasn’t a lie. Although Tuberculus tried countless times to show that he was my friend, my heart never believed him. In time, I learned to partially trust him, but never fully. Even when danger surrounded us from all sides and we fought side by side, I was always prepared to get stabbed in the back in the middle of the battle. Never trust anyone, never show your heart to anyone, never love again… that was what Dankyun taught me. It was the hard, cold truth of life everyone ran away from.

I allowed myself to trust him once. I allowed myself to accept him. I allowed myself to believe that maybe it was possible and then, right when I needed him the most, he left me for dead, he abandoned me for his own profit and gain, he robbed me of my most precious belongings and left me for dead.

Tuberculus wasn’t the first one to try to conquer my heart after Dankyun, there were others too, but every time I heard the words of ‘love’ and ‘trust’, I remembered that moment when that bastard left me for dead… I also remembered that last night we had together, how he held me in his arms, how he constantly whispered those words in my ears just to make me lower my guard, how he promised me that we would always be together. I was caught in his trap, I was severed from reason and couldn’t see the signs of lies.

I should have known something was up the moment he… I shook my head as I remembered the moment.

That night, I entered his tent… I showed him my unsealed form and wished for him to take me… No! I shouldn’t remember that. It will only cause me to feel the terrible pain of betrayal even more.

Although I changed since then, I still wanted to kill that bastard, Dankyun, but before I did that, I had to make sure no one was going to suffer in the ensuing battle.

Maybe after he leaves, I’ll chase him down and kill him… I thought as I saw the Fellyore Magic Academy coming into view.

No one there was suspecting a thing. They were calm and minding their own school days as usual, believing they were safe in the presence of Emperor Rank teachers and me, a Godlike Rank. They had no idea a Supreme and his army were approaching them at that very moment.

Despite all of that, there was still one funny thought that crossed my mind: Illsy’s words.

Hearing a Dungeon Lord like him speak of love and trust was both funny and strange. I understood he was a weird and unusual Dungeon, but I could hardly believe he actually meant those words. No matter what Illsy told me or how close he got to me, I was expecting him to sacrifice me, Shanteya, and Ayuseya the moment things proved too dangerous for him. After all, I never doubted the possibility of him just faking his emotions towards us just to get what he desired, meaning a powerful mate, but even so, somewhere deep inside me, I wished those were the lies and that his emotions were the absolute bare truth. I wished that when the time came, he wouldn’t abandon me, he wouldn’t betray me, he would give his all, and eventually prove to me that I was wrong and love can exist, but still… that was just a dream, right? A dungeon can’t possibly love.

When will Illsy betray me, I wonder? I thought.

[Ayuseya’s point of view]

If someone told me a week ago that I would end up as the wife of a Dungeon Lord, and a Godlike one at that, I would have thought they were crazy, or maybe they wanted to make fun of me. Yet, here I was, wearing the proof of me belonging to one, the black ring on my finger. Instead of a gold and silver one with a magic stone resembling the color of my scales, I received a magic tattoo.

Ever since I was young, I was constantly reminded of how a royal of the Pleyades family should behave. I had to always stay refined, elegant, with a flawless beauty, and peerless wisdom. I was to be an example, but at the same time, I had to hold all the right attributes to charm a Supreme. My role within the family was simple: charm someone powerful and bear their children, continue the royal bloodline.

For that single mission, I had to study arts, literature, politics, economics, magic, anything that I could use to charm someone and prove to them I wasn’t like all the other foolish women in the kingdom. Failure was not an option. Failure meant to participate in a ‘ball’.

Although many believed I was the oldest in the family, that was not entirely true, I was the oldest one alive. Many years back, I had a sister who was older than me by four years. Her time came a bit too early because of the curse, and she was forced from a young age to find herself a husband, but she failed. Unwilling to see her life waste away like that, she accepted to join a ‘ball’. There, she slept with as many men as she could in order to have higher chance of ending up pregnant.

On the outside, the ‘ball’ was just another elegant party, but once the clock struck 12, it turned into an orgy. Various Emperor Rank draconian men from noble bloodlines as well as simple adventurers in the area were invited to the party. There, they were forced to wear a special magic enchanted mask to keep their identity hidden. Until midnight, they were allowed to eat, drink, and dance as they pleased, but afterwards, the true purpose of the ‘ball’ was revealed. Wearing nothing but a mask, women of various lineages arrived to entertain the guests. The men then had their way with them, passing along the most beautiful one as one would a good bottle of wine.

Throughout draconian history, such events were often organized when the draconians didn’t wish to know who the father or the mother of their possible child was. Anyone could join as long as they were of adult age. Of course, for regular folks, the adventurer rank was unimportant.

A month later, my sister received the news that she was heavy with a child, unfortunately, she never got to raise it. She died a month after giving birth.

If I had failed to find a Supreme Ranked husband in the next five years, I was to suffer a similar fate. I was to participate in a ‘ball’ and pray to end up heavy with a child, otherwise, I would die as a failure to the family.

My sister always regretted until her last breath the fact that she was cursed with such a life, to live and die only to give birth to a child to preserve the bloodline. It was ridiculous, but there was nothing she could do. The curse was there and kept her chained up like an animal even if she was born in the royal draconian family.

I feared such a fate as well, and honestly speaking, I was happy when I found out that I was to become Dankyun’s wife. To serve only one man felt like a blessing, but it didn’t take long for me to realize it was just another part of my curse. Neither in the hands of a man nor in those of many did I saw a reason to lead a life for such a purpose. It was because of that reason that I ran away, but in doing so, I shamed my family.

Letting out a sigh, I flew over to my bookcase. In this darkness called the Inner Mind of a Dungeon Lord, I didn’t see escape either, maybe just a temporary prison. Nevertheless, there was one big difference between the being feared by all men and women no matter their age and strength and the one acclaimed as a hero and mighty Supreme Rank adventurer. Where one cured me of my curses and set me free, the other added another curse and threatened to kill me if I didn’t obey.

I picked up an old book and opened it to the middle. A single letter was there. The envelope paper was worn off, but the seal was still intact, proof that it was never opened.

Maybe it’s time? I thought as I gently felt the aged paper.

It was a letter written by my mother right before she died, a final advice she was never able to tell me. It made me wonder what sort of words I could find hidden inside and as a young girl, it always sparked my imagination and fascinated me like a hidden treasure inside a dungeon would a party of brave adventurers.

I took a deep breath and broke the seal. I held the air in my lungs as I opened it slowly and took out the letter hidden inside the envelope. As I exhaled, I started to read the first lines.

My dear daughter, I’m sorry… You were born into a cursed family, one believed to be without future or hope. I left this letter knowing that you will read it after you got married to a Supreme and hopefully didn’t attend a ball. By now, you probably noticed that your name is a bit different than that of the first prince. The name Drekar passes by unnoticed to many ears, but it is not I who gave it to you, but your father. It is his name, and he was a True Dragon.

When the time comes, my daughter, know that after your first child is born, you will be sacrificed to our gods and with your life, the curse on the family shall be cut in half.

I write these words to warn you, but I pray and wish you won’t do the foolish thing of running away from this great responsibility! Your child will bear the blood of a True Dragon and like you, they shall be sacrificed when the time is right. This way, your great grandchildren will be able to free us of this terrible curse, and they shall ascend to the throne as the rightful rulers as they should be! Ayuseya Drekar Pleyades, you have been granted a great honor, my child! So fear not your death and embrace it! Bear a child or more and know that through their deaths, they shall greatly honor our royal bloodline!

My daughter, with great sadness I write the next words for you, and I pray this shall never be the case!

If you fled from this responsibility… may the gods damn you with their eternal wrath! For ruining this chance for us, for destroying the only hope this family had, I hope you shall suffer the pain of a thousand deaths!

My hands trembled, and I dropped the letter. Tears flowed over my cheeks like rivers during a flood. I couldn’t hold them back, I couldn’t hold back the pain in my chest, and the fear in my heart. Wherever I turned, life seemed only bent on casting me away, but I never expected something like this, not from my own mother…

To be used as a sacrifice to the gods. To be forced to offer my life in order to weaken the curse cast down upon my family just because my father was a True Dragon. How could I, how could anyone accept something like this?

I whimpered and cried alone in that darkness, in the place I hid from the one who was supposed to bring me back to my kingdom and for whom I was supposed to give birth to a child only so I could ultimately offer my own life to some god.

I couldn’t believe the kind and warm smile of my mother held such a terrible destiny for me. Was this the reason why Dankyun wanted me so desperately to be his wife? Maybe he wished for the royal family to recover? No… even if that was true, there were many other ways to keep me by his side. He could have lied and whisper me sweet words of love, fool me in order to become loyal only to him. What he did to me was out of hate, otherwise, why curse me like that? He wanted the gold in our vaults and the power of our armies, not the future of our kingdom.

But why didn’t the high nobles and the priests act differently towards me while I was there? Did they not know of this? That may be it, but what if they did and didn’t wish for the royal family to recover?

I closed my eyes and tried think of something else. The politics of my homelands, the deceit of my own kind was too great to bear. It hurt, it really hurt… but I was alone. All my life, it appears I was alone. Even my own mother only saw me as the tool needed to restore the kingdom…

Alone… I whispered through my whimpers.

Then, in that moment, as though the darkness itself felt my suffering and knew the way to ease the pain in my heart, it let me hear the echo of Illsyore’s words from yesterday, when he stole my first kiss.

Listen, Ayuseya… I’m not going to lie to you… From now on, I’m going to try… looking at you as a woman, my woman. You are my wife now… even if this whole thing started as a ‘not not’ joke… I’m going to take responsibility… and eventually win your heart… You may not trust me yet… and probably I don’t fully trust you either right now, but that kiss I just stole from you… is the sealed pact… that I will do my best… to eventually steal your heart!

The words were cut off here and there, but that was definitely Illsyore’s voice. I remembered them, but I didn’t believe them. In my mind, the idea that he held some sort of ulterior motive kept echoing in my ears and kept me on guard. I didn’t trust a dungeon, I couldn’t, but when I came with the suggestion of making me his slave once more and hiding me in this place, I knew I could very well risk my freedom, although, it seems I didn’t have much to begin with. Maybe that was his intent all along, especially when I thought about this ridiculous marriage, but then again…

Even if they were all lies, he is the only one who said such words to me… I said out loud as I stretched out my hand towards the darkness as if I wished to grab hold of him and pull him here, with me, to help me get through this awful moment.

You know, I was scared when you kissed me… I was even more scared when I woke up and felt your hand on my thigh. I said and showed towards this darkness a smile soaked with my tears. This marriage… is ridiculous, but as my husband, you have all the right to touch me. I knew that… I knew I wasn’t allowed to fight back, to push you away even if I was scared. Still, why? Why was your kiss so gentle? Why was your touch so kind? Why didn’t you use me? Why didn’t you force yourself on me? Answer me, Illsyore! Why? When I was scared, when I was at your mercy, why didn’t you take advantage of me like any other man would? Why didn’t you rip my clothes off and had your way with me? Why didn’t you demand anything for my curse? For putting you and this school in danger? WHY?! I screamed at the darkness while my tears flowed without a stop over my cheeks and floated off the tip of my chin.

I was screaming at nothing but an echo… at a darkness… There was nothing there, and so I kept weeping, I kept crying alone.

I’m sorry, Ayuseya… he answered back, and I looked up surprised. He wasn’t there, but the sound of his voice echoed all around me. It was sad and soft, almost like he was in pain from saying those words. I didn’t think that… I… I simply loved the way you played, the gentle tunes you created, and I wished to help you somehow. Payment for your curse never crossed my mind… As for the other… Ayuseya, I’m sorry. I didn’t wish to make you scared. I didn’t wish to make you feel afraid. I only wished to show you that I was doing my best to be by your side, to become yours, as your husband… I… no… Ayuseya, if from now on you want to sleep alone, away from me, I understand. It was my fault for pushing myself on you. I frightened you, I scared you, and that was the exact opposite of what I wished to show you. Guess I just wanted to let you know that even though I am a dungeon, I won’t try to treat you differently because of your status or species. I wanted to show you, that I can try to fall in love with you and feel safe in your embrace just like I wished you would feel safe in mine. I’m sorry… his soft words ended, and with them, the darkness around me fell in silence once more.

I was left without words.

A dungeon apologized to me. A dungeon apologized for its mistake. A dungeon… never meant me harm, no, Illsyore never meant me harm. If his words were true, then it was I who was the fool.

Illsy… I said with a soft voice, but I merely closed my mouth and pulled my knees to my chest. My heart and mind were in tatters. What was I to believe now?

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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Scott P

This section and ones before show a remarkable increase in writing maturity and emotional characterization, bravo.

James Hunt
James Hunt