~ Chapter 39: On our way to Drakaria (Part 1) ~
[Alkelios' point of view]
I messed up...
No, I didn't just mess up... I failed completely!
And I had no idea why in the first place. Looking back, there shouldn't have been ANY reason why I couldn't get it up? It was like my body simply rejected the very thought and idea of being together with Seryanna... or was this an excuse as well?
I couldn't figure it out, I couldn't understand why that happened... and no matter how hard I tried to think about it, there were less and less reasons on account of which I could have ended up in that situation. The more I tried to, the more I saw myself as nothing but a pathetic loser.
To put it in simple words, I began to harbor a certain disgust for myself... for my human side.
After Seryanna fell asleep, I couldn't close my eyes. Being unable to understand why something like this happened, eaten up by guilt and remorse, I couldn't fall asleep. I stood by her side and cuddled her in my arms. She didn't try to move away from me, on the contrary... throughout the night, she was unwilling to move away no matter how hot it got.
Looking at her like this, I knew she didn't want to let me go, but there was also something inside me that refused to release her. Just like when she started crying... At first, I wanted to run away in shame, but my arms refused to let her leave my embrace. It was like my body had a mind of its own... No matter what, letting go of her was a big NO.
Thus, the night passed by without me catching a single wink of sleep.
The following day, she woke up but didn't say a word. We remained in each other arms like that for almost an entire hour before she moved and gave me a kiss. I welcomed it like a hungry beast and squeezed her in my arms tightly.
“Do you love me?” she asked me after our lips separated.
She wasn't looking at me in the eyes.
“Yes.” I replied without a single moment of hesitation.
With a small smile on her lips, she lowered her head on my chest and then whispered to me “I'll wait then...”
Hearing her, the guilt went up by several levels. It strangled me from inside, but the worst part was that I had no idea what I thought myself to be guilty of. I was a fool or maybe an idiot not to be able to realize this much, but such was human nature.
Sometimes the easiest of answers are the hardest to spot even if they are sitting right under your nose... I thought, remembering what father once told me.
At noon, we got dressed, ate a quick meal and then went to say our farewells to the generous merchant who let us stay in his home for two nights.
“Are you sure you don't want to stay for another night?” he asked while most likely thinking of the potions I would make for him in exchange.
“Yes. We appreciate everything you did for us, mister Vanazalez, but it's time for us to resume our journey, especially now that Seryanna's all healed up.” I replied with a smile.
“Is that so? Well, when you return to this town, if you'll ever need someplace to stay, don't hesitate to drop by my shop! I will gladly welcome you!” he said with a big smile.
“We will take your offer into consideration the next time we arrive here. Good bye, mister Vanazalez!” I said and then we parted ways
The longer I stayed the more potions he received for free, each one probably costing more than a rent at a local inn. However, it was far more comfortable and secure here than there. I also didn't mind making them as long as I wasn't using my own ingredients.
What I did notice, however, was that I was in a real need of some sort of [Purse] ring as well. Maybe something like an [Item Backpack]? If I ended up stumbling upon a situation where I needed to make something, I was helpless unless someone offered me both the materials and the lab.
In games, there was always the convenient menu of Item Creation, through which with just one click, you could create the most complex and powerful of items. At most, you would need to be 'around' a lab, not directly interact with it.
Once me and Seryanna arrived at the gates, we saw an almost unending line. Countless dragons were trying to leave Toros, but only the healthy ones were allowed to do so. After all, the next settlement after this town was the capital of Albeyater Kingdom, Drakaria. They certainly didn't want anyone bringing the Dragon Flu there.
As such, all we had to do now was wait in line.
When it was finally our turn, we were stopped by the guards.
“Wait, I remember you two! She was sick, go back!” he glared at us.
“That's a bit rude. Does she look sick?” I asked raising an eyebrow.
“I saw her with my own eyes. She was coughing and sneezing!” he rebuked.
“Is she sneezing and coughing now?” I asked him.
“She's keeping it in!” he glared.
“Are you accusing me of lying?” Seryanna asked as she glared at him.
“Yeah! That's what I'm doing! You're lying! So what are you going to do about it?” he said with a big smirk on his face.
Seryanna unsheathed her sword and then pointed it at him.
“How about I send you to jail for insulting a Royal Knight?” she suggested.
“What? You think your lies are going to work here? Huh?” he asked.
“Well, I'm pretty sure if you are going to keep this up, you are going to end up dead, so why don't you call your supervisor here before that happens.” I advised him.
“You think I'm afraid of a wom...”
His words were cut off as someone knocked him out from behind.
“For one of my men to act so rude in front of a knight. How shameful.” a tall dragon wearing a full-plate armor said as he grabbed the unconscious guard by the scruff of his neck.
“Are you the one in charge here?” Seryanna asked as she lowered her sword.
“Yes. My apologizes, Sir Draketerus.” he said and made a small bow in front of her.
“You know of me?”
“Of course. I was there when the king gave you the title of a Royal Knight under The Third Princess of the Dragon Kingdom Albeyater, Elleyzabelle Sojourn Seyendraugher. At that time, I was dressed as a noble who was merely lucky enough to attend the ceremony.” he said with a smile.
“May I ask your name as well?” Seryanna asked.
“Of course! I am Baron Theryan Overdaken! The head of the guards in Toros.” he replied with a smile.
“I will remember that name.” she said as she sheathed her sword.
“Thank you, it will be an honor.”
“Then, I will presume there is no reason to hold us here at the gates, is there?” Seryanna asked, squinting her eyes at him.
“Of course not! You show none of the symptoms, so you are free to pass through the gates. Have a safe journey, Sir Draketerus!” he said with a smile.
While I was staring at them dumbfounded, the guards moved aside to let us pass. I quickly followed in the redhead's steps until we were both outside and walking towards the bridge crossing over the Great Chasm.
Seeing it for the first time, it was a rather impressive sight to behold. The long, white bridge stretched from one side to the other of the Great Chasm. Strong, enchanted white stones were assembled perfectly to form this incredible construction, although, without magic, it would have certainly crumbled to pieces by now. The crest of the kingdom found on its flags was engraved at every 10 meters on the sides, while a magic crystal constantly shun light over it. The fire-engulfed sword was imposing and menacing. It inspired strength, but also courage in my opinion.
The first time I saw a flag of the kingdom was at Brekkar's house. It was in one of his storerooms. If a passing by maid didn't tell what it was, I wouldn't have recognized it now as we crossed this bridge.
Behind us, the tall walls of Toros stood as a final defense against anyone or anything who would dare cross the bridge illegally. Imposing and strong, they also separated one side of the kingdom from the other. It was as if saying that once you crossed this bridge, you were expected to encounter a whole new and far more dangerous world.
“It's... deep.” I said as I looked over the edge at the abyss of the Great Chasm.
It was like staring into the gates of Hell. I was expecting any moment now for a monster of some sort to jump out and drag me down there.
“Watch your step.” Seryanna warned me.
“Don't worry, I'm not going to fall.” I said as I stepped away and returned to her side.
Looking into her eyes, I took her hand and then gave her a kiss on the cheek.
“Are you still upset with me?” I asked.
She looked down and then back at me.
“I don't know if I'm upset... I don't know what happened...” she said and shook her head.
“Me either... Honestly, I don't know...” I said as I looked down.
I blinked surprised.
“Not letting me go.” she showed me a smile.
I embraced her.
“I didn't because I love you...”
“I love you too...” she replied and returned my embrace.
After we shared a kiss, we continued to cross the huge bridge until we reached the other side.
Over there, we found a big inn, the stables for the Khosinni, and several campsites.
“So many dragons...” said Seryanna as she looked around.
“Yeah, they are probably waiting for someone they know in Toros. It's better to wait them here than to risk getting sick as well.” I said.
“I do not deny this fact. I wonder where Kataryna and Kleo are though?” she said as she looked around.
It was the same for me, I couldn't see them.
“Let's go inside. Maybe they are waiting for us in there?” Seryanna suggested.
“Sure.” I nodded.
The two of us walked to the front door of the inn and stepped inside. It was a three story building with a stable connected to it and several rooms. It was more of a noble's mansion than a traveler's inn. Inside, the whole place was decorated with wood sculptures and lit up by several magic crystals. If my math wasn't wrong there were at least 30 tables in here spread across the whole floor. Most of them were occupied with two or more dragons. Six waitresses were running back and forth from the kitchen, holding trays filled with food or tankards of mead.
There were two bartenders managing the drinks, but of the two of them, one was a dwarf.
For the first time ever since I was dropped in this world, I saw someone who wasn't a dragon. On the inside, I was almost squealing with excitement, but at the same time, my curiosity skyrocketed. I couldn't help but wonder how and why they were here.
Just to be safe, I asked Seryanna “Is that a dwarf?”
“Yes.” she nodded.
“How? Why is he here?” I asked surprised.
She giggled “I think someone like you is more of an unbelievable sight then him.”
“How come?” I asked.
“Humans are at war with the dragons, while the dwarfs have a neutral standing with us. They are mostly merchants and craftsmen, so it's natural that you will find many of them scattered throughout many kingdoms. Human parties and elfin parties especially seem to employ them for their toughness and ability to fight with ease in otherwise tight corridors for the others. Dragons do the same with tricky dungeons. Or at least, that's what he told me.” she pointed at the dwarf who was filling up a tankard.
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