~ Side Story: The memories of an old general (Part 3) ~
[At the end of the battle for Sendra]
The fortress that bared the name of my beloved wife also held her maimed body hanged on the castle walls. In my fury and rage, I sought nothing but the desire to find and kill those responsible for this. My body burned with energy as I fought against the human who achieved a Breakthrough.
After massacring half of his army on my own, I finally faced him and let my power rage on the scorched battlefield. The battle was merciless and took far longer than I had initially planned. The coward constantly used his own men to stave off my attacks, dodging whenever he had the chance, retreating rather than attacking.
Maybe I was too enraged, but I constantly pushed myself without caring what sort of damage it would inflict on my body. To be honest, I wasn't even aware of it until it was already too late to do anything about it.
Thus, our battle continued and spread over the whole Brekkar Plains... well, now it was nothing more than a scarred battlefield. Bodies of both humans and dragons littered the place, the grass was all burnt, and I highly doubted anything would grow here for many years to come.
My home now carried the scars of my loss and the punishment of my unleashed wrath...
In the end, I won... The Breakthrough-er was killed... smashed by my fists.
In the end, I was unable to save my beloved family, but... I managed to get my revenge. I was at peace, so I let myself wither right there... I fainted from the pain.
[Several days later]
I woke up on a bed in Drakaria. My army finished the job and returned to the capital victorious. Several squads were left to handle the remnants of the human invasion, but overall, it was our win.
As it turned out, not all the human soldiers were compliant with the way the human kingdoms acted in this battle, so they deserted the armies or saved some dragons themselves. My men were certainly surprised when they found them. The reports were... hard to believe if I had not met that human-dragon couple.
Later that day, after I received the reports, my granddaughters came to visit me.
The first one I saw was Seryanna. She was angry and not smiling at all. There were signs of her crying for a long time. Those beautiful eyes of hers responded to the pain in her heart, and this... saddened me.
Maybe it was a bit shameful for me to speak of this, but I did not wish Seryanna to take within her the same anger I had felt. It was better for her to be strong and wise, not be driven by hate and anger. A knight with such feelings in his heart would always end up evil and corrupted... I didn't wish this of her... After all, for that old lizard, I had slain my fare share of them in order to cleanse this kingdom several times.
“Seryanna...” I spoke out to her, but I couldn't move even a finger.
My whole body hurt as if it had been used as an anvil by a furious blacksmith.
“Grandfather... don't try to move. The healers say you are sick... A disease of some sorts...” she said and clenched her jaw and fists.
She's angry... I thought.
“Don't worry... I'll Awaken and then I'll reach a Breakthrough, and... and I'll kill all of those humans who killed my family! I'll kill them all!” she spoke with rage.
The young dragoness who smiled so brightly had vanished from my sight and instead was replaced by a blood-thirsty monster...
Should I be proud or angry? I wondered.
Although I wanted my granddaughter to carry on my fight, since she and her sister were the last of my family, I found myself unable to wish for them to carry such a sad future on their shoulders.
Thus, I showed her a gentle smile and said “Please, don't do that...”
“W-What? Why grandpa?! They killed mother! They killed father! They killed everyone in cold blood! WHY SHOULD I LET THE HUMANS LIVE! YOU should be the one to ORDER me to KILL THEM ALL!” she shouted at me while letting tears flow down her cheeks in rivers.
It hurt to see her like this.
I didn't want my granddaughter who was always smiling and acting cheerful to show me such a hate-filled gaze.
“Just as there are bad draconians, there are also bad humans, even if those represent the majority of their species. As such, there are good ones too...” I said.
“I don't understand grandpa... You want me not to kill humans?” she asked as she sniffled.
“No... Just the bad ones...” I said.
“NO! I should kill them all! Why should I let the others live? Why should I let any of them live after what they did to our family?!” she asked in anger.
“If you think there's one worth sparing, then you should... After all, those types are of the rare kind.” I smiled.
“You're not making any senses...” she shook her head.
“My granddaughter... you want to be a knight, correct?” I asked.
“I AM a knight! I passed the exam!” she declared.
“That's just the first step... You see, a knight should be able to tell good from wrong. They should act not with a heart filled with vengeance but one with justice. They should be understanding and wise... not violent, savage, and merciless.” I told her.
“Well... that's normal, isn't it?” she asked tilting her head in confusion.
“Yes... but you who wishes to go on the path of an indiscriminate slayer of humans can't became such a knight. One who holds such thoughts in his heart will sooner or later be struck down by the gods... I mean, look at me... Your grandfather lost it because of the pain and wished for vengeance from the bottom of his heart. True, I spared some humans, but they were special. Even so, I shouldn't have fought like that...” I shook my head in regret.
It was a bit of a far stretched truth, but it held the bitter lesson my granddaughter needed to learn as a knight.
I wished for her to have a wonderful future, one in which she would be able to smile again, not one filled with plots and desires to conquer and kill another species... Those sort were not needed in Albeyater, and I was certain that old lizard would strike down even my granddaughter if he found her at fault.
“I don't understand grandfather... What human could you have even spared?” she asked with tears in her eyes.
“One who fell in love with a dragoness... and betrayed his own kind to be with her.” I replied with a smile.
“That's a lie! Humans are too selfish, too ignorant, too stupid to do something so noble!” she refused to listen.
I let out a sigh.
“It's fine if you believe this, but at the very least, promise me that you won't spend your life trying to bring about the extermination of a species. You may end the lives of those you find bad and evil, but please... try to find it in you to forgive those few who don't act like the rest. Promise me that you won't seek revenge for your parents... that you wont seek revenge for our family and friends. I did it in your stead, my beloved granddaughter... It's enough like this...” I spoke to her in a calm and gentle tone of voice.
“B-But... they killed mother... they killed father... I don't think I can forgive them... I can't...” she whimpered.
“You don't need to now... You have many years ahead of you... Just don't live based on such thoughts and feelings unbecoming of a knight, alright?” I smiled.
“I'm not going to promise anything... I'm not...” she clenched her fists and looked down.
“It's alright... as long as you at least try...” I told her.
“I won't...” she replied.
[Present time. During Iolaus' hellish training]
While reading the letter I received from my granddaughter, Seryanna, I found myself remembering that painful tale... Who knew that after all these years, it was going to be a human who saved both me and her. Not only that, but it appeared as though that human even offered that girl her smile back as well as the chance to Awaken...
“Fate is a weird thing, isn't it, Alkelios?” I spoke to myself as I looked out the window at a poor dragon who was running around chased by our pet squirrel.
Back then, if my beloved Sendra hadn't convinced me to escort those two girls all the way to Drakaria, would I have been able to win against the invading human force? Hm... Probably not... Thanks to their swift attack, they scattered their main force into three, and I was able to win against them. And as much as I like to brag, that Breakthrough-er was mighty powerful for a human. If I didn't stop him, his Majesty would have been forced to take up his sword against him. I thought and then let out a sigh.
A simple mind would not see the detriment in this, but one may need to wonder if those few lives we saved could have been saved in the end? How many more villages and cities would have fallen to the sword by the time the remaining armies clashed with them again? And when we won, would the neighboring countries have left us to lick our wounds or would they have launched a swift attack to conquer us when we could barely stand?
Both me and that old lizard feared for the latter and were thankful that it never came to be...
I folded the letter and placed it down on the desk.
“I wonder... was it their Luck or Fate that brought these youngsters together?” I said as I patted the letter once and then left to resume my training.
Maybe I would never know, but I was at least happy to know that 38 years-long wound had finally healed itself... All this thanks to a silly human.
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!
Technically, this should have been the second Side Story, but as luck would have it, I was unable to finish the first one, and since this one is easier... well... better than no post, right?
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