~ Chapter 89: Return to the present (Part 1) ~
[Present time. Two years and four dragon months after Seryanna departed from the Sarakus Kingdom]
[Seryanna's point of view]
I stood on the bridge of the Scorpion Dream Galleon, the same one that took us on our journey towards the far away continents. With the breeze of the ocean washing over me, I came to remember the time when I met Shelly, of her kidnapping and then her rescue.
It saddened me back then to leave her behind after such a traumatic event, and I knew that my words might not have been the most appropriate ones to give to a child. Back then, all I wished for was to let the young relliar know that she was strong enough not to let such an experience force her in a world filled with fear.
Although I worried greatly for her, I continued my journey in the hope of finding all the ingredients we needed for making the Queen's cure. Right now, long after I had returned to my homeland and began to seriously train the Order of the Searing Blades as Knights worthy to defend the Albeyater Kingdom, I still received letters written by that furry kitten of absolute cuteness.
Her mother, Drameer, helped her write. They were all letters filled with the child's thoughts and experiences after my departure. I received one such letter every several months, and I spared no effort in sending a return letter to her.
Right now, I held in my hands her last one. I had already made sure to send her a reply before I left on this journey to find my husband, and I hoped that by the time a new letter arrived, I would be home reunited with him. I had the feeling it was going to be quite the interesting news for Shelly, and I was excited to let her know that I finally found him.
With a smile on my lips and hope in my heart, I began to read the child's letter one more time:
How are you doing? I'm doing great.
My beloved mommy taught me well. I know now how to write letters on my own, but my skill with the pen is lacking. Mommy said I could scare off papa just by showing him this paper. Mommy is mean.
Yesterday, I finally held a real sword. The instructor was surprised in how fast I've grown with my skill in sword handling. Papa fainted when he saw me balancing an actual sword. Papa is silly. He always faints when he sees me training. He makes me worried. Maybe he'll grow bald?
I am learning the skills you taught me in your letters. I can harness Magic Energy better now. Using a crystal to help me focus it and carcu crincu chircu circulate it through my body was smart. Are all dragonesses smart like you? I miss playing with you.
The teacher of history is boring. Has a big mustache. I find him funny.
Two week ago papa saw me climbing a tree in the court, the big one with spiky hedges under it. He fainted and a maid had to carry him back to his room. Mommy scolded him that night, but the next day both of them were acting weird. They were blushing a lot. Papa and mommy are weird sometimes. They argue one day then the next day they blush when they look at each other. Are all adults like them?
Last month, a human came to papa. He demanded papa reopen trade with a nation led by human heroes. He was told that after Ten Swords falls, this kingdom will follow next. Papa not scared. I am not scared either. I know my friends, the dragonesses will come if bad men try to hurt us. Dragons are relliar friends now.
Two months ago, I tried horseback riding. I'm too small. I fell and scraped my knees. Papa fainted when he saw the blood. He fell backwards on one of the small maids. She had to be helped to the infirmary and mommy scolded papa. Maybe papa is growing fat?
I am practicing Queen skills with mommy. I am learning Easter Draconian and a human language. I am also learning to paint. I drew bad men skewered by brave women relliar. Papa trembled when he saw the drawing. Papa is a weird old man. When I said this, papa cried.
The sword instructor never heard of Seryanna's skills, but I learn them when no one is looking. One day, the sword accidentally slipped out of my hand. The guard who takes care of older sister Leanna was nearby and caught it for me between his palms. He was sweating and trembling when he returned it to me. He and Leanna are getting along well, but lately I think Leanna's tummy grew bigger. Is she getting fat? The guard should help her cut down on sweets. With sweets you can't grow muscles!
I am learning well how to use the sword, but a real one is still too heavy for me they say. I'm training with one in secret, but with one with a dull edge and no tip like you advised.
The day before yesterday, papa was crying because a noble who wanted me to marry his son pulled back from the engagement. I know that relliar. He is weak. When I had a spar with him, I only broke one leg and one arm. His nose wasn't bleeding that much, but he wet himself. Are boys supposed to be that weak? Papa faints a lot, so maybe they are? Should I marry a strong woman like Seryanna?
Your friend, Eshantiel Ruvus
I made a wry smile when I read that last line.
I should advise Shelly to look for a strong man rather than a strong woman. Her father seems to faint a lot recently. Does he have some sort of sickness, I wonder? I thought and then let out a sigh.
Shelly was still a child and the world was still quite foreign to her. Even so, I was happy to hear that her training was progressing smoothly. In time, maybe she would be strong enough to learn my [Fire Tornado] or maybe teaching her a [Raging Fire Sword] skill would be better?
That journey of ours definitely had a great impact on the world, but it also had a great impact on us individually. If not for those events in the Sarakus Kingdom, maybe I wouldn't have gotten to meet with cute Shelly nor helped create an alliance between dragons and relliars. Strangely enough, those events and that moment of reflection I had when I was carrying the injured Shelly back to the capital helped create the Knight Order: The Searing Blades.
On my next meeting with Shelly, I wanted to bring Alkelios with me. It really did make me wonder how he was going to react when he saw her fluffiness and cuteness.
As for the more concerning parts of her innocent letter, I had already informed her Majesty about them, and it appeared as though she sent a message to the relliar King. For now, I was ordered not to worry about it too much and just keep my ears perked up for strange rumors when we reached the Ten Swords Kingdom.
[Alkelios' point of view]
The three black carriages were pulled by powerful horses, but they were no match for the Khosinni found on the Dragon Continent. Those monsters with three pairs of legs and two of eyes could easily outrun the animals used by the humans. One average Khosinni could have pulled with ease all of those three carriages and lasted on a run for a longer period of time. After all, six legs were better than four.
As we traveled towards Lineas Village, we were kept on constant alert for monsters and possible bandits. While it was logical for everyone to stay focused and make sure to attack when it was necessary, only my party seemed to have been tasked with the actual combat. It was like the others were pushing their work on us.
During one of the stops, I happened to hear one of them whisper some rather unpleasant words.
“Ragna, shouldn't we take front and get some kills as well?” asked the woman from the group of four.
She spent most of her free time playing with her dagger or making new arrows for her bow. The one she spoke with, Ragna, was the warrior with red hair and a general nasty attitude. The black sword he carried on his back made him appear rather intimidating, but the fur armor made him look like some uncivilized barbarian.
“Kill what? Dayuks and goblins? Risha, haven't you seen what sort of pathetic little beasts that idiot Kalderan Brahmin has fought against up until now? As for his partner, the weakling Alkelios, he was having trouble with a mere goblin!” he scoffed.
In my defense, I was too bored at that time to bother taking the fight seriously. I was actually playing around with him. I just need to flick a goblin over the forehead to splatter his brains in the opposite cardinal direction. I thought as I furrowed my brow.
Well, I wasn't mad that I looked like a weakling to them. Besides, if they paid extra attention, they would have known that I was just keeping aggro on myself while Kalderan was killing them off and raising his levels. That was far more important that flexing my muscles.
I did that once when I was on a hunt with Seryanna... she ended up hunting me in a sexual manner. Ah~ Good times. I thought.
“Risha, what Ragnar here is trying to say is that we need to save our strength just in case a bunch of bandits decide to attack us.” said the man who wore full-plate armor.
“Indeed. There is no need to waste our energy on weak prey.” the hooded archer declared.
“Fine! I get it! I just hope this mission doesn't take into account the number of kills of each individual party member.” Risha retorted as she crossed her arms at her chest.
They continued to talk about various things they wanted to do when they reached Mathias Town, their next base of operations, so I quietly left them alone. A few hours later, we stopped to set up camp for the night. Our parties huddled around three separate fires, which clearly showed that there was a lot of friction between us.
I had no idea why the three mysterious ones didn't like us, but I could understand the other four. Being the former party of Kalderan, they didn't see him with good eyes.
With a sigh on my lips, I stirred the embers in the fire and played with the flames using a stick. As a half-dragon it was a bit foolish for me to fear the possibility of being burned. After all, I was also a red scale.
“What's the matter?” asked Kalderan as he was eating a chicken leg dipped in what I would assume was a spices mixture of his own concoction.
“I was thinking about my home...” I replied.
“On Earth? You said you were from Romania, right?”
“No, not that place. I guess its been such a long time for me, that I have come to be at peace with the idea of never being able to see my mother or father.” I showed him a wry smile.
“All of us heroes are like that, don't worry. Although, acknowledging the fact doesn't make it any less easier to live with it.” he looked down at the fire and then added “Especially when you know that you might not have anyone to return to...”
“The home I'm talking about is the one in Drakaria, the capital of Albeyater Kingdom. If you follow me, I'll be able to show it to you one day. There, you will be able to meet my wife, who is a beautiful redhead dragoness. She is strong, brave, and chivalrous to say the least.” I showed a soft smile as I gazed into the embers.
“Chivalrous? Is she a Knight?” he asked me raising an eyebrow.
“A Knight of the Third Princess and a Duchess of the Kingdom. We're a rather strange family, but nonetheless, we are family.” I replied.
There was a moment of silence between us and then Kalderan asked “Was it hard to give up on it?”
“On what?” I lifted my eyes from the fire and looked at him.
“The purity of your species?”
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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