~ Side Story: The Knight Master's sins (Part 1) ~

[Teolas Draegan's point of view]

It was 38 years ago when I first saw Brekkar's bright and cheerful granddaughter stepping up on the arena to prove her worth as a Knight. Just like all the other Knight Masters back then, I too found the young lass who had yet to Awaken to be rather strange in the head for attempting to take up the heavy role of Knight and join one of our Orders.

The reason behind this shared opinion was the simple fact that Seryanna Draketerus had yet to grow up from a child to an adult. Us dragons grew both in strength and wisdom when we Awakened, but most importantly, we knew the color of our scales and the elements best suited for us. Among the ranks of the Knights, for example, there were very few whose scale colors were black, white, silver, or green. These types of dragons were said to have the lowest combat potential out of us all, so they were better suited for other jobs. The blue and brown scales were acceptable, but red was sought after by many Knight Masters. Red scales had a good control over fire and heat, but they all shared the common trait of having a short temper and unwavering loyalty.

Of course, up until then, in all of my 716 years of life, I had seen many different types of Knights, from geniuses who claimed to be able to do it all like the young boy of the Doesya family, or the type who joined the ranks just because of the privileges. Loyalty was not a skill but something the royals had to earn from their knights. The red-scales, however, tended to offer their loyalty much faster than the others, while the black-scales... well, I never heard of one serving as a Knight before. They suited more the roles of assassins. The green scales loved poison, while the blue ones tended to have one too many baths.

Thus, as a Knight Master, I was one of those who were opposed even to her taking up this trial. Seryanna Draketerus had not yet Awakened, thus we knew not how to properly train her. She was a wild card, an unknown variable, and we couldn't have something as unstable as that within our ranks.

“Seryanna wins her 26th consecutive match!” called out the announcer.

Despite my own thoughts, this young dragoness remained unmatched among the ranks of the young Knights.

A day prior to this test, I spoke with the other Knight Master and asked them to bend the rules a bit so that our long-standing tradition would remain unsoiled. We couldn't have an Unawakened enter our ranks, it would be shameful.

The typical test would usually be of a prospective Knight fighting against an actual Knight from our lowest ranks. If he or she could defeat them, then they would enter one of the Knight Orders. In Seryanna's case, however, I asked for the best knights from the lowest rank to participate. But not just one, as many as possible until she would tire out and be declared defeated.

This was done so that it would show our firm resolution of not changing our ways in favor of an Unawakened even if she was Brekkar's granddaughter.

That was the plan, at least, but on the 27th match, Brekkar stepped inside the arena and gently patted the dragoness' shoulder. She was worn out, gasping for air, and barely standing on her feet. Another fight and that would have been it, but this old dragon put a stop to it.

“I believe this was enough to show us all that she's worthy of the title of a Knight. After all, if she's not then what should we do about those poor fellows who were defeated by her in fair battle?” the dragon asked as he glared at all of us.

“Indeed, that's right. It should be enough.” Blachuar, the old fool was the first to give in to his pressure.

“I too agree with this.” Malkinor nodded with a smile, he would never dare go against Brekkar Draketerus.

“Well, I don't.” I declared and looked him right in the eyes.

You can't scare me, you old fool. I thought.

“Oh?” Brekkar showed me a grin, and I could feel a powerful flow of Magic Energy gathering around him.

Impressive, but not enough to change my mind. I thought as I remained unwavering in my decision.

“Then you'll be the one to train her from now!” Brekkar declared with a smile as she pushed Seryanna forward.

“Huh?” I blinked surprised when I saw the timid dragoness look up at me with expecting eyes.

“Why should I?” I retorted and furrowed my brow.

“Because the King told me I can choose under which Knight Master she will serve. Also, she'll become the Third Princess' Royal Knight, so you won't have to worry about an Unawakened joining your reclusive Knight Orders. I'm pretty sure that soon enough she'll be making her own!” Brekkar announced and then let out a cheerful laugh.

The dragoness was filled with hope and gleaming with joy. The lass was far too cheerful for a Knight, we had to be serious, emotionless, for we were a symbol of our Lords.

“If it's the King's order, very well.” I nodded and succumbed to the decision.

The cheerful dragoness soon enough came over and with a bright smile declared that she'll become so strong that I won't ever be disappointed of her. It was a nice dream, one which I planned on shattering soon. The girl had to see the reality of this world before any sign of growth could be seen within her.

I was thinking of throwing her among the more experienced Knights and let them take her to a more difficult mission or pity her against much more powerful foes. There were many ways to wipe that cheerful smile off her face. Knowing when to hide your emotions was crucial for a Knight, after all.

Fortunately for me and unfortunately for her, I never had to push her through any of those situations. The tragedy of Scar Battlefield which would mark Albeyater's history forever also affected her the most. Not only her parents but most of her relatives had died off in that event, slaughtered like animals by the vile humans.

Now, instead of a cheerful smile, I had to worry about that burning hate and rage that filled her strikes and glare. My strategies were turned a full 180 degrees, but that was the job of a Knight Master. We had to take a rough diamond and polish it until our hands bled.

In theory, I could now use a number of reasons to take her Royal Knight title away, but after I heard about Brekkar suffering from the [Berserker's Burst], I decided against it. If I did that, I feared I might inquire more hate than I needed. All of Albeyater showed their sympathy for the Draketerus family, and I didn't plan on becoming public enemy number one.

At the very least, I had the genius from the Doesya family, who was a pleasure to train. Draejan always followed my orders to the letter and did everything he could to prove himself. To me, he was the true ideal image of a Knight, while Seryanna, with her hot temper and heart tainted by hate and rage against the humans, was far from even being considered a proper one.

Even so, I trained her to the best of my ability. It was my duty.

Then, 30 years later, after I had managed to chip away at that endless rage of hers, I could finally see her as someone worthy of the title of Knight. Nobody was looking at her with scornful or doubting eyes anymore, and her strength was often proven through friendly duels and successful missions.

I thought for a while now that once she Awakened, she would become one of my best Knights, however, she never did. Most of the Knights in my Order, while accepting her strength and achievements, had given up on the possibility of her ever becoming a proper adult dragoness. It was such a strange thing that even I began to wonder about why she had yet to Awaken. None of the dragons or dragonesses I had met so far had such a slow development.

This was not the only thing strange about her. It appeared as though almost all the dragons around her could not see her as anything else but a child. Her prowess in combat, her tactical mind, and merciless strikes were for the most part ignored. Even the one who was married to an Unawakened dragoness could not see a single drop of sexual attraction in Seryanna. It was as if she had an aura around her that kept all the males away. It was strange, very strange.

Usually, after serving as a Knight for two or three years, a dragoness would find herself swimming in marriage proposals or at the very least have at least three or four dragons wagging their tails behind her.

If this was because of her hard to approach attitude or something else, I didn't have the faintest idea.

Every Knight in the service of his Majesty, the King, was allowed to take at most two to three weeks of vacation each year in order to go visit their families or take care of other business. In the past eight years, however, Sir Seryanna had been stretching that limit with a week or more in an attempt to harvest the much needed Bloody Mushrooms, which were required for a potion that kept the [Berserker's Burst] condition at bay.

The market was quite scarce on them and not everyone knew how to grow a batch. It was even harder to look for them when other dragonesses aimed at Brekkar's lands. The matriarchy of this country was at times quite frightening, especially when they targeted us dragons.

Still, if this continued, it wouldn't be long before Sir Seryanna's neck would be on the line, and she would be forced to choose between her grandfather and serving this country. I thought her well, so I was certain that even if it broke her heart, she would still choose to serve the country.

About 30 years after I took Sir Seryanna under my wing as her Knight Master, my best pupil, Draejan Andrakaryus Doesya came over to me one day and thanked me for having taught him all that he knew in regard to being a Knight. The upper nobles apparently took a liking to him and proposed that he should be granted his own Knight Order. I was quite pleased to hear this and gave him my blessing. Now, if only Sir Seryanna would Awaken, then with a bit of luck she would also follow in his shoes.

Honestly speaking, I always thought that these two pupils of mine will one day join hands in marriage and through their union give rise to a powerful family of prestigious Knights. That was my own little silly dream, but seven years later, Draejan walked up to me and asked me if I was acquainted with Sir Seryanna.

The shock I received from this question made my jaw drop to the ground. How was it possible that I had never realized that these two pupils of mine were so dense in the head? I was their Master Knight, and they surely had countless missions when they worked together, so it was simply impossible for me to fathom how it was possible that Draejan never took notice of her.

Was Seryanna's own repulsive aura so powerful that she turned invisible in front of him?

With a heavy sigh, I began to tell him about the young dragoness and how well she performed as a Knight, sometimes under his own command in one or two missions.

“Master Teolas, pardon my rudeness, but I can read her mission reports myself. What I am interested in is how she is as a dragoness.” he told me with a smile.

Well would you look at that! He's interested in her as the opposite gender! To think that he of all people would gain immunity to that one's male repulsion aura. I thought and then asked as I showed him a smirk “Did she catch your eye, Draejan?”

“It might be so.” he nodded “But what I want to know is if the rumor about her being related to that Brekkar Draketerus is true.”

“Oh? Brekkar? Yes. Sir Seryanna is his granddaughter.” I nodded. “But how come you didn't know that?” I asked him as I narrowed my eyes at him.

“Master Teolas, up until now, I didn't care much for a dragoness' affection, so I simply focused solely on my training. I was told to be rather dense during my time as a Knight in your Order, but I can assure you that it was intentional.” he declared with a strange sense of pride in the tone of his voice.

“Is that so?” I furrowed my brow and wondered if maybe I was wrong about him being immune to her aura.

It could have well been possible that such a silly aura didn't exist and Sir Seryanna herself was an unapproachable dragoness because of her personality and general demeanor.

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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