We decided to stay two extra weeks to rest and prepare. We spent two months on the road, only to “finish” our mission within few weeks. We spent more time getting to know each other than actually talking about the upcoming fight with the darkness. Regardless of how fast we wanted to get back, setting off right then and there would be too much to handle. Especially since I had two extra people with me.
We spent our time drinking and having fun, while we could afford. Nobody knew how soon we would meet again, so time spent trying to outdo one another in the battle of wits was time well spent. We made crude jokes and insulted each other.
One day I approached Regios and asked him about lending us mounts. I couldn’t carry three people even if I had a werewolf saddle made specifically for me. I didn’t want to spend the rest of my time before the Rite walking through the desert and the demon and human territories. Getting some giant scorpions or spiders would be wicked as well.
He didn’t say anything, only grabbed me by my cloak, spread his wings and lifted off. We flew for about two hours until we reached a sandy-looking mountain. Some random sand structures or rocks were common in the desert, as well as sand termites’ nests. But a giant rock with caves in it was the first for me. What’s more, there seemed to be dragons all around it.
When we landed, Regios folded his wings and walked inside a big cave. I followed him closely. While Regios looked very royal with his shiny scales, most of dragons here had dirty sand-colored scales. I guessed they must not be as powerful.
When we walked inside, we ended up in a giant cave, where there was a big and I mean BIG dragon. He was at least towering over everybody in there with height of twenty five meters. And that’s while he was lying down and snoring. I couldn’t even try to imagine his length, his neck and his tail were very long. His scales were pure gold, with a luxurious luster even in the mildly lit cave.
Regios came closer to the big dragon and tried to shake him awake. When it didn’t work, the small dragon began punching the bigger one. It was funny, considering that the head of the big dragon was bigger than Regios was tall. After some commotion the big dragon opens his eyes and looks ad Regios.
“Son? What is it? You know how I like my mid-century naps.”
“Father! I have brought a friend. I think he might be helpful.”
“Ooh! You really found a suitor for your younger sister? He is handsome I must say!” The big dragon seems awfully cheerful for a son of a Dragon God. Very casual in his demeanor.
“Regios, you didn’t tell me you had a sis…” I keel over as Regios punches me. Good thing I turned into my drake form just in time.
“Ooh, look and he is part drake! Regios I’ve never thought you would be so thorough with finding a man for our little Mercissa.”
“No Father. He is not here about Mercissa, he is here for the other one.”
“You know Beatrice is married long ago and had a kid two centuries ago?”
“No, dad, stop. He is not here for mating.”
I am still on my knees, trying to force back the tears from Regois’ punch. It wasn’t hurtful, just very forceful. Yes.
“My lord… I am Zern of the Val people. I don’t know why Regios brought me here, but it is an honor to be in your presence.”
The golden dragon pauses for a second and then gasps.
“Look, he even speak! And with manners! You sure he is not good for Mercissa? You know how she is fascinated by humans.”
Regios seems very angry now. His scales gain a slight red gleam to them. He seems very ticked off about his sister.
A girl in her late teens comes from somewhere beyond the golden dragon. She has dirty blond hair like I had before, but there are two streaks of pure gold in there. She also has majestic golden horns coming from her forehead, with a slight curve to them. Her eyes are green, but unlike Meriden’s that are bright emerald, this girl has deep dark green eyes with the regular circular irises surrounded by a thin gold crown. She is about the same height as me, thin but curvaceous in all the right places. An S-class beauty so to speak. She also has a lizard-looking tail and leathery wings behind her back. She actually looks like me.
Seeing where this is going I try to seize the initiative.
“By the divines? Who is this goddess? No, it can’t be your younger daughter! She is way too magnificent to be in the same species as Regios. My Lord, how could you speak of offering such a beauty to a lowly creature like me?”
Regios uses his tail to trip me and suffocate me. As his sister appeared his red gleam turned to slight pink. No Regios, for you fall in love with your sister? Is your inner perversion that makes you cover it up with your extra morals? Is that why my Aedim not good enough for you?
I free myself from Regios’ tail and talk some more.
“Clearly my Lord, only somebody of true royalty and powerful descent should have the right to wed your daughter. If only Regios was not related to her!”
Now Regios is out to kill me. He crushes my ribs until they crack and strangles me. I become lightheaded and go limp after a minute, when he roles me onto the floor.
“Ha ha, you hear this Mercissa? This human doesn’t know about you and Regios! Ah this is too funny! Regios where did you find such an excellent human?”
The golden dragon laughs at the situation before him. His daughter beet red and surprised by my words looks at the ground.
“No. It’s not that. When we were younger Regios confessed to me… But I don’t love him the same. My dream is to live amongst humans, so I rejected him. He has been trying to master the body-transformation magic for hundreds of years now…”
Even limp and powerless I can’t help but laugh. My body shudders from the laughter. I try to inhale some air but I can’t, this is just too damn funny. Regios preparing for the fatal blow, but is stopped by his sister.
“Regios, stop hurting Master Zern. He is a guest here. Put him down.”
Regios hesitates, but complies with his sister’s demand. I am released from his vile grasp and allowed to breath.
God this is not funny, the way it is going I will have another member in my harem. I haven’t used that word when talking about myself for so long.
“My Lord, I am sure Regios is going to be able to turn into human soon, Mercissa can wait a little longer. I don’t think he is willing to share his cute little sister with someone as lowly as me. Why don’t we instead ask Regios about the reason he brought me here?”
“Ha ha, I like you human. Call me Zil, short for Zilmanarius. I am the current king of the earth dragons.”
“Father, don’t get too familiar with him, he is not joining our family.”
“My Lord, Regios has spoken on the matter, I don’t think we should press it any further.”
“I agree, but for entirely different reason.” Golden dragon uses his tail to point at his daughter.
She is standing on uneasy legs, shifting her weight as if she needs go to the bathroom. Her face is red, and her nipples are hard… Godmanit, I’ve been around nude girls so much that I am completely oblivious of the fact she is standing there completely naked, while I describe her beauty as such. Mayday, mayday, my plan backfired! The horned girl is horny!
I seem to have lost my friend today. He is glaring at me with eyes glowing red from anger.
“Lord Zil, I would be honored to take your daughter as my wife, but in my culture it is custom for women to make the decisions such as arrangement of marriage, and as I am already engaged and will be marrying not one, not two, but six beautiful girls, I cannot accept her as my own, as my future wives are sure to decline such possibility. I am truly sorry.”
The girl looks hurt and disappointed. She turns and strolls away. The golden dragon looks at me somewhat angrily.
“Your stupid customs dare hurt my girl? What if I burn your customs, your culture and your wives?”
I put on a strained smile at the mention of hurting my fated.
“My Lord, that would be counterproductive, as I would surely die, protecting my people, so you directing your fury at my people will be all for naught.”
Dragon calms down quickly. He might have not really meant what he said, but my reply seems to please him. It also seems to please the girl, who has an envious look in her eyes. If only somebody fought like that for her…
“Very well, nothing can be done. Is seems Regios has more time and Mercissa will have to wait for another.”
Finally, crisis averted. Regios may still stay as my friend.
“Father, I came here to talk about my niece.”
“Ooh, you believe he is a good suitor for her? But she is just a child, barely two centuries old. Aren’t you rushing things?”
The dragons are awfully concerned about pairing off and mating. I wonder why.
“Flaer, come down here.”
A small golden dragon flies down from somewhere near the ceiling. When she reaches the floor, a sandstorm surrounds her and a small girl appears. She looks just like Mercissa would look if she were seven or eight years old. Even the way she pouts is very cute.
“Aren’t you a cute one? Lord Zil, she does seem a little too little for marriage yet.”
“I am not!” She shouts cutely and sand surrounds her once again. What comes out looks like a virgin teenager’s nightmare-dream. A slightly larger but still petite body, with huge breasts and huge ass. I cover my eyes to shield them from the horror, but it’s already etched into my retina.
Regios laughs at my reaction and comes to my rescue. He quickly forces her to change back.
“Father, Zern is not going to be marrying any dragons soon. His future wives will sooner quarter him, than let anybody else join them. I am here about the different issue we talked about a decade ago.”
Golden dragon’s game loses focus as he tries to remember something. Then he lights up happily.
“Ah! You want her to go with the human? I mean we did talk about it…”
“Lord Zil, from what I understand, you want Flaer to go out, experience the world, learn about its inhabitants and their customs and gain wisdom?”
Regios laughs at me.
“No, what I thought of was getting you a convenient way to getting around. You don’t seem to be getting your own wings any time soon…”
“Not for another three years.” I say as I think of Lilith. Regios looks at me with a raised eye brow.
“Right… But now that you say it, it is an interesting prospect. I think father would agree it is a good idea. And Flaer seems eager to be mounted.”
Regios laughs at his own joke again while Flaer jumps around and throws her arms in the air.
“Mount me! Mount me!”
I facepalm, just like I have done many times during my stay here. These dragons are surely something. And their behavior is something as well.
Last week it was sci-fi, this week is anime. Is the next week going to be murder mystery? Stay tuned on “Everyday life of Zern of the Val!”
Regios continues to talk.
“I just thought that it would be easier to have somebody carry around your weight. Plus father frequently complained that the brat became very noisy since she was able to talk. So if I get her out of here, he will be able to sleep peacefully, and I won’t get to listen to his complains and she sees the world just like she wants. Like killing four birds with one stone.”
He shows a proud smile. Well, I won’t say that it’s a bad idea. It would help immensely. But…
“Isn’t she a little too small to carry all of us, or even me?”
When I saw her descend, she was barely a meter long lizard.
“You must know that I am just as talented in transformation magic as my sister! Perhaps even more so! So I am only small if I choose to be small.” Once again a sandstorm rises up and covers her. What I see revealed is a fifteen meters long dragon.
“Ok, I guess you are big enough. If everybody agrees to this then I am game.”
“What kind of game?”
“No, I mean I agree.”
“Human, I bestow my niece’s life upon you, may you care for her, love her and treasure her.”
The golden dragon seems to be giving me his blessing. I don’t think it is applicable in this situation. We are not getting married. Are we?
“Eh, Thank you Lord Zil. I will protect Flaer until she matures and finds a man good enough for her.”
“Ha ha, sure you will.”
With that the important part is over, we did what Regios wanted me to do. We stay a bit and chit-chat some. Afterwards we prepare to depart for Regios’ city. Flaer turns into her dragon form and I climb on her back. As we take off, I can see Mercissa looking at me longingly. I just hope she doesn’t get any weird ideas.
Back at the city we made introductions and continued partying. It was actually funny to see twelve year old Meriden arguing with a two hundred year old dragon. It was hard to decide which one of them was more mature, but Meriden won in the end. They argued frequently, but soon got friendly enough. They never stopped arguing, but it was more lighthearted and amusing than serious.
We spent the rest of our time drinking and eating, right until the day of departure. We were all feeling sad to be leaving the monster territory behind. We enjoyed our time here, we made some friends. I actually went to see Mieltzkin again and I and Regios decided it would be a good idea to have a border city for all the newcomers to get accustomed to monsters. So the greedy goblin would get some extra money.
When it was the day of departure, we exchanged some words with Regios. I ensured him that I would do anything I could to speed up the alliance. After that I, Meriden, Nrogara and the demoness named Eclair climbed on Flaer’s back. I’ve spent some time with the demoness after I rescued her, but we never got well acquainted.
When we were all ready, we waved to goodbye to the people gathered there and lifted off towards the west. It would take us a month of slow flight with frequent stops to reach the great forest. As we flew closer and closer, I had an uncomfortable feeling of foreboding. Perhaps there will be some difficulty convincing the elders that monsters were peaceful. But it shouldn’t make me feel this weird. I mean, so far everything went so well. We avoided two major conflicts, found major clues about our enemy and even gained a possible ally in the future. I should be excited about the future. But why do I feel this way?
As we fly over human territories, we see the towns and cities getting repaired, very different from previously torn-down state during the pillaging and constant bandit raids. They must have changed their ruler after all. Maybe elves and dwarves are helping them to rebuild. It seems to be going very fast. Perhaps a little too fast for the three months I was absent.
This piques my interest. I decide to make a detour, flying nearby the capital. If there has been a change of power, we should learn a bit there. Flaer, Nrogara and Eclair stay behind, because they are too inhuman in appearance, while I and Meriden make out way into the city with our hoods up.
The city is clean and fresh, streets are free of beggars and filth. I would have imagined it would look worse. It was supposed to be run down by poverty and crooks. But it seems to be doing better than ever. As we walk through the streets, we notice they are pretty empty. There seems to be a gathering as the central plaza. Perhaps a new ruler is there. Seems a bit too much of a coincidence for it to happen at the same day as we come here. Perhaps it is divine providence, for all my hard work.
Meriden walks off to get some supplies, while I make my way through the alleyways, trying to stay unnoticed. When I come to the center of the city, there is a large crowd of people, all cheering at and hailing two people above them. As the announcer finishes his lengthy speech I try to look closely at two figures… That’s not possible…
“All hail the great King Robert, supreme ruler of Kernun kingdom, the banisher of the fiend and purger of darkness. After months of struggles, our ruler persevered, freeing the Val people from the evil influence of the fiend and uniting the races of the north and the south under one banner!”
Cheers run through the crowd. Those people are actually happy to see the one person who oppressed them and made their lives miserable. But that’s not what surprised me.
The king stands up and waves at the crowd. He has a dazzling smile, showing all his shiny yellowish-white teeth. He half turns and extends his hand to the person sitting next to him.
That person doesn’t even acknowledge the man. She looks at the crowd with a cool gaze. Prideful and powerful, her golden hair swaying in the wind. She stands up, showing slight arrogance and dismissing the offered hand. She smiles towards the crowd, with cold aura around her. A small golden tiara, beautiful golden dress, she looks like a real royalty.
What the hell happened while I was away? It’s only been three months.
“All hail future queen Eleanor, the Prime Matriarch of the Val tribes, who helped eradicate the evil influence of the fiend and set the people of Val on the right path!”
Applause and cheers can be heard through the crowd, people are happy to see such a young, yet powerful and wise queen. Their kingdom is saved thanks to her. The fiend is no more and now they can prosper.
I just stand there speechless…