…What a strange dream.
For a moment I recall the time I spent back in Japan with that old man. His usual lecture and the smell of grilled eel felt so real that I can’t help but grow confused when the reality that greets me as I open my eyes is far different. Apparent from the slight humid air and the wooden ceiling.
Does this dream subconsciously mean I miss my old previous life?
It could be. Perhaps a small part of me wishes to go back to that time period when I was ignorant of the harsh reality of life. The one I thought I’ve successfully escaped from.
That old life of mine does have its moments of fond memories, albeit overshadowed by the vast bitterness of life’s perfidy.
…But there’s no use for such thoughts very early in the morning.
It’s no good to dwell on the past for too long, lest it festers my mind.
A ray of bright sunlight that seeps to this room strikes deeply to my heavy eyes as I pry them open, snapping me away from my deep melancholy.
The weather in this place surely is quite fantastic. A cool breeze sweeps the room from the same window the sun shines its bright light onto my bed.
When I first got into this house I was a bit skeptical of how well I would adjust to this place. After all, it’s a new type of building in a different environment. It is very unique with its layout decision of having a large space that combines the bed and the dining table to be in the same spacious room, instead of separating them by a wall.
It’s a small house for sure, but the courtyard is twice the size of the house itself. I suppose the people here value the outdoors or the garden more than the indoors.
Fortunately I was able to get used to this new environment in no time.
Hopefully there won’t be any more abnormalities today.
I get up from the bed as I ponder what’s the agenda for the day.
Same as yesterday I suppose. Continue the same monotone diplomatic training; one where I can’t help but feel like is lacking, as if they purposely left out something important. It’s always about local etiquette and brief explanations regarding the vast cultural norms around these areas with little depth.
The lessons never covered the important parts of the kingdom like their motives, goals, strength, weakness, or relationships between the nobles.
Diplomats are supposed to be the bridge that connects kingdoms, and no amount of presentation can replace knowledge of our partners’ aims to appeal to them.
Or maybe I’m just overthinking again and I’ll be taught those topic soon-
I can barely stop before planting my feet on the lump before my bed.
What…. the fuck….
That’s… that’s a person. A stranger is lying down on the floor. There’s a huge blood pool beneath him. Looking at the source of the blood, there is a deep slash wound in the neck. He’s… he’s definitely dead.
My body tenses. I check the window, then flinch back from the glistening beams. The haze won’t leave my eyes immediately, but nothing moves inside the room. The traces of slaughter reveal themselves, though.
Splashes of blood, and deep slash marks mar the pillars and walls.The blood has even gotten its way onto the big gorgeous painting
Along with more dead bodies scattered around the courtyard.
Why are there so many goddamn dead bodies?!
Were we attacked? But why?! Did I offend someone? By the looks of these dead bodies they are dragonkins and I’ve never encountered any dragonkins people in this new kingdom that I might offend. Are they from the Sho clan?
Most important of all, how come I was still asleep when this all happened?! With the signs of struggle with such a scale, surely the action and sounds would have woken me up.
「 Master! How’s your sleep? This servant hopes your slumber is adequate and peaceful. 」
I look towards where the voice comes from. It’s Shen, looking charming as always with a sincere smile belying the surrounding dire and eerie environment.
「 Sh-Shen, what happened here? 」
「 Does master mean these dead lowlifes…? 」Shen asked back. Seemingly bewildered why I asked such a thing.
「 It’s nothing significant enough to warrant master’s attention. These pesky vermin dared to covet what is yours. 」She says, taking a peek at the surrounding dead bodies without hiding her disgust.
Her? That doesn’t sound like what the Sho clan would’ve done. The Sho clan should’ve been hell bent towards killing me. Were they too captivated by her beauty so they wanted to get her first before getting to me?
Most important of all, a bloody battle took place very recently here. Shen looks well and
It feels foolish to worry about a powerful being such as Shen in a fight, but I can’t help but ask.
「 Seeing that they are already dead, did you fight them? Were you hurt, Shen? 」
「 Hehehehe… 」She smiles stupidly,「 thank you for showing concern to me, master. As you can see I’m perfectly fine, there’s no one who can beat me in a fight after all. 」
From the looks of it, they must be
「 However Shen… Just because they want to take you away doesn’t mean you can just kill them all. Show some restraint Shen. 」
「 How could I show restraint to these inferior beings when they want to kill you?! When they want to take me away from you?! 」She shouts, surprisingly,「 they were going all out and using such despicable means, aiming after master when I’m distracted. 」
「 You got it wrong Shen. I do not care about their lives. They can die and rot for all I care. But look, Shen, look! 」My hands point to the general area of where the dead bodies are concentrated.
「 Dead bodies are littered all over the place! This might be our temporary home but we still must discard their remains. Their relatives or acquaintances will not stand by this. They’ll come for revenge! 」
Silence remains. Shen looks down to the ground. Not saying anything.
「 Did you cut off their escape route?! 」I ask, not bothering to hide my impatience.
She hesitates. Her eyes wanders left and right as if trying to distract herself and avoids the subject.
「 Shen. Be honest. 」
「 Yes… 」She says still looking downwards.
「 Ahhh.. No wonder then. 」
That explains everything.
「 How could I possibly let them off so easily?! They were trying to take your life! They should be ready to die if they want to take another’s life! 」Shen raises her tone.
Shen’s attitude to my perspective is understandable, due to that it becomes even more important to explain to her the way we do things here.
「 I know Shen, but no sane person will fight to the bitter end when the odds are stacked against them. Given a choice, they rather run away. People treasure their lives after all. 」
She looks back at me perplexed, not exactly on the same page with what I said.
「 I have a feeling fighting to the death was a common way of life back in your times, Shen. But today’s era is different. Mana in the world has greatly diminished, resulting in lesser world-defying spells. Mortality rate decreased, so death becomes a much more impactful matter. There’s a time where you must spare their lives as sometimes it will not leave more future problems. 」
「 Ahhh… 」I unknowingly passed the blame towards Shen. I shouldn’t have done that.「 Sorry Shen. I’m just… I’m just stressed out. This whole thing reminds me of back then in the Veinard kingdom. I-I… 」
Dammit, I must be truthful to her.
「 I’m just worried they will come back again with more powerful people. We also have to clean up the aftermath. We might be able to do it discreetly but with such a large number of people, this incident cannot be hidden away from other people. 」
「 You never, ever. 」She stresses the last word.「 need to apologize to me, master. It’s my own fault for not thinking ahead of what master truly wants. 」She says lowering her head even lower. She’s definitely disappointed in herself.
This is not good. I need to brighten up the mood.
「 Nonetheless, you’ve done well, Shen. As expected of you. 」
I say as I come closer and pat her head. She shudders for a bit due, raises her head, looking at me to the unexpected sensation. I put on a gentle smile for her. She responds with purring and blushes a bit, leaning into my hand.
I know very well she can be awfully cute. Her current appearance would fool anyone to believe she was just a weak gorgeous girl when in reality she is a behemoth in life and death.
「 I would like to clarify something, Shen. What I said before is just the perfect scenario. What you did to them – killing them is the right action. 」
「 Although I wish you would have woken me up and helped you out. Even if it’s just a tiny bit. 」
I wish Shen could rely on me just a tiny bit.
But who the hell am I for asking that towards Shen.
「 Master… 」She says slowly, worriedly. Did she notice my lousy thoughts?「 It is my duty to serve and protect you. 」
She grabs my hand on top of her head, I stop patting her and let her do her thing even though I’m confused with what she is trying to do.
Just the sensation of her unbelievably soft fingers carefully tracing down my arm challenges my willpower to avoid shuddering.
She leans towards my hand and for a fleeting moment I can feel her lips on my knuckles. The next, her bright eyes have found mine again.
「 To cherish you. 」
She lightly kisses again. Her hands grip me more firmly.
「 To love you. 」
Again, she kisses the back of my hand, lingering longer this time.
「 And most important of all — to worship you. 」
The last caress of her lips reaches my wrist, resting there for what feels like minutes. I don’t know whether this reassurance is for me or herself, and which of it I want it to be.
「 Master does not need to worry about these trivial things. Let this servant handle the rest. 」
She turns her back and walks a bit to the courtyard. There, she stands solemnly as if concentrating on something.
「 What are you trying to do, Shen? 」
『 Phyter 』
Without warning, a bolt of lightning tore through the blue cloudless sky, striking the ground with a deafening crack and roar.
In an instant, the ground shook as if an earthquake had hit, followed with a fury of lightning strikes raining down onto this courtyard. I helplessly recoiled back, raising my hand to block the intense light. Through the small gaps between my fingers I see a glimpse of those lightning strikes relentlessly.
The corpses erupt into flames, their flesh and bones must’ve been consumed by the intense heat. Not even a second pass, the corpses were reduced to nothing but ashes…
When the hail of lightning strikes stop, I fully look at the aftermath.
All that’s left are the charred black glass in place of the once spots of corpses.
This is surreal…
There was no warning. No signs of black clouds filling the sky. No initial preemptive harmless thunder.
It was as if the fabric of reality and the concept of magical capability limitation had been torn apart…
Even in her human form, she can still cast devastating spells just like back in her true dragon form…
Anyone who witnessed this would think this is a nightmare coming to life. The thought of the once remnant of once living beings easily incinerated into nothingness would’ve been.
They would feel terrified of such prowess.
To me… However…
I don’t feel any of those horror-struck emotions…
I know what this is…
It must be a deep inadequacy…
Do I even have the right to stand by her side, let alone be her master…?
「 And that’s all done. Hehehe… 」She says with a satisfied smile.
She slightly puffs her chest high and looks at me lovingly.
「 Ah. 」
Then, she looks towards the general direction past behind me.
I immediately look behind my back, and to my surprise there’s still two more bodies untouched. Must’ve been because the roof protected it from the hail storm.
Thank the goddess, the body inside the house was untouched by the lightning, we need to identify these people first before we actually get rid of them.
「 Apologies master. I thought I was done clearing up the remains, but there’s still some unattended dead bodies inside the house. Let me take care of it real quick. 」
「 Woah, Shen. 」I grab her shoulders to stop her from going.「 Don’t worry about the last few remains, let me take care of it. 」
「 Please master, let me amend my mistakes. It is simply unforgivable for me to simply laid rest when my master has to deal with the aftermath of my actions. 」
「 It’s great that you want to take responsibility, Shen. 」I pat her again to ease her guilt once more.「 However, I need some of their remains intact so I can identify these people. We need to know who exactly we are dealing with. 」
「 I’m sure your mana has been quite depleted now. Be a good girl and head back to the Sky Palace and refill your mana. I need your mana to be full at all times to protect me, Shen. 」
「 I still have quite a lot of Mana within me master. But, if that’s what you truly wish for… Then, this lowly servant will head back first. 」She bows deeply towards me.
「 Please always be safe, master. Do not hesitate to summon me if you require my assistance… Or my company. I’ll always be there for you, my beloved, honorable master~ 」
In a flash what seems to be a dimension portal engulfs Shen and a second later, she’s gone.
Now… I must prepare for the worst.
At the very least what we are doing here is self-defense, so we have the necessary justification. Any strangers or passerby hearing about our situation would be on our side. The only problem here is if there’s anyone backing them up. Although my hunch earlier is the sho clan, it does not rule out it might just be other people. But these are no small numbers of people. And judging by their clothes; although were not anything fancy, they were very well made. It speaks volumes of their possible high background.
…Out of the pan and into the fire.
This is not something I can handle alone, especially in foreign territory. I’m left with no choice but to consult and report my situation to the Veinard Trading Guild. Hopefully they understand and help my predicament. Shed some light to the identity and background of these people. They might be the Sho clan’s people, but I need certainty, not assumptions.
The thing is… what kind of excuse- reasoning I can give for their aggression and demise?