Black Moon Chapter 1

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I woke up in a large castle filled with gold sleeping on top of it. Yeah, I know. Anyone will go crazy the moment someone sees such a large amount of gold that filled halfway up towards the ceiling. I swear the amount of gold will make any millionaire jealous, the war would be fought over for it and even die for. Everywhere I look, I see the golden shimmer of light. Here and there were pockets of jewels the size of a fist that seemed to glow.

The thought of even touching one made my head spin out of control. Where was I? Why was I here? How did I get here? What was my name again?

Wait, I don’t know my name? This is bad. Who am I?

Dragging my feet to get up, I heard the sound of metal against metal. Followed by a hint of a scrapping sound on top of the metal. Claws?

Turning my head over to the sound, I saw a sizeable scaly foot with black white claws. Is that my foot? I couldn’t help but stare confused. Shifting from one foot to another, I could see and feel that the foot that I was on was mine. 

How? Wait, a moment. I sat back down and raised up my white scaly hands with a hint of blue. No their not human hands anymore, but more of a monster? What am I?

A flick of a tail hit the mound of gold. The twinkling sound of gold continuously fell nonstop, swallowing me in the gold. I have a tail? Aren’t I a human. I was sure I was a human a moment ago. 

No, wait. How do I know I was a human in the first place? My head was pounding. I’m rich, but I don’t know who I am, nor do I think I am a human anymore. Then what purpose do I need gold for?

Even covered head to toe with gold, I did not have any difficulties moving out of it. I was particularly swimming in it like it was water. I stopped and found what I was looking for: a mirror. 

A beautiful mirror that was hand-carved laid against a column. Dazzling sapphires were inlaid around it, reminding me of rainbows. As I sat in front of the mirror, I saw my enormous head, for crying out loud, I have a huge head. With long scaly snout that reminds me of a bit of an alligator’s nose and horns that curled with my head and neck. Spikes that were like armor that ran down my spine. The thing that differentiates me the most was my odd-colored eyes. One emerald green and the other purple like amethyst. Even the iris was cat-like as it blinked a couple more times. I took a couple steps back to see my whole body. 

I had a difficult time believing what I am. What was the name that was heard in countless legends? I could see a large pair of wings tucked tightly between my back. Dragon. Yes. That was what I was—a dragon. 

Was I a dragon to begin with? No, that did not seem like it was the case. I knew I was a human in the first place, until now. The pounding in my head hurts horribly from a shock of pain. A word appeared in my mind. Identify. 

“Identify?” The word was stressed out like a snake. Streams of information entered into my head.

Name: Berry Drakel
Title: Greedy Gaming Dragon
Race: Dragon
Blessings: Blessing of the Ancient Dragon, Double Trouble, Great Sage, Curse of the Dragons
Abilities: Transform, Magic absorption, Metal Manipulator. Ice and Fire Magic. Coder.

“So, my name is Berry Drakel…Berry…Berry.” 

Even the name Berry still sounded alien. Also, I had difficulties wondering where the name came from, and it sounded so….how should I say it, not dragon-like at all. I couldn’t help but sigh. Whoever gave me that name should go drown themselves.
I looked over the information to see if I could understand it a little bit more. 

Blessing of the Ancient Dragon: The ancient past dragons have endowed the newborn dragon with wealth. There is an unknown amount of old energy bestowed on the young dragon. 

Curse of the Unwanted Dragon: Since ancient times, the powerful curse is set upon all dragon races. Not much information is known about the curse. 

Double Trouble: Because the Curse of the Dragon is in effect, there are double the amount of problems that will follow you. 

“Hyuck.” I couldn’t believe my rotten luck. To be blessed and cursed at the same time was not something that one usually gets. It was one or the other. Hopefully, I could cure this curse, so trouble did not follow me too much. 

Great Sage: The ability to memorize ancient writing, documents, and magic language without much effort. 

Great Sage. Another fantastic but useless ability. I sighed. Great. I honestly did not know how strong I was either. 

Transform: One can change into a human form. Power, Magic, and endurance will not change. Silver and black tattoos will be left on your body.

Magic Absorption: An ability to absorb one percent of the magic into one’s body and turn it into one’s strength. 

Metal Manipulator: An ability to forge and manipulate metal.

Ice Magic: An elemental ability that gives the user the power over ice. 

Fire Magic: An elemental ability that gives the user the power over fire.

Coder: An programmer that can systematically embed codes into objects.

Everything was simple. No grand magic nor anything that would be considered extraordinary accept the curse. I didn’t even have a unique ability that would be considered astronomical.  How strong was I? That was the million-dollar question, and I don’t even know. No status also showed me what my strength was. All I could think about was I could probably be a weakling, but the thought quickly drifted away. I was a dragon for crying out loud, a monster class being that has a high possibility of being astronomical. Continually examining my status, I looked at the final phrase that caught my eyes. 

Greedy Gaming Dragon: A young dragon that has woken up from its long slumber. This dragon is known to hoard gold for its own selfish desires—a unique breed of dragons that could shapeshift into a human form.

“But to be named as the Gaming Greedy Dragon? Where did that come from anyways? I know I was playing a game… Wait, how do I know this?” 

Thinking it over a couple more times, a flash of memory appeared before my eyes. A young girl sitting in front of a computer was diligently playing a Multiplayer online game in the dark. She had short blackish red hair with a cat ear headphones on her head.  Her face was a bit round and long. Her skin was lightly tan brown. Even her sharp eyes stared into the screen, watching every action the character moved. A familiar dragon was fighting off thousands of monsters left and right, causing devastation on every turn. Just as quickly as the memory appeared before me, I couldn’t see it anymore. Game. Yes. I remember playing something like that, but this was not a game. This was a different world. A different world? 

“No. No. It can’t be, could it?” I tried to use my hands to prick myself, but my claws were stopped by my thick scales. “You serious?” I sighed, cursing my dumb luck in unable to even hurt myself. 

I gave up trying to wake myself up and instead actually took the time to look around my surroundings. Even though there were thousands of gold coins and jewelry around me, there were also some odd artifacts that I did not know. Reaching over towards the hilt with wings that was partially covered in gold, I picked up the handle with my claw. A large sword was pulled out from the heap of gold.

A beautiful sword rested in my hands. It even gave off a mesmerizing light that could blind anyone in an instant, but for me, it only gave me a slight itch. Suddenly, the information about the sword entered into my head. 

Legendary Gala Holy Weapon
A legendary weapon imbued with holy light. It has been once held by a legendary hero and slew a mighty demon. The weapon chooses its master to wield its great power. 

“Gala? Like Gala apples?” I could already feel my mouth salivating, thinking about apples. They were my favorite kind. Was it possible that I was an omnivore even though I’m a dragon? I’m not even sure. Looking back down, I stared at the weapon.

The weapon was quite formidable, but I did not hear a single voice coming from the weapon. Oh well, not my problem. Flinging the sword over my shoulder, it landed back into the pile of gold. What good would it do for me if I can’t even use it?

I continued to search through the piles of gold and found many other unique and legendary artifacts that would make any man or woman cry out in jealousy. Each one barely did anything for me. With that being said, I slid my way towards the exit of the giant chamber. 
Stepping out, my claws tapped against pristine marble. The exit of the door magically opened, letting me out. When I completely exited the door, the door once again sealed shut with magic and disappeared. 

“Lucky me. I have a magical door. At least my treasures are safe.” I stopped and realized what I said: My treasure. It didn’t really sink in until now. I couldn’t even use the gold to buy anything, so I didn’t understand what purpose I had for it.

Turning my head to the side, the blue flames lit the hallway one-by-one. Giant Greek marble statues stood proudly down the hallway. Oh my- I couldn’t stop but stare and anxiously advert my gaze. A flash of heat rose up towards my cheek. Nudes. They were those typical Greek nude statues that you would see flaunting around their perfect figure. I couldn’t help but look around to find something to cover the male nude up. 

Yes! I found something on the floor. A gold handkerchief that accidentally came out from the treasure room. Gently picking it up with my claws, I raised it up towards the danger zone. I literally had to hang it over without looking and praying that I would not damage the statue either. The thought of destroying a historical figure horrified me, but my virgin mind could not stare without blushing furiously red. Plus, I don’t even know how to fix it nor find someone else too. 

With my painful ordeal over, I noticed that even the rugs and the curtain still were perfectly intact. There was not a speck of dust also present. Was there possibly housekeepers running around somewhere that I didn’t know about?

Continuing forward, this time, I came toward a doorway that was too big for my body to even enter. The only way was to become smaller. To become smaller….hm….tapping my claws repeatedly onto the floor. 

“I can shift, right? I remember reading it a few moments ago.” 

Remembering the girl that was playing the computer game, I closed my eyes and envisioned a clear picture in my head: the short black silky hair, the cute petite face, and even the pink rosy cheek. Opening my eyes, I was standing on two legs: naked. Silver tattoo markings were heavily outlined from the back and down my chest. 

I shivered. I forgot how it was to be in human skin, even a soft breeze made me cold. With a loud squeak, the door that was once too small for me opened. This time, a large bedroom with fine silk decorated the bedroom. It reminded me of a noble castle. The only difference was that it looked more modern than medieval. 

With my mind temporarily occupied, I noticed clothes already laid out on the bed. It was a two-piece clothes, a blue shirt, and pants with undergarments. Each one was designed simple but elegant with a handwoven design of a dragon. Even a small purse, the size of my hands were next to it. Picking it up, I could hear the sound of gold clinking inside.  

Quickly putting on the clothes, I felt a rush of warmth and a strange tingling of power. This was not the only effect that I had felt coming from the clothes at hand, I felt an exhilarated increase in power. How was this possible?

Rare Kilin Set Clothes
They are made from the hides of a Kilin. It can endow the wearer with an increase in stamina, an increase in defense, and an increase in strength. Not anyone could wear these clothes due to the high level of magical power needed to wear it. If worn by anyone who has a low magic power level of over 509, they will be burned. Magical creatures are ruled out of this exception. The clothes can shift with the owner’s body and are magically kept clean. 

“Not too shabby if I may say so myself, but where are all these god-like items even coming from?” 

Even speaking it out loud, there was no answer. Being alone by myself, it’s pretty dull. 

Fully clothed, I went out to explore the building. Each turn I took, new rooms were discovered from a kitchen to a lounge, an indoor garden that was well kept, hundreds of rooms, and even a vast library filled to the brim with books. 

A whole day went by just exploring the area from top to bottom, and when I was famished. A freshly made food was already ready on the table in the library. Even still, I could not find a single person or being in the area. 

“Anyone here?” I yelled, but only the echo of my voice continued to ring over and over again. 
“Seriously, anyone?” My voice became low with sadness.

Nothing, not even a squeak of sound, but the echoes of my voice in the vast library echoed out endlessly. I searched around the large volume of books stacked high next to a comfy chair. Next to the chair on the table, a hot, newly brewed tea with a platter of cookies, a chicken with rice,  and a couple of golds were neatly arranged for me to eat. Walking over, I took a seat.  I fell into the seat comfortably like it was jello. 

Picking up a cookie, I took a bite. This tastes so good. Whoever is the cook in this castle, I give you my compliments. My hands darted in for more, and without realizing it, I took a chomp out of something cold and metallic. 

“Wha-?” My tongue was already wrapped around the gold coin that I accidentally took a chunk out of, but what was surprising enough was that the gold coin that I took a bite actually tasted sweeter than the cookie. Without realizing it, I took another bite out of the gold coin. 

“Delicious!” I squealed in delight, my eyes crinkled with happiness, savoring the sweet taste. Nothing compared to the melted gold coin that washed around in my mouth until I gulped. I felt a rush of energy throughout my body and felt a warm tingle around my skin. I noticed a soft hue that seemed to make my skin even more lovely than before. 

So this was why there was so much gold in this castle. It was for this reason. I needed a source of gold for my skin, or should I say my scales. Chuckling to myself, I realized if gold could really turn a maiden’s skin pure, the price of gold would have skyrocketed. 

I realized then that the savory gold coin that I just ate was worth a lot, and it hit me hard, realizing what I have done. I just ate the money that I could use in this world. Damn. I couldn’t believe my urge to suddenly pop a couple of gold coins in my mouth. I need to take better care to not eat so much gold in one day, or I might actually deplete my reservoir. Maybe one day I’ll have to go out and search for more if I’m not careful.

Observing around the stack of high piles of books, I noticed there were different volumes of letters that I have never seen before. Carefully picking up one of the books in hand, a silver oak leaf was enclosed on the cover. Gently stroking my hands on the leather book, I carefully opened to the front page. I still could not read the letters on the page of the book at all, but suddenly the words on the pages shimmered and changed. 

All the fonts were readable in the language that I understood. Wait…what language did I even understand? I racked my brains, but not a single memory of the past was brought up. 

“Beginner book into Gardening. Not a bad start….” Flipping the page the next. Quickly skimming through the paragraphs, I could tell that the book had quite a bit of information about modern-day gardening. The following books were waterwheel creation, technology of old and new, fishing, and many more. 

“No history books?” Searching through the large stack of books, I look for anything that could give me a clue of where I was at. Days, weeks, months, and then a year went by. I stayed inside the castle walls and kept reading in the library. My curiosity for the truth spurred me forward in devouring all the knowledge in the room. I don’t know if it was just because I was a dragon in a human form, but the books that I read stay in my mind without even fading away. It was an extraordinary gift, though I can say it could be a pain at times. 

Maybe I was out of my mind to stay holed up in one room like a squirrel without taking a rest, but this was my personality. Until I finished my goal at hand, I would not ever stop. Now that I think about it, there was this one time where I sat in front of the computer for twenty hours trying to complete a game quest. 

I was reading the last book that the library had to offer. Honestly speaking, this library was terrific. It had books on everything that had to do with the old world that I came from, their teachings and techniques, but there was barely any knowledge on this new world, just small parchment here and there. This was a problem for me when you think about it. I barely learned anything at all about this world. The question came down to how was all this knowledge about the past here in this different world? Too many questions and not a single answer. Was it a waste of my time? Probably, but the amount of knowledge that I have gained was ridiculous. It was to the point where  I could spontaneously speak out answers the moment I thought of the question. 

For breakfast, lunch, and dinner, I had taken three gold coins a day for a year. For any normal human, this would have been considered astronomical, but for me, it was nothing. I always carried around a pouch of gold that could last me a year’s worth.

“Ding. Dong. Dang. Dong.” A loud old grandfather clock rang out, I looked up towards the clock. It was four o’clock.

A fresh wind breezes through an open window as bright light cascades into the room, it was the end of spring. Setting the book on the table, I stood up and walked over towards the open window. Gazing out into the distance, an endless amount of trees could be seen. The soft chattering of bird’s song rung loudly sang their afternoon song. 

Breathing in the sweet air, I felt peace and warmth in my bones. What wonderful weather. I do love the sun more than the cloudy days. On such days I like to go out and curl into a ball underneath the sunlight soaking it in, but because I was too engrossed in reading, I forgot this pure joy in life.

Off in the distance, a cloud of black smoke rose up in the thick forest. I barely had to squint to see where it was coming from, my eyes focused in like a hawk. I could tell that that smoke was man-made rather than the forest being on fire. This meant one thing, people. 

With curiosity spurring me forward, I decided to take a chance to go check it out. Plus, I wanted to know if I could even fly. There was only one way to find out, and that was to go for a test ride. 
Closing the window, I left the library. I searched for a way out of the castle if there was even a way out. So far, this huge, lonely place didn’t have one exit that I could find.

Then I remembered my room, which had a large balcony that led to the outside world. This was my chance to test my theory out and the only exit that I could find. It’s been one year since I became a dragon. Holing myself in the library, I completely forgot I was one in the first place. Imagining myself once again, shifting into a dragon form, I let myself change without any problems. It was quick and painless.

Spreading out my wings, I flexed them outwards. A gust of mighty wind blew out from under my wings as it slightly lifted me up. Check. The wings work, and I can fly. With a nod of my head, I felt satisfied and giddy for the test trial. Without a second thought, I broke into a run and jumped off the ledge of the cliff. 

At first, I felt my body drop from the ledge, then my wings caught itself in the flight by spreading out my wings, broad and strong. With each pump, I could feel the mighty wings lift me up into the sky. The world that was before me seemed so small, so minuscule and weak. I felt free flying through the air, enjoying the cool breeze. 

Why haven’t I done this sooner? I felt stupid that I have now felt the full effect of flight. I had wings for crying out loud, the only reason that I could think about was my one-track mind when I was engrossed in what I was doing. Everything else was forgotten, and the thought of completing the task was at hand.

This was truly an adrenaline rush flying in the air. From spirals, loop-de-loops, circles, and even acrobatics flight stunts that I never even thought was possible, one could say that it was a wild sight to see up in the air if anyone looked up. 

I finally caught the smell of smoke, and my eyes zoomed in downwards towards the direction of the smoke. What surprised me next was how my eyes seem to spot even the smallest pebble on the ground. I was even able to make out a small house in the middle of the forest. 

I wondered what a small house was doing in the middle of the forest. Finding a spot some ways away from the hut, I landed perfectly down without making too much sound. Quickly shifting into human form, I darted into the thicket of the trees hoping that no one had seen me. The birds chattering away helped to hide away my footsteps. 

Walking through the forest, I couldn’t help but enjoy the stroll in the woods. I should’ve been afraid of wild animals coming in to devour possibly even bandits or me, but such thought was quickly diminished, and instead, a wave of calm followed. Maybe it was because I was a dragon that kept my feelings in check. I did not know, but it definitely helped in calming my nerves. 

Finally, appearing before me was a small humble house. An old lady was racking away the dead leaves in her small garden. Even under the sun, she tirelessly kept her small garden well pruned. The moment I touched the land not too far away from the hut, something happened before my eyes. 

Curse of the Unwanted Dragon
An evil witch cursed the white dragon to live as a human and was named as an unwanted dragon. When one leaves one territory, the curse of the Dragon goes into effect. All power, magic, and level will revert back to one’s true form but in a child’s body. There are four ways to gain back one’s ability. Either one can normally stay in human form for five hundred years,  train to get back one’s power, or use the power of the ring that can only be used once every week, or have a more potent force of magic break the curse.

I gasped in shock. This indeed was a serious matter to me.  I was now in deeper water than before. This meant I could die if I was not careful, but the thought of living by myself alone for ages did not sit well with me. Personally speaking, being a hermit was not something I wanted to waste my life. I was curious about this new world, and it made me wonder what was out there. 

Were there other dragons like me? Or am I the only living dragon in existence? These questions racked my brains and made me more curious about the world. I needed to know. I did not want to be alone like my past life, living secluded in a room playing games my whole life. This was my second chance, and I was not going to squander it. This much I did remember, in my past life, I lived in my secluded room, but in this one, things would be different.

Looking down, I noticed that the womanly figure was gone, and instead, a young child’s body took its place. I couldn’t help but groan. I was reverted too. This was truly more of a handicap than before. Luckily for me, the clothes that I was wearing changed shape to fit my body. 

Would this be called a second chance at life or a stroke of terrible luck? In my opinion, bad luck. There was just no going back. I was going towards an unknown danger that I did not know what was out there for me. With a deep breath, I walked through the thick forest and finally came upon the cottage where the old lady was racking her garden. 

“Excuse me,” I called out to the lady without moving unexpectedly. I was a bit worried that she might freak out.

The lady looked startled, and when she saw me, her eyes were wide with surprise. “What is a young girl doing out here in the middle of nowhere?”

“I-” I didn’t know what to say. “I guess I’m lost, wouldn’t cut it, would it?” 

Barking out loud with laughter, the old lady smiled. She motioned me forward to her side. Honestly, I was surprised that she would call upon me to come forward, especially an unknown person like me. 

“Are you sure you’re not going to cry out for help? I could be a monster?”

“Little girl, if you were a monster, you would’ve changed and eaten me already.”

“But, I could have even tried to trick you into coming close.”

This grandma’s common sense is considered out of the ordinary, especially when one should suspect any usual occurrence like me.

“Then you would not have told me about your plans. Little girl, what is your name?”

I was stunned at her straightforwardness. “Berry.”

“Berry. What a delicious sounding name.” 

“You sound more like a monster than me…” 

“Kuhuhuh. Maybe I am.” She snickered. A glint of mischief was shown on her face.

I couldn’t help but falter at her joke for a split second and was worried that she actually might be a monster in disguise. Me, a dragon scared of a monster? Truthfully, I shouldn’t be, but the restriction that is set upon me was something that I had to be very conscious about. I’m no superhero, I did not know how strong I was. 

“Don’t be afraid. I’m not going to eat you. My grandson should be coming back any moment now. Why don’t you come and have a seat with me.” She walked over towards a wooden bench and sat down. She tapped next to her for me to sit down. 

I wearily walked over towards the bench, carefully wondering what she would do, but she did not do much but watch me come over and take a seat. 

“You seem a bit out of place for a young girl to be walking around by yourself in the woods. You don’t seem to be lost either. Almost like you came here for a reason.” 

“Grandma, you’re good. Aren’t you scared?”

“Scared? No. No. I get the feeling that you didn’t come here to harm us.” 

“Really?” I couldn’t believe what I just heard. This was truly unheard of. I would’ve assumed she 
would be calling out loud for her son to come over and save her or something.

“You feel different. I can tell it in my old bones that you are not human. What are you?”

“I’m an…elf.” Yes, an elf. I just couldn’t think of anything else that was a humanoid figure. I could have said orc or something, but do I look like one? No.

“An elf? Those ears that you have are a particular trait of elves. That makes sense why you are waltzing around here as if it’s your playground.”

“I wouldn’t say it’s like a playground, just a walk in the forest.” 

“Philip would be glad to see another one of his kind.” 

“Your grandson is an elf?”

“A half-elf. Phil acts more human than elf. The reason could be because of me.”

“Where is he now?”

“He’s here.” The old lady pointed towards the direction of the forest. A young man at the age of seventeen exited out of the woods with two rabbits in hand. He had a wooden bow strapped to his shoulder and dressed in simple brown attire. The most distinguishing feature of the young man was his bluish silver hair and sea-green eyes. He was tall and lean with muscles. She knew that in the years to come, this would be considered a very handsome man when he grew up. He was quite eye-catching. Every girl would fawn over him if he was not careful. Information once again streamed into my mind.

Future Diabolical Demon King

You have three options:

Slay Phil, so the world can be saved by the evil demon. In twenty years, he will be considered the most destructive, diabolical, tyrant of a demon king to exist, but if you slay him now, you will die by a Hero’s hand in five years. 

Help him turn into a Demon King, and the next twenty years, you will be safe, kill the hero, and live another thirty years till you die by the Demon King’s hand. 

Keep him away from his future as much as possible. The time of your death is unknown, but death is inevitable. 

What is this? I was shocked at the information that came streaming in my mind. The grandma’s grandson was the future demon king, and out of the three choices, I only have a certain amount of years left to live. There are no other options? What kind of bull is this?

Holding in my outburst, I couldn’t help but give Phil a furious glare. I had to reign it in before he was caught on by my emotions. Out of all three options, the longest that I would live was fifty years, and here I thought dragons lived for thousands of years.

I couldn’t help but feel a raging headache starting to swirl around my head. Death. Somehow my life and his life have been entwined like a knot. From eating gold to now possibly babysitting a demon lord and living my life in fear of death.

No. No. No. No! I can not have that. Option one is out of the question. Option 2 does not go with my morals. The only option that I have is number three, and I could possibly die tomorrow. 

Damn it! I fumed. 

“Grandma!” Phil cried out with happiness, temporarily breaking me away from my own little world. He ran towards them with the rabbit in hand but stopped short in front of us. His eyes roamed over me, confused, wondering who I was. “Grandma? Who?”

“Welcome back. This is Berry. Berry, this is Phil. My grandson.”

“Grandma, didn’t I tell you not to talk to strangers! They could be dangerous.” Phil eyes me carefully. At least he had common sense and knew the concept of stranger danger. His grandmother did worry me, though.

“Nonsense. Berry is an elf, like you. Elves are good-natured beings.” 

“But grandma, you can’t just base it off on that fact alone. Don’t you remember what the elves did to my parents? They chased them out of the forest and made us live in solitude.”

The grandmother sighed. “Phil. I told you there was more to the story than that. We were never chased out but sent away to hide from the dangers that the elves faced. Orcs invaded their lands, and they had to retaliate. Both your mother and father were killed in the war.”

“No grandma, you know as well as I that half-elves are not seen in favor.” Phil was trying his hardest to persuade his grandmother

“Don’t be ridiculous. Elves are great beings that helped us many times.”

Phil sighed. He did not want to continue to argue with his grandmother over the idea that the elves did really leave them out to die rather than help. “So, what is a child elf doing out here?”

“I’m just out on a stroll. I found this place and just came to see who was living here.” 

“Really now? You think I’ll believe such a bogus lie?”

“That was not a lie. I really did wonder who lived here.” And now, thanks to you, my life is cut short!

“It is bizarre to see a young child roam around a dangerous forest. Even I am well aware that this forest is filled with magical beasts that are very difficult to kill. You think an elf child could bypass all these monsters and somehow end up here without a single scratch?”

“Yes.”

Phil smacked his face. He had a tough time believing in my words, but it didn’t matter to me. I was here just out of curiosity, wondering what the world has to offer me. 

“Don’t be so rude to our little guest. She’s the first elf that we haven’t seen in a very long time. It’s almost been twelve years since the last one came to visit.” 

“That was mom, grandma. That was the last time we heard from both mom and dad.”
The grandmother became silent and remorseful. The thought of losing both her son and his elf wife hit her hard in the heart. Stream of tears erupted from her eyes as she thought about them. 

“Grandma, don’t cry. They are doing well with the god of light and living in happiness. Please don’t cry.” Phil dropped the rabbit and came over-worried. He hugged her tightly and let her finish crying. 

“I know they are doing well. It’s just that I miss them.”

“Me too, grandma. Me too.” 

Pushing herself away from Phil’s chest, the grandmother got up. “I’ll go make something for us to eat. Why don’t you entertain our new friend.”

“Yes, grandma.” Phil picked the rabbit back up and handed it towards his grandmother. He watched his grandmother leave them both behind, and he turned towards me with suspicion. The quiet was unbearable to the point where I could hear the wind blowing, the crickets chirping, and even the trickling of the creek that did not seem so far away from here. Finally, I was able to reel in my chaotic thoughts and were able to quell the rampant emotions. 

“So….” I broke the silence first. “You’re Phil.” The awkwardness could not be so easily broken. The heated stare from the young man made me feel uncomfortable under his gaze. I’m a dragon for crying out loud, and I’m squirming under his gaze. Is this even normal? No!

“Yes, I’m Phil, short for Philip. Who else would I be?”

Why this little snot-nosed brat. I squinted with annoyance. What was Phil thinking, trying to answer a question with a question? I wanted to beat the crap out of him for being rude. No. No. I must not resort to violence. Breathing in deeply, I let out as much steam as I could. 
With a crack of a smile, I once again tried to start up a conversation. “How long have you been living here?”

“My whole life.”

“Do you like living here?”

“That’s not your concern.”

“Look, kid. I’m just trying to get to know you. Is it hard to answer?” I couldn’t hold my temper any longer. 

“Kid? What the heck are you talking about? You’re a kid yourself. I’m considered a man at my age.”

“I’m older than you. Possibly by 10 years!” 

“10 years?” He looked at me, shocked. “What are you talking about, you’re saying that you are twenty-eight years old in that body?”

Well, I wasn’t really twenty-eight more like twenty-five mentally. I’m not sure physically I could be around the early twenties, though right now, I look around ten years old. To me, this young man was more of a brat in my eyes than eighteen years old.

“Look, things happen, okay. Don’t ask.”

“Well then, why are you really here?” He crossed his arms. Until he was satisfied with the answer I would give, he did not budge. For someone his age, his mind was sharp.

“I was just curious who lived here near my domain. What do you think this is some kind of interview?”

Phil ignored me and continued to ask, “Your domain? Where do you live? You make it sound like you’re some kind of noble.”

“Noble? Me? Hardly.”

“That’s not what your clothes say.”

“?”

“I’m no fool. I can tell that what you are wearing is endowed with magical properties. Normal people can’t tell, but someone who has discerning eyes could see that what you are wearing is not normal.”
He had very sharp eyes. I could not easily fool him as quickly as his grandmother. “I have my reasons.”

“I don’t trust you.”

“Really? Because I don’t like you.” 

“That’s fine with me.” 

“Good.” 

I couldn’t believe what I was getting into. Squabbling over something so trivial, I felt like an idiot for even having this so-called argument. I was a grown-up for crying out loud. Actually, I’ve only been in this world for one year, so I couldn’t really be twenty-five anymore. I sighed. I couldn’t even tell how old I was. I’m even younger than this brat.

I don’t know for how long we just sat there and stared. My mind was in turmoil, trying to figure out how old I was that I completely forgot that time passed. The sun was setting into the horizon.

“Phil. Berry. Come eat dinner. I made you your favorite dragon soup.” Phil’s grandmother called out from the window.

“D-d-dragon soup?” I fell out of the bench, appalled at what I had just heard. I couldn’t believe that they were monster eaters! Especially of my kind. My heart skipped a couple of beats as I could feel the sweat from my hands. 

“Come on. Let’s not make grandma wait.”

Phil got up and went first. I timidly followed behind, wondering what this dragon soup was. I hoped to dear god that it really was not my kind’s own flesh and blood. 

Entering into the small hut, I couldn’t help but stare around the living room. Two separate rooms were located on one side, a table in the middle of the room, and a kitchen filled with different types of herbs in bottles. On the opposite side of the door was a fireplace that lit up the nearby food.

Set up on the table were food and plates. Phil pulled an extra chair over and placed it across from him, and he took a seat. 

“Sweetheart, come in and sit down. Dragon Soup will get cold if you just stand there.” 

I hesitantly walked over. Dragon Soup. Dragon Soup. Ugh. The thought made me feel disgusted. Pulling the chair back, I took a seat. The smell of soup was actually delicious. 

“This is not real dragon soup, is it?” I poked it with a spoon.

“No, dear. We wouldn’t ever dare take the meat off a dragon. Do you know how dangerous that sounds?”

“I wouldn’t know….”

“Dragons are considered legendary creatures. There hasn’t been a sighting of a dragon since the 5th cycle of the Legendary Monster Resurrection. You can’t be serious, you don’t know anything about this before?” Phil asked.

“Look. I have been isolated from the world till now. So give me a break.” 

“Well, dear, the Legendary Monster Resurrection happens every thousand years. One out of the twelve mythical monsters are born. The pattern has always been the same. The first is the Leviathan, Hydra, Phoenix, Dragon, Black Gryphon, and finally, a Titan. Every Six thousand years, the cycle repeats itself, and the world changes when these legendary creatures are born. Nations tremble from the might of these legendary creatures that they have cause devastation that could wipe out their whole existence. Since ancient times, Heroes were born to slay these mighty beasts and bring back the balance to its original source.”

“So, I’m guessing this time it is the Age of the Dragons?”

“Yes dear, A dragon had already appeared nine hundred ninety-eight years ago, and the age of the Red Dragon is ending this year. The great hero Sol had killed the Red Dragon five hundred years ago, and now the Age of the Black Gryphon will begin soon.” 

“Oh.” I was silent for a second. “Are their other dragons out there except from the legends?”

“Good heavens, no. If there was this world would be in chaos. Just having one is considered catastrophic in itself.” 

Catastrophic. So that would describe something like me. Wow. This even made me even more curious about what the heck I was doing alive if it wasn’t the time for more dragons to appear. 

“How do we know when the legend of the six beasts is beginning anyways?”

“The signs. The animals and the birds are more restless this year. Monsters start appearing in unexpected places. There has been news that the nearby king has been amassing a large army for next year. The legend has always stated that on the first day of the first month, the cycle of the six beasts will end and begin anew. Their emergence will be herald with lightning and thunder as their roar destroys a nation, and fire shall follow, causing devastation.” 

“Has it always been like that?”

“Yes. Never once did the prophecy of the six beasts ever fail in its cycle. Since the emergence of the Red Dragon, it had destroyed a great kingdom Cullo in under three days. With burning fire, it killed thousands.” 

I gasped. To hear that the dragon of this world was the typical dragon that you would listen to in fairy tales, and the worse part of it is that they bring chaos and destruction everywhere they go. Even though I am a dragon myself, this truly brought a nasty mark on my species. I personally love being a dragon, and to be possibly hunted down was not something that I ever wanted in my whole entire life.

“How long has this cycle been going?”

“Since the beginning of time.”

Phil placed his spoon on the table and folded his hands. “How is it that you never heard about the Legendary Six Beasts? Every child has heard about this story since the day they could walk. I find it strange that you never heard of this before.” 

“Look, I was a hermit since I was born. I don’t have any parents. Okay? Nobody was there to teach me anything.” This was the truth. I was ashamed that I had said this fact and regretted even blurting it out.

At that moment, Phil’s eyes became wide as he heard what I just said. “I-I-I’m sorry. I didn’t know your parents had died.”

“Things happen. If you don’t mind. I would appreciate it if you didn’t ask any more questions about me, okay?”

Phil nodded, and the grandmother gave me a sad understanding. She grabbed another spoonful of dragon soup and placed more into my bowl. 

“Eat up, you are welcome to stay in this house as long as I live.” The grandmother warmly spoke. She gently patted my head in a comforting manner. How long has it been since I felt such warmth? It felt like ages. 

Small unexpected tears trickled down my face. I reached up to wipe it away, and for a short time, I couldn’t help but continue to silently cry. Phil felt uncomfortable seeing me cry, and my grandmother came over to give me a gentle hug.

“There there. It’s alright. You should spend the night with us.” 

I reached over and hugged her tightly. The long year of not knowing why you have come to this world, and having nobody around had finally strained my nerves. I didn’t know how bad it was until it hit me.

Pulling away, I wipe away my tears. “Thank you. I didn’t mean to cry. I’m ashamed to show you this side of me.” 

“It’s alright, dear. We understand.” She walked over back to her seat. “Let’s eat before it gets too cold, alright?”

I nodded furiously. Picking up the spoon, I took a sip of the Dragon Soup. The delicious, flavorful taste of meat and vegetables swirled around in my mouth. Then I felt a burning sensation down my throat like it was caught on fire. I quickly placed the spoon down and reached for the cup of water. My mouth was burning from the spice.

Phil chuckled. “That is why it’s called Dragon Soup. It burns like you are ready to blow fire.” 
At that moment, before I knew it, I literally burped out fire. It was only for a split second.

“Was that fire?” Phil stared at me strangely.

“Magic?” I quickly stated.

“Oh.” 

They did not ask any more than that and simply accepted the answer. I took a chug of water.
 Phil handed me a piece of bread. “Eat it with bread. It’ll cut down the spice by a half and makes it more manageable to eat.” 

“How are you even able to eat something so spicy? Is this how you guys always eat?”

“No. It’s only on special occasions. Grandma brings out this dish when we usually have guests or on birthdays. The ingredients are a bit difficult to find.” 

The burning sensation was gone, and this time took his advice and used the bread. The overwhelming spice was drowned out by the earthy texture of food and gave it a tangy taste. I wolfed down the rest. I didn’t know how hungry I was until now. Though I do wish I could pop a couple of gold in my mouth to counter this burning sense of taste. Taking out a couple of gold coins at this time and eating it in front of them might not be a good idea. I spat out a puff of fire, and they strangely didn’t ask about it. All I could do was wait to eat a couple later when I had some alone time for myself. 

A loud knock was heard banging on the door, interrupting our meal. We all stopped eating and turned towards the sound. Who could be out in this forsaken time out in the middle of nowhere? All we could do was stare.

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