Two days it took to cross back into human territory, the flight took a lot longer than I anticipated. Honestly, it should’ve taken a lot faster, but the constant drastic hot and cold, and even Tart’s whining about the cold and food made us stop quite often. Sometimes, he reverts back to his younger days, making him quite childlike. Even Cathy’s constant plea to stop for breaks chanting alongside Tart’s made it worse, giving me a headache. I had to snap at the two for their constant bickering, but luckily, Moca had them under control, so I didn’t have to constantly shout at them.
I should’ve known that she was the complaining type. She just never stops talking about how hot or cold it was; what was even more impressive was the Phil didn’t say anything and just listened.
Usually, he would’ve bluntly stated to deal with it, but it must be a whole different case entirely with her. For a moment, I didn’t feel bad about him dealing with her complaints, because I knew I would’ve bitten her head off if she didn’t stop.
Eventually, I saw the castle standing proudly on the mountain, even in the dark, I couldn’t help but swell with pride every time I looked at it. Even Cathy gasped, and she pointed towards it with gaping jaws. I know it’s pitiable, but I felt a bit like I won over something trivial. I couldn’t help it. It was my home, and the view was amazing.
The lush green forest alongside the towering skyscrapers and the Magical Academy inside the black walls had a whole different feel during the day. Nighttime, the magical lights were always on, lighting up the city with its brilliant white colors. Then during the sunrise and sunset, sitting on the take-off platform’s ledge, you can see the beautiful colors of the sunset perfectly hitting the top of the buildings, bringing out different colors. While during the day, the whole city life gives it a slight shimmering look, giving that magical feel.
“Is this the city that I had so much about?” Cathy asked with a gasp. “It’s so beautiful.” She gazed mesmerizingly down at the lit city that twinkled like the stars.
“Yes,” Phil stated, crossing his arms in front of him. He was pleased that he was back home.
“So, it’s true.” Said Cathy, “I heard about the city that never sleeps. I never knew that this was possible until I saw this.” She waved her hand in front of her.
“The lights were first introduced by a young mistress.” Tart replied proudly with his chest stuck out like a proud peacock. “The magical equipment is fueled by the magical stones that the young mistress created as well.”
“Of course.” Tart snorted as if he just heard Cathy say something sacrilege. “Who do you think it was?”
“The owner of the Wonder shop?” Cathy slowly stated, unsure if she said it correctly, but she glanced over towards me as if she had an inkling of an idea of what he might say next.
“Who do you think is the actual owner of it?”
“Exactly.” Tart reassured her as if it was the natural answer that everyone should know.
“But, I thought it was that female Beast-kin.” Cathy waved her hand in front of her, not quite remembering her name.
“Her name is Siva,” I stressed the words, so she wouldn’t forget. “She is my partner.”
Cathy waved it off as if it wasn’t a big deal, then she tilted her head and turned towards me, searching for any hints of a lie. When I didn’t flinch, she raised her eyebrow and gave me a curt nod, realizing that everything that Tart said was true.
“Impressive,” said Cathy. “I wouldn’t have actually thought you would have some kind of hand in all this.” She motioned the whole city. “Your creation has become a revolutionary item, and quite a large number of people are coming to this city to learn about this new magic. Right now, back at my home, we seek these magical stones out. So far, we were able to decipher a third of the magical incantations. I’m pretty impressed with how complex the whole wordings are, I never knew that it could be advanced.”
Tart gazed towards me proudly, puffing up even more as if he was the one being complimented. On the other hand, I was dithering between quite pleased at the compliment at the same time a slight bit worried that they were cracking down on the code, but then again, in the future, I wished that my teachings would travel all around the world and better it. Still, I didn’t quite feel like the world was completely ready for such knowledge. Honestly, I knew that it would be used for war, and that was something that I could never stop.
All I could do was teach with the best of my ability to use it to better everybody and push the world into a more modern world. Other than that, all I could do was watch over how people would use to create and wield the knowledge given to them.
“Is it possible that I learned how to make it too?” Cathy asked.
I should’ve known, and I wanted to hit Tart for opening his mouth. I didn’t mind teaching times, but there were times when I didn’t want too. This was one of those times, but I knew this was a bit of my jealousy. With a gulp, trying to push down the “No” from my mouth, I replied. “I’ll think about it.”
“Really?” Even Phil was surprised that I could possibly think about it, and he was examining me as if I really meant it. When he couldn’t find the answer, he just shrugged it aside and let it go.
“Maybe.” I unconsciously sharply replied.
“That’s good for me,” Cathy replied with a happy tone. “Having such knowledge will definitely help out my people.”
Thinking about it, I remembered that the Leaf family was considered one of the lowest ranking officials in the Divine Kingdom. I had to wonder why.
“If you don’t mind asking,” I said. “Why were you outside your Kingdom in the first place? I thought you were part of the nobility.”
Cathy scoffed at the word nobility, she scowled, and her face darkened. “It’s simple, really. The Leaf household has been in decline over thousands of years, but it’s been worse these past five years. After, Tania Drakel had become the Drakel head.”
My ears perked up when I heard the last name. I instantly knew that the Drakel line was the line that spawned all the dragon maidens, but I didn’t know a single family member. The only family members I had were my closest friends and Ccoc, Tart, and Moca. Without them, I wouldn’t have come this far in life, and I loved them very dearly.
Now to hear that the Drakel line was the cause of the Leaf family’s decline made me feel bad. Just the thought of my family causing other people suffering was unnerving.
“Wait, isn’t the head usually males?” I asked.
“No. It’s always female, especially because it’s the Dragon Maidens born from them, leading the Drakel line. It seems that your Aunt has been nominated until you wake.”
“I’m the one that’s supposed to lead the Drakel household?” I let out a grunt, the thought of having more responsibility made me cringe. I had already had a task of watching over this city, pretending to be queen, but now leading the Drakel household was something that I never wanted.
“Absolutely,” said Cathy as if it was the most obvious answer. “All Dragon maiden’s had led the Drakel Line.”
“But for someone like your aunt…..” Cathy held back her tongue to say anymore as if what she would say would offend me.
“Go ahead. I get the feeling that there is more to this than meets the eye.”
Just as quickly as I said that, Cathy just spilled everything that she wanted to say for a long time. “I don’t know much about Tania, but she’s cold and ruthless.” She spat with anger in her voice. “She eradicated the Falcon’s family line with a wave of her hand just because they spilled tea on her! Isn’t that ridiculous?!” She threw up her arm in outrage. “I never heard anything so stupid in my life!”
I thought over what she had said; it indeed was a bit over the top. Even I wouldn’t get mad over a spilled tea. All it took was to brew another cup, but I realized that wasn’t the point. My Aunt, who I didn’t know, was crazy. The thought of her killing off other maids or people just because they pissed her off crossed my mind, and I wasn’t surprised if she did in the first place.
Meeting her sounded like a bad idea; she could be power hungry, and evil. Mainly because she killed my mother, who I also didn’t know much about or father. I swear, there might be some kind of crazy love triangle going on, and I wanted to know what my father’s stance on all this was. I didn’t get the chance to talk with him when he first visited; he was just too difficult to even try.
“Not only that, just because one of the Revena households had their daughter’s head chopped off for speaking ill of her.”
“What is the king even doing, allowing her to do all this?” I asked, completely appalled that he would even allow something this crazy to go so far.
“Nothing,” Cathy replied with an angry grunt that told me enough. “He’s oblivious to the things that she is doing. Everything has been done in an underhanded tactic, even sending out assassins.”
“Then…how do you know it was her….”
“It wasn’t easy to find proof, but eventually, I got a few. Without it, I wouldn’t have known her dirty tricks, lies, and schemes she has been brewing up these days.” She bite her lower lips, furrowing at the thought. “Though this also led to my hiccup and was found out by her. She was on the offensive to eradicate my whole family.” Cathy worriedly stated, her hands clenched into an angry fist. “I had to move my family out from the Kingdom and even keep them safe. I don’t want them in on this fight.”
Even I would’ve done the same, trying to save my family from the terrors of my Aunt. I could already tell that my Aunt was someone not to mess with unless you had the power to go against her. It seemed Leaf’s family line didn’t have such backing because of their decline.
“So far, she killed five of my family members.” She hissed angrily. “Both of my brothers, my uncle, my father, and even my younger sister.”
I gaped at what she had said. That was a lot of people killed by her family just from one person alone; the amount of hate she accumulated against her probably was astronomical. It made me wonder why Cathy hasn’t hated me yet.
“So, do….uh…hate me because I’m related to her?” I bluntly asked, knowing full well that I might get a lie than the truth.
“What are you talking about?” Cathy asked, surprised that I asked her that. “You didn’t do anything, but slept. I heard you blessed your whole city, causing you to use up all your energy, which is the complete opposite of your aunt. Not only that, you have amnesia. I can’t blame you for something that you haven’t caused, even if you are blood-related, doesn’t mean I should hate you for something you haven’t done. That would be childish and wrong.”
I was surprised at how easily she accepted, I thought she would hold a grudge against me because I was related, but she didn’t.
“You gave me a Legendary Weapon Gala, allowing my family line to continue to thrive.” Her voice became strong with conviction, thrilled in what she was given. Without your help, the possibility of my family being wiped out was definite.”
“Ah…” My voice trailed off.
“Thank you,” Cathy stated it with her honest feeling that it caught me off guard.
I faltered, unexpected by her sudden thanks. Honestly, I thought I would be cursed by her or something on that level, possibly even have my backstabbed by her malice.
“Um…..you’re welcome?” I wasn’t sure what to say.
Finally, we arrived past the city walls; I flew over it and headed straight towards the castle. I missed home, and I was glad to see it. Eventually, silently flying by until I came upon my castle. Banking towards the right, I swirled around, looking for a landing spot. Finding what I needed, I flapped hard, hovering in midair, trying to settle down without crashing.
Feet first, I landed gently, until the whole weight buffered my weight, causing me to bounce a little.
“Finally,” I sighed with relief. “Home….”
The maids came rushing out with towels, waters, and anything that the guest and I would need. Everyone either slid off my back or jumped onto the ground.
“Home!” Tart stated excitedly, a group of young men with aprons and a white hat that chefs would wear appeared, bowing towards him respectfully.
Moca just leaped off my back and gracefully landed. The butlers and maid came towards him and handed him a towel and a glass of water. He took it and nodded, motioning towards me.
“Get the bath water ready. Young mistress would probably want to take a bath.” Moca stated clearly for me to hear. He was right. I wanted to bathe so badly that I actually hobbled my way over-excited at the thought of it.
I willed myself to change, but for some reason, I couldn’t. Trying it again a couple more times, the magic inside me twisted into weird knots, making me cringe. With a deep frown at the thought of being unable to change, I let out an angry puff of smoke. Being unable to change still irked me, and I didn’t want to miss out on my bath time.
“Did anyone of you see Coco?” I asked, hoping they would say yes. The maids shook their heads.
“She still hasn’t come back?” I was shocked that she wasn’t back still. Usually, she wasn’t the type to leave for so long, which kind of made me worried. Shaking myself, I tried to push away such thoughts because I knew she could handle herself very well. She wasn’t the type to get pushed around so easily, mostly because she would’ve shoved back three times harder than before or even outright killed them.
“We haven’t heard from her since she had left.” One of the maids worriedly stated, “She normally sends us a message every day to give to Moca, but….” The maids murmured among themselves, unsure what to say as they debated on what to tell.
“What about Don and Ginger?” I asked.
Silence followed after, none of the maids or butlers could give me an answer, but fidget around nervously as if they were caught red-handed for doing something bad.
“Ray, is there something wrong?” Moca came over with his usual calm demeanor, but something in the way that he held himself caused the maids to flinch. They quickly bowed with respect, and some even shivered.
The young man with a butler outfit shook his head furiously, telling Moca there wasn’t anything wrong. Instead, he fumbled through his clothes, pulling out a wad of envelopes in his hand, giving it to Moca.
Moca reached over and took it. He nodded once, everyone split ways in a hurry to go back to work.
“Is there a problem?” I asked. Unsure what exactly was going on.
“No, young mistress,” Moca replied. “I’ll quickly take a look at these and come back and tell you what has happened.”
“Sure, go ahead.” I started to take a step forward towards the bathhouse. My mind was already spacing out, thinking about the warm bath that was to come. Before I forgot, I slightly turned my head over my shoulders to the others. “If you want, you guys can go to eat, rest, or take a bath. Other than that, I’ll see you guys around.”
Moca and Tart bowed once towards me, and they went back to their usual routine. Phil didn’t say anything and stood there while Cathy was examining the whole castle with excitement. Stryd was lost, unsure what to do. He glanced back and forth nervously but stood still with the other three.
“Well then, I’m going for a bath,” I replied, moving forward towards the bathhouse in high spirit.
Cathy quickly followed behind me, curious about where exactly I was going. Stryd and Phil eventually started walking, heading towards the same direction.
We winded through the hallways and eventually came up to the bathhouse; luckily for me, the hallway seemed to accommodate my size as if it grew. Usually, when I’m in my human form, I felt like the whole place seemed huge, but now in my dragon form, it felt a little tight.
When I arrived in front of the bathhouse, I noticed a few things that had changed. The bathhouse entrance was divided into men and female sections, but the entrance had a bit of Japanese restaurant entrance vibe to it. Kind of strange, especially inside a castle, my only thought was that Don probably did something to do with it. He stated that the bathhouse reminded him of home, so he thought about changing the whole entrance.
During those five years, he sure did change the entrance quite a bit. I had to wonder, though, how I was going in. Just when I was thinking about getting in, the entrance seemed to grow magically, or maybe I was shrinking, but when I looked at the three beside me, they looked about the same size. Compared to the entrance, they dwarfed in comparison. I remembered that this whole castle was enchanted, so it did make sense that it would do whatever it felt like to accommodate me.
The door magically slid open, we entered in, splitting from each other to our respective gender. I waddled over towards the showers and ducked under the hot shower that automatically turned on when I walked under. With a happy expression, I rinsed off as much as possible; not even a second later, five maid hurriedly came in with a large scraping brush, pails, soap, and sponge.
“Young mistress!” The maids chatted excitedly coming over. “We came to help you wash~” They giggled, looking at me as if I was some kind of interesting specimen. I thought I heard a couple perverted comments, making me flinch.
“Uh…..” I was unsure if I should say yes or no, especially because they were chatting among themselves and looking at me with a hint of mischief. Coco was the one who would’ve helped me out on this situation, but she wasn’t here. Even still, I couldn’t reach certain areas on my back, and I needed serious help. Not being able to change back into my human form made it that much annoying to take a shower. “Sure?”
The maids squealed, rushing over to tackle me with their job. The majority of them stripped off their clothes and folded it neatly on the bench, wearing nothing but bikini like clothes. They tackled their task, climbing up on my back and scrubbing me clean. Places I couldn’t reach that gave me an annoying itch, they got it all. Almost every single part of my body was cleaned to perfection, making my scales sparkle.
“Young mistress, you have such beautiful scales.” One of the maids squealed in delight as she stared mesmerizingly at them.
“They like the finest jewels.” Another stated.
“Ah~ I want one.” A few of them started with want as their hand reached over.
“Stop,” one of the maids called out, scolding them for being overly chirpy and touchy. “If Coco found out about what we have taken, she would be mad.”
All the maids froze, fear laced in their face and heart. Some nodded furiously while others turned deathly pale. They knew instantly what Coco would do without having to say a single word.
“Yea. Yea.” The other started to agree one-by-one, they went back to work, cleaning away all the sand and dirt as best as they could.
Eventually, I was finally clean. I thanked them and made my way towards the hot spring, excited in dipping myself in hot water. Cathy was still hanging out in the showers, whistling in glee as she was cleaning herself. A couple of times, she gasped in excitement at how easily the shower was turned on and off and was playing with it the last time I checked.
Stepping through the secondary door, I walked a good couple of steps and stopped, confused. Out in front of me were two different large doors. Neither one of them had a sign in words telling me which way I needed to go. Confused, I tilted my head, unsure which one to go through. Last time I remembered, there weren’t two doors but one.
I found some kind of symbol written over each door. One had a regular steaming hot spring and the other…..I think it was a sign of scalding hot? Or was it an outdoor pool? I really don’t know; I just chose the one with the one that I thought was scalding hot.
Stepping through the door, I saw quite a different scenery. I’m not sure why, but it felt like I was in a whole different area. It wasn’t the same hot spring outlook that I remembered, but it seemed like I came to a snowy region. Confused, I snapped my head around, trying to figure out what was going on, but so far, there was absolutely no answer.
It was a perfect natural scenery with white snow covering the hot spring pool’s exterior, even the steam coming out from the waters, telling me that it was going to be very warm. Excited, but weary, I walked through. Hands first, I felt a shiver of cold and hot blast through me. My top half was cold, while my hands were tingling with warmth that shot through my whole body.
I then took another until I was submerged into the water. If anyone was looking from the outside, I looked like a crocodile with its snout and eyes peeking out the waters. My foot touched the ground, where I had to kneel so I wouldn’t completely come out of the water. They were certain spots where it was deep and other parts shallow.
Whistling in glee, I closed my eyes, partially swimming and lazily moving around like a snake. The hot spring was big enough to fit my whole body and even allow me to swim a little, not too much, but it was just enough for me.
Opening up my eyes, I noticed some ancient statues on one end of the hot spring—even some shrines like temples right behind it. I had to wonder what it was, and I went towards it. The closer I got, the mistier it became.
Was this usual? I wasn’t sure, but it was getting a bit difficult to see. Strange.
Quietly swimming through the mist, I saw a shadow getting clearer and clearer. Curious, I made my way over and saw the shadow shrinking in size.
Eventually, the mist cleared, and what I saw made my eyes round.
Alarmed at who I saw made me drop my mouth. “Phil?!” I shouted, making him turn towards me.
“Berry?” He frowned when he saw me looming over him. “What are you doing here?” He spoke casually as if there was nothing wrong with the situation we were in.
Well, honestly. I’m in my dragon form, so I wasn’t embarrassed about myself, but I was having a feast looking at him. His hair was up to his back, giving him the same fantastical elven look that I always read about. Even his body was lean but thickly laced with muscles. Six-packs were lined up on his stomach, making me drool a little. He definitely looked a bit more mature, not the usual teenage look that he had the first time I had met him.
Maybe it was the human side, but he was definitely more masculine than the typical feminine looking elves. The word beautiful still fitted him, but sexy and masculine were the best words to describe him as a whole.
I had difficulties tearing my eyes away, and when he caught me checking him out, he snickered.
“Do you like what you see?”
I quickly looked away, embarrassed that I got caught. With a cough, I turned up my nose as if I wasn’t checking him out at all. “What do you mean, do you like what I see?” I clucked my teeth.
“Don’t you see, I’m a dragon?” I huffed.
Phil smirked, knowing full well that what I said was just a bluff. “I know.” He replied with a smug smile.
“What?” I coughed once, sinking deeper into the water.
“Nothing. Nothing at all.” Phil leisurely leaned his back on the rock behind him, closing his eyes to enjoy the warm water.
On the other hand, I could feel myself turning red, and for some strange reason, the water seems to create more mist than usual, making the whole place harder to see.
“Um…..” Then suddenly, I felt my body begin to quiver as if I was violently shaken. Looking around, I tried to find the source of what was causing my body to shake so hard, but couldn’t find anything. It was as if steam was escaping my body, causing me to shrink in size.
No more was I as large as a seven-story building, but about six feet in height, possibly a couple inches shorter. I could feel the water heating up my delicate skin that was quickly turning back into human hands with claws. Even my hair was long, reaching down my back towards my butt. Looking into the water, I saw two majestic pairs of horns curling upwards from above my ears towards the front. I even felt a little tuft of feathers behind my ears, making me wonder why I suddenly changed back to a more humanoid form.
Looking behind me, I felt the weight of a tail swishing from behind, making a loud splashing sound.
“Eh?!” I cried out, completely confused, wondering why now of all times did I change to a half-dragon and half-human form. There was even a pair of wings tucked tightly to my back when I turned to look over my shoulders. It was actually a nice white wing, and when I opened it fully, it extended outwards two to three times longer than my body. Excited, I half splashed and beat my wings as if I was a child.
This was a whole different experience, and I was completely enjoying the thought of flying in a humanoid form. Not only that, I didn’t have to worry about trying to squeeze into a building or watch where I was stepping. No more wagons, stalls, buildings, and carts breaking from under my foot. Honestly, the whole city was redesigned in certain areas so I wouldn’t crash into so many.
“Ahem.” Phil coughed, catching my attention. The whole time I forgot that he was there that I was floundering around like a fish, half bobbing out the water and half swimming.
When I heard his cough, I snapped towards his direction, confused why he was making a big deal. He raised up his eyebrows and motioned towards me. I followed his gaze and saw what he was looking at.
My wings flashed outwards, covering my whole body. I half sank into the water, blushing scarlet. I just did a full nude show from not paying attention. The thought made me turn even redder, hating myself for not being careful.
“You feel better now?” Phil asked, chuckling.
“Don’t worry. I didn’t see much.”
“Lies!” I hissed, knowing full well that he had a full view. One of my wings flicked open, splashing him in the face with water, completely dousing him.
“Hey!” He cried out, throwing up his arm in front of him. “What was that for?!”
“I know you saw it!”
“Do you want me to see?!”
“Then, I didn’t.” Phil frowned, grunting. He wiped the water off his face. Then he sighed and shook his head at me for being overly dramatic.
Silence followed after as I glared at him for being in the same hot spring as me. Luckily, I had a good footing that I didn’t have to swim with the wings wrapping around me like a blanket. It would’ve been difficult, mainly because I still didn’t know entirely how to use it underwater. I didn’t want to drown.
We stared at each other for a good minute, until Phil broke the silence. “Are you going to stay like that?”
“What do you want me to do? Leave? Or maybe come over there?”
Phil lips curled up on edge, making me feel very uncomfortable, “Maybe.” He then started to walk over with a hint of mischief in his eyes.
“Wait, what are you doing?!” I shouted, backpedaling away one foot at a time, unsure what he wanted. Plus, seeing such heavenly artwork walking towards me made my heart flutter like a beating drum. My face flushed, thinking that the water was getting a lot hotter than usual.
Phil didn’t answer. Instead, he took longer strides and eventually came towards me and stopped.
I froze, unsure what to do.
Should I bite him? Maybe head bump him? If he does something, I’ll spit a fireball in his face! Such thoughts chaotically danced in my head as he came way too close in my personal space. Yes, that’s exactly what I will do. A lump of fire started to churn in my stomach, ready to hurl at him if he took another step closer.
“Berry.” Phil’s voice was deep but sweet. Even though I conjured up the fire to spit out a fireball, his voice caused me to freeze. My mind went completely numb.
“Berry.” He spoke again.
“Yes?” I squeaked. I felt like a coward, making me want to smack myself for being not like me at all.
Phil took a deep sigh, “Are you okay?”
“I’m quite sure that it’s getting a bit hot wrapped around your wings. It’s like having a personal hot sauna inside the hot spring. You might faint, and I believe you don’t want me to see you naked if you faint, right?”
I shook my head.
“Don’t worry. I won’t look.” Phil winked, making me blush. His right hand came out of the water and reached up towards my head. Gently, he patted me. Something about the way he patted me was sincere. “Honestly, Berry. I missed you.”
“Ehhhhh?!” I was stunned. Did I hear him right? I was sure he wasn’t the type to say something like that at all. Especially now in a hot spring. “W-what did you say?!”
Phil shook his head at my over-exaggeration of my last words. He pulled my head into his chest and hugged me gently. I froze, unable to say or do anything but feel the stern muscle. I squealed in the inside of my head, but my body didn’t do anything but act like a statue. We stood there like that for a while. All I could hear was the harsh beating of my heart, thumping so loudly that I thought it traveled up to my throat, making me unable to speak.
“I’m sorry.” Phil’s words were so soft that I barely caught what he said, making me unfreeze, unsure why he suddenly said that. “I promise I’ll protect you.” He mumbled into my hair, making it hard to hear what he said. When I looked up, all I could see was a hint of sadness and guilt. I was confused, wondering why he was acting so strangely.
“You’re what?” I tilted my head, hoping he would give me an answer.
Phil didn’t reply to my question. The hint of sadness and guilt disappeared as if it wasn’t there, and the usual look that Phil had was present.
The mist was becoming heavier; eventually, making it difficult to see past my hands. I could see Phil not too far away from me, but that was it. Suddenly, I heard a soft whisper that danced in the air, calling my name.
My lips puckered, unsure if I heard things.
“Berry……” A feminine voice called out to me as I felt goosebumps started to appear on my skin. Searching for the voice, I snapped around.
“Berry? You okay?” Phil asked in concern at my sudden strange behavior that worried him.
“Yea….” I slowly started, creeped out by the sudden voice.
“Berry….” The voice whispered again, causing me to tighten up and look around once again. “I swear. I just heard my name.”
Phil wasn’t sure how to answer and stood there, unable to do anything. His hand slipped down towards my shoulder and glanced at me concerned.
I felt a sudden tug of energy pulling me towards the direction of the statue that was behind Phil. Pulling away from Phil, I started to walk towards it. The closer I got, the larger the statue looked. It was a man that reminded me of the Divine race, standing half-naked next to a proud dragon. If I didn’t know any better, it reminded me of those Greek statues made by a master craftsman. They didn’t look like they were going to war, but were standing side-by-side as equals. The dragon had a soft feature, almost recognizable, but I couldn’t put my fingers on where.
“Is that your father?” Phil came up from behind, staring up at the statue alongside me. He took a couple more steps forward, checking out the statue that loomed over both of us. It didn’t hit me until a few seconds later in what he had said that it clinked in my mind. Taking a good look again, I could see the resemblance of my father.
Phil folded his arm in front of him, frowning. “It is, and that is your mother.” He replied with confidence, making me wonder why my parents’ statue was even here of all places. Also, I was surprised that Phil was able to guess who it was.
Power radiated from the statue, making my body tingle. Even the water around the statue got warmer, making me wonder if there was something special about it until it spoke.
“Berry, my child.” the feminine voice spoke again, this time I knew exactly where the voice was coming from. My eyes became wide, stunned.
“I just heard that…” Phil looked around nervously, realizing finally what I had said. “You heard that voice, too?”
“Yea…” I shook my head furiously, confirming with him that we both weren’t going crazy.
“My child. It is good to see you alive.” The voice rang clear, a feeling of nostalgia overwhelmed my senses as I instantly knew who this voice was. It was my mother who had passed away.
“Mom?” I called out, pushing through the water, and eventually coming at the feet of the large dragon that seem to send out waves of calming energy. Tears started to form under my eyes, making it difficult to see.
“You have finally grown.” She replied with a gentle voice that made me feel like I was back in my childhood days. “To be able to leave behind a small portion of my will as I rest deep inside this mountain, where my body rests.” Her voice trailed off softly.
“So, why is it now that you call out my name?” I asked, hoping that she could give me the answer that I longed for. The thought of having a mother here in this world was a possibility that I had known, especially back on Earth, where my mother passed away. To hear that the same thing happened made me feel like the world was against the idea of me having a mother figure anywhere.
“Because you are now a fully grown adult, able to hear my remaining thoughts and power in what I have left behind.”
“Wait, I’m an adult now?” This whole time I thought I was an adult from the beginning. Even if my mentally was in human years, it still wasn’t a teenagers mentality for sure. “I thought I was one already.”
“No. The moment you come into this sacred space, your body undergoes its last change into adulthood. I do not have much power and must leave you with heavy words.” She replied solemnly. “My sister has contracted with a demonic being, wishing to take your place as a dragon maiden. She had summoned up her own group of anti-heroes to combat your heroes.”
I frowned, not liking it one bit in what I was hearing. To hear my aunt having her own army against my friends was something that I didn’t like. The only thought was that she was aiming to kill them to replace them.
“Does she really want to be a dragon maiden that badly?”
“Yes, it is now more for revenge and the hatred against me. Which has transferred over to you. I’m afraid this is all I can do, but to keep you hidden and safe from my sister’s eyes. Now that you have grown, my powers will vanish completely.”
“Wait, you’re saying you’re the one that set up this castle?”
“Your father and I had hidden you away here since you were a child; after we heard about the plans that my sister was going to do, we knew that you were in danger. We built this castle in the hopes of keeping you safe, inside the Forgotten Forest. Now, I am unable to keep you hidden any longer. This is all I can leave you with for that I am truly sorry.” Her voice was filled with sadness at the things I have to go through. “If I was only alive, you would not have to go through so much pain.”
“No,” I replied to her reassuringly. “You did what you can.” There was only so much my mother could do. She was no god, and I didn’t fault her for that.
“Thank you.” Her words were soft but filled with pain that she couldn’t do much. “There is one more thing that I have to warn you about.”
“The awakening of the legendary creatures are all pre-planned. This was not supposed to be so many in one given period.”
“It was pre-planned?! By who?” To hear my aunt creating her own anti-heroes was shocking, but to hear that the legendary monsters were being summoned one after another was crazy in itself. The question came down to who was summoning them and why.
Suddenly, I felt the power around the statue start to waver as her power slowly started to ebb away. I glanced up, noticing the light glow started to dim and knew instantly that she wasn’t going to be able to stay for any longer.
“Wait!” I called out, rushing towards the statue. My right hand touched the base of the statue, unsure what to do. “Don’t go!”
“I’m sorry….” Her voice started to trail off into silence. “This is all I can do for you…”
“But, I still have so many other questions!” There were just too many things to ask. Where was my aunt? What other goals did she have? Who were the anti-heroes? Which demon did she contracted with, and so many more?
“I’m…..so…rr…y.” In a matter of moments, her voice disappeared, leaving me alone.
The only sound was the sloshing of water as my body flopped back in, slouching my shoulders at what I had just learned.
“That was quite an eye-opener.” Phil’s voice rang clear over my head, surprising me. I had forgotten all about him that my wings tightened around me as I jumped in surprise. “She didn’t tell you much, did she?”
“I didn’t expect to hear about your aunt like this.” Phil sighed, shaking his head at what he just heard. “I knew about your aunt, but to go out of her way to set up such a force to counter the heroes is crazy.”
I completely agreed with him, knowing full well that what he said was true. I didn’t understand my aunt’s mentality, nor did I want to.
“What are you going to do?” He asked, watching me for an answer.
“I’m not sure yet.”
I couldn’t let my friends get hurt or allow the legendary creatures to run havoc in this world. Being a dragon maiden now had more weight on it, making me realize that there was a lot more at stake. People could die from the decisions that I make, and any false move could spell death to hundreds, possibly millions. Now that my aunt was aiming to take my place, who knew what else she would do to spell disaster on us all.
“Don’t overthink about it now,” Phil replied. He came closer and placed his hand on my shoulders. “You’re going to stress out if you do.”
Stress was something I knew too well, but at the same time, it was hard, not too. “It’s not as easy as you say.”
“I know.” Phil nodded, understanding me full well. “So, let’s go.” His hand scooped up from behind, tucking under my but. I flailed around, my wings coming half undone. I was surprised at the sudden princess carry as I squeaked in alarm.
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