Author Synopsis: A dragon that can use magic
..·:*¨¨*.·:*¨♡¨*:·. 7 .·:*¨♡¨*:·.*¨¨*:·..
On the seventh day, Fruys was able to stand up.
These days, I told him many things. For instance, I told him how in the past, I used to be a pampered young master even though there wasn’t much money to be spoiled with. But that carefree life had come to an abrupt end when my dad died, and I became the next lord overnight. I had to take care of my mom, my little brother, Anna, Andy, Anthony, and everyone living in our territory. All of a sudden, the weight of ten thousand lives fell upon my shoulders.
I always pretended that everything was under control, but the truth couldn’t have been any further than that. Truthfully, I was scared. Every time Morgan and his gang invaded and plundered our territory, I would always have this heavy feeling in my chest that made it difficult to breathe, and my head would turn into a mess of anxious, panicky thoughts. But I always had to look calm, collected, and prepared on the outside. I had to be more steadfast than anyone when I declared to my people that one day we would become strong.
When I told all these things to Fruys, including my personal thoughts that I had never shared with anybody else before, I wasn’t afraid of him leaking out my thoughts to others. Aside from the fact that I was the only person who kept him company, this dragon didn’t even look like he could be bothered to talk—for seven whole days, he did not speak a single word except to affirm that he flew from the Ican Continent and over the Sea of Death.
I felt unfair that the return was not proportional to the investment.
And I felt hurt because of it.
But thinking about it from his perspective, I could somewhat understand where he was coming from. After all, I was a human and he was a dragon. It was common to see someone like me, but rare to see someone like him.
I should be honored to have such a noble and rare being listen to my venting.
..·:*¨¨*.·:*¨♡¨*:·. 8 .·:*¨♡¨*:·.*¨¨*:·..
By the tenth day, I had nothing left to say.
I also stopped giving Fruys medicine because it was completely useless.
However, after finishing all my work every day, I continued to visit him. I felt that this was human nature. If a mighty dragon showed up in your backyard, and didn’t have malicious intentions or hurt you, you’d probably also be unable to resist going to see him every day either.
Besides, I always had a deep fascination with this race of powerful and rare beasts ever since I heard about them from the wandering bard’s stories as a child.
I still had public affairs to attend to every day as the lord, even if I only ruled over a small number of subjects. For instance, I would have to waive taxes for the households that were looted during the raids, or allocate funds to repair the watch tower that barely had the ammunition to fire a couple volley of arrows. I also mediated legal disputes like, “John’s ox was bitten by Jack’s dog, what should we do?”
Ever since I was little, I always knew that I was going to inherit my father’s position and become the lord of our territory someday. The young me had always fantasized that when that day came, I would lead my armored cavalry, trample over and conquer the entirety of Finanse, and then point my sword at the Ican Continent. But that day has already long passed, and I finally realized just how childish and naive I was before.
Never mind cavalry; we could not even afford to equip one person in my army of foot soldiers with a single piece of metal armor.
Fruys would silently walk back and forth on the beach like a philosopher while I sat on the side and watched, wincing every time he took a step and caused the ground to tremor slightly.
From time to time, he would fly a short distance out toward the ocean, and then spiral in circles.
He looked so free and unconstrained by anything that my heart would always fill up with envy whenever I watched him. I secretly mused how nice it would be if he would take me with him to fly one day, but I never dared to say it out loud.
Even without Fruys, it was not as if I didn’t have any other options. I had heard before that the best masters of alchemy were able to construct flying battleships, which they would then sell at high prices to the most powerful and affluent lords.
I promised myself that when our territory becomes stronger and wealthier, I would buy a battleship that would not lose out even to a dragon, and then I would finally be able to fly in the sky.
Actually, most of the time, Fruys spent his time lying on the ground, not moving a muscle.
He was as lazy as a cat.
I would lie on the ground on his other side, and silently watch the sunset with him. After the sky went completely dark, I would say goodbye and ride Anthony back to the fort.
Fruys would respond to my farewells with a light nod of his chin.
This made me quite happy. I figured that with such an enormous head, even simply nodding it would take quite a bit of energy.
..·:*¨¨*.·:*¨♡¨*:·. 9 .·:*¨♡¨*:·.*¨¨*:·..
Fifteen days passed in this methodical fashion.
Half a month since the last time they raided, Morgan once again brought his men and horses over.
He must have tasted something sweet and addicting in bullying weaker territories. After all, he would have been thoroughly thrashed if he challenged any of the other lords.
Every time we were invaded, I would order Andy to lead my personal guards in protecting the ordinary civilians and guiding them towards shelter in the buildings next to the fort.
The season’s crops were just harvested two days ago, and as such, the local granaries of the fief and the barns in every household were stuffed full with grain. Bastards like Morgan always stole everything down to the last kernel, so after this raid, I was afraid my people would soon be starving to death in three months time.
I saw some of my people with reddened, puffy eyes.
They told me, “My lord, allow me to go out. I would rather fight them and defend our land.”
I did not reply, and only turned to ask Anna to deliver my sword and armor.
Anna stood there, hesitating, until our eyes met. She then saw how serious and determined I was.
My father was once a famous hero. In his younger years, the neighboring lords once banded together to attack us, and he led his own officers in a tooth-and-nail battle to defend our territory. He single-handedly slew close to a hundred men, which shocked our enemies so much they never dared to step into our lands so lightly again.
However, my father gradually grew old and his strength dwindled. The wounds that he had sustained frequently flared up, causing misery. Never again could he frighten away our foes into retreating.
As for me, I was a weak and hopeless person. The brutality of training in martial arts and swordsmanship easily frightened me, and my father never forced me to endure it against my will. Therefore as matters stood, I became good at astronomy, geography, history, music, arithmetic, engineering, and machinery, but I dreaded picking up a sword and fighting at close quarters. The best I could do was order my architects to build even stronger fortifications, and when enemies attacked, order everyone to hide.
..·:*¨¨*.·:*¨♡¨*:·. 10 .·:*¨♡¨*:·.*¨¨*:·..
I put on my armor.
Andy looked at me and asked, “Are you sure you want to go?”
He didn’t object, and only said, “Okay then. Just stay behind me.”
..·:*¨¨*.·:*¨♡¨*:·. 11 .·:*¨♡¨*:·.*¨¨*:·..
We only had an army of a thousand men, or more accurately, nine hundred sixty seven.
Morgan brought four thousand soldiers, of which five hundred was calvary. Furthermore, their equipment and weaponry were superior to ours.
However, we also had a small militia formed of five hundred volunteer civilians behind us. Some of them even brought their farming tools to fight with the enemy, but Andy and I urged them to put them back. In the end, the five hundred men that came forth were the nimblest and sturdiest of the bunch.
Going to a real battlefield in person was far more horrible than I ever imagined. My hand that clutched my sword shook incessantly.
Andy understood this rather well, and arranged for me to stay at the very back of the ranks. He said: “You don’t have to push yourself. Your presence here is more than enough.”
Right in front of my eyes, I saw one of my guards who I was familiar with get slashed in the right shoulder. I gripped my sword tightly and rushed forward, taking advantage of the fact that the opponent wasn’t paying attention, to parry one of his strikes.
My bodyguard turned towards me with a relieved smile and said weakly, “My lord–”
I waved my hand. “Go rest for now. I’ll take care of things here.”
Even though he seemed like he still wanted to fight, he couldn’t even pick up his weapon due to his injury. As such he nodded, and retreated from the battlefield.
Our familiarity with the terrain was our only advantage. We could utilize the buildings in our territory as cover and road blocks, and scatter the invading enemies. But still the difference in the size of our armies was too much, and though we inflicted heavy losses on Morgan, very quickly we realized that we could no longer continue holding out.
In the end, the enemy used their overwhelming numbers to completely surround us. We had no choice but to huddle together in a circle, backs to each other as we desperately grappled with our opponents on the outside. As we watched our dear brothers and friends fall one by one, many of our faces were filled with grief and despair.
They protected me in the very middle. Blood and tears made my vision blurry. It was then that all of a sudden, an uproar arose in the rear ranks of Morgan’s army. For some reason my instincts nudged me to look up towards the sky, and I saw a fast-moving massive black shadow sweeping over from the direction of the sea. It soared gracefully and powerfully, yet nimbly.
I knew that his scales weren’t actually black.
“Fruys… “ I whispered.
..·:*¨¨*.·:*¨♡¨*:·. 12 .·:*¨♡¨*:·.*¨¨*:·..
Taking advantage of the distraction, Andy and the rest cleared an escape path back to the fort with their swords.
At the same time, Fruys quickly closed in on the rear ranks of Morgan’s army and opened his mouth in mid-air, blasting them with a ball of freezing air. The enemy soldiers were instantly frozen solid from where they stood.
It was a completely unexpected turn of events.
I raised my hand, and directed our remaining troops to launch a counteroffensive. Now, it was as simple as reaping a field of crops.
Fruys shot out another breath, flapped his wings a few times, and nonchalantly circled above the two armies.
Andy was dumbstruck as he looked at Fruys. Then he suddenly got a hold of himself and turned around to ask me: “Is that the one you’ve been visiting by the sea every day?”
“Your taste is pretty hardcore,” he said.
I momentarily froze. It was only when I recovered my senses that I thought, “He did realize that I was lying when I mentioned a ‘beauty’ to him last time, right? Right?”
This work is a short piece that I came up with on a whim, so don’t worry… I’ll make sure to finish my other story.