“Once again, thank you, sir… I will certainly pay you more once we get back.”
If others heard about this, they might think that it’s good to get more from this generous rich girl…
Bright pink hair that still looked expensive despite being dirty from all of the things that happened to the owner.
Creamy skin tone that looked soft to the touch got tainted with mud and littered with small cuts. Yet still, it speaks of how much treatment was spent to maintain such beauty before it was ruined by these harsh experiences.
Hazel pair shifted upwards and met with Magenta orbs that were staring back at her almost pleadingly.
‘Such beautiful clear eyes this princess has.’
And that honeyed voice?
That dangerous tone would have lured innocent people into agreeing with her request for free.
However, Serein understands the true meaning behind those words. Hence why she opened her mouth to negotiate.
“Make that 500, pay for my food and place to stay, in addition to 1 wish to be granted as I asked for it. If you agree that much, I’ll take you to the mountain and guard you back to the Capital.”
The two were in shock as Serein revealed that she knows of them and even their motives.
“That pink hair of yours is quite a distinct trait, Princess Cerise. And though you’re famous for enjoying a great hunt in the forest, I doubt that’s enough reason for someone like you to risk your life in one of the three treacherous regions.”
This time, however, Gil was the one to respond to her words.
“What’s your name?”
His tone is harsh and alert.
It’s just as if they’re back to square one once again.
Serein found it funny that they finally asked this question. Although, she understands that it couldn’t be helped with the pressing matter that has been hitting them like a brick to the face.
At last, that young adventurer answered.
She purposely did not mention her last name nor did she bother to fix the misassumption of her gender, feeling that it’ll be a complicated matter later if these high rankers know of her identity.
‘Serein wouldn’t have to deal with these people once the mission is done after all’
Min Suhyun was sure of it.
“I’m a mercenary.”
Instead of saying how she is an adventurer, She revealed instead as the knight finally noticed that from the physique alone their guide is fairly younger than he had initially thought.
“I see. 500 gold coins, you say?”
Serein shrugged nonchalantly before then honestly revealing to them what she had in mind.
“I actually planned to rob you off and ask for more since this would definitely affect my future as well– but from the looks of it, you don’t have that much cash on you and I do not wish to get involved with the palace.”
Cherry, now revealed as Princess Cerise, was about to ask what Serein meant by that when she took off the hoodie of her raincoat and revealed exactly what she meant by that.
The pink-haired girl let out a silent gasp, eyes rounded like Gil’s as they witnessed the beautiful silverish streaks that framed Serein’s face.
“I’m not in immediate danger unlike her majesty, the Queen Dowager. But if you were in my place wouldn’t you get annoyed too? I’d say 500 gold coins are cheap in comparison”
She nodded as if agreeing to her own words.
The legend said that Adelweirn Flower only grows once in a century and even then it’s almost impossible to get back since the forest guarding it would develop and get stronger each time its ‘heart’ is taken away.
‘Of course, I know that it’s not true.’
As the writer of this novel, Min Suhyun knows that the first part of that legend is false.
Adelweirn Flower would grow back on the 29th of the 2nd month which occurs every four years. They’d only lasted for a whole month after it was picked off its root before drying out. Regardless of whether anyone finds it or not, the flower would shrivel and get replaced to a new bloom every 4 years.
This flower blooms in the 788th year of the Felix Calendar, which is last year. That means if Serein can endure it, there’ll be another chance for her to get the flower in 3 more years.
There are also several other ways to suppress the cold from spreading. One of them is the elixir that’s owned by the royal family.
The Queen Dowager already has a gulp of it, but it doesn’t really cure her. Even the magnificent elixir was only able to slow down her death.
‘And this princess brought it with her.’
The crown prince snuck it for her knowing that she’d be in great danger trying to find the legendary Adelweirn flower.
‘If I can have at least five drops of it, that’d be enough to prolong Serein’s life for a few more years’
That amount mentioned was originally used for Gil here, as Cherry desperately tried to save her friend. Which is why she’s not feeling all that guilty.
It was that moment.
A hissing sound could be heard from the deep part of the cave.
Serein took out her twin daggers while her two companions became alert.
“Heh, it’s been a while.”
She let out a soft sigh.
It’s truly been a while since she used daggers. Although Min Suhyun has not been holding one in years, she’s not a stranger to the said weapon.
And in addition to Serein’s muscle memory?
‘I can win.’
Even though she’s fatigued and shaking slightly from the cold, her cold eyes are sharp.
A light came from behind her. There’s no need for her to look back to know that Cherry is the one responsible for it.
Soon, snake-like creatures with two horns could be seen.
Serein expected the creature to be extremely huge since it was said that a full-fledged Wyrm would be able to even eat an adult elephant. Yet the monster that’s approaching is not even as big as her skinny arms.
Although, there are two of them at the moment.
One is bluish-green with blue eyes while the other is greenish-blue with green eyes.
“How can humans be here?”
They hissed with hostility but they’re nothing more than hatchlings now.
‘Right, I forgot about the details.’
One of these Wyrms would eat the other due to their greedy nature needing more power, not knowing that by doing so, it would also get the penalty of eating its own kind and went berserk in the nearby village.
‘Arlia, who was supposed to visit his friend there, came too late though he ended up killing this monster anyway.’
[Wyrm speaks only with wisdom, but few appreciate being told they’re food.]
That was the only detail written about the monsters before her. However, it was safe to say that these are creatures with intelligence.
Them speaking in human language is one of the signs that they could communicate, unlike those mutants in the deep woods.
“We do not wish to fight here.”
Serein said to them, although not yet completely put her guards down.
“Nonsense! Humans could not be trusted.”
“We won’t let you get past us.”
Despite their wariness, the two looked ready to attack at the slightest provocation. That being said, Serein was focusing more on their words instead.
‘…they sounded like they’re protecting something?’
The proud and greedy beings such as Wyrms protecting something?
What could they possibly be hiding?
Not to mention, this familiar hostility was shown to her not so long ago. Gil was the one who showed her this kind of view.
‘So, whatever it is that they’re trying to protect, it’s likely to be injured or so.’
Serein draws a line on the ground with her dagger.
“I promise we will not cross this line or enter any further. We are not here to aim for the three of you.”
The two young Wyrms flinched.
“Liar! All humans are liars!”
“Leave this place or else! We will–”
“Sam, Pam, that is enough.”
A stern voice resounded in that dimmed cave as a cloaked figure soon made his figure known.
A person, 2 meters tall, walked closer and hid the two behind him as he faced Serein himself while ignoring the violent protests of the two.
Serein found herself staring.
‘Who… is this guy?’
She has no info about this person… which is weird.
Shouldn’t she know about everything around here the best?
“What’s your purpose here?”
Instead of asking ‘who are you?’ The mysterious figure straightforwardly asked for the real deal with a pressing aura that would have made any monsters kneel before him.
It’s a presence that makes anyone sense the fear of death and triggers their fight-and-flight reflexes.
That being said, Serein’s expression remained indifferent while she tried to suppress her instinct to flee.
‘Ha! So there’s someone like him here as well.’
This person in front of her felt similar to a certain scarred man she knows. Which is why she didn’t cower like her two companions.
“There is no hidden agenda, we simply seek shelter for the night.”
She speaks eloquently towards the mysterious figure.
“To step into someone’s lair without any notice, what a rude guest you are.”
Serein instantly remembered a certain line about this place.
[…as he walked inside, there were remains of the eaten Wyrm near a skeleton. An old skeleton that was oddly preserved well with magic]
This person, a character that not even she knows about, is that skeleton.
‘A mage…? No, he said lair…’
Her opened mouth was closed immediately as realization hit her. Finally figuring out who this esteemed person was, she kneeled in that instant.
“This Serein, humbly greet the mighty dragon…”
Min Suhyun made this story when she was interested in cliché Munchkin Novels with their overpowered characters.
This draft is actually one of the first attempts she ever wrote a fantasy story before then giving up on the genre altogether and ending up being a mystery novelist instead.
Well, either way, a deep silence fell inside of that cave upon her words.
Per contra of her initial thought, however, instead of a cold voice filled with authority, a scoff could be heard coming from the owner of this territory.
“A dragon, huh.”
That smokey voice resounded once more before it was then followed by a chuckle.
“Stand up, little girl. You’re not in the presence of a dragon. So, there’s no need for all of that bullshit.”
Serein lifts her head, though not yet standing up as she was told.
‘Eh? Not a dragon?’
Her confusion wasn’t transparent. That being said, the person doesn’t seem to be in the slightest annoyed with how she keeps having eye contact, unlike the two Wyrms who are hissing at her.
“Keep your eyes down, you puny humans!”
Their words contradict the man who seemed to be their guardian.
This time the three of them could see how the eyes glow in the dark and showed its reptilian features that made the wyrms retreat in disdain.
The place is dark, however, with Cherry’s light Magic, the three humans could see some features of the man, like that ashy colored hair that he has and just a bit of his face.
Even with the dim lighting, the man looked ethereal. Which is why, at the very least, Serein can confirm that he is not a human.
Humans are just potatoes when compared to the beauty of other races.
If he was an elf, this man would have distinctive freckles and sharp ears. And likewise, if he was any of the beastmen, the man would have at least some of the unique features that could be easily seen if you paid attention.
But this person has none of those.
His hair is ashy-gray and he has a really handsome face, but everything else looks like he’s indeed a human.
Two arms, two legs, one head, and…
She trailed her eyes down briefly before maintaining eye contact once more.
‘Yep, just like most human men.’
That being said, as mentioned before, though he looked like a human, he is not a human.
Hence why Seirin thought to herself.
‘So he is a dragon after all?’
At any rate, only a dragon and some of their stronger kin would be able to polymorph themselves to other beings.
A dragon that does not acknowledge himself as one.
Min Suhyun was sure that she had been writing dragons as selfish creatures who thought of themselves as someone who is possibly only one level below the divine beings.
Even the kindest Dragon Lord would not share their territory with any others.
Yet this person has two Wyrms clinging onto him?
This Character is so weird to her, and the fact that she has no idea about his background whatsoever only intrigued her further.
Author Note: Heyya folks! Anemic Bunnicula here~! I’m back now with the recovered chapters and updates. Hope you all would enjoy it, and I’ll see you again in the next chapter, Chao~!