I’ve been chatting back and forth with Cale Henituse for a while now since he contacted me after going to the swamp using the bracelets. Social events are exhausting, so I’ve stopped attending and have instead been practicing and experimenting with my skills ever since I gave him the bracelet, and unsurprisingly, father hasn’t even noticed. Well, that just makes things easier for me anyway. Iris and I have just about finished preparing for departure, and after telling Cale about my situation, he said he’ll break me out if he has time to spare. He said Raon has learned teleport magic. I’m glad he’s finally named him, it’s about time and it was so frustrating not being able to use his name. Black Dragon is just too dang long to type all the time.
“Iris, I’m so boredddd~ When do you think Cale will come yoink me out of this godforsaken place? Last time I checked he was on his way to the Whipper Kingdom… Man, I wish I could watch that scam he’s making… “
“My lady, I’m not quite sure what this “yoink” word you’re saying means, and I get the feeling I shouldn’t ask, but I presume he will be here shortly after finishing what he set out to do. He did say he would pick you up prior to meeting that other dragon you mentioned… My lady, just so you know, I will not be going near those great beings even if you order me, no matter how much you beg. My lady, you may be fine, but I will faint.”
“I understand Iris, I’ll let you stay with Hans and the rest while we head there, I’ll bring you souvenirs! Eruhaben’s a softie you know, he’s tsun but he’s totally a cutie old man.”
“My lady, I think you are the only person who has the audacit- ahem I mean courage to call an ancient dragon a softie and a cutie out loud… Please stay alive and come back. Okay? Promise me please.”
“I promise I’ll come back safe and sound Iris! Don’t worry, I’ll play nice.”
“Somehow this sounds entirely unconvincing coming from you, but I’ll just trust you on this my lady. Would you like me to pack a separate magic bag with your tools so you can bring it with you?”
“That would be lovely Iris, thank you so much. Let’s get everything ready so we can get the heck out of here as soon as possible.”
While we were leisurely chatting, the communication function went off with a quiet buzzing sound from my wrist.
“Finally! Freedom, Iris! Freedom! Freedom but without the late-stage capitalism!”
“My lady, pardon my words, but what the heck are you even talking about?”
“Don’t worry about it Iris~ That’s not important. The important thing is that we are now going to vanish and I don’t need to be a duke’s daughter anymore!”
“Yes, my lady.”
A bright glow suddenly shined in my room, and Cale appeared. We stared at each other for a second, before he broke the silence.
“Alright~!! Let’s-a go~”
I smirked at his brow twitching before stepping on the teleportation circle with Iris, and prepared myself to leave. I stood on Cale’s left while Iris stood on his right. Apparently, staying as close to the caster, and therefore the center, makes executing the spell less taxing. Raon is great and mighty, but if I can shave off a little extra burden, I’ll do so. I also made sure to be polite and thank our adorable little portal service.
“Thanks in advance, Raon! Your name is just as great and mighty as you.”
A bright voice came from behind Cale’s back in response. He seemed surprised I knew his name and that he was there at all.
“You’re welcome, strange human! I’m glad you know how great and mighty I am!”
And then off we went. We were teleported to the base of Mount Yellia, where the rest of Cale’s group was waiting for us with varying expressions. Rosalyn seemed to be looking forward to meeting me, but the rest seemed cautious and wary. I get it, we’re strangers and we made Cale pick us up. On top of that, I’m Karin Orsena, a high ranking noble. Anyone would be nervous. Honestly, I’m nervous too, but for a different reason. I hope I can keep my cool with all these cuties around me… Handsome and pretty is definitely best. I regret nothing with all this eye candy in front of me.
Cale walked over to his group, and motioned for me to approach with a short hand gesture. Upon coming over, his group introduced themselves to me, starting with Rosalyn.
“Hello, I’m Rosalyn, it’s very nice to meet you. I’d love to do experiments with you sometime.”
“I’m Hong, and this is my sister On, nya. It’s good to meet you, nya!”
“Hello, I am Choi Han.”
“I-I’m Lock, it’s nice to meet you.”
“My name is Ron, I am happy you are here to assist the young master-nim from now on. Please ask me if you have any questions.”
Pendrick did not introduce himself, as would be expected of an Elf. Finally, Cale introduced himself, offering me a handshake, which I promptly accepted.
“Cale Henituse. Let’s chat later.”
(AAAAA They’re all so cuteeeee must protecc!! Cool it Evelyn, you don’t wanna mess up your first impression, you can fangirl later. Calm thoughts, calm thoughts…)
Taking a deep breath and calming my urge to muss Cale’s hair, I smiled and proceeded to introduce myself with enthusiasm
“It’s nice to meet you all! I’m Karin Orsena, but I am now free from my family so don’t worry about being polite to me! I hope I can help you all with my support skills, even if it’s just a little. This is my best friend and maid, Iris. Iris will be staying at an inn near here because she’s afraid of meeting the ancient dragon. Don’t worry, I won’t hold you guys back! I may look like a normal young noble lady, but I’m buffed to high hell with my items, each piece of jewelry you see on me has been imbued with some sort of enhancement. Let’s get along!”
After introducing myself, Choi Han approached me and nodded at me before asking the question on almost everyone’s minds.
“You have no fighting capability, correct? Are you sure you will be alright? We are heading to see a dragon, and it could get dangerous.”
“Yes, I am in no way a combatant, I will just be a burden in battle so I plan to be exclusively rear support. However, there’s no need to worry. That dragon will not be hostile to you, I can guarantee it. Also, I will be able to keep up with everyone just fine thanks to one of my items which enhances my physical state. Oh right, since we will be working together now, please tell me if you have anything you would like me to make you. I haven’t been able to test or prove it, but I am confident I can even make an engraving that strengthens a dragon’s attribute.”
Choi Han stood there speechless for a moment before nodding in acknowledgement, seemingly lost in thought. He walked back over to Cale’s side after giving me a little smile and a quiet “Thank you”. I feel blessed. This is gonna be so fun! Goldie grampsss, we’re coming to see ya!
‘She’s really weird. I know she’s useful and I’m certain she knows more than she’s letting on and is on my side, but I keep getting this feeling that I’m making a mistake. It must be nothing important since Raon, On, and Hong seem to like her, and Choi Han and Ron have given her a passing grade. I’ll just ignore it.’
Cale stood there watching them greet each other and start to get to know one another with a satisfied gaze. He had no idea what the others thought about Karin, but no one seemed to have a problem with her. He turned away after seeing Choi Han’s tiny smile, and missed what his people were whispering to each other. He also did not see Raon’s expression as the little dragon was invisible. Raon was looking at Karin with starry eyes and was really looking forward to traveling with this new weak human.
“She’s weird, but she seems like a good person. I want to become friends with her, nya.”
“Me too, nya. She’s so pretty. Is she really a noble like Cale?”
“Yes, she was the heir of the Orsena ducal house, and I had met her a couple times when I was still a princess. I never knew she was so similar to me, I’m very impressed she threw away her position and status to follow her dreams like I did. She seems to be a bit like Choi Han somehow, but I can’t figure out the reason. Choi Han, is she strong or weak? I cannot tell.”
“She certainly isn’t strong, but her power seems to be completely pure, there is no external influences on her strength whatsoever. It’s incredibly strange. It is different from aura, incantations, or any of the magic I’ve seen. It is not an ancient power either. It’s fascinating. I wonder if she would engrave something on my sword if I asked? She seems really nice and friendly.”
Beacrox and Ron listened in on their conversation while they kept an eye on Karin. Their young master was the one to decide to take this girl with them, but won’t she be a bother? Something about her feels weird to them, almost unpleasant. It feels like she knows things that she shouldn’t have any way of knowing. She is not holding any malicious intent however, and her eyes show a sort of loyalty to Cale. She is also incapable of combat. Therefore, she seems harmless for now. They’ll keep an eye on her and make a judgement later.
The group, now with another addition, head their way up the snowy mountain to the Gold Dragon’s lair. Rosalyn gives Cale a handkerchief to wipe his nose before checking in on Karin. After all, on top of being a young noble lady up until now, she is also a non-combatant. She must be having a tough time.
“Karin, are you sure you’re okay? It’s cold and since young master Cale is sniffling, I thought you would be doing the same. Do you need me to cast thermal magic for you?”
“I’m fine. Thank you, Rosalyn. Take a look at this. This ring is something I prepared to keep myself warm since I knew we were going to be climbing Mount Yellia to get to Eru- I mean the ancient Dragon’s lair. It creates a sort of invisible film around my body that works as insulation to keep out the cold.”
“You are able to create that kind of effect using a ring? How fascinating, I really don’t understand how your magic works. How do you refine your mana that it is in such a pure state? It’s more pure than Raon’s, and he’s a Dragon.”
“…Haha, I’ll try to tell you about it once we are able to rest in the dragon’s lair, Rosalyn. I just want to go flop in a bed right now, this snow is terrible.”
“I’ll look forward to chatting with you Karin! Make sure to stay close to me when we meet the dragon, I’ll protect you.”
Cale looked over at Karin and Rosalyn, who were happily chatting away as they got to the summit. Once there, Cale asked Pendrick how they were to meet the dragon. According to this Elf, they would need to wait until the dragon chose to meet with them, which does not make him happy. This is ridiculous. Beacrox agrees with his opinion on the matter. Cale wants to snuggle up in a warm blanket and roll around his bed. Speaking of warm things…
Cale glanced at Karin Orsena again, who then proceeded to completely ignore his pleading gaze.
It’s cold dammit, why didn’t Karin give him one of those rings too? He wants one too.