Book One: Knights' Festival

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She's so rude!

Samantha forced down a lump in her throat. Was this figure friend or foe? Whatever the figure was, she herself was defenceless! Much more, there were at least ten dragons surrounding her so escaping was not a good idea either. The orange dragon could catch her without breaking a sweat! The princess froze and let the figure move closer. She heard the figure make a clicking sound, causing the orange dragon to move away and let her pass. It was then Samantha got a closer look.

The figure had a tattered dark blue cloak with a black body-fitting shirt and a pair of dark denim shorts. Samantha couldn’t see what gender the figure was but she did spot that the figure was barefoot with three black anklets on the right ankle. Black fingerless, belted arm-warmers covered the figures arms and a dragon head shaped mask covered the figure’s face. It was made from torn pieces of black cloth with a metal headband and cobalt blue spines and neon blue strips of cloth to make a mane.

The figure dropped the stick on the ground gently on the ground. Samantha swallowed hard and waited for the figure to move closer. Must be the caretaker or something, Samantha thought to herself. The princess, knowing she had nowhere to go, closed her eyes to face her impending fate.


Who’s the moron this time?

Kevyn wanted nothing but to be left alone with the dragons. She hated humans. It made her head hurt about how much politics ran through their societies. She hated most especially the poachers that made their way through the mountain range to poach dragons for trophies. It was then she learned how to poach humans without remorse. To her, if they were willing to kill creatures that never laid a finger on them, they would pay with their lives. If the dragon was alive, she would torture the humans the same way they hurt the dragon. It was then poachers and people from Machinos feared her.

The Dragoon was what they called her.

The Dragon Knight.

The Dragon Vigilante.

There were so many names that she did not bother to keep count. It’s not like I care anyway, Kevyn scoffed at the thought. Humans always annoyed her. It was why she had isolated herself the first place. It was the same reason why she never returned to society. But now, she found herself dealing with another human that had mistakenly wandered into dragon territory. She narrowed her eyes at the intruder but her nose twitched. It was the smell of Fear. She looked straight into the intruder’s eyes and saw more than just Fear.

The dragons growled and stomped until she twirled her staff and shook the rattle inside. The dragons wasted no time shutting their mouths. Silence swirled around her and the intruder in the mountain range. With caution, Kevyn slowly placed her staff down and got down on all fours. She hobbled towards her to get a closer look.

The intruder was female with long black hair. She had dark brown eyes that widened to the size of dinner plates. Kevyn cocked her head to the side and observed her movements. What kind of idiot goes around Commando? She frowned. Her eyes looked at the necklace dangling from the woman’s neck and the ring on her finger. She snorted. The intruder was brim full of mana; she had never seen anyone with that much mana before!

“Who are you?” Kevyn demanded. “What are you doing here!?”

The intruder shook her head vehemently and opened her mouth to explain. Much to Kevyn’s surprise, there was no sound. The intruder waved her hands in the air frantically and in a panic, she started gesturing to something. Kevyn groaned; she was in no mood to play a game of charades!

“I suck at charades, what the fuck are you trying to tell me!?” Kevyn snapped. She twitched. Deus, what the fuck is wrong with this woman?

The young woman frowned and crawled towards her. Kevyn backed up until her dragon, covered with azure blue electricity, roared at the young woman. An airy yelp burst from the intruder’s throat as she crawled away and backed into the rock. Kevyn leapt in between the two beings before her dragon could tear out the intruder’s throat.

“Blitzkrieg! Behave!” Kevyn commanded.

The dark cobalt dragon backed up with its scales flaring with an azure light. Its wings spread out as it let out an annoyed shriek and then a snort, twitching.

“I know but she might not be a threat,” Kevyn soothed the dragon. She saw its icy blue eyes narrow into deadly slits. “Blitzkrieg…”

The dragon scowled and turned away, moving towards the rocks to sulk. Kevyn chuckled; the dragon may have been one of the most powerful and one of the fastest of its class, it still had the brains of a hormonal teenager.

“Sorry,” she shrugged. “The Alastreus are a little cautious and wary of people. Most especially him,” she hiked her thumb over to the sulking dragon. “So, that brings me to my question – what the hell are you doing here?”

The young woman gripped her throat while making an open-close motion with her hands.

“You were… going to vomit?” Kevyn raised an eyebrow.

The young woman frowned. She then put her hand on her throat and waved her hand.

“Someone ripped your vocal chords out?”

The only response she got was a face-palm and an airy groan.

Kevyn groaned in return. She wasn’t good in charades! The last time she dealt with humans was years ago. Never did she think that she would have to deal with more humans. The officials of Machinos were bad enough. Countless organization that hired for her skills were the only people she allowed some sort of patience because she needed the money to buy her own food. But even then, if she didn’t like the emissary, she would let one of her dragons have at them. She scowled and stood up, shaking her head.

“Ugh, you’re hopeless. Just leave the Mountain Range before I let Blitzkrieg fry you.” Kevyn dismissed her and stalked off.

Suddenly, she felt someone grab her wrist. Kevyn growled; no one man-handles her like that! She threw her right arm forward and threw the trespasser forward. The young woman staggered forward as she spun around and kicked her back. The young woman flew and slammed her body on the rock with a loud thud as she crashed on the ground. Kevyn narrowed her eyes at the crumpled body as it struggled to get up. In a few seconds, the young woman fell flat on her face and lay on the ground, unconscious.

“Tch, I hate being touched.” She seethed. Kevyn turned heel and stormed off. “We’re leaving.”

Blitzkrieg stared at Kevyn for a moment, not following after her. Kevyn sighed and turned around to look at her dragon. The Alastreus perked its barbs and gave her a curious and innocent look. The dragon-tamer raised an eyebrow as the dragon jerked its head a little to gesture to Samantha’s body.

“No. You can’t eat her.” Kevyn coaxed. “I’m pretty sure I didn’t snap her spine.”

Blitzkrieg snorted and stuck his tongue out in disgust.

“So? What the hell do you want me to do with her?”

He shrugged and got on his two hind legs to sit down. He folded his large wings and poked the woman’s body with the two pairs of leathery fins on his tail. Kevyn stared at the body for a moment before she realized what her dragon was saying.

“No. I hate humans.”

The dragon shrugged.

“I don’t need to bury her body!”

Blitzkrieg snorted. This time, he ran towards her and nudged her towards the body with his long slender snout. Kevyn gawked; when was Blitzkrieg so trusting of humans? Then again, Kevyn pondered for a moment. If the people of Machinos found the body, the more the empire was going to bug her and trespass into her territory. She groaned and looked at the young woman’s body and turned to the dragon.

“You sure?”

Blitzkrieg grunted.

Better than leaving her to be eaten by an Untameable, Kevyn thought. She let out a begrudging sigh and grabbed the woman’s body. Damn she’s heavy, she growled. She squatted and let out a grunt before hauling the girl over her shoulder. Kevyn winced at the weight and noticed how closely pressed the woman’s breasts were against her cheek. She also resisted the urge to scratch her back from the woman’s long black hair tickling her back and adjusted her stance so her shoulder wouldn’t have to bear all the weight.

“Fuck,” she growled. Kevyn narrowed her eyes at Blitzkrieg. “Your fault if she suddenly kills us all.”

Blitzkrieg however said nothing as Kevyn dropped the woman’s body on his back. Kevyn groaned and massaged her shoulder, observing past the fog. Anyone else could have followed her inside. She looked towards the unconscious body and spotted a necklace dangling from her neck. It had a pendant in shape of an owl holding a purple gemstone in its claws. She also noticed the golden ring that held a pink gemstone in its crown.

Well, she’s no commoner that’s for sure. Kevyn took a closer look at the ring, noticing the crown of the ring resembled that of a spider. She hadn’t seen it before but what kind of noble would wander all the way to the Yartengar Mountains? There was a reason why she picked this place to isolate herself. A scowl marred her features as she began rack her brains for any possible reason.

No sane person would walk in here especially without weapons, Kevyn reasoned with herself. She then looked at the noble’s body and noticed the wounds and bruises covering her body. Unless, she thought. She then lifted the noble’s arms to see sear marks covering every inch of her skin. Red angry welts swelled from the burns and dark blue green bruises bloomed on every part of her arm. Kevyn sniffed the woman only to draw back revolted. The stench of sweat and salt filled her nose, causing her to snort violently.

“Ugh,” Kevyn hissed. She brushed her nose against her forearm, coughing and gasping for air. “What is that reeking smell…?”

It was the smell of discharge.

Not just any kind of discharge but sexual discharge.

Probably one of Reuben’s whores, Kevyn snorted. But why flee here? If there was one thing she knew about Reuben, it was how he treated his whores after he was done with them. It was either make them run through a conveyor belt before they get turned into minced meat and put their meat into a Shepherd’s Pie for the people living in the slums or flaying their skin and using it as a pelt. What an asshole, she growled. She continued walking until Blitzkrieg chuffed. Kevyn snapped out of her daze and saw the clean spring before her. A smirk curved up her lips as she plucked off the unconscious body off her dragon and flung her into the lake. The body crashed into the water with a loud splash as Kevyn walked away.

“Fish her out if she doesn’t get out in the next 2 minutes.” Kevyn said. “I’m going to get this crazy idiot clothes.”

Blitzkrieg grunted in response. Satisfied, Kevyn walked away and headed down a wide mountain trail heading into the caverns. As she headed into the caverns, crystals of all shapes and sizes glowed and illuminated the way. The vibrations from the earth brushed against the soles of her feet. The humid air filled her nose as she winced from the stuffy air. Her hair stood on ends as the winds ticked her skin. She didn’t need her eyes to know where she was going. The wind and the earth spoke to her.

Who is that woman anyway? Kevyn frowned. She had never dealt with mana that big before. It threatened to explode and engulf the entire mountain range. Even the dragons could sense it! Blitzkrieg normally had a calm and stoic disposition but for him to attempt to attack the woman, was something new. His roar was also different. It was a little throaty; as if he was trying to protect her.

She reached her humble abode where she had everything installed. There was a computer that she had souped up from the Machinos junkyard. There was a bed made from wood and with a shelf of books underneath her bed. A study table stood on one side and a hearth in the middle. She walked over to a broken down Trousseau chest to pull out a set of clothes. The first thing she pulled out was a long sea green, white polka-dotted flared dress with a light brown belt. She frowned at it for a moment before looking for an undershirt.

“This thing isn’t going to close considering she’s so damn huge,” Kevyn shook her head and pulled out a white tube top. “For fuck’s sake, I don’t think I even have a bra that fits her.”

She sighed in annoyance and hauled the clothes onto her shoulder. Hopefully, the clothes didn’t have to stretch too far to accommodate her breasts. How could she not notice the large breasts? They were literally pressed against her face when she had slung the girl’s body onto her shoulder like a sack of potatoes! Kevyn groaned and trudged her way back towards the spring.


Oww…

Samantha floated in the darkness, not knowing where she was. All she remembered was trying to grab the masked dragon-master’s wrist before being flipped over and kicked into the rocky walls. He distinctly heard the cracks from the stone accompanied with a loud thud. The throbbing pain her back still ebbed until a cool and soothing feeling filled her body.

This feels so nice…

Suddenly, her throat tightened. She gasped and hacked only to realize that she no longer floated in the darkness but instead was facing towards smooth pebbles beneath her. Samantha flailed her arms and heard loud splashes. Small pockets of air filled her lungs as she tossed around and threw her head above water. She gasped and coughed with her black hair clinging to her cheeks, covering her face.

“You’re up.” She heard someone say.

Samantha looked up to see the masked dragon-master sitting against the rock with a pile of clothes and some food.

“And here I thought you were going to drown.” The vigilante smirked under the mask. “Good thing Blitzkrieg dragged you to the shallowest part of the spring.”

Samantha frowned and raised an eyebrow.

“I wasn’t going to leave you there. No need to get your tits all riled up.”

The princess gasped. How rude!

“I know what you’re thinking. You’re wondering – who is this uncouth imbecile speaking to me?”

Although it was close, Samantha remained stoic.

“I may be uncouth.” The dragon vigilante scowled and stood up. Samantha watched her take off the mask. “But at least I’m not some goddamn idiot running around half-naked.”

Samantha gawked. The dragon vigilante was a young woman around her age! But she was stocky and muscular in build. Her honey brown eyes bore holes into her soul with her thin pink lips curving into a scowl of displeasure. Long wavy dark auburn hair cascaded past her shoulders with side-swept bangs nearly covering her left eye.

The young woman wore denim mini-shorts with a loose black t-shirt with a dark blue dragon painted on it. She also had a tattered coal grey poncho that covered her broad shoulders and arms, revealing only a pair of black vambraces on each arm. The woman had no shoes and only three anklets that wrapped around her ankle.

“Heh, what’s the matter? Never seen a girl before?” She smirked.

It’s her!

It wasn’t that she never seen a girl before. It was more that she was the girl she saw in Amethyst’s Soul Dive. The laughter, the smirk, the build – it was her! She was the one! But why her, Samantha wondered. She looked at the woman who stood at the ledge of the spring only to get a bolt of wool thrown into her face. She coughed and spat before shaking her head.

“Dry up. I don’t like people sitting in the spring too long.” The vigilante scowled and turned heel to walk away. “And when you’re done getting your fingers all wrinkled, get your ass out of the water.”

Samantha frowned. You don’t have to be so mean, she wanted to say. But it was hard when her voice was missing. Sighing, she took off her clothes without complaint and began washing herself up. She shed her blouse and let it fall into the water. Her body trembled from the mountain winds brushing against her skin as she felt the sores and welts covering her back. How did those get there? She asked herself. The image of the electrocuting game of War of Five flashed through her mind. Oh right, she thought before continuing to wash her body.

She could feel the woman’s eyes on her. Was she ashamed? Disgusted? She couldn’t tell. But while wounds could heal, the memories engraved itself into her memory. Whether the memory stayed permanently or not, the slightest touch on her body caused her to reel back in disgust. She cupped some water and splashed it on her face to wash the dirt off. She looked straight at her reflection right after, seeing her whole body waist down through the clear water. And as pristine clean her body was; she knew that she was never going to be clean again.


Those wounds aren’t normal. Even for a noble.

Kevyn kept one eye open to make sure that she could at least track the woman should she either fall into the water or walk off somewhere weird. But what got her attention were the wounds on the young woman’s back. Those weren’t made by animals, Kevyn frowned. Those were made by magic items or energy.

She noticed how the woman scrubbed her genital area over and over again. A frown marred her features. She had seen some women do that in the springs here. She would hear them scream and cry, begging for forgiveness. There were times she did nothing; there were times she would try to lead them to a better life. Unfortunately, Rueben would always come back for them. Sometimes, he would do so personally. Other times, he would send a search party after them. After that, he would have them mauled to death by Hell Hounds that he had kept starved and fed the women to them.

Sick bastard, she growled to herself. She looked at the woman and then saw the extent of her wounds. Must be one of the survivors, she shook her head. At least this woman managed to survive. But she could also see the blood pouring from the woman’s welts. The cool water slipped between the grooves made by the welts and washed away the blood and dirt that coated the woman’s body. Kevyn then pulled out a balm from her pouch and took a closer look at her wounds, nodding.

This one should work, Kevyn said. Suddenly, she heard the water splash. She looked up only to see the woman walk up to her without any shred of clothing on. She gawked and grabbed the clothes she brought for her, throwing it in her face.

“Put these on. The mountains have chilly winds that are going to turn you into a damn Popsicle if you don’t,” Kevyn scowled. She folded her arms and leaned against the rock.

Despite her cold treatment, the woman said nothing. She instead put on the clothes without a single word or an emotion on her face. The only emotion that Kevyn saw and smelled was numbness. It was as if her mind lingered between the living and the dead. At least that reeking smell of semen’s gone, she sighed in relief. After the woman slipped on her clothes with the top part covered by the tube, Kevyn realized then that she never knew the woman’s name.

“By the way, what is your name?” Kevyn asked. She shook her head. “I can’t keep calling you ‘hey’ all the time.”

The woman blinked at her for a moment before walking towards the spring again. She dipped her finger in the water before walking to the stone. Kevyn watched her finger write the word: Samantha. The dragon-tamer sighed in relief. At least she wasn’t waving her arms around like a deranged lunatic anymore, Kevyn nodded.

“There. Isn’t that much easier to do instead of waving your arms like a moron?” Kevyn chuckled.

Samantha nodded.

“I’m guessing you’re a noble. Wait,” Kevyn dug through her pouch and grabbed a knife.

Samantha’s eyes widened.

“Relax. I only kill people if they hurt my dragons.” Kevyn reassured and began scouting around.


I only kill people if they hurt my dragons.

Samantha wasn’t sure what to say but the thought was both unsettling and reassuring at the same time. She watched the dragon-tamer search amongst the plants within the lagoon. She watched her cut off a branch and pick off a leaf before whispering an apology to the plant. Seeing her do so reminded her so much of Luke when he was still alive. Her heart sank into the pits of her stomach as the dragon-tamer sat in front of her.

“Here, write what you need to say on this for now.” The dragon-tamer placed the leaf in front of her. She then whistled. “Blitzkrieg!”

The dragon trotted to her as the woman showed it a twig.

“Light it up.”

Blitzkrieg narrowed its eyes at the twig before letting out a small shot, burning the twig. Satisfied, the dragon-tamer shook the twig a few times to douse the flame and gave it to her to use.

“I’m Kevyn. Now what’s a noble doing out here?”

Samantha nodded and scribbled on the leaf. I ran.

“Ran? Ran from where and from who?”

From Machinos.

“Lemme guess, Reuben?”

The princess hung her head and gave her a weak nod.

“Damn,” Kevyn scowled. She kicked a random pebble on the ground. “Why nobody can just kill him I can never understand.”

Samantha scribbled. It’s not that simple.

“I know. Humans always make everything so damn complicated.”

You’re human too.

“An annoying fact that I’ll have to live with for the rest of my goddamned life.”

Samantha frowned. What was wrong with being human? They could speak, cry, make friends, and be all sorts of things. She looked up at Kevyn again. While the dragon-tamer clearly expressed her distaste for humans, she didn’t seem to act on her hatred or show any inclination. All the woman did was protect the dragons. But she’s been terrorizing Machinos, her mind argued. Samantha shook her head. She didn’t seem to do it on whim. She reminds me of Bea and Luke mashed up together, Samantha let out a soft, airy, and soundless laughter. But Guilt ate through her again when she remembered her latest act. Sacrificing Beatriz just to take down another human. He’s a monster, her heart snapped. While it was true, the princess gripped the tube shirt underneath at one realization: she was no better for even thinking about sacrificing Beatriz.

She then scribbled on the leaf. Don’t you ever feel lonely?

Kevyn shrugged. “I like being alone.”

Why?

“Because no annoying, stupid punk can plop his fat ass on the mountain unless he wants to turn into Dragon food or an electric rod.”

But won’t the dragons eat you too?

Kevyn shook her head. “Not as long as you speak their language.”

Same with humans.

“I do. I speak Human tongue and humans still blow everything out of proportion.”

Samantha frowned for a moment and conceded with a sigh. Well, you do have a point.

Kevyn grunted and let out a disgruntled snort. “Anyway, I should get going.” She got up and dusted herself. “It’s almost feeding time.”

Samantha’s eyes widened. You’re gonna leave me?

“Yes, because you’re still an annoying human.”

Take me with you!

“No.”

Please.

“No.”

Please.

“No.”

Please.

“No.”

Please.

“Ugh, fine!” Kevyn snarled and stormed off. “Not my fault if you die.”

Samantha giggled. She then bounced and followed after her. Samantha saw Blitzkrieg scale the walls before jumping past her and landing in front of her, right next to Kevyn. The princess frowned and tried to walk past the Alastreus only to have a tail sweep right under her. Samantha gasped and crashed on her back with a loud thud.

Hey, Samantha glared.

Kevyn chided. “Blitzkrieg, behave.”

The Alastreus made a fake pout before Samantha spotted Kevyn giving it a scratch under Blitzkrieg’s chin in approval. The princess shook her head. So much for discipline. Avoiding the sharp rocks beneath her feet, Samantha trailed after them until they stopped at the entrance a cavern. Samantha prepared to walk in until Kevyn grabbed a fistful of her hair. The princess yelped and stopped at the edge.

“Calm your tits,” Kevyn scolded. “You’re telling me you can walk in blind?”

Samantha frowned and scribbled on the leaf. I have magic!

“Sure you do. You could have blasted a dragon but instead sat down there and looked like you wanted to piss your pants.”

Who wouldn’t!? Dragons eat people!

“Yes and cows can fly,” Kevyn deadpanned. She glared at the princess and flung her back. “What kind of shit have you been reading!? You rich dumbasses have access to every book in publication yet you don’t know that dragons don’t eat people!?”

Samantha blinked. They don’t?

Kevyn groaned and slapped her palm against her forehead. “A noble with access to all the knowledge in the world and all she knows is that dragons eat her. Great. Just fucking great.”

You’re so vulgar, Samantha coaxed using the leaf as a board.

“I will not conform to your fucking standards. Who are you? My mom?”

The princess fumed; Beatriz may have been obnoxious but this woman was just plain rude! But can you blame her, her mind asked. Samantha sighed. If she was living in the mountains without any contact with society, she was certain that she’d go mad. There would be no malls and bazaars to go to. She wouldn’t have people to talk to. How could someone live like this!? Samantha screamed in her mind.

“Fine. Let’s do it your way. Let’s walk in the dark.” Kevyn smirked. “I don’t mind.”

Samantha gawked. Wasn’t she suggesting a few moments ago not to!?

“C’mon, Your Dodo-ness. The longer we stay out here, the more prone we are to being baked into a fucking fruitcake.”

But fruitcakes are good.

“Not when they’re burned.”

Samantha sighed and began following her. She looked at Blitzkrieg who snorted and folded his wings, following after his master. The dragon is so loyal to her, the princess couldn’t help but be amazed by the bond they had. It wasn’t just how Blitzkrieg and she seemed to understand each other but how they could tell what each other was feeling.

They proceeded into the caverns without a light. Samantha trembled and walked through the darkness. She remembered the time Brandon and she ventured through the Arachnos Cavern. The memory of the warmth and reassurance flashed in her mind. Brandon’s roguish smirk and chuckle sent her heart soaring. Fear swirled in her memory also when she recalled the first time she saw the giant spider humanoid. But most of all, she remembered the rage that consumed her when she saw Beatriz’s dismembered body. The agony and the despair that fuelled her mana engraved itself into her magic and into her mind. She wrapped her arms around her body, shivering. It was the first time that she would venture into a dangerous place alone.

“I’m surprised,” Kevyn remarked offhandedly. “For someone who knows magic, you have absolutely no fucking clue how to communicate with Mana don’t you?”

Samantha blinked. What?

“Well, it’s clear you don’t. I can hear your heartbeat.”

Samantha’s eyes widened. She can do that!?

“Yes I can. I can tell what your responses are from the fluctuations of your mana.”

So you knew what I was saying the whole time!?

“Yeah but it was hilarious seeing you wave your arms in the air like a maniac,” Kevyn’s amused snickering echoed through the darkness.

Samantha frowned. Not only was she rude but she was playing pranks on her! I take it back, Samantha scowled. She was nothing like Luke or Beatriz! At least if Beatriz played pranks on her, it was relatively harmless and Luke wouldn’t even hurt a fly! She remembered how Kevyn kicked her into a rock; the blunt force still made her back sore. But it still didn’t answer the question. What was she doing in her visions? Why her of all people?

“We’re here.” Kevyn said.

Samantha followed her into the light only to be amazed by the sight: it was a utopia! A utopia filled with dragons!

The place was covered with ice, fire, and stone forming pillars and structures. A large waterfall roared and rushed down from the top with all sorts of flora covering the ground and ledges. Dragons of different colours and sizes soared and glided around the area. Baby dragons played with each other and tried to fly only to stumble. Samantha giggled as they squawked and began chasing each other.

“Amazing isn’t it?” She heard Kevyn say.

Samantha turned her head to the dragon-tamer and nodded. Yeah.

“This is how the world would look like without humans.

Nodding, the princess continued to watch the dragons fly. Suddenly, several dragons dropped down in front of her. One was the black version of the orange dragon she saw awhile ago. The orange dragon that she had bumped into was also amongst them. A green dragon with a short snout and stubby legs walked up to her and began sniffing her leg.

There are so many, Samantha couldn’t believe what she was seeing. All this time, she had thought that dragons were extinct. But she was wrong. They were all hidden in a mountain utopia! She giggled at the sight of the baby dragons running around and looked upon in astonishment at the adolescent dragons soaring and play-fighting each other in the sky.

“I have a question though.” Kevyn suddenly asked.

Samantha turned around and saw Kevyn staring at her. Ah!

“You’re mute but I’m guessing it’s not an innate thing.”

Samantha blinked.

“I’m saying your mutism’s been induced.”

The princess blinked, confused. Induced?

“You put your mutism on yourself, dodo brain.”

Samantha gawked. Why would she want to mute herself!? It didn’t make sense! Samantha looked at her hands and then let her fingers trace against her throat. It’s probably why I can’t use magic either, she acknowledged with a pained sigh. She looked up at Kevyn, remembering how she saw the young woman in the citadel attacking the sentinels. It was as if she was watching a dragon dance in the sky, frolicking and claiming dominance over the clouds. Suddenly, a realization hit her. Could it be, she remembered the vision of Kevyn during her short time with Amethyst. An idea hit her and she looked at her hands. With a beam of delight, she ran towards a leaf and plucked off a big piece.

“Hey, what the hell you doing?” Kevyn raised an eyebrow. “You might –”

Suddenly, both girls heard a loud grunt and snort. The princess staggered back when she saw that the bush she had pulled the leaf off from was not a bush but a dragon. Annoyed, the dragon that appeared to be a bush scowled at Samantha and stormed away.

“—mistake the Fernscale for a bush,” Kevyn finished and groaned into her palm. “It’s a good thing those things are lazy and don’t bite.”

Samantha exhaled in relief and smiled sheepishly.

“Yeah, you betcha you’re lucky. That thing has a skull harder than the rumoured Thanatium and has no control when it gains enough momentum.”

The princess swallowed hard.

“It’s good enough to smash through several buildings unless someone lulls it to sleep or a dragon of stronger strength can stop it.”

Samantha nodded and looked at the leaf, remembering what she had to say. She pulled out the singed twig and began scratching against the leaf to write what she wanted to say. If I can’t use magic, she thought to herself. Now was the perfect time for her to learn how to fight! The memories of her helplessness flooded through her. You can’t do it, her mind sneered. She shook it off. I have to do this, Samantha clenched her fists tight that it broke the twig.

“Oi, what are you getting so mad about?” Kevyn scowled.

Without any warning, Samantha shot up and shoved the leaf into the girl’s face. The princess steeled herself for what was going to happen. She knew it was a gamble. But if she was going to find her way back to her knights then, she had to make sure she came back new and improved. Kevyn plucked the leaf from her hands to read what was on it. Written on the leaf were the words:

Please teach me how to fight.

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