Book One: Knights' Festival

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The Last Sorcerer Dragon

Kevyn couldn’t believe what she was seeing. She didn’t expect Samantha to learn the Water element that quickly! As much as Water was a flexible element, it was also relentless and cruel if need be. Not as bad as fire though, Kevyn thought. Nonetheless, absorbing the concept of flexibility and innovativeness was a pretty good feat. Especially for someone who was raised in sheltered walls.

She saw the enthusiastic look on Samantha’s face and the eager determination that glittered in the young woman’s eyes. After helping come to terms with her trauma, the princess showed visible signs of change. Although she was happy that Samantha broke from her trauma, there was one thing that was bothering her. Who were those creatures in Samantha’s mind? Kevyn frowned. She had seen the silhouettes before but couldn’t put her finger to it. That’s impossible; that magic has gone extinct for years, her mind argued. And the only people who were capable of using it had been wiped out from both history and existence. Their existence was only known by a handful of people who kept a few of their tomes and their beliefs alive.

But somehow, it made sense to her. They were also people who were rumoured to control every form of magic. And they didn’t specialize in just one. Some had two, some had three, and last she checked, the books she read mentioned the rumour of someone mastering all kinds of magic. A frown marred her features. Those kinds of people couldn’t be alive anymore. They were wiped out twenty two years ago!

But the explanation that Samantha could be one of them made so much sense.

It explained why her mana was so vast. While she had met mages and sorcerers with vast mana pools, detecting Samantha’s was like seeking out a vast ocean. She hadn’t expected it. Most people had tiny mana pools since the extinction of that race. Because people had chosen to destroy nature, many of the mana’s biggest sources had been destroyed. But to be standing in front of someone with that vast amount, it was admonishing. The sheer amount of Samantha’s mana dwarfed her own.

But her next question was – how come Samantha didn’t seem aware of it?

She recalled all the books she read regarding mana and their behaviour. If the mana was too vast for someone’s body, the energy would either end up spilling out or burning their host inside out. But Samantha walked around as if it didn’t matter. It puzzled her to no end; how did Samantha do all that?

“Kevyn?” She heard someone call her.

The dragon-tamer snapped out of her daze only to see Samantha staring at her with a concerned look. “Are you okay? You’ve been spacing out for awhile.”

Kevyn shook her head. “I’m alright. Just thinking about something.”

“Like?”

“Like how to get you to learn the next element.”

Samantha shrugged. “Maybe we can go with what’s similar to Water?”

“That would either be Air or Earth.” Kevyn added while pondering for a bit. “Water and Air certainly get along. They’re more free elements. Earth is tough and stubborn; getting a rock to move means charging head first without changing your mind.”

“You mean, committing?”

“In a sense, yes. Earth is a direct element. There’s no fancy and clever way around it.”

Samantha pondered for a moment before nodding. “Maybe we can learn Air first? Since you said that Air and Water can get along well, learning Air shouldn’t be as hard as learning Earth and Fire.”

Kevyn nodded. “True,” the dragon-tamer thought for a bit. “Or maybe you can learn Earth so learning the other two elements wouldn’t be as hard.”


Samantha blinked at the thought. Wasn’t Air that complete opposite of Earth? Didn’t she say that Earth was a more tough and stubborn element? She pondered for a moment. While both Water and Earth could be soothing elements, combining them wouldn’t be as powerful as combining Fire and Water or Air and Water. Then again, Samantha shrugged. Kevyn was the teacher. She knew more about the elements than she did.

“What do we do now?” Samantha asked.

“Learning Earth is easy since the material is all around you.” Kevyn pointed out. She then picked up a rock before crushing it in her palm. “The more advanced stuff however is learning how to use,” – when she opened her palm, Samantha gasped in awe at the sight of the rock turning into a shard of metal. “Metal.”

Samantha gawked at the sight of the piece of rock that transmuted into pure metal. She plucked it off Kevyn’s palm and examined every part of the rock. Incredible, Samantha shook her head. She had only heard about the elements forming things in theory and for a long time, Earth and Metal were two distinct elements. What Kevyn proved to her there that Metal was just a subgroup element to Earth that had been subjected to pressure and heat.

“Wow,” Samantha observed the ore in her hands. “This looks amazing…”

“It is,” Kevyn chuckled. “I learned that Metal was a subgroup while in Chemia. They may not believe in magic but Science and Magic can be reconciled to create Alchemy.”

The princess nodded. “So, you performed Transmutation?”

“That’s the magical explanation for it. For non-believers, it’s simply creating a chemical reaction.”

“Wow, can you do that with other items too?”

Kevyn nodded. “Earth can be versatile when subjected to fire. But Earth can also be a soothing element when subjected to Water.”

Puzzled, Samantha blinked. “You mean like plants or something? People always said that Wood and Earth are two distinct elements.”

“In a sense yes but at the same time they have one common principle,” Kevyn picked up a dead leaf by her foot and the rock. “They’re both made from what we’re made of. They’re made of what the people of Chemia call organic material.”

“You mean like, it’s alive?”

“Not necessarily. Being made from what Chemia calls organic material simply means they are capable of degrading. Just like humans.”

Samantha nodded. She knew that Earth was the very land she stood on. It was the element that nurtured the plants and the animals that grazed throughout the plains. Earth was also the soil that housed the many trees and plants in the ground to help them grow. She looked towards a small plant sprouting from a crack in the ground. Despite there being no soil, a small light green young sprout made its way up to take in some sunlight. From there, she also saw some of the water she had splashed around creating a thin stream to water the plant.

“Wait, a minute - even if all the elements are distinct in their own way,” Samantha realized. She looked up at the sun, the water, the ground she stood on, and the sky. “They are all co-existing!”

Kevyn nodded. “That’s right.”

“Because of that, more subgroups of elements are created!”

“Yep, pretty much it.”

Samantha shook her head. “Wow,” she plopped down on a rock, struck by the epiphany. “I… I never knew I would see that by going beyond the walls.”

“Sometimes, you have to go out of your comfort zone to learn. It’s a risk but some risks are worth taking.”

Suddenly, Samantha heard something explode and the ground beneath her rumble. The tremors caused the ground beneath her to crack and shudder with the water splashing around. The sheer force threw her off the rock and made her land on her back while Kevyn dropped down to a squat. More explosions sounded off as Kevyn and Samantha waited for the shuddering and trembling to stop.

“What’s going on!?” Samantha screamed over the noise. “This isn’t the mountain getting angry, is it!?”

Kevyn shook her head. “Give me a minute.”

Samantha noticed the dragon-tamer’s eyes turn bright honey gold, similar to that of a dragon. She waited for a few moments until Kevyn’s expression paled. Her eyebrows knit in fury as she gathered herself.

“Fucking Machinos bastards! These idiots never learn!” Kevyn growled. She whistled for the Alastreus. “Blitzkrieg!”

The dragon snorted and woke up, spreading its wings and calling a great bolt of lightning.

Samantha stared in awe. She never seen Blitzkrieg in his full glory but now she understood why he was one of the most feared dragons. The skies suddenly darkened and lightning bolts flashed from the sky before striking the Alastreus. Blitzkreig roared and called all the lightning to it. The moment the bolt made contact, its cobalt blue scales shimmered in the darkness with the tips of its barbs and claws, its eyes and its mouth flashed a shining bright bluish white colour.

“No fair, why don’t I have a dragon?” Samantha frowned. “How am I supposed to help you!?”

Kevyn shrugged. “Find one and tame one. Don’t whine to me.”

“You didn’t teach me how!”

“There are some things you have to learn on your own. This time is one of them!”

Samantha saw Blitzkrieg bow its head and let Kevyn mount him. “Where are you going!?”

The dragon-tamer suited up and pulled out a rod, extending it to reveal to chain blades. “I’m gonna kick those stupid sperms from Machinos back up their old man’s balls!”

Cringing from her vulgarities, Samantha shielded her face with her arms as Kevyn and Blitzkrieg took off. Frustration filled her. Not this again, Samantha groaned. She turned around to see dragons looking at her with curiosity. She exhaled sharply and looked at the dragons as they advanced towards her. Samantha stood her ground ad watched their reactions. If what Kevyn says is true, Samantha told herself. The dragons drew closer and began sniffing her. The princess stood perfectly still, waiting for their reactions.

One of the dragons drew close to her. It had a short neck with a large horned head. On its head, it had a pair of antler-like horns with another horn at the tip of its snout. It only had two pairs of legs with claws on its wings. She looked behind it to see a tailfin swishing behind it. On the tail, there was an additional pair of leathery wings. Its scales may have been her favourite colour but her fear for her life rendered her speechless. Its nostrils flared at her as it stared straight at her. She stared back at its yellow-green eyes and shakily, she lifted her arm. The dragon winced and began to growl under its breath. Samantha gulped; was it going to eat her? Instead, she stopped and held her hand out. She shut her eyes and looked away, fearing the gruesome sight of losing her hand.

But instead of feeling her hand being ripped off her wrist, she felt something scaly touch her hand. Samantha’s eyes snapped her eyes open and found the dragon’s snout pressed against her palm. The dragon squawked with a grin with some fins unfolding at her cheeks.

“Hi,” Samantha softly whispered. “You’re a pretty girl.”

The dragon giggled as if flattered by the comment.

“Aww, I know right? Purple is such a wonderful colour.”

The dragon then bowed its head at her. Samantha’s eyes widened. It was the same gesture Blitzkrieg did to Kevyn. It can’t possibly want me to ride it, the princess shook her head. But the look in the dragon’s eyes said it all. It acknowledged her. The thing was: could she do it? Kevyn did say she would teach her later on. But if she waited, Kevyn might have been outnumbered by the Machinos forces.

“It shouldn’t be any different from riding a horse,” Samantha shrugged.

She walked over to the dragon and swung her left leg over its back. The dragon shuddered for a bit, clearly not used to having someone on its back. But the moment Samantha eased herself in, the dragon squawked for a moment before hunching its back a bit to move the princess a little more forward. Samantha yelped before landing right at the base of the neck and the shoulder. The princess patted the dragon gently only to wince at its dry skin.

“Wow, how can you survive with such dry skin?” Samantha shook her head. She looked towards the water and pulled some from the spring, letting it cover her hand. “There,” she rubbed the water into the dragon’s dry skin, causing it to squawk in delight. “Does that make you feel better?”

The dragon chuffed with a grin.

“Alright,” Samantha steeled herself and clung onto the dragon. “Here we go.”

The dragon squawked and took off into the air. Samantha yelped as a gust of wind blasted her face. She couldn’t believe it. She was on the back of a dragon! Wait ’til Bea and Brandon hear about this! Samantha was beside herself with giddy. The princess never dreamed that she’d be on the back of a dragon! The wind rushed towards her and tossed her black tresses around. She stared straight at the grey skies caused by Blitzkrieg. Crashes and rolling of thunder exploded across the horizon where she heard also something being blown up. She saw flashes of blue lightning in the midst of the valley in the mountain range.

“There!” Samantha pointed.

The dragon squawked and dove straight down to the area where the blue lightning bolts crashed. Her eyes widened when she saw the destruction down below.

Blitzkrieg dove and bombed what she thought were metal beasts with wheels. Each of them had a barrel similar to a gun only bigger and longer. Loud explosions shattered the mountains and sent dragons flying around, panicking. Nets flew in the air as some of them got caught, dragging them down. Samantha gasped in horror. What kind of people would do this? The dragons screeched and cried, struggling to get free. She saw the soldiers ramming their spears and puncturing holes into their wings.

“Leave them alone!” Samantha screamed and spurred the dragon.

Her dragon mimicked her resolve and dove straight towards the metal beasts. Suddenly, a large lightning bolt split through the grey skies and slammed straight into the tanks. The soldiers screamed in terror while the dragons roared in triumph. Samantha gasped when she saw Blitzkrieg and Kevyn covered in lightning. The rage was clear in both their eyes. None of those soldiers were going to escape alive.

Kevyn whirled her blades and coated them with electricity before zapping the tanks. Her eyes widened as the metal beasts exploded and were coated by a large blue roaring inferno. The dragon she was on swooped and evaded the large pillars of lightning and fire as the metal beast went straight up in flames. She saw Blitzkrieg attacking the soldiers with a tail swipe or a beat of its wings. It leapt over one before stomping on another.

But what amazed her was how Kevyn fearlessly leapt off Blitzkrieg and attacked the whole horde of soldiers. Kevyn’s blade whirled around with the chains ripping through the soldiers. Samantha clenched her fist tight and looked towards a pond of water nearby. She closed her eyes and applied the same principle. Her mana inside whispered and danced through her veins with blue streams of mana shot out of her fingertips. The water rushed towards her and formed two water tentacles over her arms.

“Ooh,” Samantha gasped in amazement. She nodded to her dragon. “Let’s go get them!”

The dragon chuffed and dove straight for them. Samantha swung her tentacles and shot them out to smash down the noses of the metal beasts. A loud crunch echoed in the air as Samantha stood up to hit more flying objects. A loud whistling sound ripped through the air with a trail of smoke behind it. Samantha took a closer look when she saw that the source of the whistling appeared to be some sort of metal tube with fins attached to it. Even if she didn’t know exactly what it did, the fact that they were firing it at her proved enough that it was dangerous.

“Yipe!” She quickly threw the water around her and the dragon.

The moment she did, the water encased both her and her dragon in a bubble with the iron tubes exploding upon contact. She winced from the blows from the iron tubes that smashed against the watery barrier. She could see the large ripples created before shaking her head.

“Maybe hitting it was a better idea?” Samantha asked her dragon.

The dragon shrugged.

“Well, it is better than being blasted.”

The dragon squawked.

“Yes, I totally agree. We should have just slapped it away!”

Samantha brought down the barrier and let the water wrap around her arms. The water tentacles snapped and whipped around as she looked at her dragon. “Try to shoot down some, okay?”

The dragon squawked in delight before shooting pressurized, scalding water shots. The moment it came in contact with the metal projectile, the tube exploded in mid air. Samantha swung her tentacle and cut through another one, wincing at the thundering explosion near her ears. It didn’t spook her as much as she thought it would. But plummeting fifty feet above the ground was more terrifying than getting hit by one of those exploding metal tubes.

“Okay,” Samantha shivered while trying to maintain her balance. “Okay, I can do this.”

She yelped as another blue lightning bolt nearly struck her if not for her dragon’s quick thinking. Her foot slipped but she managed to get a hold onto her dragon’s neck. How does Kevyn make balancing on dragons look so easy!? Samantha gawked. Oh right, her mind reminded her. Kevyn had been riding on dragons for so long that it was second nature to her. Samantha trembled a bit as the dragon suddenly flipped upside down to avoid the incoming metal tube.

“Yipe!” Samantha yelped and saw the explosion behind her. “I definitely do not want to get hit by that!”

She spotted Kevyn below and called in more water from the ponds. As the waters swirled around her, sweat poured down her face. She gasped and panted while trying to keep the water swirling. I didn’t expect it to be this hard, the princess shook away her daze while trying to keep the water suspended in mid-air. She couldn’t help but wonder; why wasn’t it this hard when she was in a pool full of water?

A pool full of water, Samantha realized. “Everything was on the ground,” she added. The princess’ eyes widened when saw that all the tanks were gathered together. But what caught her attention more were the streams of water rushing out from the small cracks within the mountains. She patted her dragon’s neck and pointed at the streams.

“Set me down there!” Samantha ordered.

The dragon nodded and dove for the streams below, landing on the side. Samantha leapt off and called the water to her immediately as she heard loud whizzing shots. With a slight grunt, she threw the water around her forming a bubble before morphing it again. Recalling how she formed several tentacles, Samantha pulled the water apart to reveal multiple tentacles while stood at its base. The whizzing bullets shot at her as she waved her hand to direct the tentacles. The tentacles snaked and snapped at the bullets, knocking it away. While her heart continued to race, a part of her no longer jumped or skipped out of fear.

“I’ve seen this before,” Samantha reminded herself. She remembered the horrors that she witnessed in Sofiene. “And if I’m going to return back to Sofiene, I will have to learn how to fight.”

A queen must be well-rounded.

Ditch the books and time to learn via application.

Samantha huffed and threw one tentacle at the soldier before slapping him in the face. She snaked another tentacle to throw one by the ankle up into the air and into a pool. While that particular soldier crashed with a loud splash, Samantha yelped when one of the other metal beasts turned on her. Her eyes widened when it began to wind up for a shot.

“Oh Deus, no, no, no,” Samantha bolted away from its line of fire.

Before the tank could shoot, her dragon came down and clamped its claws on the barrel. It crushed the barrel with one squeeze and jammed the turret. Samantha beamed and hollered to her dragon. “Thank you!”

The dragon squawked until a net shot out and dragged it down.

“No!” Samantha screamed. She threw water tentacles to slash the net only for the water to barely land a dent. Her eyes widened. Metal cords!?

The dragon landed down with a crash and the soldiers charged at it with bayonets. Samantha quickly pulled out water to knock them down only to have blue lightning fry them all. She squinted at the sight of the blinding lights as Kevyn landed in the middle. She swung her blade before bisecting all the soldiers horizontally across their waists. Blood splattered on the ground and their split torsos fell down on the ground with a soft thud and splash. Samantha blinked in surprise as Kevyn pulled off the net and clicked few sounds. The dragon squawked and made its way back to Samantha. Overjoyed, the princess embraced the dragon as it shoved its snout into her arms.

“Aww, I’m glad you’re okay too.” Samantha giggled.

Kevyn chuckled. “Not bad. Having a Wavesniper like you isn’t easy.”

Samantha blinked. “A Wavesniper?”

“The Wavesniper is a Water-class dragon. They’re abnormally shy and would rather stay away from battle. What they usually do is fire single, pressurized, and scalding water shots from far distances. But for one to fly with you on its back, you – a complete amateur who used charades to tell me that you needed to take a shit –managed to tame it.”

“I was mute and traumatized!”

“It’s called getting a fucking piece of paper to write.”

“There was no paper!”

“There’s a thing called using twigs and leaves, moron.”

Samantha sighed and shook her head. “You’re incorrigible. Downright vulgar, obnoxious, brusque, just like,” – she stopped for a moment. “Bea…”

Kevyn raised an eyebrow. “Who?”

“Bea, she’s my lady-in-waiting. She’s this small girl with a large scythe – ”

“Is she the same one screaming bloody murder, pale, ice blue eyes, short, and dresses like a freakin’ porcupine?”

“She does not!”

“I don’t care how short her damn skirt is and if she’s showing skin. What I do care about is how her spikes can just randomly stab my face.”

Samantha blinked. “You’ve seen her?”

“Yeah, in the castle courtyard.” Kevyn chuckled. “To be frank, if she’s your knight – she’s got a lot of work to do in the strategy side. The other guy, the one in red, had his brain where it should be but he too slow to lay a shot on me.”

“Well, aren’t you cocky.”

“I’ve just kicked the ass of every Machinos Gear sent to kick my ass all the way to Tartaros. I think I’m due for some bragging rights.”

“And just exactly how many did you kick?”

Kevyn paused for a moment and counted her fingers. “Lost count after 10. Got too lazy and they were all coming in too fast, didn’t have time to count either.”

Samantha gawked. “You didn’t kill them, did you?”

“I didn’t. I gave them due process. I let the dragons judge them.”

“And?”

“They’ve spared at least eight of them. They spared those who wandered in by mistake, didn’t damage me too much, offered me treaties, and the sort.”

The princess shook her head. “And the others I’m assuming tried to kill you?”

“I didn’t do anything actually.” Kevyn admitted mildly. “I beat them up and intended to roll them down the mountain back to their mothers but some of the more hostile wild dragons ate them. The others committed suicide saying that either way, their defeat meant death in the hands of Prince Reuben.”

Samantha fell silent. She knew what Kevyn said was true. The gruesome sight of Reuben gouging out Cathy’s eye haunted her. While she managed to help the Machinos Gear recover her sight, she still couldn’t believe that some people could be that downright cruel. My brothers did lead a rebellion, she admitted mildly. But even they didn’t torture people who helped them like that!

“Wow, so a lot of them… died by their own hands?” Samantha asked.

Kevyn nodded. “Some required assistance. Others I sent back and the next thing you know, their head is on a pike outside the castle.”

Samantha winced in disgust. “Reuben has to be stopped.”

“That’s kinda hard when Hayden’s crying over his mom’s dead body.”

“But we can’t leave Machinos in the hands of Reuben!”

“We? Who said I’m going with you?”

Samantha frowned and stood her ground. “You’re the only one Reuben fears the most. And didn’t you say you wanted him to die for harming the dragons?”

“I do but I can’t abandon the dragons either.” Kevyn looked at the dragons that looked upon them with curiosity. “I can’t leave the dragons but, I can help you learn the other elements.”

Samantha shook her head. “We don’t have much time. Do you have any way we can learn everything all at once?”

“You’re fucking crazy. You can’t rush learning.”

“I know! But I don’t want to leave my knights alone! They’re being hunted down!”

Kevyn frowned for a moment and stroked her chin. “There are two ways to go around this.”

“What?”

“Well, it’s not gonna be fun. The first is you wait and finish all the elements first. The second’s gonna require some crazy ancient magic voodoo.”

Samantha raised an eyebrow. “Well, what is it?”

“It’s called Awakening.” Kevyn explained. “And fuck as hell, I can’t do any of that crazy shit.”

Samantha fell silent. She had only read a few books about Awakenings. But Awakening meant tapping into the deepest source of her power and forcing it to evolve. While most people preferred letting time evolve their magic or using it multiple times to evolve it, she didn’t have time for that. There was a way to do an Awakening. But the method was so old and outdated, she could possibly die. Her fists clenched tight; if she didn’t do this now, there was no way she could save her knights.

“Or we could do it my way,” Kevyn said and folded her arms. “Learn the basics now; learn the advanced shit while in combat.”

Samantha nodded. “We can do that instead.”

“Yeah but we’re gonna need to find you a weapon.” Kevyn said and looked around. “Catching a bullet or a knife with your hand ain’t gonna be funny.”

Samantha blinked and recalled how she made the tentacles. “Can’t I conjure your own weapon?”

Kevyn pondered for a moment and nodded. “It’s possible but long run, not advisable.”

“It’s because you need to keep focusing your mana into the weapon to retain its form.”

“That’s right. Wow, you figured that out without me.”

Samantha chuckled. “I learned while trying to hold a large amount of water around me in air and on the back of a dragon.”

The dragon-tamer smirked. “I should do that to you more often.”

“No thank you, I would like less stress please.”

“Kill-joy.”

“You’re insane.”

“Why thank you, better that than boring.”

Samantha sighed and shook her head at Kevyn. “So, what are we going to do now?”

Kevyn shrugged. “My way, the old ancient way, or the conventional way?”

The princess, deep in thought, paced around while thinking of her choices. While she could manipulate Water, Kevyn told her she still needed to learn at least the other three elements. If she did it the conventional way, Beatriz and the others might have been captured. If she did it the only ancient way, she could possibly die. A sigh bubbled from her lips. She hated going in unprepared. But if she had to save her knights, she had to make a choice. And she had to make it now.

“Can we have a speed course of the three elements?” Samantha asked. “We can finish this by tonight right?”

Kevyn shook her head. “Being realistic, about a day or two. That’s if you can get everything in one shot.”

Samantha shook her head. “I’ve already spent 2 weeks here. I can’t afford another day.”

Kevyn sighed and raked her fingers through her hair, shaking her head. “I know someone who can do the Awakening for you.”

Samantha blinked in surprise. “Who would that be?”

The dragon-tamer turned around and beckoned Samantha. “Follow me.”

Nodding, the princess followed after the dragon-tamer into the caverns. The other dragons parted paths and let them descend deep into the caverns. Samantha saw the torches light up the lower they went until they came across a cave.

“Kevyn, I do have a question.” Samantha said.

“What?”

“Where did you learn about the elements?”

“I learned by watching dragons and from her.

“Who’s her?”

Kevyn tapped a few stone blocks on the wall, knocking on it before letting it split apart. “You’re about to meet her.”

Samantha nodded. The moment the doors opened wide, the torches lit up and revealed another dragon. Unlike the others however, she had a long slender neck with red violent scales covering her body. Her feathered tail swished with her feathery wings folding and tucking themselves on the side. Samantha could hear the dragon snorting as her single talon flipped through the page of the book. The dragon had a long snout like any other dragon except her ears appeared to be like angel wings. The princess gawked and turned to Kevyn who bowed.

“Samantha, meet Khanara. The last sorcerer dragon in existence.”

Samantha gasped. The last sorcerer dragon? She couldn’t believe it! She didn’t know that dragons were capable of casting magic. All she knew from the books was that they could breathe a variety of elements. Ditch the books, Samantha reminded herself. In two weeks, she had learned one golden rule: not everything could be learned from a book. The dragon in front of her craned its head at the princess with a kind smile.

“Why, hello there.” Khanara greeted.

Samantha nearly jumped back in fright. It can talk!

“Oh I didn’t mean to scare you,” Khanara chuckled. “But where are my manners? I am Khanara, the last of the humble Sorcerer Dragons. And you are?”

“I, I’m Samantha.”The princess stammered, still awestruck by the fact that Khanara could talk.

“I take it you’re not used to dragons speaking to you?”

Samantha shook her head.

“My apologies then.”

Samantha couldn’t believe what she was seeing and hearing. First, there were dragons that were still alive. It was already an amazing thing to know that dragons still existed. The second part of it, she rode on a dragon bare back. Which reminds me, Samantha winced at the aching pain of her behind. She didn’t expect the ride to be that bumpy. However, she shook that off and looked at the magnificent dragon before her. Her knees began to buckle as she bowed her head in humility. It was as if she looked into the face of a deity and an omniscient being.

“I…I’m sorry,” Samantha managed to say. “I have gone through many surprises today and this was the biggest one I have had yet.”

Khanara let out a melodious giggle. “I see, do not worry however. I do not eat humans.”

“I know, Kevyn has taught me much about the dragons.”

“I see that she has. Although I do not eat humans, Kevyn does not usually bring people here down to my cavern. So, what brings you here?”

Samantha exhaled sharply. “I want to do the Awakening ritual. I need to awaken my powers.”

Khanara stared at her, puzzled. “But my dear, you have no need for such ritual.”

“I’ll need it if I want to protect my knights.”

“Ah, so it’s for more power?”

Samantha nodded. “Please, I don’t want them to get tortured! The Prince of Machinos, he won’t even give them trial!”

Khanara gave her a sad smile, shaking her head. “Unfortunately, I cannot perform the Awakening ritual.”

“Why? Kevyn said you could.”

“I could if the person hadn’t awakened yet. But you already have.”

Samantha froze. That’s impossible, the princess shook her head. She looked at her hands and tried to feel the mana inside her. While she could feel her mana roiling and humming inside her veins, Samantha couldn’t understand. The Awakening was something that no mage could force out. The power accumulated over time and practice which then caused an evolution in one’s magic. That phenomenon was called Awakening; to have one’s mana and magical power rise way beyond the limit.

“I… I have?” Samantha blinked in disbelief. She shook her head vehemently. “But that’s impossible! I feel no different!”

“Were you expecting some big light show?”

“Sort of, yes.”

Khanara laughed again. “Oh dear sweet child, the Awakening may involve lights but not that kind of light show.”

Samantha sighed and paused for a moment, asking. “So, if I am Awakened, what do I do now?”

“There’s only one thing you can do and that is to expand your spell repertoire.” Khanara gently advised her. “Know the elements; know them by heart and by personality. Only then would you feel the true Awakening.”

Samantha nodded and sighed. She hung her head; if it was one thing she hated, it was delays. She looked up at Kevyn who shrugged. If they really can’t do it then, the princess shook her head. She’ll have to do it either the conventional way or Kevyn’s unorthodox way. She let out a sigh of exasperation and looked up at Kevyn.

“Teach me everything. Crash course it.” Samantha clenched her fists tight and shook her head. “We cannot afford to waste anymore time.”

Kevyn chuckled. “Why ask me?” She pointed with her nose at the Sorcerer Dragon. “Khanara can teach you everything she knows. I learned everything I know from her.”

Samantha turned to Khanara and bowed her head slightly. “If not the Awakening Ritual, can you please teach me everything there is to the elements?”

The sorcerer dragon chuckled. “Why, of course I can! I do hope you’re a less rowdy student than Kevyn though. She has her rebellious streaks.”

Kevyn impishly pouted with a fold of her arms, snorting. “Not my fault we tried the book method first.”

“Yes but it turns out you learned the elements through sparring and fighting. A kinetic learner, as how humans known as psychologists say.”

Samantha beamed in delight. Learning straight from the source! However, she knew that Kevyn had given her a strong foundation. Using the Earth to see, utilizing water’s complete flexibility form different weapons, listening to the air around her – there were so many simple and mundane things yet it made so much sense. The princess could feel her mana pulsing, no longer like the usual adrenaline fuelled mana bursts. She smiled and nodded.

“I give nothing but my best,” Samantha nodded.

Khanara gave her a slow smile. “Good, because you’re going to need nothing but your best. I see you’ve attuned yourself to Water.”

“And tamed a Wavesniper at that,” Kevyn snickered. “Most especially the most recent one from a raid.”

Samantha whipped around and stared at Kevyn with wide eyes. “It was from a raid?”

“Yeah, some idiot thought he could ride the Wavesniper into battle and use it as a weapon. The moment Blitzkrieg showed up in front of it, the dragon chickened and it tried to run.”

“But you told me they’re abnormally shy.”

“No shit they are. The moment he tried to force that thing to battle, the Wavesniper panicked and they started poking it with electric forks to get it to fight.”

Samantha shook her head. “Such cruel people. Is it common in all Machinos soldiers?”

“Humans are cruel to creatures that cannot speak their language,” Kevyn growled in disgust. “It’s because they know that there’s no chance in Tartaros that the creature can ever complain to anyone who has the higher power to put a stop to that cruelty.”

Khanara nodded. “I have to admit; there is some truth to what Kevyn says. However, there is also a hint of goodness in every human. But it just takes a large amount of effort to pull it out.”

The princess nodded and hung her head. “Yes, I agree.” She recalled the moments in Sofiene where people died left and right while the soldiers razed down the city. “Anyway, now that I’ve mastered Water, what element can you recommend to start with next?”

Khanara pondered for a moment. “Well, the best way to find out is to the find the nature of your heart.”

“The nature of my heart?” Samantha raised an eyebrow. Another spiritual term I guess…

“Yes, the nature of a human heart can define one’s affinity. You can have all the mana required to manipulate all the elements but if your heart doesn’t match the element, it can be quite troublesome.”

“Do you mean like human personality?”

Khanara smiled. “Yes, for example,” she turned to Kevyn with a chuckle, earning her an annoyed snort. “My rambunctious student over here became a Grand Master of Fire. Why? She learned not only to channel her passions into fire but also learned what her inner fire was. Because she focused on discipline and control, she learned lightning. She valued power but only when used properly.”

Samantha nodded. “It makes sense. She tends to be direct but also…”

“Moody?”

“Yes, incredibly moody.”

Kevyn scowled and folded her arms. “Hey, I’m over here! Quit talking about me in the goddamn third person! It’s annoying.”

Khanara laughed. “Oh my little one, there is no need to be so angry. But do find Samantha a weapon, dear. She cannot go around the wilderness without a weapon.”

“Totally agree on that.” Kevyn smirked and cracked her knuckles. “So, what do I get her? A rod? A club? A baseball bat?”

Khanara pondered for a moment before smiling at the dragon-tamer. “You decide. After all, you’re more familiar with human weapons than I am. You did train Samantha with some martial arts so you should know what weapon suits her best.”

“Got it. See you guys later.”

With that, Kevyn headed out of the cavern leaving Samantha alone with Khanara. She still couldn’t believe that a Sorcerer Dragon existed. According to the books she read, they were wiped out of existence! They were known for their organs which had medical properties and healing powers that regenerated not only physical wounds but also mana-based ones. No wonder they went extinct, Samantha shook her head. And it explained why Kevyn hid the dragons from the world. It was to prevent humans from slaughtering them all for all their sick kicks.

“Yes, humans can be cruel,” Khanara said and shook her head with a sad sigh, “but not all humans have a high level of cruelty in them.”

Samantha’s eyes widened. “You can read my mind?”

“It is one of the most basic techniques of a Sorcerer Dragon.”

“Oh but please don’t do that. People may find it rude.”

“I shall do my best. This ability to read minds, telepathy, can be quite a conundrum to manage.”

Samantha nodded. “Is there any magic that can block against telepathy?”

“Yes,” Khanara nodded and beckoned a book to her. Much to Samantha’s surprise, the book flapped its way to the Sorcerer Dragon and laid itself in front of her. “It’s a magic known as Anti-Mind. When you use this magic, all forms of magic related to the mind are rendered useless. It’s only self-application however.”

The princess nodded. “Does that include Omnivision?”

“Yes. You can elude Omnivision using Anti-Mind.”

So much for being able to see anything, Samantha frowned. “So, the thing that Kevyn does – I can avoid it using Anti-Mind?”

“Oh good heavens,” Khanara laughed, “is that what you thought she was doing?”

Samantha nodded. “It’s what she said.”

“Well, yes but the problem with Omnivision is that it requires complete focus using the spell.”

“Oh… so what was she using?”

Khanara pondered for a moment, drumming her talons against the cavern floor.“What Kevyn uses is something new and somehow a more combative version of the Omnivision. While Omnivision relies on the mind, Kevyn relies on sight. But not just any kind of sight, Mana Sight.”

Samantha blinked. “Mana Sight?”

“It’s a term I coined when I watched her fight those nasty humans from Machinos.”

To demonstrate to her, Khanara puffed out a magical green fire that took the form of two people. Samantha watched in awe and amazement as one fire took the form of Kevyn and the other into a soldier. The two figures then began to fight, noticing that Kevyn’s flame ducked and dodged the incoming attacks.

“What Kevyn does is she watches the flow of energy inside a person. Everytime a person moves, the mana flows to that area making them more predictable.”

“Oh so she uses it to anticipate their moves!” Samantha exclaimed.

“Yes, but her range at the moment is quite limited. Unlike the Omnivision which has a large radius, the Mana Sight can only be used within a few feet.”

“Is that all she does with it though?”

“Who?”

“Kevyn. Is that all she does with Mana Sight?”

Khanara shook her head. “I’ve only seen her fight a few times and even then, it’s clear that she isn’t using the ability. There are times she does but very rarely. She only does it when she knows that she has to kill her opponent.”

She has to kill…?

Khanara’s words echoed in Samantha’s mind. How many times has Kevyn used her ability then? It was a strange combat ability she had never seen before. She knew about the several forms of magic but harnessing magic in its purest form was something else. To dabble in human functions and physiology was a territory that no mage has ever gone before. Some people said that to those who dabbled that far, suffered severe consequences. In Magic, they called it human transmutation. And those who dared dabble in that would be punished in the name of Deus.

“Well, it’s not really messing up any of their functioning,” Khanara explained to her. The Sorcerer Dragon shrugged in response. “She simply reads what they’re doing before attacking. She doesn’t manipulate their physiological functions or anything.”

Samantha nodded. “But wouldn’t it be possible for her to do so?”

“That, I’ve never asked. It’s an ability that’s quite new to me as well. I believe she picked it up from her family.”

“Her family?”

Khanara chuckled softly, “Ah yes, the one set of people that she refuses to talk about. She never did like speaking about them.”

Samantha blinked and shook her head. “Why?”

“Kevyn came from a political family. A family that valued power over all things, she happened to be the granddaughter of one of the patriarchs who demanded that she give into their traditions.”

“And knowing how Kevyn is, she didn’t want to.”

“The moment she voiced out her denial, they threatened her with disowning her.”

“Oh, and she chose being disowned in the end.”

Khanara smiled weakly. “Indeed and sadly, it is my fault as to why she was disowned.”

“Huh? Why?”

“You see, her family can be quite xenophobic. They are terrified of anything that threatens their way of life or questions their knowledge. Thus when they found a baby dragon, a dragon that was supposedly extinct, they resolved to kill it.”

Samantha shook her head. What cruel people, she thought. What kind of people would slaughter a baby dragon? An angry, fire-breathing, ornery dragon – she could understand. But killing a baby dragon that meant no harm? She clenched her fists tightly and felt the blood boil inside her. It was then she remembered what Kevyn said.

Humans are cruel to things that cannot speak their language. It’s because they know that there’s no chance in Tartaros that the creature can ever complain to anyone who has the higher power to put a stop to that cruelty.

Samantha hung her head in shame. What Kevyn said was true; humans did have some sort of dominating nature. It was written in the Book of Deus that Man was the steward of all creation. Yet here Man was, abusing and killing creatures to display their power. A part of her understood why Kevyn hated humans so much and associated with the dragons.

“After killing the baby dragon, she was told to drink its blood in order to gain a resistance against any dragon and also boost her own magic in return,” Khanara sighed and gave the princess a bitter smile, “she did say that she too was socially awkward amongst many of her cousins. All did the same thing save for her.”

“So, what did she do?”

“She instead argued with her family and her cousins about the slaughtering of the dragon. Her grandfather, furious that his eldest and his most favourite would think differently, cast her out along with the dragon.”

Samantha hung her head in silence for a moment until realization hit her. “So, what happened to the baby dragon?”

“Kevyn raised it and wandered all the way to the Yartengar Mountains. To my surprise, I thought all my eggs were gone until she presented me my little one.”

“Wait, the baby dragon was your baby!?”

“I had nary a clue that my offspring survived. But the moment she presented the baby dragon to me, I knew it was my own.”

“Wow, that’s amazing. Is that why you’re so protective of her?”

“Yes and especially the fact that my offspring soon got himself killed. Kevyn tried to warn him but we were too late. An older and more powerful dragon tore him apart.”

“I… I’m so sorry…”

“It is alright. Vengeance is never the right path, even for a grieving mother. Kevyn however did not take it too lightly. She fought the dragon and killed him. He was the only dragon she ever killed.”

Samantha shook her head. “And then what happened?”

“When Bahamut heard of what had happened, he was furious. That same dragon happened to be one of the Grand Dragon Generals – the dragon of Fire, Muspel. But when he found out of Muspel’s crime and heard Kevyn’s offer, he pardoned her and raised her as one of his own.”

“Is that the reason why she’s so loyal to the dragons?”

“Partially. But also when her family threatened to destroy us, she hid us all.”

“Wow, you guys were hunted everywhere you go.”

“Yes but what endeared her to Bahamut was the passion and love she had for dragons. It piqued his interest and pretty soon, she became more than just a knight. She became his child.”

Samantha nodded and recalled the times on how Kevyn spoke to the dragons. She could see it in the young woman’s eyes on how she understood them. All their movements, behaviours, and even their natures – she knew them all. She could understand memorizing names but knowing and recognizing each and every one of their behaviours was difficult. It was as if she was the Princess of Dragons.

“So, she’s technically the Princess of Dragons,” Samantha clarified. “I mean, she seems to be so close to Bahamut.”

“In a sense yes but at the same time, we prefer calling her a Dragoon.” Khanara nodded with a chirp. “She is the Knight amongst the Dragons. She who carries our will and our passion in her blade and her magic; that is what makes her a Dragoon.”

“Wow, Bahamut must be really proud of her.”

“He is. He said that among the many Dragoons he had trained, none of them showed the love and passion for Dragons like she did. He looked at her not only as a fellow Dragon but almost as his kin. They are of kin save for name, blood, and specie.”

“Which reminds me, Khanara, how old are you?”

Khanara pondered for a moment before gracing her with a melodious laughter. “I’m terribly sorry but I have lost count after 500.”

“You’re 500 years old!?”

“Dragons could live up to a thousand years after which, they choose their resting place and die.”

Samantha’s mouth formed a small ‘o’. But if dragons could choose when they could die, that would technically mean they were capable of immortality. She shook her head. I should write a book about this, the princess thought. Then, she hesitated. Writing a book about dragons might possibly reveal their location and have people hunting them down again. Never mind, she said to herself. She scratched the thought out of her mind. Some things were better off being hidden.

“Anyway, I digress.” Khanara waved her wing a little to call another book. “Now, we shall begin your lesson. Your lesson about the element of Earth.”

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