The massive beast that called itself a ‘Dragon’ had not moved for a long time, and by now Charles was beginning to get worried. He was hungry as well, his last strength having been drained out when he breathed out the ‘massive’ fireball.
The longer the tense silence persisted, the more terrifying it became for the little dragon, who had now lowered his head and begun rubbing underneath the larger dragon’s claws. As he did so, he thought; ‘As expected, let’s run!’
However, Jiang Wuyi’s huge body disappeared at that instant. Charles, slow to react, immediately began a sharp fall through the skies. That would’ve ended badly for his currently human embodiment if nothing had been done to halt it. Fortunately for the young half-blood, two powerful hands gripped his waist the moment his descent began – Jiang Wuyi had come through for him.
On landing, Jiang Wuyi retracted his hands, took out a handkerchief and wiped them. This eliciting an embarrassed snort from Charles.
The distance between the two being basically nonexistent upon landing allowed Charles a closer look at his benefactor and brought him the realization that the man before him was a full head taller than he was. Subconsciously bowing his head after this realization, coupled with the obvious lifesaving act, Charles muttered: “Thank you.”
Jiang Wuyi didn’t respond. Instead he stretched out a palm and pulled at Charles’ hair, revealing the dark-red horns hidden within and then casually spoke: “Interesting.”
The hair that covered his forehead was suddenly pulled back without his approval or knowledge. An understandably flustered Charles smacked upwards with his own palm with the aim of knocking away Jiang Wuyi’s whilst he spoke: “Hey, you’re not allowed to look!”
This action met an unsurprising failure as his own hand simply bounced off of Jiang Wuyi’s, the unbothered man going further to poke at a horn in visible wonder. This, in turn, only served as more fuel for Charles’ anger as he reached up with both palms and pulled, dragging the man’s other arm towards his opened mouth;
Now at this point, Jiang Wuyi had placed a ban on Charles that would prevent him from hurting him without his own consent, so one could imagine his surprise when this so-called dragon placed his arm in his mouth and bit down – hard.
Charles had put a lot of force into the bite but, forgetting that he was in his human form, left only a bite mark in the shape of his teeth on Jiang Wuyi’s skin and an iota of shock in Jiang Wuyi’s heart – nothing more.
The old man who had been hiding away all this time popped out at this moment, his eyes completely opened for the first time since Charles had seen him as he gasped in visible shock: “Sir!”
Jiang Wuyi, reining in the shock in his heart whilst otherwise wholly unaffected by the bite, reached out and tapped Charles’ little horn again. This time, however, Charles now found himself unable to move.
“Where did you come from?”
All of his momentum and anger dissipating for the umpteenth time after the attempted bite, Charles meekly responded: “…the sea area of Feydens.”
Jiang Wuyi raised his eyebrows: “The sea? Don’t lie. This old man has lived for eighteen hundred years and has yet to hear of such a place. I’m in a good mood today, so it’s best you tell the truth.”
The tone of voice was unpleasant and Charles didn’t quite understand everything he had said either. One thing he clearly understood however, was that he was being accused of lying once again.
“I’m not lying! Why do you always think that I’m lying?”
Jiang Wuyi said nothing in response, instead simply lifting his wrist to glance at the circle of teeth marks. The old man stepped forward at this point and took out a mirror from within his sleeve. Pushing it gently, the mirror flew to the top of Charles’ head.
Charles looked up suspiciously, then he heard the old man ask again: “Young one, come now. Tell us what you really are, and where you really came from.” Just barely understanding the question and feeling his rage grow at the fact that this was probably the tenth time just this afternoon that he had heard the same thing, he screamed; “I said I’m a dragon! A Dragon! I’m from the Feydens Sea! What else do you want?!”
As he quietened in a bid to catch his breath, the delicate looking mirror rippled and the word ‘true’ slowly appeared on it, shocking all three individuals for vastly different reasons. Jiang Wuyi in particular, felt very excited. But at the same time, a sense of puzzlement clouded his mind, how did another dragon come to be in this world, and such a strange looking one at that?
While the two pondered for themselves, Charles came back to his senses and, with the accumulation of minutes of quiet struggles, broke off the ethereal hold and took off once again. Just as he was about to transform into a dragon and fly away however, he was grabbed by the collar and pulled back.
On looking back, it was quite obviously Jiang Wuyi.
Ignoring his attempt at escape, Jiang Wuyi asked curiously, “What is your name?”
Defeat and hunger being the most prominent amongst the numerous emotions now running through the mind of the young dragon, he muttered in response: “…Charles Ryan.”
“It’s strange. And it sounds ugly.”
At Jiang Wuyi’s swift and irritating response, Charles took a deep breath and swore to himself; ‘If I make it out of this alive, I’m never letting this go.’
Unbothered by the young dragon’s visibly distorted expression, Jiang Wuyi went ahead with his plans to restrain him. Conjuring a silver rope seemingly out of nothing, Jiang Wuyi proceeded with binding and then tossing the youngling before the old man: “Take him back.”
Leaving no room for a response from either individuals, he turned around and left. The bound Charles felt that the rope was strange, and the old man stared at his golden hair for a short while, and finally couldn’t help ruffling it.
“The more you struggle, the tighter this cord becomes. Young one, you better be good so that you don’t suffer. Now, let’s go.”
Charles, fearing that his hair would be messed up beyond its current state, tried futilely to avoid the hand by shaking his head. The old man grabbed at the rope, pulling up Charles and then leading him away.
On reaching a bamboo house, they stopped.
For Charles who had never in his life seen this type of building, the strange things within the building, nor the two equally strange people who now served as his captors, this afternoon was quite easily the strangest and most novel experience that he had gone through in his life.
For some strange reason, Charles realized, he had never felt a sense of hostility from or towards the old man who had led him to the bamboo residence. One could even say that he felt an inexplicable sense of intimacy. Curious and wary about this, he asked: “What kind of race are you?”
The old man looked at him and simply smiled in response. A few seconds later, he sourced two cups of tea and, with a light tap, saw the cord disappear. Charles was amazed and pleasantly surprised. He picked up the cup before him and lightly sniffed at it before turning his gaze to the old man who was gulping down his cup: “What is this?”
“You don’t know? Well, just have a sip.”
Charles shook his head: “No.”
The old man put down his cup, sighing before lifting his palm to stroke his beard: “It’s tea. And you are a strange young dragon. A real adult dragon is in front of you, yet you still have to ask?”
“Is he really a dragon? I’ve never seen such a dragon before, it’s so strange…”
Enticed by the scent of this ‘tea’, Charles couldn’t help but take a sip. And found himself pleasantly surprised once again. ‘Wow.’Licking his lips after the sip, Charles decided that the taste wasn’t bad, and he didn’t want to believe that something that tasted this good would be poisonous to drink, so he happily took another sip. Speaking after he did so: “Are you a dragon as well?”
The old man immediately and vehemently shook his head: “Don’t dare! Only adults in this world are dragons, the only true dragons! As for me, my body is just that of an old man.”
“There’s only… Are there really no other dragons here?”
Charles was extremely shocked to learn that there was only one dragon left. Wouldn’t he be bullied to death by other ethnic groups? Not to mention those divine bastards, they definitely wouldn’t make it fun for any solo acting dragon.
“What exactly is this place… Do you have a map or something?”
Charles had initially thought that Jiang Wuyi was a part of a clan, and now he felt bad for him. He must’ve been going crazy thinking that there were no other dragon clans left.
While he found out about Jiang Wuyi’s situation, a strong sense of unease still remained within Charles’ heart. While he wasn’t sure about how to solve his growing sense of unease, he felt like he had to at least find out about where exactly he was.
“Of course, there are maps.” The man sat up straight, placing a palm within his long light blue sleeves and pulling out a jade slip. On seeing this object however, Charles felt the repressed emotions from earlier in the afternoon surge up and just as he began preparing himself to run, the old man hurriedly waved his hand.
“Don’t be afraid, young one. Calm yourself and watch.”
Charles cautiously positioned himself atop the chair in response, ready to ‘take off’ at the slightest false move and watched as the old man tossed up the slip, floating up in the air and suddenly projecting out what seemed to be a quite detailed map.
Charles widened his eyes and couldn’t help exclaiming: “Amazing! What kind of magic is this?”
The old man struggled to find the right words to be used in an explanation, and stopped trying altogether when he noticed Charles’ intent gaze on the map. Charles, meanwhile, had realized that something was wrong. He couldn’t find it on the map. There weren’t any traces of Dragon Island on the map, or as a matter of fact, any landmarks that he could recognize. Even the shapes of the land and sea were completely different!
Charles turned around the floating map a few times, the amount of panic in his heart growing with every turn until he turned his gaze to the old man once more and spoke, his voice heavily aggrieved: “You lied to me again…”
The old man saw that the young dragon was about to cry once again, although this time for reasons he couldn’t possibly fathom, and was about to begin coaxing him when he saw Jiang Wuyi walk in from the door. Quickly, lowering his head, he greeted: “Sir.”
Jiang Wuyi waved his hand: “Go out.”
The old man looked at Charles, hesitated for a moment, then turned and stepped out of the bamboo house.
There were only two dragons left in the room, one big and one small, and they looked at each other. Charles was staring blankly at him. His tears had receded, but his anxiety had not. And now he was beginning to hiccup.
Jiang Wuyi hid his disgust and sat on the main seat in a graceful manner: “Tell me about where you are from.”
Jiang Wuyi’s attitude was completely different from that of the old man, you could tell this much the moment he opened his mouth. He was a master who has been in a high position for a long time, but Charles couldn’t notice any of that. All he could tell was that this dragon was very rude, a pain to speak to, and loved to give out orders.
Just like the old codgers who despised his mixed blood!
T/N: Yay I’m getting better at using this ( ɵ̥̥ ˑ̫ ɵ̥̥)