Author Topic: KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son  (Read 448 times)

Aira Fox

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on: January 14, 2020, 09:09:54 PM
I decided to take a stab at an Isekai story. This was an unusual attempt for me in that it's my first genuine attempt at a first-person, present-tense story. I am not used to writing this way as it goes against my nature of writing a story, so there was a challenge there.

"KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son" is a story about a human who is reincarnated as the son of an evil Dragon Lord who wants nothing more than to sire a son to become his right-hand in his world conquest and eventual successor. Named Kuroginryuu, or "Kuro", he is trained relentlessly to become the evil dragon his new father desires. However, he is not a bad person and would much rather become a hero instead, or at the very least a carefree dragon if that is out of the question. Torn between his desires and instincts, what will his fate be? Will he fight back against his father or join him?

FA Link: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/34611194/

If you want to read the story in its original format, I've attached it.

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KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son

An Isekai Written By: AiraFox

Chapter 1

It was hot. I couldn't breathe. My body was covered in what felt like sweat, but I lacked the room to even wipe my brow. My elbows kept banging into what felt like a plastic container on all sides. If this was some kind of prank, I wanted out! Now! It felt like my vision would fade at any moment, but given I couldn't even see what was in front of my face, I couldn't exactly say that I was even conscious at the moment.
   
*CRACK*
   
I heard it just then. A distinct crack around my right elbow. That was my chance! The more I pushed my elbow around it, the more I felt the surface of this blasted container crumbling around it. There was a cool sensation swirling around my elbow now. Freedom! Now was my chance!
   
"Push!" I told myself. "Push! PUSH!" Finally my arm was free. Just great! NOW my legs had finally broken through the wall in front of me. It would have been great it they got through before my arm, because now it just felt weird. But I don't have time to be picky about it. My right arm and my legs are free. As the greater surface began to crack, I attempted to wiggle my left arm closer to the wall while grabbing the edge of the cracked surface with my right hand. How crumbly it felt now was odd, like a hollow loaf of french bread, though a bit harder.
   
I could do this! Now... puuuuuuush! "Gwaaaaaah!"
   
Finally, I was free! Though I immediately began to wish I hadn't been. It seemed the container blocked my sense of smell because a mix of sulfur and afterbirth amplified a thousandfold hit me. I barely had time to wretch as my eyes lock forward. Instinctively I scooted my butt back a bit against a pillowed surface as I gazed forward as the sight of a massive creature.
   
Standing at least 6 meters tall in a room as large as church cathedral was what I could only describe as a dragon. At least I thought it was a dragon. Nothing like the dragons I've seen in games and movies; its shape was too humanoid. As it leaned its long neck forward, I got a better look. The dragon's snout certainly resembled that of a typical dragon, but instead of scales it was covered in thin black fur. Piercing yellow eyes gaze over my form, staring into the depths of my soul. The fear I was experiencing was overwhelming, thoughts of "Is he going to eat me?" raced through my brain. Yet, despite my desire to piss my pants right then, nothing in my body was telling me to run away. I wasn't sure if I was just too scared to run or if it was something else.
   
"Bring me an Appraisal Eye!" the dragon spoke, his voice a deep rumble that echoed through the chamber. Only now did I see a red-scaled lizard walking upright behind him, wearing what seemed to be a black robe. Was that a kobold? It had to be! It looks like what I've seen in games. Who knew D&D got something like that right! As the kobold shuffled around for whatever the dragon requested, I could take my time better examining the dragon now that his attention didn't seem to be focused on me.
   
He was standing upright like a human, longer arms crossed with each finger tipped with a sharp claw. His upper torso seemed to be sporting a black cloth armor with red buttons and tassels, though if not for those, the outfit might be lost on his fur. Thick pads adorned with a large jewel on each sat upon his shoulders, sticking outward like some fancy royal. I assumed that armor was originally supposed to cover more of him, but he had a small, yet noticeable pudge protruding from his mid section that I am assuming he was lacking something more fitting. He was not wearing any type of leg wear, but fortunately nothing appears to be showing between his legs or I thought I'd be rightly scarred given I was sitting eye-level at his crotch. As for why, it's because his he was basically sitting on his legs. Powerful haunches, that's the best way I could describe them. Curious to get a look at his feet, I leaned forward to peek beyond the pillow I was sitting on. Leaning on my hands, I was able to see that his right foot was very unusual, like a human's foot with only three toes and immensely sharp talons. I thought it was raised up like a digitgrade appendage.
   
"Hmmm?"
   
Oh no! My movement had caught the beast's attention. His eyes once again narrowed upon body, slit pupils shrinking to become rounder. He flashed a grin my way, showing his razor-sharp pearly whites. Did dragons brush their teeth? They glimmered enough that it sure seemed that way.
   
"My boy's eager to get up, eh? Patience." he said to me.
   
My boy? That was a strange thing to call me. Suddenly it dawned upon me to actually look down at my hand. A human hand with a missing finger, dull claws stuck out from the end of each digit. I flexed my fingers to see if this was really my hand. It was covered in an incredibly thin layer of silver fur, yet it was so clumped together it felt as hard as scales. Panic once again set in as I began to feel and glance over my body. Unlike the dragon in front of me, the front of my body was a dull, faded silver, but an uneven pattern caused a diagonal line up my chest where the black of the dragon seemed to come in. The lower part of my legs and feet were also black.
   
No no no! I thought over and over again. This can't be real! Slowly, I turned my head around, peeking over my left shoulder. A thick tail, thicker near the base, reached out and curls around the pillow; it had to be half the length of my body. Now it all made sense. The container trapping me was an egg! I turned my head back around, stunned and at a loss for words. My eyes wouldn't stop shaking and my jaw hung agape, but despite my internal screaming I didn't appear to be making a sound.
   
It's okay! I just had to think back a moment, remember what happened.
   
My name is (blank)... That's odd! I couldn't seem to recall my own name. How does one forget their own name?! Don't panic, I just have think! I was a 20 year-old human. Good! I remember that much. I had just finished my final class of the day at (blank) University! Dammit! Another name I can't remember. It is as if someone applied White-Out to my brain! Whatever... I just have to keep remembering... My final class for the day had just ended. It wasn't a hard class, an electoral mythology class I took just for the credits. I admit I've always loved dragons and minotaurs and stuff, so I thought it would be cool. Unfortunately, it was more discussing the impact and meaning of stories from the past. Come to think of it, being a dragon would be pretty cool if I had been given the chance to do this on my own terms.
   
Anyway, back to what I was supposed to be thinking about. Class ran late and it had gotten dark. I walked back to my dorm same as I always had in the past. The area was pretty safe and I was a fairly fit individual, so I never felt as risk for anything. As I approached the crosswalk to head to my dormitory, I... That's where it all went blank! I remembered hearing voices about that time, but everything else was a blur. Was I hit by a car? Did someone stab or shoot me? Did I faint due to the million other things that can happen to a human body? Did I die? Am I alive now and just dreaming?
   
This seemed too real to be a dream. Wait! Could it be...?
   
Don't tell me I've been reincarnated! Like one of those anime series or novels that seem to be plaguing every outlet of the internet and manga sections of stores? Those were real?! I admit... I've enjoyed my fair share of them. Some of them are pretty interesting, but many feel like they're just trying to cash in on a fad. Well if I really did die in such a lame way, I guess I couldn't criticize anyone.
   
The kobold finally returned carrying with him what seemed like a clear sapphire glass. Even I could see through it. The dragon delicately picked up the sapphire between his claws, small symbols I couldn't make out light up the edges. The dragon noticed my interest in the thing.
   
"This, little one? This is an Appraisal Eye, one of the tools created by humans," he began explaining, though I don't think he was convinced I would understand what he was saying based on how belittling his voice sounded. It sounded a bit like he just wanted to hear himself talk. Strangely, I kind of wanted to hear him talk as well. "It's easy to measure one's strength based on appearance, but magic is another matter. A spell is the same strength no matter who casts it, but how does one measure how strong a particular spell is without using it? How strong is it? How much of a person's energy does it use? A spell was developed for just such an occasion, but that wastes energy and is only temporary. Those humans are quite crafty and infused their magic in a tool that, when used, displays everything you need to know about a particular spell as long as you understand the ancient writings of the gods!"
   
As he spoke to me, I couldn't help but admire just how full of himself he sounded. It's amazing how he was speaking as if he had something to do with all of it, even though I was pretty sure he did not. He seemed like he was trying to convince me or at least himself of that. Oops! I was so lost in my analysis of his speech patterns that I almost stopped paying attention to his explanation. I missed the greater details of what he was saying!
   
"And so in addition to told us about spells, it works on items and even living creatures, though it is fallible. Using an Appraisal Eye too many times can cause it to overload and break, and given how rare these stones are, we prefer not to waste them."
   
So from the parts I did hear, I could guess that the stone can be used to display the strength and abilities of anyone or anything like the stat screen in an RPG. Now this is really sounding like an anime! What's next? Am I going to embark on a quest to save the world? I guess that would be pretty cool.
   
The dragon had finally finished speaking and it was holding the stone up to his right right eye, focusing on me. I could only imagine what it said.
   
"Rank B. Magical Molecules are at around 10,000." He sounded disappointed. "I guess I couldn't ask for much more than that from a child. But he is MY son! With how many females I had to go through to get a single egg, I was certain he'd be more."
   
"Lord Jathir!" the kobold stammered, trying to appease what I presumed was his dragonic master. "You should be proud! Even among your glorious kind, it's extremely rare for a child to be born with a rank greater than C, is it not?" He kept bowing to the dragon. "Is it not BECAUSE he was YOUR son that he has a rank of B?"
   
They kept mentioning rank B. Was that bad? Good? The kobold seemed impressed, but the dragon claiming to be my father was acting like I was a failure.
   
"I suppooooooose..." Yep, he was definitely ashamed of me already. I opened my mouth to demand he stop talking about me in such a way, but the only sound that came past my lips was an almost inaudible "Arrr?"
   
Now I was the one disappointed in me! I covered my face in embarrassment. If this was one of those stories, I'd be closer to my age, capable of speech and everything. This was not the case, so I guess I was just reincarnated in some unrelated manner. Maybe it wasn't like that after all. Still, regardless of my own physical limitations, my body was screaming at me to not let him get away with disrespecting me. I had a 3.7 GPA in my school. I was not stupid!
   
I attempted to stand. Bad move on my part. My legs lacked the strength to hold my body up, and these wings on my back were too dinky to support to my weight to fall backward. I fell forward. The pillow sliped from under my foot and I tumbled over the pedestal. Not good! My eyes darted to my right to see that the dragon and kobold were still talking. They hadn't even noticed that I was falling. What am I going to do? I did the first thing that came to my mind.
   
I screamed.
   
Less of a scream, it was more of a mix between a cry and a roar. In the blink of an  eye, four hands appeared beneath me. Not only the kobold that was talking to my supposed dad, but two others had dove onto the scene to cushion my fall. At least one of them, a green-colored one, had fallen over completely. I was saved! I sighed with relief, tears dripping subconsciously from my tiny form. As I wiped away the hazy liquid, I could better see my saviors. The irises of each of them were glowing dimly, zoned-out expressions slathered across each of their faces. I glanced toward the dragon to see a wide grin spread across his face.
   
"THAT'S MY BOY!" Jathir smirked, finally sounding pleased with something. He held up the stone to his eye again. My Magical Molecules had dropped to about 9,400, but it did not concern my father. "Imperatus Will," I heard him mutter. "Seems to be a lot like my Merciless Will."
   
As the kobolds regained sense of themselves, they seemed to be completely aware of their actions. "What happened?" the red kobold from before asked, holding me up toward the ceiling. "I'm glad we saved him, but my body just moved on its own there."
   
I was wondering the same thing myself. What did just happen there? Why were their eyes glowing?
   
"He seems to have been bestowed an 'Ability'. Just like me," Jathir revealed. Before I could wonder what he meant by that, he gave the answer. "Imperatus Will. It's a power once held by one of my ancestors. Anyone weaker than the individual has their will temporarily overwritten by the user. It works much better on lizardfolk like you."
   
"Then..." the green-scaled kobold began to say.
   
"Precisely! He Is definitely MY child!" bellowed Jathir. "It's just like my Ability, 'Merciless Will!' Although it would seem he can't yet activate it on his own." He threw his right arm form, causing a cape I didn't notice before to flap behind him. "Kuro! That's his name! The black and silver dragon, Kuroginryuu, who will become my right-hand! My legacy!"
   
So now he was giving me a name? Seeing how I couldn't remember my own name, I guess I couldn't complain. But was it Kuro? Or Kuroginryuu? If I was stuck between the two, I think I'd have prefered Kuro. It's far less of a mouthful. I felt like I'd bite my own tongue trying to say my own name if it's the latter. Still... I wished I could've remembered my real name. Now the only thing swimming around my head was the name Kuro and Kuroginryuu.
   
My name is Kuro! I suddenly thought to myself without intending to.
   
...I hated myself then. Don't tell me... Was my own name just overwritten! What other things did this reincarnation thing take from me?!
   
Jathir finally reached over to apprehend me from his minion. The cold touch of the  kobold's hand around my waist were replaced with a welcoming warmth from the dragon's touch beneath my armpits. He adjusted my position so that as he bent his left arm, I was able to sit upon it. Instinctively I clung to his body to keep my balance. It's so strange that this dragon I feared only moments ago now provided me with a sense of security I did not have before. Every shaking muscle in my body had stilled. I... didn't want to let go.
   
"As soon as he's able to walk, we'll begin his training," Jathnir announced to the room. Turning around, I could see that the room was filled with various individuals, ranging from more lizardfolk to even humans. At least, they might've been humans. It was hard to tell from my position. This dragon sure was making a big deal out of my birth-hatching... whatever. No matter what you call it, he was making it into quite the spectacle.
   
"Valka!" Jathir roared loudly. It's the first time his voice was enough to cause the kobolds around him to shudder, though I couldn't be certain whether it was out of fear or respect of his commanding voice.
   
A figure at the front of the crowd made itself known. This one was a lizardman like the other kobolds, but something about them seemed different. Their shape was noticeably different from a kobold, instead looking more like a cross between a salamander and an alligator. Their scales were a deep albino color, though with the amount of red scars across their face and arms I wouldn't have blamed anyone for thinking otherwise. If I had taken an educated guess, I would've surmised that their color made them stand out, resulting in a lot of fights. Their entire upper and lower body was clad in armor crafted from some kind of combination of iron and ruby. It seemed to blend with the scars on their body, making for a good look.
   
"Yes, Lord Jathir!" the lizardman spoke, her voice gruff, but hiding a tenderness behind it. Her buff appearance and voice together made it seem like she was the kind of person who would beat you to a pulp for bumping into her, but apologize to you after. She knelt down on one knee and bowed her head to Jathir.
   
"General, I expect you'll be ready to add his physical training to your regime within the next 10 days?" Jathir asked her, though his question seemed to be more of a command than anything.
   
"Of course, my lord!" responded the female lizardman, keeping her head low and eyes closed. "I am honored you would consider me worthy to oversee his training." I could tell that she was hiding a giddiness behind her words. And if I could see that much, I was positive that Jathir could too. "This actually works perfectly. The newest recruits are set to begin in 3 days. It'll give him far more opponents to improve against."
   
"Perfect," Jathir replied with a satisfied nod, but it was clear that Valka couldn't see that.
   
I had been so engrossed in the conversation that details of it were only hitting me then. Ten days?! Never mind walking by that time, that I felt I might be able to do, but being able and ready to train? With HER? Something like that?! I felt ready to faint, unintentionally clinging closer against my father. Again I found myself calling him that. The more I do so, the more I felt I might start to believe it. Even if my mind refused it, my body seemed convinced of its blood bond.
   
So this is how it begins. This is my life as a dragon. Where others might imagine the awesomeness of terrorizing kingdoms, hoarding gold and treasure, or bestowing wisdom upon mortal races, I'm about to have the will to live beaten of my body shortly after my rebirth. Whatever god is in charge of my story must be laughing their ass off somewhere.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 08:01:36 PM by Aira Fox »



Aira Fox

  • Fox of the Forest
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Reply #1 on: January 27, 2020, 08:01:11 PM
Here's chapter 2 of "KURO"!

While technically this is "Chapter 2", it's actually more like Chapter 1.5. This was a sort of middle chapter I wanted to write before I fully progressed the story in order to show off more of Jathir's personality, as well as the mental changes going on inside Kuro's head.

Due to several requests elsewhere, this chapter and future chapters will be told in past-tense. I've gone back and edited the first post to contain the updated version.

This chapter is a little dark, so I'd consider it a PG-13 rating.

FA link: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/34779126/

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KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son

An Isekai Written By: AiraFox

WARNING!!! This chapter is kind of dark.


Chapter 2

   
As the moonlight peered through the painted windows, Jathir repeatedly raised my body high into the air for all to see, staring at my form. The moon only allowed for so much light, but the candles and torches lining the walls seemed illuminate the space fairly well. From that vantage point, I had been able to better analyze him as well. His wings were halfway folded in, but I could make out the web-like film between the finger-like bony appendages. It was a deep blackish-red, and thin, but dense from what I could estimate based on how little I could see and feel of my own tiny wings. Mine seemed to be silver where his were red.
   
The way he threw me in the air reminded me of my father picking me up. I half-expected him to start saying things like "My boy! My sweet, precious boy!" However, something like that might have been a much. Not that I would have necessarily minded such a thing, but I could tell this was not his usual behavior judging by the awkwardness I sensed filling the room. Everybody watching the scene twisted their lips into a smile to the best of their abilities, but the tumultuous air was so thick it could be cut with a knife. All I could tell from Jathir's actions is that he truly seemed to care about me for the moment, though it may have been purely because of that so-called Ability I supposedly had.
   
A faint rumbled escaped my gut as Jathir brought me close to his body once more. The back edge of his lip had parted just enough for a barely audible snicker to be heard. "My little Kuroginryuu is hungry, huh?" I had not even though about food, but after hearing both my stomach and him speak, I had to admit that I was. Even if I could ignore the fact that I didn't get a chance to eat dinner due to my predicament, there was the strangest feeling that because this body had just hatched from its egg, it needed nourishment.
   
I'd seen dragons feed their small fish and small chunks of meat to their young in movies, but given such creatures didn't exist in history as far as we as humans knew, there was no telling if that applied to this situation or not. Though not very long, my teeth had grown in enough that they could draw blood from anything soft and fleshy. I ran my tongue across them to check their sharpness as was surprised to find that they were even sharper than my teeth were as a human. Not that I didn't expect a dragon to have sharp teeth, but I would not have expected that from a newly hatched dragon. Perhaps that was just an advantage of being in an egg given I had been able to open my eyes and crawls around. Or maybe it was because I was reincarnated. I did not know enough about dragons of this world to judge something like that.
   
"Fear not, Lord Jathir!" The voice came from behind me. There was another kobold with scales of an ashy-grey. From their appearance and voice, it was impossible to tell if they were male or female. Their voice was only slightly feminine and their body structure was slimmer than the others, but they had no defining features behind their cloak that could be made out. They seemed young if anything. "The hunting party returned quite some time ago. I'm certain Zamne and his assistants have already prepared plenty for young Lord Kuro to eat."
   
So now I'm a lord? I thought. Well, given the respect they showed Jathir, it was only natural that they showed respect for me as well. It would certainly take some getting used to. As least it wasn't as awkward as calling me a prince.
   
"Then I'll--" Jathir stopped himself as his eyes trailed up toward the ceiling. I couldn't lift my head enough to spot whatever had captured his attention. I did, however, manage to catch a glimpse as a sparkle reflecting off his eyes as the moonlight above hit something.
   
He sighed loudly. "VRERK!!!" he roared, turning his attention to the crowd.
   
"He's not here, my lord!" a voice rang from the back. "He and his lieutenants are off on assignment!"
   
"Then who did he leave in charge here?!" he demanded to know. The dragon clenched me tightly against his body as his voice grew louder. Suddenly everyone was on-edge.
   
"Nephis... but I think he's outside," a voice meekly replied.
   
"Then get him in here!" Jathir stomped his foot one, causing the stone-masonry beneath his feet to crumble. His voice was had a commanding presence to it. All in the building had moved from kneeling or bowing to standing up completely straight.
   
Barely a moment had passed before Valka came dragging in a fox-like character. The lizardman tossed the fox onto the ground in front of Jathir, but he immediately stood up. Nephis, I was assuming, had a chain around his forehead with a single stone. He was wearing a very dark cloak obscuring the greyness of his fur.
   
"Y-You called for me, my lord?" he stuttered nervously, standing completely straight with his arms locked against his side. Jathir took look at him and sighed.
   
"How old are you?" the dragon asked bluntly.
   
"Twelve, sir!" the fox answered. That was incredibly young, though it could have been old depending on how long his species lived.
   
"Twelve, huh?" I could hear an extremely long sigh get drawn from Jathir's mouth. "Vrek isn't one to make mistakes like this, so he must have seen something in you." A glare suddenly shot out of toward the fox, chilling him to the bone. "So give me one good reason why I shouldn't skin you alive to use as a bed sheet."
   
His words were decisive. Nephis did not speak a word in response, instead proceeding to flick the purple gemstone hanging from the chain around his cranium. The fox suddenly disappeared from view. His body, cloak, and jewelry... all had vanished.
   
"If I release enough stored energy, I could make a small platoon disappear," came Nephis' voice. I couldn't see him, but as my eyes trailed up toward Jathir's, I noticed his pupils were slowly moving.
   
"That'll do, but if you're going to hide, make sure you hide your smell and aura," Jathir finally said, snapping his tail to his left. Nephis emerged from his veil, clutching his chest. Surprisingly, he was still standing, which seemed like enough proof for Jathir to spare his life. "Vrerk probably left you behind to guard the fortress because you still need more training." Jathir's eyes once again shifted toward the ceiling. "A LOT more!"
   
Jathir roared loudly, blasting a heated fireball from his mouth at the rafters above. I was amazed that the woodwork did not catch fire, but they were probably designed that way given Jathir was a dragon. It was then that I finally saw something up there move. Valka's image disappeared behind one of the rafters; I hadn't even seen her move from her spot. How did she get up there? I asked myself.
   
"Aaaaaaaaaaaagggggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!"
   
The scream tore through the chamber above all else. Those below were unfazed, although I felt the thin layer of fur on my body prick up. Valka leapt from the wood bearings and landed heavily in front us, holding a robed, bearded man by the scruff of it. Even underneath the purple sleeves, I could see that his right humerus was now bent in  90-degree angle and his left leg in three different places. Seeing that convinced my that my earlier assessment of her was correct.
   
"You see, Nephis, it your responsibility to detect when spies like this enter my territory so Valka and her men can focus on much larger threats," Jathir sneered, clenching me even tighter. It seemed like Jathir had a feeling what the human was after. "And on the matter of spies..."
   
Jathir knelt down, leaning forward on his spread legs like an adult man about to explain something to a child.
   
"Tell me which kingdom sent you, human..." inquired the dragon, hiding his rage.
   
"Answer!" Valka demanded with a kick to his broken leg.
   
"N-Nobody!" the human quickly responded as if to stop himself from screaming in pain. I could almost swear at the time that I saw the blond hair of his short beard turn whiter. Although Jathis seemed to have calmed down, the air around his body quivered with a killing intent. Was it just a father protecting his son? Or was there more to his rage? I couldn't help but wonder that as the human spoke.
   
"I find that hard to believe," Jathir sighed in disappointment.
   
"There's a huge bounty on your head!" the human attempted to explain. Valka's eyes peered down at him, ready to detect the slightest suspicious movement. "E-Even mapping your territory or knowing your movement is enough to--"
   
Jathir quickly silenced him by smothering him with his right hand. Although he had been holding me, he had enough leeway to waggle the equivalent of his left index finger at him.
   
"Don't take me for an idiot," Jathir rumbled, his irritation starting to show through. "I'm well aware of how much I'm despised." A smile formed along the back of his lips; he was genuinely pleased with the idea of being hated. "Allow me to explain why I know you're lying. First, you got this far into my territory, which I find difficult to believe you managed on your own." Jathir's head tilted backward. "DIFFICULT TO BELIEVE YOU MANAGED ON YOUR OWN."
   
Nephis finally caught on at the repeated statement. Though still doubled-over and clutching his chest, the cloaked vulpine stumbled toward the back of the chamber. Jathir smirked.
   
"That means you got in here with intimate knowledge of this outpost, a place which I came to only fifteen days ago in secret," he continued. "The only way a no-name like you could have done that is if a kingdom was backing you. No small guild would trust a lowlife like you with that kind of information."
   
"No-name?! Lowlife?!" The human was completely insulted. Enough that he had managed to lift his mouth above Jathir's hand. He barely manage to expel a "I'll have you know I--!" before being silenced again.
   
"So I'll ask you again... WHO sent you? Which kingdom was it?" After he finished asking, the dragon removed his hand to finally let him speak. Again the human pleaded ignorance to it, claiming he was only trying to learn Jathir's plans to report back.

Valka was not so easily convinced. She violently ripped the man's robes away, leaving him in a ragged copper-colored tunic that was not odd for a small time adventurer to wear. The lizardman continued her strip-search by lifting the tunic to reveal a holster stringing his loose pants against his waist like a best. Connected to it was a small brown leather sack. Valka dug through it as the man's skin turned paler.
   
The lizardman stopped for a second. Without saying a word, she grabbed something and tossed it Jathir. He easily caught it with his large hands. He unfurled his fingers to reveal a ring with a flat surface. Engraved upon the surface was a strange symbol I'd never seen anywhere before. If it was a written language, it was not a character I was familiar with.

"Koseer, eh?" A scowl crossed Jathir's face, but he seemed a bit less irritated than I had expected of him. "That explains everything."
   
There was a light murmur in the crowd. Though the news was shocking to them, I could vaguely hear whispers along the lines of "At least it wasn't Drahart."
   
"Indeed, my lord!" spoke up the kobold who attended to me earlier. "Koseer is one of our vassal states. With something like that, he could easily enter our territory without suspicion. Even seek out your lordship for a meeting!"
   
"But I don't recall news being leaked to Koseer that I would be having a child." Jathir sighed to himself, but surprisingly he did not seem ready to burn down a human settlement as I had expected from his tone earlier. Then again, I knew nothing of this Koseer.
   
"Maybe an emissary was sweet-talked into divulging it?" the kobold pondered.
   
"Perhaps..." Jathir returned his attention to the human. The look on his face was a man who had resigned himself to death. If Jathir did not kill him, one could could reasonably guess he had no safe method of returning home. "You! Human! Do you think you could be useful to me?"
   
The man's face suddenly lit up. "O-Of course!" he answered vigorously. If a chance for his life to be spared had arisen, he definitely wanted it.
   
"Excellent!" Jathir passed me a glance before looking to Valka. "Take him to Zamne." Valka coldly nodded her head in compliance and dragged the human off with her. She pulled him along without grace by his broken arm, ensuring that he would be experiencing nothing but pain. Jathir dismissed the crowed and held me out in front of him.
   
"I think human meat will be a wonderful first meal for MY son!" he beamed.
   
I could feel my face loosen and my body droop at his words. Did he just say "human" meat? I misheard him right? I had to think he couldn't be serious. He wouldn't really feed me human, would he? Then again, dragons did eat humans in many games and movies, so it didn't sound unnatural. The problem was that I am, or rather was a human. I had no way of knowing if Jathir knew I was a human that had been reincarnated as a dragon, or if he knew such a thing was possible.
   
Since eating a human was the last thing I wanted to do right now, I opened my mouth to speak against the idea. "Arrrrrr!" The sound that came out was embarrassing and seemed to only lighten Jathir's mood. In his eyes, I seemed excited by the idea. Unfortunately, I had little choice in the matter. With my stubby arms, I lacked the strength to push away from him. No, it wasn't just that. Some part of my body refused to push away from him. The fact of the matter was that I was a hatchling, and even if my mind knew enough to discern was what edible and what was not, my body's survival instincts kept me close to my father.
   
I spent so long thinking about it that I had not realized that that were moving. For the first time I was seeing beyond the cathedral room, passing down a long and fairly decorated hallway. As I observed the tapestry detailing what I could only assume to be religious figures, I began to wonder if this was a place that Jathir had built or a place he annexed. I really had a lot to learn about this world.
   
The doors and hallways were large enough for someone much larger than Jathir's size, perhaps even larger. Perhaps, I thought, that the world build things with dragons in mind. Maybe they were holy figures or something.
   
Jathir didn't have to push anything open as the room he was heading to was already open. Inside was a long wooden table that was probably large enough to seat 50 people. The guests at the table consisted of some of the kobolds I saw earlier, lizardmen, beastmen, and even a couple human-like figures. I had no way of knowing if they were humans, dwarves, or elves from this far away. Did this world even have things like that?
   
The dragon made his way to the front and sat himself down at the end closest to a large stonework fireplace. There was a small fire burning with a cauldron-like pot dangling above it.
   
A tiger-like beastman approached Jathir. Unlike the others, he wasn't wearing any sort of fancy armor or cloak. All he had on was a faded cloth tunic and a bloody apron. The blood looked quite fresh. As he placed a slab of meat resembling a misshapen burger patty in front of us, I felt my fur stiffen. Though the shape resembled a patty, the texture was clean and almost shiny.
   
"For the young lord," the tiger-like beastman smiled pleasantly. He definitely did not see anything wrong with this scene. I was guessing that this was Zamne. Now that I looked, the rest of the table was filled with lavishly cut meat and vegetables that were spread out so either was within reach of everyone at the table. However, none of them had dared to reach for anything, despite the drool sparkling from the lips of more than a few. They were waiting for Jathir to eat.
   
Zamne had brought the largest slab of caveman-like meat. The entire thing was still wrapped neatly around the bone. I think I heard somebody mention a direwolf. The meat was easily larger than me.
   
Although a fork and knife had been prepared---Since when did dragons eat with silverware?---the dragon made no effort to use either. He pushed on his finger-like digits to produce even sharper claws and off a piece of meat from the small patty in front of me. He kept me seated in his lap as he brought the meat closer.
   
No! I screamed in my head. If this was what I thought it was, then I couldn't let it touch my my tastebuds.
   
"The young lord is a picky one!" laughed someone close tot Jathir. I didn't see who.
   
"He's just probably disappointed the human was such a lowlife," Jathir snerked, finally succeeding in wrenching my jaw open. He shoved the meat into my mouth and smacked my jaws closed. The meat was so juicy that it was practically drinkable. Zamne must have prepared.
   
Reluctantly, I swallowed it. Suddenly my eyes widened and smoke seeped from my nostrils. The taste was exquisite. Perhaps it was my body's desire for the nutrients the meat provided, but it was craving more. It was smoked to stimulate the texture a dragon would presumably taste with their fire breath, but heat slowly over a flame to bring out the savory flavor. As I described it to myself, I shuddered. Why did I like this? I felt so bad!
   
So as to not have more forced down my throat, I knelt my head down toward the edge of the table as my dragonic father brought the dish closer. Hating every fiber of my being, I dug my miniature teeth into and easily ripped off a decent chunk. I wanted to cry as I found myself actually enjoying the meal. Pleased with my actions, Jathir and the other turned their focus to their own meals.
« Last Edit: January 27, 2020, 08:02:48 PM by Aira Fox »



Aira Fox

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Reply #2 on: February 14, 2020, 08:41:47 PM
Chapter 3 is finally here! With this chapter, we exit what I consider a prologue and begin the true story.

As always, if you'd like to read more, please let me know! Feedback is always appreciated!

FA Link:https://www.furaffinity.net/view/35048096/

------------------------------------------

KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son

An Isekai Written By: AiraFox


Chapter 3: Two Years Later

*KNOCK* *KNOCK*
   
"Lord Kuro! It's time to get up!" came a loud and grating, feminine voice. It was a voice I'd heard a thousand times and sounded like kittens going to town on a chalkboard. Ugh. That voice... I had been having such a nice dream that I did not want to open my open my eyes.
   
*KNOCK* *KNOCK*
   
"KURO! I know you're awake!" screeched the voice again.
   
Damn that Shaanes was astute. Then again, her voice could probably rouse the dead from their eternal slumber. Who needed something like an alarm clock in this world when she could do the work herself?
   
"I'm coming in!" she shouted again through the door. Due to my position and age, my room did not contain any locks on the door so that guards could rush in without any kind of impediment should my safety be at stake. Although, it would not be wrong to doubt such a think would have stopped somebody like Shaanes.
   
Within seconds of the door swinging open, I felt a pair of large paws resting upon side. The weight was nearly crushing, but at the same time I could easily push it off. Soon my entire body was rocking along the bed.
   
"Lord Kurrrrrrrrrrrooooooooooooooo!" she cried with an incensive whine. "Get up! If you don't, your father will yell at me again. Kurrrrrrrrooooooo! I know you're awake!"
   
Yes, but just because I'm awake doesn't mean I want to get up! What good is essentially being a prince if I can't sleep in even once a year? Those may have been my thoughts on the matter, but Shaanes would never let up. As her voice assaulted my eardrums up close again, I finally answered her back. "Gwarm arrrp! (I'm up!)"
   
"I know, I know!" she replied, lifting her paws from my body. "It's not my call. Lord Jathir said to get you up and ready."
   
I roared back at her and finally rose from my bed, if one could even call it that. It was pretty much a large pillows covered in the furs of various large animals. My room was considerably better than it, actually possessing a human-sized desk and chair, as well as three cabinet shelves filled to the brim with various books.
   
My attention was turned away from Shaanes as I dressed myself appropriately in a black vest tied with red laces in the front to keep it in place. Jathir had a real thing for black and red, I had come to realize. The emblem of a black dragon was sewn onto the front, though if not for the silver outline on mine, one might not have noticed. The others who wore such an emblem had theirs outlined in red.

It had been a little over 2 years since I was reincarnated as a dragon. I had grown considerably since then, only slight shorter than the average adult female in height. My tail was probably about 75% the length of my body and my wings could reach the length of my arms when fully extended. I was still very much a juvenile for my species despite my growth spurt, although I apparently would not reach the size of a full-grown human until I was about 5 if everything my father and the others told me was correct. From then on I would experience another growth spurt every 10-20 years.
   
Unfortunately, my biology had yet to fully catch up with my increase in my height, so for the time being it was physically taxing for me to speak a language that humans and most other races could understand. If I did not take my time, it came out as weird roars. Despite that, it did not take my father and the others long to discover that I could understand them. It would have been one thing if Jathir spoke in Draconic; apparently all dragons were born with the innate ability to understand it, even if they could not speak it. However, Jathir and his minions were often speaking a language known to the natives of the world as the "Common Accord" language, or "Accom". The fact that I could understand this language from such an early age was enough to drive Jathir into a fit of glee. I was being praised as a genius, even though I only understood them because Accom just happened to be modeled after my native tongue. At least in its spoken form.
   
Having dressed myself in what little was required of me for now, I faced Shaanes. She was still presenting herself in the visage of a large white cat-like creature with two tails, her form slightly taller than my own even when she was standing on all fours. I shot her a glare. She looked innocently toward me with her dark cobalt eyes before finally catching on.
   
"Right. Apologies, my young lord!" With a bow, she gracefully jumped up into the air and with a flip forward, stood on two legs. She was now humanoid, looking much like those catgirls from Japanese stories, though her face was masked with bright white lines for whiskers resembling thick warpaint. In her human form, if you could ignore the two cat ears above her head and her paw-like feet, she wore scale armor made from a black serpent she had hunted herself. If one didn't know otherwise, she could easily be mistaken for a man as her chest was incredibly flat. This was a common thing for female beastmen.
   
Shaanes was a rare breed of beastman. I'd learned most beastmen were incapable of transforming between a beast state and human state as evolution had weeded that feature out over the generations. However, a fair number of them could use magic to draw upon their primal urges on times long past. The severity of the transformation varied between individuals, but full transformations like Shaanes' were rare.
   
"Lord Jathir awaits!" the feline beastman reminded me. Her voice was far less eardrum-scratching in her human form. I would almost call it pleasant, but it was still a bit too high-pitched for that.
   
My schedule consisted of two days of training with Valka or whoever my father assigned to my combat training, two days of scholarly studies, one day of rest, and one day of being beside Jathir as long as he was around. The concept of weeks and weekends did not exist here, at least not in Jathir's domain. The calendar was split into six seasons of 60 days a piece. The seasons were Dawning, Spring, Summer, Harvest, Fall, and Winter. We were currently in the Spring 40s, though the exact date had not cemented itself in my mind.
   
Just outside of my room was a long corridor of a castle halfway. It was not long before I learned that this was indeed a former human settlement that Jathir had made his own. To my surprise, he had not completely stolen it. While the territory was indeed something he had claimed for himself, this castle, his main lair, had been long since abandoned. It was besieged by war long ago and the capital was moved due to the many deaths that occurred. Once he took ownership of the land, Jathir made the humans repair it in exchange for their lives. All of the humans in the country lived under the rule of Jathir. The territory had expanded over the decades, but Jathir considered this location to be his central base of operations. Several outposts were littered throughout the region.
   
My room was along the center courtyard, something I could best describe as a garden in the center of the castle-grounds. It was large enough to be a small park from my world, even possessing a small pond. Shaanes and I walked down the corridor and took a left toward the banquet hall. My room was not far from it in terms of the castle's standards, but it was a couple hundred meters; not like I'd measured it.
   
As we neared the banquet hall, I could already taste the smell of roasted Roc. The large avians made their home in the mountains to the west, so it wasn't uncommon to find some that ventured further out. As Shaanes and I opened the door, the smell hit me with the force of hurricane winds. I nearly coughed at the overabundance of spices used. Jathir had a large drumstick that he was continuously taking bites out of.
   
Breakfast may not have been a big event every day, but Jathir enjoyed making a spectacle out of everything. My birth was not the first thing he celebrated in a grand fashion, nor was it the last. As much as he enjoyed terrorizing and tormenting humans, he sure made the effort to partake in their customs when he felt the need to be spoiled, evidenced by the spread of meat on marble and wooden platters. Prior to meeting Jathir, I never would have thought dragons cared about such a thing.
   
Jathir finally noticed me.
   
"Kuro! My boy! Get over here and eat! We have a busy day planned today!" greeted the dragon with a mouthful of fried bird. My name was being called, so I had little choice in the matter.
   
After seating myself beside my dragon father, I helped myself to my own portion of the Roc meat. Comparing it to food humans from my world ate, it was like eating chicken that had a thicker consistency, but deeper flavor to it. If chicken had a lighter taste when compared with a slab of beef, Roc would settle somewhere between them, but not quite in the middle. At Jathir's insistence, the meat had been loaded with spices powerful enough to knock an ordinary person off their feet. Chili peppers may have been as bland as saltine crackers with whatever was layered atop the Roc meat. As dragons we were immune to heat of peppers of spices, but the human part of my mind still received a punch whenever such a thing tackled my nostrils.
   
My teeth were able to make quick work of meat. I could probably crush bones with how strong they'd gotten. Roc was large enough to be filling, so my stomach felt satisfied. Despite eating what seemed like a third his weight in meat, Jathir's gut had not grown any larger. A loud, fiery belch filled the room as he unceremoniously rubbed his stomach. The gas erupted into a blazing fireball that dissipated just as quickly as it formed.
   
No sooner than he finished had the dragon pulled me over to his side, pressing my head to his gurgling gut, though it probably wasn't his intention to force me to listen to the sound of bubbling belly. "Come, Kuro! It's time for our meeting!"
   
Meeting? That was the first I'd heard of such a thing.
   
"The four of them together... I can finally show you off!" Jathir cheekily snickered, a dark smile spreading across his face. "They're gonna be so surprised!"
   
There it is! I thought to myself. He had an ulterior motive.
   
As Jathir rose to his feet, he tugged me under his arm like he was holding barrel. It was not comfortable against his my midsection, especially after I had just eaten. "Gwaou gran me ro ramit?! (You want me to vomit?!)" I roared in his direction, straining my vocal cords to try to try speak Accom quickly. I soon realized that it would've been smarter to just growl at him like a normal dragon. Though not Draconic, he would've actually been able to understand me.
   
"Calm down, Kuro," Jathirs chuckled in response as he dragged me outside to the courtyard. He leapt through an open archway window seeing how it was closer than trying to go out through the front. How his fat ass fit through it in such a swift motion astounded me more than some of his other feats. "It'll be far faster for the both of us if I just carry you! I know you can't fly long distances or too fast yet."
   
I cleared my throat and breathed in deeply. I just had to remember that until my internal biology caught up with me, I would have to slow down and take my time when speaking. "...an' You. 'old. Me. Better?" While not great, that was the clearest I'd spoken all day.
   
"You're getting there," the dragon smirked, tucking me under his arm. He had shifted his arm so that it was up around my chest instead of my stomach, ensuring that my arms were outside his grip. If I kicked my legs up against his side and wrapped my arms against his size, I found that I was actually fairly secure. It still was not a good or comfortable position. The claws on my feet did not seem to bother him.
   
"Lord Jathir!" Shaanes called out after finally catching up. "When should we expect you back?"
   
"Hmm?" Jathir scratched under his chin with his free hand. "If I'm doing all the flying, it should only take us about a quarter of a day, so... by dinner, maybe? It should be a quick visit if it's just me and those four."
   
"Understood. I shall inform the others," the shapeshifting cat beastman replied with almost a purr. She seemed pleased just hearing him talk to her.
   
Jathir flicked two fingers her way in a "See you later!" gesture before bending his knees and flexing his wings. "Hold on, Kuro!" he instructed. Heeding his warning, my grip tightened.
   
The dragon blasted himself full-speed into the air, expelling all the force he'd built up into his legs. The fur atop my head that best resembled hair peeled back in the turbulent winds experienced by force Jathir was moving. He flew faster than any car I'd ever been in, let alone anything I'd stuck my head out of. I may as well have been fighting a hurricane at this speed, but my father's firm grip managed to keep me in place, even with only one arm. I'd thought about asking who we were meeting with, but the speed would probably carry my voice away before my father would hear it.
   
My body slowly began to adjust to the speed. As I gained the ability to actually see forward and around me instead of just of a blur, I got a good look at the ground below. Scooching my head forward, I could see that we passing over some wide open plains with various creatures, some of which would be called monsters by the humans, running around freely. I didn't recognize the surroundings.
   
"This is Drahart!" Jathir shot my way. I'd grown so used to the speed that I didn't realize he had actually slowed down a bit. Apparently he had noticed my curiosity.
   
"Dra...hart?" I slowly responded now that we were moving slow enough for me to talk with him. It was a country I knew was allied with our own territory, but I had truthfully never been outside the country's border. My studies had not gone into their history or why they were allied with us. One thing I did remember, however, was that it was seen as an ally Jathir wanted to keep at all costs.

"I suppose you're old enough to know..." the larger dragon sighed, his pace slowing considerably. "Drahart is a country of dragon-slayers. It is the one country that even we dragons dare not bare our fangs against. 'Slayer' magic is... different from the magic I employ and the magic we are teaching you. All magic can kill, but slayer magic is designed to kill. But at a great cost..."
   
At this point in his explanation, we'd reached a settlement. It was a small town of brimstone and wood with a population in the hundreds at best. Although Jathir was flying low enough to be seen, there was no reaction from the townsfolk.
   
"If you use this magic and it succeeds, you are cursed to become what you kill," my father continued while I observed the scenery below. "If you kill a dragon, you become the visage of the dragon you killed. Eventually, you will lose your sanity as the curse eats away at your body, mind, and soul. Drahart's king is one such individual whose sanity is on the verge of slipping, and the sorcerers of this land are brash enough to employ slayer magic without fear." Jathir appeared to be lost in thought for a moment as he tried to figure out how to say what he wanted to say next. "...These people could be wiped out in a fortnight, but their relentlessness would mean our kind would not escape without damage. Gods forbid one of them gets a lucky shot in on one of other seven."
   
My father sighed loudly as he began to pick up the pace again.
   
"We of the Supreme Octonary have an accord: If Drahart does not initiate aggression, do not engage." Jathir's speed continued to increase as we progressed further into the country. "I think it was about twenty years ago that I just so happened to save the current leader's eldest son. It was not my intent to save him, nor did I care about his identity, but it worked out in our favor. As a favor, Drahart offered to establish diplomatic relations with us, and I was not so foolhardy as to ignore it. They offer us resources and Intel from lands I do not control, we come to their aid in the event of a siege from another country. Neither of us will bare arms against the other without provocation. When the throne abdicated to the heir, you will meet with them."
   
It was an overload of information, but because my biology had been "reset" with my rebirth, in a sense, my brain was again at the age where it absorbs information most easily. Having kept all my knowledge and memories, it was no wonder I was considered a genius.
   
As we neared the edge of Drahart's territory, my father spoke up once again. A devious grin had returned to his face and there was a faint cackle behind every words.
   
"We're nearly there!" It was obvious he was trying hard to contain his excitement. "Soon you will meet them! The Divine Tetradrakes!"



Aira Fox

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Reply #3 on: February 23, 2020, 01:33:37 AM
Chapter 4 of "KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son"!

Kuro finally meets the Divine Tetradrakes! Unfortunately, he soon learns that Jathir has a very different opinion of the gods and the four divine dragons than expected. Jathir's depravity reaches new lows in this chapter!

FA Link: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/35139602/

------------------------------------------

KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son

An Isekai Written By: AiraFox

Chapter 4: Divine Drakes

   
The Divine Tetradrakes. Even I had heard of them in my studies. While there many deities, their were four big ones said to be above all others. Jald, the God of Fire and Light. Veliam, the God of Water and Void. Zeme, God of Terra and Life. Sirrus, the God of Air and Sound. Together the four of them made the pantheon organization known as The Tetrad.
   
Each member of The Tetrad was known to occasionally bestow a Divine Blessing upon the denizens of the world to varying degrees, the effects of which depended upon individual. Although there was no official pattern, it was said that each deity would grant a Minor Blessing about every 10 years, a normal Blessing every 100 years, and a Greater Blessing every 1,000 years. The Divine Tetradrakes were different, however... Among all of the creatures to ever exist in the land, they were the only ones ever granted a Supreme Blessing.
   
So I'm really going to meet them... Strange. Despite how famous they are, father never talked about them to me before. He brags about how strong he is, but I guess there really are dragons stronger than him.
   
"We'll be there soon!" Jathir announced, disrupting my thoughts. We had traveled a considerable distance and the sun was only just reaching the top of the sky. Although it was a bit hard to tell with the cloud cover moving in. We were steadily approaching a mountain range where I could see a storm brewing near the summit. And were headed right for it!
   
"Hang on tight, Kuro!" Jathir flexed his wings outward to keep himself stationary in the air. The jolt of the stop was sudden and caused me to lurch forward, nearly knocking the air out of my lungs. Jathir closed his eyes and the image of a glowing yellow barrier wrapped around both him and me. "This should allow us to get through."
   
Get through? What is he talking about? I had no idea what Jathier meant by that. A simple storm was nothing for the dragon I called my father. There were the Divine Tetradrakes were talking about, though. It was possible that they may have done something.
   
"Now let's go!" Jathir wasted no more time. Like a bullet he shot through the air toward the storm. His speed was enough to part the clouds a bit, but the layer was so dense it quickly refilled. There were a few flashes of lighting and some hail drops pelted my face, so the barrier Jathir had erected wasn't anything to prevent things from hitting us. Now I was certain that he did it to stop something the Divine Tetradrakes must have done. "We're through."
   
When I finally opened my eyes from barrage of hail, I noticed that the sky had cleared in the area like the eye of a hurricane. The sky was blue and the sun beamed down hard, but the chill of the upper elevation could not be diverted. My fur and clothes kept me warm enough, but it was still noticeable. It was the next peak over that I saw it. A jagged rock protruded outward as if acting as overlook to the world below. A metal statue I could only compare to the visage of Thor stood on with a hammer in hand, acting as a lightning rod when the storm surrounded it.
   
"Storm's Peak. It's said a legendary hero once parted the sky standing in that spot," said Jathir with a roll of his eyes. "If you ask me,  Caerein was too attached to that brat." The black0furred dragon sighed heavily. "Enough reminiscing. I have a son to rub in their faces!"
   
Jathir descended toward the opposite peak. As we approached the peak, the form of four large dragons came into view. One towered above the others, a gigantic winged lizard in earthy brown scales. The closer we got, the more they began resemble rocks than scales. Its wings looked like they were made out of diamonds.
   
The second tallest dragon was long and snake-like, crystal blue scales reflecting the sunlight from it. Their limbs were small for their body size, but not so much they could not support the weight. The wings on the second dragon were almost transparent.
   
The third dragon was a bright albino color, large feathery wings draped behind them like those of an angel. Their snout was slightly longer than other dragons', and antler-like horns protruded from their skull in the shape of a halo. In terms of size, they were the smallest. Arguably not much larger than Jathir.
   
The final dragon resembled a traditional dragon from media I'd seen the most. Ruby red scaled dotted their body, their wings large and leathery. Along their spine sat sharp spikes that looked like they could cut a rock in two. Their tail was long and heavy, the tip shining like a blade. As we finally landed, I could see that their face was covered in thick scars.
   
"Jathir..." the ruby dragon hissed with fiery spit. "I don't recall you being invited."
   
"But I'm welcome nonetheless, Ifrit," my father replied with a smirk. The fiery dragon backed down at his comment. He reminded me of a kid that had serious blackmail levied against them.
   
"Perhaps if you attended our meeting on more than just a whim, Ifrit would be a little more accepting of your presence," the rock-like dragon chimed in with a deeper, calmer voice. It struck me as the kind of individual who was very patient.
   
"Your meetings are always so boring," Jathir retorted. He lifted a claw as if to imitate a mouth talking. "My god did this. Your god did that. Humans are great. Humans are bad. It's always the same crap! Who cares about the gods asked you to do?! I certainly don't."
   
"Watch you tongue, Jathir!" Ifrit growled again.
   
"Must you two always do this?" the blue dragon sighed loudly.
   
"Don't put this on me, Levias!" snapped Ifrit. "Jathir is always insulting Lord Jald! I won't stand for it!"
   
"And yet you do and will," Jathir reminded him. He stood up as tall as he could, leaning forward to be at the center of all of the dragons. "I know as well you do that your 'gods' won't let you touch me. You all sit here content with your Blessings, yet I'm the only one here with Blessings from all four of them!"
   
"Normal and one Minor," Ifrit snuck in under his breath. Jathir ignored him to continue speaking.
   
"And why? Because they LIKE me! Morals and virtue? Ha! The gods don't care about any of that. I revile them as much as I worship them and they still gave me their Blessings! You and the humans always think that gods demand the utmost respect, but even they enjoy sleaze. They're just picky about what they do."
   
Jathir spoke with such assurance that I was as bewildered as the other four. Here he was talking about them as if they were scum, and the four just stood there with mouths agape. Did Jathir really have a Blessing from all four members of The Tetrad? He never prayed from what I saw, and the temples in his territory he had stolen.
   
"That's enough, Jathir!" the white dragon finally up. "You're going a bit too far."
   
"NOW he's going too far, Caerein?" Ifrit interjected. "It wasn't when he trashed every one of Lord Sirrus' temples in your homeland? It wasn't when he literally crapped on the festivities held in Lord Zeme's honor? THIS is your limit?"
   
"Jald sure thought is was funny," Jathir snickered.
   
My god! Is this seriously what father does? How in the ever-living hell has he not been smited?

"I do a favor for one god, then I stab them back at the behest of another," Jathir shrugged. "Unlike you all who offer your lives in their service, I'm a mercenary for each. As long as long I do something worse to the one who asked me to prank them, they'll continue to grant me their protection."
   
The largest dragon had not made their say on the matter. While I was left in awe of the conversation and the fact there was nothing that seemed so divine about the dragon given how they spoke, their eyes finally fell upon me.
   
"And who is this little one, Jathir?" they asked calmly, slowly. Instinctively I hid behind Jathir.

"Little one?" Levias asked with a headtilt. Her eyes settled on me as well. "I've kept my silence to your insults, but even you know better than to bring an outsider to these meetings without informing us first. I don't care if he is your apprentice, you ASK us first!"
   
"This is my son!" announced Jathir proudly. His hand gently patted my head.
   
"Son?" This time all four of them spoke in unison. They seemed generally shocked at the notion that Jathir had a child.
   
"You mean you adopted him, right?" Caerein hesitantly smiled.
   
"He's my flesh and blood," Jathir assured them.
   
"Impossible!" Ifrit exclaimed at the top of his lungs, his wings catching fire in his outrage. "How can YOU have a son?! You shouldn't be capable of such a feat! That many Blessings... A power as strong as yours... No female would survive mating you long enough to lay an egg! Not to mention each Blessing reduces the success rate. With four that chances should be almost nothing. Why in Jald's name would any female risk death for such a small chance of success?"
   
"I'm quite the ladies' man," Jathir answered with a satisfied smirk, placing his claws to his chin and winking at Ifrit.
   
"Y-You...!" Ifrit stammered.
   
"Calm down, Ifrit," the rock-like dragon requested, placing a heavy claw between my father and the fiery beast.
   
"I will not, Genbu!" roared Ifrit. Once again he shouted toward my father. "There's a limit to depravity, Jathir! What sorcery did you use to enthrall them? This is low for even you!"
   
"Hey! Hey! I'm not a monster!" For the first time, Jathir was the one who was insulted. I'd never seen him act this way. "I assure you that each and every female I went through did so of their own free will! And I showed them love that ensured their final moments were ones of heavenly bliss! I wanted each and every one of them to survive!" He calmed down just a little as he spoke about my mother.
   
"The one who succeeded was something else. She was on death's door, but she pushed through until she produced an egg. She lasted four rounds and still got that far. Ethir was a dragoness that I shall not soon forget."
   
The surprising kindness in his words seemed to satisfy Ifrit. When he next spoke, his voice had become more respectful. "So what's the little one's name?"
   
"Kuroginryuu," Jathir answered, reaching over to pick me up in his arms. "My son's name is Kuro. He will be my ultimate legacy. And he is the reason I even came her today." Jathir cleared his throat. "In about 10 years, I will put my plan into action. I trust our agreement stands?"
   
"We will not get in each other's way," Levias stated, repeating the agreement they seemed to have had in the past. "But pray tell, how in Lord Veliam's name do you plan to succeed? I don't deny your power, but even you are not strong enough to accomplish such a feat on your own. And we will not lift a claw to assist you."
   
"Your Merciless Will is an impressive 'Ability,' but there are some whose wills you cannot break," Genbu added.
   
"They're right, Jathir!" Ifrit bellowed. "Even if there were five of you, I doubt you could succeed!"
   
"Two of me will be enough," Jathir cackled, holding me up high. "Once Kuro here is a bit closer to my level, he and I will be enough." Jathir raised the ridge of his eyes as he looked toward me. "Do it, Kuro!"
   
Do what? That?! Even if I could control it, it wouldn't work on dragons as powerful as them! I wanted to shout at my father, but it was clear he wouldn't listen if I did. The Tetradrakes had had their curiosity peaked with Jathir's statement. They wondered what I could do. I had no choice in the matter. Well... here goes!
   
I closed my eyes and concentrated. The best I could do was imagine a switch in my mind that could turn on or off the Ability I had been born with it. Once I had the image of the light switch in my head, I mentally flicked it.
   
"What. Is. This!" Ifrit snapped.
   
I opened my eyes to find that three of the dragon appeared to be showing great irritation. Genbu was as calm as could be, but Ifrit was grabbing his head like he was experiencing the worst migraine of his life. The others acted similarly. A wave of exhaustion flooded over me and I quickly flipped off the switch. I scrambled within Jathir's grasp until he set me on the ground. Immediately I collapsed to my hands and knees, panting as if I had just finished a 10 kilometer sprint.
   
"Imperatus Will!" revealed Jathir. "That is Kuro's Ability!"
   
Simply trying to control dragons as powerful as the Divine Tetradrakes had drained nearly all of the Magical Molecules from my body! No wonder I was so tired. Naturally, it had failed, but the headaches that three of the four had experienced was them bearing the full impact of my Ability.
   
"You dare unleash it upon us?" Caerein rumbled.
   
"No, I knew it wouldn't work," Jathir cackled. "But I figured a demonstration of Kuro's power would change your tunes. When he's learned to better control it, when paired with my Merciless Will, nobody will be able to stand in our way!" Jathir held up a hand, raising a single finger. "10 years! This world is going to change! All I ask if for you to sit back and watch. Success or failure, this will be my ultimate 'deprave' act."
« Last Edit: February 26, 2020, 10:53:58 PM by Aira Fox »



Virmir

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Reply #4 on: March 05, 2020, 08:22:09 PM
I like the premise! The present tense didn't really bother me, but the later sections do seem to flow more naturally. There are several typos and minor grammar mistakes (missing commas mostly) throughout, so you'll probably want to give it another editing pass. Some of the info seems a little forced, with there being a lot of info dump based on Kuro listening onto others explaining everything. It would be nice to see more showing and less listening in, although I understand you are in a tricky position if you want to keep one POV character and he's basically a kid.

Looking forward to seeing where you go with this!

[fox] Virmir


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Reply #5 on: March 11, 2020, 10:37:39 PM
Chapter 5 of "KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son"!

Even Jathir has his limits! If you value your life, there is one subject you never bring up around him, as Kuro soon learns.

And then... Valka's grueling training!


FA Link: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/35390471/

------------------------------------------

KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son

An Isekai Written By: AiraFox


Chapter 5: Dragon

   
"I think I've been here long enough," Jathir announced with a smirk. I immediately found a heavy set of claws scratching behind my head, the kind of action a parent or mentor gave when they were showing pride.
   
"Jathir! Show some respect for your elders for once!" roared Ifrit, his left eye twitching as he grit his teeth in irritation. "What happened to that whelpling who wouldn't stop pestering us until we permitted him to attend these meetings?"
   
"But they're soooooo boring~" my father whined childishly. "I had no idea you lot spent days licking the feet of those who gave you your Blessings back then. Maybe if you invited the rest of the Octonary to these things it would be more fun..."
   
"We hold enough gatherings with all of us as is, Jathir," Levia interjected. "THESE gatherings have been preordained since before you were conceived. Our Lords require them of us. We discuss matters that precede anything involving the others."
   
"The only reason you're tolerated is because of your multiple Blessings," Ifrit begrudgingly admitted. "We can layer as many safeguards as we want and you will still find a way here."
   
"And if you're leaving, you should remember this," Levia added, showing slight irritation toward Ifrit's interruption. "I mean this as a warning, not a threat... You may have multiple Blessings, but your son is under no such protection. Keep that in mind before you enact your plan."
   
Jathir glanced back at her, but did not respond. That was something he had considered, but not something he felt concerned about.
   
"If you are going to insist on leaving us so soon, then there is something I must ask you," Caerein declared, shooting Jathir an inquisitive glare. Jathir raised a brow in response. "In the pursuit of a child of your own, did you or did you not do something unsavory on the pain of Lord Sirrus' wrath?"
   
Jathir heaved a heavy sigh. "I give you my word as a dragon. I, Jathir, did not do anything to force any females to mate with me outside of their own volition. If I am lying, may all my Blessings be stripped from me right now."
   
His answer seemed to satisfy Caerein. In her mind, not even my father would say such a thing if he did not mean it. Ifrit, however, just had to speak out against him. "Bah. Your word as a DRAGON is meaningless."
   
I didn't even have time to blink. Ifrit had not even closed his mouth before he found Jathir's claws wrapped around his throat, digging into his scales as if preparing to rip out his windpipe. They were deep enough that the fibers of the throat muscles were visible through the scales. Caerein's antlers were lit up in a green light and Levia had coiled her tail around Jathir's waist. Genbu had not moved one bit.
   
"Enough, Jathir!" Caerein screamed as Ifrit sputtered out a gasp.
   
"You too, Ifrit!" Levia chimed in. By the tones of their voice, it seemed like they were actually on my father's side this time. Jathir's eyes burned with a hatred I had never seen from him before. Even at his angriest, he'd never lost sense of himself like this.
   
Jathir did not ease up, but he did not tighten his grip either. The others' words seemed to be getting through to him at least a little. Ifrit continued to struggle to breathe.
   
"Ifrit..." Genbu finally spoke with a low rumble. "Jathir is a dragon. We agreed on that 400 years ago under the verdict of all of our Lords. Your bad joke went too far."
   
Hearing Genbu speak praise of him brought Jathir down from his rage. He gently released Ifrit's neck from his grasp and lowered his head in admittance of his behavior. He knew Ifrit was only teasing him, but that was one joke that could set him off. Caerein and Levia stood down as Jathir backed off. Although they agreed with Jathir on this matter, they would sooner kill him than they would let Ifrit be killed by him.
   
Ifrit coughed and rubbed at his neck. "I'm sorry Jathir..." he said earnestly.
   
"Yeah..." was all my father said. He looked so down that I was left wondering why Ifrit's statement had set him off the way it did. Was it related to what he said about Drahart? Jathir did not speak another word to the dragons. He just reached down to pick up and took off down the mountain. He moved slow enough that I was able to catch a glimpse of Levia's tail slapping Ifrit across the face. Despite all the vulgarities he had spewed, the other Tetradrakes were far more ticked at Ifrit than they were of my father.
   
After we were out of view of the clouds, I turned to look at Jathir and called out to him. "Fa...ther..."
   
"I'm okay, Kuro," he replied to me in an emotionless facade. "It's nothing. Don't worry about it."
   
He was lying. I was fairly certain he knew that I knew that. I think he wanted me to remain silent and let him reflect on what had happened, but every fiber of my being told me to keep talking. Jathir put me through so much, but my residual instincts and my body's blood bond wanted me to cheer him any way I could.
   
"Gr--Not okay!" I exclaimed. "Father... down!"
   
That seemed to be what he needed to hear. A small smile returned to Jathir's face, but he was still feeling unlike himself. "So even my boy can tell that much, huh... Some dragon lord I am."
   
Jathir sighed loudly and slowed his pace.
   
"Listen, Kuro... I wanted to wait until you were older before telling you this, but if you're half the genius I keep saying you are, you'll probably figure it out on your own before then. So I might as well tell you now." Jathir looked around. Although we were high in the air and well out of earshot of any living thing, he still seemed paranoid about letting others hear him in a moment of weakness. "Kuro, I am sure you've noticed that we are not like the Tetradrakes. We aren't like other dragons. All dragons of the world have either scales, feathers, or a combination of both. But we have fur."
   
So it's not related to Drahart! I thought to myself in the middle of Jathir's explanation.
   
"It was about a thousand years ago that humans sought to domesticate dragonkind like they have horses and wolves," Jathir continued. "Domestication is different from a hatchling imprinting upon a human; they've always had that. It requires selective breeding. Dragons are wild, so even if you take one that's just hatched, there is no guarantee you'll be able to tame it."
   
His explanation only seemed to worsen his mood. There was a grumble behind each of his words.
   
"Domestication takes way too long, though, especially when it comes to creatures like dragons who can go hundreds of years before they lay their first egg. So humans sought to speed it up with magic, using spells and fusing the embryos of the eggs with different creatures. It is through that process that we, Erdratz, artificial dragons, were created.
   
"Erdratz are plentiful now, but back then they were few in number. Over 400 years ago, I was hatched by my parent. I was supposed to be a human slave, but unlike my clutchmates, I was different. From the moment I hatched, I knew this was not how things were supposed to be. As soon as I could fly, I left that place. I burned everything I could to the ground and never looked back.
   
"I lived on my own. Fended for myself. Took what I wanted, when I wanted. As I sought to stake out my own territory, I encountered other dragons. To them I was an abomination, a fake dragon. They refused to acknowledge me, so I killed anyone who looked down on me. My tantrums must have impressed Jald, or maybe he just felt sorry for me, as he bestowed me with a normal Blessing after one of my outbursts. The Divine Tetradrakes took notice of that. Never before had a dragon been given a full Blessing so young, let alone a FAKE dragon like me! Ifrit was happy to point that out. I fought him back then, but I was young and foolish.
   
"Through my efforts to earn their acknowledgment, even The Tetrad could see that I was as much a dragon as any other." Jathir's eyes fell upon me. "You are a dragon, Kuro. Never let anyone tell you otherwise!"
   
So that was the reason for father's outburst, I realized.
   
"Maybe I deserved it, but Ifrit of all dragons knows how I feel about comments like that," Jathir mumbled with a slight sullen tone. He realized that he had not shown the elder dragons the respect they were rightly deserved, but at the same time there was a line that nobody, not even one of the Divine Tetradrakes, should dare cross now that he had the power to back it up.
   
"But that's enough moping for today, Kuro! Let's go home!" Jathir seemed to be in slightly better spirits after telling me about everything, even if it made him reflect on a difficult subject. He picked up the pace after he finished talking, taking off at a speed that perhaps even surpassed that of when we left this morning. I was once again buffeted by a force that stretched my face muscles back.



The next day was my usually scheduled combat training with Valka and her recruits. The heavy rain that came today did not dissuade her from sticking to her regime. Her training camp consisted mostly of kobolds, although there were several beastmen among them. There were even a few humans, but they seemed to be from our territory and among those that had pledged loyalty to my father. They were either soldiers that were being trained as a request to my father, or individuals with nowhere left to go who underwent her harsh training just for a chance at food and shelter.
   
Each individual was decked out in heavy iron armor, the heaviest they could reasonably wear. The pressure from millions of drops of water made the weight oppressive for many, but Valka was having none of it. Anyone who dared to complain was kicked out. To some, it was no big deal. To others, it would bring shame upon their family or clan and possibly even Jathir's wrath.
   
"Get up!" she shouted as one kobold stumbled under the weight of his armor during a lap around the soaked open field several kilometers from the camp. The grassy field had turned to mud. While perhaps not a problem under normal circumstances, everyone was carrying so much weight that every footstep sank ankle deep. The kobold's tumble had taken out others behind them. From my spot in the back, it did not look pleasant.
   
"All of you who don't get up by the time I count to ten will be assigned 100 push-ups when we get back!" Valka exclaimed at the top of her lungs. Because we were all downwind from her, her voice carried firmly even in the downpour. The lack of any thunder or lightning meant her voice had less sound to compete against.
   
"And you, Kuro!" Her attention was on me now, giving those who had fallen a few extra seconds to try and get to their feet. "Wings up! Up in the air! Lord Jathir asked me to help you get your wings in shape!"
   
I didn't ask myself if she was serious. I knew the answer to that question. It was true that I had been given armor that was a bit lighter than what everyone else had to wear, but I thought that was because I was younger, not because the lizardman expected more from me.
   
My wings stretched out to their full length, but each flap strained them to try and carry me off the ground. I had only held myself up before, and I couldn't fly very far on my own. The added weight of the armor was like having a person riding on my back. It took every muscle in my wings and back to pick me up a few inches. The veins could be seen through my scales. This is too much! I told myself. If my dragon body was anything my old human body, this kind of strain was not good for it.
   
Valka stopped her run and looked in my direction. I wasn't running anymore, but the pained look across my face show her just how hard I was trying. I had not told her that I could not do it, even I was thinking something along those lines. She sighed softly and stepped closer to me.
   
"It's my fault, Kuro," she lamented. I could hear her speaking as she approached. She never addressed me as "Lord" during training because she wanted things to feel more inclusive with all the others. "I keep forgetting that you're just a child. You might be Lord Jathir's son, but your muscles haven't matured. Your father might want me to overwork you, but you're not him. Not yet... You're a dragon, but you're still just a young dragon."
   
The weight on my head was lifted as Valka removed the helmet I had been forced to wear and tossed it into the mud next to her. Next came a belt around my waist and the boots uncomfortably distorting my feet.
   
"Now up, Kuro!" the lizardman instructed. Heeding her command, I pushed myself off the ground. Although it was only about a third of the weight my attire had added, I was already feeling so much lighter. Though still extremely heavy, I found myself able to hover a decent length off the ground.
   
"That's better. Now let's move!" Valka took off for another footrace, this time motioning for me to follow as closely behind her as possible. Knowing her kind leniency would have her regretting her decision if I did not keep up, I did my best to keep pace. More than once I had to stop to rest my wings, resulting in me running behind her, but I made certain that I was at least flying whenever I had the strength and energy left to do so.
   
Over half the day had passed by the time he made it back to camp. One look at everyone told you who was a new recruit and who was nearing their graduation to the main forces. From my time training under her regime, I had learned that Valka cycled people every one to three years, depending on the improvement they showed. She took them in at different rates, so it was not uncommon for her men to pair with individuals who had been there a year or two longer in the bunkhouse.
   
"All right, you ground crawlers! Undress yourselves and rest in the bunkhouse. Be ready for combat practice after I've decided you've napped enough!" Valka announced. The half-dead platoon was thankful for the reprieve. While nobody had eaten lunch yet, most were too tired to even think about food.
   
The bunkhouse was actually five rows of stone buildings designed like extremely long tents. Each housed between 50 and 100 soldiers-in-training. As such, once those heavy suits of armor came off, the smell of sweaty musk filled the entire hall. People in my world complained about the smell of a wet dog, but imagine being cramped in an airtight space with over 50 of them after rolling around in raw sewage when you had just finished a marathon. You could add burned flesh and fur to the mixture as several fires were started inside to warm up and dry off around. My point is, it was a good thing I hadn't eaten beforehand.
   
I never actually slept in the bunkhouse at night; my father would never allow my safety to be at risk. I would leave for training early in the morning after breakfast and return home for a late dinner when my dad or an escort came and got me. However, there was still a (larger) bed set aside just for me. Midday naps or a full daytime's in the event of night training were something I was allowed to do at Valka's training camp.
   
Given how exhausted and achy my body was, as soon as I'd dried my fur off, I set myself down on the bed prepared for me. I could have counted sheep to get to sleep, but I was so tired I don't think I would have managed to hit ten. By the time my eyes completely closed after my head hit the pillow, I was out.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 12:38:36 AM by Aira Fox »



Aira Fox

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Reply #6 on: May 09, 2020, 11:27:16 PM
Chapter 6 of "KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son"!

Kuro's schedule continues with schoolwork.

Originally I intended for this entire chapter to focus on his various lessons with tutors, but I really wasn't liking how it was coming out and wound up rewriting it. The information seemed unnecessary and like filler at this point in the story. I decided to spread out his lessons between chapters and move the story forward a bit earlier.


FA Link: https://www.furaffinity.net/view/36290310/

------------------------------------------

KURO: A Dragon Lord's Son

An Isekai Written By: AiraFox



Chapter 6: School Never Changes

   
As I sat at the small desk-sized table in the castle's private library, the instructor my father had provided for the day tapped a piece of chalk against a black board. The chalk was unlike the kind I was familiar with in my world. It served the same function, but instead of being a single stick, it more or less resembled a misshapen arrow of impure granite, but it had a much stronger scent that I could whiff from even behind my desk. I imagine that it was similar to what my ancestors used long, long ago.
   
The instructor was a human, one that resided within the capital city. He was a tall man with short blond hair and a long beard that was starting to gray toward his lips. He was from a wealthy merchant family, evidenced by the deep red vest he wore over a cleanly-pressed. white buttoned shirt equivalent to what would find the typical office worker wearing in my world, even though the materials used to make it were obviously different. His vest was emblazoned with my father's crest, a sign that he at the very least had my father's trust.
   
Naturally, Jathir had not trusted the human enough to be alone with me, as there were about eight others in the room with us. Half were kobolds, but at least two dwarves and two beastmen also filled up the seats. The reason the human was teaching today's lesson was because it consisted specifically of merchant trade.
   
Dragons were often though of as either stupid beasts or wise scholars, but even the most intelligent of dragons at one point were prone to swindling of man. From then on, it became customary for dragons to learn the tricks of the trade as to better manage their hoards if they bothered interacting with the other races. Though I was very young, my father wanted to get such teachings out of the way immediately. I was smart enough in his eyes to handle it. He was not technically wrong with his assessment of my abilities.
   
Truth be told, I spent most of the lesson sleeping. My body was still sore from the previous training regime with Valka and there was little this human merchant could teach me that I did not already know. Their math system was identical to ours, though with varying symbols. A plus symbol was denoted by a single dot, while a minus symbol was replaced with two dots next to each other. Multiplication was handled with two dots slanted diagonally downward to the right, and division was two dots stacked on top of each other. Exponents and parentheses were nearly identical, but more advanced formulas common for classes I dealt with in high school and college were exceedingly rare here. Only the most dedicated of scholars who dabbled in science instead of magic bothered with those. I only had to learn what a merchant would when dealing with paper, an abacus, and scales.
   
Once the instructor had gone through the method of showing how gold coins are weighed on a scale for quick counting, I was comfortable enough to pass out and rest. Though I was not seeking a degree is Business back in my world, I had to take some classes.
   
"Lord Kuro!" the human called out. I heard him, but I did not want to get up. Unlike Shaanes and Valka, nobody here had the wherewithal to try and disturb me, much less inform Jathir about my actions.
   
You're teaching a grown man stuff you could teach a 10-year-old, I grumbled in my own head. It was no wonder why I was so bored. If this were a lesson about magic or even the history of this world, I would be interested, but not stuff like this..
   
The older man sighed. He wanted to stop until I woke up, but if he delayed his lesson to the point it put me behind the schedule Jathir desired, he would be lucky if being fired was the only thing that happened to him. With that knowledge in mind, he decided to continue with his lesson plan and just hope that I was either faking it or that I would absorb the knowledge in my sleep. Fortunately for him, I would likely be able to answer any questions he asked me toward the end of the day.
   
By the time I'd opened my eyes again, four additional boards had been filled to capacity with information. He really hadn't stopped his lesson for my sake, but he made sure to leave behind plenty of notes that were easy enough to understand. It was not surprising as everyone knew I was literate when it came to Accom, but now I was starting to feel bad for my behavior.
   
The contents of his teachings were various tricks merchants used to get a lower price from a supplier or unknown adventurer. They were written from a point of view showing how to use the tricks yourself, as well as how to counter those using the tricks. One such trick was pointing out the potential flaws in material that both parties knew were not present, but causing doubts among others so that the seller would become hard-pressed to sell it a lower price or risk losing the ability to sell it entirely. Some would even divulge the various tricks they would personally use to others to give credibility to their arguments. It was a trick I had heard about before, but he went out that the best way to counter it was to call their bluff by pulling in a friend who could purchase it and would keep it if they were to actually buy it. A panicked buyer would often see the sale being made and attempt to a higher price of their own just to get their hands on it.
   
Much of what he had revealed to the others hoping to learn from him were tricks I had learned on my own from either media or my own research, but it had far more value in this world.
   
"I won't ask you to try any of these methods right now, but I do want to make sure you understand how to appropriately value items and count gold coins quickly," he announced as he concluded his lecture. "Lord Kuro, we'll start with you as this is supposed to be YOUR lesson." His eyes fell upon me, darting quickly toward the board on the far left as soon as I made contact with them. His hint was obvious, but it was not something I needed.
   
"All right, my young lord!" announced the human. "On this table here I have placed three gemstones." He pointed to his right where there say a ruby, a brightly colored golden topaz, and a diamond. "First I want you to choose the most valuable gem on the table."
   
He had apparently gone over how to appraise gems in his lecture as well; I would have to admit that it was something I probably should have been awake for. I could use his notes, but they would not be as helpful condensed like this. With no other option, I looked over the gems on the table. The obvious choice seemed like the diamond, but something told me that was too easy. Whether it was common sense, a dragon thing, or some unknown ability I possessed, my eyes were drawn toward the topaz in the center. There was something different about it. Following my gut on the matter, I picked it up to examine it. The human was expecting me to pick up the others to check their quality, but my gut was telling me this was it. My decision made, I proudly presented it to the lecturer.
   
"Ah! Excellent choice, Lord Kuro!" he complimented with a clap. "The Imperial Topaz is indeed the most valuable of the three. While in not perfect condition, it easily goes for 50 more coins than the diamond even in a rough market. Perhaps I was wrong to think you weren't paying attention, but before I get ahead of myself, can you tell me how much you think it is worth?"
   
I recalled a similar diamond on the market as much father carried me through one about a year ago. Why I still remembered the price at all I haven't a clue; perhaps it was a dragon thing. It was about 700 gold, and this person was telling me that the topaz would be worth 50 more in a bad market. Keeping that in mind, I took a guess.
   
"Ei... Eight... hund...red?" I guessed as I tried to force my dragonic maw to make the correct sounds.
   
"Off by about 20, but not bad," the man replied with a smile. "Now use the scale method to quickly count and authenticate 820 gold coins by weight."
   
If the average gold coin was about 33 grams, then 820 would be over 27 kilograms according to some quick math. He only had enough weights to equal a kilogram, so I made a small effort to make it look like I was checking the weight of between 20 and 30 coins before stopping at 27. I separated the stack into 10 stacks of 27, quickly weighing each one to make sure no fake gold coins were among the pile. It took me only a couple minutes. As I portioned off the last pile, the silence was disturbed with the eruption of clapping.
   
"Amazing work, my young lord!" the human cheered with similar comments being shouted by the others in the room.
   
The weighing and counting was no big deal. It was the one thing that did not deserve any such praise given my origins. My mind was still on the fact that I somehow had remembered the price from about a year ago.
   
"And that's everyone!" announced the lecturer, alerting me to the fact that everyone else had gone while I had been lost in thought. "It has been my pleasure to mentor you all. Those of you wishing to learn more should stop by the Merchant's Coalition branch in Turst Town. We frequently offer free seminars for all new members." Finishing his announcement, he began to gather his things. "Now the rest of us should clear out of here so Lord Kuro can begin his next lesson."
   
"Change of plans!" rang a voice from the back of the room. My fur stood up as I recognized Shaanes' voice. "Lord Jathir has requested Kuro's presence. I will be taking things from here."
   
That was the signal for me to rise to my feet and make my why to her locations. My limbs had gone stiff from the tone of her voice. To everyone else, nothing seemed out of ordinary, but to me, the subtle ticks in her voice told me that she had been standing there for a while. Sure enough, I found her with her back against the wall near the door, her arms crossed and her slit pupils watching my every move.
   
"Had a nice nap?" she smirked under her breath. My tail straightened. I was not afraid of her telling Jathir about it, but about how she would be sure to torment me later in some way only she could, like a sibling who had blackmail on you. "Well, you completed your lesson, so I'll let it go this time. Honestly something like this seems like a waste of time to a dragon like you, but Lord Jathir did say it was important to take note of human customs, especially trade, so you could rule over them effectively. Still, I have noticed you seem to understand humans rather quickly."
   
Huh? She's going to let it go? The news surprised me to say the least. There was nothing in her tone or movements to denote a lie. It took me a moment of reflection to realize the other thing she had pointed out. She had observed several past lessons I had over the years, but it was still a rare enough thing that I never suspected her to catch that particular detail about me. She sure was sharp.
   
"It could be based on the kind of dragon you are, I guess," she pondered. "Not that it really matters. You are you." Her head suddenly perked as she recalled the reason she had even come to the lesson in the first place. "Ah. That's right! We should head there now. Your father requested your presence as soon as you were finished with your lesson of the day. I even had to turn away your tutor for your lesson on ancient scriptures today."
   
That would have actually been interesting. Why couldn't that have been today?
   
If my father had turned away from the schedule he had set for me, then something must have come up that caught even him off guard. Unless he forgot something. That was also possible knowing him.
   
I followed Shaanes down the hallway to Jathir's reception hall. It was a room that was the equivalent of a throne room, complete with a dragon-sized throne and murals he had made of him. There was also a giant pillow off to the side of the room where Jathir would greet important guests when he was feeling particularly lazy. Although it seemed like he was proud to show off his vanity, he actually rarely used the room unless he was attending to an important guest. Two of Valka's guards were positioned outside the main door, not that anyone would be able to truly harm Jathir. They were mainly there as extra intimidation and to deal with small fries the dragon did not want to be bothered with.
   
As we entered the reception hall, a half-dead beastman resembling a fur-covered lizard with otter-like ears and tail was sitting upright in a chair that had been prepared for him. He was guzzling water like a desert elephant on a flooded plain. For once Shaanes was just as confused as I was.
   
"Lord Kuro, your lordship," she said with a one-kneed bow, an open palm across her chest. "Pardon my asking, but what happened here? Did something bad happen?"
   
"This guy?" Jathir queried, resting his cheek upon a closed fist with an elbow on the throne's armrest. "Don't mind this idiot. The Kingdom of Neusea sent an envoy with a urgent request for me. This little dumbass mistook it as an emergency and rushed here without stopping to refill his water canister. He passed out as soon as he arrived."
   
Neusea? I was still not entirely familiar with all of the countries on the continent, but from what I understood, they were another country with diplomatic ties to our own. They maintained neutrality for the most part, but they paid our country large tariffs in exchange for protection in the event of an attack. As they were positioned right along the east coast and were a major source of trade with countries from across the ocean, they would be the first in the line fire in the event of a naval invasion. Their army was powerful, but the kingdom's size meant their forces were stretched thin. Unfortunately, the neighboring countries that didn't belong to Jathir were not very powerful.
    
"Urgent request?" questioned Shaanes. Yeah, I wondered that too. It sounded pretty important.
   
"They said that during their recent shipment of goods from overseas, an envoy from the Daizin Empire approached their king," my father explained with incurious rumble. "They are demanding an audience with me and are seemingly ill-prepared to make the journey themselves."
   
"A trap?" inquired the feline beastman.
   
"Pro'ly," the Neausean envoy butted in, still out of it. "Hell if I know!"
   
"My dealings with them have been minor at best," admitted Jathir, "and they weren't the best. That was nearly a century ago, though... I haven't the foggiest idea what they would want with me now."
   
"And you're going to go?" Shaanes pressed further.
   
"I'm rather bored, so I might as well play their game," Jathir replied with a disinterested face, though a smirk slowly began to crawl up his cheeks. "And I'll be taking Kuro with me!"
   
"Is that wise, my lord?" sprang a voice from an attendant who had overheard the conversation, but remained quiet until now. "The young lord is strong, but he's still rather young to be able to defend himself if you get into trouble."
   
"He'll be safer with me than alone here with all of you," my father assured them all, though it felt like he was speaking to me too. "Although I doubt they'll try anything, by now the rest of the Octonary is aware of Kuro's existence. As long as he's still too young to even speak fully, I'd rather not allow a single of them to get any kind of leverage over me."
   
If I understood everything correctly, Jathir was going to engage with a foreign power with possibly violent intentions, and he wanted to bring me along with him. If he was as strong as everyone made him out to be, it was doubtful there was any risk, but bringing someone like me to such a place did not seem the most wise. Then again, he had a point; I was probably safer with him than here. And it would give me some time away from Shaanes waking me up every morning.
   
"It will take us a few days to get there," Jathir stated aloud. "Although I do not expect to spend more than seven days, I make take Kuro out for some private time after, so we may be gone as long as fifteen days."
   
The others in the room were a bit surprised that my father would be away with me for that long, but they did not question it.
   
"We'll be departing immediately," he declared with a sinister smirk in the envoy's direction, "because this is an URGENT request."
« Last Edit: May 13, 2020, 10:24:37 AM by Aira Fox »