[Ayuseya’s point of view]
Illsy’s voice was so weak. He was trying as hard as he could to survive Dankyun’s onslaught, pushing himself beyond his limits to the point of breaking and fainting.
In all my life, I had never seen another man try so hard for me, but seeing him in pain, seeing him suffer like that made my heart feel strangled by needles of pain.
How can I let you suffer like this, Illsy? I said, but he didn’t reply.
I kept begging him to release me. It was the only way to win against that monster or rather… to make him back away. Dankyun was a madman, a monster with unreasonable power. No one could win against him.
Tears flowed down my cheeks without me even realizing it. They were tears of fear for what could become of the gentle Dungeon Lord who helped me when most would have fled away. My heart was hurting because I saw him in pain, because I saw him suffering when he had no reason to… Or maybe… maybe I didn’t see his reason.
Illsy, it’s the only way to stop this madman. Please! You’ve done enough. You tried your best, but this… I told him and shook my head I don’t want you to die because of me, Illsy… I don’t want this. I don’t want to see Dankyun kill my… I stopped. What was Illsy for me again? A guardian? A helper? A servant? A friend? Or more? The answer to this was whispered by my heart, and those were words I never believed I would say towards a dungeon. Illsy, I don’t want to see Dankyun kill the one I could one day… I could one day come to love. I looked up at him, and it was then when I heard his final words.
Ayuseya… I release you…
Such a weak voice whispered those words that I almost didn’t hear them.
My body was enveloped in a bright light, and I closed my eyes. The next thing I felt was a sting in my left cheek and the pull of the earth under my feet. I was back outside.
“Ayuseya?” asked Dankyun confused.
Opening my eyes, I saw the sharp edge of his black sword. The glowing red runes covered it and spread a malicious aura all around it. What I felt on my cheek was the cut of his weapon. Luckily, Dankyun had a good enough control over it to stop his hand before he took my head off.
Even though I was bleeding, I looked him in the eyes. There were still tears in mine.
“What’s this?” he asked and pulled his sword back. “Dungeon Lord! Answer me!” he shouted, but no answer came from Illsy.
Looking back, I saw the green crystal just floating there without a single reply coming from it. Illsy was probably sleeping, exhausted from spending so much Magic Energy. He fought bravely, and for such a young dungeon, it was an incredible feat to injure a Supreme Ranked draconian like Dankyun.
If I can buy him enough time, he’ll become stronger than him… I thought as I touched his flat crystal surface. I opened my mouth to speak, but I remembered Dankyun didn’t know I could talk again. For now, it has to stay as a secret. I have to make him believe that he still holds that power over me… I clenched my fist and looked back at him.
“Why don’t you answer!” he said and lifted his sword up, but I stepped between them.
“What’s this?” he furrowed his brow.
I shook my head and then pretended to write something in my palm, to let him know that I didn’t have my blackboard with me.
“What are you trying to say, woman?” he asked coldly.
The way he spoke made it clear just how low I was in his eyes, but I didn’t let it bother me. I made the sign again, hoping he would understand.
“You want to say something, but you need something to write on?” he asked raising an eyebrow.
“Fine. Here!” he said and took out a storage crystal.
It looked like a small quartz pendant, but it was one of the best out there capable of storing an impressive amount of loot inside. High ranked adventurers and military commanders found them indispensable in their missions.
From inside, he took out a small blackboard and some piece of chalk similar to mine. He handed it over, but kept his sword pointed at the crystal behind me.
‘Dungeon Lord is asleep. No magic left. I asked him to help me.’ I quickly wrote.
“What? Then that’s the reason why he’s not answering anymore? Wait, but what do you mean you asked him to help you?” he squinted his eyes at me and pointed the tip of his sword at my neck.
‘I’m afraid of you. I don’t want to be with you.’ I wrote.
“Hm? I don’t think you have a choice here, little princess. If you don’t become mine, your body will be offered to the ‘Ball’ in a year from now, wouldn’t it? We need to preserve the line, don’t we?” he smirked at me.
A shiver ran down my spine, and my body trembled a bit.
‘I don’t want that.’
“The other choice is me. At the very least, I can guarantee that our child will be strong and beautiful!” he replied with an overwhelming confidence, but the thought of having to sleep with this man disgusted me.
‘You won’t harm me, anymore?’ I asked even if I knew the truth.
“Of course not!” he lied through his teeth.
‘Then I will become yours. I’m just afraid of pain.’ I showed him the message and then erased it.
‘Everyone here acted on my orders. Please, forgive them.’
“Is that so? This would explain a few things, especially those draconian students. Very well, I’ll stop the attack, but you are coming with me right now. As soon as we reach Teslov, we will get married and I” he dropped on a knee and took my hand into his. “I will show you a night to never forget.” he kissed the back of my hand and showed me a wicked smile.
Shivers went down my spine of hate and fear, but I kept myself strong. I didn’t want Dankyun to be my first man, but there was no other choice now. Illsy had to survive…
I nodded and smiled back.
My heart was hurting so bad in that moment. It was horrible. Behind me was the Dungeon Lord who treated me with gentleness and love, and in front of me was the monster who took me away from him.
Why was it so hard to believe Illsy? If only I stopped thinking about how other dungeons think and behave… If only I stopped comparing the two… I thought as I got up, helped by the man who was to take me away from Illsy.
“Oh! If they acted under your orders, then does this Dungeon Lord follows Nanya’s or the headmaster’s orders.
I blinked surprised. Illsy didn’t follow the orders of anyone, at least not how Dankyun believed. He simple followed along with their suggestions and requests. I don’t believe I heard anyone say: “I order you” to him. It was possible that I wasn’t there when that happened, but I was pretty certain he acted independently.
‘Tuberculus’ I wrote on the blackboard.
“I see. To make sure we don’t get any strange surprises on the way, we’ll take him along as well. Hm, they must be under us.” he said and then looked down.
Taking my hand, he pulled me over to the hole in the wall. I had to make sure where I stepped to avoid the sharp pieces of cut metal and broken crystal scattered everywhere. After we stepped out of Illsy’s room, Dankyun stopped in the middle of the hallway and stomped on the floor hard. The force caused it to crack and form a hole in that place. He grabbed my hand and jumped down, dragging me with him. I almost screamed, but I stopped myself just in time.
“What’s this? D-Dankyun?” said Paladinus, who pointed his sword at us.
“Cease your fight, I found what I was looking for, and I’m going to leave this place peacefully. However, if you insist on fighting me. I will take you on and end your pathetic life.” he declared without even the smallest sign of remorse.
“H-How can we be certain that you won’t attack us?” he asked with a trembling tone of voice.
“You are still alive, aren’t you?” he replied with a raised eyebrow.
Meanwhile, I looked behind them and noticed the other students who were looking surprised at me. Of course, nobody knew where I was, and they all believed I ran away or hid outside of the academy. Now that I was here, their gazes turned quickly from surprise to accusation for the trouble I brought upon them.
I looked down, ashamed of this, but it was a truth I couldn’t run away from. Dankyun came to this academy because of me. The one responsible for disrupting their peace and quiet was me. I called the storm over.
Paladinus put his sword away and allowed the draconian Supreme to pass through. The moment one of the soldiers who tried to get in saw him, he spread the word to the others, and the battle outside stopped.
The students formed a path for us, and we walked through, baring the weight of all their gazes of fear and hate they cast down upon us. Between the two of us, Dankyun was the only one who appeared to enjoy the stir he caused.
“What’s the meaning of this?” asked Tuberculus, who stepped forward.
“Are you the one in control of this academy and the Dungeon Lord upstairs?” he asked.
“…” the old principal looked at me first and then said “Yes. I thought I made that clear already.”
“Just checking. I’m here to inform you that this… peaceful visit has come to an end. I will depart together with Ayuseya today. You will come with us to make sure we safely reach the next town. Do I make myself clear?” Dankyun asked.
“Yes…” Tuberculus replied clenching his staff and lowering his eyes.
It was their complete defeat. Even if he wanted to, he knew he couldn’t go against Dankyun’s words.
“Very well! I’ll let my soldiers know of this as well. We shall depart in about an hour or so. Oh! And your forest is in flames. I would put that out if I was you. As for Nanya, she’s somewhere in a pile of trash near the dormitory.” he said it as if it wasn’t important, but with it, he practically declared that if anyone dared to go against him, they wouldn’t come out unscathed.
“We understand…” said Tuberculus.
With that being said, we walked over to the exit, which was being blocked by piles of furniture. Dankyun didn’t bother digging his way through it, he unsheathed his sword and walked over to the room next to it. With four fast and powerful slashes, he cut a big hole in the wall and kicked it over. We went through and were greeted by his soldiers.
It appeared some of them were injured, but they didn’t suffer any significant losses. They still were in a pretty big number as far as I could see, however, none of them greeted or bowed down to me as their princess. Their loyalty was only to Dankyun, but that much was to be expected.
As soon as he gave them the orders, the soldiers picked up the camp and prepared the horses. They finished packing in about an hour after he ordered them to, just as he said. Meanwhile, I stood by Dankyun’s side. He didn’t let me out of his sight even for a moment. Since all of my stuff was still inside Illsy, I had nothing to pack.
“It’s time to go, Princess Ayuseya.” he declared and offered me a seat on his horse.
I nodded and smiled like a good little trophy wife.
I hope Nanya and Illsy will be alright… I thought as I looked back at the academy.
“I’ll take these. You won’t need them for now.” he told me and took away the blackboard.
Again, I smiled and nodded at him, letting him do as he pleased.
The headmaster joined us shortly after. He was packing light, just enough for a trip to the city and back. Dankyun placed him between his commanders, and we departed like that, without saying good bye or even looking back. The journey was going to be slow. At a pace that would take at least eight or even ten hours until we reached Therion city.
For most of the time, I tried to ignore everyone around. To ignore their presence because I could feel Dankyun’s arms around my waist. They were strong and kept me still as if afraid I was going to run away from him with the first chance I got.
It reminded me of that night with Illsy, when he pulled me in his embrace. His arms weren’t strong, but they weren’t weak either. Illsy was gentle and didn’t worry I would run away. If I believed I would feel better, he would let me do it. If I wanted to pull back, I could.
His kiss was so soft, his lips so gentle… Illsy pulled me close because he trusted me. Illsy was caring and didn’t force his smile… Sigh. I made a mistake didn’t I? I thought and then looked up at the branches above us.
Each step we took brought us farther and farther away from the only man who was true to me, but I was too much of a fool to recognize his worth.
No… I was scared of him. I shook my head. I was scared of how honest he was. Isn’t that foolish? I looked down at Dankyun’s hand around my waist. It was so different from his, but my heart clearly knew which one it desired.
I closed my eyes and let my thoughts fly back at the times I spoke with Illsy, at his words, at his touch, at his gaze, at his gentle presence. Speaking of which, he never did make his fog of darkness appear until Dankyun got here. He was a dungeon who didn’t want to kill.
My foolish dungeon lord husband… I said to myself.
Those simple words made me smile.
It made wonder what I could have gained if I didn’t act so foolishly. It made me wonder what it could have been if Dankyun simply didn’t exist. Maybe I wouldn’t have met Illsy at all.
Guess that’s the only thing I can thank Dankyun for… He made me flee from Teslov and meet Illsy, but now… I thought about my future with this monster. He was going to be the first one to touch me at night, the one I would wake up next to, the one whose children I would bear.
My fists clenched tight around the reins. I didn’t want that to be my future. I hated it…
We stopped after three hours to let the horses rest and eat something. Dankyun’s commanders gave each of them a stamina potion diluted in water and some hay. Meanwhile, we took the moment to eat something, but I wasn’t given the same food as the soldiers. I received dried hare meat and some fruits.
This small stop lasted for only twenty minutes and then we were back on the horses. We moved fast because Dankyun wanted to leave Illsy’s territory before he waked up. Even if he did, with me and Tuberculus as hostages, he wouldn’t attack them. Besides, I told him not to until he grew stronger.
Note from the Author: This is a bit of a long chapter, so I tried my best to split it into 4 parts for easy reading. As a note, it’s over 10k words.
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