I endure the unpleasant feeling from the wet and muddy water covering my clothes and body, while holding onto the leather flask and rinse out my mouth. Dran who sees me in such a state, puts up a troubled look. Unlike me, who is suffering from the muddy water covering my body, Dran on the other hand is completely dry from head to toes.
When I give him a curious look, he shrugs his shoulder and then gives out a small laugh. I wonder if I did something strange? Or is there something funny while I am rinsing my mouth?
“You should hurry up and get the mud off of you, or else you might catch a cold. You do have spare clothes right?”
Dran was telling me so as his eyes gestured toward the bag I am carrying over my shoulder. With muddy water covering the bag, I hardly think that the contents inside are actually safe.
But it’s alright!
When I decided to walk through this swamp, I carefully wrapped food and clothes inside the bag just in case they get wet. And what do you know? It was very helpful to be prepared just for this occasion.
When I try to rinse my mouth one last time, and making sure not to be seen by Dran, I spit it out and wipe my lips quickly. Was that a bit too vulgar? My Mom might get angry if she see this.
“Yes, since there are places inside the Lizard’s house, I can probably change my clothes.”
After I said that with just a little bit of pride, Dran smiles again. It wasn’t a strange thing to say so why does he laugh? Does this man have some ill-personality?
As I approached him in order to return the flask, he takes it while saying.
“Since Selia is different from what I had imagined what a Lamia would be like, it is quite interesting. Oh, and since when we met, Selia had putted up a puzzling look, but because of the circumstances, that had faded away. I think it would be a good idea for you to be more wary of Humans.”
Hearing what Dran is saying, I agree with him. Dran is a Human. While I am a demon Lamia. A Human being scare of Lamia is a given, it wouldn’t be hard to believe if Dran points his blade at me. After the fight with the Berserk Earth Spirit a while ago, I carelessly forgot what I shouldn’t have. The truth is I did not intend to get so close and stretch out my hand to hand him the flask.
“Oh, er, please, I’m sorry.”
While not knowing what to say, I apologised to Dran. Then Dran shrugs his shoulders. That gesture suits him very well.
Dran has bright, gentle blue eyes. With the same color of a day with clear sky, it is the color that helps calm one’s mind. If you look at Dran’s eyes, your heart and mind will no doubt be settle. I wonder why Dran didn’t attack me when he could have easily done so. Does he have another motive?
“There is no need to apologies. I did not intend to cooperate with you either. Apart from that, finish changing your clothes.”
Apparently, Dran is not going to tease me.
Since my parents taught me not to approach a man carelessly, this honest Human being is quite scary. Therefore, I am able to feel relief in Dran’s gentle words and expression.
Now that both side have understood that there is no ill intentions, I can go over to the Lizard’s house where I hid a change of clothes. Dran comes along with me of course. Nobody lives in this small Lizard village anymore, most houses have a collapsed roof, broken walls, no longer have a floor, and overall, it is not a very good place to live in. Still, I managed to find the cleanest looking house for me to hide my clothes and judging from the look of it, it must be the house of the village chief.
While I am changing my clothes and wiping the muddy water off of my hair, Dran is waiting outside the house. Even though I said this was the best looking house, the walls are partially broken and I am nervous that Dran might peep, but Dran stays outside and does not show any signs of checking out the house.
After I finish changing my clothes, I walk out to Dran with a bag that is covered in mud in one hand and a bag where I stored my other stuff on my back. When I see him, his gaze is directed toward the west. That reminds me that the sun is setting in the west and dusk is fast approaching. Because it is still early spring, even as the sun is setting, it is still early.
“It’s bests to prepare the camp soon. I will prepare some food and then dry my clothes. My plan now is to camp here for the night. Selia, what’s your plan?”
“I’m also planning to spend the night here. Because my whole family has a strong water attribute, this place, where water and earth mixed together, is strong so it feels comfortable.”
When I say that the clothes might easily get wet, Dran looks back with a little troubled expression and walks away to look around the surrounding. In order to prepare dinner, fire is necessary and a place that is away from the wet ground would be better. I point at a tree that had fallen in the distance. It is not completely dried but it is dry enough to sustain a fire. After the sun sets completely, it will be dangerous if the camp is not set up, so it is best if both of us get everything done before that.
When I see that the food I brought from home is safe and that there is enough for both Dran and I, I feel a little happy. We set up the camp away from the swamp, where it’s dry. There’s also a large rock right next to the campsite, heat is radiating from the rock.
To sleep, all you would need is a sheet spread on the ground and a blanket. Also, we have a fire burning in the middle so it won’t get so cold at night. At night, to keep the fire going, Dran and I will have to rotate to maintain it.
Lamia is a species that is weak to the cold. So, I curl up my snake body and put a blanket on top of it and also another smaller blanket for my human top. The blanket for my lower body is what occupied most of my luggage. It is very exhausting to carry it around because it is heavy, bulky, and big. But it is something that I cannot throw away because the night is cold. I get a glimpse of Dran while being inside my blanket, he is eating dried meat with vegetable soup, and sitting comfortably on a rock.
Normally, it is dangerous for a Human to set up camp after dusk and cook with fire because wild animals are usually more attracted to the fire than afraid of it due to the smell of cooking. However it is alright tonight because of my presence. In fear of the demon that I am, no wild animals will dare approach. At times, I feel very lonely knowing that no animals will approach me out of their own will.
While wrapped in the warm blankets, and laying close to the fire, I find it very pleasing to have someone to talk to after such a long time. It surprises me to the point where I wonder when did I want to start talking to another person. And so, I start telling Dran my side of the story.
I was born and raised in a Lamia tribe village in the mountain further North. A baby lamia is born between a Lamia and her husband, which is of another race, living in the village. Within the village, there is a law for a Lamia once she reaches the age of seventeen. At that age, she must venture out of the village to search for her husband. When I turned seventeen, I left the village and am now searching for a husband according to the law.
Lamia is a species with a special trait of being consisted only of women. Boys can also be born from a Lamia but the child has a 100% chance of being the same race of his father, no exception. Therefore, it had became necessary for a Lamia to take a partner from another race, but not just any male.
Long ago, the Lamia tribe originated from Humans, and was cursed by a God. The cursed ancestors of the Lamia passed down their curses to all Lamia, from part-snake body, to venom blood, sweat, saliva, etc. A Lamia chooses her husband base on whether he can withstand her poison or not.
If not, if I…let’s see…yes..or..kiss him when we make children, he might die from the poison, and it would be a horrible death.* Uhhh, my face feels very hot. Because Dran is a good listener, I did not intend to talk about that subject carelessly. When my story is finished, the meal is also finished and the pot is empty.
It is a saying that the bond between an elder brother and a younger brother is strong and it each of them play a role in listening to another’s story at home. In addition, I also mentioned that I’m good at taking care of the village’s children with a proud attitude. But was it a bit childish? I feel like I was being rude toward him. Dran is sixteen this year and I turned seventeen not long ago, because of that, am I the older sister?
While I am holding the dissatisfaction to my chest like that, Dran is cleaning up the pot and spoons to put them away, all the while saying.
“When you’re puffing your cheek like that, you look so childish.”
“Oh, did something come out of my mouth?”
When I replied instinctively in a hurry, Dran is already laughing! My reaction must have been very funny.
“No, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make a fool out of Selia. It’s just that you look cute.”
“I won’t be deceived by such flattery.”
“I am very sorry, I honestly did not intend to offend Selia. Please accept my apology.”
“I think it is a bit troubling. For Selia to sulk…Oh dear! The way your navel is bending doesn’t look very natural, Selia?”
I turn away still irritated by the way I’m being treat like a child. If I turn toward him, he’ll most likely shrug his shoulders and look at me as a spoiled child.
Mmmm, somehow I feel like I am acting more and more childish.
When I think back about it, what I said to him certainly made me look childish. Well…There is no way. If I rise a white flag here, I would be digging my own grave. Once again, I turn toward Dran’s direction and stare at him.
“It’s my loss. I’m childish, OK? As for my navel, it is because it’s where Lamia’s body starts to become snake-like.”
After I reply, I put my hands inside the blanket and wrap my Human part tightly. I wonder how long my legs would be if I was a Human woman. Every Lamia’s navels are the same, my mom, me, and everyone Lamia inside our tribe. After all, we are viviparous and not oviparous.
Wrapping in blanket still, I continue to talk about my parents to Dran. My mother, is of course a Lamia, and my dad is a Human. My mom travels outside the village and hunts, while my dad works on the field in the village, lastly, the housework is shared between three peoples including me.
“My mother once did what I am doing right now. Went on a trip and met my father, became a couple, and came back to the village. Fufufu, mama, and papa are a happy couple.”
Although I haven’t find my “someone” yet, I am hoping that I will meet a good person and start a family just like my mother did.” When my parents told me about their past, both of them had a sorrow atmosphere. Marrying a man of the Human race is easy for Lamia, but it not the same for a Human. Even if they love one another, there are obstacles ahead of them. I stopped asking about my dad’s past after I realized it. My mom and dad love each other and it is not nice to bring them sadness.
“Is that so? A marriage between a Human and another race is practically unheard of. By the way, do you resemble your mother? I would imagine that she is beautiful.”
“She is certainly a beautiful woman, but I don’t exactly resemble her. If anything, I was told that my eyes and my personality is similar to that of my father. Why do you ask?”
“No, nothing important, I just asked out of curiosity. When I saw you back at the swamp, you had an amorous gesture, and charm was also used. Say, did you learn all of that from your mother?”
Uuu, I groan to myself after realizing that I was found out.
Although it is natural for a Lamia to temp the opposite sex, as it’s a characteristic. My charm toward men seem to be poor. Although it is possible to use Magic(Demon) Eyes and put a spell on the partner, but all I can do is to charm others through smiling and making gestures. My mom gave me a detailed lesson before I left the village but that was all I managed to learned, I’m a bad student.
“Mother is very good! It is I that lack talent. I left while thinking that I will be able to manage somehow, but it seems that I am useless in this journey.”
I’m starting to feel dejected, and Dran shows a gentle and caring face, just like my father.
“Don’t blame yourself. We haven’t known each other for even a full day, and even so, I think Selia is a very attractive woman. You are pretty enough just by being yourself. Along your journey, you will surely find your special ‘someone’. I guarantee it.”
I look into Dran’s blue eyes, and I can tell that he is not lying.
Even though he is the first Human I met on my journey, I believe that I can trust Dran without a doubt.
My cheek turns red from hearing Dran’s encouragement and compliments. I’m glad.
Dran goes to such extent to tell me those embarrassing things, I can’t show him my shameful look.
“Uhh, You are flattering me again. But, yes. If you think so then it’s good. I can definitely find a good husband, and introduce him to my parents.”
“That’s the spirit!”
Then it’s Dran’s turn to talk about his family. He tells me everything from his parent’s favorite food, to how they celebrate his birthday. Dran’s family have five people, his mom, dad, younger brother, older brother, and last but not least, himself. But it seems that his elder brother and he are already living outside of their parents’ house. They don’t need to go on a journey, unlike us. Even though he lives in the same village as his parents, to be separate, it must feel sad and lonely. I thought. (T.L. There’s a difference between culture if you can’t tell. :P)
“Don’t you get lonely living alone, Dran?”
“I would be lying if I say no, but my house is near my parents and I could always give them a visit. Compared to me, I think Selia is more admirable. To leave your home, your village, and venture out into the world, all alone.”
“Fufufu, It was something that I knew ever since I was little, so I mentally prepared for it. Beside, I get to go and find my husband with my own eyes so it isn’t all that bad.”
“Is that so? Selia is a strong child.”
Dran replied with a kind smile.
♦ ♦ ♦
Looking at Selia’s sleeping face while her whole body is wrapped in blankets and lying on the sheet laid on the ground, I take a breath, feeling relieved, and go to sleep. Trying to sleep, I realized that I became a lot more talkative as time passed. I look at the sky above, the moon is at the center of heaven, shining with a brilliant silver like it’s the queen of the night sky.
I talk a lot.
Still, Selia and I haven’t known each other for even a day yet, but she has loosened her wariness towards me and is showing me a peaceful sleeping face. If I was a Lamia in this situation, even after the cooperation against the Berserk-Spirit, I wouldn’t easily allow myself to trust a Human. Anyway, she’s already charmed me through her actions and talent in magic, however is that attitude something I shouldn’t have toward my companion?
When we part way after this, Selia might encounter a Human who may very well point their blades at her. Can she protect herself? If I was her father, no, her father is probably worrying about her very much.
The father I loved very much is gentle, with no malicious intent, but all Humans are not the same so I feel anxious. Surely when other people look at my encounter with a Lamia, they would find it very humorous. I wouldn’t need to worry if it were any other Lamia, but with Selia’s personality….
Moving my gaze from Selia’s face, breathing quietly, I look at the night sky. When I was a Dragon, the night sky was filled with stars, countless gems spread across the sky, but now, some of those gems seem to have disappeared. What has happened to them? Did they live out their lives, destroyed by their inhibitor, or destroyed by invaders?
It is only natural as time passes, yet I can’t help but feel sad when lovely things disappear. But why does that matter? Even if stars on the sky blinked out, life on this Earth still flourishes as if nothing happened. I am thinking about a debatable subject and finding the answer is not worth the time, so I close off the sentiment in my mind.
Glancing back at Selia’s sleeping face, the tip of her tail comes into my view. I suddenly have an urge to reach out and touch the tip of her tail. All the sentiments from a while ago disappear and all I can think of now is her scaly tail.
Then, the tip of the tail swings from left to right.
Selia raises her voice in her sleep, her mouth shuts tight and her eyebrows move up. Her golden eyelashes twitch slightly, it feels like the snake princess could wake up at any moment. Selia’s baby reaction is indeed very interesting, I continue to touch her tail while making sure she won’t wake up. Under the moon, Selia’s voice gets louder but it seems to be late, how regrettable, I was having fun too, but I’ll have to stop here.
The next morning, the sun dye the horizon red, I make up my mind to leave the camp while Selia is still sleeping. Fortunately, Selia did not wake up when I was having fun playing with her tail last night. I couldn’t get a good night sleep while thinking about the excitement I had.
Because Lamia is a cold blooded species, they won’t be moving around very much until their body warms up. Thus, I feed more firewood into the fire, enough until Selia wakes up. I gather my blanket, pot, spoon and fork, and put them inside a bag, Then I put my knife inside its sheath and tie it along with my sword onto my belt. It would be bad if Selia wakes up and does not see me around, It’s best to leave behind a note so she won’t get upset.
This should do it.
I walk away from the campsite and walk through the place where the battle against the Berserk Spirit took place. All the traces of unnatural balance seem to have disappeared but there is a shining ore on the ground. The crystal is clear, if I remember correctly, this must be a Spirit Stone. It’s likely that after the spirit was defeated yesterday, the stone materialized and dropped on the ground. The spirit accumulated magical power over ten years, and this crystal holds most of that power, it’s also very high quality in and of itself. Because of the Berserk-Spirit that was here, no animal would dare to live in this place. However, when I scan the area, I see footprints of some wild animals. I decide to walk to the center of the swamp, the place is muddy still so I decide to walk on top of the water.
I use the Human magic I learned from the village’s magician to interfere with the water so it can support my weight. I set my left foot onto the water, seeing that it’s fine, I then move both of my foot on the water surface. Then I proceed to walk toward the center of the swamp.
When I reach the center, I roll up my sleeves, spread out my palm and direct it at the swamp. What I am trying to do now is to search to see if there is a Spirit present. I send out several waves of magic just to make sure.
After a while, I pick up signs of small life form, invisible to the eyes, living here. I wasn’t expecting fish to be here already but, life is coming back to the swamp. It will take some time, that I am sure of. I am happy to see that there is no further complication.
Looking at the Spirit Stone I am holding, I have no need for such a thing. It would be best if the power within this crystal is use to sustain this swamp. Also, I pick up traces of other Spirit Stones. I collect them using magic. When I think back about it, many people view walking on water as a telekinesis ability.
Changing or controlling the weight of an object is the definition of telekinesis so there isn’t much of a surprise there. I learn my magic from the magician family in my village, and they are responsible for my Human magic knowledge.
The Spirit Stone is giving off light even when at the bottom of the swamp. A few small pebbles float up to the surface where I am at. The light being given off of the Earth Spirit Stone is dim brown amber. Each spirit stone has a different color, for example a Water Spirit Stone is giving off a sapphire color. The normal size of a Spirit Stone is the size of a pebble, you can say that this Earth Stone with its size is very very rare. There are seven Earth Spirit Stones and four Water Spirit Stones, for a total of eleven. I wrap them in a cloth to dry out the water. This will do as a souvenir for this trip.
“Good morning Dran! Can you hear me?”
With her luggage all packed up, and on her back, Selia stops at the swamp bank and offers greeting. She waves her hands at me with a smile of her face. Our relationship has gotten very good even if it is only for a day. I walk to where she is, she has her hands clasped behind her back.
“Isn’t that a Spirit Stone? Wow it’s big!”
“It probably due to the fact that the spirit sucked up power around here for a decade.”
Seeing the Earth Spirit Stone on my left hand, Selia lets out an admiration. Selia probably has seen plenty of Spirit Stones before, seeing this abnormal size Stone doesn’t faze her in the least. She must have seen an even bigger one. Because she was a big help yesterday during the battle, it is only right that she deserve this Spirit Stone.
I hand her four Earth Spirit Stones and two Water Spirit Stones. At first, she hesitates to receiving the Stones, but due to her weak personality, after I insist, she reluctantly accepts them. Because I’ve solve the problem at the swamp, there is no longer any reason for me to stay. If I want to head back before it is too late and tell Marco and the others what happened, I should leave soon.
“Hey Selia, I am going to return to my village now. What are you planning from here on?”
“Eh? I would continue to travel further South in search for a good husband.”
“Fumu, even though I am friendly toward you, other Humans won’t be so tolerant toward a Lamia. Keep this in mind.”
“Yes, my parents warned me before too. I am happy that I met a kind person like you, Dran.”
“Selia is a very friendly girl, one that’s hard to come by. I hope that you will find a person you will be happy with. After all, the lifespan of a Lamia is much longer than that of a Human. I think you should spend sometime to understand Humans rather than rushing this matter.”
Selia nod at my words, and I held out my right hand. Selia looking at my action with a surprised face, but she grasps my hand with a smile then immediately after, shows an embarrassed face. Her smile is beautiful, gentle and warm like a flower bud. Seeing the sight as a present, I fully transfer a portion of my spiritual energy through her warm and soft hand.
I gave her the Dragon God class energy instead of Human’s and that surprises her quite a bit. When she was in her village, she no doubt only tasted the energy of a Human, the Dragon’s vigor energy is something she never expected. (T.L. She doesn’t know it’s the life force of a dragon.)
Am I being too careless?
A look of satisfaction can be seen on Selia’s face as well as her tail moving wildly as she receives it.
“I’m sorry. I hope I didn’t surprise you too much. On your way back, I pray to the God that no misfortune befall upon you.”
“Oh, yes, Dran as well.”
“Thank you. I hope you will find a man of your liking. I’m rooting for you.”
We let go of each others hand, I step back, and start to head back to Bern. After a little bit, I look back and see Selia still standing on the same spot. I wave my hand at her, and she responds by waving back. I laugh and continue walking and Selia sees me off until my figure is out of sight.
A lovely Lamia, she was.
On my way back to Bern, I slay two larger bears that attack me. Other than that, the returning trip is normal.
Finally, I arrive at the village’s North Gate. Seeing that the two gatekeepers laughing and spitting jokes, I still cannot not get rid of my worries. Even though I parted with Selia, and also warned her of various things. I still can’t help but feel concerned for her. Given Selia’s abilities, she shouldn’t have any troubles fending off a group of bandits or such.
Don’t worry ok? I keep telling myself.
Although we have a good relationship, there is no feeling of affection further than that. But I feel like I am completely attached to Selia. I do not know whether or not our paths may cross in the future, but it would be nice to meet her again.
[To be continued]
That is all for now. Thanks for reading.
Editors: Takathien, Masadeer, Fate Trooper
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