A Dragon’s Curiosity - BestLightNovel.com
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While the group talked among themselves, Nisha suddenly received another warning through the spiritual contract between herself and Accalia.
The conversation lulled, and Unico showed signs of noticing similar signs a short while later.
He stopped twirling his dagger and withdrew it into his sleeve.
The elf reacted in a similar manner, throwing Lisa for a loop. Glancing at her friend, the dragon nudged her chin to get her to stand up.
“Prepare yourself for a fight. We have guests.”
Lisa blinked, unable to cope with the sudden announcement. When they encountered the monsters previously, the group usually communicated with hand signs and whispers. Openly talking and preparing for a fight deviated vastly from the previous times.
The youth with the purple gleam on his skin s.h.i.+fted to the side, both of his hands hidden in his sleeves. Considering the trick where he made his weapon vanish, he was already armed and ready.
Lastly, the dragon wielded the spear with her left hand and tensed the muscles throughout her lithe body. Due to her appearance as an elf, her physique seemed quite subdued, yet the explosive energy sleeping inside simmered through and gave off a grave smell of danger.
“What’s going on? Don’t leave me hanging here.”
The blonde girl already understood that there was no need to keep quiet, a considerably quick witted decision, and alternated her gaze between the other two. As it was her first excursion into the Wilderness, even among the lowest rank and file of monsters, she relied on the experience of her seniors, figuratively speaking.
“It seems we do not only need to look out for [Stone Wooled Sheep] on this trip. Remember to stay with us and not agitate them.”
Unico carefully phrased his statement, aware that the other side had already sent someone ahead who was in range to listen. Under his calm demeanor, a dangerous and murderous spirit carefully hid. Compared to his usually easygoing and amiable character, the current dangerous flair coming from him shut the blonde girl up entirely. She gripped the sword and s.h.i.+eld tighter, waiting for the confrontation.
Nisha, on the other hand, felt more relaxed. Even in the face of danger, the elf had enough confidence to face anything. It was also unknown if the other side had dangerous intentions; although, their approach certainly indicated it.
With their formation centering around Lisa, protecting her and reinforcing her at the same time, the bushes on the other side of the clearing parted, allowing several figures to pa.s.s through. Another frame emerged from the side. Earlier, the elf had discovered his presence through her [Spirit Sights] and before that, with her sharp senses. Keeping silent, he joined his group, which seemingly indicated their unspoken intention.
“Good day, ladies and gentleman. Please excuse our intrusion. Can we have your attention?”
Situated in the middle of his entourage, a youth with similar bearing to Unico held his fist in front of his chest and performed a n.o.ble’s salute.
The other young men in his group kept silent and allowed him to a.s.sume the position of a leader, tacitly agreeing to his words. They projected an aggressive flair, armed and ready to fight.
“My name is Declan Cawane, son and heir to the [Cawane Duke House]. You might have heard of me.”
Puffing his chest out with pride, Declan held his nose high into the sky, slightly looking down on everyone else.
In his group of followers, no one else stood forward to introduce themself, likely because none of them had a comparable n.o.ble rank. As the sons of knights or barons affiliated with the Cawane house, they depended on Declan to lead them.
Nisha faintly grinned. She waited and said nothing, not introducing her with her rank. Although the other youth politely acted and spoke, his malicious intention leaked through. Arguing would not work, even if she called herself the member of a higher ranking Duke house; they already had something in mind when approaching the small group of three.
Since Lisa was too afraid and the dragon could not be bothered to act, Unico had to stand up as a man and reciprocate the greeting.
“An absolute pleasure; I am quite sure of that. Friend, what can we help you with? As you see, we are just a small group, going out for the experience.”
While the answer sounded just as polite, the underlying sarcasm subtly took Declan down a notch. The arrogant youth scowled and shot Unico an unfriendly glance.
“You must jest. But you are right, there is indeed a matter you can help me with. No, we can actually help you.
As you can see, we’re a bigger group and can safely hunt [Stone Wooled Sheep]. Three members just seem too few to bring back any contribution points.
I’d really like to invite you to our group, and you can follow us … however, I cannot just take you along for free, right? My brothers have worked hard so far and even sustained injuries.
Therefore, I have a great proposition. You hand over all of your subjugation proofs so far, and you can follow our group. At the end of the day, we will split everything according to contribution. It’s a great idea, right?”
His cheap, winning smile already repulsed the two girls and the young man.
Although the dragon had some inclinations when a large group approached them, hearing their exact plot still disgusted her.
While the overall trend appeared quite benevolent and to some degree, made sense, it only did so on the surface. If the other side really intended to take care if their small group, they would not demand any payment upfront or extort them this openly. None of the present young men even exhibited any wounds. On the contrary, they openly smirked and eyed their intended prey with glee. Although their share would be on the smaller side, gaining small benefits also counted. Following Declan turned out to be the right decision for them.
“A really nice proposal. It’s hard to turn such goodwill down. Nevertheless, we three only came to gain some experience and do not really plan to engage in fights with monsters. Consequently there is little we can contribute to your group. We also do not have any proof of subjugation with us either. Thank you for your time.”
Unico’s handsome face, coupled with his dignified demeanor, distinguished him from the common ma.s.ses. Especially the purple tint of his skin glared under the spa.r.s.e suns.h.i.+ne falling through the leaves. His prestige and honor stood on equal grounds with the heir from the Cawane Duke house.
Particularly the last sentence shut the n.o.ble son completely down. Unico clearly indicated his dismissal, similar to a superior sending off a subordinate.
The thinly veiled smile on Declan’s face froze; their group had looked for an easy target after grinding down a few [Stone Wooled Sheep] with superior numbers.
He had a slightly higher standing than the other n.o.ble sons in his group and needed to establish his prestige in front of them to truly force them into accepting his position. Stone-faced, one of his subordinates from a knight household subservient to his father read the situation and stepped forward to save his honor.
“You all really have no idea how to appreciate goodwill and a.s.sume that you can belong to the same standing as the young master.
I will make it clear for you; hand over all of your proofs and follow us. Work hard and be silent; then, you might get a share of the profits after we return to the academy. It is your fortune to be able to get to know a future Duke and owe him a favor, so fall in line and don’t make things difficult for yourself.”
As Declan’s underling, he lacked the tact to understand the political delicacy involved. Instead of flitting around and exchanging pleasantries, he just came out and made it clear. They were here to extort them and use them as helpers for hard work. Wasting so much time on a trio, which clearly just played around, annoyed him to no end.
“This does not seem quite appropriate? Is this your intention alone, or are you speaking for the whole group?”
For the first time, Nisha intruded into the conversation. While it was unusual for a woman to interject, especially in the rather male oriented society of Leandar, almost all of the various youths that made it into the [Royal Academy] had formidable backgrounds. The future heiresses of the various houses, leaders of the high society, and business tyc.o.o.ns dominating the market all came out of this environment.
A female elf especially garnered attention. Very few n.o.ble houses and trading companies had pure-blooded descendants and lived long lives. Unfortunately, Declan no longer tolerated their resistance. He had to prove himself, regardless of the opposition. Even if the elf had some standing, she would not allow another man to speak for the group and only come out now.
“Shut up. Who cares anyway? I want your points, and you can do nothing about it. We are a big group with more power and weapons. You can follow us and work under us, gain some points, or we are going to beat you up and take them anyway. Who are you? Can you stand up against the whole Cawane house? This is a disgrace.”
Declan’s whole face flushed red. His anger boiled, and he no longer kept up appearances. Ever since he was young, all of his wishes had been fulfilled. The servants did whatever he said; whatever he desired was purchased, and whenever something did not live up to his expectations, he only had to say a word, and it was removed.
Now, there was a heavy expectation on his back. Although no one said anything, Declan knew the house required him to dominate the others and make a name for himself. Even as one of the heirs from the main line, he still had several brothers and cousins that eyed his position and wanted to replace him.
The insignificant group before him had defied him, and he no longer had any issues with subduing them through violence.
“Get ready, brothers. They do not appreciate my kindness; it seems we need to give them a beating to show them the right way.”
“Are you really sure you want to do that?”
Nisha’s mood made a complete turnaround. Instead of being annoyed at the spoiled youth, she relished the incoming confrontation. Especially in a fight, the dragon never feared superior numbers. In front of absolute power, groups held no meaning. With her [Spirit Sight], Nisha had already ascertained that none of the others had reached the second aura rank, and their mana was even more pathetic. Without a weapon, the elf still had the confidence to defeat them all.
“It’s too late to be afraid! You won’t cry until you see your casket.”
“Do you really think you can do whatever you want on this excursion? That the teachers will allow us to die to monsters or rob each other? You’re so naive.”
The elf shook her head at him.
Although she knew no other humans were in the vicinity or if they truly cared about the wellbeing of their charges, Nisha still argued with the most logical constraint.
After all, they wouldn’t know if there is a teacher around. Let’s see how confident they are.
Most of the teenagers around Declan and his follower frowned, exchanging glances and lowering their weapons. They relied on his name and prestige to act out like this, but if they got in trouble with the academy, it would not be worth it.
“You are bluffing! The teachers won’t interfere, even if we beat you up. Do you think they care about a few commoners?”
Declan had some information from the older brothers and a few of his sisters who attended the academy previously and had already graduated.
He knew the fastest way to gather contribution points. Instead of risking limb and life to slay a few measly monsters, it was more convenient to press others to join his group and surrender their spoils of war to him.
“Are you absolutely sure? There are many more teachers this turn, since there are more students around. If they are watching the situation right now, will they allow you to steal our proofs?
Well, let’s push that aside. Even if you disregard the academy, the teachers and those behind the Royal in the name, can you be absolutely sure that you will succeed in mugging us?
I, for my part, will not give in and resist to the point of death. Who wants to be the first?”
A small fireball ignited in her right palm; the left twirled the spear, which gained a black and red gleam from br.i.m.m.i.n.g with aura.
Additionally, three more fireb.a.l.l.s appeared freely, floating in the air. What shocked the large group the most was the chantless incantation. Even if it were only a low-ranked spell, chantless casting meant that the true ability was greater than the spell itself.
Not to mention the three freely floating fireb.a.l.l.s, it indicated high control, mana, and mental strength.
More than a few paled and completely pointed their weapons to the ground. Uncertain about their future actions, they glanced at their leader, Declan.