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Palcemith, an ancient and abundant kingdom in the continent of Yugena with a two thousand year old history. Famous for its coexistence with dragons, the Kingdom of Palcemith faced a major turning point one thousand years ago. With the blessing of the ancient dragon Kharis, the country continued to experience the ebbs and flows of prosperity and decline.
A boy was born to a young couple residing in a village along the banks of the river Luft.
Born with silver hair and jade eyes, with a small scarlet birthmark on the back of his neck, and a surprising intellect. His gentle parents, wishing to send the intelligent boy to an academy in the capital, toiled every day to save for his tuition.
Near the settlement where they lived, was a forest made up of tall, gigantic trees. .
Deep inside it stood two solitary memorials next to one another. With no engraving on the smooth surface nobody knew who they belonged to. But the boy returned to the forest time after time, with flowers in hand, and after placing the bouquet against one of the gravestones he would lean on it and offer his prayers.
Puzzled by his actions, when his parents asked him why he would do so the boy answered, “Because it’s a dog’s grave.”
His parents were perplexed by the reason, they had never owned a dog after all, and in response to their confusion the boy just gave an ambiguous smile.
When the boy turned ten.
Tragedy struck his family.
His parents, who had gone to work in the capital, lost their lives when they got caught up in a duel between nobles. .
Angered, shocked, and saddened by the misfortune that struck the family, the people of the village each offered to take in the orphaned boy. But he refused, expressing a hope to enter the Shrine orphanage.
The Shrine’s orphanage was dedicated to the education of brilliant children, and so the boy’s wish to study would most certainly be granted.
After receiving recommendations from numerous people, it was decided that he would be sent to the orphanage.
The day before he left the village.
As always, the boy, with flowers in hand, went to pay his respects to the gravestones within the forest. There, to his surprise, he came across a small creature cowering before the gravestones. .
Pressing its tiny body against the gravestones, warmed by the sunlight filtering in through the trees, a little puppy slumbered, breathing softly. Did it wander off from its parents, or had it been abandoned by someone? His legs were plump for those belonging to a puppy, his black coat tinged with red and his tiny forehead had a small bump on it, a sign that hinted at the appearance of a third eye.
As the boy inched closer, one step at a time, the puppy’s ears perked up and he quickly rose to his feet, letting out a low growl.
Tears fell from the boy’s eyes.
Kneeling on the ground, the boy smiled with child-like wonder. Wiping the tears from his eyes, he held both his hands out towards the puppy.
The puppy blinked its eyes and timidly approached the boy, placing a paw on his lap.
Lifted up lovingly by the boy, the puppy licked his cheek. As the boy hugged the puppy he sobbed for a long time, comforted by its warmth.
The puppy rested its head against the boy’s shoulder, bewildered, and was silent. However, the moment it sniffed at the circular birthmark on his nape, it whimpered softly.
The boy gently stroked its fur and murmured softly.
“…I remember our promise. I’ll take you along, Jolga.”
The next day.
The villagers who came to see him off on his way to the capital were surprised to see him with a puppy, carried in a sling wrapped around his body like a babe. Though they knew it was common for those who have lost family to seek solace in an animal, and so they sent him off without a word.
As the carriage ambled on towards the capital, the boy was absorbed in reading a book given to him by the village chief as a parting gift.
The love story of the Goddess Loved by the Moon, Julieta and the Holy Knight Sigurd. The defense front the Head Priest Malacia and the Leader of the Temple Knights, Lutora had set up against the demons. The tales of the various adventures of the great war god Jolga and the last Sage Anderheim, as they traveled around the world. The seven ordeals that were challenged by Prime Minister Morino and the Twin Knights. The wise queen Vanellope who joined hands with King Vikram.
All the reformations in national politics that had occurred simultaneously.
The book that was given to the smart boy was a rather difficult read, in it was a collection of stories about great men and women, but the boy was hooked on it.
When he arrived at the capital, instead of allowing the carriage to take him to the temple, the boy got out in front of the gate to the western hill.
Stroking the head of the puppy peeking out of the sling, and after a brief walk down the lone path leading from the west gate, he saw a huge stone statue enshrined on the hill, surrounded by greenery.
“Lad, are you here to pray to His Grace Kharis?” “
On his way to the top of the hill, he was called out to by a few of the Temple Knights patrolling the area. .
There were no demons in this place, and because it was a particularly peaceful area, even within Palcemith, the Knight on patrol seemed to be taking it easy.
“Yes. I turned ten this year, so I came to pay my respects to his Grace.”
“Ah, that’s good dedication. In the old days, no matter where a child was born, when he or she reached the age of ten, they would go to pay their respects to His Grace Kharis. Nowadays, children and their parents don’t come to greet them because they feel it’s too much trouble. It’s sad to see our old customs grow obsolete.”
“But even if you say that, it’s been more than 700 years since His Grace Kharis was last alive and ‘moving’, isn’t it? It can’t be helped if a custom of talking to a mere silhouette of a dragon, a stone statue that cannot speak, becomes obsolete.”
A thousand years ago. After the Goddess of the Silver Moon Julieta had offered to him the half of the body he had been robbed of, the ancient dragon Kharis, who had regained all his power, came back to the surface of Palcemith. And despite this being the very nation that had sealed him underground for so long, the ancient dragon Kharis, out of gratitude towards Julieta, who had freed him, decided to not let the blessing die out and instead made Palcemith his home.
And ever since Julieta’s death the ancient dragon had slowly grown lethargic. And 700 years ago, he had curled up to sleep, unable to be awoken ever since. His silver scales had turned grey and solidified, and although the mana that flowed out from his body did not diminish, the ancient dragon’s massive body, which had overwhelmed everything, eventually transformed into a giant stone statue.
After saying his goodbyes to the knights, the boy followed the path into the forest and reached the foot of the dragon so tall he had to crane his neck to look at it.
The origin of the faith that encompassed all of Palcemith, to whom people used to flock to offer their prayers, the ancient dragon Kharis. Now, all who waited upon him were the tiny birds that rested their wings on his petrified nose, twittering sweetly.
The boy hugged the puppy close to his chest and somehow managed to climb atop the stone statue of the dragon that slumbered with its head resting on its front paws.
And then the boy.
Brought his face close to the slumbering dragon’s ear.
He softly whispered.
“Did you have fun, Your Grace Kharis?”
The boy’s words traveled deep within the stone statue.
At first there was only a small rumbling inside the stone statue.
It slowly grew louder, and the trees of the forest and the earth shook violently, swept up in the powerful tremors that accompanied the undulation.
The gray stone that masked the dragon’s silhouette cracked like an eggshell, peeling away to reveal the glittering silver scales beneath.
His silver-scaled eyelids slowly opened, his beautiful crimson eyes the shade of pomegranate seeds twinkling.
The ancient dragon Kharis roused his huge body and gently caught the boy and the puppy, who were about to slide off his head, with his large palm. Meeting his gaze with the boy holding the pup like that, he lifted his long neck and his giant tongue softly licked the nape of the boy, who locked eyes with him, chin up.
“…Yes, I’ll accompany you. To the end of the world.”
There was no mistaking the ancient dragon’s words.
Seeing the boy speak with a smile, and lightly nodding, the ancient dragon Kharis narrowed his eyes.
“Grooooooowl! ! ! ‘
Looking up at the sky.
The ancient dragon Kharis gave a roar that resounded in all of Palcemith.
Taking along the boy and his puppy with him.
Unfurling the wings on his back wide, he flew into the azure sky.
After the ancient dragon Kharis left.
A fierce blizzard blanketed all of Palcemith, which had lost all of its blessings.
The spirits disappeared, and the sun was shrouded in thick clouds. A vicious plague began to run rampant.
And a little over five years later.
The Kingdom of Palcemith, having enjoyed two thousand years of glory, was wiped from the map of Yugena.
The ancient dragon Kharis, taking the boy and the pup along, flew to the other side of the horizon.
It had been two thousand days since that day.
Hasr: It might be the end of one story, but it’s also the beginning of many others! Pick your choice!
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