Chapter 15: Friendship with Athena
Chen Rui put in a lot of effort in persuading to Paglio while taking the erosion in Paglio’s deadly poison.
When it came to the distribution of the treasures to 4:6, Chen Rui deliberately said it as “6:4”. Paglio jumped suddenly, “Stop dreaming! Greedy guy. It was clearly 4:6!”
Wealth was surely what dragons remember the most. Yet, the symbiotic contract cannot be forged, in all likelihood, this guy had already recalled at the beginning; he was deliberately enjoying it as an amusement.
After Paglio rightfully criticized the greed of the human ally, he took Chen Rui to the Peg’s Solitaire to show off his achievements in the past few days. Sure enough, the poison dragon had been indulging in it since Chen Rui left.
Chen Rui looked at the four remaining pebbles in the board and didn’t comment. He reorganized the chess and started moving it. Looking at the last three pebbles in the board and counted the number of steps used by Chen Rui, it was the poison dragon’s turn to be hurt finally. Actually, Chen Rui had a simpler way. The highest “genius” level; able to complete the chess in only 18 steps; leaving only one piece in the center of the board. Of course, this method wasn’t his original idea, but the wisdom of the ancestors.
Whether it was Huarong Dao or Peg’s Solitaire, Chen Rui had made a smart choice to not use the most advanced solution that he knew, in order to give these users more interest and imagination.
Sure enough, Paglio was more interested when he heard that there were simpler moves. However, it wasn’t time to play. The poison dragon looked at Athena in the distance and shouted, “Woman! Master Paglio wants to eat barbecue. Go hunt some prey. Your man will stay with Master Paglio to play chess!”
This guy’s memory of the barbecue is great instead! Chen Rui looked at Paglio contemptuously. Athena knew that barbecue was one of the conditions from the “agreement” with poison dragon previously. She didn’t say much and quickly disappeared from their sight.
“This woman is of a mutant bloodline, and she has two forms. Even if the demonic form during battle does not meet your aesthetic standard, the usual state should be quite beautiful.” Paglio squinted his eyes, “How? Did you manage to get her to the bed?”
“You will only think using your lower half body! How am I capable of that?” Chen Rui said with annoyance. “Actually, Athena is a nice person; she is to her friends, so I don’t want to deceive her. We’ll just be a friend. She would most likely help too.”
“Whatever, as long as it serves the purpose,” Paglio smirked, “However, we have two maxims in the dragon kind. There is no true friendship between men and women. Friendship is the beginning of love. It’s considered that you succeeded in taking the first step; you’re indeed a despicable man!”
Chen Rui knew he couldn’t argue with the poison dragon and said, “Paglio, don’t go out of topic. Since Athena isn’t here, let’s start learning the Draong Inscriptions.”
When Paglio heard that, he also became serious.
Inscriptions referred to engraved text, which was divided into yin and yang texts according to the concave and convex forms. The Dragon Inscription was an incantation carved by a special spell of the ancient dragon. Every single inscription contained abstruse meaning; it was able to exhibit great power. As the user’s strength and the understanding of the inscription increased, the power of the inscription increased. As it was too abstruse, there weren’t many dragons could master this.
A series of inscriptions arranged according to certain rules could exert a power that was several times the total of individual inscriptions. Although the power of the Dragon Inscription was strong; due to its relationship with creators’ power, the inscriptions were much weaker against the dragons than to other creatures.
Paglio first taught him some basic decomposed glyphs. Chen Rui’s memory was very well, so he remembered very quickly. However, he felt that it was very difficult to understand. He could only memorize them for now and slowly digest later. Noticed Chen Rui’s good memory, Paglio simply taught several more complete inscriptions.
Soon after, Athena returned with her hunted prey and Chen Rui started his work as a chef. The poison dragon only had the leftovers from Alice and others the last time, but this time he could finally enjoy a big meal. After eating the barbecue, Paglio took a branch and picked his teeth casually. He nodded and said, “Okay, you can go now. Remember to come back in seven days!”
“Wait,” Athena hurried up and asked seriously, “Where’s the antidote?”
Paglio asked confusingly, “What antidote?”
This foodie! Totally forgot about the antidote! Chen Rui quickly chimed in to request while hinting Paglio with his eyes desperately. Paglio finally recalled and showed hesitance. He searched in his clothes for a long time and took out three jade green pearls.
Chen Rui thought of the dead skin pills used to trick people in some novels, and he felt an aversion in his heart.
The disgusted look made Paglio furious. He set up a soundproof boundary, grabbed Chen Rui’s collar and said angrily, “You don’t know how to appreciate good stuff! This is Jade Pearl; a special crystal of the poison dragon. Eating it not only recover the injury quickly but also permanently enhance the body’s poison resistance. It takes 200 years to crystallize one pill! Diluting one pill in the water is enough for serving 10 people! The antidote next time, you solve it yourself!”
It turned out to be an all-rounder pill. Chen Rui smiled embarrassedly. Paglio looked at Athena who had already unsheathed her greatsword and prepared to rescue, and he smiled profoundly and loosened Chen Rui’s collar. Chen Rui hinted everything was alright with his gaze to Athena and took her away from the lake quickly.
Athena kept her head low on the back of the tri-horned rhino along the way. She didn’t talk to Chen Rui; she looked really unhappy.
Chen Rui thought Athena was still afraid of the poison in the body, so he handed over a Jade Pearl and said, “Athena, why not you eat the antidote first. We will come back after seven days. We will be fine.”
“It’s all because of me!” Athena suddenly clenched her fists and the long-suppressed feeling suddenly broke out. “I have been remorse these few days. If I insisted on not taking Alice to the blue lake, she wouldn’t be poisoned! I truly want to fight till death with the poison dragon. The people of the Wales Family would rather die from a battle than accepting any threats!”
Chen Rui didn’t think that Athena was so staunch. No wonder poison dragon said it was just a temporary trick. Seeing her truly wanted to fight Paglio till death, he quickly said, “Wait, if you provoke the poison dragon, he will never give the antidote anymore. Isn’t that harming Alice?”
Chen Rui had hit Athen’s soft spot. She sat down dejectedly and the voice brought a rare sobbing tone, “Alice is my best friend and Wales Family is greatly cherished by Lord of Midnight Sun. My father specially sent me to the Dark Moon Estate, I need to protect the Crown Prince, Grimm’s descendants with my life. Yet, I made such an unforgivable mistake! What should I do?”
Chen Rui then realized that Athena wasn’t worried about her own safety but her friend Alice’s. There was a pang of guilt in his heart suddenly “Athena! I swear by my life that you, Alice, Kia’s poison will definitely be lifted. If you trust me, eat the detoxification pill now!”
For the life of the poison dragon and myself, this lie cannot be debunked for the time being. I need to give her psychological comfort first.
Athena raised her head. Her reddish eyes looked shockingly at the man with a firm attitude. She finally nodded, took the Jade Pearl and ate. Perhaps the taste of that supplement wasn’t good, she raised her brows tightly. Only then Chen Rui recalled that a Jade Pearl was enough for 10 people. It seemed to be a bit wasteful.
Athena who had just recovered said, “Chen Rui, you are the bravest human I have ever seen. You are also a responsible man. These few days, I’ve already treated you as a friend. Let me know if you need any help. I, Athena. Wells will never say no!”
“En!” Chen Rui nodded. He was probably the first human she had ever seen. The bravest and the least brave was actually the same person. However, the word “friend” mentioned by Athena made him recall the two dragon maxims that the poison dragon said today. He had an embarrassing feeling suddenly.
“This antidote pill is so spicy. My throat seems to be burning. I am afraid that the little princess will not eat. She is very smart. We need to find a way, if not she’ll realize.”
Chen Rui thought for a moment and said, “I will come up with a solution. You remember not to expose it to her, just act as usual. The thing about the poison dragon must not be leaked.”
Athena nodded, “Don’t worry. Also, the thing about you succeeding the inheritance, I will never tell anyone. It was ordered by Princess Shea.”
“Stop thinking about the sad stuff. I will continue to tell you the story of “Romance of the Three Kingdoms”. This time I will talk about the classic battle between the strongest man of the three kingdoms, three heroes combating Lü Bu.” Chen Rui was relieved. He decided to compensate for Athena with a story. “Lü Bu was the strongest man, the artifact he used was called Sky Piercer, and his mount was called Red Hare…”
Athena’s eyes lit up. She began to focus and listen.
When the tri-horned rhinos arrived at the city gate of Dark Moon City, Chen Rui and Athena were surprised as they saw little loli, Alice put her hands on her hips angrily, blocking the city gate. Behind her were the helpless Kia and a lot of soldiers next to them that was led by a muscular centaur.
Chen Rui recognized that this centaur seemed to be the small leader of the city guards. He was particularly respectful toward Athena when they left the city in the morning.
Athena and Chen Rui came down from the tri-horned rhinos. Alice had a look like “If the princess isn’t happy, there will be serious consequences.” Her first sentence was, “Athena, you aren’t being a good friend! You actually sneaked to the blue lake without bringing me along! If it wasn’t for Ganke reporting to me, I wouldn’t know!”
Chen Rui quickly explained, “Little princess, Athena was commissioned by Master Aldas to protect me at the blue lake while I gather herb….”
“Shut up! You despicable human!” The centaur named Ganke roughy interrupted Chen Rui’s explanation. “I now suspect that you are colluding with the thieves outside the city. Guards! Arrest him first!”
“Chang!” The greatsword at Athena’s back was unsheathed, releasing an intimidating force. The beautiful red eyes showed cold, murderous intentions, “Chen Rui is my friend, I will behead whoever that dares to touch him!”
Athena’s father was the first general of the Empire, George. Wells, and his swordsmanship was reputable in the Dark Moon. The soldiers didn’t dare to move forward. When Ganke saw Athena defended the human so much, he was surprised. “Master Athena, don’t be fooled by this guy!”
Athena waved her hand, the greatsword turned and hit toward Ganke with the back-edge of the sword. Ganke quickly raised the hammer in his hands and blocked. The sound metals hitting each other rang. The centaur, known for their strength couldn’t rival with Athena’s single-handed blow. The centaur got shorter as his two ankles had already fallen into the ground.