Chapter no 25 – The Villain

Assistant to the Villain

The Villain’s pulse pounded in his ears when he felt Sage’s keen eyes on him. Clearing his throat, he slowly turned to her, but she was already walking past him, arm in arm with Tatianna.

The healer called out with an astonished expression, “Why would you name the poor animal that?”

Blade’s gaze darted to his, and Trystan narrowed his eyes on the man. He better not share— “Oh, it was just the silliest thing I could think of! A bit of revenge for all the trouble he’s caused me.”

And…the perfect example of the exact wrong thing to say. Excellent. He almost wished the man had just admitted Trystan had suggested the name, given the way Sage’s shoulders stiffened.

She released Tatianna’s arm and marched into the courtyard, the healer right at her heels. “How dare you name that poor creature out of spite, Blade Gushiken!” The dragon trainer looked guilty at the reprimand.

Trystan followed behind them, feeling like a unicorn’s ass.

The back courtyard was one of his favorite areas in the manor. The large space was covered in stone, with clumps of grass and plants coming up through the cracks. The stone archways had suffered since the creature had begun to grow, throwing daily fits as he knocked his chained neck into everything around him.

Unlike now, as he realized the creature seemed eerily calm.

Too calm. “Where is his chain?” The Villain asked, trying to keep himself level with the fire-breathing beast—who was staring right into Sage’s eyes, nostrils flaring. Trystan felt his power move over him like a dark cloud, changing his vision so that all he could see were vulnerable kill spots on the dragon’s scaled skin.

On the left side of a clawed foot, there was a weak point. If he struck it just right, the dragon would topple over onto the ground, paralyzed forever. But he caught the marks from the chains around the creature’s neck, which glowed with scarred-over wounds. That gave him pause.

His power receded back into himself—just as Sage reached a shaky hand up to the beast. “Sage,” he whispered into the ghostly quiet. “I wouldn’t.”

But she kept looking at the creature in wonder, whispering, “Hey, dragon.” Flinching slightly when the creature gave a huff.

“It’s okay,” Gushiken assured. “After I started calling him by a name, he calmed down. He’s as harmless as a house cat.”

“A house cat with wings…that breathes fire,” Tatianna corrected, taking a careful step away from Fluffy.

“Removing the chain likely helped more.” The Villain walked closer to the beast, subtly placing himself between him and Sage. “I’m sure that quelled him. I wasn’t aware…” He felt guilt squeeze his chest. “That they were so painful for him.”

Blade frowned, clicking his tongue, waving the creature over to him. Fluffy turned clumsily on his hind legs, nudging his snout into Gushiken’s hand. “I wasn’t, either, but even if it wasn’t physically painful, it’s not enjoyable for anyone to be chained down. I should’ve realized that sooner.”

Trystan understood that better than most, but he shoved the memory away before it could fully form and tear through the fortress he’d built to keep it at bay. “I’m satisfied…that he seems to be doing better.” The creature turned toward him, a deep wisdom in his slitted gaze. The Villain nearly bent at the waist to bow, granting the creature the respect he was owed.

But he kept his legs firm, trying to keep the reverence in his face hidden behind a facade of indifference. Instead, he turned back toward the manor’s gate, unable to look at the creature a second longer, knowing he’d caused him harm.

“Wait, boss, you didn’t hear the best part!” Blade shouted. The Villain didn’t turn, just halted in his tracks, keeping his back to the three of them. “When I took off the chains, I noticed something interesting engraved on the inside.”

The clanging of metal earned a turn of his neck. Only to see the dragon trainer dragging over a large silver ring so big, he needed to spread his arms to full length to carry it. Dropping it at The Villain’s feet, he pointed to the inside, where small letters were etched.


He ran a finger over the words, his other hand a tight fist as his nails bit into his palms. Both women spied the writing and gasped.

Sage crouched low beside him, placing a gentle hand on his arm and immediately settling his rising magic. “We had the chains in storage before Blade even arrived. Someone signed off on a crate of weapons and equipment being delivered, and this was in it. They came in a shipment we lifted off King Benedict’s trade with Groena. The kingdom to the east. It was my first week here.”

Something was nagging at him, some point he was missing, but the links of this twisted mystery refused to untangle themselves. It seemed they kept coming to loose ends with no real answers, and still an agent of his worst enemy was somewhere in this castle, a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

He’d known that King Benedict was behind the attacks. After all, the king was the one who began this little war between them. But though Benedict may have launched the ships, Trystan was the one who fired the first cannon, and he’d do it again. It was The Villain’s job, after all.

“Benedict knew this was coming to me. He knew Blade would take the dragon, had this made and brought in by his traitor.” He kicked the chains, a flare of anger driving his power to the edges of the courtyard, his magic searching for any weaknesses to claim, to kill. “He’s playing with me.”

His voice was hard and cold as he added, “But I will win this game, get his head on a spit.”

And with that, he strode to the castle gate once more, dark purpose in every footfall. He hoped Benedict was comfortable with the meager advantages he’d collected thus far, because his string of victories was about to come to an abrupt halt.

Rubbing his neck, feeling his own chains tighten there, The Villain smiled. He’d evaporate every chance of hope Benedict and any of his supporters had. Watch them run for their miserable lives as he descended death upon them.

Benedict had been the first person to look upon Trystan’s face and call him a monster, and it was to be his life’s greatest pleasure to remind the king exactly what that meant.

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