Shouyou sighed in relief as she slipped past the last guard, she had thrown on some pant and a loose shirt, and after tying her hair up she looked like a boy. She was free dressed like this, no one would tell her how to act and no one recognised her as the princess, it was perfect. It still didnt stop the sour taste in her mouth that she had to dress like a boy to have freedom.
Her riding boots crunched against the gravel as she made her way to the edge of town where the closest mountain resided. Rumour of a dragon making a nest there filled all conversation and caused worry to spread among the people. While dragons were known to everyone they were solitary creatures so having one take residence so close to a human settlement was worrisome.
The satchel thumped against her hip, it would be a two days journey to the top of the mountain, then another two days heading home, assuming the dragon didn’t kill her. It took two hours for Shouyou to reach the edge of the town, the mass of baddies not helping in the slightest, but she eventually made it to where a dirt path would lead her to the base of the mountain.
She only stopped twice on her journey to rest, no one else had taken the trail, which was bad because the trail was the main trade route with the other kingdoms and if people were to afraid of traveling it, it could really damage relations. It was why her father was trying to get her to agree to marry the prince do there strongest ally, maybe she would have been ok with it had the guy not been such a pervert and scumbag. I mean, who tries to convince their prospective fiancé to bed him on the first night they meet.
So yeah, Shouyou was not onboard with the idea, unfortunately her fathers patience was worn thin and as she feared he had soon forced her hand. She had tried to get them to agree she could run the kingdom but it wasn’t allowed, all because she wasn’t the preferred gender to have any type of power.
The sixteen year old shook the thoughts from her mind as the path inclined slightly deeper, she was at the base. Pulling her water flask from the satchel she took a few gulps before continuing. Traversing the terrain was slightly challenging, but it would have been near impossible if she didn’t have a habit of sneaking out a running in the woods with her younger brother.
The sky was darkening as she found the flattest piece of ground she could. Looking down the sight was beautiful, the town was beginning to light the lanterns by the doors of homes. But what caught her attention was the sky, never had she seen it so clearly, the lights of the town drowning out the stars. The night sky lit up with more stars than she could comprehend, clusters of dots forming patterns she wished she knew the name of, maybe when she got home she could see if the library had a book on stars, she was sure Natsu would enjoy it as well.
She sat on the ground, a cool breeze blowing around her, nice after a day of walking in the sun. She took out a quarter of the rations she packed, some bread and berries since she hadn’t dared to take meat. She sat and ate, the light of stars more than enough so she didn’t bother with lighting a fire. She soon found herself falling asleep, thoughts on how to behave should you meet a dragon running through her head as she remembered them from a book she had read and re-read many times.
Tooru heard the human approach before he saw them and wondered if it was another knight sent to chase him off. He quickly discarded the idea as he heard no armour rattling, or heavy footsteps as knights were not used to the terrain of the mountain. Ways to scare the person off fled his mind as a small ginger haired human came into view, no traces of fear, only cautious curiosity.
Well that was intriguing, not many humans had looked at him and not immediately been terrified or tried to hurt him, yet the human simply walked and sat down in front of him. Neither did anything, both just looking at each other. It was because of this observation that Tooru spotted the knife hanging by the others waist, so they weren’t completely stupid as not to come unarmed.
“Beautiful,” Not what Tooru was expecting, but he still preened under the compliment. His species were prideful by nature and he was no different. Lowering his head Tooru got another small of the person in front of him. Scents could tell a lot about a person, it was something all dragons knew, it how they knew who to trust and who to be wary of. The human in front of him smelled like dust, but not in a bad way, more in a library only used by one person kind of way, it would also explain the smell of ink. But what was strange was the smell of something distinctly female, not that that is a bad thing, it’s just the different human genders smell different in an unexplainable way.
Not judging the girl in front of him a threat Tooru relaxed, the girl stood back up and started to walk around him, sometimes leaning close but never touching him. The sound of footsteps retreating further into the cave made him stand and follow the girl, she stoped in front of the hoard he had collected over the years. He made no move stop her, if she touched anything without permission then he would make sure she was to scared to come back.
However the threat didn’t appear necessary as much like earlier when she was looking at him, she stepped close but never touched. “It’s a really pretty hoard,” that shocked him, it was a genuine compliment on something he worked hard on, as much as dragons loved to be complimented on their looks having their hoard complimented was the fastest way to make a dragon happy.
Tooru found himself doing something he never thought he’d do in front of a human, he purred. He watched as the human turned and looked at him with wide eyes, her reaction not surprising considering the fact that dragons purr wasn’t well known among humans.
He soon found himself enjoying the girl’s company. It and become common, every two week Shoyou would sneak off from the castle to visit him. He was free to shift between his dragon form a human form, but chose to lay as a dragon in the sun, light blue and white scales soaking up the heat.
Shouyou’s posture was different as she walked up to him, no smile to be seen on her face. Tooru moved to lay on his stomach, head held up and looking straight at the princess. She sat next to him and curled up into a ball, he would have found it cute had she clearly not been distressed. He cooed softly at her, not being able to speak the human younger in his current form. Luckily she understood what he was prompting her to do.
“Remember how I told you that my father was going to marry me off, well it has been made official. I’ll be moving to his kingdom, I won’t ever get to see you again,” the look on her face accompanied y her words broke his heart. She had always shown a distaste for her fiancé and a desire to never marry him and now her own father had forced her into an arrangement where she would not be happy. Tooru quickly changed into a human, his bigger frame enveloping her in a hug as he spoke in her ear.
“Then I’ll take you away, you’ll never have to see him again. I can take you too my home, and you wouldn’t be the only human there either. What do you say Shouyou?” Torun held his breathe, he had wanted to ask her to go with him for a while, fear of rejection stopped him from ever asking though.
Pure elation filled him as Shouyou quickly nodded, shifting back to a dragon, he crouched as low to the ground as possible. He shivered as he felt her touch his scales, the only reason he never let her touch them before was because dragons became protective of things that touched their scales. He had explained it to her before, though there was no need since she already knew it, meaning she touched his scales with full knowledge that she would be apart of his hoard.
He keened when she complimented his scales, and waited until he was sure she wouldn’t fall off during the flight. It was just under a days journey, Tooru going as fast as he dare without the risk of losing Shouyou. She was greeted and excepted into the nest easily, getting along with the other humans and dragons.
Word spread quickly of the missing princess, but no one in the nest cared.