Dark clouds covered Dekuch’s sky.
Before rainfall, people were getting home in a hurry.
“It’s going to rain.”
Whispered Raiz, as Unicorn healed the back pain of elders.
“You’re right. Tonight might get stormy.”
Commented his subordinate, while the people who were getting healed looked up at the sky, worried about the changing weather rather than happy for the treatment.
“That would be bad.”
Raiz wore a stiff expression.
“Mh? What would be bad?”
“Well, since our guild is just a hut built with little money, a storm might destroy it.”
It wasn’t a joke or an exaggeration.
Raiz bought a piece of land outside Dekuch, but given Dragon’s size, buying enough for him became quite expensive.
Since the tamer was the first bearing his surname, he didn’t want to live in someone else’s land like a commoner. He wanted to own the land he’d live in.
Obviously, even though he technically was a noble, acquiring or selling a piece of land wasn’t that easy. Money and connections were needed, but Raiz didn’t have both, so he simply bought the rights to rent his land.
Raiz had to follow the same rules that bound rural nobles who moved to the capital to build their estate.
He had to pay some kind of tax to the feudal lord, which could be unnecessary with the right connections. That was the reason Raiz was running out of money.
“Around this time of year, tempests like this are frequent, that’s why the buildings here are quite solid. Didn’t the carpenter told you anything about this when he was helping with your shop?”
Asked an old woman.
Thinking about it, Raiz remembered that the man told him something along those lines.
But he didn’t expect that time was already coming. That’s why the hut wasn’t really solid.
“I… kind of remember something like that…”
“Oh my! You should go ask for a new building right away! It’s not like these storms are rare! The son of the carpenter is now married, and soon her wife will give birth to their child. I’m sure he will prioritize your request. He needs money for his family, after all.”
So the carpenter’s son followed his father’s steps…
Raiz asked the elder people how much would it cost for a new house.
“Thank you, horse. I won’t feel the seasonal pain, now.”
“I told you to stop calling me that!”
Replied the upset unicorn.
It was already a frequent exchange of words.
“When it rains, my old scar hurt, but now, thanks to Sir Uni, it’s just a distant memory!”
“Don’t call me strangely!”
Remarked the unicorn, and the old man burst into a loud laughter.
The equine was building way too much stress.
And then, his savior appeared.
A young girl ran towards them.
“What’s wrong, Mei?”
Asked the old woman with a soft voice.
“It will rain soon, so mom sent me to call you.”
“Oh, thank you, sweetheart.”
After Unicorn’s treatment, she stood on her feet and took her grandchild’s hand.
“Here, today’s wage. See you again, horse.”
“Bye Bye! Drop by whenever you want!”
Instead of shouting at the old woman, he replied with a cheerful tone.
Everything was fine when little girls were around him.
“We should return home too.”
One after the other, the elders started to walk home.
“We are finished, then.”
Raiz and his subordinates did the same.
“Soon we will have enough money to build a new house.”
“I hope our hut won’t be blown away.”
Commented Unicorn laughing up his sleeve.
“This is bad.”
Sighed an anxious Raiz.
The downpour started as soon as they got back, and he darted to the guild’s office.
Inside it were Lamia, Harpy and those monsters who couldn’t handle the rain like Salamander.
As time passed, and the rain grew heavier, the wind became a squall, and the hut started to creak loudly.
From the cracks that formed in the roof, water started leaking, and buckets were used to contain it.
There was no telling when the wind would have blown the roof off, but suddenly, the hut’s screeching stopped.
“Wait, is it over already?”
Raiz thought that it was unnatural for the storm to end like that and tried to open the door.
He faced a wall.
It was a huge aggregation of scales that pulsed slightly.
The colossal beast stood in front of him.
“The hut’s noise was annoying.”
He was using his body and wings as a shield against the wind and rain.
It was only thanks to him if the hut didn’t crumble that day.
“Sorry for bothering.”
“No problem. Not like I can do anything else.”
Raiz pondered over his words.
Dragon’s complex was quite deep.
“Actually, you are. Thank you, really.”
The tamer stated sincerely his gratitude to cheer the beast up.
“Don’t mention it.”
Seeing his wry smile, Raiz thought that he had to find him an occupation as soon as possible.
He kept thinking as he closed the door and returned inside.
That’s when it happened.
The door resounded like it was being hit by something.
At first, Raiz thought that the wind and rain changed direction, but since Dragon didn’t move, it couldn’t possibly be the bad weather.
When Raiz opened the door, the son of the carpenter stood there drenched.
“Aren’t you the son of the carpenter? What’s wrong?”
The town wasn’t really far, but walking in that storm was extremely dangerous.
Pieces of buildings or rocks could be thrown around by the wind, and there was the risk to run into dangerous monsters.
He was lucky to be simply soaked.
“I beg you! Lend me your horse!”
The man clung to the tamer and begged him in panic.
“Calm down, Sir.”
Raiz was surprised by his actions but told him to pull himself together.
That was the best way to overcome difficulties and survive even on the battlefield.
The tamer sent his subordinates a signal with a gesture of his hand behind his back.
Lamia started to set up everything for nighttime, Kelpie prepared some water and Salamander lit the cooking stove.
The man asked for a horse in a hurried state, so he was probably referring to Unicorn.
Harpy called Dryad, who read the mood and released a sweet aroma that calmed the man.
Lamia offered him a cup of hot water. Their guild still hadn’t the luxury of tea.
“Ah… Thank you. It’s hot!”
He got burned when tried to drink it, so he started to blow on it and sipped slowly.
Thanks to that, his cold body returned warm.
It helped him calming even more.
“Has something happened?”
Asked again Raiz.
The man spoke in a hurry, but this time he was more composed than before.
“My wife is going to give birth. It shouldn’t be time yet, but something pierced through a wall of our house due to the wind, and the shock made the contractions start!”
“Where is the town’s midwife?”
Facing the panicked man, Raiz calmly tried to give him a solution.
“She is helping in a nearby town! She said she would come back in time to help us, but now it’s impossible…”
Her experience made her predict the day when the man’s wife would give birth to their child. That’s why she decided to go. It was normal for her to help nearby towns or villages when there were many women in need.
“Please! Lend me your horse to help her!”
As he clung again to Raiz, the tamer shook his head apologetic.
“Unicorn’s magic can help for injuries and diseases, not for childbirth.”
The man hugged his head and fell on his knees.
“What about lending him a fast monster to retrieve the midwife?”
Tried to suggest Lamia. Some monsters could withstand the wind without great efforts, but this time the carpenter shook his head.
“Impossible. It would take two days to reach her with a horse. No matter the monster, in this storm they won’t make it in time.”
He was right since they had to count the time to return.
The worst-case scenario was his wife and child’s death.
“If it could fly… no, it’s nothing.”
She tried to say something but immediately stopped as soon as she thought a bit more about it.
“Fly? Right! There are monsters who can fly!”
The man clung to that thread of hope.
“Sir carpenter, there’s a storm outside. This is too much for a lot of flying monsters.”
Raiz stepped into the conversation.
It’s true that a monster who ignored the ground’s conditions would be usually faster, but with that weather, even flying ones would have huge difficulties to reach their destination, and it would be extremely dangerous.
“Is there… no way…?”
The carpenter’s face was stained again with despair.
“Cutting through this storm is child’s play for me.”
A strong voice resonated in the building.
It was the voice of the beast that was protecting the hut.
“I heard everything. I can reach that town quickly, so entrust it to me, Master.”
His words were brimming with confidence.
It wasn’t impossible for the strongest monster.
“Dragon, could you take us with you and retrieve the midwife for the carpenter?”
“Leave it to me!”
Dragon’s voice reverberated in the man’s chest, and made him gather the courage to get on his feet.
“Dryad, come with me and protect us. Lamia, go to our client’s home and explain what you’ve seen when we get back.”
“As you wish!”
“On my way!
“Great, let’s go!”
The carpenter, Lamia, Dryad and Raiz left the hut right away.
“We’re in your hands, Dragon.”
“I won’t let you down.”
Dragon lowered his body and waited for them to mount on his back.
“C’mon, climb over him.”
Raiz urged the man as he scrambled up the beast.
As he nervously imitated the tamer, his foot slipped probably because of rain and fell.
But Dryad, who was watching him from behind, caught him midair with her vines and placed him on Dragon’s back.
“You are welcome.”
The three of them were now ready, and Dryad intertwined her vines in a semicircular dome that enclosed them.
After its completion, she opened some gaps on it to make seeing outside possible.
Dragon checked if they were good to go, then spread its wings and soared to the sky.
Screamed the carpenter, probably because it was his first flight experience.
“Tell Dragon where to go.”
“Y-Yes! The town is at the foot of that mountain!”
“There it is! It’s that one!”
Thirty minutes later, they were about to reach their destination.
“Great, land here! I’ll go take the midwife!”
Swooping down where he was asked to, the carpenter jumped down the beast’s back and darted to the city.
“Seems like we will make it in time.”
“Yeah, all thanks to Dragon. You really are the strongest.”
“This is easy for me.”
Dragon replied coldly, but pride resounded in his words.
Raiz came up with something.
“I’ll try to ask them about it when we get back home.”
“Master, is everything all right?”
“Yes, I had an idea.”
When the carpenter brought the midwife, she was so shocked to see a dragon that nearly fainted, but in the end, they got back to Dekuch and everything worked out for the best.
“We are about to start our travel!”
Announced Dragon with a cheerful voice.
“Our destination is Lestay. We will stop at Hamitra and Pishien. Be careful to not lose anything on the way.”
The people on his back tightly held onto their luggage.
“Here we go!”
Dragon headed toward Hamitra flapping his mighty wings.
Raiz watched him amused from the ground.
“Seems like our Dragon Express is quite appreciated.”
After that the childbirth’s issue was solved, Raiz prepared a meeting with the town chief and merchants to propose Dragon as a transportation service.
It was faster than horses, it was impossible for monsters to attack him and it could transport a massive amount of luggage.
People were startled by that proposal, but at the same time were also captivated by it.
The Dragon Express was terribly expensive compared to a normal horse-drawn carriage, but it saved a lot of time, and there was no need to hire mercenaries to be protected.
It was extremely tempting for merchants who sold the moment’s trend and for sellers of expensive accessories.
Accepting some suggestions, Raiz created a system that allowed people to descend before the last stop, if they wanted, at a reduced price.
Contrary to a stagecoach, the Dragon Express didn’t have only a destination, and thanks to that, the price of the ride was divided by each and every person who was going to ride him.
Word of this peculiar system spread, so even the nobles and merchants of other cities started to make use of that service.
“I’m glad that now even Dragon has a work.”
Raiz smiled at the vivid image of Dragon that was flying in the distance.
His joy was fed also by the heavy bag of gold coins that he was holding.
“The Dragon Express sure is profitable! We could almost maintain our guild only with it!”
But he didn’t notice how much was the bill for the huge saddles on Dragon’s back that had both a luggage carrier and the seats for people.
The day where he hit the jackpot hadn’t come yet.