Beneath the Dragoneye Moons



Chapter 89– Sing my name, for a thousand years


A note from Selkie

Book 2 just got finished on Patreon, if you want to head over and check it out.

It should, with some luck, be going up on Amazon in the next few days.

It took us a few weeks to travel through the Kadan jungle, and we were nearly out, setting up for the evening, when Julius pulled me aside.

“I’ve finished my pushups!” I said defensively. I’d expected to be berated about them some more, and I ended up doing almost 10,000 in the last few weeks, as the interest-pushups kept piling on.

By some miracle, I’d gotten a natural point in Strength for my efforts. I’d gotten two more points from [Pyromancer] leveling up twice, my burning deforestation efforts paying off slightly.

He shook his head at me. “I didn’t want to talk with you about that.”

“I’ve noticed you’ve changed your sparring behavior.” Julius said to me.

I saluted.

“Yup! I had quite a few long talks with Artemis, and I’ve worked out that holding back in a spar doesn’t help. I was too afraid of hurting someone, and causing harm, but after we worked it out, I’ve come to realize it might cause more harm to someone in the long term by holding back.”

Julius nodded approval.

“The other thing I’ve noticed is your strength seems to be severely lacking.”

I looked square in Julius’s face. A year ago I wouldn’t have been able to talk with him, short of asking for directions to Artemis, let alone square up and confess my faults. Not that I considered my low strength a fault.

“Yup. Only 28. The Fire class is putting some points into it, but the Dexterity trade-off keeps eating whatever few points end up in it.” I said.

“No surprise there. Your speed is finally high enough, that combined with [Running], I’m going to give you some lessons on how to fight like a speedster, and how to counter one. We’re called mage-killers for a reason.” Julius said.

I’d like to think the lessons were about fighting at high speed. They weren’t. They were more focused on how to carefully place a blade, how to use fine control to overcome defenses, how to spot chinks and cracks in armor, and stab a spear into those openings.

How to simply not be there when someone took a swing at you. How to deflect attacks, instead of trying to take them head on. How to redirect force.

I also got to try Julius’s blades, which were entirely unlike the short sword I’d been using. They were longer, slender and curved at the end, designed only to slice. They reminded me a bit of a scimitar, maybe one crossed with a sword. Hard to describe, weapon terminology wasn’t something I was big on.

I also got to show off some new tricks I was practicing. [Veil] was a fantastic shield. When it got hit, it took mana. I’d learned from the fights I’d been in, against the Ornithocheirus, from the adventurers. [Veil] cost me no mana if it didn’t get hit, and I used it to obscure vision, move, then drop it before it could get hit, keeping all of my mana up and preserved. Helped in a fight. I could also put a thin bar up in front of someone’s head, completely blinding them.

It only worked on each of the Rangers once, before they figured out they could just headbutt it and drain my mana. Still, a nifty little trick.

Another trick I was working on was taking inspiration from Bluebeard’s story of Fire-Foot Felicity, and her burning footsteps. I couldn’t do exactly the same, but I could make small spurts of fire emerge from under my feet as I ran, which would cause anyone chasing me to have problems.

If it was good enough a trick to get a Sentinel sent after you, it was good enough a trick for me. I’d just need to, you know, not burn down a fleet of ships after robbing them blind, and getting one of Remus’s top killers sent after me.

We sparred over the remaining trip to Massilix, with Julius showing me, in what he considered to be slow motion, and was just barely visible to me, how a speedster would try to kill a mage.

Or a healer. “Same thing.” In his books.

Foot-high tripping hazards with [Veil] didn’t work too well, nor did blasts of flames. The best I came up with was a knee-high [Veil], which usually ended up just stalling Julius, as he’d crash into it, stopping, occasionally tripping, but at the same time, breaking [Veil], and blowing through huge amounts of my mana reserves. He’d then get back up, and demonstrate why speedsters were mage-killers.

“Chin up.” He said, removing his swords from my throat after another training session where I’d gotten ‘killed’. “You’re able to stall me for a good 10, 15 heartbeats. Should be enough time for a teammate of yours to come to the rescue. If not, well…” He shrugged. “Mage-killers have that title for a reason.”

Lovely. I redoubled my training efforts.



We rolled into Massilix a short while later, nearing the Summer Solstice. Usually, there was a great big party on each of the Solstices and Equinoxes, and this time, we might be able to have it in town! Huge party time!

Massilix also marked, in many ways, the halfway point of our round, the great path Ranger Team 4 was on. It was also the northern-most point of the Republic, a contrast to Aquiliea, which was almost, but not quite, the southern-most point. We’d traveled along the eastern edge of the Republic, the land of wild and untamed Saber-tooth cats. Perinthus had been at the northern-most coast of the Nostrum Sea, and we’d gone even further north, through the Kadan Jungle, to Massilix. The vast ocean, just called The Ocean, halted humanity's expansion northwards, and by extension, our own trip. The capital was almost dead center of the Republic, although the Nostrum Sea was in a funny shape, almost like three great lakes merged together in the center. It was on the southern coast of that central shape that Ariminum, the capital, was located. Its convenient location in the center of the Nostrum sea, the center of the Republic, let it stretch its long arms all over the place, for better access to all corners of the Republic.

That, or the Senate, and wealthy citizens living in the capital, wanted lots of buffer between themselves and the wilderness. Depended how cynical you were.

The long and the short of it was, every two years, when Rangers completed their rounds, every single Ranger team was in the capital at the same time for the Solstice. It was a time for all the Rangers to see each other, to socialize and mingle, build a sense of comradery.

On a darker note, it was the time to update the Indomitable‎ Wall with the names of the fallen, and for fresh graduates from the Ranger Academy to be integrated into their new teams. For teams to be shaken up, rearranged, balanced.

I’d seen most of the problems Rangers handled, and it was clear I was being put through their own version of boot camp, trying to get me prepped and ready enough to enter the Ranger Academy myself once we arrived. It was ass-backwards – who was a Ranger before they were at the Academy? – but I suspected that in no time at all, I’d find myself knocking on the gates, requesting entrance.

If they even had gates.

Massilix was a strange town in many ways. It was one of the few towns not on the Nostrum sea – instead, it was against a vast ocean, so large nobody had ever seen land elsewhere. They were mostly cut off from the rest of the Republic as a result, with only a path through the Kadan jungle, and a dangerous route down the coast in a ship, to one of the three other oceanic towns, being their contact.

However, they got the best of quite a few worlds. Not only was the weather tropical year-round, practically on the equator, or so I surmised, but there were the luxuries of the Kadan jungle, like mangos, readily available, and the entire grand bounty of the ocean at their doorstep. Pearls, fish, coral, sea monsters of all sorts – the last one was mostly a harvest on high level monsters that had died and washed up, there was no active hunting of them. Legends had it that a fishman once managed to [Identify] one and live, and claimed it was blue in color.

Nobody had any idea what level blue correlated to. If there was any relationship between the color of [Identify], and the color from classing up – my [Pyromancer] class was orange, a whole tier above red. Red was above pink, and most humans were somewhere on the pink to red spectrum.

Orange, a whole tier above that, had offered me 49 stat points per level.

Blue, the class offered by my meeting with Papilion, was 400 stat points per level. All of them free stats, it would’ve been more if they were assigned stats.

And that was a single legend, from a single fisherman, untold decades ago, who survived.

The ocean was a scary place, and I wanted nothing to do with it. Not until I’d gotten a lot more levels. Dry land for me, please and thank you!

The town looked, well, there was no other word for it but beat. Kids weren’t happily skipping along the grey zone, laughing and playing tag. Merchants were half-heartedly shouting their wares. The guards had eyed us with a defeated look, as they let us in, not even asking Artemis to discharge her mana.

We made it to the barracks, and instead of releasing us, Julius ordered us to stay put.

“I’m going to find out what’s going on.” He said.

I whined, so softly it could barely be heard. Several pairs of heads turned and looked at me, glaring.

No, not at me, I realized. At Artemis, who’d been significantly more vocal about her unhappiness.

The highest form of treachery occurred as I turned and gave Artemis a glare as well, covering for my own mistake. She swatted me.

We hung around for a few minutes, taking bets on the problem.

“A plague!” I said, feeling fresh and rejuvenated after the last few weeks, ready to tackle another disease, experience those sweet, sweet level ups.

“Monster.” Arthur said. “We’re at the ocean.”

“Any monster wouldn’t stick around, or we’d be asked to take it out. My bet’s on a Classer.” Maximus said.

“Let’s start a pool, 20 coins each?” I proposed, pulling out some coins. Arthur and Maximus quickly pulled out some money, then Kallisto plonked down a handful of coins.

“Corrupt guard.” He said. “It’s why nobody’s really willing to chat with us, and why the guard seems to not care.”

“People would talk to us though.” I pointed out.

“If we had the Ranger flag up, which we don’t yet.” Kallisto said.

Artemis threw some coins in the pot.

“Corrupt governor, Selkies, or any other problem not yet named.” She said.

We protested that. “Not fair! You can’t claim everything else!” I said.

“Not without a larger buy-in.” Arthur said.

Artemis rolled her eyes, threw in a few more coins.

“Happy?” She asked.

“Betting all done?” Julius asked, causing me to jump. When had he gotten there!?

“Yup.” Artemis said.

“Who bet monster?” Julius asked.

We all turned to look at Arthur, who raised his hand.

“I’m sorry to say, you win the pot.” Julius said, a little smile flitting over his face as Arthur’s face went crestfallen, then happy, scooping up all the coins into his arms, then funneling them into his pouch.

“Sea monster’s been terrorizing the fishermen. Seems to have learned that humans result in good eating. Deep, deep red in color reported from the survivors.”

“There are a number of fishermen who are high level, from hunting coastal monsters all their life. They specialize in dealing with these types of monsters, and are almost better than we are at this specific task. When you include how many of them there are, they’re probably better than we are.” Julius acknowledged.

“Most of them died trying to fight this.”

Grim looks passed around.

“Planning session?” Artemis asked.

“Planning session.” Julius confirmed. We unharnessed the horses, putting them away in the guard’s stable, then we piled into the Argo, and I used [Veil] around us.

“First off, I need to know if anyone’s not in tip-top shape. Artemis, begin.”

Artemis saluted.

“I have no special, interesting, or otherwise deadlier than normal projectiles.” She said. “Furthermore, the combination of jungle and seashore makes more of the native stones around here smooth. Good for speed, bad for penetration and damage. All in all, a little less deadly than usual. Tip-top shape otherwise.”


“I have every poison I could want, except for one particularly rare sea urchin, which I’m hoping to pick up here. The Kadan is excellent for me.” He reported. “Low on buster arrows, but I could always use more. From the sound of it though, I don’t think buster arrows would do much.”


“Might take a few days to reforge my weapon into something that can punch up to a sea monster. If the locals can’t handle it though, I doubt I can make something better.” He said.


“I’d love a floating inscription of some sort. I’m bad at swimming. Barely passed the class.” He said. There was a heartbeat of pause, of remembering Origen, and we moved on.


“My armor doesn’t fit. Again.” I said. Puberty a second time was miserable, and I had a set of sometimes-form-fitting armor that let me know exactly when I’d gotten an inch taller, a centimeter wider. There was something like an uncanny valley effect going on, where armor that used to fit me exactly was off a hair, it was so much worse than regular armor. It kept Maximus on his toes and grumbling, but I’d seen the smile as he got more and more levels in his armor/metal/weapon reshaping skill, as he had to constantly keep up with me.

“Right, Maximus, quickly fix Elaine’s armor – I know it’s a short adjustment time – and Arthur, you get one candle’s worth of time to find your poison before we go and scout this thing out. Kallisto, you’re with me to find a sheep. Break.” Julius ordered.

Artemis and I glanced at each other. Enough time to visit the baths….?

Maximus nixed that idea before it could even fully form.

“Elaine, I need you wearing the armor so I know what needs to be fixed.”


In a short whirlwind of activity, we were on the town walls, while a sheep was out on a rickety little boat, at risk of tipping over with any given wave. When the wind blew just right, we could hear some distant, plaintive bleating. Arthur was somewhere down on the rocky beach, hidden. Appropriate, the mountain-sized man finally blending into something vaguely mountain-related.

The locals weren’t too happy about us “baiting” the monster closer, and “teaching it that food is here.” The current attitude seemed to be one of “wait long enough, and it’ll go away… we hope.”, which was fairly defeatist.

After hearing about how the monster had wiped out dozens of their more experienced big game fishermen, I could see why though. There was nothing to be done, in their opinion, although the town could sustain itself on the local farms and Kadan Jungle well enough. The lack of fishing and ocean products was causing a depression, it wasn’t risking wiping the town out.

The sun was low in the sky, when the monster struck, blindingly fast. It looked like a massive sea serpent, one right out of the books, but was so fast I barely got a look.

Huge. Huge, and much faster than anything that size had any reason being. Monsters getting stats and skills was simply unfair. No wonder humanity was basically cowering around the Nostrum sea, unable to voyage out too far.

We regrouped in the Argo, Arthur having managed to get off [Identify] on it.

“Red. Extremely red. So red everything else I’ve seen is pink.” Arthur said grimly.

“I’m never calling anything red again, not unless it’s close to that.”

Artemis broke out some cosmetics. I raised an eyebrow – I didn’t realize she had that. Maybe I could “borrow” some to work on [Pretty].

“Do I have a similar shade?” She asked, opening her box of cosmetics.

Arthur hummed as he looked in the box, taking a small splinter of wood, messing around with some of the pigments.


“Right. Placate, Kill, Drive off, or Tolerate?” Julius asked, naming our four methods of handling monsters.

“They’re tolerating it right now.” Kallisto pointed out.

“Not particularly happily.” Julius retorted.

“I don’t think we can placate, kill, or drive it off.” Artemis said pessimistically. “It’s an ocean monster. We are, pun intended, completely out of our depths trying to deal with it.”

“We could try to poison it.” Arthur said.

Maximus rolled his eyes. Julius held up three fingers. Two fingers. One finger.

You always suggest poison!” We all chorused out.

I’d been with the team long enough to be able to join in on the chorus, the only obvious difference left from me to everyone else was my short stature, and being obviously a teenager.

Arthur muttered darkly, as our brainstorming session continued.

The major problem was, we’d have to fight on a ship, or in water. Fighting on a ship was three steps away from fighting in water, since the monster could, and would, just destroy our boat. Then we’d be in its element, horribly outnumbered.

At the end of a long brainstorming session that’d gone deep into the night, Julius leaned back.

“I hate saying this.” He said. “I think we need to call in a Sentinel for this problem. It’s outside of our paygrade; it’s too large for us.”

There were some slow, reluctant nods around the table. I peeled and ate another mango. The piles of them had gotten low, and I stopped eating them as my entire meal.

My personal chest was still stuffed with them though. Emergency rations.

“Who do you think they’ll send?” Arthur asked.

“Ocean. Magic. Destruction. Probably not Hunting.” Julius said, ticking titles off his finger. “Bluebeard has some powerful magic, but Katastrophi’s entirely unsuited for the ocean. It’s Ocean’s element and domain, so he has a large leg up, but from the look of it, this monster’s too big. Destruction and Magic might be able to punch up that far, but it’s a long shot. Destruction usually needs a stationary target.”

He shrugged. “Won’t be our problem. Arthur, help me write the request? You got the best look at it. Everyone else, you’re free.”

Artemis and I were off like one of her rocks, into the dark streets. The baths should be working, but we’d have to work hard to find one that still took people this late at night. A bit of sneaking, a few polite run-ins with some guards, and we found our bathhouse.

Baths, oh blessed baths, oh holy baths, how I’ve missed you so. It’d been almost three months since Catona and my last bath, and in the dim light, flickering through steam, we extricated a whole season, an entire jungle, and a plague’s worth of dirt, mud, grime, and other unpleasantness that had fused into an unholy mess of “ick.”

By the time we were done and exited the building, we were blinking in the early morning light. We headed back to the Argo, me picking up a dozen more tunics – in a larger size! – before crashing to sleep in the wagon once we got back.

We were woken up to maniacal laughter, Arthur prancing about the wagon, whooping and yelling in an uncharacteristic display of glee, of joy. He kept hitting his head on the roof, but even those constant hard knocks weren’t enough to get to him.

“I did it! I did it!” He kept yelling.

Artemis threw a mango seed at him, that she’d clearly been keeping for just such an occasion.

“Did what?” She asked. Julius popped in at the commotion, clearly having been on Ranger-help-desk duty.

“Arthur, what’s going on?” Julius asked.


“I did it! I killed the monster single-handedly!” He yelled, finally letting us know what all the fuss was about.

My eyes nearly popped out of my head.

“What level was it?” Artemis asked.

“957!” Arthur yelled, pumping his fist.

“Did you get it as a solo kill?” Julius asked quickly.

“Yes!” Arthur did a happy, walking-backwards dance. The “I’m so good dance.”

“Ha! Julius!” Arthur yelled, with a huge grin. “Better start running to catch that courier. They’ll be pissed if they get a request for a Sentinel when I’ve already handled the problem.”

Julius cursed, and suddenly it was like the inside of the Argo was filled with a storm, as Julius moved at top speed, grabbing a bunch of gear together, ending up in full armor.

“Artemis, you’re in charge. If I’m not back in three weeks, carry on without me.”

With that, he stepped on it, and was gone.

Arthur chuckled, still delighted.

“Heh. Longer vacation, fame, and best of all? I got my 256 class-up from that.” He said.

“Man of the moment!” I cheered him on, his happiness infecting me, causing a silly grin to split my face.

Artemis put her hands on his shoulders, reaching up to manage it.

“Arthur. Seriously, congratulations.” She said, giving him a hug.

Artemis stepped outside, and I heard triple bolts going off, the signal for Maximus and Kallisto to come over.

“Right, I’m in charge. Tonight, a feast, a party! Tomorrow, you can class up, we’ll guard you while you’re at it.” Artemis said.

“They will sing my name for a thousand years!” Arthur cried out triumphantly.

[Name: Elaine]

[Race: Human]

[Age: 15]

[Mana: 13220/13220]

[Mana Regen: 17889]


[Free Stats: 38]

[Strength: 29]

[Dexterity: 219]

[Vitality: 135]

[Speed: 220]

[Mana: 1322]

[Mana Regeneration: 2079]

[Magic Power: 1151]

[Magic Control: 1788]

[Class 1: [Constellation of the Healer - Celestial: Lv 180]]

[Celestial Affinity: 180]

[Warmth of the Sun: 140]

[Medicine: 180]

[Center of the Galaxy: 134]

[Phases of the Moon: 180]

[Moonlight: 35]

[Veil of the Aurora: 115]

[Vastness of the Stars: 131]

[Class 2: [Pyromancer - Fire: Lv 42]]

[Fire Affinity: 42]

[Fire Resistance: 42]

[Fire Conjuration: 42]

[Fire Manipulation: 42]

[Fuel for the Fire: 38]

[Burn Brightly: 25]

[: ]

[: ]

[Class 3: Locked]

General Skills

[Identify: 86]

[Recollection of a Distant Life: 85]

[Pretty: 103]

[Vigilant: 114]

[Oath of Elaine to Lyra: 158]

[Ranger's Lore: 84]

[Running: 80]

[Learning: 125]


A note from Selkie

Chapter notes go here!

If you could give me an advanced review, that'd be great. They're weighted more heavily than anything else, and I've been looking carefully at trending - it's clear that the rating the novel has is super important. Hence, advanced reviews help me go up in the trending list. They help more people see it, which gets more people rating and following it, which has a synergistic effect that hopefully turns into a runaway effect, which gets enough people interested that I get to do this full-time. Seriously, it matters, and it helps.

BTDEM is bog standard in many ways. However, I'm willing to do things that turn some readers off - and so far, more of my reviews have been from people that I make mad more than people who are happy. Just how the internet works. I'm hoping some of you that are enjoying things are willing to leave reviews or advanced reviews. They matter. You matter.

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