On the mountain peak surrounded by thick white mist, there was a dragon backbone sticking vertically, as if it was the connection between the sky and the soil. Outside the bone was a magnificent lake, and this was the habitat of the Runedragons.
Right now, a dozen Runedragons were standing side by side in front of the bone. All of them were in pairs except the red dragon on the far right.
“Is everyone here?”
The voice belonged to a green dragon, who descended from the top of the bone. Upon landing, the dragon conjured the power and shapeshifted into a human form——a handsome man with long azure hair. He was Qing Gui, the leader of the Runedragons.
“It’s time to test your skills on shapeshifting you’ve acquired earlier. Now change your shape,” said Qing Gui, pacing back and forth.
The Runedragons followed Qing Gui’s instructions and circulated their power, oozing a massive amount of mist. When the mist faded, there was no more dragon but a group of good-looking humans and a little girl.
As this was their first shapeshifting, all the Runedragons went to the lakeside to see their reflections. A moment later, someone screamed.
“Oh no...Not again…” Qing Gui pressed his aching forehead.
“AHH——Why do I look like an idiot! No way! NO WAY! Qing Gui, help me!”
Hong Ai the Runedragon flinged her arms in front of Qing Gui like a cute girl throwing a tantrum.
“Hong Ai, I can’t help you——”
“No way no way no way no way——!”
Hong Ai was crying loudly while pulling Qing Gui’s clothes.
“Sigh...Most of us the Runedragons are calm and peaceful except her…”
“Enough!” Getting impatient, Qing Gui yelled at Hong Ai, who stopped the action but not her tears.
The messy sobbing face of Hong Ai had Qing Gui softened. With a sigh, he crouched down, grabbed her small hands and said, “don’t cry, Hong Ai. Although you look a bit too young, it’s cute to be in this form. Plus when you have a better control of your power, you might be able to have a better human form.”
“...It’s all because I don’t have a souliade. Without a souliade, I’m unable to contain my power. This is why I look like this, and it’s exactly why I fail at everything…”
Hong Ai bit her lip as she had made up her mind.
“Qing Gui, I need to go outside and find my souliade!”
“No.” Qing Gui banned her proposal immediately. “You’re too young, and have yet mastered your power. Plus the outer world is chaotic with all the wars. It’s very dangerous for you.”
“I can protect myself——”
“It means no when I say no. And there’s no way you can find your souliade in the outer world. Stop talking about it.” Qing Gui stood up and continued, “just keep practicing.”
Hong Ai shut her mouth with a pout as she knew that nothing could change Qing Gui’s mind.
“Humph! I’m going outside to seek my souliade anyway!”
When nightfall came, Hong Ai, in her human form, carried her backpack all the way to the hillside without alerting the other Runedragons. To avoid attention, she took a detour before she shifted to the dragon form and flew to the west.
“Qing Gui said he didn’t see any Runedragons when he went to find Xuan Huang in the east. Then I should search the west.”
The over-thrilled Hong Ai didn’t notice an approaching tornado. When she did, she was already caught by it.
The turbulence gave Hong Ai a motion sickness, but the stubborn dragon conjured her power to wrestle with the wind.
Boom! The energy clash made a huge noise. Meanwhile, Hong Ai was ejected out of the tornado. Unfortunately, the projectile made her hit a rock, who then lied on the bushes because of the head injury.
“Everything is spinning...Mmm...Someone’s coming…”
“Whoa! I-It’s a dragon!” A male voice spoke.
“He’s a human...I must have scared him away...They’re too afraid to help because I’m a dragon…”
“Oh no. This dragon is hurt. Gotta help with its injury.”
“Wait...He didn’t go...I feel familiar with this man...So intimate…” Barely opening her eyes, Hong Ai saw a blurry image of a young mage, who was healing her with magic.
“Oh...I figured. It’s...the aura of my souliade.” This was the last thing in Hong Ai’s head before she passed out. Later on, she was awakened by the loud rain.
Hong Ai raised her dragon head and looked around anxiously. At this moment, she was inside a cave while it was raining cats and dogs outside. A youth was sitting opposite her with a bonfire between them.
“It’s good to see you’re awake.” The youth Enoch continued, “but don’t move around. Although I’ve treated your wound with magic, it’s just——Whoa!”
Enoch was interrupted by Hong Ai, who shapeshifted to pounce on him with the blush of excitement on her cute face.
“I found you! You’re my souliade! I’ll never let go!”