Jin entered the small wooden hut Tina invited him into. She strictly warned him to take off his shoes at the entrance, and guided him towards the small living room featuring the only table in this whole house which had multifunctional use - for her tailoring, eating, reading, etc. One of the only two wooden chairs had a crooked leg, there were multiple mannequins lined up in the living room dressed in various dresses.
“So… partners…” She slowly spoke as she absentmindedly gazed into her teacup. However, her following words were violent. “Can I still cut your hands and balls off?”
Jin saw his neutering scene flash before his eyes and slowly shifts his hand to hide his crotch. Never in his long lifespan did he think he would be mentally tortured this way with a woman’s gory and vivid imagination. After skilfully avoiding losing any part of his body and being sold off, he can finally let out a sigh of relief. When she finally agreed to having him around, his mouth couldn't help but expose a grin.
But the conversation was far from ending.
When she asks Jin about his abilities, Jin held a chuckle back.
“Mhmm. I can shape shift into different species. Ah, but they always have black hair and gold eyes. Can’t change that aspect.”
This girl who kept her guard up all the time, who was already tricked twice by the same man, still didn’t doubt his words nor question him.
Jin decided not to tell her the other variety of cheats skills he has in his arsenal; about being a black dragon who could breathe fire, or how the gemstone she’s wearing actually is his dragon pearl which makes her his ‘other half’ and grants her longevity, etc. If Tina knew, she’d die foaming at the mouth while pulling all her hair out.
After a while, she gulped her tea in one smooth motion and poured herself another. She solemnly stared out the window into the dark night sky. Her eyes twinkling in the candlelight held a deep gaze as if she had lived far longer than 16 years of life. Jin held his breath at this mesmerising sight, his curiosity peaked at what more he’d discover behind this girl’s untold story.
When Tina directed her watching eyes at Jin, he recovered from his daze. “Will you tell me who you are?”
“My partner must have a short term memory.” He laughed. “It’s Jin.”
“Yes, clearly your name isn’t Percy Jackson.” She frowned. “I meant your identity. Are you a prince? A warrrior? What’s your job? How old are you? Things like that.”
‘A century year old dragon recently woken from hibernation.’ He held his words back.
“I can’t answer that… Because I’m being chased by a lot of people wanting to kill me." Like how several knight orders and adventurers are currently sifting through the West forest in search for a dragon. "But don’t worry, I won’t let you get dragged into it. They don’t know my face nor what I’m capable of.”
Tina naturally thought the man in front of her was some big runaway criminal. She nodded her head understandingly, thinking she had read some books having assassins as MLs who fight for justice by killing the corrupt people who cannot be touched by the laws.
Jin didn’t fix her misunderstanding.
“If you want to stick around, you can’t be in that form.” She pointed at Jin from head to toe, her look full of distaste. It was this same woman who called his face handsome a day ago and described all his features with much gusto. “It’ll attract too much attention. How about shifting into a small hamster? I can carry you around that way.”
“You want me to turn into a rodent?!” His pupils shook vigorously at this laughable statement.
A majestic dragon like him reduced to a mere rodent?!! If this girl in front of him knew who he was- ...ah right she didn’t know.
“No? Then a flea? Maybe an ant? How about bacteria?”
“No… A hamster is fine.” Jin started sulking inwardly after his ego was nonsensically beaten down into a pulp.
After a few back and forth with Jin, Tina realised it was already 4 in the morning.
“Then we shall separate our ways here.” She collected the cups and walked towards the kitchen. She rubbed her eyes groggily, wanting to sleep.
“What do you mean separate our ways?” Jin raised his head abruptly, his face held a confused expression.
“Nope. No way. We aren’t living under the same roof. Nothing good comes out of it. There’s only one bed and one bedroom. There’s no couch or anything to sleep on. It raises way too many flags for any male and female to stay under one roof.” She clicked her tongue and waved her hand dismissively.
“I’ll pay rent.” Jin proposed, dropping a gold coin on the table. When he saw her hesitate, he knew what would get her running. What was the use of these coins anyway, he had so many of these piled up in his lair. He pushed a few more gold coins on the table, until there was 10 of them, their brightness poking her eyes.
“You and your underhanded ways...…" Tina's eyes never left the gold coins on the table. "Fine. My bedroom is out of limits. As for you... I’ll quickly sew a hamster bed for you.”
“There’s no space for another bed room. You can shape shift anyway. Just sleep as a hamster and save space.”
His mighty dragon pride was quivering, but he quickly swallowed the dissatisfaction and begrudgingly nodded his head.
That day, Tina’s house had another 'small' co-inhabitant living in the working space.
At least, the girl’s good at cooking… Jin soothed himself with the delicious food he got for three meals a day.