Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
With that, a whole month quickly passed.
My training of human speech that I was doing every morning and every night after a meal was going great.
Thanks to my mnemonic abilities becoming better after I turned into a Dragon, I was beginning to grasp the nuances of more and more words by the day.
Since Nectar was able to speak both the modern language and the ancient language, we started from the basic grammatical rules and moved from there, to the point where right now I was even able to hold small conversations with him.
Still, the pronunciation was proving itself to be quite difficult, leaving me somewhat struggling with it.
Originally, it should be impossible for a Dragon to be able to speak words of any human language. But it was all the matter of devotion to the task.
Since I had plenty of time to spare, I decided to dedicate it to practicing small talk.
At first, our conversations were mostly about the ways in which I was repairing the Leylines and the state of humanity through Nectar’s eyes, but as soon as I asked about the state of humanity’s prowess in magic, he started to go on and on about the things like theoretical magic, magical machines and all sorts of magical systems that he used to study.
Maybe it was only in my head, but now that I think about it his eyes were all shiny with anticipation and curiosity when I was lecturing him about the rituals using the ancient forms of magic. So he must have been that curious and eager to learn, huh?
Personally, it was pretty interesting for me to watch him draw symbols on the ground and explaining various hypotheses to me, since thanks to my job at fixing the leylines I was genuinely interested in magic and had too much time to kill anyway. Nectar also told me that based on this ritual he came up with a whole another research theory –– and it was thanks to that theory that he managed to become a Magician.
It’s been a long time since any one of use could really talk to someone about magic. So I guess it cannot be helped that we need to start all the way down from the basic stuff.
Besides, Nectar was using the ancient language when he was talking about magic, so it was far easier for me to understand and the conversation went smoothly thanks to that.
…… Well, I don’t think that our conversation will have any influence on the advancement of technology in this world, and the fact that both of us can train the languages that we weren’t so fluent with was certainly not a bad thing.
Today the weather was good yet again, and so we were drinking the tea made out of dried forest herbs as I continued to explain the meanders of ancient magic to Nectar.
「In other words, since the leylines tend to work as a pipeline for magical power of sorts, if you can manage to extract that magical energy from it, you can use really powerful magic.」
「I see. Magical power is in it. When magical beasts grow in power, they are able to tune in to that power and grow even stronger because of it. And since they can’t really leave the land, they are becoming a nuisance, for they keep on distorting the flow of magic within the leylines.」
「The same can be said for me. I am able to force my authority upon you because when I am fixing the leylines I am also borrowing their power. I am truly sorry for that.」
I continued to apologize to Nectar, who seemed to be deep in thought.
Once I explained the inner workings of leyline adjustment to him and then demonstrated it, he would help me with my work from time to time.
That’s right, he was the one who twisted the leyine’s.
To be precise, he created his own magical ritual and had several hundred of his magician friends to inject their magical power into the ritual. By chance, it effected one of the thick leylines that ran across the grain field and created a small hole were magical power was leaking.
And thanks to the magical power that got out of that small leak, it seems that the local areas were going to be graced with bountiful harvests for a few years to come.
However, that small hole continued to grow in size and started to leak copious amounts of magical energy and effecting the surrounding forest. Because of the excess magical energy in the area, beasts and even monsters have started to crop up causing the inhabitants to initiate a subjugation protocol which has cause quite the panic recently.
In other words, those holes were caused by the abnormal concentration of magic around this area.
Not to mention that the increase also happened to happen when I was in the area, so the blame was almost immediately pinned onto me, as the bad and evil dragon that was amassing his minions.
No matter the amount of demons, they are nothing but bad news, as well as being connected to them.
As I lectured and scolded him about the structure and functions of leylines, he hung his head deeply, clearly blaming himself for what happened.
Well, it felt reasonable that he would feel responsible for what happened.
Hm? What was this sudden feeling as if I was hit with something?
…… It was simple. It was the sight of him lowering his head, bow it down towards the ground as closely as he possibly could, all the while shedding tears.
It makes me feel somewhat better now, knowing that my lecture helped him understand how serious of a task caring for leylines was.
At times like this, what was it that you would say in modern language again?
「You know, next time if you don’t know something, don’t hesitate to ask me about it. So don’t worry about it anymore.」
「That’s one thing, but it’s also about disposition. …… Lava, the particle is missing. It may be hard to explain with words alone, but if I don’t say it at all it would be even harder to understand. Oh, that last sentence was quite beautiful.」
「You should have listened to everything I was saying.」
Nectar reluctantly raised his face, pointing out the grammar errors of my sentence and telling me about rules of the modern language.
When I was still a University student I was not all that good with foreign languages, but now my learning capabilities got upgraded immensely since I became a Dragon.
「As I was saying, it is a common thing that almost every creature in this world is doing, be it unconsciously or not. Synchronizing themselves with those unique magic currents, that is. As you are travelling through the land, if you can remember the leyline’s layout you can absorb more magical power from it, or you could even expand your own magical power pool tremendously. You know that certain gargoyles do not leave the places in which they were born, right? If you stay in one place and continue to absorb magic, you can easily raise on top of the local food chain. Oh, but if you exceed the capacity of what you can absorb, you will simply die because of storing too much power.」
「Although it is impossible for someone like me to do for a long period of time, but Lava can see things that are far away by using the leyline’s power, correct? Being sensible to that makes it easier to convey information?」
「I’m impressed. It is exactly as you say. With the use of magical power, there is virtually nothing you cannot do. Beasts and gargoyles communicate by means of magic. But it is something different from thought sharing. Since the magical waves of all individuals do not change unless something drastic happens, once you memorize that wavelength you can easily connect with it even if there is a nation-wide distance separating you.」
If my partner is not skilled enough, I could easily burn their brain if I was careless enough, but it also meant that no human would post any kind of real threat to me.
……… Hm? It feels like I forgot about something.
It was right there in the very corner of my mind, but when I was trying to grasp it, it was always slipping out of my hands and I was unable to remember.
「Is something like that even possible for me!?」
I smile wryly at Nectar, who has managed to awaken my intellectual curiosity.
「Oh well, it looks like you could earn a whole lot of money from the way you investigate magic, so do you think you would be missing me if you would not get used to that kind of hermit-like lifestyle?」
「I-I’m not trying to hide anything from Lava! I swear!」
Oh, I feel like nothing would be able to sway him right now.
Well, I might have expressed myself a little bit poorly there, and since I already gave him a lecture about magical communication, maybe I should try thought communication with him?
(Okay. Nectar, can you understand me?)
(Is, is this the thought communication that was used in ancient times? What a valuable experience this is! One that I could only read about in ancient literature!!)
I felt kinda surprised to see that contrary to his kneeling and grieving self, his mind was full of excitement.
(Your current sensitivity is good for now. But you must be always careful, for it is difficult to read the thoughts accurately because of the influx of emotions. Next, all this information are applied to your magical core instead of the brain, so if it happened to be in a bad shape –––––)
(Anyway, what a splendid color of black your scales are, Lava! There is not a single moment when I would get tired of gazing at their shiny glow! The tinge of red that feels like the penetrating rays of sunlight is also beautiful, but nothing can match the gold of your eyes! It combines the golden glow of the sun and silver shine of the moon, making more valuable than any treasure of this world! It should also be said that your intellect and compassion are unbelievable for a single person to have! Ahh, I am so happy that I could meet such a wonderful person and that my knowledge can be of use to you…… Haah.)
(Eh, wait a second, isn’t that the right moment for a witty retort of some kind!?)
I cut off the connection, fearing that the overload of emotions and praise coming from Nectar might be too much even for me to handle.
Just how beautiful I am in your eyes, oh Nectar-san?
I felt like something similar to this have already happened once before……………… Ah.
The person that was looking for Nectar!
Fortunately, after losing consciousness for a brief moment Nectar quickly came to, and when he did, the look of utmost embarrassment combined with a deep shade of crimson all over his face, rivaling even the color of his hair.
「I am terribly sorry. My brakes tend to give up when I see something that is of interest to me. It’s so embarrassing.」
No, I am the one who was feeling even worse in this situation.
I somehow forgot that during the course of last month, I didn’t really told him about what happened at that one time.
「Umm, you shouldn’t worry about it too much. By the way, I remembered about it just now, but when you were asleep, there was someone who was looking for you through the leyline. Sorry for not telling you.」
「…!? When exactly was it?」
「The very same night you went to sleep. They felt like they were someone close to you, so I told them that you were with me and that you were alright.」
Hearing that someone was looking for him, as soon as Nectar woke up his face went as white as chalk.
「L, Lava. What, kind of, person, was it?」
「Well, I didn’t manage to take a look at their face, but they seemed troubled and they were non-stop going on about ‘That idiot! Where could he be!?’ –––– Huh? What’s wrong, Nectar?」
「M, must hide, conceal my presence! Not here, somewhere far away!」
For some strange reason Nectar became incredibly nervous, sweating like a waterfall.
From this reaction it took me but an instant to realize the scale of my own failure.
It looks like that person might not be Nectar’s friend after all.
I regret the fact that I was not aware of that until now, and I slowly open my mouth.
「Yeah, about that…… It seems that this person if going into the forest right now and is heading towards……」
As Nectar let out a strange kind of scream, I seriously began to wonder if it wouldn’t been better if I annihilated the human race just so I could cover my own blunder.
Several minutes have passed since I detected that person entering the forest through my barrier.
There were also responses from other people, but if we go at our current high speed, we shall soon arrive at our destination.
「Hey, are you really sure you want to do this?」
Surprisingly enough, Nectar answered that he would meet with that person, so I have asked the forest spirits to watch over them until we get there, and now I was sitting on the ground, trembling with anticipation like a newborn baby.
I was not too late to back away and hide. I told that to Nectar several times, but he only shook his head in response.
「No, no, it is my duty. He is a good person. It should be alright. Since I’m not dead……」
Umm, you know you would be much more persuasive if you told me that with relaxed look in your eyes, right?
「…… Well then, I should probably get away for a bit, so that the two of you can take your time and talk things out.」
「Please stay with me!」
Since his voice was full of desperation, I decided that I can wait together with him for a little while.
The group that was approaching the barrier started to lose speed, filling the air with the sounds of metal and horseshoes striking the ground, but there was one person who did not listen to their colleagues and started to go even faster.
Then a person with short, brown hair entered the barrier on horseback. That person had the same magic signature as the person that was searching the forest before.
Then he jumped off of his horse, and while not noticing me at all headed straight towards Nectar, who was sitting in the center of the clearing.
Nectar was waiting for him with the face full of pain, his hands on the ground and his whole body kneeling down.
「I’m sorry, I……」
He said so in earnest to the young man that appeared right in front of his kneeling body.
For a moment out there I thought that he might try to hit Nectar, and so I was readying myself to stop him, but then I stopped after I saw that the face of that young man was all covered in tears.
「If you were alive, then you should have contacted me! You big idiot!」
「Ugh! I’m sorry! I’m so sorry, Kyle!」
The young man put his hand on Nectar’s head, and he put his face to the young man’s chest, unable to hold his tears back any longer.
I felt at a loss for words for what I just witnessed, feeling that my intervention may not be necessary at all.
The young man really seemed to be Nectar’s friend, so there was really nothing wrong with that.
Like that, my Dragon Ears picked up words that the young man whispered into Nectar’s ears.
「Nectar. There was someone in here that tried to interfere with me while I was searching for you with my magic. Because of that, it took me almost a week to get back to my senses. Besides, I thought that this invitation to your location might be a trap, and so I wanted to scout it out ahead of time, but some formidable Interception magic prevented me from doing so. Are you really you? Are you really here?」
「…… Well, I was told to talk with you when Lava-sama found you through your Scouting magic, but are there really side effects? Also, is it really possible to block the Scouting magic with just powerful magic alone?」
Nectar looked at me with puzzlement in his eyes as I listened to the contents of their conversation.
And was it that strange to think that this could all be but a trap?
The young man bashfully turned toward Nectar, who just happened to blabber about the ancient language and its properties, when he finally noticed that I was standing right behind them and his eyes rounded in surprise.
So much for a good first impression, I guess.
「Actually, I was trying to talk to him by tapping myself into his Scouting magic, but since I didn’t know the full extent of intruders I might have overdid it a little bit and overload his magic core. Also, the Inhibition magic was also my work. Nectar, could you apologize to him in my stead?」
「…… Oi, that was fluent ancient language right now. Don’t tell me…」
「That’s right. The Inhibition magic was something that Lav…… this Dragon did. You must have thought that that voice was some kind of a trap while you were looking for me, but in reality it was only my acquaintance. I am sorry, I didn’t know it going to be that big of a deal.」
As a mean of apology, I bowed my head down to the young man, who was looking at me dazzlingly. Then, I tried a greeting in the modern language, although it was still not all that fluent.
「Nice to meet you, a friend of Nectar’s. My name is Lava.」
「………… It really spoke.」
The young man opened his mouth wide in pure astonishment, to which I decided to strike a gutsy pose.
Alright! I was able to communicate!