Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
CHAPTER 13: Dragon-san Checks Her Hypothesis
About a month and a half after Nectar joined the effort of his fellow magicians, their army managed to carry out their coup with no major problems, take the castle, got rid of the old king and crowned a new one.
And that would mean that complaints from both the commoners and magicians would be on the rise.
Although it was now on a downward trend, somewhere around half a month from the moment of informing me about the coup’s success and hunting down the demon army, Nectar and Kyle wanted to meet with me. And so I came to the city.
Ah, as expected their mode of transport is the staff.
There were still remnants of the demon army somewhere out there, but right now they would pose no threat, especially for the two of them.
「…… It’s terrible, Lava.」
I think that the military uniform, similar in many aspects to the attire of mages from fantasy games, suited him way better than the criminal’s clothes, it looked really cool on him, but the way in which Nectar looked at me make me somewhat puzzled.
「Umm, did something bad happened?」
「Please take a deep and long look inside of your heart and think about it.」
I twisted my neck in confusion while Kyle continued to glare daggers at me, all the while sitting on the rug that they brought with them. I honestly had no idea what this was all about. Aside from eavesdropping and peeking at them through the magical scale, of course.
But judging from Kyle’s tone, it was something that was certainly my fault.
「…… One night, during the negotiations with the new King’s army, some of the most important people – including the former King – were trapped inside of the royal castle by a powerful magical barrier. The barrier was gone in a manner of ten minutes or so, but when the guards moved in to investigate the matter, the only thing they saw were the figures of the terrified ministers. It seems that they were witnessing something that they could not dare to speak about publicly. They all claim that the one to attack them was a woman who claimed herself to be a dragon, and that she came through the window and started to massacre everyone. However, there are no bloodstains and everyone that was present was accounted for. We are still investigating the poor fools, but we can’t seem to find the ones who started this whole hallucinations mess. Well, after all of that they agreed to step down from their position and pass all of the power onto us, so I guess it was good thing that we’ve managed to avoid the unnecessary battle and that many lives were spared.」
「Yeah, avoiding the unnecessary bloodshed sure is nice. Were there any other problems?」
I look away from Kyle’s suspicious gaze, sighing loudly.
I didn’t mentioned about that night or about Ligurila to any of them. Ligurila insisted on me not doing that.
「This is a problem, and a big one at that, Lava-dono. The officials of the provisional government are worried that the statements of the former king and other ministers may have been fabricated, that this dragon-woman wants to use them to get to power and rule from the shadows. If this continues they are seriously thinking that the former king’s lot would be far better beheaded or eaten by a dragon. The reconstruction plans are going to be stuck in place thanks to this unrest.」
Hmmm, this is indeed a problem.
I never have thought what I did that night would be taken so seriously, so much that they would even want to take testimonials about that.
「There are lots of people in the upper echelons of the government that tend to associate Lava-dono with the dragon attacker since she understood human speech. That being said, there are also those who don’t seem to get it that dragons are even more intelligent than us humans. We are aware of that, we talked to you, we can understand each other and each other’s intentions, but there are those who are not aware of any of that. I managed to contain the soldiers for now, but I can’t say what kinds of disrespect you are going to encounter from their side. We thought you might want to know about that ahead of time.」
Certainly, it’s not strange at all that people would not trust me and take my words for granted even if I promised not to harm them, since distrust towards predators was only natural for all living beings. Rather, it would be strange if there was someone who would trust my words without any kind of hesitation.
If someone was already convinced of something, there was no way for me to change that point of view. I could only accept that.
「That’s only because I used to attack all of those who approached me while I was re-adjusting the leylines. I have no interest in kings or governments whatsoever. But, well, I won’t deny that I was trying to kill two birds with one stone here.」
When I first arrived at this kingdom, I was genuinely curious about what kind of place it was, and through my scales I could hear how people were in funeral-like attitude and that war with demons could not be avoided.
Once I heard it, there was no way for me to simply un-hear it.
Fortunately, the number of people who were aware of the mastermind was rather scarce, so I could easily put them under the influence of my illusions and make them forget it by means of sending terrible nightmares upon them.
After all, illusions and dream visions were my specialty, and during the night I was almost unbeatable. There was nothing that I couldn’t do.
Oh, and if by some reason there was someone who would still resist it, I could easily raise the level and intensity of my nightmares or even force them to enter a contract with me as a last resort.
It’s not like I patronize humans or anything.
「–––– I thought that avoiding the unnecessary bloodshed would be for the best, but it seems that this solution caused them some major inconveniences as well.」
To this, Kyle corrected himself in a hurry.
「No, that’s not it. Actually, the appearance of Lava-dono has greatly helped us, and for that we are grateful. But, the problem lies in this guy.」
Kyle looks at Nectar in an obvious manner.
How is Nectar a problem here?
Then I heard Nectars words, the very first since I met them today.
「I wasn’t the one for whom Lava-sama donned the humanoid appearance –––– I am so envious of those blasted ministers right now!」
What’s this, it seems that you have the wrong idea here, Nectar-san.
I wonder if Kyle heard him? He let out a deep sigh.
「You see, after he heard that you changed your appearance to fit in, he suddenly became gloomy like that, saying things like it was him that brought you here in the first place and such.」
Apparently it was something that had to do with me, but what was I supposed to do?
I slowly turn my face towards Nectar, who was sitting with his head leaning against his knees, with his arms enclosed over his legs, rocking back and forth.
「…… I know…… You didn’t have to help us at all, and yet you did and it was all because of my selfish acts and wishes. And since it was me who was by your side all this time, I really regret that I wasn’t able to witness your transformation with my own eyes.」
Okay, some part of me thinks that I get it, and some other part doesn’t get it at all, but it all comes down to the fact that he was unable to satiate his academic curiosity?
Well, if it only about that, I can easily do something about it.
「Nectar-san, please watch this.」
Nectar looked with his mouth and eyes wide opened as I compressed my magical power and changed my appearance right in front of him.
I could also see that Kyle was stunned as well.
「It happened so fast. I thought that you would need some more preparation in order to do that.」
「Since my body is one big mass of magical energy, I can change my appearance rather freely. Although the dragon form is the easiest to take, I admit that. However, if the form I take is small, my magical powers get amplified accordingly, since I can take in more magic. But it can be dangerous, for a high quantity of magic can have harmful effects on other living beings. For example, normal humans would faint instantly if they laid their eyes on me. So far I was restraining myself from using that form, since my control over delicate streams of magic is not all that great. But thanks to the conversations I held with both of you, I finally managed to find a way to stabilize myself in this form by suppressing parts of my magical powers.」
Since my default form was that of a dragon, the moment I change it to something else magic power begins to ooze out of me and it continues to do so until I change back.
It even caused the deaths of smaller animals from time to time.
「In other words, you change the way others perceive you from the form of a dragon to that of a human.」
Although it was slightly different, I nodded as to confirm Nectar’s suspicions.
I told him that I was using my own scales as temporal storages form magical power, thanks to which I was able to bring my levels of magical power down to the point where humans would not faint in my presence.
It was Ligurila who helped me with experimenting on this idea, since she was really good at controlling various kinds of magic.
Those baby steps made me feel very proud of myself.
However, I could not produce clothes with this technique, so I ended up borrowing some from Ligurila, the ones she managed to procure from other dimension where she was storing them all, in a similar way that the teleportation magic worked.
Right now I was wearing a dress in the color of deep night.
「…… I, Was I useful to you, Lava?」
「Yup, very much.」
「I see, I’m glad.」
Overjoyed, Nectar smiled happily.
I don’t know why, but seeing him happy made me feel kind of happy as well.
Then I got up and walked over to him, to which a really puzzled expression showed on Nectar’s face.
Although it was more than a hundred years ago, right now I had the very same familiar frame of a University student, except for right now my eyes were gold and my hair were much longer, dark with slight tinges of red mixed in here and there.
I was an image of an average Japanese woman in her twenties, and Nectar’s looks were slightly similar to those of an average twenty-years-old Japanese man, so the difference in our heights were somewhere around twenty centimeters, with our usual points of view being reversed, with me having to look up to look him in the eyes.
In the first place, a dragon who is as big as a two-story building is WAY too big in my opinion.
「You surely look cute when you’re in your human form, Lava.」
If it was about the height, it made me happy that he said that.
「What happened to “beautiful goddess like a bottomless abyss……?”」
Said Kyle nonchalantly while approaching both of us.
「Did you already forget? My body may be that of a dragon, but it is an undeniable truth that human beings are weak to the presence of beautiful women. So I thought it would be more effective if I crafted my human form in such a way. It is strong and it is also quite appealing. Wouldn’t you call it the ultimate combination?」
It is true that this form was easy to maneuver in and to stabilize, but…… There was just something in calling yourself awesome and beautiful that wasn’t quite right, kind of like looking at yourself in the mirror and suddenly becoming overly cautious of yourself.
Right now, it would be a whole lot easier to just be my dragon self.
It seems that as long as my body is not that of a dragon and there is at least some cloth covering it, there would be no major problems. However, I didn’t wanted to be in that form for a prolonged periods of time, if I could help it. It just felt weird.
And when you add Ligurila’s instruction to top it all off, it was really taking its toll on me.
She insisted that a smile is woman’s greatest weapon. Also, add to it some innocent behavior and it would create a combination that none could possibly resist. “Wouldn’t you agree?”, she said.
After rehearsing this beautiful way of both looks and behavior for the whole night, I could feel something similar to a trauma being born deep inside of me.
Oh well, judging from everyone’s reactions so far, seems that my training was really effective.
I guess it’s normal for a beautiful girl to try so hard to get results.
「Still, what a waste.」
I won’t say, it was kind of frustration to see Kyle acting all indifferently like that.
I used my magical power to imagine the cutest and the most beautiful form of smile that I could think of, and deployed that vision into action with a slight use magic control, directing all of my efforts towards Kyle.
「And if I told you that I would stay in this form for good because I like it so much? What would you do then?」
In response to a high magical concentration in the air, Kyle shook his head vigorously, all the while turning blue on the face.
Letting him be for now, I tried to back off from him, only to find that Nectar put his hand on my shoulder.
「I like Lava in any form.」
「T, thank you, I guess?」
Why, why was I feeling such a strong pressure coming from his eyes? Was that how it felt to be looked down upon?
Kyle managed to regain his composure and loudly cleared his throat while still having somewhat strange expression.
「Continuing my story, people are starting to belief that it was in fact Nectar that caused this massive hallucination, with dragon’s assistance. 」
What was that?
「It may not be the nicest thing for me to say, but now that the country is fresh after the coup, with the new government trying to stabilize the internal affairs, it’s not a good time for criminals, imaginary or not, to roam free. What’s more, Nectar may have been accepted by the community of mages as the one who freed us from the Curse of Slavery, but many people still see him as the cause of this magical calamity to begin with. There are also the matters of false accusations and being sent to the dragon’s lair. His position right now is a very delicate one, in the gray zone, but shifting towards the black more than anything……」
「So, as I was saying before, I am going to stay together with Lava. Now that the coup is over, my assistance is no longer needed, so I don’t need to stay here now that the country has changed. I can spend all my time with Lava!!」
「…… Thanks to that no real harm has been made, but we are seriously thinking about deploying countermeasures of some sort. –––– And yes, Nectar, your talents are indeed necessary for the future of this country. You are well versed in the country’s internal affairs, and so you’ll be a perfect candidate for when we create a department responsible for employing military magic to aid civilian affairs. This is going to be our starting point. Would you mind starting with an improved version of the Scouting Magic, one that would allow us to sense incoming monsters and make information exchange easier? Not to mention the files that documents both the leylines and the dragons that Lava-dono asked you to create?」
「…… I can do this anytime I want. Lava is right here, and right now I want to cherish our time together.」
「Nectar, must I remind you that as a human being you need to take proper care of the place that you live in? It’s not like I’m not going to see you ever again. I would also like to become more human, so think you can help me with that?」
There is no problem if you do come see me once in a while.
When I removed my hand from Nectar, he seemed to be rather frustrated for some reason.
「No, there’s no need for that. I’ll somehow manage.」
「Hmm, is that so?」
Well, I guess I could stay here for a while, why not?
But at this rate it is going to be hard for Nectar to leave here. Uhm, right.
「Ok, shall we go, then?」
To the amazement of my two companions, I suddenly started talking about preparation for a journey.
「Go, but where?」
「The royal castle. I’ll save them the trouble and talk to them myself, so there’s no need for you to be my translators, right?」
「Yes, you are correct.」
「Afterwards, I want to eat one of Nectar’s handmade meals.」
「I’ll do my best to make it!!」
「I guess the taste should be of the highest priority…… Allright, but first let me be the guide in this journey.」
「Uhm, yes please lead the way.」
I confirmed everything with Nectar, who smiled happily at Kyle. Kyle began folding the rug while I was making some finishing calculations and preparations for the spell, while at the same time digging into the ground with my feet.
In that moment, a magical circle began to emerge below us, preparing for activation.
I wanted to try out the teleportation spell at least once.
Designating the correct coordinates was always quite a challenge for me, especially without getting the surroundings involved, but I am fairly sure that right now, when I was in this form, it should be easier, only if ever so slightly.
My two companions looked through my arm at the magical circle that I was creating and their responses were…… quite bipolar, to say the least.
That is, Nectar was delighted, and Kyle’s face was full of despair about what was going to happen shortly.
「There was a description of something like this in the ancient manuscripts, but the Spatial Teleportation Spell really exists?!」
「Right, now if both of you could hold my hand and let me concentrate, and try not to go outside of the magical circle, or else your limbs will break.」
「Wait, transportation straight to the Royal Castle is a bit ––––!!」
「Well then, “Activate!”」
Although Kyle was in the middle of saying something, I ignored him as I began to activate the spell.