Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 36: Dragon-san Asks Her Senior
The moment I took Ten’s hand, I felt as though my consciousness was being pulled somewhere else.
It was a feeling similar to teleportation, but the details were slightly different.
「I moved us somewhere else for now. This is my very own space, with no leylines. I can do something like that.」
When my vision finally stabilized, I realized that Ten was telling the truth and that we were no longer in the garden we were before.
This place with only the bare ground and the vast sky above us is probably some sort of another dimension.
The only thing that was here, was a huge stone altar.
On the flat stone base made out of smooth stone there were seven gates that resembled torii gates from my world, placed to form some sort of a circle.
What’s more, the gates and the base of the altar were covered in complicated Towa spells.
It was a simple sight, but it was so tranquil and serene that I took a deep breath on reflex.
「Now, since you have responded to my wish, you can ask me anything you desire.」
I look at the altar again and let out a small sigh to calm myself down.
「Ever since I came here, I saw, heard and felt many things. Towa is truly a wonderful and mysterious place.」
People who were happily going about their everyday lives despite the fact that demonic appearance was a common occurrence.
What’s more, they are cooperating with some of them in order to protect their homeland. That concept alone would be simply unthinkable in the West.
If only we could learn from them, then defeating the Eclipse wouldn’t be so difficult.
「This country seems like a paradise to me. I find it very comfy in here.」
「I know, right? This is one of my greatest creations.」
Ten placed her hand on her chest all of a sudden and spoke with pride.
「Then why aren’t you protecting it completely? If you can adjust the leylines so perfectly, couldn’t it be possible for you to create a land that is free from monsters’ influence?」
That’s right, that was the source of the discomfort I’ve been feeling ever since I first came here.
The way in which Ten could adjust the leylines was a textbook example, something that we dragons of the West should try to strive towards.
But even so, it felt to me that this environment was made especially so that monsters could easily be born in here. Hence why I felt so weird and frustrated.
「Every single time you are mentioned in history annals of Towa, you are described as a generous god that cares for her people. To me, it seems like you have a very strong attachment to this country. So why leaving it all unchecked?
「Yes, that’s because I thought it was for the best.」
Ten smiled as she said that, crossing her arms on her chest as she continued in a light tone.
「You see, I really love this country. Its animals, its plants, its beasts and its people. I love every single one of them and I want to protect them all. That haven’t changed in the last five thousand years.」
Five thousand years ago. I’ve heard that phrase somewhere before.
The more I tried to learn about Eclipse, the harder it actually was to find anything useful.
「What happened five thousand years ago? How come you know about Eclipse if none of the other dragons know? What exactly is the Innocent Chaos? Where did it come from? What’s its purpose?」
There was a whole lot of things that I wanted to know, but I still needed to keep my guard up.
When she first appeared before us, she looked like a spirit, a ghost with no anchor to reality.
I could theoretically do that as well because dragons are essentially a huge mass of magical energy, but it’s something that takes a lot of time and is hardly even worth doing in a long run.
After all, unless you are really sensitive to magic, you wouldn’t even be able to see her.
The fact that Mikado-san was able to see her in the first place must have been the result of his pact with Karura-san.
「No, this soul form is basically what I am right now. I don’t think you’ll believe me, but it’s the truth.」
I couldn’t help it but to swallow hard hearing Ten’s words.
「So, to summarize, you have four basic questions. I’ll try to answer all of them, one at a time. Heh, wouldn’t you know? There actually came the time I have to explain this to someone! In your face, you bastards! …… I wish.」
Her golden eyes glitter slightly. Then Ten walks towards the altar.
Strangely enough, her words sounded convincing. So her goal in kidnapping Aru…… It was really for me…… To bring me here.
I followed her towards the altar, and then Ten placed her hand on one of the torii gates there.
「Right, the first one. Why I don’t have a physical body? That’s because my physical body no longer functions. It disappeared together with Eclipse on that day long ago when it first hit Towa.」
There was no regret, no anger, no sadness in her voice. It was just as if she was relating something to someone.
I guess this can be attributed to her pride in protecting the land she cherished so deeply.
「That’s impossible, right? After all, Eclipse should have no effect on dragons. Otherwise, it would……」
Otherwise she wouldn’t be standing right here in front of me.
If Eclipse would be able to swallow the dragon completely, a creature that is an extension of the world itself, wouldn’t that mean it could destroy the entire world?
In fact, because I wasn’t affected by it together with Nectar we could witness the Eclipse’s threat firsthand, and see just how much of a dangerous phenomenon it really is.
However, if what Ten is saying is the truth and her physical body is no more, that actually changes everything.
「I knew it, so you could touch it after all.」
The expression on Ten’s face was really weird right about now, as if she was upset about something.
So does that mean I can touch it without a problem?
It’s as if the Eclipse Ten and I know are two completely different things.
But Ten just continued on without delving into the details.
「I was always skeptical about the attitude of the dragons ever since then. If you do all this for the world, then shouldn’t you be more involved with its people? Go out there, get to know them, have fun! After all, all of our hard work is for them! The more you look at them and love them, the more rewarding it will be!」
Saying that more to herself than to me, Ten nodded to her own words as if to reassure herself that she was right.
But hey, I totally agree.
Being around humans was fun and rewarding, for they were always up to something and you couldn’t get bored while being with them.
And getting yourself involved was always making me try a little bit harder.
「That’s why I decided that I would protect this land thoroughly! I was even thinking of the people of this land as my own children, can you imagine? And the result of that love is the Towa we all know today. All thanks to the fact that my children made such a good work at making this land prosper!」
Ten’s eyes were glittering brightly, but my reaction was more of a confusion rather than anything else.
Ten seemed to be dissatisfied with that reaction.
「Eh, you have a child of your own as well, so you should understand. How I felt about the prospect of my beloved, men and women alike, to die someday. So what can you do to make people happy, even though the inevitable concept of death lurks in the air? Shrine Maidens! Thanks to them everyone can live happy lives and be merry!」
Ten then laughs, her voice clear and without hesitation.
Does that mean that just maybe……
「Does that mean that Shrine Maidens are all your direct descendants?」
「At least I think it’s like that for the main bloodline of Shrine Maidens. Though I must say, after those five thousand years worth of time it has become a lot thinner. But even so, Makkochi and Miko-chan grew up to be splendid Shrine Maidens.」
Hearing Ten, I was at a loss for words.
In the past, together with Nectar we had similar idea for a while. To treat the whole nation as our offspring. But the scale of Ten’s affection was completely mouth gaping.
…… Just how many children did you manage to make? Or no, let’s not go there. I might discover something that I really would not like to know.
Let’s just say that more than enough. Yeah, more than enough Shrine Maidens. That’s more than enough for now.
Or rather, did she just said that she way okay with anyone!? Be it either man or a woman!?
「Ah, you see, I’m a big dragon with lots of love to share. So isn’t it natural that I would love for everyone to just love one another without worries?」
Ten’s smile right now was so intense that I couldn’t bring myself to answer that.
It must be culture shock. I can’t think of any other explanation.
「But why did you design the Shrine Maiden system in the first place?」
A system where every one hundred years the Head Shrine Maiden needs to be sacrificed in order to strengthen the seal.
If you say that you love everyone so much, why make them into sacrifices?
And even so, why the Eclipse appears so regularly even though the system seems to be working?
Hearing me ask that, Ten’s expression distorted slightly.
「…… Right, make that five questions.」
Now her voice was visibly tinged with regret.
Struggling a little bit, Ten rose two fingers in the air.
「Onto the second question. Why not protect the land completely? This is just my own fault. The eclipse that threatened this country was once contained, but the seal was not perfect. For five thousand years, the Eclipse was trying to get back here from its space-time prison.」
My eyes widened with surprise as Ten’s voice became much more serious.
「Five thousand years ago I tried to repel the Eclipse that attacked Towa. But it quickly swallowed up nearly half the continent, so I had no other choice but to seal it away.」
「Nectar and I guessed that your attribute is most probably time. If you can control the flow of time freely, that explains a whole lot. But still……」
Some dragons have physical attributes. Like me, for example. But others manifest themselves as conceptual things, such as thoughts.
If her hyper-speed movements were the result of her tinkering with time, small wonder I was unable to respond properly to her.
Ten’s spiritual body must have escaped from the Eclipse by sending itself to a different time from this world’s.
Then, because you are in a completely different flow of time, access to this world should be extremely troublesome, but to be able to act freely without any input lag was amazing in its own right.
「Uwah, so you noticed?」
Saying that, Ten smiled in a sad way as she let out a small sigh.
The next moment, her golden eyes glowed brightly as she continued.
「We call it seal, but what it actually does is just preventing the Eclipse from manifesting in this time as well. It was obvious for me that one day the Eclipse would be able to break through and flood this time as well. So I decided to train my children. Until they gained the power to overcome something that cannot be overcome via any normal means.」
Its power and strength were overwhelming.
「Youmas are one of the methods I came up with. They can swallow up the traces of Eclipse up to some extent. But they are too dangerous for them to always be here, so my children need to dispatch them. They make them stay always vigilant. In addition, we would periodically loosen the seal. The goal was to eliminate the Eclipse little by little, trace after trace. All so that my children could survive.」
There was no change to Ten’s voice, but I could say that she was clearly distressed.
Pampering someone with unconditioned love is not kindness.
Perhaps the reason why the Shrine god is a dragon is because it cannot be relied upon in that regard.
And since we cannot rely on the Gods for every single little thing, we must take matters in our own hands and do things ourselves.
I would really like to do this in a different way, but since I can’t, the only thing I CAN do is to give it my best shot.
And the moment I realized what shape the unnatural flow of leylines was forming, I was at a loss for words.