Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
「Please excuse my rudeness the other day. I was simply wary of not letting anyone know that I was here. Oh Chaos Dragon, my name is Kyle, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving the life of my friend and taking care of him.」
After talking briefly with Nectar and exchanging information with him, the startled young man introduced himself.
Here and there in their conversation I happened to overhear such words like ‘oath’ and ‘language’ spoken in ancient dialect, so I also told him that Nectar entered in a contract with me. Nectar seemed to fully trust this young man, and so they also spoke about the content of his oath.
Not only that, but Nectar also spoke slowly, explaining things in such manner as to not betray too many information regarding me, only using my nickname, for example. He may rise to be an excellent and refined magician one day.
「Thanks to you I could be with Nectar. Thank you very much. I am sorry for hurting you. Are you feeling okay?」
「Ah, yeah. It was only a scratch. …… Oi, Nectar. Are you really sure this is the black Chaos Dragon? He doesn’t feel like it at all.」
「Like Lava said, when he was maintaining the leyline his body was acting on its own and intercepted you without second thought. I myself don’t understand that all too well, but it seems like a defense mechanism that was intended to scare the intruders away, but instead it leaves some number of dead people.」
「……Seriously. What the hell was our country even thinking?」
Then he told him about the leylines. I know it was something from his field of expertise, but it kinda dragged on.
Although it seemed that the young Kyle learned many shocking things, since he was Nectar’s friend I proposed the information exchange, and instead of asking Nectar to interpret for me, I took it upon myself to explain properly.
From what he said, it seems that his retarded (no, seriously, it’s OK) country had a constant problem of getting rid of the evil spirits because of the frequent attacks of the beasts and monsters. Your welcome, no need to thank me for getting rid of them.
Meanwhile, Kyle sat on the ground and was listening to my explanation of leylines and the role of Dragons in maintaining them, all the while keeping his eyes closed and nodding his head from time to time.
「…… I got it, at least I think so. There is still much that I simply cannot believe, but all of it seems plausible enough.」
Still, I was surprised that he simply accepted all of my explanation without interfering once.
Like, ‘What kind of nonsense is this!?’ or ‘There’s no way for that to be true!’. I was seriously hoping for something like that.
「Do you seriously believe me? For all you guys know, I might as well be some evil entity that works together with monsters and demons.」
「Lava is a wonderful Dragon, so please stop saying things like that about yourself!」
「Oh, umm, sorry about that. I understand, so please interpret that for me. It seems that your friend there doesn’t quite get it.」
Kyle seemed to be strangely dissatisfied that Nectar was looking with reverence at some strange being like myself, but for now even if he wanted to say something, he rather kept the words to himself.
「I’m also a magician who’s affiliated with the military. I immediately understood that the arrangement of magical power in this place was extraordinary. In addition, since the appearance of black Chaos Dragon ten years ago, I was looking through the archives to find as much information about the Dragon I possibly could. Because it is the stuff of legends, there were many false statements, but all in all it was pretty funny. Everywhere where the Dragons were present tends to be rich and prosperous, but before their arrival the beasts and demons were ruling over those domains, and the magical power was severely depleted. Before the Dragons, those places were not suitable for any form of human habitation. Even if we conclude that Dragons are taking the most fertile areas as their dwellings, humans alone would not be able to make them suitable for habitation and decrease the number of monsters over the course of 10 years alone. But it is still open to debate whether or not this has something to do with the specific kind of Dragon, or simply something that is interfering directly to the magical powers of the land. That something would these so-called ‘leylines’ that the black Dragon was speaking of, correct?」
It was nothing short of a splendid logical deduction. I wanted to applaud it, but then I suddenly noticed that something wasn’t right.
Wait a second, did he said ‘for ten years’?
It was ten years since Nectar entered the laboratory at the Royal Palace and began his servitude.
I don’t know how long Magic School can be, but I am fairly sure that during the course of your education you would at least twice see the battlefield, and it would be safe to assume that the people who finished it would be at the very least 30 years old.
「…… Umm, sorry to interrupt you, guys, but how old are you again?」
「My age? I began my education pretty early, so I should be around 40 years old. What about you, Kyle? You should be slightly older than me, right?」
He was shifting his eyes between me and Nectar in puzzlement, so Nectar repeated the question, this time in modern language. He hurried with his answer.
「Oh, yes, now I understand. Is there something that bothers you in my story……?」
My Dragon Ear was unable to catch the very last few words that he said, but Nectar came to my aid and explained that Kayle was around the same age as him, but…… Both of them looked to be in their twenties at best to me.
No, no, I heard that if your magical potential is high enough, it could also influence your lifespan!!
So in this world there must have also been a magic that would stop people from aging.
Leaving the lifespan aside, keeping almost the very same appearance from the moment of your birth to the moment of your death was another mystery that this another world posed to me. It also seemed that Kyle wanted to say something, as he cleared his throat loudly.
「Getting back to the subject at hand, it seems that this dummy here fully trusts your story, oh Chaos Dragon, and take everything in in for an established fact. He may not look like it, but he is also the smartest person in our whole country. He continues to be one even in danger. And he is beyond doubt that you are not the ordinary, but the Chaos Dragon. Well, I myself didn’t quite believed that Dragons were able to speak, but……」
In other words, you have faith in Nectar and trust everything that he says?
If he did not, he would have never come to his aid when he was in danger.
…… How nice. It’s almost dazzling.
Even I could feel the mood here, and so I looked at Nectar who looked slightly embarrassed hearing all that.
So he is the most intelligent person in his whole country, huh?
Certainly, maybe it was all because I was able to wrap my head around the conversation so far, but I could not think of any other word but brilliant when I was looking at him.
Rather than being called an idiot…… He seemed to me like a genius that got constantly misunderstood. He clearly looked like the type that would spend his whole day holed up inside of his laboratory, doing research for the authorities and developing new theories and making discoveries.
I wonder what caused him to end up like he did. Maybe it was that the results of his research were not to the authorities’ liking? Or maybe he committed some other serious crime?
「…… I think I understand what you’re trying to say, oh Chaos Dragon. You can say without any doubt that this man here knows a lot about magic, but he never crossed the line that he shouldn’t have crossed. His execution was based on false accusation over the by-products of his work, fabricated by those who did not like his research.」
Kyle’s face suddenly got all tense, but it was then that Nectar interrupted him.
「No, Kyle. It’s because I couldn’t deliver the appropriate results in time, and it has made its toll on the ecosystem.」
「That’s only because they ordered you to deliver practical results of the project that was still in its theoretical phase! Besides, all of your research materials were stolen from you, and you were forced to take most of the blame upon yourself, to the point they even broke your staff!!」
I looked at their argument with my eyes wide open.
Nectar’s silence was all that Kyle needed to confirm his worries.
「…… I knew it, you were planning on getting yourself killed by that Dragon, weren’t you?」
「I thought it was strange. You were allowed a huge amount of freedom for the sake of doing your research, so why couldn’t you come up with any kind of explanation for your delay? It would surely end up in some form of a crisis, but as long as our magical experiments continue, the country is going to somehow pull through. The country had nothing to gain from having you executed. –––––– Aside from a bunch of aristocrats who held a grudge against you for being the leader of magical research that also had a connection to the clergy. This is why they wanted you executed and called for the Academy to conduct and expedition against a Dragon.」
「…… If you know that much, then why did you come to see me?」
Hearing Nectar’s words, Kyle couldn’t help himself but to laugh.
「I thought about it a whole lot, but the moment I saw your face I forgot it all. That irritating face of yours, looking at that Dragon like some kind of puppy. I thought I was prepared, but it looks like I was the fool here.」
「Thanks to the Chaos Dragon, the Death curse has been lifted from you, am I right? That’s perfect. The country won’t be able to deal with the Dragon if no report at all comes back to them. Otherwise they would just become a nuisance. I am going to share with you the extra provisions that I brought with me.」
「But, the demons are still causing a lot of damage, right? And there is still magical power leaking over to the land at that.」
「The country has finally realized just how severe the situation is in reality. From now on, our squad is going to serve as a backup for those who fight the demons. There is no doubt that an all-out battle is coming. As for the leakages, the mages at the laboratory are working day and night without a minute of sleep to come up with a solution. So, for a while the security at the border should be pretty lenient. You should be able to go in an out as you please, even without your staff. As for the contract with the Chaos Dragon, do as you wish with it. But never come back here.」
「Then you could very well come with me……!?」
Nectar was unable to finish that sentence, met with Kyle’s sharp glare.
「Now listen up. You are already a dead man to me. There is no place for you in here anymore, so whatever happens to this country, it is of no concern to you. Understood? …… And if by some miracle your Chaos Dragon did not understood that, you can interpret that to him.」
Their conversation finished, thanks to which the contents for interpretation were actually shorter than the actual conversation.
I understood that Nectar got falsely accused and since he should be dead, he wouldn’t be persecuted further.
However, I wanted to know the reason for why the atmosphere between those two suddenly become so stiff and hostile.
When the long interpretation was finally over, Kyle looked at me with a serious expression.
「I am truly sorry that our wrong reasoning brought harm to you, oh Chaos Dragon. I am also aware that it is thanks to you that Nectar is safe and sound. For that I am grateful to you. If you find it in yourself, I would like to ask you to keep on protecting him. After all, he is the hope of all of us magicians. Please, I beg of you.」
「Even if I didn’t want to, the oath that binds us is absolute. Also, I too want to learn lots and lots of things from Nectar. So think nothing of it.」
In answer to my words that Nectar interpreted to him, Kyle straightened his back, holding out his right hand that held his staff on the level of his abdomen, and then he put his left his to his abdomen –––– This gesture was established in ancient times for the sole purpose of showing respect to those gifted with superb magical powers.
This manner of expressing respect was taught to him by his grandfather. To this day, it still hasn’t changed.
「I appreciate it.」
「Captain! Are you alright!?」
「Are you injured anywhere!?」
「So the rumors about this place are true…… Every hair in my body is standing straight right now!!」
I wanted to ask him why would he carry a burden like that all on his own, but it seems like he was already prepared. At last, having strengthened his resolve, his companions finally caught up with him and surrounded him, and I ultimately missed my chance to ask him.
「Ooh, you finally caught up with me. You’re late, you lot!」
「No, we could never be as fast and as courageous as you, Captain! If we wanted to do that, we would have to go to Hell and back. And why are you standing so close to this thing, Captain!?」
「It’s alright, it can be a much better conversation partner than you idiotic lot. You can try to talk to it, see what I mean yourself. In addition, it seems to be the user of ancient magic, so good luck trying to understand his ancient wisdom.」
「Are you serious!?」
I can see Kyle looking straight at me, trying to encourage his subordinates to laugh away their fear and anxiety.
Soon, they change their attitude as if some magical switch has been flipped.
Maybe it’s because they’ve been through a lot, or maybe it’s simply because of the environment.
I saw a strange smile blooming onto Kyle’s lips, as well as the astonishment on his subordinates faces when they have seen Nectar.
「W, what is it?」
「Surely you must have read the note that I let on that carriage with all the camping equipment that my soldiers escorted you in, right?」
「This, this is……」
「It was written there that should the country’s watchdogs get sluggish in giving chase after you, you should flee towards the country’s border and don’t bother with waiting for me.」
「No, I was being restrained with magical curses during the escort. There was no way for me to know that……」
「If you were done in by that Chaos Dragon it would be a completely different story, but I won’t hear any excuses! I was balancing between life and death trying to look for you, even using the unfamiliar Scouting magic to do so! And what about you? Learning ancient magic from a Dragon? You don’t even know just how much I envy you right now!」
「Wait just a moment Time out! Time out! Time out!」
Unable to keep up with Kyle’s sudden fuss any longer, I poked at Nectar with such a great speed that no one was able to keep track of my movement.
I did not wanted for Kyle’s men to get caught up in all of this, since they were only guarding their captain, and since the distance that was in between us was a little too much for me, I watched for a short while with a mixed expression before finally someone of his men spoke up.
「Nectar and Captain, what is going on here? Is this about the usual thing?」
Just as I thought, they were afraid. They were looking among themselves for a short while, until finally someone stepped before the line, a 50 years-old man or so, wearing a long beard.
「That’s right. First of all…… You are always getting so agitated when Nectar-dono does something stupid or careless, Captain. Since you are our leader, we thought it necessary to make you aware of this fact.」
With a bitter smile blooming onto the bearded man’s face, I could easily imagine just what kind of relationship must have been going on in this group, and so I laughed in spite of myself.
「You seem like a good bunch.」
Even though everyone else got scared of this Dragon chuckle of mine, the bearded man answered me without fear.
Ahh, this man must have been over 70 years old, maybe even 80.
Seeing that man getting emotional, from somewhere among the armed group another voice could been heard.
「Umm, oh Chaos Dragon.」
The one to speak up was a young woman with a bright chestnut hair. Oh, they have girls in there, as well.
「What is it?」
「Umm, this is, the Inhibition magic set up around this forest was tuned to intercept only the kinds of magic that would interact with it directly, without causing any interference to any other kinds of magic, since that would interrupt their functions. Could you tell me just what kind of ritual it took to achieve something like that?」
The question itself was asked in a really bashful manner, contrary to the act of courage it must have took to speak up in the first place. You could even hear other voices saying ‘That’s the spirit!’ or ‘Well said!’ or You sure are something else!’. The girl’s colleagues were congratulating her in such fashion.
Umm, I honestly don’t know what to say. I was told that setting up barriers like that was a standard ability for all Dragons.
It was really not easy at all, trying to explain it on the spot like that. I tried to copy the algorithm that I followed and incorporate it in the ritual itself, so that way I could show it instead of having to explain. Easier said than done.
「!! ! I am terribly sorry for my impertinence! At the very least please spare my life……!」
I was deep in thought, but then I noticed that that the girl was suddenly panicking and started to freak out, begging for her life with all of her might.
All of a sudden screams started to fly into the air, like ‘I’m sorry for getting so full of myself!’ or ‘Please don’t glare at us like that!’ W, wait just a moment, this is how I normally look at people! I wasn’t glaring at you or anything!
「I thought that I could teach you with only the words I know, but it seems impossible right now so I am going to write the formulas down. Be sure to give them a read sometime. And do not hesitate to contact me should you find any words that you are not familiar with.」
They all looked with utmost curiosity as I continued to inscribe the details of the ritual, deciphering its meaning and exchanging information among themselves. In this very moment, both Nectar and I felt a strange sense of connection and belonging to them.
However, the interaction between Kyle and Nectar was still somewhere in the corner of my mind. I couldn’t point my finger at it, but it somehow bothered me. It’s something I’m unable to forget.