Even when Kyle and his team had left, Nectar continues to act indifferent from before. Nothing changed with our language lesson throughout the day. Thanks to the food which Kyle’s team have kindly shared with us, our meal became much fancier and healthier.
Still, Nectar sometimes just stared out into the distance, a hint of sadness visible in his eyes. At night he will sneak out of the chariot, researching some form of mage craft only relying on the faint light coming from the light spirit. He has done this before, yet it seemed that he was putting more effort into this research than before.
⌈Only if I had a staff……⌋
He mumbled to himself frustratedly while biting his lips. Then he continued on with his research until it was close to dawn, making the twig pen dance along the paper non-stop. I wanted to talk to him about it, yet at such a sight, no words or sound could come out of my mouth. So I just watched him from behind, pretending to be asleep. However, after one week, there were dark circles under his eyes and he was starting to get weaker both mentally and physically.
I can’t let him do this anymore. I need to stop him now! Yet, I couldn’t think of any way to approach the topic indirectly so I took the only option left.
⌈Hey, Nectar. Unlike me, you are a mortal human being. It’s best that you go to sleep at night and get some rest. I can see and hear everything in this area so if you want to do the research away from my sight, I’m happy to set up a barrier which I cannot see, hear or walk through it. So please, do the research while the sun is up.⌋
At first, Nectar looked shocked, but eventually, he showed a bitter smile at me. As if to tell me that he surrenders.
⌈So you did know about it. I apologise for causing you such a trouble. It is my routine to do a personal research at night so there is no deep meaning behind why I do it at night. I don’t mind showing you the research and from a theoretical perspective, the spell will work. Again, I am sorry for causing you trouble.⌋
⌈Can you promise me that you will go to sleep tonight?⌋
I asked him in an attempt to lighten up the atmosphere a little. However, the small smile on his face disappeared and his head dropped.
⌈….. Whenever I try to go to sleep, thoughts about Kyle and his team come to my mind and that thought just won’t go away. As we peacefully spend our time in this safe place, they are still somewhere out there, fighting on the front lines. So how pathetic is it for me to just continue on with my peaceful life, not helping them out. Them, who I once fought within a battle. On top of that, I practically caused that whole incident.⌋
⌈Do you, want to go and save them?⌋
Surprisingly, Nectar who had his arm wrapped around his knees shook his head.
⌈No. I have no rights to. Kyle even got mad at me for it.⌋
There was a long pause, then he continued.
⌈I just wonder, how easy my life would be if I could just leave everything behind, and forget about it all.⌋
Nectar’s statement shocked me, but he continued to talk in a calm tone.
⌈Most people who desired to become a mage in the nation which I used to live in were usually poor farmers and citizens who were struggling to afford their living. If they had the potential to become a mage, they could get a decent treatment from the nation. It was the only way you could escape from being a peasant. I’m also one of them.
At the Mage Potentiality Trials which takes place in the nation once a couple of years, the higher-ups will form a contract with children who have proved their potential in becoming a mage throughout the trial. Of course, most of the children don’t know what this contract means. After graduating from the mage training school, they assigned me to a role as a military mage and so I joined the army. However, rather than fighting off gargoyles and beasts, I was almost always fighting on the frontlines at a war. Since the war broke off with the neighbouring country, the battle got worse by the day and I took the lives of a countless number of people. I spent most of my teenage years on the battlefield. After that, I started getting assigned to invasion missions. There, I came across helpless citizens and protest groups who weren’t happy with their government’s system. And I was ordered to take their lives as well.
Getting sick of seeing people die in front of me, I transferred to a research career. Even then, I was ordered to research spells which could be used at war. In the end, nothing changed. I was still taking the lives of the innocent people. It’s just, I wasn’t doing it directly anymore. But I couldn’t even lift a finger at the higher-ups. I feared the consequences which would have come from such an action. Without being able to fight back, I cursed myself with the never-ending feeling of guilt and pain. The research which I did in hope to at least bring peace within the Ballow nation ended up causing so much disaster. That’s when I started to think that the world would be better off without me.
The day I got arrested, I felt so relieved. I thought now I won’t have to take any more lives. I don’t need to kill anyone anymore. But then…⌋
Nectar showed a weak smile and cried. He cried without making a single sound, just tears pouring out silently.
⌈I was freed from the nation because I was lucky enough to meet you. However, when Kyle told me that it’s no longer my business and to stay out of it, I finally realised. To leave everything behind means to forget about my friends who I fought and suffered with all those years. On top of that, I was freed from the death curse and is now living safely and peacefully. I was being way too insensitive. I can’t blame him, for getting mad at me.⌋
I could not find any words which could comfort Nectar, who was crying the tears of regret and frustration, from treating his friends poorly.
Though, I know that Kyle wasn’t mad at Nectar just because he got emotional and lost his temper.
What is the best possible way to break this to Nectar?
⌈Nectar, Kyle doesn’t hate you. Well, at least that’s what I think.⌋
He looked up at me in confusion as he wiped off his tears.
⌈Kyle seemed to have a good set of instinct. I’m pretty sure he realised after listening to what I told him that it’s easier to make holes in leyline then to cover them up. And that if you couldn’t come up with a spell to cover the holes up, then it’s not something those weak, useless cowards would be able to come up with so easily.⌋
Nectar seemed even more confused so I continued on with my explanation.
⌈Gargoyles will continue to attack aggressively at the people. And as long as the cycle continues, new gargoyles will form and would move into the nearby villages. To protect the nation, the higher-ups will hire more mages and soldiers. The mages who have a power of thousand soldiers and have a contract with the nation will be placed in the front line. However, there is a limit to the number of people who are able to fight in such a condition. So, they will reach the limit sooner or later. Fights after fights, the gargoyles will grow stronger and many people will die during the battle.⌋
⌈I can understand that!! In such a case, you would need as many people as you can on the team!! To increase the chance of everyone’s survival!! But even in that situation, he told me not to come!!⌋
I continued to explain calmly even after being yelled at.
⌈Calm down, I haven’t finished explaining yet. Kyle should have known that if he waited, everyone would have died. He himself was prepared to die as well. Yet, that wasn’t the face of a man who had given up on his life.
Most people who see me are prepared to die, so I know the expression of someone who has accepted their death very well. But he’s was different. That was an expression of someone who still had a faith left in them. So I changed my approach and thought what would happen if they were to disappear. If they were to die.
You said that you have fought in a war before, right?
From what I heard, it seems that the two nations aren’t on very good terms. The fight between the two nations isn’t a small quarrel anymore. Even if they tried to hide the intention of attacking the other nation, they will at least notice the movement in the army. On top of that, what if the neighbouring nation found out that there were mages on the frontline? Wouldn’t they directly attack the nation which has now weakened in their defence from the decreased number of mages on the guard?⌋
⌈Bu, but…. !!⌋
Nectar who now seemed to understand Kyle’s true intention looked up at me in shock.
⌈I don’t know the specific details of this contract that higher-ups make with the mages. Yet, I’m sure it’s a contract which can be taken down without the presence of the contractor, right? And the contractor would be either the king or someone who is working or the members of the royal family. Since the contract needs to be passed on when something happens to the contractor, it’s likely that the contractors are members of the royal family. So what happens if the nation gets taken down before Kyle’s team die? Their contract will be taken down and they will be set free. I think that’s what they were aiming for.⌋
Of course, this is all just my theory. However, Kyle’s expression when he told me to take care of Nectar seemed so full of hope. He had an expression of someone who was about to go into a battle which would flip the current system in the world and were confident that they will win.
Ligurila had the same expression when I first met her. I remember that expression so vividly. She needed to battle a dragon as she was competing with her fellow species. As she told me this, there was a flame of determination glowing brightly in her pupil. It was such a beautiful sight.
Also, I have one more thing to say.
⌈While they were searching for you, I peeked into their consciousness for a very short period of time. Do you know what he was thinking?⌋
Nectar seemed hesitant from this sudden change in the topic. Yet he still replied, looking very uncomfortable.
⌈Something like, why the hell isn’t he here damn it?⌋
⌈….. Well, if I said that thought wasn’t there, I would be lying. But mostly, he was hoping to at least find out that you were alive. And when he did, he was planning to leave you alone, and let you live on peacefully.⌋
Nectar’s sky coloured eyes opened wider.
⌈It was a risky bet which he was playing. On top of that, the fight with gargoyles won’t end as long as the magic continues to flow into the area. So he decided that the only thing which needs to be up for bet was his own life. Kyle was relieved to find out that you were not only free from the death curse but was now been protected from a high-class species like me. You had all the safety, which anyone could have ever imagined. But above all, he didn’t want to drag you back onto the frontlines. You seemed so happy, and he didn’t want to ruin that. The reason why Kyle tried to keep you safe, probably wasn’t because they wanted your help in the future on the frontlines. But because he thought if it was you, the person who discovered the presence of the magical cycle will one day find a way to block the leyline, and even find a way to remove the death curse off everyone. So he wanted you to run away, and find a safe place to hide. But someone who is as kind-hearted as you would try and help them out. That’s why I think he was being harsh on you.⌋
⌈No …. !!⌋
All of my statement, which I have just said has no solid evidence to back it up with. But Nectar, who knew Kyle a lot longer than me seems to agree with what I just said. I saw a hint of regret in his eyes, and his small frame was now trembling in shock.
After a while, there was a light of determination in his sky blue eyes, and he stood tall with his back pridefully straight. I could imagine what he was trying to say next.
He’ll probably say something like, “please block the holes, or please get rid of the death curse from my friends”.
From my perspective, my purpose here is to fix up the magical cycle in this area. I don’t care who wrecked the cycle, just gotta fix it to a point where it will stay stable for a while. That’s all it matters to me.
With my current area, I finished my job earlier than I planned and it will be a little lonesome to part with someone who I could have a little chat with, that’s all.
However, the situation is different for the people who are living in this area.
Lifting the curse off can be done fairly easily.
However, gramps once told me. That mage craft isn’t about making something from a thin air but is about how well aware you are of the consequences which the spell will bring to the world. Magecraft goes against the logic of the world and when used, it brings negative effect to the world. Even if you try to fix it, you could easily make the situation worse. Therefore, being given the power, we must be aware of the consequences which the spells will bring. The bigger the consequences, the bigger the price you will pay.
No matter how much I am against their system, I, a dragon shall not interfere with the rules of the human civilization. If he still insists that I help them out, I would need to prepare an offering to even out the consequences.
In Nectar’s case, I didn’t need to prepare any offerings as the spell wasn’t used with the intention of disabling the death curse. And removing the cloth would not have caused any serious consequences. However, if I am to remove everyone’s curse, I would use the spell with the intention of disabling it. I don’t know how many people are under a death curse, but if he’s planning to prepare the offering by himself, it will at least cost his life.
Such a scenario would go against Kyle’s will and I personally will be punished for not being able to protect him. So naturally, I prepared myself to stop him.
⌈Lava, I beg you. Please give me a permission to leave your side temporarily. Also, would it be possible for you to give me one of your scale?⌋
To this unexpected statement, my eyes opened wide.