Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
While I was still at a loss for words, Nectar kept on explaining.
「To tell you the truth, what I was studying so far was the means of lifting the curse of slavery. Although I have found the means to lift it by observing Lava’s contract with me, without my staff I’m afraid I lack the magical power to do so. However, I came with a solution that if we had a part of your body, any part filled with magic will do, we could very well supply the necessary magic directly.」
「…… I promised you that I’m going to respect your will for as long as the contract binds us. If that’s what you want to do, then I don’t have any right to stop you. But then, is your magical core going to be okay?」
Since it has to be a part of my body, a scale should fit that role just fine, acting as a magical conductor of highest quality.
Not to mention that for me the scales had little to no value. Just like my hair or nails, they grew once in a few years (not everything about me was reptile, after all) and so long as I clearly desire it, I can just shed it away. And since it was a process that occurred naturally, there was no need for any kind of compensation on my part.
However, using the scales could create a problem of its own.
It was indeed possible to use magic without a staff. And what was so important about the staff, as Nectar explained to me, was the fact that the human body would simply break under the pressure of strong magic, breaking the magical core of the user in the process.
Come to think of it, magic and caster were very similar to the way in which electricity and electrical devices worked in my world.
For the device –– magic –– to work, it is necessary to supply electricity –– magic power –– to it, though the voltage is different for every device you want to use. It was very much like using the transformer plug to the outlet.
And for magic users, said transformer was nothing other than the magical core, which was determining the scale of freedom that the user had over his magic.
I didn’t need something like the staff, for my Draconic body was acting like a big magical core.
Even though each person in this world was slightly different, there was no human who could possibly take the magical energy straight from the magic crystals into their body. The magic core would simply get overloaded in an instant. So, to compensate for this, they used the staffs and magical wands as both the conversion and amplifying tool.
But theoretically speaking, what would have happened if a mere human would try to draw power from the magic crystals?
For example, if you do not plug in the correct power cable into the device, but instead try to connect to it a different cable, with different voltage whatsoever.
In case of magic, although the caster could manipulate the power he was putting into the spell to some extent, controlling the spell would be extremely difficult since the caster would be dealing with enormous amounts of raw magical power, one that he would not be able to handle, and since his magical core would be unable to regulate it all, his life would be in danger.
Once the magic circuit breaks, there is no way to cure it. To magicians it is especially fatal, since they are no longer able to even feel the magic currents, not to mention being unable to conduct research for the rest of their lives.
Nevertheless, Nectar nodded strongly, being fully aware of the risks involved.
「If we can perform the ritual safely for the first time, we will be able to do it for others with ease, once I get a new staff for myself and teaching them the basics of the ritual. I can’t practice magic alone, but I’m pretty sure that Kyle will be able to do it. We only have to do it once. Then, I’ll be able to endure it. Of course, I will pay you for the scale as much money as you want. Please, will you let me go and save my friend?」
I let out the air that I had been reflexively keeping inside.
Since the Dragon’s lungs could accommodate lots of oxygen, when I breathed out it cause a minor wind that messed Nectar’s hair, but the serious look was not gone from his eyes. Not even for a second.
「…… I thought that you would like me to do it.」
From his expression full of surprise, I can tell that such thought never even crossed his mind.
Next, Nectar said to me something that seemed to be rather strange.
「It is something that concerns our world. I am very sorry to use your wisdom to resolve this matter, but if you, Lava, were to resolve it, it would be something completely different altogether. People’s problems should be resolved only with people’s hands.」
I know that each human being is unique.
If you want to take my scales, than you should do it with no regrets.
You should not sweat too much over the small details and just do the things that you want to do.
「And what about the tears in the leylines? It is my mission to rearrange the flow of magic power. For me it somewhat weird to stop doing that for a while, but since my friendly magician is asking for it, I can go out of my way a little. After all, it’s not that unreasonable of a request.」
I do realize that this was somewhat nasty question. Then again, I just couldn’t help myself but to ask it anyway.
Of course, if he really wanted me to do it, then I would do it without any problems, no matter how great of a consequences my actions would have on this land.
Hearing my question, Nectar’s face have become somewhat troubled.
「You’re right. You are really a gentle and merciful being. Even when we know that our actions might hurt someone you are never angry with me, once the deed is done I would like you to fix the tears like you always do, as if nothing had happened. –––– But, when it will be all over, you are going to leave this land, correct?」
I don’t know what Nectar was trying to say. His words confused me a little.
「Well yes, that’s right. Once I’m prepared, this land’s leyline is going to be fixed for good. This means that I will no longer be needed here and I’ll be able to move on to another land.」
「I don’t like it, that concept.」
Nectar draws closer to me, his expression full of pain.
He doesn’t want to be separated from me?
「I understand. Even now the lives of innocent people – Kyle’s life – are at risk. If we can bring back the right flow to the leyline, almost half of this nation current problems are going to disappear. But to me, this time I spend with you, this relaxing way of life, was nothing short of a miracle. I was so happy, I had so much fun, I wanted thing to stay as they were for as long as I could.」
Right now, Nectar looked like someone who was desperately trying to repent for the crimes he had done.
「Under the gaze of your golden eyes I forgot that deep down inside of my heart I wanted to disappear. I recall the joy that studying magic with you had gave me. I told you that you could leave anytime you want, but you were my greatest comfort in this life. During my day with you, I began to want to live. But it will be no longer. When you leave this place, I won’t ever see you again. Someday my end will come. Even though some part of me clearly understands that, I wanted to postpone this moment for as long as I could. I don’t want to be the one who lets go of this dreamlike reality I had with you.」
I feel exactly the same.
I thought so to myself while observing Nectar’s monologue.
After all, I was a loner, listening to the story of someone, who was about to become all alone.
I wish that Nectar could always be there by my side.
Oh, that’s right, since I was having so much fun, I was only pretending that I didn’t notice.
Almost 90% of the leylines here were already re-adjusted, with only ever so little of them left.
「That is why I used words to teach you things that were difficult to understand, to increase our time together, to write more pages to our story. But if I don’t fulfill my oath to Lava, there is no reason for me to be with you. Thinking otherwise would be a defilement of the ancient laws. I knew it, I am not worthy to be in a contract with you. So I shouldn’t even think about desiring a piece of your body.」
Before I even noticed, his confession has gone so far.
I see … I think I began to understand what bothered me earlier while watching Nectar and Kyle. Could it be jealousy?
Was I envious of that deep bond that Nectar and Kyle shared?
Of course. Because it’s something that I never really had.
Not to mention that right now, our races were different.
From now on, let’s make it a rule of thumb to not talk about decent things in front of someone who is in a clearly depressed mood.
But this young man here with his vividly colored hair said that he cherishes the time he had spent with me.
He said that he doesn’t want to part ways with me.
So if it’s like that, I am sure this is going to be fine.
I made a decision, and I strengthen my resolve.
For now, let’s just inform him just how pointless it is to try to hide things from a Dragon.
So I told him that. In modern language.
「…… I was aware of the fact that you were taking your time when you were teaching me, but I didn’t know it was so that our contract would be extended. That being said, I had my suspicions.」
Nectar let out a shocked gasp when he realized my secret: that as of now I was fully understanding the modern language.
Dragon’s learning capabilities is something that shouldn’t be underestimated.
And since the only thing I was missing was information, it was fairly easy to memorize them and put them to practical use.
Still, it was pretty hard to convince everyone around that I did not understand what they were saying, but at the same time it was not an impossible deed to accomplish.
「I knew about 70% of the language when we’ve met your friend. Thanks to that, I was able to easily grasp the concept from the pattern in which his subordinates were communicating with one another, so I understood most things you were saying. But since I was having so much fun being with you, I was slacking off with my studies just a little bit, for I wanted you to teach me more and more. There is no doubt that you cherish our oath. However, there is no such thing as punishment if both sides are not agreeing with each other. But if it was bothering you that much, you could have always quit.」
I really am foolish.
Because I was too focused on the means of achieving my goal, I completely forgot what the original goal was in the first place.
I was this close from making that goal a reality, but now I was really anxious to actually go and do it.
But I should still have time. I can do this.
Realizing what I was trying to do, Nectar desperately tried to ignore all of the worries and anxieties that were welling up inside of him, and calmly raised his voice.
「I, the ‘one who was born from Lava on that faithfull night’, Nectar Prominent, deem our oath fulfilled. From this moment onward, all of the terms of our oath and conditions are no longer valid.」
Just like that time when he sworn an oath to me, this time we were also surrounded by a huge magic circle, and spheres of light began to emerge from my chest like fireworks, erasing the very same magic circle.
Nectar is looking at the slowly fading symbols with his azure eyes, as if looking at something truly magical.
At the same time, I began to feel the strong tension, one that I have never felt before.
Feeling like that for the first time even since I received this body, I asked slowly, as to not mistake any words.
「Now there is nothing that binds you to me anymore. –––– What do you want to do, now that our contract is over?」
「What I want to do?」
No backing away now. I continued on, despite Nectar puzzled expression.
「You could try to go back to the Academy and continue your research, but like that you would probably become a target for someone again really soon. Or you could very well become someone who preys on others ––––」
「………… No matter what, I will never forget the time we spent together. Not now, not ever. My feelings for you won’t change even when our contract is gone!」
「Is, is that so?」
Somewhere at the back of my heart started to get warmer and warmer upon hearing those words, and so I understood that I can’t simply give up now.
It will be fine. I was no longer afraid to say what I wanted to say.
「You know, Nectar. I’ve been thinking so hard that I actually forgot about the things that were the most important to me.」
It was something that I should have learned in my previous life, but I completely forgot about it.
Nectar bites on his lip as if trying to endure this tension, and gives me a strange look.
「I think that to be in a relationship with someone means to cherish the feelings you have for someone and think about them every day. Even so, at first it was not about me wanting to be with you, I just wanted to talk with you and have you make a contract with me. You were also interested in me, but since we were so different from one another I misunderstood your intentions, and so I thought that the only reason you stayed by my side was because of that contract. Even though there was an easier way to do this, I purposefully avoided it simply because I was afraid. However, I am now going to do just that.」
I looked at Nectar with lingering expectation and anxiety, and asked him:
「Dear Nectar, even though I am a Dragon and you are a human, will you become my friend?」
「……!! Yes! Yes, Lava! I’m so happy!!」
To Nectar’s overjoyed smile, I answer with a smile of my own.
This is not the magical contract, so I can’t feel any magic coursing through me right now.
But somehow, it felt like I suddenly got connected with him, and something similar to tears began to well up inside of my beastly heart, and so I tried to keep up my cool and composed appearance.
「Of course, it is only but natural to help a friend in need. There is no need for any kind of special reason to do that. That is why I am going to fix the leylines.」
「Thank you so much, I really appreciate it.」
Even though Nectar has been through a lot lately, he was still curios of the world and wanted to help me fix the leylines.
So I guess the day when we say goodbye to each other is not so close after all.
「Would you like to see your friend sometime so that you can make up? Think about it. Restoring the leylines takes time. There are also many different ways to do it.」
Nectar agreed, and I narrowed my eyes into thin slithers in a naughty fashion.
「Well, it should be no problem to procure some scales for your friends as well, but wouldn’t you like to get a new staff for yourself?」
「Yes, that’s right. The materials that were able to withstand the high amounts of magical power as well as conduct them nicely were rather scarce in this world and could be narrowed down to very old trees in which mighty spirits resided. Another thing was that said trees were all managed by the country, so getting our hands on but a single branch would be extremely difficult. But processing it should lie in the limits of my capabilities.」
I was also familiar with all of conditions necessary to create such a staff, so there was no problem there.
「Actually, I may know about and old tree with a might spirit residing inside of it. It may take some persuading, but if we can use it, why not give it a try? I am sure you’re going to like it, but let’s also procure some scales just in case.」
Just like I expected, once he heard about it Nectar was quick to agree to my idea.
「Alright, it is rather far away from here, so let us hurry. Although Kyle said that they were to march out in two weeks’ time, so I don’t think that anything major is going to happen before that time. We will depart as soon as you collect your luggage.」
To my words, Nectar rushed towards the carriage and gathered all of his stuff, but suddenly stopped right in front of me. I thought that something might have happened to him, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
「I want to touch your body forever –––– It feels so comfortable.」
「…… Just hurry it up and grab me!」
Nectar got on my back and began to stroke my body gently. I don’t know why, but that made me strangely uncomfortable for some reason, and so I took off to the sky to shake this feeling off.
After that I had to stay vigilant so that the cold wind and pressure would not just blow Nectar or any of his luggage off of my back, all the while staying cautious of him.
It was a whole lot easier to travel without any unnecessary luggage, so we left the carriage behind, but maybe I should transport it later to our location using magic?
Feeling ecstatic about making my first real friend ever, I was able to soar through the sky like I have never done before.