Right now, I am flying carefreely through the earth’s sky in my adult dragon form.
If you exclude the discarded and abandoned villages, the one standing at the northernmost part of the country is Bern Village. But even further north beyond that was a wide mountain range that stretches from east to west —- that is the Mores Mountains.
I looked down at the mountains which pierced above the clouds right before my eyes, and then using the power of wind spirits, I took in the wind currents of the atmosphere under my wings, and ascended quickly.
The houses of humans, and the thousands of people who lived in the town, became as small as ants. Even the large lake seemed like nothing more than a small puddle from up here.
Well, to put it more correctly, the one who was in the form of a dragon was not my reincarnated human self. It was just a body double, a clone produced by my soul using magic and elements in the atmosphere.
I started making these clones of my dragon form only very recently.
Just a little while ago, when I had gone to greet my old friend Mairahl, and again when Caravis infiltrated my dream, I had created clones for a few reasons: I wanted to feel that sense of liberation from having a body which suited my original dragon soul, and because I have long forgotten the sensation of using my wings to fly in the sky, like I once did during my fights against Georg.
I broke free of the sea of white clouds, and I was struck midair by the intense light of the sun. Although this was just a clone, I fully enjoyed the fact that I could once again fly through the sky without any restrictions.
However, just for a moment, I didn’t think about anything, and simply entrusted myself to the current of wind spirit energy in the atmosphere, allowing myself to fully savor the various sensations and the pleasure of flying. But as I was doing that, I became aware of a foreign existence that was fast approaching so I sent out a small warning.
The threat of danger was exceedingly low. But I realized the true identity of that strange object. The one that I could see as it grew closer, was definitely someone of the dragon lineage.
Upon sensing the presence of my own kind for the first time in so long, I unconsciously lowered my guard. It wasn’t such a bad feeling at all, to come face to face with one of my distant, distant descendants.
Soon, I could see that the one rising from underneath the sea of clouds and breaking through, was a young, female fire dragon who possessed vivid crimson scales.
Wow, just from the color of her scales alone, it was easy to see that she was a powerful Crimson Dragon, one of the strongest amongst all the fire dragons.
Just like my white scales, her bright crimson scales also reflected the light of the sun, but she seemed to be filled with the liveliness of youth, and her limbs were still in the middle of growing, as they weren’t quite as big as an adult dragon’s yet. I figured she must still be a young dragon, one who hasn’t even reached twenty years of age yet.
The pupils of her eyes, which were the same crimson color of her scales, narrowed as they lit up with grim caution and the intent to fight while she looked back at me.
If I were to put it in terms of human age, she was likely in the later half of her teenage years, and if I were generous in my estimation, she might barely be just about twenty years old.
Her form was made up of strongly beating wings, tough muscles and nerves, and a sturdy skeleton, all covered in solid scales. On top of her being the first dragon I’ve seen in a long time, as an old dragon myself, someone so full of youthful energy was a dazzling sight to me.
Being young was equivalent to being filled with overflowing futures and possibilities. I felt that that alone was something very wonderful.
「You there, did you enter this land aware that this is my territory?」
「No, I didn’t know this was your land. If my presence bothers you, then I shall leave immediately」
I had been looking forward to conversing with her a little bit, but it seems this Crimson Dragon is extremely cautious of me, so it would be difficult to have a conversation with her.
In general, fire dragons tend to have fierce natures, but she didn’t have to be this openly wary of me.
Even if I was trespassing on her land, I felt as if she was a bit too riled up, especially towards a fellow dragon. But since not a lot of time has passed yet since she left the nest, she’s probably under various pressures to stay on her guard.
Empathizing with her young heart, I held a slightly regretful feeling as I proposed that I leave this place, and I really did start to turn away.
But just as I moved to turn around, I sensed the Crimson Dragon open her mouth, and shoot out a crimson flame.
「So that you’ll never show yourself in front of me again, I’ll teach you a lesson with pain!」
「It’s important to protect your own territory, but I can’t be impressed by you picking unnecessary fights」
From the Crimson Dragon’s wide open mouth, a large fireball that reached the size of a two story building was launched.
The Dragonkin can breathe out flames without even thinking about it, and these flames carry a large amount of magical energy. There was a clear line of difference between them and ordinary flames. These were flames that could even burn spirits and souls.
「If you get too fired up, your lifespan will shorten. Young lady」
「You’re not that much older than me, but I’ll make sure you’re never able to talk like that to me again. I am the Crimson Dragon of the Mores Mountains, Vaje! I’ll have you remember my name until the day you die」
「Fumu, so you were named after the “Great One of the Flames,” the winged snake Vajette. She was a benevolent and deeply virtuous goddess, but it doesn’t quite fit a hot blooded young lady like you. Although it is a good name」
In response, the Crimson Dragon named Vaje shot another fireball at me.
I also breathed out a white flaming fireball towards the one heading straight for me, and the two collided and cancelled each other out. Then I flapped my wings and flew even higher in the sky.
Just as the fireballs cancelled out, I was already prepared to move, but Vaje was a little delayed behind me. She gave chase, spreading her crimson wings outward.
Since we were already high above the clouds, there was nowhere to hide in the space between myself and Vaje. In the dazzling light of the sun, our white and crimson scales took on a brilliant shine.
「What’s wrong, you’re just running away, White! You won’t even name yourself, you coward」
「What, I just thought I could be a sparring partner for a young lady. My name, fumu, well if you can land a single scratch on me, then I’ll tell you my name」
I curved my wings, turning away the air resistance from the wind spirit energy and the atmosphere, and sharply descended.
Even if there was no cover this high up, if I quickly dropped from top speed to nothing so I would fall rapidly, Vaje would definitely lose sight of me, even if just for a moment.
By the time Vaje finally caught sight of me, I was already in a position where her belly was exposed to me. Then I matched Vaje’s speed and took in the currents in the surrounding atmosphere and spread my wings with my back against the sea of clouds below. To beat Vaje in her own game, I launched a series of fireballs in rapid fire at her exposed, red-scaled abdomen.
I had adjusted the fireballs so that they wouldn’t injure her, but since she had just received a large impact from below while flying at high speeds, Vaje momentarily lost control of her wings, and she began to fall into the wide expanse of white clouds while spinning around violently.
In order to chase after her, I rotated once so that my wings now faced the sky and I could now look down at the earth. I flapped my wings and descended after her.
I caught the wind in my wings like sails, and slowed so I could look around to see if Vaje was still within the sea of clouds, or maybe she’d already exited it from above or below. Or so I tried to do, but a series of five fireballs shot toward me, and I had no choice but to evade.
Although the speed of her fireballs were a little slow, she was aiming while predicting where I would evade. And compared to earlier, this was starting to look like a slight threat to my body, as the smell of scorching air reached my nose.
When I looked toward the direction from which the fireballs were shooting from, I found myself looking directly into Vaje’s frustrated gaze.
Before Vaje could make her next move, I moved first. I took the magical energy swirling around in the air from her scattered fireballs and absorbed it into my own body.
Vaje’s magical energy was about to melt and dissolve into the atmosphere, but I picked it out and absorbed it into my body, conforming it to my magic. Upon seeing me do that, Vaje forgot about attacking me, and simply looked surprised.
If one could learn the methods of using the remaining magic in the surrounding air and absorbing it, then they could control the consumption of their own magic, which would eventually lead to efficiently utilizing their enemy’s magic for combat.
The reason why Vaje was so surprised was probably because she hadn’t yet learned how to tune the magic of others and take it for herself. Maybe it was because she had never felt the need to learn how to do it, but if that was the case, then it was likely that she has only ever fought with monsters or villains of a lower rank than herself.
「It seems you can’t tune magic yet. If you learn how, then it will be useful when you fight against enemies of equal or higher strength than you. You should work diligently to learn how to do it」