Through my encounter with Vaje, I found out that there were several of my brethren living in the Mores Mountain, and I just hadn’t known until now.
In the depths of a deep dark cave, an earth dragon covered in rock-like scales sleeps, and a wind dragon flies in the sky, creating wind through its wings, which blows through the complicated terrain of the mountain range. Lastly, a water dragon swims in the crystal clear lake, using fins instead of wings.
Most likely, Vaje was also living in a cave somewhere in these mountains.
Ever since I met Vaje and Liu Yu, I’ve made it a daily routine of mine to go flying through the mountains, in the freetime I had between farm work and hunting for the village.
Thanks to this routine, I became acquainted with the other dragons besides Vaje living in the Mores Mountains.
On a day when the sunlight shone down brightly, I landed near one of the many various lakes existing on these mountains, and talked with the water dragon that lives in that lake.
Fortunately, this dragon was already much older than Vaje, and on top of being mild-mannered, she was also intellectual. So even though I had shown up so abruptly, she didn’t show any hostility toward me.
The name of this newly acquainted water dragon was Wedro, and her thin, snake-like body was covered in blue scales, which shone and sparkled in the sunlight. Her four limbs and her wings had regressed, changing into six large fins.
Her fins were covered in a membrane much like pale skin, which meant she had lost the ability to fly in the sky. But in exchange, she could swim through the water at a speed faster than sound, and with dragon language magic, she could still fly in the sky, even without wings.
Wedro was among the dwindling number of dragons of today’s generation who held higher intelligence, so she was able to fluently speak both the dragon language, and the official language used widely throughout the continent.
When I asked how she had learned the official language while living in a lake at such a high elevation, she said that there were underwater tunnels at the bottom of the lake which led out of the mountains. She was able to exit through there, and it seems she learned the language while interacting with humans and fairies.
There were many other dragons living in the Mores Mountains, but apparently it was rare for any of them to visit her just for the purpose of exchanging conversation with her. Since I had visited her with my only purpose being to simply talk with her, and not to steal her territory, she gladly welcomed me.
In addition to the water dragons, mermaids also lived inside this mirror-like, clear lake. Wedro, as the owner of the lake, lived together with the mermaids as their guardian.
The upper half of these mermaids’ bodies was close to that of a human, but their ears were shaped like fins, their necks had gills for underwater breathing, and their fingers were also webbed.
From the waist down, they had the bodies of fish, with their scales similar in color to the lake’s water. For the most part, mermaids usually live in the sea, so it was rare to see these mermaids had taken residence in a lake on top of a mountain.
Most likely, this area had once existed below sea level, but due to movements in the earth’s crust or some natural disaster, the mountains were formed. The mermaids here today are probably descendants of the ones left behind during the formation of the mountains.
The mermaids lived by harvesting fish, algae, and corals inside the lake, and call themselves the “People of Uala.” Now, they were poking their faces out of the water’s surface to watch me from afar as I landed near the lake.
The lake was so large, a normal human wouldn’t be able to see the other side with their regular vision. That’s why several hundreds of mermaids and the water dragons are able to live together inside this lake.
The conversation between Wedro and myself gradually changed to the subject of the newcomer who had recently taken up residence in these mountains —- the Crimson Dragon young lady, Vaje.
Wedro’s voice was like that of a woman near the same age as my mother, so in addition to the gentle qualities it had, whenever I heard it, I felt that it had a calming sound to me.
「That’s right, Dran, didn’t you say you were acquainted with that Crimson Dragon?」
「With Vaje? Rather than acquaintances, she wanted to pick a fight with me, and I simply gave her one, nothing more. What about you, Wedro, do you have some kind of connection to her?」
「No, it’s not like that, it’s just that, from inside the lake, I’ve seen her flying around in the sky, completely tense and serious.
It’s only been a little while since she arrived here, but she must be feeling lonely because she just left her parents’ nest. I think she’s trying to hide that by putting up a strong front」
「Fumu, you and I are of the same opinion. She had a wild temperament to begin with, but I can see that she’s slightly pushing herself right now.
Since she lives in a different area than you, Wedro, you two haven’t really met face to face. But based on how she’s acting, she might end up lashing out at the wind and earth dragons. I hope she doesn’t overestimate her own strength and get hurt fighting them」
「You sound like a father worrying about his daughter, Dran」
「Wedro, you also look plenty concerned about a girl who isn’t even the same species of dragon as you」
「What, as you get older, you’ll end up thinking about helping out young ones, even if they don’t want your help.
Moreover, you don’t look that different in age from Vaje yourself, but for some reason, I don’t feel like I have to worry about you. Rather, it feels like I’m talking to someone the same age as me, or maybe even older」
Fumu, she sure is sharp. In actuality, the only young part about me is my physical body, while my mental age is far older than all of the dragon species living on this earth.
Not to mention, this dragon clone form is separated from my young, 16-year-old human body, so my current form was no different from just exposing my true soul as it is. That’s why I ended up giving off the atmosphere of an adult dragon instead.
「It’s probably better that way. Anyway, according to the rumors, the humans are talking about something or other flying in the sky」
When I turned my eyes toward the sky above me, Wedro followed suit and turned her sickle-shaped neck upwards, and also noticed what I saw; Vaje glaring at us as if she was aiming to kill us.
She could be seen even from a distance. Her magic was full with her will to fight, turning into flames that blew from her mouth. Her figure in the sky was like a small dragon-shaped sun.
「Dran, just how much did you humiliate that girl? The heat of her flames reaches my scales, even at this distance」
「I didn’t exactly humiliate her. It isn’t my hobby to humiliate young girls, you know」
「Then I suppose it’s fine, at any rate, it’s just the difference between men and women. The ways to fall and not earn strange looks are unlimited. But isn’t she looking at you with extremely terrible eyes?」
「I understand that. Vaje must be getting impatient by now. Let’s end our conversation here for today. Until next time, Wedro」
「Umu. You too, should be careful not to get injured needlessly」
I flapped my wings lightly, sending ripples across the water’s surface, where Wedro’s head was still above water, and then I launched off.
Even Vaje was not so short tempered as to challenge me while I was talking with a water dragon she didn’t know. But when she saw that I had cut my talk with Wedro short and was rising up to meet her, the flames being emitted from her entire body blazed even larger and hotter, as her fighting spirit rose.
Vaje’s earlier defeat must have hurt her self-esteem, but it seems it bothered her so much, she was ready to fight me immediately upon seeing me again. But she had no idea how her actions would come back to bite her.
「Nice to see you again so soon, Vaje. Though that is quite a scary face you’re making……」
「I have no need to speak with you! The disgrace I received the other day, I will return it to you ten thousand fold!!」
Vaje interrupted me, and in order to make her own words a reality, crimson flames began to flow out of her open mouth.
Fumu. Even if her nerves were on end because of the pressure of having to be independent, she was reacting a little too sensitively.
I thought about just turning my back and having no more relations with her, but she was someone I was finally able to meet. It would be such a waste to cut ties with her now.
I decided that I would serve as Vaje’s opponent for as long as it took for her to be satisfied, so I stimulated the magic energy being created by this body double, and prepared myself for battle.
「There won’t be even ashes left of you!」
「If it wasn’t me you were fighting against, then that might have actually happened」
From the depths of her open mouth, the flames one of the highest ranking fire dragons, a Crimson Dragon, shot out toward me.
For humans who control fire resistant magic, even if there were ten of them working together at once, this heat was high enough that they wouldn’t be able to repel it easily.
The flames filled up my whole line of sight, and I evaded the blast with just a paper-thin width of space to spare. Vaje continued to blow out fire, while I approached her.
Of course, since Vaje’s flame had failed to burn me, she continued to blow more flames, moving her neck to follow my trail.
Her flames shot out every which way across the blue sky as she tried to chase after me, scattering her magic-filled flames throughout the atmosphere.