A little north of Bern Village and a little south of the sky where I used to be with Vaje, I met with the Water dragon, with her body covered in brilliant blue scales and the faint scent of saltwater.
At my feet, the view of the sky and the ground was obstructed by the vast white clouds that spread like the sea. While I was receiving the light from the sun on my whole body, I replied to Liu Yu about the invitation from the Water Dragon Empress Ryoukichi.
「By the way, is it at the Dragon’s palace? There is someone I would like to take with me there, but would it be possible to do that?」
「Do you want to invite someone else? I think there is no problem as long as they aren’t too many.
However, please understand that since it is for private guests of our Lady, it would be a little difficult to welcome the guests all together. 」
「It doesn’t matter who they are or where they are from, any dragon, especially one of unknown origin, would feel honored to go. I plan on making sure she knows her place.
Well anyway, if we go a bit further north, they would come from the opposite side in our direction.」
It seems like the dragon is trying to guess who I was going to invite from what I said. Ah! I revealed something when she asked nervously.
「Dran, by any chance, are you going to invite the Crimson Dragon we talked about before in the mountains?」
「Yes, it is a female Dragon named Vaje, and she cannot help changing her mind all the time. She would be more mature if she knew more about the world. I am sorry about using Ryoukichi’s invitation in this way but, for me this is like parental affection. Please, accept my request.」
「As our lady is broad-minded, there won’t be any problems as long as there isn’t anything inappropriate. However, as it is the Crimson Dragon, I cannot say that the palace in the sea is going to be a comfortable place. I would be concerned about her physical wellness, but…」
「I don’t think it is going to be a long visit. She’s not just a pretty female dragon that would get hurt at that level, it’s not like that.」
「If you think so, I don’t have anything else to say. By the way, does Vaje already know how to get to the palace?」
「No, but I will let her know after this. She is a typical Fire Dragon so she has a tendency to resolve everything with force. In other words, she will obey people who are stronger than herself. It will be easy to make her listen to what I say.」
I could imagine Vaje raging at me like fire just because I started talking about her, and I laughed silently in my chest.
As Vaje is a girl that is easy to understand, I can’t help but really feel like a father or a grandfather.
With the purpose of finding the woman dragon that is covered in deep crimson scales, we flew above the white clouds that accompanied Liu Yu, and we followed the same procedure as usual.
The process is very easy, you just have to fly until you enter Vaje’s territory.
It’s even easier than the hunting game I already know and she didn’t change too much. The only difference is that Vaje is now an adult dragon, but I can easily lure her.
Liu Yu and I went a little north and waited there as soon as we started feeling the signs of magical power of the Crimson Dragon. We were already getting familiar with it, and I could also perceive her scent. It seems that Liu Yu could also perceive it.
So far it is different now that I have Liu Yu by my side, there is no dragon’s breath strike from Vaje that is approaching us and breaks through the white sea of clouds from below. The clouds are broken into pieces and now look like fog all around us and she stands there, flapping her wings at some distance from me.
Her eyes that are the same color as her scales, and are now staring at Liu Yu who is to my left. The presence of Liu Yu, a Water Dragon that is the species’ opposite attribute and her seemingly unpleasant color stood out in no time.
Vaje’s appearance also seems to affect Liu Yu, and I can feel the tension in the atmosphere increasing more and more.
「Hey, white-one, why did you bring the blue dragon with you? How can I help you?」
「Vaje, I have tried to teach you a lot of things since we met.
Even though you didn’t show interest in learning, I still thought it would be useful to come to see you.
However, your attitude didn’t change at all. It could be just your personality, but I am very worried about your future.
I thought it would be better to show you more things about the world and its breadth.」
「I don’t even need your care. Did you think I would please your desires? You talk about the world’s breadth but what does it have to do with that blue dragon you brought?
I’ll burn you both with my flames for good measure. Hah! Look at you! You’re getting worked up like a little brat!」
「What a foul mouth. Dran, I don’t really think we’ll get along.」
Sure enough, Liu Yu didn’t hide her contempt, as Vaje was being clearly rude.
The fact that Liu Yu called me by my name seemed to annoy Vaje, since a deep crimson magic power started to emanate from her whole body like a hot haze as her eyelids trembled.
Vaje had to wound me in order to hear it, whereas in Liu Yu’s case, I just told her my name.
So, I know there’s that difference, but anyway, Vaje seems unable to stomach it.
「So, Dran, you are saying that she also had to do it? Is that so? I see. Does that mean that the Water Dragon wounded you? How interesting. How much did she hurt you? I will check it」
「For some reason, it seems that she hates me. I wonder if I have done something wrong…」
「No, the truth is that even though Vaje has to hurt me in order to know my name, she still didn’t know it.
Even though you didn’t hurt me, you already know my name. Thus, I suppose I’ll have to provide her with a good explanation for this. I am sorry for involving you in such unnecessary trouble」
「I see, so that was the problem… Still, I didn’t consider that she may be affected by the fact that I serve the Lady…」
I power myself up with magic, and thrusting myself between the two of them, I give them a piece of my mind.
「That’s enough. Nothing good will come out of you two fighting. Vaje, Liu Yu here invited me to Empress Ryoukichi’s palace.
Since this would be a good chance to expand your view of the world, we’ve come here to invite you as well. Even you probably know of Ryoukichi, one of the oldest dragons to remain on these lands. It will do you good to see a higher-ranked dragon for once」
As expected, she seemed to know of Ryoukichi, since as that name escaped from my mouth I could see a hint of surprise, and even the flames inside her mouth seemed to calm down.
It took Vaje quite some time to open her mouth again, and this fierce Crimson Dragon seemed to be worried about how to respond to what I said.
「There’s no reason why I would go there, and I don’t even like to be underwater」
「It’s not like that. I’m pretty sure that if you’d get to know a higher-ranked existence, you may change a little.
It may not be a good environment for you as the palace is at the bottom of the sea, but Dragon Magic can help you. Hmm, Vaje, can you adapt on your own? Or will you be using magic for that?」
「Well, there won’t be any problem about using your magic. Don’t you think you’d like to see the strongest one of the ancient dragons that yet remain in these lands?
If you miss this chance, you might have to wait for another thousand, or two-thousand years for the next audience with the Dragon Empress」
Vaje hesitantly said yes with a worried look on her face. I don’t normally see this female Crimson Dragon in such a worried state.
「Well then, how about it, Vaje?」
「… All right. I know about the renowned Water Dragon Empress Ryoukichi. Even if there’s no glory in a direct audience with her, it will be a good experience to see places like the Imperial Palace at least once」
「Hmm, all right. Then, Liu Yu, please allow me to extend my invitation to Vaje as well. How long does it take to get to the palace from here?」
Liu Yu did not seem too pleased and answered my question with a disinterested tone of voice. It is a reaction close to Selina while facing Leisha.
「With your wings, Lord Dran, you should arrive at the place above the palace by flying southwest from here for about half a day.
From there, dive into the sea, and you should reach the palace after fifteen minutes」
As Liu Yu passed that information on to me with such a poorly intonated voice, both she and Vaje turned from each other’s gaze, thinking that their deep crimson and blue eyes would cross each other.
It seems that they think from the bottom of their hearts that they are completely incompatible, even if they are standing face to face with each other and exchanging some words.
I can’t avoid sighing, thinking that a woman’s heart is a difficult thing to understand, be that woman a human, a demon, or a dragon.
After that, and reluctantly leaving the situation behind, Vaje and I put out our wings and leaped high into the sky where the wings of wyverns and other flying monsters cannot reach.
We continued to soar over the seas, all while looking at the ships coming out of the kingdom’s harbor, as well as the ships coming into it.
After being absorbed in deep emotions caused by comparing this world’s seas with my previous life, Vaje and I looked back to find Liu Yu, who had followed after us, stopped in midair and bending her long and slender body back and forth.
Apparently, we had reached the sky above the palace. Although the sun is starting to go down since it’s been a half-day trip with my wings, the color of the sky when the sun sets is bluer here.
From here, we need to dive into the ocean towards the palace, which rests over the seabed. There are no signs of any ships used by humans or other beings around here.
「From this point on, we need to dive. I’ll be fine, of course, but the two of you shouldn’t forget about using protective Dragon Magic」
I could go to the bottom of the ocean, out of the atmosphere and even plunge myself into the sun without a problem, but this is not the case for Vaje.
After moving to the open seas where not a single island can be seen around, Vaje seems to be in a state of restlessness, and the vastness of the ocean seems to completely cover the Crimson Dragon’s field of vision.
Now, what about going into the sea?
I turn towards Vaje without knowing exactly why, and with a slight roar from the bottom of my throat, the surroundings around the Crimson Dragon change.
Judging from how Vaje’s body works, and what provokes her needless anger, I assume that seeing fire would be more pleasant for her.
「So, this should make the uneasiness disappear. Whether you are in the middle of a storm or at the bottom of the sea, it should feel as cozy to you as a volcanic crater.」
Vaje seems to be surprised, but keeps silent and turns away from me. It would do you no harm in saying thanks. You cheapskate.
「To use Dragon Magic on a Crimson Dragon without her consent… No wonder Lord Dran is of great interest to the big lords」