Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Young White Drakon Awakens
Lavia and Paula remained behind in a second-class inn near the harbor. Hikaru left once his Mana Detection sensed Gorja had arrived at the port. Ever since the attack, the girls refrained from going out as much as possible. Good thing, too, as Paula took some time before she got over her cold.
Early afternoon. Paula was enjoying her after-meal tea, when she noticed something.
「Lavia-chan, looks like Drake’s awake.」
The white drakon, who’d been asleep for a while now, groaned while laying on the blanket in the basket. Drake blinked his eyes open.
「How are you feeling, Drake?」
『F-Fine… Where are we?』
「In an inn far from where we were last time, I guess? Do you remember? You swallowed a dragon stone whole and then slept for days.」
『Yes… It feels like I had a long dream.』
Drake’s voice was raspy, so Lavia poured water from a jug onto a plate and handed it to the drakon. He plunged onto it, drinking it all up as he became soaked.
「Are you okay? Do you want something to eat?」Lavia asked.
『I’m hungry, but…』Drake used his nose to sniff around, as though trying to pick up the scent of something that was gone.『Where’s Hikaru?』
「He went out for a bit. He should be back later. Why?」
『Hmm… I smell something bad. Something evil…』
Drake wasn’t his usual goofy self. He appeared to be desperate.
『I dreamed about drakons.』he muttered to himself.『I have to go.』
This is one tiresome negotiation, Hikaru thought. He was in the audience room—hidden with Stealth, of course—inside the Supreme Leader’s residence, the same room that Gorja was in last time. Patricia and Gorja sat facing each other.
「Dream Maker now has sovereignty over the island of Dew Roke.」
「Heh. Good one. You stole our island and are now using it as a bargaining chip. The people of the Ruined Continent sure are barbaric.」
「Say what you want. If you don’t accept our terms, you will never get back your island. I heard many of the people have families here on the continent. I doubt they’ll be happy.」
Gorja had someone with him this time, Deena the secretary. They proceeded with the negotiations carefully, whispering to each other along the way. Despite arriving with dejected faces, they were headstrong in discussing their terms.
The negotiation was simple. Gorja proposed to share half of control over Dew Roke’s to Vireocean. In exchange, they wanted a Healer.
Patricia, on the other hand, couldn’t take a weak stance, or else the nation would flame her. She already lost to the enemy once. She wanted Dew Roke to be returned to her fully. On top of that, she would seek further concessions and demand compensation for damages.
「We don’t mind if these negotiations dragged on.」Patricia said.「But what about you guys who came from afar? Don’t you want to return to your homeland soon?」
The Supreme Leader hinted that she knew of their circumstances. Gorja wore an unpleasant look, but that was within expectations.
「You’re the one who lent us the Healer.」Gorja said.「You also destroyed one of our ships! We’re trying to be nice too!」
「Destroyed a ship? I don’t know what you’re talking about.」
「That’s ridiculous! That man named Silver Face kidnapped Deena here and then destroyed our ship. Fortunately there were no casualties, but the financial loss is enormous. We’re saying we’ll ignore that.」
No casualties? Hikaru was surprised. He thought a few dozen would die, that he would kill them. And he was prepared for that. But it would seem that the soldiers of Dream Maker were more skilled than he expected.
Patricia laughed.「You’re a funny one. Deena is here with you. If she was kidnapped, why would she be here?」
「Silver Face brought her back.」
「How can you call it kidnapping when he returned her?」
「If Silver Face indeed destroyed a whole ship alone, we can send him to fight for us. I’m sure we can win then.」
What? No, no, no. You’re not going to ask me first? Besides, my arm gets wrecked if I do what I did, Hikaru thought.
「You should be grateful we’re not doing that and instead offering to negotiate. Hahaha!」
Patricia laughed out loud, getting too cocky. Gorja let out a low groan as his face turned red. Luke reported to the Supreme Leader what happened at the ship, but she didn’t believe that Silver Face destroyed a ship on his own. She thought a ship as powerful as that must’ve been equipped with magic items that, unfortunately, went haywire. That should be enough to make it sink. Silver Face just happened to be there when it happened.
It was a completely convenient misunderstanding for Hikaru. He didn’t receive any needless attention. He wanted her to get the wrong idea even more.
「Then tell us what you want.」Gorja said.
「Unconditional return of Dew Roke. And I want one of your ships.」
What Patricia wanted more than money and gemstones was a warship. If she obtained one of the ships that her navy lost helplessly to, they could dismantle it and study the technology. Virecoean’s navy would become even stronger, earning Patricia the title of history’s greatest Supreme Leader. At least, that what she believed.
「If you agree with that, I will send a skilled Healer to the Ruined Continent.」
There was always a hint of disdain whenever Patricia—or any other person on this side—referred to Grand Dream as the Ruined Continent.
She still hasn’t learned her lesson. Hikaru placed his hands on his waist and looked up. We lost.
Gorja already tricked Patricia into giving him a Healer once. There was no way he’d come negotiate without even trying to hide his emotions. He even had an escort with him. The moment Patricia gave her terms, Gorja smiled.
「You got yourself a deal. You want Dew Roke back and a ship. We want a skilled Healer. I want to see with my own eyes just how good they are. In exchange, you may choose which ship you want.」
Patricia was taken aback. All of a sudden, Gorja’s face was clear, and he sped up the discussion. She didn’t expect them to hand over a ship that easily.
As the Supreme Leader of the maritime nation of Vireocean, she knew just how important ships were. Giving away a ship built using secret technology and confidential information was simply unthinkable.
Patricia’s negotiating skills weren’t that bad. She just read the situation wrong. She didn’t know just how desperate they were for healing magic. These people invested many men and resources to cross the sea monster-dominated seas just so they could obtain a Healer. Losing one warship was nothing to them.
「I want to add to those terms.」Hikaru said as he appeared.
Everyone present was startled. Guards drew their swords. When they realized the voice came from Silver Face, they didn’t bother hiding their disgust and hostility. Hikaru would’ve appreciated it if they relaxed and lowered their swords, but he was well aware that people disliked him.
「Mr. Silver Face.」Deena stared at Hikaru, her face pale.
Gorja watched him warily.「We won’t accept any additional terms. This is a negotiation between Dream Maker and Vireocean. It’s none of your concern.」
「Come on, now. You can’t be serious. Have you forgotten that you abducted my friend?」
「Well, you kidnapped Deena and sank our ship!」
「I provided Deena with knowledge about magic and magic items, things you wanted to know more about. Although my friend got taken because of that. You repaid my generosity with cruelty.」
Deena cast her eyes downward, her face as white as a sheet.
「We could’ve done this peacefully if you just asked for help nicely from the start. Am I right? You’re the ones who ruined that option. Your internal bickering led to you guys occupying Dew Roke.」
Watching Gorja hesitate with his words, Patricia realized her misunderstanding. Silver Face really did sink the ship on his own. Not only that, he possessed information that she didn’t.
「He has a point.」Patricia said.「I think having his own personal terms included is fine. I’ll allow it.」
She didn’t just sit there quietly. Instead, she cut in and tweaked the flow of the conversation, emphasizing that Silver Face was on Vireocean’s side, and while his terms were different from the conditions that the nation laid out, they would get involved too if there was benefit to it.
What a shrewd woman, Hikaru thought.
「So, what do you want?」Patricia asked.
「Oh, it’s nothing significant…」Hikaru answered.