Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Brothers’ Relationship
Wakamaru and Koukimaru were known as the Wisest Brothers. Man Gnomes in Dream Maker were shown special treatment as they lived long and were knowledgeable about history. While the royal family devoted itself to inventions, the brothers discussed philosophical matters.
Why are there monsters in the world? Why is there no magic in this continent? What is the meaning of life? What’s the difference between life and death? If Dream Maker flourished, what kind of nation would it turn out to be? What is the ideal country?
Their arguments were backed by more than a hundred years’ worth of knowledge and experience; they often argued about profound matters that even other Man Gnomes couldn’t understand.
Doriachi’s father, the previous king, enjoyed their discussions. People of Dream Maker lived life on the edge, death constantly by their side. As such, they’d never had discussions from a long-term point of view.
Their wisdom will surely enrich our nation.
Wakamaru felt pride at the king’s words, but Koukimaru seemed cold and indifferent.
The brothers had their own families, both marrying women who were not descended from Man Gnomes. Eventually death separated them from their wives. Wakamaru remarried two more times, and was blessed with children, while Koukimaru never married again. Instead, he took in many disciples to whom he could impart his wisdom.
As his blood-related family grew bigger, Wakamaru’s ideals became more peaceful. Koukimaru, on the other hand, spent a lot of time with his disciples, their ways of thinking growing more radical.
“Only atrophy awaits this continent. We must cross the western sea and head for Primeval.”
It was Koukimaru’s side that first used the term “primeval”, a word that seemed to imply that the people of Dream Maker were superior. His opinion was taken into consideration, and the technology to cross the sea was further improved.
“In a small nation, the interest of the whole must be prioritized, even at the cost of the freedom of a few people.”
It was then that the idea to eliminate the privileged class—the king and the nine clans—was born. They believed that the people who managed the nation should be chosen based on competency, not by lineage. The previous king acknowledged this opinion. He thought the argument would prove useful for Dream Maker’s future.
But a select few did not accept this. No one knew what went inside Koukimaru’s mind, but some of his disciples had radical thoughts. Dream Maker’s lack of amusement and pastimes must’ve contributed to it too. These people tried to endorse an idealistic way of thinking—that the weak-willed king should be removed and the nation should be governed by pure ideals.
Koukimaru had gone too far at this point.
After seeing each other for the first time in years, Koukimaru left with those words, a cold expression on his face. A few days later, Wakamaru learned that his brother took up arms and fought the military.
As soon as he returned the map, Hikaru ran back down to the hole he came from.
「Drake! Where are you?!」
Drake lay on his back on one of the braces, his stomach bulging. Not again, Hikaru thought as he went to fetch the white drakon.
「We need to get back quick!」
『I’m too full… I can’t move…』
「For pete’s sake…」
The braces were firm and steady, yet narrow. Hikaru tottered a few times from the weight of the Dimension Dragon Box on his back, but somehow managed to get to Drake.
「I can’t believe you ate this much.」
Drake had devoured a part of the dragon stone, about as big as Hikaru’s body. However, most of the stone still remained.
「Please don’t say you’re gonna stay here until you finish this whole thing.」
「I’m destroying it, then.」
Hikaru pulled out his revolver and loaded it with a Flame Gospel bullet.
「I sure hope one shot is enough!」
The moment he squeezed the trigger, a huge fireball emerged along with a thunderous roar. The flames coiled around the glowing object like a snake, bathing it in orange light. Hikaru felt the temperature increase. Cracks formed on the stone and eventually it disintegrated.
The braces collapsed as well, leaving Hikaru to fall freely. He reached out for Drake and used the Gravity Balancer right before he landed, breaking his fall.
「Fall back! Fall back!」
Hikaru headed for the hole he came through, dodging debris along the way.
With an enormous burst of light, the egg’s top section got blown off. The blast hurled Hikaru to the ground, rolling him over three times.
『Urgh, pfft. I got dirt in my mouth. Dragon stones are masses of mana. Of course it’ll blow up if you used magic on it.』
Shell debris rained down on the field. Even now, the golems didn’t budge an inch, suggesting that they were only ordered to search for enemies outside the egg. All they did was glance at the shells.
Hikaru weaved through the golems and into the forest. He then hurried back to the boat.
『Hey, what happened?! That was a huge explosion!』
「I’m glad you’re all right. Was that your doing?」
Hikaru was bombarded with questions as soon as he returned to the boat. Before answering, he laid Drake down, drank some water and caught his breath before answering.
「We have to get back quick. Or else the city is doomed.」
Wakamaru’s eyes grew wide open.
「Koukimaru is most likely alive. Can you tell me everything that happened between you two in detail?」
The old man nodded, a serious look on his face.「Very well.」he said.
Wakamaru told Hikaru how his brother ended up on the wrong path. I can’t eliminate the possibility that Wakamaru himself is the collaborator, Hikaru thought as he listened attentively.
Hikaru could understand if Wakamaru only went with them on this dangerous expedition because his brother might still be alive. On the other hand, it was possible that he was an accomplice and he wanted to watch Hikaru.
What if he asked to go to the tower with me so he could keep an eye on me? Hikaru wondered. Perhaps as Koukimaru’s older brother, he couldn’t really abandon him.
Who can I trust, then? Grucel? Duinker? I lack too much information.
How much time did they have left before the evil being or Koukimaru destroyed Dream Maker? Hikaru didn’t know.
From what he’d seen on the map, the Roots near Dream Maker were ready. In that case, the time limit would be until the dragon stones fully developed. Hikaru, of course, had no idea how exactly they would use the stones to attack.
Should I just destroy every Root out there? No, they most likely already found out what I did after that explosion. The accomplice should’ve told Koukimaru about me and they’ll be on guard. What do I do?
Then an idea came to mind.
There’s someone who I know for sure isn’t a traitor. King Doriachi.
A descendant of Eiichi, he was the symbol of the nation. I should get in touch with him secretly once we’re back.
「So there you have it.」
Wakamaru finished talking. Sensing the severity in his tone, Gin didn’t butt in and simply steered the boat. Right now, the vessel was sailing at full speed towards Dream Maker.
「So Koukimaru and his disciples left the city.」Hikaru said.
「Yes. A few of his family went with him. So what did you find in the tower?」
「I found traces of someone living there.」
A mix of emotions showed on Wakamaru’s face—surprise, shame, anger. And a little relief.
「But I don’t know how long they stayed there.」
「What was that explosion? Does it have something to do with Koukimaru?」
「There was a monster, so I used a powerful Spirit magic on it.」
「I-I see… Such powerful magic exists, huh? It was almost like a blast cannon.」
Hikaru lied, of course, but Wakamaru didn’t ask any further questions; he was simply surprised at the power of the spell.
「Is there a Man Gnome descendant among his disciples?」Hikaru asked.
「No, I don’t think so.」
「How long has it been since Koukimaru was expelled from the city?」
「Why are you asking— Oh, I see… It’s been forty years.」
Wakamaru realized the point of Hikaru’s question. If none of the disciples had Man Gnome blood in them, they’d be quite old by now.
「Maybe Koukimaru is the only one alive.」the old man said.
「That’s highly likely.」
「I need to sort out my thoughts… Excuse me.」
Wakamaru left Hikaru’s side and stared at the sea. Gin seemed like he wanted to ask questions, but Hikaru couldn’t explain matters to him as he didn’t know the language.
Not knowing the language sure is a pain. I have to think of a solution to this problem once we get back. I need to gather information, after all.