LOTA CH36 — Forgotten Legend

「 Time’s up! Put down your pen, and immediately bring the exam papers to me. 」

The sound of the alarming bell strikes heavily to my eardrums, drowning in Professor’s announcement of the exam’s end. It should’ve triggered me with the suddenness of the loud ring of the bell, but on this special occasion, it’s music to my ears. Because I don’t have to bore myself to death any longer with the all too easy questions.

「 With this exam, this academy semester is coming to a close. For those graduating soon, I’ll wish you all the best in the future. 」

Graduation ceremony huh… I’ve known it’s coming closer, but with the professor mentioning it, the weight of it is only realized now. Well, it’s not something to ponder around. There’s a much more important agenda to think of.

Visiting Professor Meyer.

After handing the exam to the professor, I make my way to Professor Meyer’s quarter. Passing through the campus’ distinct white building, realizing that this might be the last time I can enjoy the beautiful architecture.

It just so happens that I come across the classic bronze Bosart statue. There are other landmarks more unique and much more magnificent in terms of appearance, but I can’t help but always notice the statue.

A figure of a greatly educated man — a symbol of great hope to the future of noble society.

For me, however, it’s reduced to a figure of my pessimism and misery.

Then she appears.

She, the ideal woman in the most artistic form, everything about her is beautiful pristine white.

…That’s wrong. Sinister white fits her most. The royal bearing and pale skin appear devilishly inhumane.

I quickly walk to the side, not wanting myself to be noticed by her group. And then continue to walk to my destination. I need to get away.

 


『 Hoooo… Who’s That Female Human? 』

I must admit, this is the first time you show interest in another human other than me. Which one are you talking about?

『 The White One That Passes Before You 』

White one… Don’t tell, Princess Vivienne?

『 Whoever That Female Human Is, I Can’t Help But Wanting To Pummel Her To The Ground. 』

Wha… Why?!

『 That Female Human Surprisingly Irks Me. Don’t You As Well? She’s The Cause Of Your Dismay, No?  』

Calm down Naga… You don’t have to worry about such an insignificant thing.


 

No… It should be me who needs to calm down.

The dragon’s outrage is due to my emotional outburst…

And I can do so by focusing on what’s going to happen soon. As I’m now already in front of Professor Meyer’s quarter.

「 Greetings Professor Meyer, I hope I didn’t disturb you. 」

As soon as I peek inside, I notice the stacks of papers on his table, covering almost half of it.

「 Ahh… Renald, it’s been a while. 」He says, putting the paper he’s holding down flat to the table,「 don’t let the stacks of papers here concern you. Some are just my research notes, although most are my student’s exams. 」

「 I really am not bothering you right? 」I say, feeling a bit guilty, interrupting in the middle of what seems to be his busy period.

「 I would gladly continue grading these later late at night, to spare some free time with one of my favorite students. Now don’t be shy, please come in. 」

Receiving the professor’s acknowledgment, I come inside, closing the door behind me, and immediately sit down in the available chair in front of him.

「 I’m sure you’ve come here not just to beg me to increase your already perfect grades like most students, so what is it that you need from me then? Is it still regarding the arcane decegram star magic rune surrounded by four hooded angels you’ve been researching about? 」

「 Ahh… actually no. I’ve come here to ask you about something else. 」

「 Does that mean you have found the answer?! 」He immediately leans forward, his eyes widening with sheer amazement,「 Please share it with me. I’m actually rather curious about that whole research subject. 」

「 Sorry Professor… I gave up researching it, sadly. My research and leads keep giving me deadends. 」

Can I even tell him that the magic rune leads to the summoning of an ancient dragon?

「 I see… What a shame…  」He looks down, seemingly disappointed.

「 Anyway, you’ve come here to ask about something else right? 」He quickly follows up,「 What is it that you want to ask? 」

「 Uhhh.. 」Damn, I’m being nervous… Here goes nothing… 「 Have you heard of the name, Naga? 」

「 Hmm… Interesting… 」He ponders, as he rests his chin on his hand,「 Naga was it? Never heard of it. What’s that?」

 


『 WHAT 』


 

Both Professor’s answer and the dragon’s reaction are well within my expectations. But Naga would probably be unsatisfied with just this small answer.

Should I just be straightforward and mention that Naga is an important and significant figure, being the supreme dragon that no other can fight against?

No… I need to test the water first, as I’m currently swimming in dangerous waters. Dragon history is the source of pride of all dragons. If a human starts questioning the legitimacy of this great pride, it will be an easy trigger to a dragon’s outrage.

「 This is merely my hypothesis that I want to discuss with you. 」I say, trying to subtly push the idea,「 I think the dragon statue that we’ve encountered on our past archeological expedition might be a newly undiscovered dragon that doesn’t exist in the history book. Not the Raiyuu kind that I’ve previously hypothesized. 」

「 The dragon statue from our past archeological expedition was it? It’s definitely a Raiyuu… It’s just like what you said before, back in the expedition. The humans who created the statue must have a misinformed idea about dragons, thus creating a false statue. Which is reasonable, considering they always lived under the surface or other dragonless areas. 」

「 Well, what if… What if they created the right depiction of one of the dragon kind? One that we have yet to know of? 」

「 Okay. Then why would a dragon wear a human-made crown? 」Professor quickly counters.

「 Professor… 」I call, trying to reason with what he thinks is unreasonable,「 the Anantem dragon kind ancestors have big jewelry implanted in their chest. Their descendants even to this day follow suit by having a small red gem implanted on their forehead. The now extinct Tubor dragonkind had leaf-like parts on their wings. I think it is within a reasonable scope that another dragon might possibly have a weird gimmick, such as a crown. 」

A hint of uncertainty and doubt plastered in his features.

I need to push in further.

「 The dragon wears a crown, Professor. 」I continue,「 The crown might’ve already existed since the beginning of its existence which might indicate that it is the ruler, the supreme one of the entire dragon race. 」

「 I’m sorry Renald, I know you mean well, but the concept of a supreme dragon ruling over the entire dragon race is to mildly put it — it baffles me. 」

「 Maybe it’s the supreme one that doesn’t bother the other dragon kind because it is the one and only kind of its kind? 」

「 Are you seriously doubting my knowledge regarding my esteemed ancestors? 」Professor asks, with a tinge of doubt and anger, raising his eyebrow,「 the dragons in the Verum Shihi era always fought with one another. Their respective strengths largely balanced the others out, with the Tian and Mervyn kind being slightly the more dominant dragon kind. 」

 


『 HOW DARE THESE LOWLY INFERIORS FORGET THEIR ONCE SUPREME DRAGON 』


 

Ughhh… My head… It’s just a telepathic thought, but its anger is definitely transmitted to the point of causing a headache.

「 Are you alright, Renald? 」Professor asks, clearly concerned for my well-being,「 It seems you need to take a rest. 」

「 Don’t worry, it’s just a slight headache. 」I say trying to brush it off.

「 You don’t need to be polite with me.  」He says, although I sense his mind to be somewhere else,「 I must admit, I’m not convinced with your theory of this supreme ‘Naga’. It contradicts some elements of our history. It would need a lot of evidence to back it up, and an unauthenticated dragon statue is barely enough. 」

He mentioned not be polite with him… That means he subtly cues me to be direct with him. To be truthful about my state? Is it out of concern for my well-being or out of the discomfort of questioning historical pride? Whatever it is, it seems that he wants this to be over soon.

「 Alright… I should get some rest then. 」I say, emphasizing on the rest,「 thank you for sparing the time to talk with me. 」

「 No, it was my pleasure, 」he lets out a small smile,「 you may leave. It’s a shame, you will be graduating soon. I sincerely hope this won’t be our last meeting, and that your passion for history never dies. 」

「 Of course professor, take care. 」

Accepting the fact that whatever I say won’t change his mind and most importantly having gotten Naga’s answer, I head out to the door.

「 Renald, wait! 」

「 Yess..? 」I say as I turn my back.

「 I forgot to mention since you are not going to be a student here anymore, here is my address, feel free to send me a letter. I hope we can still stay in touch once in a while 」He says, giving me a small paper.

I quickly grab it and notice his address is quite close to the academy. In an affluent neighborhood.

「 Thank you very much, professor. I’ll send a letter sometime soon. 」

I leave Professor Meyer’s room, knowing full well the storm that’s possibly happening in the sky palace. Naga must be furious.

I need to immediately check in with Naga. The dragon must be shocked with the revelation that its name is truly forgotten by the dragonkin. What’s worse is how even a Dragonkin history professor is not open to the idea of Naga.

I immediately run back to my dorm, ignoring the onlookers.

I come inside the dorm, climb up the stairs, open the door of my room, but something strange has happened.

My room is messy — too messy. This is weird. I’m sure I’ve tidied up a bit, and the maid in the morning would do the rest. How come all of my stuff is scattered everywhere? All of my clothes are now crumpled, even the cabinets of my drawers are pulled and some even went missing?!

Wait a minute…

Did my room just get robbed?!

How could this happen?!

I need to report it to the security or the housemaids.

Wait, I still need to check in with Naga first… Ah… I’ll report it later, Naga comes first…

…..

By the time I’m in the sky palace, the dragon’s rampage has already started. The whole building trembles and shakes. The loud noise of impacts keeps blasted over and over again. The dragon must’ve made the room it’s hiding messy.

I run to the source of it all. And there I see the dragon’s chaotic expression, with what seems to be a tinge of depression forming.

『 DO YOU KNOW HOW IT FEELS TO REALIZE YOUR ENTIRE EXISTENCE IS MEANINGLESS?! TO HAVE TO COME TO TERMS THAT YOUR MISERABLE LIFE IS WORTHLESS?! 』

The dragon’s voice causes another rumbling tremble on the scale of a small earthquake.

Something inside me wants to back down, to get away from the dragon’s rampage. But no, I must face it. I can’t just runoff. It would be cowardly to do so.

「 Settle down, Naga. 」I say sternly,「 I know it’s heartbreaking that you’re forgotten. But does it become meaningless? What do you mean? 」

『 I WANT MY NAME TO BE REMEMBERED FOR POSTERITY. IN ORDER THAT MY MISERY HAS SOME SORT OF A MEANING. THAT IS MY MADE-UP PURPOSE TO CLENCH TO MY VOID LIFE.  』

「 Misery? When you’re the supreme dragon? 」

『 OF COURSE… 』

The dragon begins prowling, circling around me, its eyes filled with deep anger.

『 OF COURSE THAT IS WHAT YOU ALL THINK. I BECAME SUPREME NOT OUT OF MY MEER WISH BUT OUT OF NECESSITY. A LONE DRAGON LIKE ME IS AN EASY PICKING FOR THE OTHER CLANS. 』

The anger is still there, but now more controlled, shimmering beneath its eyes. It makes the dragon even more dangerous — on the appearance at least.

A lonely dragon huh…

『 IT’S A DRAGON EAT DRAGON WORLD. WHY BOTHER STRIVING IN A VIOLENT AND TRANSIENT WORLD 』

The dragon’s still angry yet it lets out a small chuckle as if it’s laughing at itself.

「 Well… 」I ponder some more to its question,「 life has always been meaningless. There is no such thing as a grand ‘purpose’ in life.  」

『 WHAT IS THE MEANING OF MY EXISTENCE THEN? BEFORE AND NOW 』

Purpose huh… Such a loose and abstract concept. Does the dragon want me to give it some sort of purpose?

Even I don’t have a concrete answer for it.

Nevertheless, an answer is needed, even an imperfect one.

「 Purpose is not something that you can just come up with in mere notice. Purpose is something you must uncover. Look from the inner within of your soul. Maybe you’ll find it inside. 」

The dragon stares daggers back at me, it’s dragonic eyes narrow to the point I can feel their sharpness, doubting and questioning my lecture.

Surprisingly, the dragon slightly withdraws, coming to reluctantly accept my idea, from the looks of it.

The dragon turns back and swiftly moves to a random room within the sky palace, the door shuts as soon as it goes inside. I quickly run, and knock on the door, questioning what’s on Naga’s mind.

『 Do Not Disturb Me.  I Shall Contemplate 』

I keep banging the door, but Naga’s response is still to remain silent…

 

Previous Chapter

LOTA CH35 — Unusual Studying Companion

Hmm…. Interesting…

So is that it? In a world where magic becomes the ultimate entity — an extra hand or tool that influences all sorts of lives, it doesn’t have a single place in any logistical operation?

For the logistics to be merely classified as a simple way of distributing food, material, and resources among the army. Quite strange indeed. But it is reluctantly understandable.

Unlike tanks or other heavy weaponry in the previous modern world that need fuel, ammunition, and countless spare parts, not even including trained technicians both to operate and repair, magicians simply need decent food and several potions to operate.

And in a world where a single magic expert can annihilate a one hundred soldier army, the complex challenges of utilizing weaponry and army units become naught but a flickering afterthought. Something that simply happens. Not connected to warfighting capability.

I guess it is to no surprise that the logistical doctrine became such a simplified concept. Not the interconnected system over hundreds of varieties of other systems with intellectual and technological breadth, depth, and complexity that I am familiar with.

With that in mind, It is to no surprise that very few take the [Military Logistics] and the one who chose to do so, most likely only do so for the military graduation credits.

I’m disappointed with this class honestly. I expect rigorous systems and calculation but found case studies behind the scenes of wars, mostly about the logistical or political side of war. The professor also mentions that the [Military Logistics] class only has a brief history, unlike other military classes, merely two years.

The current logistical doctrine that should’ve fit according to this world’s unique situation and circumstances is still full of errors.

Cradsten war, Concordis great war, and many more; all have the same theme in terms of how they handle logistics; with the same common problem – mismanagement.

The de-facto ways of procuring food and supplies are always left to the soldiers in the field. Scavenging their way as they move forward, living off the land.

Although it does make sense, setting aside morals, I can’t help but feel there’s definitely can be something done to improve the current doctrine. With intricate calculations, experiments, and of course data, you can come up with ways to predict at which stage an army unit needs what supplies and could also be incorporated into army placement and transportation.

As most of the time, an army could’ve won if only they have more mana potions with them. While as on the other side of the battlefield a certain army who didn’t get much action finds out they have too many mana potions laying around to the point it halts their movement speed.

But still… How come what seems to be an obvious problem is not addressed? Is it something to do with the lack of political will? Or the problem is not too much of a big of a deal?

Or maybe it’s just an oversight on my part, as I don’t really have much practical knowledge or field information in this regard. And to get them…. I need to participate in perhaps the royal military or even warfare….

『 You Seem To Be Deep In Thought Human, Learning This Arcane ‘Logistics’. Is This Some Sort Of A New Way Of Magic That You Humans Developed? 』

For once, I thought it would be a quiet night in the sky-palace’s library. Accompanied with only a peaceful fireplace and surrounded in the comforting towering old wooden bookshelves. But here, a bored dragon unintentionally makes its way to my supposed private moment. The first time might I add.

I’ve been trying my hardest in ignoring the dragon, but how could I when its humongous serpentine-like body coils around on equally massive bookcases… I’m honestly surprised the dragon never got entangled with its own body.

「 Logistics is not magic. 」I say, disputing the dragon,「 It is a discipline in managing resources to help human armies fight to their fullest. 」

『 Hoooo… I See… Another Human Concept. But Why Bother Learning This Torturous Concept When You Can Simply Decimate Your Foes With Grand Magic Spells? 』

「 Because humans are born with various constraints. 」I lecture, 「 constraints that might be unthinkable or nonexistent for non-humans. To blow up a small mountain, a dragon can simply cast an explosive spell, for humans, however, it would require a lot of planning on the amount of mana needed due to our small mana capacity, and also where to strike the spell since our spells pale in power compared to the dragons. It is due to these constraints that we must be creative with our ways, one of them being this logistics concept. 」

『 Then Why Bother, When You Can Use This Great One’s Might And Power? 』

Another unnecessary offer, and most importantly a reluctant one.

I have to admit, there is the temptation in using the dragon’s power. But I never want to conquer the world, there’s a lot of responsibilities that lie hidden within it.

Let’s say I conquered the Veinard kingdom alone, what then? The power balance will be ruined, the citizens will question whether the new ruler brings good or not. Chaos will surge everywhere.

「 Are you even willing for me to use your powers? Can you even accept your fate that you were summoned by a human?! 」

『 What This Great One Thinks Does Not Matter. 』

Does not matter? How come it doesn’t matter?

So the dragon can just easily accept its fate?

「 And why does it not matter? 」 I desperately ask the dragon’s unfathomable thought.

『 That’s Just The Way It Is. None Of My Thoughts Have Always Mattered. That’s Why Go Ahead And Use This Great One’s Potential To The Fullest. 』

「 Then I simply won’t use your aid. I don’t even have any use for it. 」

Somehow, I can feel the tension in the air, a deep gruntle, a look of chagrin comes from the dragon.

『 I AM NAGA. 』

The dragon let loose a deafening roar, threatening to burst my eardrums. So much for a normal quiet moment in the library.

『 I AM THE VERY DEFINITION OF SUPREME AND MIGHT AMONGST DRAGONS. 』

With its enormous body, it hovers and flies around in the above space, thanks to the library or sky palace towering ceiling — demonstrating it’s swift flight. Untraceable to the eye.

The once still air becomes violent winds as numerous chandeliers shake vigorously, alarming to fall.

『 Many Have Fought For My Supreme Position And Many More Yearns To Utilize My Power For Their Own Personal Schemes. 』

The dragon stops its face directly in front of me, shooting me a hostile look. Its sharp dragonic crimson eyes narrow, threatening to kill.

『 The Tian, Raiyuu, Chaun, And Many More. All Are Jealous Of The Power That This Great One Possess. They Begrudgingly Revers To Me As The Supreme One As I Am The Wild Card That No Clans Can Hold Upon. 』

A contemptuous growl rumbles from the dragon’s throat. Its head rises up, just on the level below the library’s ceiling.

『 Many Would Gladly Destroy The World To Be In Your Place, My Creator. 』

Those last words were hissed out, making me instinctively knock me back. But still seating in the chair.

『 It Would Be Foolish To Not Use Me As An Aid. Or Even As A Mere Tool. 』

The dragon lets out a chuckle as she looks down at me. Deep in its eyes, a dark and blank hole.

…I’ve always wondered about this dragon.

Might. Power. Supremacy. Those three words are always what the dragon mentions on and on and on… And it keeps saying them as if there’s nothing else the dragon can think of or say…

「 Why are you so obsessed with your powers and supremacy? 」

『 Because That Is Solely My Identity. Nothing More — Nothing Less. 』

The sounds of the crisp crackling of the fireplace are what’s left in this room, focusing me to ponder and make sense of what the dragon is trying to say.

Then, a realization hit me.

The dragon is naught but an empty husk that can only project power…

As power solely defines the dragon.

…Should I pity the dragon? No, the dragon won’t like it.

I wanted to keep our relationship cold and proper but it might be best to at least warm it a bit. To lessen the dragon’s worry. From Naga’s explanation, she might’ve thought of me as one of those cold-hearted beings that will take advantage of anything.

「 Haaahhh… What do I do with you… Come here. 」I wave my hand, signaling the dragon to move close to me.

The dragon willingly comes close to me, although with a confused look. Its enormous head that is equal to that of my upper body is only a few inches away in front of my face.

I honestly don’t know what to do with this dragon, as its appearance and presence is only due to an accident.

But somehow it reminds me of what I usually do to Hyledd…

I reach out to the dragon, on top of its head is the gleaming golden crown, but it doesn’t deter me from stroking the dragon scales on top of its head that is not covered by the crown; giving it head-pats.

*pat pat*

「 I appreciate your sentiment, but you do not need to force yourself. 」

Its dragonic eyes gaze to space, seemingly deep in thought. Its tense scales are now relaxed, making me enjoy the smooth surface even more as I continue head-patting Naga.

With the dragon finally remaining silent, I continue reading the book as I write down notes.

Hmm…

A basic magician squadron composed of six assault magicians, three aegis magicians, and one support magician, is estimated to require three to five mana potions — the standard military-grade, for medium intensity skirmish combat. So if there’s an average of a single combat every day, not considering casualties, the squadron would need to be resupplied twenty-one to thirty-five mana potions, which is around thirty percent of a standard wagon capacity…

If that’s the case the-

『 Human. 』

「 What is it? 」

Is this dragon lonely or bored or what?

『 I’ve Known Your Name. Even So, I Want To Know Your Name Directly From You. 』

Well, that’s weird…

「 My name’s Renald. Renald Alderhide. 」

『 …Reynard? 』

Reynard, what?!

「 No. It’s Renald. 」

『 R-ronald…? 』

Really? Ronald!?

Isn’t that what I thought of my name when I first come to this world?

I place my hand on the forehead and look down to the desk as I’m sure I’m smiling stupidly right now…

How can this dragon think of my name as Ronald too…

This is ridiculously hilarious….

Haaaa…..

That’s right. I have no use of my past name. I should move on.

「 Like I said. It’s Renald. 」

『 Renald. 』

「 There you go. 」I say, ignoring the dragon’s expression,「 you got it right this time. 」

『 Hmph, Strange… Anyway, Decent Name… Thank You… 』

Its dragonic lips noticeably curl upwards slightly, expressing a rather content look…

A lot of weird things have happened to the dragon. But I honestly prefer this many times more compared to its usual state of always bothering me about all-might and usurpation.

「 I’m not sure where your gratitude is coming from, but you’re welcome I guess… 」

Noticing that the dragon remained silent, I took the opportunity to continue what I was studying.

Hmmm….

If a squadron is expected to face a medium intensity skirmish two times per week then it will require one wagon full of supplies per month. So if that’s the case the-

『 Be That As It May. 』

…I shouldn’t have allowed Naga to come here.

『 I Cannot Fathom That You Do Not Have Something That You Desire With How Hard You Work.  』

I pause for a moment and deeply think. What I desire huh…

Now my desire is to make my mother proud. Mother doesn’t say what she wants explicitly, other than for me deserving a better chance or to be successful in life. So in a way she doesn’t tell me in detail what she thought of as success in life.

But there’s definitely something more than what my mother wants, or making my mother proud… My unfulfilled yet foolish wish.

「 I want… as weird as it may sound… I want love… 」, I say, talking to myself as much to the dragon,「 but that’s a foolish wish, for such a delusional abstract concept does not exist. 」I quickly dismay the thought.

『 Hoooo… I See… 』

The dragon surprisingly replies quite quickly. I’m not sure the dragon does so out of boredom or out of deep thinking… as a rather sense of being in a state of contemplation comes from it.

「 Well… How about you then? 」I quickly ask, trying to divert the conversation topic,「 you might be one of my summonses but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to fulfill any request, within my abilities of course. 」

『 Ah. Now You Mention It. When Will You Learn Of The Wondrous Tales Of My Supremacy? This Great One Can’t Wait To Hear What The Dragonkin Thinks Of The Supreme Naga. 』

「 Ahhh… That’s right. Don’t worry, it will be quite soon. Tomorrow most likely. 」

After the [Military Logistics] exams, the whole academia will enter a relaxed period. And shortly afterward graduation will come. My time in the academy is over, along with the Alderhide family…

I would need to visit Professor Meyer immediately after the exam then, before his time is filled with grading the student exams. With his expertise once and for all, we will get the concrete answer to whether the legendary tales of Naga are actually written in the history book or not.

Even then, I’ve already prepared for the worst, that Naga is truly forgotten, never mentioned at all in any history book. Because if so, then I would totally know of its name before.

The question then is, what would Naga think?

 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter

LOTA CH34 — Lurking Trouble

「 It’s him… 」

「 Is that the one who achieved an Advanced level in the《School of Wits Magic》? 」

「 Great… How am I supposed to tell my father that I tried my hardest when a mere Count student achieved Advanced level 」

I make my way home the usual path, trying to ignore the people who seem to have little to do with their lives but chattering and trading rumors.

These rumors have been going on soon after I finished an advanced level exam in the 《School of Wits Magic》, where I demonstrated the cursed《Somn》spell successfully. The very same spell that revealed the hidden thoughts, the hidden side of oneself. The reason I awoke from my foolish fantasy.

And when cast on myself, it revealed another side of mine that I — though expecting it to exist — had never really grasped the depths of.

Dark, sinister, twisted compulsion. An-

…It’d do me good not to delve deeper into those thoughts, lest I get a screeching complaint from the dragon.

Although the rumors are mildly annoying and distracting, it is easily something to be brushed off, ultimately insignificant.

I just wanna go back home and be done with this.

I want to graduate as soon as possible. And focus on adventuring to hopefully strike it big and make my mother proud.

「 Ahhh! It’s you, human! I’ve been looking for you! 」

And there he is. That smug bastard. That classic streak of white that marred his blonde hair. The unforgettable arrogant dragonkin, Dae Sho, right at the front of my dorm.

Why do almost all strange and unusual things happen when I come back to my dorm?

「 Hey Dae Sho, why are you… you know… here? 」

As I ask him, I notice two dragonkin with horns similar to those of Dae Sho behind him. Both of them are wearing all black and white robes with steel armor here and there. I can only assume they are his bodyguard. This is quite concerning as I have no clue why he is here so suddenly.

「 I’ve come to visit you after a talk with Senior Meyer. After I’ve heard some interesting information from him. 」

What kind of information…?

「 I can talk all day long, but shouldn’t you take me inside your place? You know manners and what not? 」

「 Sure… 」

I open the door and welcome him and his followers inside.

It’s still strange. Back then, he used every chance to snap at me, always wary and hostile. That’s gone now, though I don’t completely buy the change.

I call upon the maid and ask her to prepare tea for my guest.

Shortly after me and Dae Sho sit in the lounge, with his followers insisting to stay, standing just behind him, our tea is placed on the table by the maid.

「 So, what is it that you seek from me? 」I ask, continuing the conversation.

「 Good question. Let me tell you a story first. I arrived in the Veinard kingdom a week ago, mainly to meet Senior Karn Sho and Senior Meyer. During our conversation, I’ve heard from him that he let you take something from the ruin for some reason. 」

Damn, is he going to them away from me? Even though it is not related to dragons? Wait… technically it is. It’s likely to be the cause of the ancient dragon’s appearance.

No wonder he brings two followers. And I didn’t have any means to defend myself…

「 Is that why you come to me? Because you want my share of the goods that we’ve found on the expedition? Even though I’ve got it with permission and approval from Professor Meyer himself? 」

「 Yes of course. I’ve learned from my mistakes and from Senior Meyer’s. That’s why I come with a proposition.  」

「 Wait… why are you even interested in human swords… 」

「 And I thought humans are smart…. I want every single item from that ruin, no matter if it is weird porcelain or human swords, there needs to be deep interest as it matters to the research of our esteemed dragon ancestors. It is of the utmost importance of us dragonkins, so my proposition is also equally handsome and rewarding… In exchange for those swords, this generous one will reward you with ten platinum coins.  」

T-ten platinum coins?!

And he says that so casually… Just how vast is his treasury for him to be willing to pay this much for something apparently useless to them? Or maybe his family covers the cost?

I can start a middle size business or buy a large piece of land with that amount of money on me. Even a mansion might be within that range…

A mansion for mother would be nice. A fitting place for my precious and gentle mother. Although mother’s house is well-off compared to the standards of the common class, it pales in comparison to the sheer size and luxuriousness of the main Alderhide mansion.

Even a Count noble has that much wealth, imagine the other nobles above that title…

Damn it, I’m getting distracted.

「 So, what do you think, human? Aren’t I such a generous fellow? 」he says, showing a smirk with one eyebrow raised.

「 How do you even have that amount of money? 」

「 Of course you humans wouldn’t know how much my family clan’s full interest entails. My family clan is the Sho clan, amongst the top nine ruling clans of the Lungkin Dynasty. For us, ten platinum coins are just a meager change. 」he boasts, as he lets out a confident smug.

Ten platinum coins are really tempting, with it I can pay upfront of my debt towards my mother. But I should ask the dragon’s opinion first.

 


Naga. I’m sure you’ve heard him. What do you think?

『 Those Swords Are Connecting You And This Great One. And You Think It Is A Great Idea To Give Them To A Stranger? What’s More, To This Little Tian Kin? 』

Ten platinum coins are nothing to scoff at, Naga. With that amount of money, the things I can trade or buy are almost limitless. The swords being gone doesn’t change a single thing, right?

『 Maybe. But I Despise Their Kind. 』

Come on… You aren’t even sure about whether the swords are essential or not.

『 I Still Stand With What I Said. Nevertheless, You Stand Above Me. You Are The One Who Makes The Decision Ultimately. If Those So-Called “Platinum Coins” Are Necessary Then Do What You Must. 』

Alright, alright… I’m not going to force you. If you really don’t want the swords to be given to him then I’ll reject his offer.

『 Is That So… Thank You, Human… For Fulfilling My Request. 』


 

「 Hey! Why are you spacing out?! 」Dae Sho shouts, pulling me out of the conversation with Naga.

…That’s the first time that dragon ever thanked me for something…. Strange…

「 Sorry Dae Sho, 」I say as I withdraw from my thoughts,「 although ten platinum coins are very tempting, the swords are not for sale. 」

「 Aihhhyyaaa… 」He grumbles a disappointing groan, 「 why are you like this human?! Is the amount that I generously give to you is not enough?! Name your price then. 」

「 Like I’ve told you before, It’s not for sale. 」

「 How about twelve platinum coins? 」

「 No. 」

「 Fourteen platinum coins? 」

「 No. 」

「 …Sixteen platinum coins? 」

「 No. It is not for sale. 」I say folding my arms, holding my stance in this regard.

「 Dammit human! 」Dae sho bangs the table with his fist, our tea splashes almost everywhere as a result,「 why do you have to make things so difficult!? 」

「 You’re the one who makes this difficult and becomes too emotional. 」

「 What rusty swords have use for you anyway?! 」He shouts even louder.

「 I could say the same to you. They are just human swords. It’s not even closely related to your ancestors. 」

「 So that’s it? No compromises huh?! 」He says, glaring at me with the classic eyes that I know him of in the ship. One with disgust and irritation.

This staring contest feels eternal, but I don’t relent and keep staring at his eyes that I swear seem to be burning.

「 If there’s nothing else for you to ask of me then please leave. 」I say, trying to be done with this whole issue.

He grumbles some more. Clearly expressing his dissatisfaction with me. He walks to the door, but as soon as his hand holds the door’s knob, he looks back at me.

「 …You will surely regret this human. 」Dae Sho says as he throws open the door and storms out. Soon followed by his guards.

I quickly go to my room to forget my encounter with him. Hopefully, the last one as his eyes that gazed at me one last time before he went out, burns forevermore brighter with such malicious intent.

Whatever… What I need to be focusing on right now is studying for the [Warfare Logistics] class. That means to the usual sky-palace library. The dragon’s lair…

LOTA CH33 — Mother’s Embrace

Life will always go on.

Even for someone as worthless as me.

No matter what mood or state I’m in, whether that’s happy, sad, or depressed, life will take its course, neither stopping nor speeding.

The black hole in my heart is patched up, sure, thanks to Aaron preaching about Goddess Maria a few weeks ago, but the bandage is slowly deteriorating.

I guess no matter what I do, my heart will always be broken with a gaping hole.

And that’s fine.

The dragon never bothered me about my emotional instability after that one time. This proves my theory of how our soul bond only detects fluctuations. So if my heart constantly stays depressed without change, positive or negative, it’ll be fine.

That reminds me, the dragon has discovered the mundane leisure of basking in the warmth of the sunlight in the beautiful courtyard of the sky palace. Honestly, I’m surprised it was able to come out of that purple room without damaging the palace.

It’s time I head back to the dorm, teleport to the sky palace, and then study for the《School of Wits Magic》exam, as it’s coming quite soon.

At least that’s the plan if nothing unusual happens.

「 H-hi sweetie! 」

By the time I return to the dorm, mother is sitting down in the couch lounge, still wearing that classic blue gown and black pillbox hat that define her. Unlike last time, however, she seems to be nervous. Though smiling broadly, unrest emanates from her posture, and the cheerful and needy aura that was once the very thing that makes her … her … is missing.

Judging from the empty cup with no tea left in front of her, she might have waited for me for quite a long time.

「 Hello, mother. 」I say as I ponder the reason for her presence…

「 H-how was class…? If I recall, exams should take place soon. Are you faring well? 」

「 Of course. Did I make you wait, mother? 」

「 No… no… I just got here, 」mother says, shaking her head,「 can I come inside your room? It’s a bit chilly here. 」

Even though there’s a lit fireplace in the lounge? Whatever, I can’t exactly oppose my mother.

「 Sure, let’s go mother. 」I say as I offer my hand to her.

Rather than simply holding my hand, she hugs my arm. Her face snugs closely as she rubs it on my shoulder. Too close. I don’t remember her being like this before.

It’s a miracle how we are able to climb the stairs and reach my room without any difficulties.

「 Oh wow… your room is so tidy sweetie, I never knew there will be a time you made your bed. 」

Dear goddess… she sure needs to rub in changes at every opportunity.

「 Ahh.. 」she closes her mouth, 「 I’m sorry, sweetie. 」

She immediately sits at the edge of the bed, patting the sheets next to her, and stares at me with watery eyes. It’s such an unexpected turn of events that it froze me for a bit. I try to comfort her, by sitting beside her closely.

「 I’m… I’m so sorry for what I did, Renald. 」

「 Wh-what? You don’t have anything to apologize mother. 」

「 You’ve grown up to a full-fledged adult, yet I keep treating and pestering you as if you’re still my little boy. 」

I don’t know what to make of all this…

「 No buts. 」She continues, 「 because of my actions, you feel awkward and uncomfortable with me. I should’ve noticed back then in your past birthday celebration. 」

「 What are you talking about, mother? 」I intervene,「 if it’s because of my urgency to leave my birthday, it was because I have to meet with a professor, remember? 」

「 Then, why are you not replying to my letters, and why didn’t you tell me that you’re going to Reinhardt’s territory during the vacation? 」

How did she know…?

Silence weighs on me, as I don’t know what to say…

「 If there’s one thing that stays consistent about you it’s that you always seem to hide your true feelings. Back when you were still my baby boy, to the adult you right now. 」She says, breaking the silence, letting out a small smile,「 it is first and foremost my fault sweetie, for being insensitive towards you. 」

This is… to mildly put it, quite unexpected. Her apology is so deeply felt and seems serious enough that I feel guilty.

「 I think it’s time you know your mother’s past, Renald. 」She says, her gaze lowers as her eyes darken.

Now that I think about it, I don’t really know much about her. All I know is that she’s a cheerful mother who always compares me to the past Renald Alderhide. A beautiful woman both inside and out. Although she can be very overprotective at times, in the end, she is this way because she actually cares about her son’s entire being.

For the love that I’ve always wanted to be this close — yet unreachable, at the same time.

「 Your mother’s maiden name is Heva Avia, from the great… Baron Br… Braxton Avia… 」

She stops speaking suddenly, her breath shakes and becomes shallow.

「 Mother…? 」I ask, not sure why she’s behaving like this.

「 I’m… I’m sorry sweetie, your mother recalls some dark memories when mentioning his name… My father’s name. 」

That means… My grandfather?

「 I was the only daughter in the small Baron Avia family 」, she continues, her breath still shaking, but better now, 「 and Braxton Avia… he’s a brutish man, obsessed with his role in the military, so he loves and cherishes his sons while ignoring and detesting his daughter… 」

H-how could he! To her?!

「 C-calm down Renald… your face is scary right now… It’s just the past… I’m fine now… 」

Shit… Without realizing it my facial expression must’ve turned for the worse… I mean I can’t help it… To think this angelic mother was treated cruelly…

「 When your mother was in the middle of studying in the academy, he, among a few older brothers, was killed in the great Concordis war. And with the Avia family left to survive alone with its treasury greatly diminished, I was immediately engaged to Falben Alderhide, sending me off to the Alderhide family. Your father… he used to be a better person, he truly loves me, until this day I’m sure… But when you were born, things changed… I’m guessing they are worried since I gave birth to a boy.  」

「 T-then why don’t you discard me, mother…? 」I ask, I mean isn’t it the obvious choice?

「 How could you say that?! 」she shouts, right at my ear, with a wronged undertone, 「  I know how it feels to be unloved and ignored. I won’t let my only son feel the same way as I did in the past!  」

Her loud shout forces me to reply with another silence…

Everything is just… Unexpected…

「 W-which leads me to how… recently I… I accidentally heard the news that your father wants to kick you out from the family for good by the time you graduate… Even though you deserve so much better… 」

With the way I rarely interact with him and how he treats me, giving me all sorts of disadvantages, it is to no surprise that he does so if his intention since the beginning is to get rid of me.

I’ve already known this since ages ago, but it seems she only realized it recently.

「 I’m sorry… Renald.. 」Her watery eyes now swell even more, as a single tear rolls down her cheek, 「  if your mother actually tried hard enough, to earn a decent position in the family… Maybe y-you wouldn’t be in this miserable disadvantageous position. 」

She leans towards me, her arms wide open. I open my arms as I hug her, falling into my mother’s embrace. She continues to sob into my shoulder, wet with her tears.

「 Because of your mother’s… selfishness… and obliviousness… You ended up in such a predicament… 」

Seeing this woman who was once always cheerful, with a generous smile and positive outlook towards life, to be reduced to this pitiful, crying state, something snaps within me.

I don’t want to see her like this. She might have a part in making me the way I am, but that doesn’t mean she deserves to be in this state.

As I wrack my brain trying to find relief for her, amidst the sobs and whining, it reminds me of the one thing I achieved and quite proud of in my miserable past life — making my father proud.

I remember him crying happily as I received my graduate degree in a stadium near Tokyo University. He’s never seen before smile as I was able to support him, and lift him out of poverty.

How he doesn’t longer need to live in a run-down, small apartment, without a working heater or clean water. How I could treat him to eat the large unagi-don my father always secretly craved for, but wasn’t able to afford due to his meager salary.

…Maybe Aaron is right.

I never had a mother, and she might never replace my real deceased mother. But it is my responsibility as Renald Alderhide to ease her — my new mother’s — worries and make her proud that she gave birth to an incredible son.

Even if her love is towards her past son, at the very least I should never give her a reason to cry again.

That’s right, I’m Renald Alderhide. Yoshinobu Ryo was the past. And I’m no longer my past self.

「 Don’t worry… My mother… Your little boy will manage somehow. You’ve done nothing wrong. I forgive you… my mother. 」

I hug her tighter. The warm sensation makes it to my heart.

 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter

LOTA CH32 — Change of Heart

 「 Aaron, honestly, what’s up with these damn boxes… Can’t you just rent a cart or something? 」

「 It can’t be helped, Alderhide-sama. 」Aaron replies, putting up a defeated smile,  「 This is why I was very reluctant in letting you help me. It’s fine if you change your mind, we’re halfway to the orphanage anyway. 」

「 And leave you alone with these boxes? 」I frown, 「 it would leave a bad taste for me to do things half-assed. 」

「 Well, if you still insist… I appreciate it. 」

The sky is no longer bright blue, but a rather honeyed dew; the serenity of eventide. A rather spectacular view, as it complements the vibrant rows of white buildings the city Hasten has to offer. As it soon reaches nighttime, manaritium street lamps start radiating their distinctive white light.

The streets even with the sun soon setting down are still littered with all sorts of people, adding more vibrant colors.

Time feels rather quite slow but that must’ve been because of this heavy box.

But somehow in this small trip, a change of scenery is done in an instant. Gone are the pristine white buildings, replaced with worn brown facades.

「 Ahh… This is another reason why… As you can see it’s not a really pleasant thing to witness. 」

Dirt roads with muddy puddles take over the meticulously tiled streets and the lamps become scarcer. A rather nasty smell lingers around this place. It’s very unpleasant and I’m not sure where it comes from, or whether I even really want to know.

Other small shelters are also made of thin wood boards and shabby rooftops.

The residents of this area are surprisingly slim, looking fragile, due to starvation most likely. Their eyes are pure dark with no life in them. Other than me and Aaron, very few can be spotted walking in these places, maybe because it’s nightfall, but even around this time there would still be some people passing by in the center of Hasten city.

Just from these alone, I don’t need anyone to tell me what kind of place we are in right now.

So this is the slums huh… No wonder we walked for quite a long time. This is at the very outskirts of the city.

To think this kind of environment is within a considerable distance to the prosperous and luxurious parts of Hasten city. I want to feel pity for them, for living in this broken, dying place. But why do they have to place it near Hasten city?

Aaron in front of me, leading the way, seemingly quite tense, with how stiff his movements are. Is it because of the eerie, poor environment?

Two people approach us from an alley wearing black and rugged hooded robes. Their face is well hidden. Probably a bunch of hoodlums. They most likely won’t bother to deal with us. We are just carrying plain old boxes with no valuables on us.

As soon as we reach a considerable distance, one of them walks faster than his partner towards us. Strange. His hands tucked in his pockets.

Something’s weird. My hand reaches immediately towards my waist. Fuck, I didn’t bring a weapon.

That hoodlum then dashes towards Aaron who’s further ahead, knocking his box down and instantly going for it. Aaron pushes the hoodlum with considerable strength as he rebounds a few steps back.

They are clearly aggressive towards us. No need to hold back then.

The hoodlum pulls up a knife. Too late. I already prepared a spell for this fucker.

『 Igni 』

The deadly blue blossom sprouts from my hands. Engulfed by it, the target dances like a joyous specter, draining its life to give me this beautiful display.

No time to think. I go to the ashes and pick up the knife to fight the other hoodlum.

「 M-m-mercy! 」

The other hoodlum begs mercy as always. But you never know when they will retaliate back. I plunge the knife immediately towards his abdomen.

「 Alderhide-sama! 」

「 …m-m-ma..maa…. 」

He lets out his dying breath. Well, that was quick. But better than holding us up for long.

「 Alderhide-sama! How could you?! 」

He shouts again as he places his hand on my shoulder.

Aaron looks around. I follow his gaze and look at our surroundings. The people watching us are shivering and hiding to anything they could use to cover them, although their faces and widened eyes are visible.

Why are they so scared? It’s like they saw creepy and humongous hairy spiders like that one time in my adventure quest with Elras. It still sends shivers to my spine to this day.

Some of them retreat deeper into the shadows of entrances and paths. Their faces filled with fear and disgust. The stench of the burnt flesh is rather unappetizing so their reaction is reasonable.

「 We’ll have a talk later. Not in here. Let’s go. 」Aaron quickly says, in an unusually serious manner.

He picks up the pace quicker than before, forcing me to sprint a bit just to catch up, ignoring the stares of the passerby still remaining.

Shortly after, we arrive at the orphanage, a small one that could house at most ten people.

「 Aaron! There you are! What took you so long? Thank the Goddess you are safe. 」A girl decked in a full nun outfit asks Aaron.

「 I’m sorry for making you wait. 」

Aaron places the box he’s carrying on a nearby huge table, I quickly follow suit. He soon opens them. Inside the box is packed heavily with what seems to be brand new toys and dolls alike.

「 The Goddess Maria has blessed us! This is wonderful! I’m sure the kids will love it! They are currently in the dorm room, sleeping, so they won’t immediately get this. But I’ll distribute them tomorrow morning. 」

She takes a deeper peek inside the boxes, counting the amount of the toys inside. Once she lifts her head, she takes notice of me.

「 Oh my, and who is he? 」

「 He’s a friend of mine from the academy, Renald Alderhide, 」Aaron soon replies,「 is the small church next to the orphanage available to be used? I would like to talk privately with him for a moment. 」

「 Ahh… I think it’s fine. Wait for a second, 」the nun reaches into her pocket,「 here are the keys. 」

「 Thank you, it won’t take long. 」

The church Aaron was talking about is actually right beside the orphanage, so we walk there quickly.

I’m starting to feel like I’m a small kid who is soon going to be lectured by his parents. But I’ve never experienced that so I might be wrong.

The moonlight courses through the inside of the dimly lit church from the window sides, creating a rather gloomy yet serene atmosphere. Its interior is overly simple and bland with a stone altar and rows of benches. Definitely a far cry from the churches I’m used to,  with their beautiful paintings and colored window panels, exhibiting a holy and majestic atmosphere.

Well, they did mention it is just a small church, and considering the shitty environment surrounding it, this is actually wonderful in comparison.

「 Do you know why we are here, Alderhide-sama? 」Aaron says as he takes a seat in the front.

Wait, what was the reason again?

「 Because you want to pray…? 」I reply as I take a seat beside him.

「 Well, yes, but not entirely correct. I hope you can also join me in praying to Goddess Maria, for forgiveness. 」

Determination flashes in his eyes and subtlety look quite scary.

「 O-okay.. 」I say, not feeling like fighting back. Even though I’m not a firm believer in the Goddess Maria.

He starts with ushering low whispers, filling the church’s solemn atmosphere with a hint of calm and focus, preparing for whatever mantras he wants me to echo.

「 Repeat after me. Dear Goddess Maria, who art in heaven. 」Aaron solemnly prays, his hands grouped together.

「 Dear Goddess Maria, who art in heaven. 」I say, following his lead.

「 Please bestow us your heavenly grace. 」

「 Please bestow us your heavenly grace. 」

「 For I have greatly sinned. For I am but a little human. 」

「 For I have greatly sinned. For I am but a little human. 」

「 In your love, forgive me and give me a change of heart. Amen. 」

「 In your love, forgive me and give me a change of heart. Amen. 」

A bright-line shines underneath us as we finished our prayers, flickers of yellow lights surround us, a classic effect of the《School of Miracle & Blessing Magic》

「 How does it feel? Is your heart at peace now? 」Aaron asks, his face full of tranquility.

The black hole is still there but it’s now patched up with a soothing yet small bandage, now filling me with a soothing calmness — but not fully for it is still there.

「 I take your silence as a yes, 」Aaron continues,「 do you know what grave sin you have committed? 」

「 Yeah… 」I answer, still not feeling any weight or guilt from what I did but I do know it is wrong,「 I guess you’re right. 」

「 I was furious at you back then. Burning them alive and slaughtering them was excessive and unnecessary. Killing and especially causing suffering is a huge sin. I want to scold you but as soon as I looked at your face, however, I noticed something. A deep dark hatred of oneself. 」

Feels like everybody is slowly but surely starting to get past the facade that I’ve put up.

「 It would be much better if you confess your sin later with an official priest. 」Aaron continues,「 But for now this will do. 」

「 Okay… But why are you doing all of this? 」

「 You seem lost. Reinhardt-sama also mentioned something along those lines before. Now seeing directly from you, I’ve come to believe what he said. 」

「 Damn… So he told you about that, huh… 」

Will he spill the beans if I mention my adsignatos or dragon summoning ability too?

「 Don’t worry, I’m sure he does so with good intention, 」he says, his hand on my shoulder.「 Compared to Reinhardt-sama, you and I interact quite rarely, but that doesn’t mean I’m not willing to extend a helping hand. 」

「 And what is this helping hand? How are you going to help me? 」

「 The most merciful, Goddess Maria, will be the one to help you. My role is to merely guide your path towards her benevolence. 」

Is he going to preach about Goddess Maria?

「 Born a noble with a few servants and a pile of gold in my name, I have been boundlessly arrogant. But even to this wretched sinner did the Goddess Maria extend her graceful hand. And after taking it, I will use this life to repay her by guiding others to her light. 」

「 And so, after repenting you want to become a priest to get closer to the Goddess Maria out of guilt too?  」

「 It’s much more than that. Alderhide-sama, 」he replies, 「 Living a hedonistic life is fantastic I have to admit, but when your pleasure is gone, it lacks meaning in everything. And so hidden deep beneath my arrogance is a dire need to find a purpose. Serving and worshiping the Goddess Maria in return gives me peace of mind and fulfilling life. All of my worries and anxiety are gone.  」

「 Hmm… I see… 」I say as I ponder over his words.「 Then, do you become a priest solely because you feel that you are supposed to? 」

「 No, 」he says, letting out a small smile, 「 it is because I love Goddess Maria.  」

His eyes make their way towards the altar of the church, I follow his gaze. Past the altar is a small sculpture as white as the clouds. A healthy woman with a warm smile holding a white wooden staff, with an enneagram star emblem on the tip — Goddess Maria.

A look of deep reverence and servitude comes from him. I never knew a person can be in such a deeply tranquil state just from devoting oneself to a high deity.

「 I must say… I didn’t expect that answer. 」I say out of bewilderment.

「 It takes true devotion. But you can start with small steps. How about helping others? There’s joy and a sense of fulfillment when you bring them joy. What did you feel when you… how should I say this… end that person’s life back then? 」

「 I.. hmm… 」I say, not sure what to answer,「 it feels… empty… nothing. 」

「 It’s an uncomfortable feeling, judging from your expression, Alderhide-sama. Instead of being selfish, how about being selfless? By serving and helping others, your parents, or friends, you will gain joy by making them happy.  」

Helping others huh… I did that and it didn’t give me happiness. Is it because I’m too selfish? Too much of a sick person to be saved or helped?

「 And I can also help you to follow our Goddess Maria. 」Aaron continues,「 visit the Saint Boxora Cathedral every other day. Other priests and I will guide you in-depth in how to become closer to the Goddess Maria. 」

Well, this is starting to remind me of my past life experience in the US, where many Americans tried to persuade me to convert to their religion.

「 Ah… I see… I’m sorry to break it up to you, but it’s already quite late actually. 」I respond immediately, trying to stir away from this topic before it becomes too unsavory,「 we should go back to our dorm. 」

「 There’s still a lot that I want to share with you, but I agree, let’s head back. The Goddess Maria preaches that the night is full of temptations of bad deeds. 」

 


『 To Serve And Worship God… Hooooo…. Interesting. 』


 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter

LOTA CH31 — Back To The Usual Life

The ray of bright sunshine creates a spectacular view on the campus filled with its classic artistic white buildings. A common sight once before, to the point of being bothersome and plainly boring. But now, it’s a pleasing and welcome return. As it indicates what once used to be normal every day.

Back to the usual academy life. Away from the unpredictable adventures to the peaceful, more stable life filled with books and learning.

But nothing’s the same anymore. I may have returned back to normal life again, however, things have changed. Before, I entered the academy with great ambitions, with dreams as high as the sky. To overcome the limitations that were imposed by my circumstances and achieve things that I’ve never been able to do in my past life. Now, I feel little of the past euphoria about going to the academy again.

Why bother aiming past the limit when my path is set in stone.

An inevitable doom.

「 It’s great seeing you Reinhardt-sama and Alderhide-sama again. 」Aaron says, cutting me off from my thoughts.

The only great thing about coming back to this way of life is how it keeps me busy and gets my mind away from my foolish past mistakes. With a rather good distraction in the form of decent friends that I surprisingly quite enjoy.

As we walk together to our respective classes…

「 It’s been a while, 」Elras replies,「 How’s Hasten been while we were away? 」

「 Nothing spectacular. As always I volunteered in the Saint Goxara Cathedral. By graduation, I will be at an advanced level and officially become a priest with the blessing of the wise and merciful Goddess Maria. 」Aaron nonchalantly says.

「 Aaron as expected. 」Elras seemingly boasts,「 I knew you’re going to be quite the figure in the church a few years down the line. 」

「 No, no no…. It is thanks to the head priest and the goddess Maria for greatly paying attention to my efforts. Not because of my talent. If you want real talent then it’s definitely Alderhide-sama. I heard he will soon achieve Advanced level when he entered the academy with not a single knowledge of his school of magic.  」

「 That’s nothing special… really…  」I say, trying to deviate from this pointless praise of my so-called “talent”, 「 if it’s that big of a deal it would’ve created a ruckus around the academy. 」

「 Indeed. Most likely because it’s the《School of Wits Magic》, what do you think Aaron? 」

「 Haven’t you heard? The white flower of Veinard, Princess Vivienne Veinard is greatly predicted to achieve a Master’s level in the《School of Aegis Magic》by graduation. The first princess ever in the history of Veinard to obtain the achievement. It becomes quite the topic in the university. 」

Princess Vivienne…

There’s still a striking and deep ache when I think about her.

I know that even thinking about her that way was undeserved for someone like me. But being hated this much hits deep regardless.

Reflecting back again, how come I develop feelings for her?

To think I would magically fall in love with someone just because of their bewitching beauty. I’m no different than the people who only look towards power and status…

 


Human, I Sense That You Are Greatly Perturbed. Maintain Your Composure, As It Surprisingly Disturbs This Great One’s Mood.


 

The dragon’s immediate thoughts rip me away from these depressing memories.

Looks like the dragon was able to re-establish our mind linkage…

 


Forgive me, this is a matter concerning my old dunce self. I did not know it would bother you.

『 It Matters Not. Though I Am In Wonder At Your Passivity. A Trouble This Depressing Should Be Addressed, Not Pitied. What Could Possibly Not Be Achieved With My Aid? 』


 

「 Hello, Renald…? Renald?! 」Elras says, reminding me that I’m still walking with them.

「 Uh… Yes…? 」

「 You seem to be spaced out more and more recently, what’s happening with you? 」

Can I even tell them an almighty ancient dragon is now living in my head? Of course not, they would think I’m insane.

「 Nothing — I was caught up in random thought. It feels like it’s been an eternity since I’ve been here. Oh, I need to go to the military academy building. Bye-bye. 」

「 Take care, Alderhide-sama. 」

「 Make sure to not space out too much alright! 」Elras shouts.

I walk to my respective destination in mind, separating ways from them. To the military academy building.

《School of Wits Magic》huh…

I caught up from far behind to upper average. Quickly, true, but even then, it’s just a school of magic for future lackeys of the truly strong. What pride should I take in that?

Amidst my deprecating thoughts, the usual military academy building comes to view. Although it uses authentic pure white paint on almost the entire building, it is quite distinctive with its square castle-like design. All sorts of Veinard war banners decorate and add flavor to it, showcasing the pride of the kingdom’s military. Or should I say the royal army? As the banners on display are only the army units under the royalty or the dukedom.

It is the same building I went to for [Military Doctrine] class, but now, in this new period another class awaits for me. A class that I chose out of the recommendation of Professor Smush. A class that’s also similar to my past study and profession — the [Warfare Logistics] class.

 


『 I Must Say, Humans, Are Quite Peculiar. Your Kind In This New Era Creates Never-Seen Before Magnificent Structures. And I Found It Rather Amusing Even When Dominating The Free Surface, You Still Prefer To Be Confined With These Stone Piles.  』

It’s both about strength and weakness, in a way. Building imposing monuments shows off the group’s power and resources. That, and humans are still as fragile as they were before the calamity.

『 That Reminds Me, Human. Every Single One Of The Dragon Kin Bows Down To This Great One Supremacy. It’s Unfathomable How Come I’ve Never Crossed My Name And Legacy In This New Era. 』


 

If there’s one thing that the dragon loves to talk about, it is always regarding the weight and pride of its name — Naga.

Even if it is just a mere legend, the dragon’s supreme legacy would’ve taken a substantial portion inside the dragonic history book, as the proud dragonkin will go to great lengths in researching their mighty ancestors’ history. The time where they conquered the whole earth and sky with their massive genuine dragonic body and inapprehensible mana manipulation. A far cry to the present, where they are a pushed back minority.

It is no surprise their race is stuck in the past, compared to humans who are currently at their peak. So how come I’ve never heard of the name Naga?

From my understanding, back in the Verum Shihi Era, the dragonic society was always a constant battle or warfare with one another, not under one supreme ruler who controls every single dragon. Is the dragon wrong? Or am I witnessing a forgotten entity that will shatter the history book?

 


『 Do Not Worry Human. I Do Not Expect Your Kind To Know How Much Weight The Name Naga Carries. Only The Dragon Descendents Will Quiver And Remember The Naga’s Legacy. 』

Alright, alright…  I get it. I’ll read your jaw-dropping tales of reign supremacy later on when I’m free… For the time being, I need to focus on my university and the present moment. I will cut off our mind connection for now.

『 As You Should Be, Human. Farewell. 』


 

With the dragon’s farewell, I grasp the complex mind linkage and cut off the dragon’s connection to my mind, and the ability to sense my surroundings. Surprisingly, however, I can sense another link between the dragon and some primitive, emotional parts of my brain, which somehow is impossible to disconnect.

It’s rather strange how out of all the others, I cannot sever the dragon’s ability to detect my emotions or feelings.

And as always, the only thing I can do is just accept this fate of mine that I have little to no ability to change…

I’ve finally come across the room I’m looking for. Inside is the typical classroom that you could find anywhere in the Bosart University. But something is missing….

This room feels rather empty. The class should begin very soon, yet only nine students including me are in this class. Even the《School of Wits Magic》class has around seventeen students…

Some students here are slightly overweight as if they are spoiled noble kids and surprisingly most wear glasses, a rather rare sight to see this many in a single view.

As I come to take a seat, a realization hits me… I’m in the nerds class, aren’t I?

「 Attention! 」

All students stand up tall and high as is expected in the military academy. As soon as the professor comes to standing still in the middle of the class with a single nod, the students drop down to their seats again.

「 Greetings students, for those of you who don’t know me, my name is Aristide Snijder. As all you students were taught in the military academy, I’ll expect you to address me as “Sir Snijder” with respect, even if your nobility rank is higher than mine. Some of you might’ve already taken [Military Doctrine] and that’s fine, as in this class all of you will learn what supports every war effort — [Warfare Logistics].

「 A very underrated subject in academia. As you may know, most people would rather be in the front show, decimating their enemies with grand magic, in the hopes of going back home with honor and rewards. However, a starving and under-equipped army won’t give you those, something that most people forget. And in this class, we will discuss how to avoid those and many other pitfalls, starting with the disastrous event in the Cradsten war….  」

 

…..

 

The new  [Warfare Logistics] class is over and I now start walking back home, in the rare situation of having no plan in mind.

I guess at the moment I need to find out what the dragon ultimately wants to do. It’s a bit ironic how although the dragon comments on my passivity in life, it also remains passive with me right now, only inviting me to use the dragon’s power for whatever it thinks I want. Which are always false.

What I want will never be fulfilled. Especially with force and power…

Lost in thought like so often lately, I barely remember anything about my path to the dorms. And stumbles upon Aaron at the front of the door seems to be quite troubled, carrying two big boxes in his hands and a bag slung on his shoulder.

「 Oh, it’s you, Alderhide-sama. How are the classes? 」Aaron says, trying to smile that fails to hide its burden in carrying them.

「 Same old, same old… How about you? What’s up with the boxes and bags you’re carrying? They seem rather plain. 」

「 Oh, don’t worry too much about it. I just need to carry these to an orphanage just southwest of the city. 」

「 That’s rather far, isn’t it… How about I help you carry them? 」

Feeling a bit of pity towards Aaron, I offer help to him. I mean, it’s just a simple walk with the added heavy loads right?

 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter

LOTA CH30 — Uneven Servitude

『 So It Is You Who Has Resurrected This Great One From The Shackles Of Death. 』

The flow of time seems to have stopped between the two of us. Two different beings, different in almost every aspect, somehow encounter one and another. The dragon with its long neck carrying its head on top stares right through me as if it knows everything, where none of my hidden secrets will be left unrevealed, as it slowly judges me from within, and assessing my worth.

Its eyes flicker and there is taunting amusement behind them.

『 Hooo… Interesting. There Is Something Different About You. 』

It must’ve observed something within me. Is it mere wonder? Inferiority? Or maybe the black hole in my heart?

『 The Essence Of Divinity. It Lingers, And Perpetual. Yet You Are Unmistakably A Human. 』

The essence of divinity inside the likes of me? Surely, you jest. Why would an idiot like me have that?

Its sharp gaze never deviates to anywhere other than me, the dense air combined with its sheer size that leaves no empty space, fills the room with its sheer pressure. But I’m indifferent.

『 I Sense That You Are Unafraid. Loosen Even. Have You Seen Dragons Before? 』

Indeed. An ancient dragon at its full glory, with its impenetrable full-scaled reptile-like body, revered and frightened by anyone and right in front of me is right in front of me. Additionally, its mesmerizing, beautiful crown on top of its head must’ve meant a great deal as a status symbol.

A legendary almighty dragon. God amongst dragons, as what it said before. But how come I’ve never heard of the name Naga before?

Nevertheless, it does bring the question of how come I can always stay calm in front of a supreme being.

「 In a sense, yes. 」I answer as I look upward to the dragon with its head held high.

『 None Of My Fellow Dragons Ever Dares To Face Directly At Me. Even More So Of An Insignificant Being Such As Human. 』

 「 Are you by chance the same blood as the Raiyuu Race? 」I immediately ask, thirsting to quench my curiosity of this ancient dragon’s origin.

『 You Sure Are Brave, Human. To Compare This Great One To An Inferior Dragon Race That Of The Raiyuu. Countless Of Their Kin Lost Their Worthless Lives Challenging My Supremacy. Or Any Other Dragon Race That Foolishly Dares To Face Against Me!

Those last few words literally spat out from its mouth, causing small earthquakes throughout the room. After gaining a bit more composure the dragon snorts. Twin column of steam emits from its nostril.

The dragon has a way about them, might and grace. Even in the state of blazing fury, where it leaks out for all to see, its stoic posture is still maintained, causing its rage to be withdrawn soon afterward. A calm composure with lurking vigor underneath its appearance.

『 I Was Once The Revered Naga From The Sacred Mountains. I Am My Only Kin — The One And Only Naga. Yet For All My Might, The Mandate Of The Heaven Is Still Mightier, And Calls Upon Rains Of Colossal Meteors That Annihilate Every Creature, Including I.  』

The dragon smirks, its eyes gazing bore through me once more, as it continues to reminisce.

『 All Things Come To An End. Such Is The Way Of The World. I’ve Accepted My Fate As I Face The Descent Of Those Meteors. Welcomed Even. Now Imagine My Surprise When This Great One Becomes Alive Again. What’s More, It Is Thanks To A Human Being. 』

That human must be me, contempt in the word “human”. Considering its background which is highly likely to be back at the Ancient, Verum Shihi Era, where humans are at the bottom, it is reasonable.

「 Then you should be quite dissatisfied with being faced with such an insignificant being. 」

『 Do Not Worry. You Are Undeniably My Creator. I Will Show Respect Where It Is Due. 』

The once high serpentine-like neck is now lowered, its head touching the ground. Its eyes closed. Subservient in posture, though noticeably reluctant.

Five seconds merely pass by and it lifts its head back again already.

『 Now Then. What Is It That You Seek For In Summoning This Great One, Human? Is It To Use This Great One’s Power To Conquer The Whole World?  』

A bold question. Understandable, coming from a supreme ancient dragon. But a wrong question to ask to a fool that is me.

「 I’ve never — ever, wished to conquer the world. I don’t have any particular reason to summon you. Besides, I’m sure you don’t want to be tied with me. 」

『 You May Say That. But An Eternal Divine Soul-Bond Has Formed Between Us. With Me At The Mercy Of Your Whim. 』

With delicateness and concentration on the sensation within my deep inner-self, indeed, there is a new bond — a woven string of arcane mana that connects me with the dragon. It connects rather deeply, which could conclude that it touches both of our abstract souls. Similar to that slave collar, but much more powerful, rigid, and unbending.

Considering the connection between I and the shadow minion, or should I say Adsignatos, what the dragon said is true. This mighty, ferocious dragon will heed to any of my commands…

What kind of joke is this?

I’ve only assumed the purple room’s purpose is to grant me a more powerful mindless loyal shadow minion, not a legendary ancient beast.

Heck, what’s the purpose of getting more power? At the end of the day just like what Elras said, people would only flock to that power or wealth. Not because of who I am.

Whatever it is, the dragon needs an explanation.

「 I have never intended to bind anything, much less an almighty dragon. This is pure accident. 」

『 Calling Forth This Great One Is Almost An Impossible Feat. Even More So Unintentionally. 』

The dragon must’ve doubted me, but what can I say other than it is purely random chance?

An explanation is due, so I point to the swords on top of the altar.

「 I was exploring around a human-made temple ruin and came across those words, where it emits arcane-like mana. Instinctively I know something special from it and my inner-self guides me to place it into the altar where it leads to your summoning.  」

『 So. These Swords Are The Cause Of My Reincarnation. The Same Swords I’ve Blessed To A Puny Human Who Carelessly Lost To My Domain. The Trace That Remains From It Must’ve Allowed You To Summon This Great One. 』

Blessings? That raises a lot of questions. Is it similar to the《School of Enchantment Magic》?

「 So What happened to that human? If the swords are truly blessed by you, how come when I’ve first come across it, it seems to be untaken care of? 」

『 Do You Think This Great One Care An Insignificant Human? Make No Mistake. That Blessing Was Done Out Of Pure Whim. To Avoid Unneeded Bloodshed That Will Taint My Domain With The Fetid Human Blood. 』

 「 Is there a way to release you? 」

『 What’s This? My Creator Being Benevolent? This Great One Appreciates It But That Would Be Unnecessary. For Even If There Is A Method, My Whole Existence Is Tied To That Bond Of Yours.  』

 「 So you are stuck with me? I am sorry in advance. 」

History doesn’t repeat itself. But it often rhymes.

The fact that I managed to send Sian-, no, Hyledd off doesn’t mean I’ll be able to avoid going down the same path once more. And this time I won’t be able to cut ties to solve my mess. Is it the fate in the works that runs the gears of the making of this encounter? Whatever it is, it’s definitely not welcome. For nothing good comes out of it. In the end, this eternal tie will be broken, where it won’t fulfill whatever its purpose, on my end or the dragon’s end.

Stuck in a forced relationship that will end badly. Even more so with this almighty dragon as a vassal, serving to a mere human.

There needs to be a change. Remember, Ryo; true love doesn’t exist.

With that statement in mind, something new comes to mind. A foundational view to base towards this weird relationship.

Cold and proper.

This servitude will only be kept on the basis of honor, duty, and respect for one another. Nothing more, nothing less. With no feelings attached.

「 But at least I can release you physically, right? 」I ask the dragon, this will be the first step towards that.

『 You Could. But This Great One Would Rather Not Blemish Her Scales In The Murky Excuse Of Mana Outside Your Domain Without Good Reason. 』

Ah. I forgot that the cause of proper dragon extinction is not just due to meteor rain. But also the lack of available mana in the air afterward. Its immense dragonic body, full of life and power definitely takes a lot of mana to function properly.

Damn, so that’s the fate of this dragon? To be caged inside this sky-palace with nowhere to go for most of its time?

Renald!

A voice from the inner within comes to me, infiltrating my thoughts. It sounds familiar, and it came from the outside. Professor Meyer’s voice. Times up from the looks of it, he must be searching for me.

「 Sorry to break it to you, but I must leave. I will be back in a short time after I’m done with what I need to do. 」I say with a tinge of shame of having to leave it alone.

『 Your Excessive Worry Is Not Needed. Centuries Of Solitude Is A Normal Occurrence For This Great One. Now Go And Do What You Must.  』

Centuries of being alone…?

I was about to pity this dragon, but I don’t have the right to say that. Who knows, maybe ancient dragons are just built differently.

「 Feel free to explore the palace while I’m gone. I hope you find your time here enjoyable. 」

Without further ado, I immediately conjure a magic spell to leave this sky-palace. And naturally, drowsiness comes to me as I close my eyes…

 

…..

 

「 Renald, where are you at?! 」Professor Meyer shouts, from what seems to be outside the room I’m in.

I wake up from my nap that feels like ages from interacting with the dragon, but I’m sure it’s only been a while since I was awake.

「 I’m here, professor. 」

「 Ohh you’re here. Find anything interesting in this room? 」He says as he comes into the room.

There’s nothing much in this room honestly, broken porcelain and plain old heavy dust. And other weird dust that feels organic… Maybe this is a food storage room? Still, nothing special.

「 I’m sure what you’ve seen answers your question.  」I say with a bit of a smirk.

「 Just because they are not the bountiful gold or treasure that we’ve encountered in the other room, doesn’t mean they don’t hold any historical value. I need to research further. Don’t judge on face value, Renald, 」professor Meyer soon replies, facepalming.

I guess he’s right. I almost forgot the main reason for this expedition in the first place. Archeological research. That dragon encounter must’ve taken a toll on my mind…

With noticeable excitement from his attitude, professor Meyer, ready to examine this mundane room with a magnifying glass in his hand. The opposite of me who’s going to go out of the room.

He really is very enthusiastic in history, even when it is highly assumed to be a human temple ruin instead of a dragonic ruin. But then again, there was that dragon statue…

「 What are you doing, human?! Make yourself useful and help us carry these legacy items up to the surface! 」Dae Sho shouts out of nowhere, being an annoyance as always.

He’s already out from the treasure room. In both of his hands is holding a chest that must’ve been filled with gold and a sling bag with what seems to be a big scroll leaking outwards from it. He’s already decked out in foraging or looting the site’s treasures huh?

Looks like my job is now to help this devil in carrying the items we’ve found.

 


『 Hooo… So This Is What’s Left Of The Great Dragon Race. Quite Shocking Indeed. For The Dragon Race To Be Reduced To Little Mere Humanoids. 』


 

A thought magically comes to my mind, as I help Dae Sho carry the heavy chest. Must’ve been the dragon. This telepathy system works similarly to that of Adsignatos from the seems of it. With the added ability for the dragon to be able to notice my surroundings. There needs to be more research on this, considering my privacy is greatly at risk, but for now, the dragon seems to be in the need of a conversation partner.

 


Are you ashamed of what now happened to your descendants? Or what the dragon race has now become?

『 This Great One Could Care Less. The Dragon Blood May Flow In Their Veins. But They Are Not My Descendents. That One Resemble The Mervyn Kind And The Other Two Resemble The Tian Kind. I Am My Own Kin — The One And Only Naga. 』


 

「 Too bad you won’t be joining my class any longer. Teaching when you’re one of my students was surprisingly, very enjoyable. 」

Professor Meyer said, from behind. That’s pretty quick.

「 Such is the way the academy works, professor. 」I respond,「 but I will still be around campus if you need my assistance or help. Although I’m not sure if I have spare free time to do so. 」

「 Senior Meyer. 」Dae Sho intervenes,「 Please excuse me, with Senior Karn’s permission I was tasked to carry our ancestors’ legacy items back to the surface. 」

「 Go ahead. I will check in with Karn Sho and continue investigating this place some more. 」

「 Thanks, Senior Meyer. You heard him human, let’s go! 」

And off we go climbing the stairs that seem to go on forever, carrying big luggage back to the surface, both physically and mentally….

 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter

LOTA CH29 — Crowned Dragon

Salt.

Everything is salty. The air that brings the saltiness of the windy sea to the mind who daringly recalls the treacherous past events.

Cheated by my past wife, and left alone by my elven slave. Instead of feeling sadness, however, what I feel the most is how foolish I am to think that love still exists.

I snort in derision. I’ve been betrayed once so I should’ve learned from my past mistake — only to repeat it once more.

L̴͖̎o̵͈͊v̵̼̉ẽ̴̗ ̸̲̓i̷͖̐s̶̖͑ ̷̼͑f̵̖̀ȏ̸̟r̵̹͋ ̸̺͊ẗ̷̥́h̶̜̑ȇ̵̝ ̴̤̀w̵̘̚e̴̲̿ă̴͍k̸̙̃

I’ve known this and now I learned my lesson twice. Yet, a part of me still yearns for true love, believing in such a made-up concept to exist. I guess I am a fool first and foremost.

The saltiness lingers forever long, amplified by the very blue sea. The archeological expedition requires a ship that I’m in right now. Within the view is the destined Ivrett Mountain Range, a desolate place littered with rocks and dust. To think there’s a ruin in this kind of environment, who knows what the builders or settlers were thinking…

While I ponder some more, the ship sways slowly and surely like it always fucking has…

Oh fuck, I feel sick, N-not again….

B-bllarrrggghhh!

Ugh… Thank god I threw it up to the sea this time…

「 Why does the senior, Krig Meyer, even bother bringing this idiotic human to the expedition? He can’t even sit nice and tight without having to throw up. Thanks to the ancestor for this foolish human to finally learn his lesson. 」

Oh great… Here comes another pinch of salt. Can’t a fool just be left alone in peace for fuck sake?

I could recognize that voice filled with a pompous attitude anywhere, even though I first just heard of it yesterday. A devilishly handsome young dragonkin around my age. Sporting a fancy red and gold robe. Streaks of white marred his golden blonde hair, adding a rebellious feel towards him. His red sharp eyes, burning with constant judgment to my upbringing — as a human.

「 Dae Sho, 」I sigh,「  I know you have a beef against me. But let’s put your prejudice aside and act professionally for the time being alright? Professor Meyer has already told you from time to time again that I won’t steal your ancestors’ legacy items. 」

「 And how could this venerable one trust you, a lowly bohemian? 」He sneers at me.

「 For goddess sake… there’s like twenty people in this expedition, do you think I can slip up an ancient item without getting noticed by that many people?! 」

「 I don’t know. I’m not a human who likes to use underhand tactics! 」He replies automatically, anger added in the end.

「 Look, I get it. 」I say, trying to reason with his bias,「 I can’t change your view towards humans, but if you can let your prejudice pass under the rug just for this one expedition, we can finish it super quick and you won’t have to deal with humans like me any much longer. 」

「 As always, humans with their roundabout thinking. The fastest way would be to throw you off the ship! 」

「 Silence! 」A deep loud shout, silenced the whole ship, leaving only the noise of the ocean breeze.

I look towards the noise. Professor Meyer walks towards us, with heavy steps, segmenting the inevitable, wearing an expression as though he found a student sleeping in his class. Irritated.

「 Dae Sho, 」Professor Meyer calls,「 I’m pretty sure I’ve told you beforehand, Renald Alderhide is my assistant that I hold dearly to. I know you are unhappy that a human is joining an expedition to what’s highly likely to be our ancestor ruins but by no means you are allowed to threaten him. 」

「 Senior Krig Meyer! 」Dae Sho’s words carry an unmistakable tint of reverence,「 I propose for this human to just stay on the ship and not join us in going inside the ruin! Who knows what this lowly human would steal in the ruin. 」

「 Your premonition is unjustified. Renald is not the greedy kind and I already promised him that he can take any items that don’t hold historical value for us. And even if he does steal something, it’s my responsibility to deal with him. Not yours. 」

「 How can you be so confident with their scheming kind?! He might be your student but you don’t know what he’s up to! 」

「 Remember this, young dragonkin. 」Professor Meyer says, Stress added in the last word, 「 What you’re in right now is the Concordis-sphere — the human-sphere. This is not the Lungkin dynasty, where your powerful father clan resides. Contain your arrogance, for it will cost you greatly if you fail to do so. 」

「 Hmph, fine! 」Dae sho shouts, slightly condemning him.

Dae sho with his face red as tomato and runs to the quarter deck. Then, from the quarter deck comes Professor Meyer’s friend, Karn sho, looking embarrassed. Must be because of Dae Sho’s explosive attitude.

「 Forgive me, Renald, and Krig, 」Karn Sho immediately speaks to me,「 to think this young junior of mine would be quite brash in front of you. Having him on board wasn’t my first intention, but due to the will of his father, my clan headmaster, I have no choice but to let him join in the expedition. 」

「 It’s alright. I’m sure he’s very arrogant due to his upbringing, but why is he like that towards humans like me and not towards fellow dragonkin? 」I ask, looking forward to an explanation of this whole social shenanigans. Something I’m desperate for but didn’t get the chance.

「 Honestly, I’m not quite sure. Although we are slightly related by blood, we are not exactly that close. When I was just a child I had already moved away from our clan, from the Lungkin dynasty. It was only recently that my distant family, which includes Dae Sho, started to connect with me again. I can only guess the clan’s education puts a lot of dislike towards humans. 」

「 You missed out on the current geopolitical situation Karn Sho, 」Professor Meyer steps in, seemingly wanting to share a piece of mind,「 there’s rising tension between the Concordis-sphere with the Lungkin dynasty. It’s a very complicated situation but in short, the Concordis-sphere refused to help or trade with the Lungkin dynasty when the barbaric Nogoon empire attacked them. Even though previously the Lungkin dynasty helped the Concordis-sphere in repulsing the elven attack. This makes it seems that the human-sphere betrayed the Lungkin dynasty. And this sentiment could very well be transmitted to its citizens, including Dae Sho. 」

「 Hmmm… That’s true, 」Karn Sho says, 「 Your intelligence is definitely something to be praised. I never thought of it in that perspective. 」

「 Ohhh… my, is that the ruin?! 」Professor Meyer shouts, brimming with unusual happiness out nowhere,「 I can see it now! Even though signs of age and crumble are apparent from far away, its magnificence still withstands! 」

I follow him and look in the direction of what he’s looking at. And I see what mesmerized him. Within the Ivrett mountain range, with a closer look, lies a cone-shaped temple, made of what seems to be dark black stone. Even though it is purely black, it doesn’t resonate with death or violence, rather, peace and harmony of some sort. Interesting.

「 Indeed it is. Now, do you regret spending your money on this expedition? 」Karn sho asks, brimming with enthusiasm.

「 Although a new archeological expedition is exciting as always, this one is a bit too small for it to be an actual dragon ruin… 」

「 I’m not sure what you’re talking about…? 」

「 Karn Sho… Did you just lie to me?! This is probably not a dragon ruin, but a human ruin! 」

「 Ehh… really? I couldn’t tell…? 」He says, seemingly feigning ignorance.

「 Urghh fine… I make an exception on this one just because this ruin doesn’t look like anything that we’ve discovered before. 」

「 Thanks to the ancestors for your graciousness… 」Karn sho mutters,  「 Man! 」he then shouts, calling the attention of the ship’s crew,「 prepare to close off to the shore and prepare the landing boats! 」

We finally come closer to the shore, but before landing, we first must take a smaller boat. Thankfully, I don’t have to share the boat with Dae Sho. Who knows what kind of ruckus he would make. Karn must have this in mind when assigning landing boats.

From the boats, we tirelessly row in rhythm to the shore. With how close the ship already is to the shore, it takes quite a short time, and the crew wasn’t exhausted.

Under the command of Professor Meyer and his friend, we quickly start mobilizing and walk to the ancient ruin.

Inside it, dust, crumbles, and cracks are on all sorts of corners. Considering its primal-like usage of stone material, it’s amazing how this temple still stands with a little tear.

「 Hey! There’s a staircase going down! 」

We all rush and look into the staircase, it’s quite narrow, only allowing two people side by side at most. We probably have to divide into smaller groups.

「 It’s quite narrow and the descent is steep. Only a small group of people can pass through it. 」

「 Who’s going deeper? It looks dark as hell. 」

「 Oh, now you’re chickening out? When you were boasting about an upcoming adventure last night? I should’ve expected nothing more from a son of bitch who’s just trying to impress the bar harlot! 」

「 Shut up! I only signed up to help to man the ship, not for dying in an unknown ruin! 」

「 Be quiet! This is a new ruin discovery! Not a street market! 」Professor Meyer interjects,「 Me, Karn Sho, and Renald Alderhide will be the ones going down the stairs, the others will explore the surface ruin and collect any data. 」

「 What is this blasphemy?! Why am I not joining to go downstairs?! 」Dae Sho protests.

「 Fine…. You also join us. Now let’s go. 」

『 Albenz 』

A small blob of light materializes in Karn Sho hand’s, radiating bright light as we descend on the staircase. Dae Sho as always distances away from me and trying to be closer with the rest, which makes me feel excluded. But why should I care?

After what seems to be a long time, we finally meet on a flat floor.

An entirely different atmosphere greets us. There was no calm nor was there is peace unlike before. A fiery serpentine dragon statue lies in the center of the room. Its malicious expression faces directly towards the entrance of this room.

「 Senior, look! It’s a dragon statue!  」Dae Sho says, stating the fucking obvious.

「 A human-made temple with a dragon statue inside? This is the first… 」

「 I’m sure it’s because the humans here revered heavily to our superior ancestors! As they should be! 」

「 Renald. What’s your take on this dragon statue? 」Professor Meyer says, immediately interjects.

「 The dragon statue race seems to be that of the Raiyuu race. 」I recall,「 with its long serpentine-like body. However, this one surprisingly doesn’t have feet nor hands… For the sculptor to miss it out accidentally is definitely unfathomable. 」

「 For the first time, I have to agree with you on this one human. To think these low lives dare to sculpt an incomplete version of our great ancestor! 」

「 Calm down. 」I say, trying to shut him up, 「 if the sculptors truly revered the dragons then, of course, they won’t purposely miss out on such a big detail like its limbs. There are two hypotheses for this reason. First, the dragon is not that of the Raiyuu race, but instead a new dragon race the world never discovered before, which is, of course, highly unlikely. Second, considering humans are isolated in the ancient era, it wouldn’t surprise me if they have the wrong depiction of the typical dragon, which is more likely, considering how desolate this area is. 」

「 I must say you always put a well-thought-out perspective, 」replies Professor Meyer, 「 We can debate and uncover more about the dragon statue but for now, we need to figure out how to open that door. 」

He points to the door, and immediately the top of the door draws the attention the most.

From a protrusion hangs a golden crown. A very unusual place to place what supposed to be such a valuable item. Why would there be a golden crown on top of the door? The size of it is monstrous — no human would be able to wear this.

What’s the point of using priced metals on something you can’t wear? Unless… It’s not meant to be worn in the first place?

A crown that is luxurious, decked in gold, and other beautiful ornaments are usually worn by a very important figure, a king. But a king’s crown in a temple? Hmm… Something’s missing.

Unless…

「 Professor, I have an idea I like to try. 」

With the help of everyone, including the reluctant Dae Sho, we pulled off the golden crown out of its unusual place, and placed it where it rightfully belonged — at that’s least what I believe it is — the dragon statue head.

It fits perfectly and in a short moment, the ruin shakes a bit as the door slowly opens.

「 Hmph, I knew bringing you in is necessary for this expedition to work. 」Professor says, showing me off apparently.

The door completely opens, Dae Sho rushes out first, leaving us catching up to him from behind in rushing to the newly opened room.

It strikes us that the room isn’t something that we weren’t expecting at all in this archaeological expedition.

「 G-gold…?」

A bonafide treasure room.

Gold, unique silk, and fancy porcelains are littered everywhere throughout the room. There’s even what seems to be a gigantic painting of the dragon similar to the one before, drawing the attention of both Dae Sho and Karn Sho.

The professor starts to cast what seems to be sealing magic to prevent the non-metal findings from turning to dust upon touch. A form of mana layers the object it is cast on.

Karn joins in, soon finishing the work.

However, what calls my attention the most is not the exorbitant wealth that lies in front of me, but rather… two rusted swords on the corner of the room, emitting an arcane magical aura, a somewhat dim purple light.

「 Professor Meyer, 」I call him,「 Do you find anything special in these two swords? 」

Professor Meyer then comes and inspects the rusted swords with meticulous details, like what a true professional would do.

「 Although the embellishment might make these swords seem special, in the end, These are just common human swords, Renald. Ancient ones for sure, but I’ve seen this type of sword in my many other previous archeological expeditions. Most likely tracing back to the Aquilo human civilization. 」

Huh… that’s strange…

「 Do you feel anything from those swords? Perhaps a mystical aura or something? 」

「 I’m not exactly sure what you’re trying to talk about Renald… 」a doubt spread over Professor Meyer’s features,「 as I said before, these are just normal swords with no magical properties or manaritium embedded. 」

Am I the only one who’s able to sense that arcane magical aura and the dim purple light coming from the swords?

It feels arcane, with its distinct and other-worldly sensation of magical aura. But somehow, instinctively I feel like I’ve felt this before… But where? The only time I’ve noticed an arcane aura was my time with Instructor Smush and… the Sky Palace… wait, the purple room?

「 Professor Meyer, may I take these two swords? 」

「 Huh? Why would you want these words? 」

「 Of course, I would like to have some gold that we found, but I would also like to take these too. It might be rusted but the ornaments seem special to me, I would like to collect them. 」I say, making up excuses. If my hypothesis is right, then these ancient items might have a connection with the purple room.

「 Sure, these artifacts are from human civilization and seem unimportant, so you can keep them. As for the gold, it will be equally distributed to everyone, in the form of money perhaps. At a first glance, the other artifacts here have some historical value that I have yet to determine so I would take all of them. 」

「 That’s alright, thank you. 」

「 Krig! Come to me! I found something! 」shouts Karn Shoe on the other side of the room.

With Professor Meyer rushing towards his friend, leaving me alone, a chance to slip to the recently forgotten mystical place of mine — the sky palace.

I quickly carry the two swords and go inside another room. Immediately, I whisper my spell chant. And within my burning excitement on what’s to come, drowsiness comes to me as I fall asleep.

 

 

Somehow here I am in the Sky Palace, specifically the Purple Room.

The two rusted swords wiggles around, trying to escape from my grasp, as if it has its own mind. I follow along with its force, as I move to the middle of the room, where the decagram magic rune and altar lies.

They calm shortly afterward, right at the front of the altar.

Subconsciously, I place the two swords on top of the altar.

The rusted weapons slowly radiate bright purple light.

Then, out of nowhere, comes the blinding light that forces me to shut my eyes.

From The Shackles of Death, I Am Reborn. From Thy Wish I have Cometh.

The voice that comes resonates heavily within the room, an absolute authority giving out its last magnificent statement.

From The Mountain That Pierces The Heaven, To The Divine Sky-Palace Whom The Owner Has Called For.

And deep within the room, on top of the decagram magic rune, something comes from the nothingness.

I Am The Ruler. The Tyrant. The Guardian that Rises From the Root of the Earth.

The serpentine neck reared up, along with its head adorned with horns and a gleaming golden crown. Its skin covered in purple lilac scales.

I Am Naga, God Amongst Dragons.

The serpent dragon just from its presence alone radiates sheer power and majestic regality. And like a true ruler, demands full attention and obedience.

And I have Come Forth To Greet He Who Summoned Me.

 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter

LOTA CH28 — The Way Forward

A splash of water drenches me, forcing me to be awake…

And the first thing I notice is Elras with a smug face.

「 Feeling better now? 」

「 Wh-where am I? 」I respond quickly.

「 At the back of the Sugary Sweet Bar. I can’t believe I would find you in a drunken state and much worse — in a peasant bar.  」

「 W-what happened to me? 」

「 Oh dear goddess… Did your mother ever teach you noble etiquette? 」Elras asks, looking me right in the eyes, and soon withdraws slightly, must’ve gotten his answer,「 You were drunk. Some time ago, I was on my way back home after my border patrol, until a city guard reported to me that a certain noble friend of mine is staying in a shitty peasant bar for a concerningly long time. Being the good friend that I am, I’ve come to pick them up. And I can’t believe what I found that friend of mine is apparently you who passed out on the table; drunk, I bet. I had to drag you out and splash cold water onto you so you can gather your senses again. 」

「 Okay… I understand… 」Then… it hit me, something smells horrid here… like a… 「 horse piss… Why am I smelling horse piss… Oh, fuck. Did you just?! 」

「 As much as I think it would be such a hilarious thing to do, I still have some decency, Renald – unlike a certain person. 」Elras adds, mocking me most certainly,「 oh yeah forgot to tell you, the back of the bar is a horse stable, so of course you’re about to smell something funny. 」

Not believing what he said, I smell the shirt I’m wearing and am thankfully able to confirm it’s just normal water. I look throughout my surroundings and indeed we’re inside a horse stable. Beside me is a bloody horse sleeping which I’m guessing is where the funny odor is coming from, and the place where I’m sitting is littered with hay and straw. The clean one as far as I can see, at least I really hope that’s the case.

「 Ughh fair enough… 」I say whatever comes to my mind, headache, migraine still being a bitch, must be the hangover,「 Well… thanks for waking me up, good night Elras. 」

I get up and soon head towards the stable exit, ignoring Elras as I just want to be left alone.

「 Not so fast Renald… 」Elras says, reaching out, his hand firmly gripping on my shoulder, stopping me.

I want to be mad, but I’m not in a condition to be able to get mad at him. Ughh.. to think this migraine is such a pain…

「 Renald, I’m not dumb. 」Sternliness in his voice,「 A diligent student who’s at the top of his class is now staying in a shithole bar late at night, drinking beer and spirits like the world ends tomorrow. Something happened to you, and I want to find out. 」

「 Fuck off… It’s none of your concern. 」I try to shout, but there’s barely any energy within me.

「 What if it IS my concern? 」

He says, grabbing my shoulder, forcing me to look at him dead center in the eyes.

「 Fine… I’m too tired to go against you… in this pitiful state of mine… 」I say, defeated and tired,「 So, what do you want, Elras? You’ve captured this fool. 」

「 Come, 」Elras walks to the exit of the stable, 「 Let’s talk in a decent place, one not littered with horse dung. 」

By the time we’re out of the stable, his carriage is already in the front with his attendants.

I almost lose my balance and fall down, thank the goddess, one of his attendants is observant and quick enough to prevent my slip…. I guess I’m still a bit drunk.

How much did I drink anyway…

Ahhh I don’t know…

I’ve basically left with a few measly coppers anyhow…

Wait, what… We’ve already arrived at Elras’s place…?

Elras drags me to one of his empty rooms…

I sit down on one of the sofas, still feeling a bit clumsy…

He seems to grab two glasses and a bottle of wine… Nice…

「 Didn’t know you were such a gentleman, Elras.. 」I say, reaching my hand towards the glass.

「 You already drank a lot, Renald. I’ll be the one pouring wine into your glass. 」He says, as he pours wine into the glass, barely enough for three sips…

While he pours his almost to the brim. This fucking bastard!

「 Just drinking fantastic wine is fine by me but what do you have in mind Elras? 」I say trying to distract myself from this obvious unfairness.

「 What have you been up to recently Renald? 」

「 What are you? My mother? 」I reply immediately.

「 Don’t be like that. I’ve been toiling myself inside the walls away from home’s comfort and this is how you greet me? 」

「 Well… Nothing much. Just adventuring here and there. 」

「 And how could a simple adventure cause you to suddenly become an old fart, drinking down his regrets in life. 」

Silence ensues, with only the faint sound of sips between me and Elras.

「 …If you don’t want to answer then that’s fine. But I know something is up with you. 」

「 How about you just leave it at that then?! 」

Just fucking leave me alone…

I just want to be left alone.

A fucking piece of shit like me deserves to be alone.

「 Renald. 」his voice a bit soother this time,「 how about listening to a friend’s old story? 」

「 As long as you pour me more wine. 」

「 Fine… I hope goddess Maria takes pity on you… 」

He pours me another three sips worth of wine. Fuck. I should’ve said the amount.

「 Remember my older brother that I’ve told you before? 」

Why do I have a bad feeling about this?

「 Yeah? What about it? You never told me much about your brother. 」

「 That brother of mine… 」he begins to ponder,「 he was a prodigious man. Excelled in almost anything you can imagine, horse-riding, swordsmanship, magic, army leadership, and even territory management. Devilishly handsome too, even more than me. The perfect Reinhardt. Our parents loved him more than I.

「 He also used to have a very beautiful fiance — Ayla Girtz, from the Girtz duke family. My words couldn’t express just how beautiful she is. With the hair of the finest gold and radiant emerald eyes. The size of huge melons that carries men’s biggest wish. Before I even knew the concept of lust, at such a young age, she was my biggest desire. And for her to be owned by that brother of mine. My envy grew to the limit. If given the chance, I wouldn’t have hesitated to kill him. 」

「 Seems to me you were able to explain her extravagant beauty just fine. Didn’t even know you could be this poetic. 」

「 This is because of the great wine, Renald, 」he boasts, 「 then out of nowhere — as you know — he died from an unexpected elven ambush. At first, I was very happy. I mean the root of my deep hatred was gone, anybody in my shoes would be happy right? But things changed. His fiance heavily grieved for the loss of my brother, I still remember how loud she cried at his burial. But, somehow, in just a week, her attitude towards me changed. Before, she ignored me, but after his death, she started approaching me confidently to the point of teasing me relentlessly. I felt disgusted by how easily she changed.

「 It was the first time I felt great sympathy for my once hated brother. To think his fiance would go after another man so quickly. The noble circles then followed suit. The once-neglected me suddenly became heavily prominent everywhere, invitations for gatherings rose, and many more. I was disgusted by them. They only started bothering or noticing me after my brother died.  」

「 But no man lives alone, so I still accept their approaches, knowing full well they only see me as the next-in-line successor of the Reinhardt Marquis family. 」

「 And one of their approaches includes me huh? 」I interject.

「 No Renald, No… Most nobles I encountered are always two-faced. They love spouting sweet words and shower me with expensive, yet soulless gifts. You and Aaron however, are very different. I’m used to men approaching me for business favors, women seducing me in the hopes of becoming my concubine or even wife — their eyes set on the Reinhardt Marquis family status and treasury. You on the other hand, just want to get into《Dyron Temperament》guild. Which is weird I must say — but your motives are very direct, something I’ve never experienced before and what I’ve come to appreciate. 」

「 Why are you even telling me all of this?  」

「 Because I appreciate our friendship. And your current state reminds me of my past self. 」

Past self huh…

Nothing has changed between my past and my current self.

I’ve always been destined to be alone. And I won’t be able to change that. I should accept that and not bother changing the inevitable.

「 Life is a bitch, Renald. 」Elras adds,「 A priest once told me “To live is the same as to suffer” and to this day I hold that saying very dearly.  」

「 So why bother living then? 」

「 Noblesse Oblige, Renald… Noblesse Oblige. 」He says, drinking big gulps of wine,「 Us nobles with our wealth and status, have an obligation to fulfill, to the people. I’m the only son left in the family, and I don’t want my sister to live her life inside the walls or on the battlefield. So I live for the sole purpose of continuing the Reinhardt Marquis family. 」

「 Easy for you. 」I sneer at him,「 I don’t know if you noticed but I’m basically a bloody bastard child. 」

「 Yeah I know. Your sword gives it away. A hand and a half sword, or the more popular term, the “bastard’s sword”. Most noble uses either a saber or a longsword. So I have my suspicion and was proven correct shortly after I did some research on your family. 」

Wh-what? Hand and a half sword? Is that why when I grip it with both of my hands it feels too tight?

「 On the bright side. 」Elras continues,「 you’re not tied to Noblesse Oblige. You can do whatever you want. Pure Freedom. Although, a man without responsibility or purpose tied to him is the same as a wandering animal. Living on pure instinct alone. 」

「 So what you’re saying I should find a goal, a purpose in life? I don’t believe in such bullshits. 」

Not after finding true love is such a delusional one.

「 That might be your answer. But think about it more for a while. Especially when you’re fully sober. I know for a fact, finding a goal or purpose in life is a daunting task. Noblesse Oblige is the easy answer for me. 」

「 A purpose in life huh….  」I say those words out loud, pondering over them, trying to make sense of such a spiritual and abstract concept.

「 That reminds me… When are you supposed to depart on that archaeological expedition or whatever that is with that boring professor? 」

「 Yeah… Professor Meyer told me to find a ship named “Gloria” in the morning, at the end of the month, so around two and a half weeks from now on… 」

「 Well how about you focus on that trip for now? A change of pace is what you need the most. And perhaps… you’ll find something new over there? A grumpy old professor for sure though! 」He says, laughing at his own weird joke.

「 I would need to depart tomorrow morning now that I think about it. 」

「 That means, tonight is our farewell meeting then. Make sure you stop drinking, you already got drunk beforehand anyway. 」

I nod in agreement, although very hesitantly with the way he keeps pouring wine from time to time. How can you stop somebody from drinking when you’re still drinking yourself? Wait, didn’t he already drink like three glasses of wine…. Elras is a heavy drinker, doesn’t he…

But he’s right. I should get away from this land as soon as possible. Away from my foolish actions. But to find something over there? Yeah, I wish…..

 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter

LOTA CH27 — Leap of Faith

「 Master, where are we actually going? Aren’t we supposed to visit the《Adventurer’s Creed》guild? 」Siana says, prying for any explanation.

Of course, she would be confused. We’re outside the city, past the Great Wall of Vosgant. It’s about time I tell her why we are deviating from the previous plan.

「 For a change of pace and scenery, 」I lie as naturally as I can, 「 I want to see outside the great wall, the rumored mystical greenery of the elven territory. 」

The weather is at its prime with warm sunshine and only a few clouds lingering in the sky, showcasing the beautiful light blue of the sky. A chilly breeze sweeps the land, giving me slight chills. Or is it what might unfold that’s giving me the chills I wonder?

Across the horizon, lies a very otherworldly scene. Amidst the seas of towering greens, there’s a singular tree that stood out like a sore thumb. What’s so different about this tree is how it even pierces the clouds. Its sheer humongous size overwhelms anything, yet what I feel from its presence is not fear nor awe — but calmness and peace.

「 Siana… What is that monstrous tree? 」

「 That’s coeden ddwyföl — the elven divine mother tree, master. 」Siana says, excitement flashes in her eyes,「 it is said the first elven kind was born in that tree. The elven society heavily reveres the tree and always performs all sorts of elven rituals or ceremonies. The second most place held for rituals would be…  」

That’s strange… why does she stop near the end….

「 Please continue, Siana. 」I urge her, not able to withhold my curiosity.

「 B-b-but… 」

「 Your master wants to listen to the end. Please continue, my Siana. 」

「 It would be Dįwedd Mynydd… or what the humans would call as Vosgant mountain range. The first elven man died there, praying for the elven goddess — crëwr, for all eternity until his last breath…. P-please punish me, master, I committed a great sin! Just please don’t sell me out! 」

「 Woah… calm down Siana. It’s my wish for you to tell me your elven way of life. 」

「 B-but I committed a great sin! 」

「 If that’s the case, then it is my wish and command to not punish you for what I consider as such a small and insignificant thing. 」

「 O-okay… Thank you for your graciousness, master. 」

「 Do you miss your past home? 」I ask, prompting for her reaction.

「 Why would I? My home is now with you, master. 」she says as she shows a big smile.

Which I notice to be forced…

…That’s all the answer I need.

The girl who brought me back from the edge of despair…

…is forcing herself beyond it instead.

Whether it was out of pity, resignation, or fear, I will never know unless I do this.

「 Do you wish to return? To your kin?  」

「 No! I’m happy with you, master! I don’t ever want to return. 」

At the prospect of returning, Siana shows genuine dislike.

But would I want my parents, siblings, and friends to see me being the possession of a stranger? To meet them, but know that the only thing that allows me to is the whim of a person who exchanged me for a bag of gold coins?

I just hope the beautiful weather and the sunshine bring me great luck on this endeavor filled with anxiety.

We closed by to the edge of the dense elven forest.

Goddess Maria, I’ve never prayed to you, heck I even don’t believe you exist. But if you do exist and hear the plea of this insignificant being, please keep my heart in an ambient steady beat. Amen.

「 S-siana.. 」f-fuck I can’t believe I stutter.

「 Yes, master? Why are we so close to the edge of the goed-, uhh.. I mean, elven forest? 」

「 Do you love me, S-siana? 」I ask, my words slipping on their own.

Instead of a word from her, a more chilly breeze comes. So silence is her answer.

She can’t even pretend or say empty words of how she loves me huh…

「 Then do you want to be free, Siana? 」

Beating around the bush. I hate myself for it. But I can’t bring myself to create facts.

「 I-I don’t understand… What do you mean master?! 」

「 If… if your love for me outweighs your yearn for your family then stay with me here. If you don’t love me then take the small bag of provisions and I won’t stop you from going back to your home…. To your… Gruffydd… 」

Didn’t I want to help her? Now I sound like a bitter lover.

「 H-how… How did you know him?! 」

「 I have my sources… now please decide… I’ll support whatever you choose. 」

「 B-b-but…  」Doubt. Disbelief. Worry about slipping up.

Caution. But no hesitation.

I reach for her collar.

She jolts. I’m reaching for her neck after all. She shivers, in fear perhaps.

A single thought.

『 Release! 』

Alongside the collar, something snaps inside me.

She freezes as it hits the ground.

「 I’ll take that as a yes. I can’t make things up to you, but at least this is possible. Now go. 」

My words snap her back into reality. She looks at me, bewildered.

She doesn’t say anything. Still doesn’t seem to grasp my actions.

Tears form in her eyes as she reaches for her unadorned neck.

A pale band of skin is all that remains of the choker of her free will. But for her, not even that exists.

…Please don’t go. Please don’t go. Please don’t go.

Please tell me that I was just being paranoid. Please don’t leave me alone.

Ah. F-fuck….

She left just like that.

She runs so quickly with her nimble feet.

In less than a minute, she’s already nowhere to be seen. Vanished inside the dense elven forest.

She’s gone… She’s fucking gone….

Siana.. No. Hyledd was right to leave me.

I… I should’ve never said that I love her…

I never should’ve fucked her against her unconscious will, or ruin her relationship…

Beneath her gentle and loving appearance, is pain and betrayal she’s forced to hide. And which I’ve brought to her.

The guilt threatened to swallow my soul.

With nothing else to do, I start to walk back home. The once clear sky is now filled with grey clouds with no gaps in between. It’s dark.

I fucked up badly. I’m an idiot to think I would feel love just because I bought a slave.

She’s only obedient and acts affectionately towards me not because of what I am, but because I’m her master. That’s not love.

Deep inside me, I expected to cry like a bitch if this happened. But now… I’m not crying…

Then, out of nowhere, small droplets of water fell, ushering me, drenching me. Each raindrop impacted me as if it’s reminding me of my failures. The present and the past.

No wonder my wife cheated on me. I’m the sole reason for my own unhappiness. Releasing our master-slave bond is the least I could do… It’s the right thing to do…

Life is such a cruel joke.

L̴͖̎o̵͈͊v̵̼̉ẽ̴̗ ̸̲̓i̷͖̐s̶̖͑ ̷̼͑f̵̖̀ȏ̸̟r̵̹͋ ̸̺͊ẗ̷̥́h̶̜̑ȇ̵̝ ̴̤̀w̵̘̚e̴̲̿ă̴͍k̸̙̃

 

Previous ChapterNext Chapter