「 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. 』
『 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…