It’s a sudden story, but a race that was a Dragon and also used to living using magical power like it’s their own limbs. One could say that none of the Dragon race has ever experienced a life without magical power. I can say that for Dragons, living without magical power is like a Human living without air.
Besides, I had lived since the Kojiro period where magic and mysteries filled the world. Even if there are benefits in using magical power instinctively, as an incarnated Human, with it all, there is no real favor. I had, long ago, while being held in my parents’ arms, decided to live my life as a Human, and so, all my life I have put effort into living as a normal Human being in this community. Nowadays, I’ve gotten used to living with purely Human capabilities, but when I was still a child, there were some difficult things that were incredibly tempting to use magic to solve, so I cheated a little. I also made sure not to reveal the fact that I can use magic to anyone, not even my parents.
For example, when I was a child, I played near Maguru Obasan’s house where she makes common medicines, medicines with magical property, and many others including Elixir. As the name suggests, an Elixir is a product that has some sort of enchantment, unlike normal herbal medicine. Normally, medicines are made from medical herbs and some are simple enough that even a kid in Bern can produce it. But it is a different story when it comes to an Elixir.
An Elixir is very difficult to make. Only a person with a vast amount of knowledge, talented in controlling magical power, and who understands the different composition of mixtures can produce Elixirs. The Elixirs made by the Witch doctor, using the herbs I collected, were found to have a strong effect in curing diseases and various other enchanting effects, which were very useful. They also attract attention from travelers and peddlers to visit our village to buy or trade for the Elixir.
I believe that if my family is happy, I want to help others in the village to be happy as well, so little by little, I practiced making the Elixir that the Witch doctor makes. At my Human heart, it’s full of adventures and curiosities. My soul on the other hand is of an old deteriorated Dragon, and it’s rejuvenating, so to speak. Under these circumstances, I could not help but try. When one is in their youth, they should not be afraid to try something and fail at it.
When all the experiences accumulated after a few years, I’ve adapted to living as a Human. My total living experience as a Human is by no means less than when I lived as a Dragon. Knowledge of the past does not always carry over. When I imitated the Witch doctor in making an Elixir, I usually spend a lot of time thinking on how the magical power was used. When the analysis takes too long, my father would tell me “Don’t try to imitate everything the Witch does.”
Of course my father only said that because he’s a farmer and knows next to nothing about magical power. Also he viewed imitating the old granny as a waste of time for me. The process of making the Elixir is extremely delicate work, the more experience and understanding you have, the more successful you will be. However there is always a chance that the final product is not a life saving Elixir, but a deadly poison.
He was angry, and knocked his fist, with thirty years worth of fighting experience, on top of my head. My Father was angry because he yearned for me to behave like a child, but in essence, I act too much like an adult. After receiving the hit, I obediently listened to his sermon. During times like those, I felt their affection toward me, a little violent but you can call it tough love, and every time, instead of feeling apologetic, I felt joy. But there was an unexpected result in this failure.
When I was being scolded by father, Maguru Obasan happened to come across the Elixir that I was working on. Noticing that I was using a stone pot as a holder, a stone bar as a surface to grinding herbs, and a wooden stick as a mixer, instead of proper tools, she became depressed and told me that she will teach me how to prepare the ingredients. From then on, after I finished my work on the field, I would head to the old granny’s house and was taught how to make an Elixir properly. The timing was also convenient for both of us.
I will challenge everything a Human is capable of.
With such an opportunity to learn Human magic from the Witch, I learned Human perception on magic and the ways they control and manipulate it ever since. Technically, every Human being has magic, but those who have enough magical power to exercise the phenomenon called magic are few. Unfortunately, no other villagers in Bern possesses the ability to manifest magical power beside the Witch’s family and I.
♦ ♦ ♦
Several days after parting with Selia, I am working on my field trying to exterminate pests and weeds. After I finished, I walk across the bridge over the river that runs through the village at the southwest and visit Maguru Obasan.
There are five people living in the house, the witch herself, a husband and wife, and their three daughters, but one left Bern. Around the Witch’s house, there are plants that are used to make medicine and Elixirs. The house has four bedrooms, as well as a bigger kitchen and storage than my house. Next to the house is a garden. In it, medical plants grow in a variety of shapes and sizes. It varies from grasses, to flowers, and trees.
The number of people who can cultivate these plants are Obasan, her daughter, her granddaughters, and I. Her son-in-law is the odd one due to poor magical capability. It’s not like Maguru Obasan is monopolizing all the herbs, but when it comes down to a person begging for help at the door, her family is the only one that has the skills and ability in handling Elixirs. In addition to that, these are not normal herbs, they are plants that harbor magical properties. Wrong cultivation and mishandling, could lead to severe consequences. Since everyone in the village knows this, no one complains, and the witch is also providing medicine for a cheap price, anyone can purchase it. With that, the family of magicians earn a lot of respect from both the villagers and the village chief.
While walking through the house and into the back yard, I give a black cat with glossy fur a greeting at the door.
The cat lying on the stone floor open its eyes, revealing golden pupils, and returns a greeting.
This Kitty in Black is one of the three familiars that Maguru Obasan has.
With that said, the familiar and its master’s five senses are shared, even when they are apart. One should not underestimate this Kitty, despite the small size, it can easily rip a man’s head apart, it may have some troubles with demons however. After losing its interest in me, Kitty closes its eyes and goes back to sleep. A cat is like a small child, it sleeps whenever it wants. Dragons also spend most of the day sleeping, it’s a relaxing activity.
As I open the door to the yard, the mixed smell of many different plants waft through the door’s gap. Drying flowers hung densely on rope strung across the ceiling. On the left side of the door, are shelves full of books. There are large, medium, and small fireplaces ready to cook the medicines on the right side. Also, on the left side of the fireplace are where the tools such as a pan, scissors, a hammer, a knife, etc. hangs.
A round table with chairs are placed in the center of the room. On the table, a set of tea cups and tea pot was prepared, and an old woman whom I came to visit is already waiting for me. Maguru Obasan is dressed in a reddish brown cape and a frayed skirt. On her waist, she has a leather pouch, and is wearing a pair of sandals. Her white braided hair is tied up with blue strings. Her eyes are green and her face has lots of wrinkles, but she always has a kind smile on her face. On the edge of the continent, this Obasan is one of the rare magicians that can produce an Elixir and is a master at medicine.
“Ah, so you’ve come, Dran-kun. For today’s lesson, start by using detoxification magic on the mixture over there.”
As she speaks, her lips only move slightly, it can barely be called speaking, but her voice sounds very firm and clear. I bow to her then proceed to sit on the chair across from her and start working.
You may ask why am I interested in the art of making medicine even though I can manipulate magic at will. It is simple, making medicine is one of the few things I find interesting and difficult enough to try and get better at. Beside, I never knew how to make medicine in the first place, so learning it will be useful.
Although for the Dragon race, most of us have never even heard of medicine, much less have a need it. With blessed magical power, we use magic to heal our wounds and illnesses, but even that rarely ever happens. In addition to a huge amount of magical power, a Dragon’s natural healing ability and vitality are very good, if one receives a wound, they only need to eat, take a nap and once they wake up, the wound would’ve already disappeared. As for disease, they’re virtually nonexistent for Dragons.
Because we live on the edge of the continent, we live in poverty compared to those living in the more central areas. Therefore, the tools for making medicine are not well made or developed.
In my previous life as a Dragon, I knew nothing about Human medicine. All my knowledge regarding medicine and Elixirs are due to the teaching of Maguru Obasan.
Even when learning, helping her make medicine is always the priority. It is always in high demand. I help her collect, prepare the herbs, and while applying her teachings, I correctly prepare the ingredient with the highest quality and efficiency. I want to ensure that whoever receives the medicine from the witch will have their needs fulfilled. As a student under the Witch, I have a huge lust for knowledge. Therefore I treat the medicine with utmost importance.
The session with her ends at noon. I respectfully bow to my teacher and am about to head home, but then I see Airi’s small figure dressed in an apron, with a red face peeking through the door. Little Airi is dressed in a blouse and apron, she tilts her head and gives me a puzzle look.
Airi is the smaller of the pair of sisters currently living in the house. Despite being young, she is one of the candidates to inherit the family business so to speak. She’s also a fellow disciple under the guidance of the Witch. With my current medical knowledge, she probably knows even more than I do. The ten year old girl already knows how to formulate magic to some extent, and also trains in using magic for combat.
I’ve also gained actual fighting experience the same way the children in the village do; by working with the Kobold and Goblin tribe who already use magic, which I’ve already done twice.
“Dran-senpai, eat lunch with us.”
“It’s indeed lunch time, but I am afraid I will bother you.”
“No, you won’t bother me. Beside, we learn the same thing from grandmother and have became close. I’ve already cooked extra rice for Dran-senpai. If you don’t have lunch with us, I will be troubled when there are left-overs.”
With her eyes looking at me deeply and her hands held tightly in front of her small chest, I’ve already lost the argument. It seems like I will have to entertain her at lunch. It’s not like I dislike having a meal with Airi and her family, I feel grateful towards her, but I find it a little troubling to interfere with the precious time a family spends together. Airi bends her eyebrows and is looking at me, impatiently waiting for a reply, and my silence seems to bother her.
While I am lost in thought, my teacher, rocking in her chair said.
“As Airi said, Dran-kun, have lunch with us. That’s an order.”
There was no need for you to say so, master.
I shrug my shoulders and surrender. As soon as Airi sees that, she lets out a bright smile.
Fumu. If you were to see this smiling face, all of your reason would cease to exist.
“Thank you, Oba-sama. You better hurry up and come along Dran-senpai. I’m waiting for everyone to gather.”
Well, if it must be so. Having a meal itself is something to be glad about. Ever since I left my parent’s house, I’ve been preparing my own food. Having someone else make it once in a while is nice.
Airi and I lend a hand to help master get up from her chair, hand her a cane, and go to the dining room. From inside the house, the black chimney rose up, letting smoke up into the air outside.
With the faint aroma of food wafting through the air, my nose picks up the scent of many appetizing delicacies.
A rare chance for a feast. I thought to myself, following the aroma.
We arrive at the lunch table, and soon after, the entire family has gathered. On the long table lies, potatoes topped with butter, freshly baked brown bread, fresh salad, and on the tri-large crocodile fangs, a boiling stew of rabbit meat with the eggs of a Dodo bird. This set up would make anyone’s stomach growl and ready to dig in.
Sitting around the table are Airi’s mother, Dina; a witch doctor, her husband; Airi’s father and the Witch’s son-in-law, Doruga. Airi’s older sister, Risha is also present. Risha turned nineteen this year. In all rights, she should be the one to inherit the family’s business before Airi, but due to having no ability to utilize magic, she decided to become a soldier for the kingdom and not a doctor in Bern. Unfortunately, the knowledge of how medicine and Elixir are made has not been past down to her either. Therefore, her mother Dina, and her grandmother are training Airi as their next heir.
Before anyone starts eating, we put our hands together and give our prayers to the Earth Goddess, Mairahl, who provides them with ingredients for cooking and food. The Earth Goddess Mairahl is someone whom I thought of as my close friend in my previous life and also someone who bears the responsibility of fertilizing the earth itself. Her figure in a Human’s mind is that of a pregnant women with straight long black hair, and a gentle appearance. Her faith is the highest on the continent. Her personality is also very merciful and tolerant. In my opinion, such a Goddess deserves the Human’s belief.
Even though I say that we are close, deep down, I wonder if it is all just in my head?
Dina-san, who made the food, has a mysterious feeling to her. She’s very quiet in whatever she does. Anyway, I also offer my prayer out of practice. When everyone finished praying, Dia-san gives the OK signal to have the meal. By the way, the power ranking in this family goes like this. Maguru Obasan > Dina-san > Doruga-san. Even though Doruga-san cannot use magic, if it is medicine, he can be considered the third most knowledgeable person in the field.
Dia-san is a woman who already bore three children. Despite that fact, her figure is still very well preserved. With red curly hair reaching down to the middle of her back and a proportionate body, most people would never have thought she’s a mother of three. Her personality is also very gentle. Rather than scowling or hitting, she talks to her children and solve everything with words.
Doruga-san’s appearance is that of a strong and muscular man. The width and thickness of his chest is huge compared to me. When he stands up straight with legs apart, it looks like there’s a wall in front of you. He’s intimidating. Hard muscles cover his chin, and with raven black hair, a mustache, and a sharp gaze, he looks very much like a leading fighter of the village.
Risha has a soft atmosphere to her. Her wavy black hair reaches her waist, inheriting many of her mother’s features, narrow waist, and all the curves in the right places. Especially her big chest and well-rounded buttocks. Her smooth skin at night when the moonlight shines on her creates a surreal scene. I’ve only seen her once or twice during night time when demons attacked.
This mother and daughter duo is set to be number one or two in popularity in the village compared to other girls due to their beauty and kind nature.
Which leads me to Airi. She’s the smallest child here, with a figure nothing like her older sister and mother, what a mysterious species. With that said, Airi’s appearance is plain. Nothing about her looks out of the ordinary. All those foolish boys who pointed this out in the past and made fun of Airi had been beaten to a pulp by Elise’s strong arm.* Elise is scary when she’s mad, although she only gets mad on Airi’s behalf. I am smarter than that, by saying “Airi still has room to grow.” I’ve created a margin big enough to not get hit. (T.L. Elise is the sister who left home.)
I eat using the wooden fork that was provided for me. Whenever I reach out to try new food, Risha would ask how the food tastes with a smile across her face. Plus, sitting on my left is Risha and on my right is Airi.
“Dran-san, How does the food taste? I hope you find it to your liking.”
“It is delicious. I apologize for not mentioning it to Risha.”
All the delicious looking dishes lined up in three rows on the table, I can only stare.
What is with this grandeur display?
Just now, I lose my restraint on the food due to its magnificent flavor. It’s a bad habit I should keep in check. This year, I have a lot to reflect upon, but on the bright side, I get to experience all of these crazy tastes. Until I die as a Human, I will never get tired of tasting different flavors.
After I gave my answer, Rishi laughs teasingly at me from behind. While looking back, Airi is looking at me with cute eyes. After a brief moment trying to understand the situation, I try to look at Risha for explanation but it is to no avail. Soon, Airi brings out another stew and serves it to me, while her cheeks are redden.
Although Airi is sending a protest at Risha, she slowly hands me a plate with the soup from the stew she brought. After she handed it to me, she goes back to her seat on my right, and stares at me. It would seem like she prepared this and it’s also the reason why I saw her wearing an apron earlier. I have no choice but to give it a try.
“Oh? Did Airi-chan make this today? It is very delicious. Thank you.”
“Yes. I was afraid that it’s no good and that you will not even try it.”
Airi replied, with her face facing away from me, in a low voice, trying to hide her embarrassment. Either ways, it’s cute.
“There’s no way I wouldn’t try it.”
The fact that Airi went ahead and prepared this for me alone makes me very happy. When I look around the table, Doruga-san has a bright smile on his face looking at Airi, while the rest of the family smiling at both Airi and me. Dia-san rests her elbows on the table and crosses her fingers, looks at me and asks.
“Dran-kun. Is there a girl you like in the village, Dran-kun? Do you have a girl whom you want to marry? You are at that age after all, it’s not too soon to think about it.”
I sit up straight, cross my arms and think about it seriously because what Dia-san said is not a joke. But my Dragon’s soul’s intuition never considered such a thing. My current body is that of a Human, I do possess many desires, but when it come to love, I am at a loss. Not because there is nothing to love but I simply do not know where to start. I may certainly fall in love with a female Human, for it is from love that a family is born. Wait a second, Doruga-san’s gaze, as sharp as an arrow, directing straight at me. Did I do anything bad? No, no, it is not difficult to sympathize with Doruga-san’s action base on what is going on in this room.
In an attempt to try and see what that life is like, I focus my mind to envision the face of a girl in the village and every action that could happen. Both embracing the feeling of love, and willing to share one another’s pains. It would be wise to choose someone who you will want to spend your happy moments with rather than pains. (T.L I think he just visualize a marriage and decide what he should do. Is he a f*cking quantum computer?)
“I’ve given it some thought, but it is still a difficult decision after all. After all, it has only been a year since I became independant, and there are also no words of encouragement to get marry from my parents neither.”
Dia-san and Doruga-san both nod at my reply, and stop giving me the threatening look. Seeing that, I feel relieved.
All the while Maguru Obasan is laughing “Hohoho.”
Even though I replied seriously, somehow, I feel like I am a clown of some sort.
“Hehe, Dylan is already married, and you, Dran-kun, on the other hand are saying that you have no interest? It is regrettable, but it seem like I’ve been rejected by Dran-kun.”
Risha puts her hand on her right cheek and gives out a disappointed look. Her face and the tone may sound disappointed but I can definitely hear a sound of laughter from her. Along with the soft atmosphere, Risha also carries a habit of mocking my older brother and his wife.
“I like Risha-san, but to be frank, I cannot call it a feeling of love.”
“I wonder? I do like Dran-kun very much, if you take me, then I will do my best for you.”
“Ufu, It’s no good, Onee-chan!!”
Airi stands up from her chair violently and raises her voice to protest against Risha.
Fumu. To be raising her voice, Airi sure is worked up today.
While I tell myself that, in reply to Airi’s protest, Risha simply giggles, as if to enjoy the situation. Seeing that, Airi puffs her cheek and sits down quietly.
“In front of Dran-kun, Airi is really cute, I just couldn’t help but tease her.”
While Risha continues to tease Airi, slowly but surely, all the dishes are getting cold so they should stop soon. Fortunately, they stop soon after and everyone chats peacefully with each other, and I am able to enjoy the meal in peace as well. This time, Airi decides to attack via my stomach, so it’s best not to displease her. It is nice now, but what am I going to do when she is grown up?
After I finish eating, I say goodbye to the family and head home.
While going up the river, I have a fish basket, a fishing rod, and a sword on my belt. Even though I just had lunch, I figure that tonight’s dinner will be fish so I decided to go fishing.
My destination is the Northwest of the Belen River that flows through Bern. I can catch fish anywhere but further upstream, away from the man-made canal and farm lands, the fish are much bigger, with more fat. The Belen River goes deep inside the mountain range so I decide to stop at the northern side of the river, a little outside of Bern, in the forest.
Here in the dense forest, trees block and absorb all the sunlight even though it only early afternoon. The green forest sucks up nutrients and water from the earth, combined with sunlight, there is no better habitat from that. There are often wolves, wild boar, poisonous reptiles, and other dangerous creatures in the forest, but Humans are dangerous for them. If I avoid their turf, there will be no need to fight them blindly.
To grasp their territories, I pay close attention to the marks on branches, tree trunks, feces and urine that they left behind. Eventually, I safely arrive at the river bank. With the bird’s chirping and singing, the natural sounds make me conscious that life thrives here.
Today, my goal is to catch a fish call Sharlote the size of an adult arm. It has black spots on its sharp looking mouth, silver skin cover its body and has plenty of fat. It can be cooked in many different ways, baked, boiled, smoked, grilled, etc. It doesn’t matter how it is cooked, it is going to be a mouth watering treat either way. Considering the size of the basket I brought with me, it should hold up to five fish. The extra can be stored for later. However, Sharlote is extremely difficult to fish with a fishing rod so I will have to cheat a little.
The tree branches spread out so wide that a green color reflects on the river’s surface. While putting the fishing rod in a secure place and have it hang over a place where I sense the fish flow, I suddenly pick up the smell of burning wood in the wind. The smell of burning wood is unique, there should not be any Humans living inside the forest. By any chance is a Goblin or Orc nearby? If I consider this seriously, it might be a little dangerous.
Unlike dangerous wild animals whom even the Goblins and Orcs avoid. When it comes to Human, these wild Goblins and Orcs will attack and kill Human without hesitation. Unless they outnumber the Goblins and Orcs or when they are injured. Before anyone from the village comes here without knowing so, it is better that I eliminate this threat.
I make up my mind and stop fishing, grab my sword, put it on my belt and head toward the direction the smell is coming from. Judging from the smell, the location is not far from the river.I approach the place on high alert, careful not to step on a dead branch and make a sound.
I am prepared to cut down any wild Goblin or Orc, but if this fire was started by a Human. They better have a good excuse for their stupidity. I have my hand on my sword handle, ready to draw it out at a moments notice. With sunlight glittering through the trees, I arrive at the location where I smell burning wood. I can’t relax due to nervousness. Then, I recognize the person who lit the fire. What I am looking at right now is a creature with a Human upper body and a lower body that of a huge snake wrapped in beautiful green scales. There is only one species that exist with such an appearance, Lamia. What’s more, she is the girl I just parted with a few days ago…
“If it isn’t Selia-san.”
To prove that I am correct, Selia involuntarily, turns her back at me with a bewildered look on her face.
Looking at the steaming pot on the fire, it seem like Selia lighted the fire to boil some water to clean herself. If I was her in this situation, I would just dip myself in a spring or the river to clean myself, but it must be cruel for Selia because the river is still cold around this time. She would certainly get sick, after all, Laimas are weak against the cold, more or less. However, it would cause Selia’s unpleasantness if she doesn’t remove the dirt off herself. With the water, she is wiping her body right next to the fire. By the way, I think that anyone would understand what I am implying. Selia is wiping her body, so naturally she doesn’t have any clothes on. That stark naked appearance. Despite the fact that it’s still a bit chilly, due to the warm towel that she is using, she doesn’t seem to be shaking.
“…Oh! It’s Dran-san.”
She raises her voice in the unexpected situation of me being here, and then a small yelp escaped her lips after noticing that I see at her naked body. It was just when Selia was about to wipe her neck so her long golden hair is pulled to the side revealing the nape of her neck. So, in response to me at first, she turned her body although I’ve already gotten a glimpse of everything, mostly. She is still trying to cover up her body.
While wet, the sunlight reflects off her scales dazzlingly, and I find it very sexy. Her breasts are a size that would fit in my palm, under the sunlight they shine from the wet skin, creating a very erotic scenery. Everything seems to fit her perfectly, it is like the most beautiful piece of artwork I’ve ever seen. Her waist line is narrow, that is also where her Human-body starts to change into a snake-body, all of which I can see clearly in detail. Her white belly under the sunlight is also exposed to me, every place a woman should hide, is being exposed to me. Somehow I feel very lucky to witness this sight.
Right now, the figure of a beautiful girl, from a race that was cursed by God with a half Human and half snake body, which could be straight from a painting, is all mine to gaze upon. To me, it seems like Lamia possess more natural beauty, rather than a called a curse. I wonder why Humans think they are a cursed race? Everything from her gestures, to her golden hair that shone as if it were real gold, truely beautiful. Her figure, ever since we met, I already found it beautiful, deep down in my heart. So I let out my admiration unconsciously.
“Fumu, you’re pretty nice.”
Due to my poor vocabulary, I can’t seem to find better words to say. So I said what I felt was right.
“I am happy to be praised by you, but please stop looking all dignified!”
She took my compliment but it seems she doesn’t like it when I see her directly. After telling me off with an angry voice, she has her arms crossed over her chest and private to hide them. All the while having a red face. Overall, there are only small portions of her body that are hidden from my eyes.
“It’s a shame. Such a beautiful sight. It will not decrease in value even if it were to be seen, you know?”
Selia coils her body around her and peeks at me with her face completely red, all the way to her ears. At this point I am not sure if it is from embarrassment or anger.
“Please, at the very least, feel some embarrassment! And what is with that dignified face you still have on!?”
“Well, it is only natural instinct of all species, including me to be attracted by beautiful things. It’s not bad to look at pretty things. After all, Selia-san is very beautiful.”
“I will not be deceived by your flattering! Please face the other direction for a while!”
Selia used magic in that last sentence, there seems to be more force put into it than last time, so I turn my back to the other direction. Everything I said about her completely reflects her features, not a single lie. Still, it was a magnificent sight. It’s like candy to my eyes.
While Selia is changing clothes, I go back to the river bank and wrap up my fishing equipment. Upon returning, I am planning to ask why she is in such a place. After Selia finished changing, I sit on a rock next to her, where she is coiled up. Observing her, I see the embarrassment from being seen naked remains. If I’m not careful with my words, I may really be turned into cider.
I sit on the rock and position my line of sight onto the river’s surface instead of looking at Selia. I am not sure how to act embarrassed or troubled, but if I don’t try, I would look like a bad person.
“Why are you at such a place? I thought that you would go somewhere further south, where there is a bigger Human population, rather than this outskirt of the continent.”
I didn’t intend for my question to be offensive or in a demanding tone, but somehow, I couldn’t control my tone and it sounded like I am interrogating Selia.
“I thought that, that’s what I would do, but…”
“What’s the matter?”
“It’s just that you told me that other Humans I will meet may be scary, so I…”
“Somehow, when it came down to making a decision, you hesitated. You ought to be prepared for it.”
I was going to tease her, but I feel as if I would pay a high price in doing so.
“It is certainly the case, and in this case, I have nothing to say. When I was all alone, I thought of the time I spent with you, I was lost in various ways, and I simply wanted to meet you again. Thinking that maybe Dran-san would guide me.”
“You were looking for me? I wanted to meet you again as well. I am glad we could meet again like this.”
“Do you really?”
“Yes. It’s true. Hmm…maybe, say Selia-san.”
“What is it?”
I can feel her gaze looking at me with intensity. I am not sure that my suggestion is going to turn out better or worse but I say it anyway.
“Do you want to come and live in my village? Doing so would help you familiarize yourself with Humans faster. Maybe I can arrange a favorable location so that you can live there. Although it may not seem like it, my village is but a small province on the continent. The people living there have a high tolerance towards other races. It may take a while for you, a Lamia, to adapt to living there, but in time, I am confident that they will accept you. Especially you.”
“I am going to live in Dran-san’s village?”
My suggestion seem to gives Selia some courage, but I, honestly, am about to burst out laughing at her innocent reply. After all, it’s her personality that may allows this to work.
“That’s right. You can live in the village. We can spend our time happily as well.”
While waiting for her to answer, Selia lets out a smile on her face, a sign of trust. Before such a smile, any man would have given her everything and do anything to keep her smiling. There is no denying that this Lamia girl’s smile is wonderful.
“I think, if it’s with Dran-san, it would definitely be fun. You are very kind…really.”
“Is there something else that bothers you? Please tell me.”
“The truth is that…when you gave me your spiritual energy, it was really delicious, completely different from anything I’ve ever had, and since then, I could not consume anything, so…I was expecting a little…”
So that’s why. Selia confesses her gluttony in embarrassment. What I gave Selia last time was a portion of Dragon God class spiritual energy and not a normal Humans, what never crossed my mind was that she would become easily addicted to it. It would seem that Dragon God class spiritual energy is too much for a Lamia, she may never find any other source of spiritual energy tasty again. It’s sure is troubling.
“Is that so? Since we are going to live together, I can give you energy anytime if you ask for it. Here, give me your hand.”
I hold out my left hand and Selia grasps it with her left hand, squeezing mine and looking ashamed. I let a portion of my Dragon energy flow into my arm and let Selia absorb it slowly. As she is taking it in, her expression changes from shame to full of ecstasy and lets out cute sounds.
The Dragon race not only has strong physical capability but also overflowing vigor. In fact, it is said to be the strongest spiritual source of power of any species. Any species who depends on consuming spiritual energy to live, once they’ve taste a Dragon’s energy, there is no way for them to forget it. It is that tasty. It is not an exaggeration that Selia, a Lamia, is behaving like she is now. Besides, even if Selia manages to find another Dragon and absorbs its energy, it still wouldn’t satisfied her due to the fact that my energy is the highest grade among the Dragon race. Now that I think about it, are there any other ways to transfer spiritual energy from one person to another without having physical contact? I like to look at Selia’s snake body twitching like this, I wonder if it’s a good thing or a bad thing? I will reflect on this later.
Anyhow, I wonder if everybody in the village is going to approve of Selia living with us. After all, it’s something I thought of just a few moments ago. While walking back to the village, I think about what to do thoroughly.
Selia was born and raised together by a Lamia mother and a Human father, and has developed a unique personality, not that I am saying there are any two people that have the same personality.
It will be difficult for her to live near so many Humans, not because of her personality but because she is one of the demon race, a Lamia.
Everyone knows that Lamia prefer Human energy, so even if she doesn’t attack anyone, there will be fear lurking inside everyone in the village. Even so, if she needs energy, I will be the one to provide it for her, so no one else will have to be troubled. However, there is also the fact that Selia musts show that she is beneficial to the village, or else she will always be treated as an outsider.
Although the children, with Selia’s personality, will surely get along well with her. Having a Lamia as a friend is obviously very nice. It is easy to show off her strengths. First off, she has strong magical power, possesses an undeniable charm, combined with charm Demon Eyes. With that, she can solve conflicts peacefully. Next are her physical abilities. She has poison naturally flowing through her veins, and her strong snake body can easily snap the bones of a Human adult with ease. Overall, she is a powerful ally. All of those abilities are easy to find in books after all, and of course there is always a chance that she may use her power against the people living in the village. Maybe I should suggest that they can hire her as a guard or something.
She is very beautiful so it won’t be a problem with the men, but the women will be problematic. It wouldn’t help her one bit if she uses magic and takes the easy route. Her snake body should shed its scales once a year or so, and when it does, I can apply magic onto them and make some magic armor. Even though the amount of armor that can be produced may be low, magic armor can be sold for a decently high price. And when the Demons attack, we can mix her poison with the mixture of wild grass and toadstool so it increases the efficiency of her poison, allowing it to affect the Demons faster. I think about each and every way to make the villagers accept Selia, even though what I am really good at in the village is everything that has to do with farming.
Hmmm. While deep in thought, a female voice snaps me back to my senses.
“Oh, Dran-kun! What’s the matter? What are you thinking about?”
When I look back, a woman around mid-twenties, calls out to me.
The womans name is Miu, she has brown, shoulder-length hair, and is wearing a red linen dress. Her breasts are huge, the largest pair in the village. They are easily bigger than the head of a baby. In that dress, it seems like the fabric would give out at any moment. But it’s nothing out of the ordinary because even though she is living in Bern, she is not from the Human race.
Miu belongs to a Beastmen race, a cowwoman to be exact. Her cow ears are sticking out of her head cutely. Her tail is located just above buttocks and it’s the length of my arm. As a race, the cow people are genuinely peaceful and kind in nature. From the waist down, their legs are covered with fur, and of course they don’t have feet but cow hooves. And speaking of which, the Cow-woman have an excessive amount of milk whenever they are not pregnant, so all of the milk that the villagers drink is from them. Miu is no exception of course, she does indeed produce lots of milk normally. Also, there were times when I was little, I breast fed off of Miu’s breasts instead of my mother’s. Even now, I occasionally find myself drinking her milk at my dining table.
The Beastman race also has enormous enduring strength.. Even Miu here can perform the workload equivalent to that of a Human and his horse combined.
Originally, Miu was a woman who lived in the city of Galois located in the far south of Bern. While she was on a business trip, she met her husband and they decided to get married and moved to Bern. Adding that into consideration, her true age would be in the late 30s, and she already has a son who is twelve years old and a daughter who is fourteen this year. Speaking of which, it should be right about the time that her daughter starts to produce milk as well.
Beastmen also have a longer lifespan than Human so they tend to have lots of kids. The current food supply for Bern is excellent, so a dozen more children will not be a big deal. The history behind Human and Beastmen relationship is long and full of conflict. It may not look like it if I take Miu as an example, but long ago, and even now, the Beastman race is a race that is widely discriminated against. So Miu being here isn’t exactly a “free” person, she has a family, but on papers, she is her husband’s slave. As for the Kobold and other races working with Bern, they have a common goal, which is to survive against the Demons. They are forced to work together to survive and in doing so, they started to understand each other and were able to form a bond of trust. But more or less, this is how it is, the Beastmen were just being bad mouthed, and were treated violently.
In Bern, beside Miu, there are one or two other Beastmen, who are acquaintances of Bern villagers from a long time ago. However, the subject about discrimination against the half men, half beast is never a hot topic because everyone in Bern knows that whatever rumors that spread across the land are lies. The fear of races that are not purely Human is something that the Human ancestors made up, and it has caused many to suffer, more or less, Miu and Selia were both affected one way or another.
Unlike Miu who is welcome here, it will be completely different if I am to bring Selia into the village with me, assuming she can be allowed to enter the village in the first place.
When I was a Dragon, I never bothered to think of such trivial Human society behaviors. Take Miu for example, I would just be staring at her indifferently. People will definitely make a big fuss about it. Maybe I should ask Miu-san for help since she went through the same thing at some point. I think of how sweet Selia’s smile was and it makes me do whatever I can to please her.
Then I notice that Miu is staring at me dumbfounded, moving her ears up and down, and her slim tail side to side. She looks adorable. This is too much for the lonely men in the village. No one dares to approach her due to her husband’s threatening look.
“Alright then Dran-kun, you better get going. You have training to do today.”
“Ah! Is that so, Miu-san? Thank you for reminding me.”
The training Miu-san was talking about is live combat against weak Demons or wild animals that live outside of Bern, in order to practice fending off the Demons. The training is organized by soldiers who set out to train adults and even children to fight, because everyone helps a little against the Demons. Normally, the training starts when a kid reaches ten years old. I learned how to handle weapons and traps since I was ten. When the village is under attack, it is better to have children who can fight with bow and arrows, a spear, or a sword, rather than cowering in a corner trembling. Some people would call this coldhearted, but because of what life is like around here, we have to do everything in order to survive. Those people would never have thought that children can be organize as a military force, but they can be, like I was.
The menacing Demons will attack an adult as fiercely as it would towards a child, and they show no mercy. As such it is essential for children to learn the art of war, so they can fight for their own survival.
Demons will continue to attack a village that has a weak defence force and will do so until it is razed to the ground. They avoid having to fight with the strong, if possible. It’s a fine strategy. I am already sixteen this year, and belong to the front line. I will set a bad example if I am late.
I start running toward the practice area immediately after saying goodbye to Miu. It is a bad habit of mine to not pay attention to my surroundings while deep in thought. Each step I take toward the practice site, the more I think about how to arrange for Selia to live in the village.
Today, I really want it to work out soon.
I wave my hand while continue to run, knowing that Miu-san is also waving at me.
Fortunately for me, I make it in time for the meeting at the North Gate. When I arrive, I notice that my brother is here as well. I guess today is also the day that he has to come. My older brother, Dylan, sees me coming, and breathes out a forlorn sigh.
Dylan is my older brother, he resembles my father a lot, with well built muscles and a good looking face with short back hair. In the family, Dylan resembles father while Marco and I resemble our mother, but I consider such a thing to be of no use. My brother carries a bow and arrows on his back, in his hand is a spear, and he has a wide blade hanging on his belt. He obtained it the last time a group of wild Goblins attacked.
“Hey Dran, it’s nice that you aren’t late, but you kept everybody waiting.”
I reply while nodding at his words.
I lower my head slightly, but my brother doesn’t seem to be angry at me anymore. It has always bothered me that our brotherly relationship is different from that of others in the village. If I have the chance, I would like to look into what my brother is thinking. Even if I say that, I would never do so because I respect other people’s privacy of their own thoughts. I don’t find it unreasonable to be concerned of our relation. After all, he has known me for the last sixteen years. Does he hate me? For as long as I remember, during the time I spent with him, he has always treated me well, but somehow, he seems to be avoiding me. I really don’t want him to hate me.
“Listen up! Everyone has already gathered here.”
The soldier announced. Since I didn’t see anyone else come after me, I must be the one that was holding everybody back. For this training exercise, two or three adults would lead a group of six or seven children outside the village to train. In my group, I am teaming up with Albert, my childhood friend, and my brother.
The one leading this exercise is Commander Balin, who holds the highest authority over the soldiers stationed in the village. In addition to that, Ramese Retisha, a priestess of the Earth Goddess, Mairahl, is also here to oversee our activities. There are more important people than usual. Maybe it has something to do with the fear that more Gobins have been showing up lately.
Originally, Commander Balin is from Bern, and he quickly climbed up the ranking. Right now he’s wearing a very sturdy-looking armor with thick chest plate, and his clothes leave the outline on his muscular arms. There was a rumor that someone tried to punch him in the jaw but broke their hand in the process.
His gaze is as sharp a a hawks. To my surprise, the children take his gaze like it’s nothing and the atmosphere is neither that of weariness or fear but instead, it’s full of confidence. Even if this is just a training exercise, Commander Balin is fully dressed in armor, with his thick body armor, a shin guard, and gauntlet on each hand, it’s like we are heading to war. On his waist are several spare daggers. And in his hand is a dangerous looking polearm.
Iron armor is difficult to handle but they is relatively cheap, due to the country’s military having a good trading partner. It is not the same story for regular people, however. For them, iron is an expensive and valuable resource. Every soldier is given iron equipment at the bare minimum. When Balin became a commander, he asked to be stationed in Bern since it is his home. With the presence of a person who made it to the high command chain of the Kingdom, it sure boosts the villages morale greatly. Quite a few people gave up on farming and enlisted into the military to station in the village as well, but very few ever make it out of this outer region. For Commander Balin, fighting to protect his homeland from the hands of Demons is his dream, and he is a determined fellow. By the way, Miu-san’s husband is Commander Balin. There are many soldiers here who stare at their interaction with jealousy. Their daughter is not here of course, but their son is here, being trained to protect the village. In comparison, Miu’s chest is much larger than Dina’s. It wasn’t a joke when I said that Dina and Risha were among the top beauties in the village, but Miu’s chest simply dominates the competition. If Balin wasn’t a commander, he would’ve already been killed multiple times over by the sheer envy emitting from the men.
Now, the one who is in the middle of this group, the priestess, Ramese Retisha, is a woman in her twenties. She has a calm atmosphere around her and can silence all of this commotion easily if she so choose. She is very open hearted, and good natured, so she gets along with everybody very well. Originally, there wasn’t a priest of Mairahl in Bern, but for some reason, the Kingdom decided to send a priestess here. Either way, Retisha was sent here about two years ago and is now working in the small church dedicated to Mairahl. On the subject, since Bern is a small village in the middle of nowhere, Retisha’s ranking is lower compared to others priests and priestesses in the middle of the kingdom, but with her dedication, she helps improve the life of the villagers spiritually.
Priests and priestesses are not required to go into combat, but if they happen to be in Bern, observing the flow of the battle may be more beneficial than praying. And so the monks and Retisha are dressed up and ready to participate in the exercise. Retisha cut her hair until it reached her shoulder length, and tied it into a bundle. Even when in “battle,” she still has her gentle atmosphere.
Retisha is wearing leather armor to keep warm. On her waist is a belt and in one hand, she holds a shield. In addition to that, she has a necklace around her neck, a symbol of which only a priest is allowed to wear, and supposedly, it gives its wearer Mairahl’s blessing. If you thinking that Retisha can’t put up a fight, you are in for a surprise. She has been living here for two years already, so fighting against Demons is something she got used to.
As of right now, everyone think the miracle called magic is something that was given to those who have a strong faith in the Gods, and it is something extremely advanced. In reality, magic in this world is still very weak and undeveloped, so even if someone can use magic, they will not be able to put Healing magic into practical use. However, magic such as detoxification, strength and durability buffing techniques are still a very effective way to fight against Demons. Magic is an incredibly valuable asset for Humans in battle.
“As usual, today we will deal with the Kanusagi and Giant Rats to get you all familiarized with fighting against Demons. However, while doing so, I want each and every one of you to pay attention to their movements and try to synergize your attacks with your partners in order to kill it.”
Commander Balin announced their goal and roughly six or so answered “Yes” loudly. Soon after, the training start. During training, these children have more fun playing with their weapons, or making some fancy moves, rather than practicing and having actual combat. After a day of fun, they would go back home as if nothing happened. As for me, I am glad there are combat exercises, because I can test my limits as a Human, and also, I have this tendency to outdo others, showing off, and tend to not cheat using magic.
The place where the training exercises take place is an open plain where I would go and collect medical herbs. We follow the instructions and the children divide into groups of three and march into the field searching for Kanusagi and Giant Rats. If us subgroup leaders were to see any sign of trouble that might be too much for the children, we would step in and take over. Because I ate a bigger lunch than usual today, thanks to Airi, and the fact that it still early spring and even if it still afternoon, the weather being a bit chilly, I feel rather good. Full of strength, I feel like I can do anything. My group and I watch out carefully for the children, especially Albert, because he is very focused on his duty.
Albert is one of my childhood friends who has pale blue eyes and freckles on his face. He is as tall as I am. When he was small, he was very goofy and cunning, almost like a devil brat. For example, when he used to be able to jump into the river and take a bath, he would sneakily approach a girl bathing and touch their boobs and butts. That made girls look at him with hateful eyes everytime they see him. As the result of his stupidity, he was banned from ever bathing in the river again. Even if you say that it is an innocent act, if repeated multiple time, it would turn out to be a bad reputation. As with the case with Albert. If possible, I would like to say that Albert’s personality is fearless.
Albert is wearing his favorite green bandana to hold up his hair, a vest made from three pieces of snake skin sewed together, and is holding a spear to sweep the grass aside while walking.
Albert’s spear tip was taken from the blade of a broken dagger and tied to the tip of a wooden pole. If I remember correctly, he got that from his father’s campaign with the Kobolds and Goblins, while defending against a Demon attack. While walking, he looks at me and asks.
“You’re a little behind today. Is there something wrong?”
While it is the subgroup leader’s job to look out for the children, at the same time, they are also hunting animals for dinner. Yes, while walking through the plain, using my enhanced senses, I’ve already caught myself some rabbits. While seeing that I have lagged behind, Albert asked.
“Nothing, I was just thinking if there is a way I can cultivate Steelgrass and find a use for it.”
“You’ve got to be kidding. It’s call Steelgrass for a reason, it’s as hard as iron and if there were some use to them, someone would’ve already found it!”
Like the name suggested, Steelgrass have leaves as tough as iron, and it doesn’t exist anywhere else but in this open plain near Bern. Each leaf is shaped like an oval, the longer the leaf, the older and tougher it is. Of course Steelgrass is a kind of magical plant, but other than that, nothing else is special about it.
Just imagine it, a material that is as tough as iron but much, much lighter. The possibility for its use is vast, however, there is no efficient way to harness its power. Maguru Obasan uses a magic formula to turns Steelgrass into a fine powder and applies it onto the Elixir and the Elixir’s bottle itself, which gives the Elixir iron attribute and makes the bottle super hard, like iron. After the powder is applied and settles outside the bottle, it gives off a shiny black luster and you can easily use a piece of soft cloth to clean it. There are quite a few adventurers trading for those “Iron-plated” Elixirs, because they are not easily broken and they contain the Iron-Elixir inside very well. In the garden of the Witch, there are small number of Steelgrass, which when harvested, the most Airi can make is enough powder for around ten bottles. Many magical scholars have tried numerous methods in order to harness the power of Steelgrass, but due to the difficulty in handling the magical plants, and the risk at mis-handling it, the success rate is very low. In the future, if none succeed, I want to give it a try so Steelgrass will become a type of raw mineral easy to be produce. That would make the life of the people on the edge of the continent much easier.
Harnessing the property of Steelgrass for common benefit is one thing. What’s more important right now is to get Selia to be accepted by the villagers. There’s no easy way to disguise her as a Human because unless the Human race are all fools, which most of them are not, they will certainly recognize Selia as a Lamia.
All the talk about Steelgrass is but an excuse for being late, and since it’s a complicated subject, Albert won’t pursue the reason I was late any longer. While thinking for a way still, I silently looking around for signs of animals and Albert is also keeping a low profile, otherwise the game will be alerted and run away.
My brother is just silently watching the children while everyone else fails at finding prey. It’s not like he doesn’t want to hunt, but because he is wielding a big machete, it is difficult to land a killing blow on his prey in this Steelgrass plain. Though that machete is effective against Demons and wild animals, that’s for sure. Albert and I stop hunting and go back to our duty, which is to look over the children, due to the weird noise coming from ahead.
What it is, is a big bird that runs instead of flies. It has yellow feathers and beak. Its beak is the size of my arm. The taste of its meat is plain, but it’s easy to eat, and since it’s huge, there is plenty of extra meat. I then lower my spear into the earth, and slowly approach the animal, while brushing through the Steelgrass leaves. The bird hears my footsteps coming from behind and instead of running away, it stands its ground and strikes back using its thick beak. Before it can strike me, I use all my arm strength and pierce the bird right through the middle of its chest.
I feel its life force quickly disappears with fresh blood flowing out of the hole on its chest. Before it dies completely, it lets out a small voice as if spatting a few curses. While I am feeling a sense of achievement without much trouble and relieved that there will be plenty of food for later, Albert’s voice calls out to me. I wonder if I should pull the spear out or leave it in the bird’s body still, but hearing Albert hurrying me, I decide to leave it there. Even though Albert is calling out impatiently, there is no feeling of fear or danger in his voice. I rush over and find that Albert along with the children are standing around a spot on the plain.
Did they hunt a small prey? I don’t see it’s body.
Albert lifts his head when he see me come over and I see that his hand is on his spear while it is impaling something.
“Albert, Collca, I’m coming!”
Collca is the name of a boy who is nine years old.
“Take a look Dran. They are Giant Rats, and there are four of them!”
“Dran-senpai, I killed one of them but the rest got away.”
“Well done Collca. I’ve also hunted a big bird.”
After telling them what I did. I confirm the location of the three other Giant Rats that Albert informed me about. Since they still belong to the rat family, the Giant Rats do not stay in one place forever. So we divide up and hunt for them. Collca and Albert chase after the Giant Rat that is closest to them while I hunt for the other two. I cut off the path of one Giant Rat and have my dagger ready to strike, but it desperately jumps around and makes it harder to hit it accurately.
Giant Rats sure are a handful.
Its big, strong legs are specialized in digging and running through tunnels, but not so much for running on the surface.* It has gray fur that is very warm and its meat is not bad either. Although there are only two Giant Rats that I am chasing, it seems like there are four or five of them. Being in the grassland does not help, it blocks a huge portion of my vision and the Giant Rats use this to their advantage, kind of, but this isn’t a problem for me with my enhanced senses. When I notice the movement of the Giant Rat slow slightly, I put most of my strength into my legs and jump up into the air, draw the dagger that I made and aim straight for the Giant Rat’s neck on the ground. (T.L. Huge legs, in tunnel, kick back => forward. surface, kick => ^ move up.)
After I confirm that the Giant Rat is dead, I look back at Collca and Albert and see Albert smiling with satisfaction with his spear piercing his prey. Albert then pulls his spear out and just to make sure, stabs the Giant Rat one more time in its neck.
It doesn’t seem like he will need my help.
I then proceed to pick up a couple stones on the ground and throw them in four different directions to make the last Giant Rat show itself. Understanding what I am doing, Albert pulls out his spear and readies to pursue the Giant Rat when it is spotted. Fortunately, the Giant Rat is close to where Albert is so when it shows itself, he swiftly thrusts his spear right into the animal’s throat. Afterward, Albert, Collca, and I all let out a small smile with our success.
“Is that the last of them?”
Albert holds up the skewered animal and hangs it on his spear and walk over with Collca with a smile still on his face. I pretend to not see him skewer the Giant Rat and shrug it off.
We round up all of our kills, that including the big bird I killed earlier, and these four Giant Rats.
What I get to bring home are the two rabbits I caught beforehand and the big bird which I killed, the rest are group effort so they can be shared amongst the others. When everybody gathers up, all exchanging their achievements and after seeing all of this, Commander Balin lets out a laugh full of joy.
Luckily, no one was injured today, and after seeing Retisha’s relief, all the boys seem to be very pleased. Commander Balin carefully examines the big bird that I killed and asks me how I killed it, which I answer him casually. By the way, everyone who participated in this training exercise killed at least one prey, so everything is going well. My brother Dylan also scores big today judging from the fact that he is carrying three huge snakes on his back, and the two children whom he watched over helped catch a deer by feeding them wild mushrooms that they brought. It is a deer with black fur, young and healthy looking. That is definitely a big catch and it will benefit our family greatly.
The plan which I thought of for Selia to gain the villagers’ acceptance through honor seems to be useless because of today’s success. I continued to think of a way before and during the training exercise and even now, but all of my ideas just won’t do the trick. When I was still a Dragon, all of these complicated thought about Human connections and acceptance made utterly no sense to me. Only now as a Human being do I realize there is so much more to Human relationships than meets the eye. It would be great if someone could tell me what to do at times like these. Then maybe later, I can be wise and tell others what to do.
After that day, I continue to visit Selia everyday, and while I do so, some strange things happen in Bern. Every day, while patrolling at dawn, the two gatekeepers would always find a dead animal on the road to the village. One time it was a crocodile with large teeth, and has a huge clue pearl in its mouth. The animal is supposed to live further upstream, and was somehow dragged all the way down to our village and from examination, it seem like it was just killed the night before. Sometimes, instead of a big animal, around ten to twenty Giant Rats and Kanusagi and other wildlife washed downstream. What’s more, there are traces of a huge snake crawling around the site as well, and so rumors and opinions start to flow around between the adults in the village.
Needless to say, it was my doing in order to help Selia understand Human behavior beforehand. I, who thought of this scheme, should be ranked among the top most incredibly talented schemers ever in existence. At first, what I did was I made the people guess what was going on, then gradually made them aware of the existence of Selia, who is a Lamia, being active around the area. And so, to do that, I kill the animals, and make it look unusual like with the crocodile with large fangs and the blue pearl in its mouth among other things to stir up suspicions.
Before suspicions began, all the kills and efforts I put into hunting to make this happen were all sold and it profits the village in some ways. All the bones, meat, leather, and jewelries are processed and made into tools, and whatever is left-over or not needed are shipped to Galois and traded for supplies.
It is not until Maguru Obasan and Commander Balin finally decide that this is the work of a Demon, that all the attention begins to focus on the matter. Commander Balin, who knows all the Demon species that live around here, combined with Maguru Obasan who knows a lot of magic, easily pinpoint that the tracks are that of a Lamia. So they held a meeting at the village chief’s house and the content is told to be about how children are not to be left unattended outside of the village, and all of the dangers that a Lamia is capable of. While they are having the meeting, I use my super hearing to peep into their conversation.
“With the chance of a Lamia being around the village is high, you all should be aware of its abilities. First off, it can easily kill you with it’s powerful tail. Then there is their Demon Eyes ability which will paralyze you, even if I can recover from it relatively quick, there will be no time for me to react if it sees me as a priority target. Even Retisha’s blessed necklace won’t be able to save her. Not only because of the two reason above, it far surpasses Humans in terms of magical power. The subjugation of a Lamia is always very difficult, and will most definitely have casualties. To minimize collateral damage as much as possible, the soldiers stationed here will require the cooperation of everyone in the village. Once a Human sees a Lamia on rampage, they will surely piss themself and run away with tears in their eyes. I won’t blame anyone who does. ”
Because I know Selia’s personality fairly well, I don’t feel like I will need to do that. My father is tolerant towards other races, but if you hurt those whom he loves, it’s a completely different story. The conversation continues to reach my ear from afar as I work on my field.
“A Lamia, huh? Why is such a thing here, of all places?”
The unexpected question brought forth by Maguru Obasan, while she puts on a smile, surprises me.
“There were a few stories about Lamia, not as many as you would have thought, but they are out there. Lamia is a race that have a very, very, very beautiful Human upper body appearance and their lower body is that of a serpent. There are no male Lamia so their race would go out and find a Human male to marry. I wonder if the ancestor of the Lamia race, the Cursed Princess of the Kingdom, felt lonely and found a man of her own? And if that tradition still exists, maybe this Lamia may also be searching for her future husband and has had no intention of harming us.”
Oh? I mutter unconsciously. I did not think that there were people who know the story of how a Lamia chooses their husband. What more? What Maguru Obasan said would actually help Selia. It’s good that there are people who understand the circumstances of others and are always willing to look at it from another angle.
“Just as Maguru Obasan said, although there is always a chance that the Lamia around here is planning to invade our village and eat us. If we do not defeat it if that is the case, there will be collateral damage.”
“We won’t know what the Lamia wants until we meet it. Until that happens, keep in mind that the Lamia is a threat and be on high alert and on the look out. It would be better to split up Dia-san, Risha-chan, and Airi-chan because they know about Lamia better than the rest of us, besides Maguru-dono.”
“Not only that, we should also ask for help from the Kobold and Goblin tribe as well. The help from the Witch’s family just won’t cut it against such a threat.”
After hearing Maguru Obasan’s points and story, Commander Balin and the village chief are debating on the best course of action.
“Let’s say for example, this Lamia wants to live in the village with us, will we be benefit from that?”
“If we talk about their magical power, one Lamia possesses magic way above that of an average wizard. They have beautiful looks and can charm any male, with the strong poison they carry in their fangs and courses through their veins, they can easily render any adult useless, a flick with their tails is enough to break a man’s neck. Really, even if she wants to live inside the village, the fear of Lamia would still be there. We did make alles out of the Kobold and Goblin tribe so I don’t see why we can’t ally with Lamia. By the way, if you heat up their snake skins, you will have gold, so it’s definitely good.”
Fumu. What she said were genuinely the same benefits of Selia living with us that I had thought myself. Maguru Obasan has a significant influence over the village so if it goes well, everything will work out after all. I have a smile on my face before I even realize it, Albert looks at me with full of suspicion. Is there anything else I can do to speed this up or is there?
When it’s night time, I carefully sneak out of the village to go meet up with Selia. The patrols around the village have already been increased. While I am on look out, the patrols come close to our rendezvous point several times. The figure of Selia dragging the killed animals can be seen even in the dark. But the skill of the soldiers with bow and arrows are bad, so Selia is able to get away safely.
The “presents” from Selia to the village continue to be “delivered” even when Selia was spotted which draws even more attention from Commander Balin. With all the big kills Selia has brought to the village, which will be used to make a feast, slowly but surely, the urge for negotiation will be invoked via the stomach. Everytime we meet up, I encourage Selia to not complain on why it is taking so long and that she must do all of this in order to be able to live in the village with me, and so, Selia presses on.
When the atmosphere in the village gradually changes from suspension into a calmer atmosphere, I finally decide to push on the matter of direct contact with Selia a few days later. The opportunity is on the day where training will take place. The number of lookout for Lamia have decreased, and it has became the concern of the top officials of the village.
The training itself was to be postponed until the matter concerning Lamia is dealt with, but since Selia’s actions were low-risk to them, it has began again. However, because it is still a concern, three children are assigned to three subgroup leaders.
I choose the day when I am to participate in the training exercise and have Selia stay hidden in the corner of the grassy plain. It is presumed that the Lamia only shows up at night so it will be a perfect situation for both sides to meet. Of course everyone knows about the Lamia being around, so whispers about the matter can be heard among the children. Even some excitements can be heard from them as well, excitement about how a Lamia may live in the village. I’ve already discussed with Selia beforehand on how to negotiate the matter with Commander Balin and so right now, she is hiding in the plain waiting for the opportunity to show herself.
I have my usual outfit, a long sword on my belt, leather boots, and light armor, and lead the children to near where Selia is hiding, which should have been here, but I also pick up the presence of an unknown being. I figure that it is a Demon, which is not supposed to be here, but is definitely there.
The fellow has a huge body, he stands roughly twice my height. He has black fur, short and thick looking limbs which are brown. The fellow stands up and pokes his head above the grass and looks straight at me. With a clear look at it, it is one of the Armored Bears that live deep inside the forest near Bern. Its armor is probably as hard as iron, and that body far surpasses any normal bear. It can easily slap a man’s head off with a single swing, or maybe even knock a fully grown tree down with ease. This is a beast that can easily kill ten to twenty Goblins with moderate difficulty. If a Human encounters this beast, avoid it like a plague. More importantly, why is such a creature who lives deep in the forest here?
If I use my Dragon power here, I can deal with this like blowing out a candle, but then I hear Commander Balin’s voice calling, telling me to run for it. It’s is a proper reaction for an average Human before this Armored Bear. Can Commander Balin handle this Armored Bear alone? Should I unleash my power and deal with this so no one will get hurt?
I make up my mind and pull out my long sword from its sheath, and position myself in front of the Armored Bear. The moment the bear is ready to charge at me with full force, a dazzling light block my view.
A bolt of pure magical energy heads straight for the Armored Bear. Even so, it’s quite a basic attack, with Light Magic Attribute. The bolt of pure energy lands on the bear’s right flank, sparkling with a green light. After the light disappeared, there is a hole in the bear’s armor and some flesh was brunt. I follow the firing trajectory back to it’s origin and I see a familiar figure.
I see Selia appear from the grassy plain, and I walk toward her. The Lamia girl, one who is labeled as a Demon due to her ancestor being the Cursed Princess of the Kingdom, is mysteriously beautiful.
The Armored Bear takes that last attack and avoids fatal injury thanks to its armor and its thick layers of fat. When it recovers, the Armored Bear lets out a loud roar full of fury. I snap my attention back onto the bear immediately when it does. Regardless, Selia and I both are unfazed by its roar, Selia herself is already preparing to cast a new spell.
I am hiding behind Selia and touching her snake bottom, supplying her with energy of course. As such, Commander Balin does not see me. The amount of magical energy I am giving Selia is like a drop of water in the sea. For Selia however, it is a massive amount of power, also, it is the very maximum limit for her.
Selia is trying very hard to concentrate while absorbing my vast amounts of spiritual energy, but I can tell that her face is all flustered. While the Armored Bear is charging toward us, Selia’s preparation is completed as well. Selia then points her index and middle finger* at the direction of the raging bear. The sight of a beautiful person, fulls of pride and spirit, would make anyone forget the fact that she is a Demon. (T.L. Sword fingers?)
「Oh God of the Earth! Grant me power and form my lance so I may pierce my enemy!」
As she finished her chant, a triangular magic formation starts to spin and Earth Magic Attribute starts pouring in, forming the shape of a lance pointed directly at the charging bear. Selia’s Earth Lance, which is made from my magical power, is extremely powerful. Once it flies toward its target, only death awaits the bear, and so after the spear shredded through the Armored Bear, all that remained is the huge body of a bear with a hole in it.
Usually, putting that much energy into that Magic spell would have made anyone feel intense physical and mental fatigue. But in this case, Selia is still the same, no visible sign of fatigue.There shouldn’t be, after all, I was the one who provided her with energy. That spell just now was still on the lower end of Earth magic, but she can use stronger spells depending on her growth.
「Oh the God who governs over water! Grant me power and form the blade that will slay my foe.」
Selia rises her left hand toward the sky and then after her chant, a blade of water refracting sunlight comes down and decapitates the bear. Poor creature, but it has to be done to just to be sure, bears are resilient creatures, after all.
“Are you injured Dran-san? I’m sorry, I should have noticed that that bear was there earlier.”
I answer her with a low voice so the Commander and the rest won’t hear us.
“I am fine. It’s not your fault that you didn’t notice sooner. It’s good that you were able to help out.”
As a decent person, it is only right to help those who are in need if possible, so I don’t think she should feel bad at all. The Armored Bear was not in the plan, but the acting is about to start. The soldiers from have Bern already surrounded Selia, pointing their spears at her, ready to strike if she turns out to be a threat.
“Back away from Dran, Lamia.”
Commander Balin who has crushed the skull of numerous Demons, speaks in a commanding voice toward Selia. Behind the Commander, Retisha is already drawing her bow at Selia. Selia looks at Retisha and she starts to get a little nervous. Before Selia can say anything however, I step in front of her to cover for her.
“Commander Balin, she was the one who helped me, us. She means no harm.”
Commander Balin glances back at Retisha, gesturing for her to check if I am under the effect of Demon eyes. It would definitely be weird that I am covering for Selia so just to be sure, Retisha uses her necklace, which can check if one is under the influence of magic, and finds out that I am clean. They then ask about what exactly has happened, to which I reply that Selia has helped me to protect the children. I feel bad having for lying to them, so I quietly apologize to them in my mind.
“It might seem like that was the case, but be careful Dran. This is a strong Lamia, don’t trust her completely.”
“I am someone who helped you, there is no need to be alarmed. If I wanted to kill you, I would have done so already.”
It’s something I would have said if I were still a Dragon encountering Humans. So I told Selia to memorise it and use it for this instant. My soul is still that of a Dragon, and I still retain most of my power, so there isn’t anything I needed to fear. After being raised by my parents, I felt some sympathy toward Selia when we first met, and she has gradually become an important friend of mine.
After considering the situation, Commander Balin walks toward me and puts his hands on my shoulder, Selia closes her eye behind me. Demon’s eyes are fearful things, after all. He speaks with calm voice.
“Since you’ve said it. Thank you for helping us, lady.”
Since I am concealing our relationship before this meeting in front of everybody, I feel bad for having to do so, but the result will have a positive impact, hopefully its pays off.
“Ah, that’s good.”
Selia replied, and Retisha walks forward from behind Commander Balin toward me. After a few moments she seems to be satisfied that I was not harmed in the slightest. Selia instinctively moves away from me and closes her eyes, since I told her to do so beforehand, so that others can approach her. The reason being her Demon Eyes ability. It’s just something to show that I am not under her control.
“Recently, there are cases of prey being delivered to our village, are you the one behind it, Lamia?”
“Yes, there is no doubt that I am the one who did that. I’ve been…. Ouch!…”
….Selia bit her tongue out of pure nervousness. Her eyes are already teary.
Go for it, Selia. I give her as much cheering in my heart as I possibly could.
For a brief moment, the tension seems to fall apart, but Commander Balin forces a cough and gets back on topic.
“Right!…Why did you do such a thing? Why did you help Dran?”
“Well, that is because I want to live in your village. I’ve lived with my parents ever since I was little, but now, I am following our tradition and am on a journey. However, travelling alone makes me feel very lonely. I figured that it would be better to live where there are Humans for a while.
As to why I helped this person, it is because it would be bad if the village I am seeking refuge in lost one of its members. Also, my dad is a Human, so I feel it is only right to save other Humans.”
I told her in the first place that she should try something other than what her mother taught her, take some chances and walk her own path. By the way, she spoke all of that without biting her tongue. What she said was all true though. If she hadn’t stepped up and attacked the bear, either the bear would have attacked me or someone else. Selia still has her eyes closed and is holding her hands together in front of her chest, pleading to Commander Balin and the others while looking very desperate. All the soldiers surrounding us had an expression that seems to adore her, some even blushed, the children are behaving childishly too.
Is this the power of the Demon Lamia? Is being whispered around.
While the children talk to each other.
“It’s surprisingly not scary at all!”
“I wonder if the fortunetelling of Airi’s Oba-sama was correct?”
“It’s not a bad Demon?”
Thus it breaks all the tension. Children are amazing.
Commander Balin also eases back a bit after remembering what Maguru Obasan has said. The thought of Selia harming Humans seems to have mostly vanished from everyone’s mind. Suddenly, Retisha, who is protecting the children behind, shakes and falls to her knees while crosses her fingers and prays to the Goddess Mairahl.
I notice a warm atmosphere around Retisha…she is a priestess after all. Commander Balin keeps his eyes on Selia and calls out to Retisha, due to her sudden behavior.
“Retisha, is something wrong?”
“Balin-san, I have just received an oracle from the Goddess Mairahl!”
Judging from the Commander’s reaction, it seems like receiving an oracle from the Gods are still very uncommon.
For Retisha, it may also be the first time she has experienced it, so she looks all excited and such. After all, it’s a message from her Goddess, Mairahl. I feel like Mairahl is smiling mischievously. I wonder where she is right now? I let out a small laugh nevertheless.
With what Maguru Obasan said in the meeting, combined with this presumably good omen from Mairahl, things will be settled smoothly. To the average Human, a Lamia seeking refuge in their village with the help of the Goddess Mairahl is an unbelievable thing. Retisha has been living here and became accustomed to our way of living so she can accept it, however, the higher ups from the church would not have easily approved of this.
For a while, Retisha continued to look excited and dances happily. When she finally gets over it, everyone’s composure is restored. This becomes a big topic so Retisha and Balin go back to the village to discuss it with the chief and Maguru Obasan. The discussion happens over several days, and everyday, Selia continues to deliver prey without fail. Also, it changed from being delivered at night to delivering it in broad daylight. Selia also waves to the people who see her, and they smile back, everyone exchanges a friendly smile to one another.
Five days after the encounter, the discussion comes to a stop and the decision was made. They have determined that Selia is not a dangerous Demon, and she will be allowed to live in the village, however, she will be monitored, and she will not take the life force of the Humans either.
On the day the village officials meet with Selia at the North Gate, everyone gathers in excitement but some will undoubtedly be wary. Commander Balin, my father, and I walk to her, delivering words while welcoming her with a bright smile.
“Welcome! Welcome to the village of Bern.”
“My name is Dran. I am very thankful to you for protecting me last time.”
Selia and I “meet” under the bright blue sky.
[To be continued]
“Ah! I am bored, is there anything fun? What else is fun in life?”
“Yahoo! Human’s life is super fun! Family love, brotherly love, love! I love everything!”
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Editors: Takathien, Masadeer, Fate Trooper
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