Dragon Life - Chapter 11
The History Between Humans and Earth Dragons
Probably because dragons were considered dangerous, there were a lot of guards. The guards within the building held long sticks like police batons. Apparently they were items that allowed people who were not skilled in magic to create electric shocks, and were used to calm down the dragons when they rampaged. Caution is needed because if used on a human, it would burn them to a crisp.
Speaking of magic, this world's magic is much more underdeveloped than I thought it would be. Those who use magic are called 'Magicians' or 'Sorcerers' but they need to have a lot of magic and good control, therefore there are rare. However these magic users have developed magical tools, so items like those electric sticks exist.
When I entered the dragon stables, taken by the captain, I saw the dragons being individually kept in perfectly sized rooms. Its architecture is that of a cattle barn, but it is sturdily made with divisions made to prevent them from seeing each other.
From what I heard, apparently there are over 100 dragons, and some have been caught in the wild while others were bred and raised from babies.
These dragons are a species called 'Fire Drakes' and while they cannot breathe fire, they can fly. Since they have a lower intelligence than most dragons, as long as they are trained properly they will mostly listen to orders.
(TN: why are they called 'fire' drakes then??)
They are about the size of an elephant*, but they are skinnier and about half the size of me in dragon form. Their rock-like textured scales were the color of an overcast grey-blue sky. Their crimson eyes were narrowed and they had a very ferocious face. If I was going to create a parallel, I would way it looked like a crocodile's head. With rows of distorted jagged teeth, if one was bitten they would be inevitably rendered helpless. Their wings were similar to that of a bats, the wing's frames lined in a thin but sturdy looking membrane. Their face was anything but charming but it was deeply moved by meeting another species of dragon.
However it is really difficult to converse with them, probably because they are not very intelligent.
That was all I could hear. It was all just words, no subject or anything. I tried talking to them when the captain wasn't looking, but they wouldn't even respond.
It's kind of disappointing, but I should probably give up.
The captain entered a certain stall, and patted the head of the fire drake that was lying down.
The dragon also narrowed its narrow eyes. I thought it might be the captain's dragon and asked him, but apparently it was the vice-captain's dragon.
’’I don't have a specific dragon.’’
He said in a slightly lonely tone of voice.
Aren't dragon riders supposed to have a dragon that they form a bond with?
When I asked later, it seems that the captain's dragon had died in a small war a year ago. After that he never got another specialized dragon, and instead just borrowed dragons from the other riders or used the extra dragons.
I used to wonder how bonds are born between humans and dragons. But when I came here, I understood. It is because the Dragon riders have come to accept their dragons, and their dragons in turn have grown to accept their riders as well. Humans and Dragons are beings that can co-exist.
――――But that does not apply to me. Because I eat humans to live.
When I think about that, it makes me a little envious.
As I watch the fire drake the captain is petting, it begins to growl.
It spoke in a much weaker voice compared to the others. I involuntarily began to worry.
’’Does it have an injury on it leg?’’
When I asked that the captain turned to me with a surprised look.
’’You can tell?’’
I said something like ’’Er, since it looks pretty weakened, uh, and it looks like its protecting its leg’’. I was just making up excuses, but the captain didn't doubt me at all and laughed lightly, saying ’’Vito is a good person’’
Somehow I can't stop feeling guilty, like I'm deceiving him. Although I actually am deceiving him.
Apparently there are other species such as the Wurms and Basilisks as well. Since basilisks are about the size of dogs, apparently they are being kept as pets by nobles. I want to meet one once.
When the captain talks about dragons, he begins sparkling and he looks really delicio -Cough, he sparkled a lot more than I had ever seen before.
’’There's a lot of different types of dragons, aren't there?’’
’’The ones that humans can actually tame are very limited though.’’
That's it. There was something that's been bothering me for a while, so I could ask the captain. The dragon loving captain might know something. That's what I'll do.
’’Captain, do you know about 'earth dragons'?’’
When I asked that, the Captain smiled the biggest smile by far.
’’The legendary dragon. Can't help but admire.’’
...What's with that sparkle. You're like some maiden, Captain. Somehow, I feel embarrassed for him.
While I was watching the captain while noticing how much the Captain liked dragons, I saw the vice-captain on the other side of the captain. It seemed he had noticed us and was walking over.
The captain himself had started a conversation with the dragon's caretakers, and so the Vice-captain came and spoke to me.
’’Did the captain bring you here?'
As I nodded, I asked him something that had been bothering me.
’’Um, did the previous serving girls get a tour of the Dragon house like this too?’’
’’..Nope. Wait, there were, but the girls would either turn pale and faint or run away. Actually I want to ask, Vito, aren't you scared of the dragons?’’
Eh, well they do look different from my expectations, but I feel no fear. Because we are both part of the same species. I was just deeply moved by my first meeting with my brethren.
But maybe I should take on the act of a maiden of age and act scared. ’’It was really scawwy kyaa ’’ ... Impossible. Such a maiden like scream is impossible for me. The least I could do would be ’’It was really scary Yo! Agh!’’. How manly.
’’I'm not scared. I heard that they are rather fierce, and is rather impressed that I got to meet them up close instead.’’
’’Hm, So there are people like you too. But for us that is very good. Just because the Fourth Knight Corps handles dragons, we have a hateful image. I'm glad there are people like you.’’
’’Even though it's the holy beast of the country?’’
’’Right, you don't know... our country's holy beast is not the Fire Drake. Do you know that the legendary dragon is involved with our history?’’
When I told him I've heard vague rumors, he explained it to me clearly.
But Vice-captain, didn't you come here to take care of your dragon? It's kind of like I got in the way, I feel bad now.
’’It started about 1200 years ago, with King Darmon and the female dragon he followed. Her name was Tiamat, and apparently her scales were a brilliant scarlet, similar to that of the king's hair. And with that king, the dragon led the country to victory many times. It is also said that when the king died, Tiamat had died at the same exact time like she was falling asleep. And that dragon is what we call an 'Earth Dragon'.
I was honestly surprised by what Rau said, wondering if it is true.
’’We still don't know the ecology of Earth dragons, but apparently they have scales, can fly, and breathe fire unlike most dragons. And they are a pure and un-tainted white color. Apparently their body only changes color when they enter a contract with a human. It is said that they change colors to match the person they contracted. Since the last confirmed earth dragon existed 100 years ago, so I have never seen the actual thing but I have seen a painting of one. I have never seen a dragon so beautiful.’’
The body color changes!? Then please, change to black! Its less flashy so the humans shouldn't detect me so easily! ... But I need to be in a contract with a human. Eh, no need then.
’’The next confirmed earth dragon was 900 years from now, named Yorumun-Garde and was contracted to an ordinary woman of the countryside. Apparently this dragon held the strongest title out of all the earth dragons. It is said that the woman had lived together with the dragon for a long time.
Was it interspecies dating? A human and a dragon? Is that possible? Umu... If they could take on a human form like me, does that mean they were Ariel? It's a little interesting, but it has nothing to do with me.
’’Perhaps because of the development in magic, 300 years ago a man from another world was contracted. Now summoning magic is obsolete, but back then it was frequently performed. The dragon had a rugged name of ’’Gorilla’’ but apparently it was a cute, peach colored earth dragon. ’’
What's with that inappropriate name!!
’’The last confirmed earth dragon, about 100 years ago, was Blue Ben Kiruvu who was contracted to the prince of the country at that time, and was the same blue color as the prince's eyes. Back then the wars were more frequent and violent, and Kiruvu and the prince won many wars, but during one of the battles Kiruvu obtained a deep wound and fell from the sky into a swamp where he sunk. The prince grieved and named the swamp Kiruvu and built a monument there. The swamp is currently placed between the country of Alvina and the city of Al-Vina. But right now, rather than a swamp a lake would be more accurate.’’
The vice-captain's story was very interesting. It seems that the rumor that country's history has been intertwined with the Earth Dragons is true.
And since dragons always appear when they have a war, I feel that this country is really protected by the dragons.
But isn't that war a little too long? How much does two countries have to hate each other for a war to go on for over 1000 years?
’’The war with the neighboring country is prolonging, isn't it...’’
’’Well we have been disputing from a very long time ago. We both carry heavy sacrifices and burdens. We can't withdraw now.’’
I hear that they have some skirmishes every few years. I wonder what happened to get the countries to hate each other so much. But there is no one alive that remembers, and it's not in written history either.
’’Actually, our relationship has gotten even worse recently. Soon, the war that has been continuing for so long will rekindle. If that happens we might lose, seeing how the other country has become larger... But for the country, we will give it out all.’’
Vice-captain is planning putting his life on the line for the country. Even if they are defeated. Seeing his determined face, I finally gained an understanding of the concept of 'war'. Since I have been living in peace, I never noticed. If this country loses, would it become dangerous for me who lives here as well?
――If that happens, I'll escape and go to another place――...
’’...But probably all of us holds the expectation that the Earth Dragon will come and save us again.’’
That startled me.
The strong face of the vice captain is tinged with sorrow.
’’That's, that's true’’
My voice went weak and badly hoarse.
Hearing the Vice-captain's story, I got mixed feelings.
―――Truthfully, its heavy. The thoughts are heavy.**
I never really thought of my purpose being here in this world, and when I did I could never find an answer so I had given up.
I thought that it does not matter to me.
Can a being who eats humans coexist with humans?
I wonder, how did the previous Earth Dragons live?
If that is my purpose for my existence, how am I supposed to go about this?
Look for a human to contract and go to war? Why? How does this benefit me? Why am I alive in the first place? Why am I here?
The more I think the more confused I get. It's as if there was a nest of insects in my head, moving about. My heartbeat is increasing beyond its normal limits, and my breathing echoes throughout my body.
......Think carefully. Yeah. It hasn't been decided that I am that species called an Earth Dragon. I could just be a dragon similar to them.
Ignore the fact that you are strange. That's it. This has nothing to do with me.
It's supposed to have no connection with me. I mean, no one knows. No one knows that I'm a dragon.
I stopped thinking.
Thinking about this is just a waste of time.
A mission would only be a bother. I will live as I please. I have decided, even if it sacrifices someone else, or many people it has nothing to do with me.
Because that is the only thing my current self can do.
*TN: the kanji used there was像 which is pronounced 'zo' and means statue, but I think they meant 'zo' as in elephant
**TN: there's actually a pun here, saying that omoi(feelings/thoughts) are omoi(heavy)