We were waiting for the ancient dragon to come meet us, and I was so bored. After what seemed to be about thirty minutes passed, snow flew everywhere and the tip of the mountain’s peak shot up with a loud noise.
The ground was shaking and I decided to stand to Cale’s left, since he’s my shield. I could see the anxiety in Cale’s eyes, but I knew Eruhaben was a softie and wouldn’t hurt us. As I stood there bracing myself, the Goldie Gramps himself walked out from the entrance to his lair, in all his golden elf polymorph glory.
“Damn it, he’s so much more handsome than I expected.”
Cale didn’t even respond to my comment, how lame. Pendrick kneeled down and put his hands together as though he was going to pray… And then a very excited Raon shot off towards the other Dragon before Cale could stop him. Pendrick called out to Raon in shock.
I heard Cale sighing next to me, he’s worried about Raon. Externally I seem calm and unfazed, but I’m very excited right now.
(Oh my goodness it’s happening just like it did in the novel! I’m so hype, I’m glad I tagged along despite Iris’s better judgement. I can’t wait to see Raon roast his gramps and be a sassy kid. It’s gonna be so cuteeeeee~ Oh Eruhaben just sighed, yeah, Raon is a weird kid.)
Raon did a cute little pose and cheerfully greeted the ancient Dragon.
“Nice to meet you! I am the great and mighty Raon Miru! Who are you?”
(Eruhaben has such a look of disbelief on his face, this is hilarious. I wish I had some popcorn for this scene. Oh heck Eru’s boutta speak!)
“What the hell. Are you really a dragon? There’s a Dragon that would say, ‘nice to meet you’, to another Dragon?”
(Everyone else here is quiet, it would be a bad idea to speak now- wait a minute, hey Cale don’t poke Choi Han nothing is going to happen it’s okay, jeez. I can’t really tell them that right now though…)
Raon proceeded to respond to this blonde elf with his cheerful tone as usual.
“I am indeed a Dragon!”
(LOL Eruhaben your face, that expression looks so weird~ This is awesome to witness.)
“…Yes, you are indeed a Dragon.”
“Yes, and you are a Dragon as well. That is why, nice to meet you! Don’t you even know how to greet people?”
“…You’re asking me if I know how to greet people?”
(Eruhaben is looking dumbfounded… oh Raon is extending his paw to shake hands! Raon is such a good boy, he has good manners when greeting people. Smh goldie gramps learn from this professional here.)
“Are you asking to shake my hand?”
“Wow, I’ve never experienced this in my almost thousand years of life. Hey… Is your IQ really low?”
I had to say something, that’s damn rude. I whispered to Cale next to me,
“How rude! Raon is even being so polite!”
Even though he told me to shush, I see him poking Choi Han again so Choi Han starts to take his sword out of its sheath… This kid… Oh shit, Eruhaben is looking at us now, he must have noticed Cale!
(Wait… is he looking at me too? Why though??? Oh, Cale made eye contact and Eruhaben smiled, is he gonna use Dragon Fear now? He must have sensed Cale’s Dominating Aura. Shit, I better brace myself-)
The ancient Dragon’s pupils changed, and all of a sudden everyone in the group flinched or started to shake… Except me and Cale…
(Huh. Did Eruhaben use Dragon Fear? Why don’t I feel it?? I don’t have Dominating Aura… Eh, whatever. Cale is using his Dominating Aura and everyone is feeling better, and this is so cool to watch. Oh, Raon flew back to Cale and is covering his human’s eyes to protect him, so cuteeeee!!)
“Hey Goldie! You can’t stare at our weak human like that! You know how much of a coward he is!?”
I had to say something.
“Psst, Raon. Your human isn’t actually a coward. His ancient power activated on its own to combat the Dragon Fear. Just so you know.”
-Oh is that right? Thank you for telling me Karin! I’m going to stay here though, that goldie stared at our human and scared everyone, that isn’t nice at all!
“I agree. Raon, just stay here for now. Thanks for defending Cale.”
Cale stared at me in confusion but didn’t say anything. He’s probably very confused about the reason his ancient power responded to Dragon Fear… Well, he’ll learn the reason very soon. Eruhaben started to speak after seeming to assess me for a brief moment.
“He is indeed weak, but more importantly, did you just say, ‘our’, about a human? Are you really an idiot?”
(IT IS TIME FOR THE SASSY COMEBACK. Go for it Raon!)
“I do not have a low IQ, I just have high sociability. I’m not like you, you socially awkward Golden Dragon who doesn’t even know how to shake hands.”
“Psst, Raon. That was an awesome comeback, you are truly great and mighty. You can’t just let him diss you like that, you gotta serve it back to him. Great job!”
-Thank you Karin! I am a great and mighty Dragon after all!!
Pendrick said something, but honestly I don’t really care about him much, he never introduced himself to me anyway, so it’d be weird if I talked to him and accidentally called him by name. I ignored whatever he said about two dragons getting along yada yada yada… Whatever you say, you fanatic. Raon’s about to speak anyway.
“Did my greatness shock you, Golden Dragon?!”
Eruhaben made a little sigh-laugh like noise before nodding and responding to our cutie Raon.
“Yes, I was very shocked because of y- cough!”
I called out without thinking after seeing blood trickle out through the fingers of his hand he used to cover his mouth. Raon also did the same.
“Oh shit, he’s bleeding!”
“W-What’s wrong?! Golden Dragon, blood! Don’t cough up blood!”
Raon flew over to the other dragon to support him as Eruhaben kept coughing up blood… I know Pendrick will heal him up, but this is terrible to witness…
“Ha,haha-cough. A Dragon worrying about another Dragon. Cough.”
“Golden Dragon, don’t laugh! Hey! Stop talking, Goldie!”
Pendrick ran over to the ancient dragon calling out his name,
The Golden Dragon, Eruhaben, officially introduced himself to us. But mostly to Raon, I suppose. Ah, so is the life of a human I guess.
“Little kid, my name is not Goldie, it is Eruhaben.”
“Is that so? Nice to meet you. But I am not a little kid.”
Raon continued to support Eruhaben up even though he was grumbling about being called a little kid. Meanwhile, Cale patted Choi Han on the back and told us to head over, and we all headed into Eruhaben’s lair.
“Holy moly, so much gold.”
“You can say that again Karin.”
“Okay~ Holy mol-”
“I can see your lips twitching, Cale. But alright, if you say so~”
“… Are you sure you’re a noble?”
We all settled down on couches and chairs in the reception room of Eruhaben’s lair while Pendrick treated Eruhaben. After his treatment and his condition had stabilized, the Dragon came back into the room and swept his gaze over each and every one of us, before stopping on Cale and I. I understand Cale, but why me?? Raon quickly flew over and stood in front of Cale to block his view. That’s hecking cute, Raon. Great and mighty, indeed.
“Stop looking at him! I already told you our weak human is a coward! You cannot stare at him with such an intense gaze!”
“…He is a coward? How interesting. You have something else that’s interesting as well… How anomalous.”
Eruhaben turned his gaze away from Cale, and his eyes lingered on me for a moment… Huh… I feel like an interesting research specimen. He then turned away from me too and went to talk to Pendrick in the office. Fuck, what does he mean by anomalous?? He was talking about me, right? There was an awkward silence while we waited for the chat to finish, and then I heard Eruhaben say,
“You don’t know the nutjob that runs the secret organization?”
Aaaand my mouth goes brrr
“Oh, damn that clown bastard.”
Shit. Luckily, no one except maybe Cale heard me… I don’t want to have any part in changing Cale’s story… Nooooo I do NOT want the blood of any lives on my hands, or any responsibilities on my shoulders… Hell no! That’s Cale’s thing, not mine! Eruhaben then proceeded to tap on the table while thinking out loud about the information he’s received.
“…How odd. There is no way that such an organization hasn’t been around for a long time. If they managed to take control of the Eastern continent’s underworld, they would have had to prepare for tens of years. Something feels fishy. I don’t know the situation as I have not left my lair for about a hundred years, but it is impossible for an organization made up of only humans to create such a ruckus on both continents. There must be non-humans involved in the organization.”
“Eruhaben-nim, then, maybe, is it the Demonic race?”
I gripped my head with some sort of frustration that’s hard to explain.
(Mmmm Pendrick my boy… The foreshadowing is strong with you. Could you not?)
“Pendrick, you’ve always had a vivid imagination.”
“Then it is not?”
“Of course not. If the Demonic Race starts to move, the gods give us a relevation.”
(BUT WHAT IF SOME CLOWN DUMBASS IS TRYNA CREATE THE DEMONIC RACE GOLDIE GRAMPS?? UGH IT HURTS TO KNOW THE TRUTH AND NOT SAY ANYTHING)
“As you all already suspected, they either built up the organization with a kingdom at the center, or unknown forces of nature are working with them. It could even be both.”
(“It could even be both.” THE FLAG YOU PLANTING, DUDE, THE FLAG. You’re almost as good at planting flags as Cale!)
Eruhaben turned to look at Cale and say,
(Dude, could you not? You’re making Cale nervous. I know he’s weird, but like, that’s such an uncomfortable situation you’re putting him in right now.)
Cale started to pet Raon’s head as a way to keep himself calm, like some sort of coping skill. I want to pet Raon too…
“Human, this feels nice!”
Cale seemed to freeze up after a few minutes, Raon must have started talking in his head about wanting his own lair. Eruhaben continued to chat with Pendrick, and saying how he doesn’t really want any part in what’s going on, saying how annoying it is to get involved with all that drama. Truer words have never been said Goldie gramps, and yet here I am, literally so I can watch the world burn with Cale. Eruhaben arranged for Pendrick to get a magic device to protect the Elf village, and for the shield around the World Tree to get strengthened. He glanced at me when talking about the shield… Does he know I can make special enhancements to things?? It’s possible, he is an ancient Dragon. Eruhaben looked to Cale and started to talk to him, curiosity in his gaze.
“What an odd human. No, should I say amazing? How are you alive after having obtained so many ancient powers? Normally people would blow up and die.”
Raon spoke up, shocked, and rightfully so. Cale had frozen up as well.
“What!? Hey, Goldie, what did you just say?!”
“…Did you say die?”
“None of you knew?”
(Well, I did…)
“How stupid. A Dragon doesn’t even know this much and needs an explanation.”
“I am not stupid! Hurry up and explain!”
Eruhaben smiled at Raon asking him to explain instead of getting angry. He’s a good boy, isn’t he Goldie gramps? He’s precious.
“There are many ancient texts depicting humans with ancient powers, however generally they only have one. While you may be okay with multiple of the same natural affinity, when someone has ancient powers with different affinities, the affinities clash and the body ends up expanding like how my fingers are doing right now.”
He punctuated his speech by spreading his fingers apart, akin to how you would ask for a high five… Wait that is not the correct thing to be thinking about in such a tense atmosphere, Evelyn! Raon shouted at Cale in his distress and despair,
“No! Weak human, why do you keep eating up all those useless things! You suffered so much and you even coughed up blood! I am amazed by your method of doing things! Pah, don’t cover my mouth!”
Cale gently petted Raon’s face and head and after Raon quietly settled down back onto his lap, he responded calmly,
“But I am still alive.”
“Yes, you are still alive.”
“Will you die soon?”
(Raon, don’t ask something like that! That’s scary!)
“Die? He is strange and amazing because he has not died yet. There is water in that necklace, yes? There is also a power of wood, a power of wind, and a power of fire inside of your body. There is also a human power. That power is the power of restoration. It’s healing abilities must be what is keeping the natural affinities from clashing and destroying you, and is slowly fusing them. That is how you are alive. There is also another, external force supporting your powers and keeping them under control, but it is not anything I have seen before. It is protecting you from the backlash of using the powers when the human power is not able to help you due to needing to control all of the natural affinities. It is keeping the threshold of what you can do higher than should be possible for you. How interesting.”
(He glanced at me! I figured he would be interested in me, but I didn’t think what I can do would be something he has never seen before! Is it something that unique or rare?)
Cale glanced at me after hearing about the “external force protecting him”, before looking at Eruhaben and evenly telling him,
“Then I do not need to worry.”
“Well, you can relax for now. Your body is currently a ticking time bomb. If your restoration power screws up even a tiny bit, you’ll explode.”
(Cale… I can see your heartbeat going wild, I know you’re scared. It’s okay, you’ll be fine.)
I patted his shoulder gently to reassure him. Raon spoke up with determination.
“Human, let’s go find the power of earth right away.”
Eruhaben scoffed at Raon’s words, and I don’t really blame him. If it was anyone else, it’d be impossible to do what Cale is doing.
“Little kid, you need divine luck to find ancient powers.”
“A great and mighty Dragon can create something stupid like divine luck! Do you not know of the might of a Dragon, Goldie?”
Eruhaben looked at Cale and asked him, genuinely confused yet also impressed?
“Why did he grow up like this?”
I snorted. Both Dragons turned to me and I raised both my arms in placation.
“Sorry, don’t mind me. Please continue.”
After a second, Eruhaben continued on with what he was doing.
“Did you say your name was Cale? Is your family perhaps a Dragon slaying family?”
“What the- No? Isn’t my family just a small noble family, Ron?”
(Cale, honey… Dragon Fear dude, Dragon aura… Ron is gonna respond strangely and make it sound sus.)
Just as expected, Ron looked away from the ancient Dragon and responded after a pause, and totally making things seem suspicious. So Cale tried again.
“Choi Han, isn’t my family’s level of strength weak?”
“Yes, it is weak.”
That sounded more believable because there wasn’t any pause or avoiding eye contact.
“So, it isn’t a Dragon slaying family?”
“No. How could there be a person who can kill a Dragon?”
“Why not? A Dragon slayer family existed in the past. It was a crazy family that did not get scared, even under the influence of Dragon Fear, and could even stand up against it. That power was only passed through that family… However, the final successor of that family disappeared, and the Dragon slayer bloodline ended. The Dragon slayer power is a power that is full of courage.”
“Cale, your lips are twitching.”
“… I see. Anyways, I am not a Dragon Slayer.”
“Well, I guess that is the case if you say so.”
(Ight, I want to clear up this misunderstanding quickly. Ugh, I don’t wanna get involved but Dragon Catchers are horrible and Cale is not one of them.)
“Excuse me, Eruhaben-nim? Cale truly is not a member of the Dragon slayer family. The aura you feel is an ancient power.”
“Oh, is that so? How fascinating.”
Cale glanced at me, shocked, before quickly schooling his face back into a neutral expression. Eruhaben seemed amused.
(Bastard. You still think he is one, huh. Well, whatever.)
“More importantly. Little kid.”
“What is it, old man?”
“Pfft. Sorry again, don’t mind me.”
ANYWAYS, back to the Dragon’s conversation.
“You haven’t even reached your first growth phase.”
“I am still strong.”
“Yes, you will definitely be strong in the future. However, if you were to meet another Dragon right now, you’d be flattened into a pancake.”
“What? Flattened into a pancake? That would not happen!”
(You may say tha,t but your gaze is heading to the ceiling, Raon.)
“You really are not like a Dragon. How cute.”
“What? I am not cute!”
(Yes, you are Raon. You’re incredibly cute. Just accept it.)
“I will help you. Stay in my lair. I will pass on everything I have. Of course, you can decline if you wish, unlike other Dragons I will not seek revenge so tell me what is on your min-”
“What is it? You can decline if you’d like, but you would be able to learn everything in about three months-”
“Is lodging and food free as well?”
“If you are going to teach me for free, do I get to stay here for free as well?”
“Is it free for all of us?”
“… I guess so?”
“Then I’ll do it! I’ll do it!”
Raon must have spoken to Cale in his head because Cale started to laugh and looked proud of Raon. What a cute father and son. Eruhaben started to laugh too before dropping a bomb that turned the room cold.
“Might as well pass everything on since I am going to die soon.”
“What? Goldie, what did you say? Are you poisoned? Did someone curse you? Did you get hurt while fighting?”
“Little kid, does it make sense for a Dragon to suffer from such things?”
“Not at all! Then why are you dying? Don’t die! You’re the only other Dragon I know!”
Cale tentatively inquired why Eruhaben was dying, and learned it is due to old age. Raon declared to the old Dragon he would find a way to make him live longer, and Eruhaben started to smile before he quickly hid it. Of course, I saw all of it.
“Can all of you stay here for about three months? Cale Henituse, I heard you were a noble.“
“Mm, it should be fine to stay here for a bit, however I must visit the Jungle briefly.”
Raon went over to Cale, his eyes were very intense.
“Human, I do not want to stay here alone. You need to hurry back, I’ll give you a week.”
We all obviously discovered after some further conversation that Eruhaben was just a nice old man, and then Cale left to go to the Jungle. He took Beacrox, Ron, On, and Choi Han with him. I stayed here in the lair with everyone else. This will be fun!