Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Dragon King (Joy)」
《I see…… The man in the armor seeks the power of the spring and you’re accompanying him as a guide?》
Hearing Ariane’s reply to his question, the Dragon King turned to me and narrowed his eyes.
Ponta was in her usual spot atop my helmet and was cheerfully wagging her tail for some reason.
While I thought she’d been acting braver in this strange place, my worries disappeared when I heard her purr as I stroked her neck and muzzle.
Williahsfim smiled a little when he saw our little scene play out right in front of him.
《Hmm. I would like to apologize, I had decided to take a nap in the plains away from my tree and jumped to conclusions.》
Williahsfim cleared his throat before closing his eyes and offering me an apology.
So the Dragon King had been in the middle of his nap when I arrived. Anyone would be angry if someone stepped on them while they were asleep…… so I lowered my head to him as well.
“I had been too preoccupied with analyzing that structure over there to pay any attention to my surroundings. I’m sorry as well.”
I reflected on my careless actions that led to this whole mess as I bowed my head.
“Well, Williahsfim-sama. Will you grant us access to the spring near the Dragon King’s Tree?”
Ariane looked up at Williahsfim as she asked permission to access the goal of our quest.
《As long as you do not meddle with the tree I nest in, you don’t need to ask my permission to do anything.》
Ariane had a rather joyful expression when she heard Williahsfim’s answer.
“Thank you very much, then──”
《N-No, wait a minute!》
Just as Ariane was in the middle or standing up and offering her gratitude, Williahsfim shouted for her to stop.
《No, you see…… even though this one is partially to blame for this situation, some of the guilt still rests on your heads…… so a bit of reparation is owed.》
A moment ago, he had been full of dignity befitting of a Dragon King, but now he was mumbling and couldn’t look at Ariane directly.
His tail that had been drooping down until now, was wagging back and forth like a happy, small animal’s tail.
Confusion floated across Ariane’s face at Williahsfim’s strange behavior, but she still kneeled once more and asked him what was on his mind.
“Williahsfim-sama, what is it that you would like to have us do as penance?”
《Well, um… That is… Thy people art living in the forest that is the home of Ferufivisurotte… So, would you arrange an audience for this one, please? If it is possible?》
When the Dragon King began making a waiting gesture with his large black claws, I whispered a question into Ariane’s ear.
“Ariane-dono, who is this Ferufivisurotte that he’s talking about?”
Ariane turned her confused gaze onto Williahsfim for a moment before she told me the identity of the person in a low voice.
“Ferufivisurotte-sama is the Dragon King that inhabits the Colombia Mountain that sits in the center of Canada forest. Ferufivisurotte-sama, who was on friendly terms with first chieftain Evangeline, was also the first Dragon King to offer the forest their protection.”
After hearing her explanation, I looked up at the tense Dragon King in front of me.
Since he had to call on others to arrange a meeting with this person, Ferufivisurotte must carry a considerable amount of power amongst the Dragon Kings.
More importantly, the image of a coffee bean came to mind when I heard the name Colombia Mountain. “Canada” “Maple” and now “Colombia”… all names originating from one location.
At this point, it wouldn’t surprise me if there was a Rocky Mountain somewhere.
In any case, I’d heard Ariane speak about the Dragon Kings’ protection before.
If there were multiple beings as strong as Williahsfim offering protection to the forest, then a human invasion was nigh impossible.
Even if elves were known as a minority that hid away in their forest, I could see how they would be able to fight off the human forces despite the numerical disadvantage.
I took another look at the disaster area and the uprooted trees that the previous fight had created.
Even with the use of magic, it would be suicide to challenge creatures that wielded such power. Something akin to shooting down a bomber plane with a handgun.
There was no chance of victory whatsoever.
“Can you actually grant Williahsfim-dono’s request?”
Although Ariane was the daughter of a village elder, I doubted a mere warrior like her could make a request of such an important figure in Great Canada Forest.
Ponta also seemed confused for some reason as she looked between me and Ariane.
Ariane tapped her finger against her chin as she thought it over before she turned to the waiting Williahsfim.
“I can’t make any promises here, but my elder sister Ivana is a personal acquaintance of Ferufivisurotte-sama and I can pass the request on to her. Will that be sufficient?”
Despite his reptilian appearance, Williahsfim wagged his tail and had a happy expression on his face when he heard her answer.
《Hoo, you mean it! I appreciate it!! Settling down in this forest has brought me a stroke of good luck, I now have a chance to indirectly set up a meeting with Ferufivisurotte-dono. It wouldn’t look good if I came off as too strong, would it?》
In spite of how large he was, the Dragon King was acting like a happy puppy rather than a being capable of reducing large swaths of land to ash.
“Then can we proceed to the spring now?”
Ariane was shocked at Williahsfim ‘s strange behavior as she stood up and looked towards the mountain.
《Sure, I’m usually in the area, so you’re welcome to come by anytime.》
Williahsfim unfolded his wings as he prepared to fly away, but Chiome, who had been quietly watching the proceedings until now, stepped forward and stopped him.
“Please wait, Dragon King-sama! I have a request as well!”
Williahsfim closed his wings and turned his large head towards Chiome when she called out to him.
《What is it thou desires, member of Hanzo’s Clan? This one doesn’t mind hearing you out.》
“I was told that Dragon King-sama and Lord Hanzo were acquaintances, so would you happen to know the location of his former residence?”
《Oh, that… It’s close to the spring, near the top of this hill. When this one first visited this area to build his nest, that person had already been living here.》
Chiome looked up at the foothill beyond the torri after Williahsfim answered her question.
It seemed like our destination was the same after all. Well, it saved us the trouble of searching for it.
“Thank you very much.”
After nodding at Chiome’s bowed head and thanks, Williahsfim extended his wings and flew off toward the huge Dragon King’s tree that could be seen in the distance.
“We appear to be heading to the same place Chiome-dono.”
“That seems to be the case. I didn’t expect things to proceed so smoothly.”
Chiome looked in the direction Williahsfim had flown off to before looking at me with a small smile on her face.
“We have the Dragon King’s permission, so let’s head to the summit.”
Ponta wagged her tail and made an energetic cry when I took a step towards the torri at the base of the foothill.
However, Ariane silently approached me and spoke to me in a bright tone that contradicted the cold smile she had.
“Arc…… do you plan to act on your own again?”
Overwhelmed by her smile and the veins that pulsed on her forehead, I rapidly shook my head and moved three steps backwards.
The aura she was emitting created the hallucination of a hulking beast that pressured me as she approached.
“S-Sorry, Ariane-dono. I acted rashly when I saw that artifact over there.”
There was no room for excuses this time.
I had been so distracted by the torri that I recklessly charged into an unknown area without paying attention to my surroundings…… if I were in a movie, I have been the person that died first.
My bit of person retrospection surprised Ariane for a moment but she managed to shrug it off.
“Arc your actions were rather childish, but you seem to have calmed down……”
She sighed a little after she said that.
It seemed like this incident would be overlooked. Now I was certain that she was Glenys’ daughter…… both of them were scary when they got serious……
“Still, I’m impressed Arc-dono. I can’t believe you fought on equal terms with a Dragon King.”
Chiome’s cheeks were flushed with an unusual amount of excitement when she voiced her opinion next to Ariane.
She was looking up at me with pure admiration.
“Umm. Well, I couldn’t afford to make a mistake……”
I was a little embarrassed by Chiome’s gaze so I gave a vague reply.
Be as it may, I really couldn’t afford to screw up against the Dragon King.
I once thought that this body and the skills it possessed were potentially on the same level as military ammunition.
However, having to fight a being with strength equaling own my made me realize the insanity of living in this world.
If I became too blinded by my own power, my life might be snuffed out one day.
“Ariane-dono, is the Dragon King you promised to set up a meeting with even more powerful than Williahsfim-dono?”
The fact that there existed a being that even Williahsfim paid tribute to was something that heavily weighed on my mind.
However, Ariane simply raised her eyebrow and groaned.
“From what I’ve heard, Dragon King Ferufivisurotte-sama carries a considerable amount of influence over the other Dragon Kings, but I can’t help but feel that there was a hidden agenda behind Williahsfim-sama’s request……”
“A hidden agenda! What do you think he could be plotting?”
Judging from Williahsfim’s joyful celebration I immediately questioned Ariane’s opinion. It didn’t seem like he intended to harm anybody.
Ariane must have been aware of this and she cleared away what she had been thinking with a shake of her head.
However, her next statement gave me the information I needed to figure out Williahsfim’s intentions.
“Ferufivisurotte-sama is female so maybe……”
I snapped my gaze to Ariane when she continued speaking.
It’s easy to understand a strong being holding someone even stronger in high regard and having a desire to personally meet that person.
But, things were a little different when it involved a man and a woman.
“Ariane-dono, you said that your older sister could set up a meeting with Ferufivisurotte-dono, but are you sure she can do that?”
It is a common practice for some men to approach a third party to set up a date, but oftentimes the woman would just find the whole affair tedious.
Ariane looked worried for a second but she still nodded her head in response.
“It should be alright since I didn’t make a direct promise. I just have to get my sister to use her influence to bring the matter up next time she speaks with Ferufivisurotte-sama.”
She shrugged and sighed after saying that.
I had seen dignity befitting a Dragon King in Williahsfim before, but after that happy outburst I could only see him as a man stuck in an unrequited love.
“Alright, shall we set out for the spring now?”
Chiome and I nodded at Ariane’s proposal and I set my gaze upon the mountain that towered over us.
…… Soon afterwards, we reached our destination.