Chapter 154 - Tell me your wish (2)
In a short period of time, many choices crossed Theodore's mind as he closed his eyes.
'What is the best thing to ask from Aquilo?'
Original books? ...Dismissed. He didn't know if she had any rare original books, and Aquilo didn't seem like someone interested in magic books. After making such a request, he might cause a disaster such as all the libraries on the continent being plundered by a dragon.
Smashing the Orcus Company... dismissed. The identity and structure of the organization behind it were still unclear. Not everyone who belonged to the Orcus Company would be warlocks, so innocent people might be crushed along with the company.
Should he demand a large amount of assets? ...On hold. Getting gold coins for a dragon's grace was a bit sad.
Then Theodore came up with a good idea. It was difficult for him to make the decision, so he should leave it to the opponent. At the very least, the dragon wouldn't cheat or deceive him when paying back the favor. Their pride didn't tolerate such acts.
"-Give me what you think is most valuable among what you own."
It was an ambiguous favor. What was Aquilo's most valuable thing? It might be a rare ornament or perhaps beautiful jewelry. In a sense, it was a gamble for Theodore. Aquilo's eyes widened with amazement, before her expression changed into that of an unknown emotion.
"Boy, are you serious?"
Theodore was curious about her reaction and asked, "Is it okay?"
"Hrmm... No, well, if that is what you want." Aquilo bit her lips and shook her head. Then she rose from her seat and used her long finger to beckon toward Theodore.
"Okay, come closer. I'll give you what you want."
Why did her voice sound bewitching, like a devil's voice? However, he was the one who brought this up. Theodore rose from his seat and stood carefully in front of Aquilo. He was only a few steps closer than before, but his body was tense now.
At that moment, Aquilo's hands wrapped around his shoulders.
It seemed like a light hold, but the force was so strong that he couldn't resist! However, he didn't feel any risk toward his life. So, Theodore didn't struggle as Aquilo looked into his eyes. As her breath reached his nose, Theodore unconsciously stopped breathing.
Her stunning eyes and aroma caused him to feel dizzy. It couldn't be helped since she looked like she was going to lick his face. Theodore had never seen a basilisk, but he felt like being petrified by it would feel like this. Theodore's body stiffened as Aquilo's lips neared.
She whispered in a low voice, "Don't be nervous. There might be pain at first..."
Shortly after that, Theodore felt a painful sensation at his neck.
She had bit his neck. Before Theodore could accept the situation, Randolph yelled agitatedly at the muffled groan, "-What are you doing, Dragon?"
Blood flowed from the bitten area, but Theodore wasn't just surprised at the pain. Randolph pulled out a sword one beat later, but a voice stopped him.
"S-Stop!" The urgent voice was coming from the bite victim, Theodore.
"What? Young Master, aren't you being attacked right now?"
"No. This isn't an attack." Theodore tried to explain but couldn't help falling silent in the end. It was because cold energy was coming from the area where Aquilo was biting. No, the feeling was like some type of magic power liquid.
The beautiful woman continued biting the young man's neck, and the bizarre confrontation soon came to an end.
Smack. Aquilo's wet lips made a sound as she let go.
She licked her lips which were red with Theodore's blood and nodded with a satisfied look.
"It went well. There was no rejection, so this might be surprisingly good."
"...What did you pour in?"
"Huh? It is my blood, of course."
"What-" In contrast to Aquilo's calm reply, Theodore looked down at his body with surprised eyes. Aquilo's blood, a dragon's blood, had been injected into his neck. Whether it was true or not, he was able to discover something around his collarbone. It was a tattoo which shone blue like Aquilo.
"Blood mark." Aquilo explained in a drowsy voice, "Among everything I possess, this is the most valuable thing. It is the only thing that fits the criteria, apart from myself."
Theodore might've saved her life once, but it wasn't enough to make Aquilo his possession. So, Aquilo adjusted the reward according to the conditions proposed by Theodore.
"Boy, can you use summoning magic?" Without waiting for Theodore to reply, Aquilo continued, "If you think you need my help, you can call through the blood mark. I'll help you unconditionally once. I will leave it to your discretion, okay?"
"...Do I have any other choice?"
"Ahaha! Well, you don't have to use it. There are a few other effects, but you can look at those yourself."
She playfully concealed the abilities, but unfortunately, Theodore had Gluttony's Appraisal ability. When Aquilo glanced away, the tongue emerged from Theodore's left hand and brushed against his neck. Simultaneously, the familiar information window appeared.
[+14 Aquilo's Blood Mark (Imprint)]
[This is an imprint using the blood of the sea dragon, Aquilo. As the number of clan members declined, the dragons attempted to make more kin with their blood. This blood mark is the result of that attempt. The attempt to create more family members failed, but the act of granting a blood mark created a linked relationship. If the relationship with the partner of the blood mark becomes hostile, it will naturally be destroyed.
* The rating of this imprint is 'Treasure.'
* The user's water affinity will significantly increase.
* The user will be given the 'Sea Dragon's Blessing.'
* It is possible to summon the sea dragon, Aquilo.
* The conditions of use for 'Dragon Words' isn't met. (1/2)
-Own a certain amount of dragon's blood. (O)
-Understand the system and principles of Dragon Words. (X)
-Once all of the above conditions are met, it is possible to use Dragon Words three times a day.]
At first, he read the information window with calm eyes, but he soon started shaking. Affinity with water was a natural effect because she was a sea dragon, but the aspect of 'Dragon Words' was an entirely different matter.
If he could learn how to use 'Dragon Words,' the value of this blood mark just skyrocketed. He was also given the right to call an adult dragon, a being equivalent to two masters. Theodore's eyes were stunned at such a huge jackpot.
All of a sudden, Aquilo extended her hand outside the terrace, toward the horizon where the fog created by her power was located.
With one word, the fog in the horizon started to return to Aquilo.
It was the end of the barrier which had protected the Pirate Archipelago for decades. As requested by Theodore, she took back all the privileges she had given to the Pirate Archipelago. The same was true of the ships docked at the harbor. The pirate ships would now have to go through the water with their own skills.
After finishing a series of things in a few minutes, Aquilo shrugged and looked at the two men.
"It is finished. Now, this is no longer my island. So, I'm going to move my lair."
"...The Pirate Archipelago is completely over."
"I guess so."
An attachment might form when one stayed somewhere for decades, but Aquilo showed no signs of that. Rather, she was a notorious dragon and felt good about abandoning the pirates. For her, the pirates were just ants who gave her tribute. She could discard them at any time and collect more.
Aquilo agreed before rummaging through her space.
"Here, some change." She threw out a pouch. Theodore grabbed it reflexively.
Then she smiled and turned away. "All three requests have been granted."
The two men watched on as Aquilo climbed onto the terrace. Then she said goodbye in a playful manner, "Then bye!"
Aquilo jumped in a parabola toward the distant sea. The duo watched with absurd expressions as she changed into a dragon in midair and then moved away at a rapid pace which they couldn't follow.
After that, Aquilo never returned to the Pirate Archipelago.
"Hah..." Theodore watched with a bemused expression before opening the pouch. Randolph approached and looked over his shoulder, before crying out, "Heok!"
They were forced to swallow their breaths.
* * *
The next day, the passenger ship arrived, and Theodore's group departed for the Soldun Kingdom. Thanks to Theodore's 'Sea Dragon's Blessing', the speed was well above normal, and the two people were able to reach a coastal city in the Soldun Kingdom in less than a week.
Ah, what happened to the Pirate Archipelago after that?
It understandably collapsed.
The four rulers panicked as they learned that their blessings had been removed. Soon, those with ambitious eyes tried to take control of the island, and the peacefully coexisting Pirate Archipelago became filled with blood and death.
The pirates split into four factions according to the four rulers, each seeking their own way to live. Some returned to their usual work of raiding. Others returned to land and hid in the shadows.
However, either path didn't make much difference in the end. The pirates couldn't show the glory of the past and were killed by the army. Meanwhile, those who returned to land couldn't hide their nature and were caught as criminals.
It was the end of the Pirate Archipelago, once called the paradise of criminals and the land of pleasure.
One year had passed by since then.