Chapter 202 - Sand Dragon Desertio (2)
Theodore was taken aback by the sand dragon's sudden words. "No way. You came because of me?"
[That's right.] The assertion of the sand dragon, Desertio, was surprising.
However, that was natural. This dragon was from the other side of history, since the beginning of the Age of Mythology. So, what did it want with Theodore? It was different from Aquilo, who had become interested in Theodore due to the circumstances. Living for millennia had created a manner of thinking which mortals couldn't understand.
Theodore's eyes trembled nervously. Maybe it was because of the danger the sand dragon's presence brought to the investigation team. So, Theodore couldn't help feeling guilty.
However, Desertio spoke in a gentle voice, [Don't be too nervous, young magician. I didn't come with the intention of harming you.]
As if to prove his sincerity, Theodore's senses were extremely calm. Regardless of whether Desertio was speaking the truth, Theodore was forced to put hope in that moderate atmosphere. This conversation was the last lifeline before a death penalty was passed on.
"...Can I ask what your business is?"
It was good to know that the conversation could go in both directions. So, Theodore raised his courage and carefully asked why.
[Hmmm, I have to explain it,] Desertio replied calmly. [I will ask you one thing before I explain. Have you heard anything about the reduction of dragons?]
[It is what happens when a dragon reaches their end or is near the end.]
Theodore finally realized the intent of Desertio's question. He recalled the conversation he had with Gluttony while crossing the wilderness.
-The sand dragon Desertio, who lives in the center of the Meuse Desert, is at the epicenter of the drought.
-Don't misunderstand. Desertio might not be causing the drought maliciously. The dragon, who has survived for nearly a million years, is already closer to a spirit than a creature. Therefore, he changes the environment around him.
A dragon's instincts were to return to nature. Gluttony asserted that due to this, Dracomachia had started and the dragon's decline had begun. All the strong people of the other species, including the human race, had joined forces to hunt the dragons.
In some ways, the phenomenon called 'Reduction' might be nothing to Desertio, who had suffered through Dracomachia. Theodore thought up to there and carefully replied, "Are you trying to tell me about the drought?"
[Oh, I suppose it isn't hard to guess. It is correct,] Desertio said. Then it added a few more words, [If you are already aware of this, the story will be quicker. The creation of the Meuse Desert and the drought was caused by the aging of this body. It is proof that this body is approaching death. I want to see you help with the post-processing.]
[Uhh, to be precise, I would like you to deliver my message to the sea dragon that is linked to you.]
Theodore briefly recalled Aquilo's face. He hadn't seen her face for a while, but his impression of her was clear in his mind. Theodore couldn't help remembering her beauty, which was more striking than many women. His relationship with Aquilo was one of the most powerful trump cards he had, so he would prefer not to use it. Additionally, he had no confidence to deal with her a second time.
'She isn't the type to be dragged around.'
It might be possible if Theodore was much stronger than Aquilo, but that possibility wasn't worth discussing when he was only at the 7th Circle. He couldn't help feeling worried.
As Theodore remained silent, Desertio continued speaking, [This is a request based on the discipline of the dragons. If you listen to my favor, this body will give you something that is equivalent to the favor.]
"Then please explain this to me."
[It is very simple. In the past, a dragon would use 'Reduction' in destroying the territory of other species. This discipline was made by the leaders when looking at the bitter past. It is the Ritual of Reduction.]
The Ritual of Reduction...
It didn't seem to be a secret, so Desertio continued talking in a voice that the others could hear.
It was a type of pledge. The storm of power which burst out when a dragon died couldn't be compared to the output before it. In Desertio's case, it would generate a hot wind which would sweep through the entire Central Continent.
Therefore, the dragon leaders created a reduction ceremony. It was a discipline which allowed a dragon with the opposite property to calm down the aftermath. For a dragon with the power of weathering, the dragon that controlled water was the right choice for the ritual.
[It is a ritual that has become unknown now, but this body wants to maintain the wishes of the leaders. Please let me finish my life by using your link.]
Then all of a sudden, Mujak interrupted, "Wait! Desert dragon, I have something to say to you!"
[This body has nothing to say to you.]
"Damn, listen to me first!" Mujak called out.
Maybe it was due to Desertio's modest attitude, or perhaps the anger simmering inside Mujak finally exploded...
However, Mujak forgot who his opponent was as he hollered with a red face, "Take some responsibility for being the cause of the drought! You should apologize to the people of our kingdom rather than ask that young man! Do you know how many people have died because of you?"
The dragons' 'Reduction' was a sacred ceremony for them, but it was a national disaster for others. The fury of the Austen guardians, who had accumulated damage for hundreds of years, was reasonable in many ways.
However, unlike when Desertio conversed with Theodore, it replied in an emotionless voice, [That is human logic.]
Desertio had the gaze of a transcendent being who looked down on all things.
[Do you remember and mourn the number of ants you have stepped on during your life?]
Everyone froze for a moment. The attitude of comparing humans to ants, it clearly showed the gap between a human and dragon. Theodore tensed up again. Desertio wasn't concerned about humans. He wanted to preserve the leader's wishes, but he didn't care about those who had already died.
'Damn, I'm not in a situation to worry about whether I should accept it!'
Despite Desertio's modest attitude, Theodore had no other option. Realizing this, Theodore hurriedly opened his mouth. He had to finish this before Mujak made things worse.
"Desertio! I will accept that request."
* * *
After that, they made swift progress. The catalysts needed for the summoning magic were stacked in a pile in the laboratory. Additionally, after receiving Satomer's knowledge, Theodore could be called the best summoner in modern times.
With Aquamarine, sapphire, a blue drake's heart, and a magic circle written for elementals, this was literally the best performance. Theodore finished his work and sighed, 'Sigh, I've roughly prepared it.'
A blue magic circle flashed under his feet, and the perfection was at a level which anyone who studied magic would admire. Right now, there were only a few researchers in the field of summoning magic.
"Wow, isn't this magic circle really amazing? It is on a different dimension from the basic principles shown in magic books. How can he do this?"
"Theo is amazing. This is new summoning magic..."
Unlike Sylvia and William, Veronica didn't look very impressed. It wasn't hard to guess why, so Theodore smiled bitterly and walked toward her. "Tower Master."
"I know it can't be helped, but I don't like it," Veronica grumbled angrily.
The red dragon blood flowing through her body refused to meet with a sea dragon. Veronica was irritated despite never meeting Aquilo before. It wouldn't be strange if they fought when meeting face-to-face.
"Well, I'll look at your face and try to endure it."
"But you should keep one thing in mind." Veronica pointed an index finger and touched the tip of Theodore's nose. "I will blow away all enemies in front of me."
"... Please be lenient." That was the only thing he could say.
Theodore stood inside the summoning circle again and took in a deep breath. "Then let's get started."
It was fairly difficult to summon a dragon, but Theodore didn't have much trouble. The biggest problem with summoning was compromising with the invited being. However, Aquilo had already agreed to be summoned.
Moreover, she had said she would help him once unconditionally, so she wouldn't refuse his summons. Theodore rotated his seven circles and recited a spell.
A large-scale ritual was normally required, but he just needed to look deeply in his connection with Aquilo.
"Ruler of the ocean, master of the waves. I use your name and blood to be reunited in this place."
As the spell was chanted, the magic circle scattered a blue light. The blood flowing inside Theodore's body slowly cooled as resonance.
Then as the blood of the Sea Dragon Aquilo strengthened, Theodore's body temperature was lowered to a point which couldn't be human. Theodore's face was turning white when he finally heard the voice.
「What? You called me after a long time, Boy.」 The drowsy voice mixed with charm was truly strange.
Theodore was glad to hear the voice and replied, 'Aquilo.'
「You didn't call me just to speak my name, did you? Huh?」
'Of course not. It is something more troublesome...'
「There is a lot of time, so explain it to me.」
As Aquilo stated, there was a lot of time. It was usually a significant burden to use summoning magic, but Aquilo and Theodore were able to hold a long conversation because of the connection with each other. After talking for 30 minutes, Aquilo readily accepted his summons.
「Okay, I understand that this is caused by my link with you.」
'Then you will come when called?'
「No, it is annoying, so I'll just come now.」
Theodore stepped aside hurriedly as the magic circle flashed.
Her sapphire-like blue hair and her two fluorescent eyes which shone with playfulness soon appeared. As always, Aquilo was wearing an outfit which made it hard to look at her. It was a thin piece of cloth covering the important parts, just enough to shake a man's heart. However, it was strange that it didn't look crude on her.
"... Why are you always so naked?" Theodore said, turning his eyes away.
Meanwhile, Aquilo fluttered her clothing with a naughty smile. His eyes couldn't help being drawn to her exposed flesh.
"Boy, aren't you enjoying it? Men are all the same."
Aquilo teased Theodore as she stepped out of the magic circle. After looking around, she grumbled, "Ah, I don't like the desert because the air is too dirty. I never would've come if this wasn't happening."
Then she suddenly stopped and stepped toward Veronica. Clearly, it wasn't a one-sided rivalry. The red dragon and blue dragon... The hostility engraved in their blood was the same. As the red and the blue stared at each other, it was Aquilo who opened her mouth first.
"Who is this, the red clan famous for their brutality?" She said with a bright smile which almost made Theodore misunderstand it as a greeting.
Veronica frowned and countered. Her bright smile was impressive as well. "Aren't you the one famous for pirating?"
This time, it was Aquilo's eyebrows which twitched. "You, a quarter dragon... Do you intend to go against a pureblood dragon?"
"I'm sorry, but I've already killed one. Aren't sea dragons more incompetent when out of water?"
"Ah, did I hit the bullseye? I'm sorry."
Veronica made an expression that showed she wasn't sorry at all, while Aquilo's lips twitched. Killing intent rose between the two beauties. It was an atmosphere which seemed like a fight would occur at any moment.
The gazes of the group naturally rested on one man, Theodore.
Theodore had already thought it would be like this, so he eventually sighed and walked in between them.