Chapter 164 - The Wise Dragon (1)
Saibein was officially declared missing from the Plain of Darkness around 20 years ago.
He went missing after he fought against the Guardian Shadows within the Rulain Kingdom. No one knew why he had gone there, and his fate had become a mystery.
The Plain of Darkness was dogged in their search for him, and they were able to find where he had gone. This resulted in Niberis inheriting his Dragon weapon, but she had been unable to make contact with him.
This was the extent of the story he had heard from Laura.
"...you've aged. I guess it is to be expected since a significant amount of time has passed."
Azell couldn't immediately recognize Saibein, because he had aged in the past 220 years. During the Dragon Demon war, he had looked like a young man. In terms of human age, Saibein currently looked as if he was in his late 40s or early 50s. He had cut his long hair, and he had grown a beard. He looked completely different.
"You really are.... You look exactly as you did in the past. It is almost unbelievable. How is it possible for a human to do this? How are you still alive?"
For a brief moment, Saibein became suspicious. He wondered if the man in front of him was the descendant of the original Azell. However, how could his descendant recognize Sabein, who had aged?
"I'm not obligated to answer your questions."
"That is true. However, I did come here to heal your comrades. Could you take that into consideration and answer my questions? Since we are meeting in this place, I believe we are no longer enemies."
"...the Simpleton Prince I knew didn't have such a flexible personality. It seems a lot has changed over the years."
Azell let out a bitter laugh.
From what he remembered, Saibein had been obsessed with honor, and he had been inflexible during all negotiations. He also thirsted for fame, so he did a lot of idiotic things.... The leadership group of the human alliance had been thankful for his existence, since Saibein had been very predictable. It seems his personality had gone through a lot of change over the past 200 years.
"I slept for a long time to alleviate the curse put on me by your father. I've woken up recently."
"Are you talking about a hibernation?"
"It is fair to make that comparison."
"How could a human go into hibernation? How can this be?"
"It was through a very profound magic. Atein used magic to revive the dead. Is it really surprising that I went into slumber for the past 220 years?"
"Of course, it is surprising. When you are referencing the raising of the dead, who are you talking about? By the way you phrased it, you aren't talking about an Undead......"
Azell was baffled by his words.
"...didn't you hold a high position in the Plain of Darkness before you went missing? How come you don't know anything?"
"After I came here, I cut off all contacts with the Plain of Darkness. Aside from the time I gave my Dragon weapon to my daughter......"
"So you are saying you cut off contact way before Almarick was revived?"
Saibein became surprised, but his expression turned serious soon.
"If that is true.... It seems the time of my father's revival is approaching."
He was the same now as in the old days. He was the Simpleton Prince. Azell watched his earnest reaction, and it confirmed that he didn't know any important information even though he was the prince.
Saibein let out a sigh.
"I want to hear many stories from you, but this isn't the place to do so. Still, Albatan-nim is quite mean. He sent me here with no prior information."
"He always had a playful personality. It seems that hasn't changed."
Azell spoke as he thought about the past.
When he came here before in the past, Atein and his party had arrived in the forest right after him. The Dragon hadn't explained anything to either side, so the two sides had almost fought when they came across each other. At the time, Azell and Carlos had wanted to smack the smirk off of the Dragon's face.
Havan and Minerel had been sent as envoys without any background information. Afterwards, Saibein was in the dark as he was sent to heal them. It seemed the Dragon's personality hadn't changed.
"We should start the treatment... "
Sabein's expression turned peculiar when he looked over the faces of Azell's party members. He looked closely at Laura as he spoke.
"Miss, are you perhaps from the Aunsaurus tribe?"
Laura answered him. Saibein went missing before Laura made her public appearance, so they hadn't met before. However, Laura had inherited all the characteristics that identified her as a descendant of Aunsaurus.
He asked in puzzlement.
"Why is someone from the Aunsaurus tribe with Azell?"
"I betrayed them."
"I'm not sure if you are aware of this fact, but our elders are the worst."
Saibein murmured to himself. She was so frank in her admission of betrayal that Saibein lost his train of thought for a brief moment.
"It seems the number of stories I want to hear from all of you have grown. However.... Let's heal you first."
He closed his eyes as he concentrated. A powerful wave of Dragon Demon magic emanated from him.
-Dragon Soul release!
He was also using the technique called the Dragon Soul. However, there was a clear difference between the Dragon Soul of Havan and Saibein.
The silhouette of a Dragon wrapped around his body, but it wasn't made out of light. It was made out of pitch black darkness, and it was crawling over his body.
It really was an ominous sight.
"I'm asking just to be sure...."
"What is it?"
"...are you sure you took that out with the intent to heal us?"
"What if I did?"
It didn't look like it no matter how one looked at the Dragon Soul. His party members felt the same way about it.
"I know what you are trying to say, but it is true that my Dragon Soul's ability deals with healing. However, the source of my magical energy is darkness, so it looks like this."
"It is made from magical energy of darkness, but this is nothing like the black magic where one has to take life energy to heal a patient. You also don't have to worry about any side effects. I confirmed all of this through experimentation. I promise upon my honor."
"It is hard to believe you just by looking at its outer appearance, but.... I'll trust you for now."
"I heard humans bow by getting on their knees. I guess this is my lot in life now."
Saibein grumbled as he approached the party members. He put out his hands towards Laura
"I'll start with the miss. May you hold my hands?"
Larua looked a bit tense as she followed his direction. The Dragon of darkness surrounding Saibein was emitting an intense power. One needed a good amount of courage to expose one's hands to it.
However, when she grabbed his hands, it unexpectedly didn't feel too out of the ordinary. It was as if she was dipping her hands into water.
Afterwards, the Dark Dragon twitched as it expanded. The darkness deepened further, and it completely encased his body, and it encircled Laura, who was holding his hands.
Azell queried Minerel.
"Will this really be ok?"
"I understand why you are worried, but his healing ability is considered to be one of the best in our forest. It hadn't been too long since he awakened his Dragon Soul, but it is an excellent ability. You can relax."
Even after hearing her words, he wanted the dragon of darkness crawl around in front of him. He was unable to relax. He tried to expand his sense to see what was occuring inside, but he couldn't penetrate the darkness. He had no idea what was going on.
He remained frustrated as he waited for around 10 minutes.
Two people appeared as the darkness retreated.
Laura still held Saibein's hands, and her eyes were closed. When Azell called her name, she broke out of the trance, and she opened her eyes.
Soon, she looked down at her body with surprise.
"...I'm completely healed."
"Is this true?"
Kairen and Yuren queried as if they couldn't believe it.
Laura had been severely wounded. She had been treated by a high ranking black magician by injecting life energy into her. However, she needed time to completely recover. However, Saibein had healed her in around 5 minutes.
Laura mumbled to herself.
"It felt as if I was taking a comfortable nap, but I never expected such results....."
"This was possible, because your Dragon Demon magic is strong. This won't be as effective against a wounded civilian. However, as a cost, your Dragon Demon magic was changed into life energy, so your Energy Pulse should be close to empty right now."
After hearing Saibein's words, Laura checked her own status. Her magical energy had bottomed out. However, it was akin to her using her magical energy in an intense manner. It didn't evoke a tortuous feeling of tiredness. A pleasant drowsiness washed over her.
"All of you have strong magical energy, so the healing process will go easier. Who's the next patient?"
Saibein's surprising healing ability allowed the party members to recover to their normal state within the hour.
Everyone except Laura was unable to recover fully. Saibein explained why.
"As I've said before, the healing effect becomes stronger depending on the strength of my patient's Dragon Demon magic. When humans and Dragon Majin takes the power of a Dragon through the Dragon Slayer's Ritual, the body recovers through the absorption of the power. The concept is analogous to what I did."
When one won and imbibed the Dragon's power through the Dragon Slayer's Ritual, one's body strengthened in a gradual manner. However, the recovery happened almost instantaneously. Saibein's healing ability copied this concept.
In the case of Laura, her supply of Dragon Demon magic had been low thanks to her grievous injuries. However, she possessed the Dragon weapon Vitan's Chalice within her. Saibein was able to pull out her reserve power to instantly heal her wounds.
By comparison, Kairen and Leticia didn't possess any Dragon weapons. Since their body was a mess, their Energy Pulse was also a mess. They could only use 20% of their normal Dragon Demon magic, so the result of their healing process was weak compared to Laura.
In the case of Yuren, he was a human, and he hadn't gone through the Dragon Slayer's Ritual. However, he had practiced the training method left behind by Carlos. This was why there was a hint of Dragon Demon magic within him. Still, one couldn't expect much result with Yuren.
"The two of them will be at full health tomorrow. The human youth will take around four days. It seems you are a black magician, but you should refrain from using the stolen life energy. You'll develop side effects."
Yuren nodded his head without making a fuss. Yuren had experienced the healing effects, and he knew Saibein was a more skilled black magician than him. This was why he had no ill feeling when he was given the warning.
Azell express his surprise.
"It is an amazing ability. Did you give up your Dragon weapon to your daughter, because you gain this ability?"
"No. One cannon gain a Dragon Soul if one possesses a Dragon weapon."
"Please understand that I am not allowed to talk more on this subject. You are all outsiders. If you want to hear more about it, you'll have to receive permission from Albatan-nim."
"You are saying I should ask my questions later."
"I'm also refraining myself from asking you questions. Ah. Do you perhaps know if my daughter is fine?"
"At the very least, she was alive couple days ago."
"That means.... You fought my daughter."
Azell knew he could be buying Saibein's enmity, but he didn't hide the truth.
During the Dragon Demon war, they had been enemies that were unable to stand each other. Even if Azell had slept for a long time, it wasn't as if his enmity towards Sabein had disappeared.
Saibein lived through the entirety of the 220 years, but he might also be having a hard time erasing his hatred towards Azell. Moreover, the Dragon Demon war didn't feel too far behind for Azell.
Saibein let out a sight after he looked at Azell for a brief moment.
"...all right. Let's resolve that problem at a later time. Follow me. Albatan-nim wanted to meet you all."
"The heart of the forest is still far away.... Will we be able to arrive there by today?"
"It is possible."
Albatan forest was about the same size as the Iellos Kingdom. If their whole party was healthy, they might be able to do it. However, it wasn't a distance that could be travelled with the wounded.
However, Saibein was sure of himself.
"How did you think I arrived here as soon as I was contacted?"
"Do you have a Dragon weapon that can bridge space?"
"Is isn't a Dragon weapon, but it is something that can do what you described."
"What is it?"
Saibein spoke as he enjoyed seeing Azell's frustrated reaction.
"Road of Emptiness."