Message from translator: Anyone else getting really bad vibes from Eutis? But I am starting to like Varte. It feels like there’s much more to him and I wanna see more of his backstory.
Volume 1, 4-5: Oath of Kinship
He had never screamed as intensively as it burned the inside of his throat. All the blood in his body felt like it had changed into molten metal, glowing golden. No, Fin saw it. A glowing golden light spread across his body—burning, dissolving, and reforging everything.
His body bent backwards, and his limps were pulled taut and convulsed. A light brand was pressed on top of his chest…on his heart.
The surrounding scenery reflected frightfully vivid in his opened eyes. It was almost as if he was looking down from a high vantage point. Varte became startled and watched, drawing back but not leaving. There was the retreating image of several bandits shouting something while they escaped. There was also Eutis unable to stand up due to surprise and other fallen soldiers.
Apart from that, everything surrounding him appealed to his senses. The tips of the tree branches, each and every leaf brushed by the wind, and even the veins running through it. The dark, moist ground and squirming insects…..the presence of numerous living things as well as his own flesh…..The wound that was gushing blood swelled in an instant and began to disappear. With the exception of the pale white scar, the wound was no longer visible.
After perceiving that much, the white light that had been overwhelming all his senses slowly began to dim. The heat that felt like it could burn all the way down to his soul cooled down, and he fell down to the ground with a thud. The impact pushed his breath out of his lungs.
Fin sprung up reflexively in his coughing fit. And then,
He blinked his eyes in surprise at how easy it was for him to do such an action. Right up until now, he was supposed to be on the last legs of his life.
He had absolutely no idea what had happened. Baffled, he unconsciously stroked the right side of his body underneath his armpit, becoming even more startled. When he looked down, his clothes were ripped and certainly soaked in blood, but there wasn’t a single wound on his body.
In the corner of the shocked Fin’s eyes, a white light twinkled. He turned around still confused and looked up.
Even though he thought that nothing else could surprise him, he was struck by a massive bombshell. With only the treetops and the expansive blue sky at its back, there was a giant creature. It sort of vaguely resembled a dog, but its fluffy, white fur moved like waves of fleecy clouds on a sunny day, and the wings on its back looked like they could cover the sky.
Fin’s jaw dropped as he looked up at the golden eyes that looked like twin full moons.
At the same time as this shock, he felt a vague sense of familiarity.
He always had the impression of her as a puppy sniffing around and rubbing against his knees, but he didn’t intend for it to actually be on point. His opened mouth wouldn’t close.
The giant figure wavered at Fin’s declaration of her name, shrinking in the light. Although the remnants of her wings could faintly be seen, the familiar image of the girl was standing right there.
Giant droplets of tears spilled from her eyes as Leena tightly hugged Fin. He lightly patted her back and let out a soft and warm sigh of relief.
“You saved me.”
Right as he was about to say thanks, her tearful voice stopped him.
“I’m sorry. I truly am sorry. I, I…..I just didn’t want to let you die….I didn’t want you to die….That’s why….I’m sorry.”
Apologizing over and over again, Leena trembled and sobbed convulsively. Fin became embarrassed and looked around in hopes of some help.
It appeared that the scene he had viewed from up above was the same: the bandits had fled, leaving only corpses behind. Varte was still a ways back with his stiff face, staring at Fin. There were several soldiers sluggishly getting up and looked at Fin’s direction with shocked expressions….And, there was Eutis still sitting on the floor as he raised his usually high-pitched voice.
“I can’t believe it. A dragon! Why didn’t you tell us about it?”
Being told this, Fin finally realized what had happened to his body.
(What the… Have I…..Could I have…become a ‘Dragon Lord’?)
Dragon Lord—According to the legends, they were beings who participated in the Great War of Lore. But that was not to say that they were Dragon Lords from the start. They had encountered dragons for some reason, or they possibly discovered the creatures, established an ‘Oath of Kinship’, and distributed the dragons’ life and powers.
As for what kind of oath was sworn, it wasn’t mentioned in the legends. That was why this was something Fin had never heard of. He only knew that there was some kind of special bond linking the dragon and the Dragon Lord.
He couldn’t believe it. He merely thought that he was saved by some kind of special power Leena had. Who would’ve thought that such a thing would happen after saying just two words… Sure, he undoubtedly felt that he wanted to be with her from the bottom of his heart at that moment, but that was only because he thought that he would soon die. For such a situation to unfold and for Leena to be a dragon….
Once again, a feeble voice apologizing reached his ears. Fin pulled back the reins on his reckless thinking, telling himself to calm down. At any rate, that was not of importance right now.
“You don’t have to apologize,” Fin kindly said. “I didn’t want to die either. Since I can live on, I’m extremely happy. That’s why there’s nothing to apologize for.”
Leena shook her head a little but gently separated from Fin without apologizing any more. After a sniffle, she wiped away her tears with her finger. This somehow bought a smile to Fin’s face as he lightly patted her head.
At that time, Varte suddenly released a sigh. The sigh was so long that it begged the question if he had been holding his breath the whole time.
“Haaah…..Well well, much obliged, Great Dragon Lord. Anyway, I’m just glad that our death toll isn’t gonna increase anymore.”
Those words brought Fin back to his usual senses, and he took a look at his surroundings. All the members of the unit, though covered in injuries, were alive—with the exception of the first one who fell. Fin stood up and headed toward the body. As if awaken after being allured by a dream, the others also gathered around.
Varte closed the soldier’s and child’s eyelids and cursed aloud, “Sh•t.”
“It’s always like this. Young, weak children and kind, good guys be dying!”
Varte’s unexpected words pierced Fin’s chest, causing him to flinch. However, Varte’s subordinates were used to this type of behavior and shook their heads in exasperation.
“Varte, you know it aint’ like that. We’re all living because of it; both you and us. You saying we trash?”
“Ah yeah. That’s exactly it,” Varte groaned. “The only one who can live in these times are human scum. F•cking bastards.”
All the soldiers looked at each other and shrugged their shoulders, saying, “Looks like he’s at it again.” But Fin felt that he had some vague sense of what Varte was trying to say and hung his head low, silent.
Living each and every day struggling and killing each other in such savage manners in these times, there was no way that anyone was going to remain pure. Like the scenes witnessed in Nanais, everyone had fallen—soldiers stole from the citizens, the citizens robbed each other, and people sold their bodies and dignity for food. Even those people thought to be proper could not avoid trudging through the sludge of sins such as idleness and ignorance in order to escape hardship. They had no choice but to delude themselves and pile lies on top of lies, all in order to prevent the loss of the will to live.
“Anyways, let’s go home.”
Fin muttered in a low whisper. Varte responded while still glaring at the ground.
“Yeah. But after we settle this stuff here.”
Exactly as he said this, Varte directed everyone to clean up the bandits’ headquarters. They destroyed the cabins, recovered the weapons and valuables from inside, and lit the rest on fire. The tied donkeys and horses were useful in carrying the bodies of their fallen comrade and child.
When they had cleaned up everything and started setting out for the main road, Fin who had been leading a horse at the end of the line furrowed his brow at Leena snuggling up next to him.
(Even though it’s broad daylight and such a thing had happened, Leena is allowing herself to be seen. I guess this means that the seal was removed.)
So the ‘Oath of Kinship’ was the way to undo the seal. From the way Leena had been so vehement about it, he thought that it would’ve required a large number of sacrifices. But Fin was still unsure what his body had submitted as a result of this. Rather, was his life not saved?
While he pondered this and stared at Leena, she turned to face him. When their eyes met, he felt Leena’s presence in his heart even more strongly than ever. Leena timidly smiled, but her unease and guilt were clearly conveyed. I see. So this is what being ‘connected’ feels like. Fin understood as he returned a smile back to cheer her up.
(It’s fine. No matter what comes out from this, I won’t regret choosing you at all. I appreciate you saving me. That’s why…..let’s go together. Forever.)
He no longer needed to spend his sleepless nights tormented by anxiety and fatigue. With Leena by his side, he felt like he could definitely overcome any hardships or troubles.
(Nevertheless, for Leena to be a dragon and me a Dragon Lord…What kind of joke is this?)
Watching Leena’s innocent face, Fin let out a single wry laugh. It appeared that there was much more to dragons than what was common knowledge. In the legends, they were great beings only directly below gods in regards to nobility.
But when thinking of them in this way, Leena somehow had much more complicated feelings surrounding her. She didn’t pout or get angry, but she had strange moments of reluctance. Fin endured the desire to snicker and faced forward, playing dumb.
Right at that moment, the uncomfortable glares from his comrades pierced him all at once, causing Fin to stand still, surprised. He realized that he had been completely preoccupied thinking that he was alone with Leena. So when this happened, he returned back to senses and blushed in embarrassment. Varte shook his head, astonished.
“What the hell is with you two silently staring and smiling at each other. It’s disgusting. Even newlyweds aren’t this gushy.”
“…..Ain’t something you gotta apologize for….but is this how a noble Dragon Lord…..”
Varte’s tone was filled with regret, causing Fin to shrug. He agreed wholeheartedly, but if he voiced this, then it would probably irritate Varte even more. Instead, Fin responded with a serious look.
“About that….Do you think you can keep quiet about this matter?”
Varte asked in response, and everyone else had questing expressions on. Fin slowly looked at each and every one of them as he requested with a strong tone.
“About me, as I still don’t know what really happened to my body. While it is true that I have sworn an Oath of Kinship, I don’t think I have become what is called a ‘Dragon Lord.’ Besides, if we carelessly announce this, it won’t be just me, but everyone will be in trouble.”
“By ‘everyone’, do you mean this unit?”
“Yes. Not only are we alienated by Commander Dirgius because we mentioned the Beasts of Darkness, but if we talk about a dragon appearing now on top of that, it would be no stretch to say that we would be hung together for some reason like our minds were corrupted by lies.”
“Can’t your little dragon lady save us then?”
Varte snorted, but as it seemed that there was no such guarantee, he frowned and moaned.
“Anyway, it’s true that we’re walking on quite the tight rope. If any of us go up to the commander and be like ‘Here’s proof. Gaze upon it with your great eyes,’ I highly doubt he’ll believe us…..Let’s say that he did believe us, this’ll probably turn into a giant, unneeded mess then. Yeah, I completely agree with you. It’s best to shut up ’bout this.”
Despite the nonchalant and rude speech inserted in the conversation, Varte understood Fin’s wishes and acknowledged them. Each of the soldiers faced Fin and nodded. Fin also confirmed each of their gestures of consent, but he felt some kind of strange discomfort when Eutis did his in an ambiguous manner. This caused Fin to frown.
(What was that?)
Something about that bothered him. When he tried to bring it up from his unconsciousness to the conscious realm of his mind, the thought went flying away.
This unease he hadn’t felt with the other soldiers spread through his chest. His instincts yelled out to him that this man couldn’t be trusted.
(It can’t be.)
Fin shook his head a little, shaking off his doubt. While such a thing had happened before, there was no way that Eutis could be that stupid. It wasn’t fair for Fin to resent and scorn the man. The reason he was nearly at death’s door didn’t lie entirely on Eutis; part of it was due to an error on his own end. However.
Just in case, Fin called out his name to remind him.
“Don’t say a single word about me or the dragon. Please.”
“Eh? …….Yeah, got it.”
As if only he was being reminded made him feel uncomfortable, Eutis made a vaguely unpleasant face, but nevertheless, he reconfirmed.
At that moment, Varte noticed Leena and stared at her.
“But you know, if we do that, how are we gonna explain this little lady? We can’t really say she was captured by the bandits, can we?”
Now all the gazes were gathered on Leena. Her body froze in surprise, and she hid behind Fin. But when Fin gently touched the center of his heart, she immediately felt at ease, released from her nervousness. She then walked out to face everyone.
“Would it be better….if I wasn’t around?”
Being told in such an innocent voice, Varte became flustered as if suddenly conscious of his surroundings.
“Ah, no. It’s…not that. I….didn’t mean it that way…..”
Leena blinked her eyes and tilted her head, confused. After that, she stared blankly as she turned to look at Fin. Fin endure the urge to burst out into laughter, resulting in a strange face, but Leena had no such reserves and let out a cheerful giggle.
“In that case, see you later.”
Her farewell tone sounded as if she was telling them, “Good night” as she disappeared, looking like she gently melted away. Seeing this for the first time, Varte’s and the other soldiers’ jaws dropped. Fin secretly sympathized with them while he waited for them to recompose themselves.
Some time later, Varte closed his opened mouth for a moment and let out a frank comment.
“…..She really is a dragon, right?”
“I was having the same doubts as well.”
Fin answered seriously then added a grin.
“In any case, it’s true that she’s quite different from what we had expected.”
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