Ashes and Kingdoms v2 2-2

<A Message from the translator:> Sorry for the delay with this chapter. I was busy with some work and couldn’t get any translations done.

2-2. A Glimpse of Power

As the land slowly rose and divided the mountains, the air felt clean and fresh. The refreshing scent was like the end of autumn. The group had climbed up from the sweltering summer of the lower world so it felt like the seasons had jumped all of a sudden.

Over seven days had passed since they received Fresh Mist’s request. In the end, Fin and the others entrusted Fernaine to Nix and Oria, left the windmill’s maintenance to their neighbors, and headed off to the Pulma Mountain Range. A former army corps reduced to ten soldiers, Fin’s family, and Max departed together. Of course, with Leena too.

As Fin walked on something that resembled a path on the pathless rocky surface and focused on his feet, he stopped and let out a deep breath.

He looked up at the distant blue sky and saw something like a flower petal enjoyably dancing among the white clouds. Right when Fin closed his eyes to blink, it gently ascended, disappearing into the clouds. Afterward, it suddenly appeared in the sky above the group.


Together with a voice bursting with joy, the white petal steadily yet rapidly approached them. It looked fluffy, and by the time anyone could actually distinguish it as a large living creature with wings, it filled up everyone’s visual field.

Even though they knew that no danger would befall on them, everyone was on guard and quickly moved away from Fin. Just as they thought that it would land on this empty space and create a tremor, the large, white dragon instantly disappeared and was replaced with a young girl floating down beside Fin like feathers falling from the sky.

“Look, I was in the clouds! Right there!”

Her cheeks were flushed and she held a bunch of small ice crystals inside her cupped hands. However, now exposed to the heat on the ground, they melted before they could be properly viewed. “Ah,” Leena said with a disappointed face, but Fin lightly laughed.

“You’ll see so much snow in winter that you’ll be sick of it.”

“That’s also true.”

Leena immediately broke into a smile and skipped over to Fin’s side.

Now that she no longer had to worry about being seen by others in these mountains, Leena practically spent the whole day in this form. And, after Fin had confirmed that she wouldn’t be discovered as a dragon or he as a Dragon Lord even if she was seen, she enjoyed herself by flying freely through the air.

Leena’s joyous mood was contagious to the group, and they felt their feet get a little lighter as they traveled on this rugged mountain pass. It was really only in the beginning when several people showed bewilderment and hesitation, but soon everyone looked fondly at the girl.

They watched her lightly glide back and forth, breathe a bunch of fresh air, and delightfully laugh when she splashed her hands in the streams. This girl was just like an innocent child, so the hearts of the men harden by the world was instantly softened by this.

Verdant Mist, who was in front leading the way, broke out into a smile and announced that they would be taking a break. As the group sat around the space as they pleased, he weaved in between everyone and made his way to Oandus and Fauna.

“I’m sorry for the trouble. I heard that you finally settled down with a place and job.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Oandus wryly smiled. “Besides, when autumn turns to winter, the requests for milled flour’ll decrease. Especially since there are many days in winter when the wind is too strong for the windmill to handle. From my point of view, we didn’t lose anything.”

“But, there was no need for you to follow after your son. The mountain’s winters are harsh. Could it be that you don’t really trust us Salda, or…are you being too overprotective?”

Verdant Mist revealed a teasing smirk at the end of his question, so Oandus looked angry. But, it was Fauna next to him who answered instead.

“It’s a given that we would be worried about that child, but more than that was the fear of separation. I mean, there’s no guarantee that he will safely return home in the spring when the job is over, right? Conversely, even if he was safe, there is still the possibility that we left behind in the town could be in harm’s way. A family should be together as much as they could to help each other out. This is not an issue of trust or anything like that.”

There was persuasive power behind those words, so Oandus’ face was smug as if saying, “What do you think? Do you understand?” Verdant Mist looked serious and nodded, “I see.” However…

“Family, huh.”

He whispered and looked over at Fin with faint irony in his eyes.

At that time, Fin was unaware of this gaze and was looking over at Nellis and Leena. Nellis was just in the middle of explaining medicinal plants to Leena.

“This one can be used to stop bleeding. You could use it raw. You could also dry it, grind it up, moisten it, and use it as a paste. There’s also the option of kneading it with a broth of beeswax as a type of salve. I even have some of that salve on me now.”

“Nellis, you made it?”

“Yeah. Master Fentaus taught me.”

Nellis still lacked the knowledge and experience since she was a priest-in-training, but regardless, Leena earnestly listened to every word of this secondhand knowledge. Fin sweetly watched over the two of them.

Then, Nellis faced him with what seemed to be a strange expression and sat beside him. Before Fin could ask her what happened, Nellis whispered in an ambiguous manner.

“Sorry about what happened with Oria.”

“…No, it doesn’t matter.”

Fin blinked. Yes, it was true that he did have a dream where he led a peaceful household in the southern countryside with Oria, and it was also disappointing that he had to give it up. But since it was so short of a dream, there wasn’t much time for him to cultivate any true feelings towards Oria as an individual. Once he gave up, there weren’t any lingering regrets.

Nellis suspiciously looked at her brother’s reaction.

“Big Bro, are you really saying that?”


“Sigh…what a stupid blockhead of a brother I have.”

Nellis groaned in exasperation and shook her head like she wanted to say, “There’s no hope.” Fin was quiet and shrugged his shoulders.

Soon, Nellis recomposed herself and stretched.

“Well, since it’s Big Bro, it can’t be helped since you’re so stubborn, old-fashioned, and dull.”

“What, am I? Some leftover, old bread?”

“Ah, yeah, that might be good too. Like you’re something inedible and hard to swallow.”

Fin’s grimace caused Nellis to burst out into laughter and turn to Leena.

“Hey, Leena, I’ve always thought it was really strange, but what part of Big Bro do you even like?”

She wasn’t really expecting an answer as this was just a sarcastic and rhetorical question. And even if there was an answer, she assumed that it would be the same, “because he’s pretty.” But…


For some reason, Leena was at a loss for words, blinked, and suddenly turned red. This reaction made Nellis and Fin widen their eyes. It had been a while since someone hadn’t bitten the bait Nellis gave, so she tilted her head.

“Um, what I mean is, you know, like I won’t acknowledge a reason like he’s pretty.”

Having this explained to her, Leena hastily replied, “Ah, you mean that,” while still slightly flustered.

“It’s hard to speak in the words of man. Nellis, what do you think I mean by ‘beautiful’?”

Having her question answered with another made Nellis be the one who was at a loss for a reply. “Ummm,” she said and folded her arms, her hazel eyes looking up at the sky. Leena let out a small sigh of relief. Fin observed this reaction and inwardly asked in suspicion.

[What’s wrong?]

All of a sudden, Leena sprung up. This wasn’t limited to just in her mind; her body jumped up in reality. Fin’s eyes widened even more and Leena turned bright red.

As these two were in such an awkward situation, an unexpected help showed up.

“He~y, little lady.”

Varte called, so Nellis twisted her body and gave a sarcastic response.

“You know that there are two ladies here, right?”

“Talkin’ to the flyin’ lady.”

His hand motioned, “Come, come.” The corners of Nellis’ mouth turned down and she grumbled, “Then, say the name,” in a low voice.

“Looks like he’s calling for you, Leena. Let’s go.”

Leena bobbed her head up and down and ran over to Varte, saved from this situation. Fin titled his head as he followed after her.

Varte looked at all three with a stunned face.

“What? In the end, all of ya showed up. Well, whatever… Ey, little lady, do you think you can start a tiny fire for me?”


Leena looked confused. When she looked over, there was dried grass and sticks gathered in a small pile in front of Varte. He was dangling a piece of cheese he stabbed at the end of his knife over it.

“I got a little hungry and thought about puttin’ somethin’ together. But, the only thing we got that can be eaten right away is some old, hard cheese. Rather than just chewin’ on it, I thought about warmin’ it up a bit to make it tastier. Luckily, the wind’s nice today, and I don’t got to worry about startin’ a wildfire in these parts. I’m sure that with your help, we could get a fire started like nothin’.”

Varte’s faced asked, “What d’ya think?” as Leena looked at him. Nellis was amazed and was about to joke around, saying, “Want me to lend you a flint then?” when Leena replied with an embarrassed look before Nellis could open her mouth.

“If I do, I might end up burning this whole area. Of course, that includes you and your cheese.”

“…That would be a problem.”

Varte was disappointed and scowled at the cheese. Should he just chew on this cheese as bland as some brother here? Or should he bother to start a fire with some flint?

But, he didn’t need to deliberate on it for long. Leena turned to Fin and said these unexpected words.

“But, Fin can do it.”


Everyone except for Leena voiced their surprise. Max who happened to be sitting nearby and everyone else in the group including Oandus’ family looked over at him. Fin was troubled by everyone’s gaze.

“That’s… It’s been said that the ancient Dragon Lord Rofurus could manipulate fire, but Leena, you’re Deia’s dragon, right?”

Of course, if Fin was asked if he could manipulate light, he would have to deny.

However, Leena grinned, lightly pulled Fin’s hand, and brought him before Varte.

“Light and fire are very similar. Of course, you cannot control it as well as Gens’ family, but it should be enough to create a little fire.”

[It’s fine, Fin. Focus your mind on the bond.].

Leena’s voice whispered. Although Fin was puzzled, he relied on the voice and concentrated inside himself. Just like when he practiced with his sword, he calmed his heart and opened the door to the depths of his mind.

A deep fountain of who knows how deep was there. Light gushed forth from this dizzying distance.

[Right, sense the power. Here…inside of you.]

Fin unconsciously closed his eyes. He could vividly sense the flow of light spreading through every corner of his body. When he focused, the flow wavered and made a comfortable sound.

[Slowly bring that narrow flow out. … Right, concentrate on a point.]

Even though his eyes weren’t opened, he could see what was happening outside. He sensed the stones spread out by his feet, each one of the thin blades of grass, and the pulses of people’s bodies as if they were all touching his skin. Leena guided Fin’s consciousness from some unknown direction.

Fin moved his focus and carefully concentrated the light flowing inside him at the pile of dry grass in front of Varte.

Before long, a light flickered inside the dry grass, and in the next moment, a flame licked up the whole pile. The noise in his ears caused him to open his eyes, and he saw a small fire was already cackling. Including the fire-starter Fin, everyone looked like their souls had left their bodies. They stared with dumbfounded—but…

“Ah, the cheese! Mr. Varte, quickly, hurry up!”

Nellis’ voice brought Varte back to his senses and he quickly held the cheese over the fire. In the first place, lighting the fire wasn’t the goal; it was what came after.

The delicious scent wafted through the air, causing the saliva to build up in Fin’s mouth. It was the same with Max as he leaned forward and greedily looked at the knife’s tip. Varte noticed that everyone’s attention switched from the Dragon Lord’s marvelous power to his own puny piece of cheese, and he quickly began to vigilantly fidget.

Then, Verdant Mist’s bright laughter was heard from behind. It appeared that he had seen everything.

“Varte, looks like you woke up everyone’s stomachs. It can’t be helped. Roast these as well.”

He said, searched through his bag, and took out what like looked like hard rods.

“It’s kakar,” he got straight to the point and threw them into the fire. “It’s like those twice-baked hardtacks you army corps soldiers carry on you. It lasts for a while, and you can eat it even if you don’t got any fire or water around.”

When it gave off a fragrant and slightly sweet scent, Verdant Mist retrieved it, broke it into pieces, and distributed them to everyone. When he handed the last piece to Fin, he smiled as he said.

“You did well for your first time.”

“Can you also start a fire?”

Fin asked as he rolled the hot kakar in his hand.

“No,” Verdant Mist replied.”I can extinguish one, but it’s not very practical.”

He signaled with his look for Fin to just eat the kakar, so Fin did exactly that. It wasn’t wheat bread but seemed to be kneaded with some kind of bean or fruit butter. There was something like dried gooseberries or strawberries inside, giving it a sweet and sour taste. It also softened from the heat.

After he looked at the fire he created with the help of Leena, he returned his gaze back to Verdant Mist.

“How long have you been bonded with your dragon?”

“Much longer than you. That’s why I can disclose some stuff to you. Right, I believe…”

Was he talking to his dragon through his heart? After some time, he nodded.

“Right, sixty years. More precisely, fifty-nine years and eight months.”


Fin widened his eyes and was at a loss for words.

Sixty years? But, Verdant Mist looked to be at most still in his thirties. He had some noticeable wrinkles because of the exposure to the harsh nature, but if you were to account them to age, he would be at most in his forties. Even if someone was mistaken, they wouldn’t see him as more than fifty.

Furthermore, if he really did form his bond over sixty years ago, his actual age would have to be…

“If you’re asking about my age, I think I should be eighty-seven this year. I’m starting to lose track.”

“Oh, how could that be?”

Fin was taken aback, but Verdant Mist showed a playful look.

“I’ve heard that the king of the Fidae tribe currently living in Orgenia is a first-generation Dragon Lord. In that case, he should be close to a thousand years old. Being eighty shouldn’t be much of a surprise.”

“Normally, you would be surprised.”

This had already surpassed Fin’s realm of imagination, so he had replied half dumbfounded. There was no way he could have ever imagined that there was a Dragon Lord who had continued to live for over a thousand years. At that level, they probably couldn’t even be considered the same as a human.

“You won’t be surprised anymore now. You’ve become another step smarter,” Verdant Mist laughed. “Leena is also still young. While there may be plenty that you don’t know or stuff that will confuse you, there’s no need to worry. You’ll have mountains of time to get familiar and learn everything.”

Was he optimistic or was he trying to comfort? There was none of that in this collected tone. Fin absentmindedly looked over at his family on the lower slope.

Mountains of time. Longevity that exceeded human capability and understanding.

Fin still didn’t know if this was considered a blessing from the dragon or the heavy price for the bond.

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