Ashes and Kingdoms v2 2-3

<A Message from the translator:> Honestly, I’m not sure about the gender of all the dragons besides Leena. Welp, if I’m wrong, I’ll just have to go back and fix everything.

2-3. Night on the Mountain Range

Fin decided to get some training from Verdant Mist that night.

He didn’t neglect his training even after settling down in Comillis as he had sessions with his comrades, but since the former army corps soldiers had sold their shields and armor, they lost their earnestness since they thought that they would never use their remaining swords and bows ever again. That was understandable since they didn’t think they would ever return to the army corps. Fin also wished to live a peaceful life, so he couldn’t deny that he had become a little lax in terms of mentality and physicality.

Verdant Mist was strict on those points.

What this man taught wasn’t the army corps standard or the ancient swordsmanship Fin was taught in Vitia; instead, it was wild fighting style of the Salda tribe.

The two continued the swordsmanship training for some time, but by the time one or two of Fin’s comrades fell asleep, Verdant Mist worried about the sound and switched to hand-to-hand combat. In any case, they couldn’t do any flashy movements, so the two carefully and silently controlled each action. For someone who had trouble getting accustomed to moves, Fin was very grateful.

By the time Fin understood that Verdant Mist was a formidable opponent at unarmed combat, he was completely exhausted. He flopped down on the grass and murmured out of breath.

“I remembered an old aphorism: Never let your guard down even if the Salda’s unarmed.

“And these two hands are empty because of your life and money, y’know? No matter how excellent of a thief I can be, I doubt I’ll be able to grab any money, let alone a life, with these hands.”

Verdant Mist wasn’t offended and lowly laughed. Fin could only show an ambiguous expression and silently looked up at the night sky. Since there was no moon out, the stars were dazzling.

As Fin unconsciously searched for the constellations among them, he was suddenly struck with an idea and said.

“I do have one request.”

“What was it?”

“Do you think you can…avoid telling my family about your age, if possible? Now is still…”

Fin was vague at the end, so Verdant Mist only stared at him for a while. Then, he suddenly showed a faintly bitter smile.

“I understand. But, I’m not gonna hide it. They’ll learn eventually.”


Fin gave a short reply and got up. When he looked over at his family sleeping around the bonfire, he felt as if his chest was being squeezed. There may no longer be a place for him beside that warm flame… While he left that circle of light, he didn’t sink straight into darkness. Instead, he sat down and held his knees at the border of the two and felt a strange sense of loneliness. If he extended his hand out now, he could still reach his family. But, one day…

(Stop that. There’s nothing you can do about it even if you keep thinking that way.)

Fin shook his head and let out a small sigh. Even if he got pessimistic now, it wouldn’t change the future. If he was going to inevitably feel this anyway, it would be better to throw his bitter separation into some storeroom and lock it up.

(I could be together for them for now at least.)

Verdant Mist noticed that Fin had pulled himself together and suddenly changed topics.

“Have you ever fought a Salda before?”

“Eh? No, never. I saw one once in Nanais, but you’re the first one I ever talked to and fought against.”

Verdant Mist returned the surprised Fin with a nod and interested look.

“Then, you’ve been blessed with talent. You pick up things fast. You might even be able to completely learn our way of fighting during this winter.”

“I wonder.”

Fin only doubtfully tilted his head, unaware that he was being complimented.

“The soldiers who taught me swordsmanship also said that I learned quickly, but…while it was easy to learn the forms, mastering it was a different story. I’m just merely copying.”

“Still, it’s better than learning slowly. It’s important for you to move your body the way you want to. If you end up relying solely on your dragon’s power, you’ll in be trouble.”


Fin obediently nodded and shifted his gaze over to the darkness.

This place was similar to the rocky area they rested at noon, but there was a grove of trees nearby here. While the rocks shone faintly white in the starlight, there was only thick darkness beyond the trees. In the past, he would have been scared and urgently press for more light but not anymore.

(It’s all thanks to Leena.)

Keeping watch was much easier when wild beasts were the only danger out there.

Just when this was going to show on his face, it happened.


This strange sound was like it slightly scratched the night’s darkness. Fin was startled and gripped the sword at his waist. Blue lights flickered inside the darkness.


Fin grumbled and gasped, but Verdant Mist calmly continued to sit without moving. However, Verdant Mist soon noticed the difference in Fin’s attitude and raised an eyebrow.

Creakthump thumpcreak

The blue lights made small sounds as they loitered around. But, they didn’t seem to be approaching. The fear and chill that always came with them also didn’t creep on Fin this time.

As Fin was bewildered, the blue lights suddenly disappeared. Did some fox or wolf come to sneakily watch them? Fin anticlimactically dropped down again.

“What was that just now?”

“The Beasts of Darkness. Thought you knew about them,” Verdant Mist said frankly.

“They were different from the ones I knew,” Fin earnestly answered and cocked his head. “I didn’t feel that hatred and coldness. Whenever I had encountered them, I would always be assaulted by a tremendous power. There was this one exception, but when it approached me, I had frost on my eyelashes and it felt like it froze me down to my soul.”

“That’s true. So, you mean that the ones from the lowlands are different from the ones on the mountains.”

Verdant Mist nodded and looked at their surroundings.

“As you’ve seen, sunlight doesn’t really reach up here in the mountains. It’s constantly dark even during the middle of summer, so we live together with them. No, it would be better to say that we’re the ones avoiding the darkness while we coexist. That’s why the Followers of Darkness in the mountains do not harbor any violent hatred towards humans. Of course, we aren’t close friends, but our relationship isn’t where we’ll growl as soon as we smell the other.”

“It’s like another world here. If I didn’t see it with my own eyes, I would have never believed it.”

Fin sighed but noticed something, muttering, “Right.”

That was why the Salda tribe despised it when humans from the lower world would enter the mountains. In the lowlands, people would light blazing bonfires to prevent the approaching darkness at night and injure and chase away the Beasts of Darkness, so it was no wonder that they have grown to hate humanity. Such an attitude would negatively affect the Salda tribe who continued to live in the mountains.

It was easy to see the reason why there was a need to delay Dirgius’ 8th Army Corps from crossing the pass. The longer the night wears on, the stronger the power of darkness becomes. A confrontation between the Beasts of Darkness and the army corps as they forcible march through will happen.

“It looks like you understand.”

Verdant Mist grinned while Fin gave a small nod.

“So, we need to lower our heads to the darkness here, huh.”

“There you have it. Tell your friends about that too.”

Fin obediently nodded, “Yes,” to this request, but he was immediately suspicious why it had to be him. Maybe it was easier to speak between Dragon Lords, or maybe it was just added on after the training. But, he wasn’t the representatives of his comrades. Rather, that position would more appropriately fit Varte given his title and experience in the army corps.

Fin remembered when Max confused him for a higher-up in the army corps, and he scratched his head.

“Troubled by something?” Verdant Mist was suspicious and asked.

Fin answered, “No,” before slightly shrugging his shoulders. “I thought that maybe I have been acting too full of myself.”

This train of thought couldn’t be followed, so these words felt abrupt. Verdant Mist was momentarily taken aback, but he soon burst out into laughter. But, he held back from laughing too loudly.

“That’s not true. You’re composed, and I thought it would be easier to ask you since you’re quite understanding. It wasn’t an issue of pride or arrogance. Relax.”

“Is that so?”

Just as Fin was relaxed, thinking, “That’s fine,” Leena suddenly touched his heart.

[Right, Fin is very pretty.]

[…Well…I wonder about that.]

Fin wryly smiled. He knew even now that her “pretty” wasn’t simply referring to internal or external beauty. There was no way that she viewed humans the same way as they did. No matter how the people around Fin rated him, it didn’t really matter as he was her “pretty”.

[But, thanks.]

When he expressed his gratitude, he conversely felt a bit embarrassed. Fin involuntarily smiled, but he soon noticed Verdant Mist’s gaze, causing him to readjust his expression. Verdant Mist snickered and looked into the distance as if he could see Leena through Fin.

“Looks like you’ve got a nice relationship with Deia’s dragon.”

“Yes, I guess,” Fin mumbled and changed subjects. “That reminds me. Could you show me how your dragon looks?”

“Sorry, but he’s not one who’s very social. He’s only ever showed himself to me a handful of times. Besides, he’s a dragon of darkness. Just the Beasts of Darkness, you wouldn’t be able to clearly see his shape even if you know he’s there.”

Being told this, Fin recalled the nights in Nanais and shuddered. There was no way that human eyes could perceive the darkness. Therefore, even if he could see the Beasts’ eyes—those blue eyes, their form couldn’t be discerned. And even when they occasionally appeared in places the light can reach, the less you could perceive the longer you stared.

Fin looked over at Verdant Mist again and wondered exactly how this man managed to form a bond with such a dragon. But, asking such a thing would be discourteous, so he didn’t say anymore and looked out into the darkness.

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One response to “Ashes and Kingdoms v2 2-3”

  1. Thanks for the new chapter >w<)b


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