14-34. Wyvern Kingdom (1) Road to the Dragon Shrine
Satou's here. Inrou was the key item in a famous historical drama, but when I was a child, I thought that the item was only something that appeared in that historical drama. I was surprised when I saw it was used to put Inkan in my grandfather's house.
"--Hero is it?"
"Hee, Pochi is a hero huh."
Evening of the day Pochi defeated a lesser dragon and got the Hero title, I called Liza and Arisa to have a parent meeting.
I was thinking of calling Hikaru too, but since she said she was going to attend a banquet in Shiga Kingdom's Royal Capital, I decided to tell her about it later.
"Master, does Pochi know of that fact?"
"No, I haven't talked to her yet."
I shook my head to reply Liza who asked seriously.
"Ah~, then isn't it better if we keep it a secret from her for now? Pochi is careless y'see."
"I also agree with Arisa. I'm worried if Pochi would feel conceited with the 『Hero』 title."
Looks like the two have the same opinion as me, thinking that there are many demerits in telling Pochi about the title [Hero].
In the end, we decided to keep it a secret until Pochi grew up a bit and became a bit more composed.
"Come to think of it Master, what's the advantage of the 『Hero』 title?"
"Well, I don't really know."
I shook my head to answer Arisa's question.
"I only felt 『My body feels a bit lighter I think?』 somehow even if I changed my title."
I answered Arisa who seemed surprised.
In truth, with my maxed parameters I wouldn't have no way of knowing even if the title changed them.
We can probably understand such a change by observing Pochi's battles.
"Hm~m, then what do you think is the condition to get the title? There are three cases, Master, Shin-kun and this time it's Pochi, so you should know it somehow right?"
--I wonder about that?
I fought a greater demon, Shin boy fought a red rope monster, and Pochi defeated a lesser dragon to get the title [Hero].
The enemies' strength are lower, higher and about the same, there's no common ground.
Shin boy and Pochi fought one-on-one battles, but in my case, I was fighting together with soldiers and magicians of the territorial army.
At the very least, my case didn't meet the condition of [Hero title is located between the point of life and death] that Zen said.
"I can't think of a common denominator...."
Arisa sighed disappointingly when she heard that.
I'll ask about Hero title to Hikaru and Earl Muno later.
"Here come meat~?"
"Cast a net and they come biting nanodesu."
The two who're not allowed to eat meat for two days are looking at the four incoming wyverns with glints on their eyes full of appetites.
This country has early summer climate, so Tama and Pochi are wearing short-sleeved sailor uniforms.
Since Pochi fought an enemy of equal strength in the Blue territory, breaking the prohibition, she was punished by having meals with no meat.
Tama didn't particular do anything bad to get a punishment, but for the reason, "Tama didn't stop Pochi even though she's the onee-chan", she undertook the punishment together with Pochi.
Or rather, this is the first time I hear that Tama's position is as Pochi's big sister.
Further, I don't tell the two that there won't be a punishment as long as the creatures prohibited from being hunted, a lesser dragon in this case, don't die.
"You shouldn't hunt those wyverns."
"Pochi can't nanodesu?"
"Look, see them closer."
The ones coming toward our airship which has entered Silga Kingdom, also called the Wyvern Kingdom in the eastern countries, are the force of this countries, Wyvern Riders.
I lead the line of sight of Pochi who inclined her head, pointing at the knights riding on the wyverns' back.
"It's like Pochi and Lyuryu nanodesu."
She probably likened them with the lesser dragon Lyuryu who's become her dragon ride and herself.
Pochi's line of sight that are looking at the Wyvern Riders suddenly changed to feeling of camaraderie.
The riders seem to be called Red Scalekin who have red scales on the base of their necks and arms, they also have lizard-like tail. Scalekin such as Red Scalekin and Lizardfolk are the majority of people in this country.
Zena-san and Liza appeared from the lower floor, and then Liza took Tama and Pochi back inside.
It can't be helped since the beastfolk girls aren't supposed to be with us.
"Shiga Kingdom's airship! What is your purpose for coming to our country!"
The rider on a wyvern's back shouted loudly.
I replied after Zena-san who's beside me invoked [Wind Whisper].
"This is the airship of the vice minister of Shiga Kingdom's Tourism Ministry, Satou Pendragon. Our purpose is touring, we wish to have a courtesy visit at Silga royal castle."
The expressions of the knights wearing flying helmets look perplexed, it seems they don't know the word touring.
"We accepted the matter of courtesy visit to His Majesty. We will send a herald ahead."
With a sign from a knight, one of the Wyvern Riders fluttered its wings to the direction of the royal castle.
I saw a small shadow between the clouds in the distant.
"For your own safety, we will guide you on a safe route and also advise you to lower your altitude. At this height--"
When the knight was talking, the black shadow I found earlier broke through the clouds and gradually became bigger, it got close to the airship in a blink of an eye.
The other three Wyvern Riders besides the captain ran away since their wyverns were panicking.
It seems the captain couldn't control his wyvern too as they also escaped.
"It's a lesser dragon."
The lesser dragon spread its wings in front of the airship, making a sudden brake.
"Satou-san, it's dangerous."
Zena-san spreads her arms and stands in front of me.
She moved like an escort would, but Zena-san's legs are trembling before the lesser dragon.
I thought she had gotten used to it since she rode Lyuryu with Pochi, but it seems the circumstance is different compared to a tamed lesser dragon (Lyuryu).
The air turbulence from the dragon's sudden braking reaches the airship.
The airship's stabilizer is doing its best to stabilize the frame, but the turbulence seems to be too much.
I invoke [Magic Arm] magic and seize the hull to stabilize the airship.
I tried to use the remaining [Magic Arm] to prevent Zena-san's skirt from getting disheveled, but since the magic's finesse is low in exchange for more power than the usual [Magic Hand], I couldn't do it well.
Zena-san was focused on the lesser dragon, and since her underwear wasn't showing, I deemed it good enough.
Just having her beautiful thighs seen is alright isn't it.
After stabilizing the airship, I clap Zena-san's shoulders to loosen her.
I've remodeled this airship with magic after we went out of Shiga Kingdom, so it won't fall behind a lesser dragon, though it will be a different story against a real dragon. Putting aside offensive power, its defensive power equals to Lulu's.
While groaning, the lesser dragon glares at us with a face that looks like a junior high schooler who's looking for a fight.
Unfortunately these dragons don't have language so we can't have a conversation.
"Satou, what happened--wait, isn't that a lesser dragon."
Then, Hikaru appeared.
Hikaru instantly grasped the situation and then she points her forefinger at the lesser dragon.
"You there! You shouldn't pick a fight without reason!"
Her tone is like a teacher who's scolding a kid.
The lesser dragon is slightly daunted.
--Right, I wonder if the talisman made from heavenly dragon's scale would work?
I made it for the mysterious apostle's prevention, but since it didn't work at all, I tried taking it out.
The lesser dragon looked at me wonderingly, but then it ran away while making a voice that sounded like a scream.
My image of the heavenly dragon is that she's quite lacking, but it seems she's quite high in the dragon's hierarchy.
She'll get scared if I go there myself, so I'll make a full course from the tasty naga and ask Hikaru to deliver it to her.
After a bit, the Wyvern Riders came back and then they escorted us to Silga Kingdom's Royal Capital.
The airship is cruising with speed for use in foreign territories, so it's probably going to be nightfall when we arrive.
I'm sorry for the high-speed wyverns, but they'll have to keep us company at this slow pace.
Silga Kingdom is a largish country that's twice as vast compared to all other eastern countries we've passed through so far.
Compared to Shiga Kingdom, I guess it's around 50% of Seryuu Earldom or about 10% of Muno Earldom?
According to the Tourism Ministry document, most of the territory is composed of wetlands, fishing industry such ash fish, kelp, frogs and water plants raising in the wetlands are mode predominant than agriculture.
Compared to other countries, it seems there are a lot of people who are born gifted with water magic and earth magic hereditary.
People with the former helps in the fishing industry, while people with the latter can gain a high social position compared to other element users since they can compensate the lack of material needed to build buildings in the country.
It sounds like the country would also have fuel problem, but it seems they're raising water plants that produce great amount of oil content.
Lots of frog and snake monsters are living in the wetlands, these monsters become the fodder for the strongest force of Silga Kingdom, the Wyvern Rider's wyverns.
The capital of Silga Kingdom we're heading at is located on the foot of a rigorous mountain towering over those wetlands.
Around 10 lesser dragons have settled down on the top of that mountain and they've become the objects of Silga Kingdom people's faith.
It appears there's a Dragon Shrine halfway up on the mountain which doesn't exist in other countries.
Compared to large countries, there are a lot of knights at upper level 30s in this Silga Kingdom.
Most of them are Wyvern Riders, the princes and the king seem to be parts of the knights as they dabble in military affairs.
There are four people who are past level 40 including the king and the princes.
The king isn't decided from lineage or heritage, it's said that the hero chosen by the dragon becomes the king.
Although, in actuality, the king usually comes from from five houses called the Five Scale House who have anti-dragon weapons, there's never been a case where someone from the masses becomes a king.
"This place is warmer than the solitary island's palace isn't it."
"You're right, it feels more like a summer than early summer even though it's quite high in elevation."
I replied so to Liza who's partly closing her eyes toward the warm sunlight.
Since Silga Kingdom's Royal Capital is right beside the lesser dragon's mountaintop, I've come with Liza ahead of time before the airship arrives.
Tama and Pochi also wanted to go, but since I saw a lot of meat skewers and grilled fish stalls when I checked with [Clairvoyance] beforehand, they opted to stay behind.
It must be hard to be among the meat--.
"This place is lively isn't it."
On the road that looks like the road to the shrine often seen in Kyoto, a lot of stalls are lined up on the twisting hill road that's around two meter wide, selling various handicrafts and light meals.
This road is connected to the Dragon Shrine on the side of the mountain, so it's not [Looks like] but it's actually one.
A lot of the pedestrians are of Scalekin. A lot of them are of Lizardfolk kin, Snakehead kin, Red Scale kin, Orange Scale in, Blue Scale kin.
Humans and Beastfolk are also present, but they're relatively few compared to the Scalekin.
The Red Scale kin, Orange Scale kin and Blue Scale kin don't look different compared to humans other than the colorful scales on their nape of their necks and their arms, and having a tail on their lower back though, so at a glance it almost like there are a lot of humans here.
A lot of local people are wearing bold clothing with exposed stomachs and upper arms, their skirts are short and they're wearing sandals under their feet.
"Master, I feel line of sights clad with bad presences. Please don't be too far apart from me."
"You don't have to be that worried, it's alright okay."
I denied Liza's worry with a smile.
The presences she's sensing is glances clad with passion from the Lizardfolk kin men.
Apparently, Liza is an owner of considerable attractiveness according to Lizardfolk's sense of beauty.
Lots of them are glancing, but there's none who calls out to Liza.
They're probably overawed by the intimidating air from the cautious Liza.
Among the pedestrians, a Snakehead woman wearing troubadour-like clothing is reciting something with a mysterious reverberating voice in an open space to the side of the road.
"--Shariui who escapes from the suppression of the mad king Galtafut. Led to the wetlands by the 『Original Witch』 whose fate is linked to men--"
I've seen the name mad king Galtafut in Shiga Kingdom's history book, although I don't remember the detail.
A young king from about 400 years ago who was famous for oppressing demi-humans.
If I'm not mistaken, it's related to Hero Daisaku's retirement to Boruenan Forest.
"--ancient dragon, the master of the wetlands, asks Riui. 『Dost thou be my sacrifice, or perhaps dost thou be a warrior who challenges me.』. Riui replies saying 『We are wanderers. We seek for a place we can live in peace』--"
Ancient dragon should be a grade of dragon the likes of the black dragon Heiron and the heavenly dragon.
There's none of such in these outskirts at least, so either the dragon has left or the story has been dramatized.
The story advanced while I was thinking such a thing, the scene where Riui the wanderer fighting the ancient dragon was next.
The fight continued for three days and nights, in the end the morning light reflected from Riui's sword at the ancient dragon created an opening, and the fight ended when the dragon's eye was gouged and he was bathed in the dragon's blood.
I probably shouldn't retort that size-wise that's impossible.
It's hard to throw away my habit to verify things scientifically.
Liza who likes tales is staring at the poet seriously like when she's listening to a picture book's recitation.
"--The ancient dragon speaks heroically while shedding blood. 『O small one who hath wounded me. I bestow thou the king's throne and this land. My followers will watch over thine descendants. However, do not ever forget. The moment a king loses his power befitting of a king and his nobility, my followers will deprive thou of thine kingship and territory』--so the ancient dragon announced, and bestowed fangs, claws and thorns to the wanderer king Riui. King Riui created arms from each of those and gave them to his close friends. This is the beginning of Silga Kingdom's Five Scale Houses as it was handed down."
The poet concludes the story, the last reverberation trails.
The audiences give down generous applauses and incessantly pour down modest money offering on the poet.
I also throw her a silver coin.
It's a money I got from the country we visited before, the timing is just right.
I waved my hand to the poet who bowed when she saw the silver coin, and then we advanced toward the Dragon Shrine.