Editor(s): Speedphoenix, Joker
The evening was a fun one. It started out as a casual, alcohol-fueled meet and greet, but as experienced party goers, the dragons weren’t about to let it end at just that. They showed off their party tricks and pulled all sorts of different shenanigans in order to keep the evening every bit as entertaining as I could’ve ever hoped.
Rhodunus saw and took the opportunity to approach us once the night started winding down. He was clearly drunk off his ass. His face was red as hot iron, and he even seemed to stumble a bit as he lumbered his way over. But even so, it was clear from the look on his face that he wanted to talk about something serious.
“I would like… to ask just one thing of you, Dragonlord.”
“Sure, what’s up?”
“In the case that you see any younglings running rampant in the outside world, could you try… speaking to them?”
“You want me to talk them down or something?”
“Yes… yes. If it is possible, I would like you to speak to them… to advise them not to cause so much trouble for others,” he said. “I am fairly certain that they will be… inclined to listen to your words given the… nature of your position.”
While I didn’t have any particular feelings about the request, Lefi was clearly unhappy with it. She stopped headpatting Enne, who had fallen asleep on her lap, and gave him a sharp glare.
“Enough of your selfish pleas, Rhodunus. If you wish to see the younglings pacified, then seek them out yourself,” she snarled. “I see no reason for my husband to clean up after your mistakes.”
“Your argument is… justified,” said the older dragon. “That is why I do not mind if you dismiss the request as an old lizard’s ramblings and forget… forget that we ever had this conversation.”
Lefi seemed rather keen on screaming at the village’s elder, so I lightly tapped her on the shoulder to tell her to stop freaking out.
“I don’t mind hearing you out, at least,” I said.
“Thank you…” Rhodunus bowed his head. “Let us begin by addressing the village’s… largest problem. We suffer from a case of divided opinions.” He frowned. “There is a rift between the younglings’ thoughts and the thoughts of those of us who have lived… long enough to become ancient dragons.”
“Does this loop back into that whole thing we were talking about when we were hanging around in the cave near the top of the mountain?”
“Yes… it does. We, the elders, seek stability while the younglings seek… change. The attitudes with which we approach our lives differ greatly enough to encourage them to rebel. And while not all are so defiant, it is common for the younger ones to grow sick of us and leave.”
I understood his point. The problem was one that transcended race and affected far more than just the dragons. Older individuals had the tendency to prefer the status quo, whereas younger ones preferred stimulation from new and exciting activities. That was simply how the world worked. But with that said, the particular situation that dragonkind was faced with was more nuanced than it was elsewhere.
Because unlike many other races, dragons only grew more powerful with time.
This world was one in which every individual would passively grow more powerful as their bodies acclimated to and accrued a greater number of magical particles. Their overly lengthy lifespans led dragonkind to serve as the epitome of this sort of behaviour. It was precisely this phenomenon that drove every regular dragon to eventually evolve into an ancient one.
Lefi’s over the top power level stemmed from her identity as the sole dragon born as an ancient. Her affinity for magical particles had been through the roof from the get go. Passively acclimating even further was what had turned her into the unstoppable force she was today.
In other words, the younger dragons that sought to rebel were never capable of growing powerful enough to overthrow their predecessors. Though their paradigms of thought clashed, they could never under any circumstances have their way. It wasn’t like the older dragons were actually really forcing anything upon the younger generation, but that did nothing to stop them from being discontent. Yay long lived race problems! Woohoo!
“It is not always a problem if the younglings depart. Many, like Leficios, continue to… hold reason in high regard. And I do not mind if the rational ones live however they please. But the incident has led many who I am more… concerned about to leave us.” He shook his head from side to side. “The individuals who were on especially good terms with Gyogarr all share in his tendency to look down upon the races.”
So basically, what you’re telling me is that the shithead I killed has got his own faction, huh? What a pain in the ass… It didn’t take being a wise old dragon to figure that allowing the immature, younger dragons to go from a position of powerlessness to one of overwhelming superiority was a recipe for disaster. They were sure to power trip and go on a series of mindless, destructive, arrogance-driven rampages.
“And I think you mentioned that you guys aren’t wrangling them in yourselves because you’d end up basically going to war with yourselves and whatnot?”
“Yes… but there is more to it than that. Even in the case that they do not band together and start a larger scale conflict, the more rebellious younglings will refuse to return unless forced to yield in battle.” The scent of alcohol filled the air as he heaved a heavy sigh. “And if that were to happen… if a battle between dragons was to occur… then it would not be unlikely for a country, or even a civilization, to be destroyed in the process. That exact scenario has played out many, many times throughout this world’s history. It is largely our fault. We are… incapable of properly restraining our power.”
The mention of a dragon’s inability to hold back reminded me of Lefi’s countless plate-breaking shenanigans. She had shattered a countless number for that exact reason. His logic more or less seemed sound. If a pair of dragons with overwhelming power clashed, and neither was particularly good at reigning in their strength, there was sure to be no end to the amount of collateral damage caused. Any members of the races that happened to be in the area would have no choice but to simply take a laissez faire approach and allow Lady Luck to control their fates. The crossfire would be so wide-ranged and destructive that seeking shelter was meaningless.
Ancient dragons were particularly problematic. Their attacks were so powerful that they may as well be nuclear. A single wayward breath was enough to completely and utterly annihilate an entire city.
“…I’ll try, but just saying, I’m weak as shit compared to you guys, and I’ve got no intention of putting my own life on the line.”
I had no intention of becoming some sort of saint or martyr, nor was I capable of fighting tooth and nail for the sake of any given random group of people the way Nell was. Like, seriously. So I’m a Dragonlord, so what? It’s not like that means every dragon’s gonna start obeying me unconditionally. The moment one tries getting violent is the moment I nope the fuck out. ‘Cause yeah, fuck that.
“I understand,” said Rhodonus. “Not many will be so easily convinced, given that many of those who have left are of… a poorer temperament. That is why I would like to present you with this… a gift.”
The old dragon opened up his inventory and retrieved a long, thin stick from the resulting crack in space. The entire shortspear was made out of the same dark, unidentifiable material from tip to butt, and was so dull and lacking in decoration that I’d almost mistaken it for a cane at first.
“What… is this thing?” I muttered under my breath as I took it from him.
The sensation of it in my hands only left me even more confused. It was hard enough for me to think of it as something metallic, but that wasn’t quite the right way to describe it, as it lacked the sort of lustre that even an older piece of metal would give off. The metal theory was further disproved by the wood-like smoothness that the material featured. Is it made of… bone?
“It is the Divine Spear… a legendary weapon made from the bones of God,” said Rhodunus. “Do you recall the human dragonlord we spoke of…? Larren Fergarde Rehnn?”
“He was once its wielder…” The dragon raised his head and looked towards the night sky. “The old tales say that a single swing is said to split… to divide the heavens, to force the earth to quake, and to tear the seas asunder.”
The claim seemed a bit exaggerated, so I took a quick look at the weapon and analyzed it for good measure.
Divine Spear: ???
But it told me nothing. The only thing that I learned from staring at the weapon was that it had an odd sense of presence. Its very existence almost seemed to come with some sort of abnormal weight and pressure.
“I’m basically drawing a blank. Has it got any details for you?” I asked Lefi, who had also joined me in analyzing the odd polearm.
“It does not. I am unable to decipher anything at all,” she said, as she regarded the weapon with a stern, cautious gaze. “I can tell you only one thing, Yuki, and that is that the Divine Spear is an incredibly fearsome weapon indeed.”
Well then. If even she’s got zilch, then I’m pretty sure it’s safe to say that this thing is analyze-proof. ‘Cause she’s pretty much got this world’s most supercharged Analyze skill. Soooo… yeah.
The only real clues came from its name and supposed origin story. Though I wasn’t all that keen on blindly believing something so far-fetched, I was starting to feel that both claims had a fair bit of clout.
“The old tales state that Dragonlord Larren used the spear to pacify… subdue the dragons of old and bring peace to the land,” continued Rhodunus. “It isn’t possible for us to use it. Our forms… do not allow for it. But you, I’m sure, can put it to use. Please… Please treat it with care. It is one of our greatest treasures.”
“Uhm… are you sure I can have it? I mean, I appreciate the thought, but if it’s that valuable…”
Errr, scratch that. I don’t actually really even appreciate the thought. This thing scares me. Something about it just seems off. It seems like the kind of weapon that curses you for swinging it around all willy-nilly. You’d probably need some serious resolve to not incur the penalty, if you know what I mean.
“Yes… yes, you may. When Larren passed down the spear, he told us that it was to be given to the next member of the races that was capable of enduring… surviving the hardship that comes with the acquisition of the Dragonlord’s title.”
I couldn’t say I didn’t appreciate the nature of the request, as it seemed like the guy genuinely wanted to look out for the next person to mirror his achievements, but I highly doubted I would be able to put his divine armament to good use. Whatever the case, I felt like I couldn’t exactly refuse, so I awkwardly tried to act like I was happy with the gift as I put it away. I already know Enne’s going to sulk the moment she sees this thing…
“Alright…” I frowned. “I didn’t actually want to become Dragonlord or anything, but what’s done is done. I’ll keep the spear around, and what you said about the younger dragons in mind. Just, don’t expect too much, alright? Since, you know, I still highly doubt I’ll be able to casually beat up a dragon.”
“Calling out to them will be… more than enough. Thank you, King, for hearing my request.”
He bowed, deeply. The drunk old man that had greeted me was no more. The expression and conviction he faced me with had transformed into that of a guardian whose concerns lay with the children that he sought to care for.