We turned back on the path that we first went down then came up, and started descending to the inner parts of the nest.
We thought of going through the big hole that the parent firedrake opened, but humans don’t consider a space with four still red-hot walls a path.
Looking at it like this, the hole that the offspring firedrake opened towards the outside some time ago looks like child’s play.
This one has almost twice the diameter and what’s most important, that one’s walls started cooling down and hardening within a few minutes.
Indeed, with only this much firepower, it couldn’t have made a nest this big yet.
Then again, it has enough firepower that would’ve been enough to kill us instantly without Beck’s 【Protect】.
This time we descend without using 【Stealthy Steps】, but I can’t say we don’t feel nervous this time either.
The reason for that is that the offspring firedrake is following while keeping an eye on us―― and also, beyond this point is the parent firedrake that Eremia witnessed.
While soaking our 〈Yatagarasu〉 uniforms in cold sweat from the inside, we turned the corner where we turned back last time.
From there it’s a straight line to the dwelling place of the parent firedrake.
In the dwelling place, there were a few bonfires burning.
It’s plenty bright even without 【Dark Vision】.
Illuminated by the flickering flames, the large build of the parent firedrake came into view.
Since it’s too big, we can only see up to its chest from here.
Even with just that it’s about twice as big as the offspring firedrake.
I felt that someone gulped.
I don’t know if it was Eremia, Donna, Beck, or maybe everyone.
Miguel said, almost groaning.
The offspring firedrake makes a ‘gugyaa’ sound behind us.
As an answer to that the parent firedrake lets out a low sound.
Most likely they were knock and ‘come in’ signals.
We step into the dwelling place of the firedrake.
Looking up at the parent firedrake, Donna lets her voice leak out.
The parent firedrake had a body height of about 7 meters.
If it extended its head, then it would most likely reach over the fortress walls of Ranzrack Fortress.
Also, there was a wyvern being held in its mouth.
It’s mealtime, apparently.
The firedrake spit out the wyvern towards its back and turned its gaze that gave off a feeling of intelligence in our direction.
《I was thinking that the fire spirits were restless, it turns out that we had some unexpected visitors.》
The parent firedrake’s voice resounds in my mind.
It’s moving its mouth too, but the words and the way its mouth moves is mismatched, it’s like I’m watching a dubbed foreign movie.
Donna said with her hand in front of her mouth.
It was only in a small voice, but it looks like it reached the ears of the firedrake.
《Cannibalism? You say some strange things.
These are our livestock.
They are living carefree lives under our protection and in exchange they consent to becoming our food from time to time.》
“I-is that so…….”
I whispered as I was taken aback.
I don’t really get the feeling of wanting to be protected even at the cost of being eaten, but if I’m told that, then I can only answer with an ‘is that so’.
I guess cattle and pigs don’t run away from humans either.
《Well then, humans.
I have to ask you some things.
Me and my offspring migrated here after confirming that this place is far from any human residence.
Why are you in this place?
Was there a community of people nearby?》
“Yes. There is community of humans living underground in a place not far from here.”
《Why do you live in an inconvenient location such as this?
I heard that humans can’t live a comfortable life without commerce.
If you especially live in a place like this then…… are you a group of sinful people that were rejected by other humans?》
That is exactly the case, but I was at a loss on how to answer.
At the same time as the firedrake mumbled, a surprising 【Appraise】 came flying.
I reflexively repel it.
However, the other four besides me didn’t even realize that 【Appraise】was used on them.
Only Eremia stirred a bit, but it looks like she didn’t realize what it was that was done to her.
The firedrake must be confirming the Statuses of the four of them, it’s nodding and from time to time lets out a sound.
If it were a human, it might have been mumbling ‘fumu fumu’.
It didn’t take long for the firedrake to think it over.
《I mostly understand the situation.
You are the most dangerous one.
To think that you would repel my 【Appraise】.
If I underestimate you based on your looks I might have a painful experience.》
The firedrake says this while observing me.
“Nah, I’m a genuine 10 months old baby, just as my looks suggest.”
“”””No way, no way!””””
The four of the youth group retort with perfect harmony.
You all sure get along well.
《――Also, the small one that is hiding there.
If you don’t mean any ill will, then show yourself.》
The eyes of the firedrake are gazing in the direction of Melby, who is currently staying on my shoulder.
“…..what should we do?“
“Can’t be helped, I guess.“
After I nodded Melby showed herself.
The one who was surprised by Melby’s sudden appearance was not the firedrake, but the four of the youth group.
“――I’m Melby. A fairy, as you can see.
Due to reasons, I’m traveling with Ed currently.”
Donna looks startled and she is looking back and forth between Melby and me.
“You still had an ace in the hole like that, huh, Fellow Believer Orochi.”
“Sorry about that. She was with me since before I was taken to〈Yatagarasu〉 , but the top brass of 〈Yatagarasu〉 can’t see her apparently, so I had her stay hidden.”
“The top brass can’t see fairies……?”
Eremia said like she was surprised.
I should say that as expected of a dark elf, Eremia looks like she knows about how ‘Evil people can’t see fairies’.
Looking at her expression, it looks like Donna also knows about it.
“At any rate, fairies aren’t able to hurt people, so she can’t help with the Sacred Duties of 〈Yatagarasu〉.
I thought it was best to have her hide her presence to avoid troublesome situations.”
Even I think it sounds very much like an excuse.
“I get it now.
When Fellow Believer Orochi was talking to himself from time to time, it was you talking to Melby-san, right?”
Eremia said like she came to understand something.
That was merely me talking to myself.
Since I’m speaking with Melby with 【Telepathic Communication】.
《Nevertheless, we generally don’t attack human children indiscriminately.》
“Ah, we know that.
This time it was our fault for stepping into the nest without permission.
Even though it was unavoidable, I also apologize for hurting your child.”
I answer like that as our representative.
《Those are the words of someone who is accompanied by a fairy, there is no need to doubt it.》
After saying that, the firedrake looked away from me and focused on the four youths one after the other.
Miguel is glaring back as a bluff, Eremia and Donna cast down their eyes, and Beck has closed his eyes to better endure the dread.
《Fumu. I can’t sense an evil presence from any of you.
The name 〈Yatagarasu〉 appeared, so I thought you were the same as those people, but maybe you are from somewhere else…..?》
The firedrake mumbled and went silent to ponder.
But in those words, there was a surprising detail.
“Firedrake, you know about 〈Yatagarasu〉?”
After I asked back like that, the firedrake said while observing my expression.
《……you don’t look like you are feigning ignorance.
Of course, I can’t say that I can perfectly read the expression of someone of a different race either.》
“What Ed said is true.
If I testify like this, then the wise firedrake-sama should be aware of what that means, right?”
The firedrake let out its voice while digesting Melby’s words.
《――Fairies don’t lie, was it.
I can’t doubt the words of the small one, but the truth of the situation can’t be concluded by whether it’s a lie or not.
There are people that cleverly deceive others without telling any lies.》
“You are very cautious, huh.
Even when you have overwhelming power at your disposal.”
《……you who is accompanied by a fairy.
We have enough reason to doubt.
If you want to clear my doubts, then accept my 【Appraise】.》
However, please keep the information about my Status to yourself.
Also, you will let me take a look too, right?“
《Hooh. You can not only repel it, but even use it yourself, you say.
Very well, do as you will.》
The firedrake and I use 【Appraise】 on each other.
Hidden behind me, Melby also uses 【Appraise】 on the firedrake.
The firedrake, who apparently had successfully taken a look at my Status is shocked, but first, let’s take a look at the result of my 【Appraise】.
《Agnia Eigelnheim（《Scorching Dragon》,《Master of the East Ridge》〔of Vulcano Peak〕）
Age 566 years old
Flame Breath ★★★★★
Acid Spray ★★★★★
〔Passive〕 Detoxification ★★★★★
〔Passive〕 Strong Immunity ★★★★★
〔Passive〕 Regeneration ★★★★★
【Dragon Language Invocation】9（ＭＡＸ）
【Dragon Fighting Techniques】９（ＭＡＸ）
【Fire Elemental Magic】７
【Dragon Scale Defense】９（ＭＡＸ）
【Dragon Claw Techniques】９（ＭＡＸ）
【Dragon Limb Combat】９（ＭＡＸ）
《Attention of the Fire Spirit》
《Blessing of the Dragon God》（Blessing of the Dragon God, Shutrabilm. Medium supplement to the acquisition and learning speed of Skills related to dragons. Medium supplement to the growth of abilities.）
I’m the one who wants to be shocked.
The reason why we couldn’t interfere with the Breath before was because the firedrake’s 【Spirit Magic】 Skill is higher level than mine or Melby’s.
We could interfere with the breath that happened right after we fell to the bottom of the chasm, but the second breath that served as a warning was probably modified in some way with 【Spirit Magic】 so we couldn’t interfere with it.
《I see it now. You were Atrazenec-sama’s apostle.》
‘Oi, don’t spoil it!’, is what I was thinking, but it seems the other four didn’t hear it.
“It seems she is relaying the 【Telepathic Communication】 through 【Spirit Magic】.“
Melby explained it to me like this.
I see. That way you can send your voice to even those that haven’t learned 【Telepathic Communication】.
《Atrazenec-sama’s apostle is together with a religious organization that worships the Evil God?
I imagine you have probably infiltrated it.》
“Something like that.“
I also start talking with 【Telepathic Communication】.
Since I was able to confirm that the firedrake also has 【Telepathic Communication】.
“This firedrake-san is not an evil being.
It can see me too and looking at it with 【Fairy’s Eyes】she has pure soul.”
If Melby says that much, then it’s probably alright to trust her.
“These children have been abducted from various places by 〈Yatagarasu〉.
Then in the Crow’s Nest ―― in the headquarters of 〈Yatagarasu〉they underwent a brainwashing education and were made to swear their loyalty to the organization.
Currently I’m trying to undo their brainwashing while accompanying them.
Of course, I don’t plan on letting〈Yatagarasu〉exist either.“
I briefly explain our situation to the firedrake Agnia.
The firedrake thoughtfully nodded, then turned to all of us and said.
《――In that case, I should tell you about it.
There were some people that were trying to abduct this offspring of mine.
Also, in some of their Statuses it was shown that they were members of 〈Yatagarasu〉.》
“It can’t be!”
Judging from how Eremia said this, it seems this time she said it so everyone could hear it.
This combination of 【Telepathic Communication】 and 【Spirit Magic】is extremely useful.
One doesn’t have to be a dragon to use it, all you need is 【Telepathic Communication】 and 【Spirit Magic】, so Melby and I can also learn to do it if we practice.
When we get back to the Nest it’s special training time with Melby.
“Perhaps……the reason why your child has learned 【Stealthy Steps】 was because of that?”
I thought it was because it was targeted by humans that it learned to hide its presence, but
《No, this offspring of mine liked hide and seek from the beginning.
Although it’s rare for a dragon, it seems he has an aptitude to hide his presence and sense others.
In turn, he is weak with Breath in spite of being a dragon.》
Saying that the firedrake smiled bitterly (I think).
There was a gentle light in the gaze of Agnia as she looked at her child beside her.
But even with a Breath that powerful, it’s still classified as being bad at it among the firedrakes, huh.
In exchange for that, this offspring dragon has the talent to become a scout, if it can erase its presence with the huge body of his and get in close proximity, then it’s many time more problematic for humans than a normal firedrake.
“Even so, there are some daredevils that try to attack you, huh?”
《I thought the same.
However, those humans all had outstanding abilities.
It would have been dangerous for this offspring of mine alone.
After I hastened there and brought down few of the humans they retreated very skillfully.》
“Among those, was there a man named Gazaine?”
《Gazaine……I don’t recall.
It wasn’t a fight where I had the time to memorise the results of 【Appraise】.
There was even a devil user amongst them.》
《Umu. I have lived for a long time, but this is the first time I’ve seen one too.
Judging by how he was using multiple medium level devils from the north pole, he must be quite a powerful practitioner.
I don’t think that was his full power either.》
Does that mean that he had energy to spare even when going up against the over 500 years old firedrake, Agnia?
“What about the others?”
《There were a few people with member of〈Yatagarasu〉written on their statuses and I’ve killed about half of them.
Among them there was one that had abilities that stood out from the rest of them, maybe that was that Gazaine you were asking about.
Other than that, there were a few black robed mages that looked like followers of the devil user.
They were also outstanding mages by human standards, but they failed to defend against my Breath, so about half of them died too after all.
Also, other than the few medium level devils that were summoned by the devil user―― there were a few hard to explain ones.》
“Hard to explain ones……?”
《How do I say it, they had an abnormal presence.
They gave off a presence different from monsters or people.》
“Didn’t you 【Appraise】 them?”
《Of course I did.
But, the result of 【Appraise】 was entire illegible.》
“Huh….? The result of 【Appraise】, illegible?”
《As you also possess the 【Appraise】 Skill you probably know, but 【Appraise】 is when you send a faint amount of mana with detection purposes, called ‘ping’, towards the internal mana of the target, and by analysing the response from that you make conjectures about the information of the target.
The precision and depth of this analysis and conjecture rise together with the Skill level.》
Hooh, so that’s how it worked.
So then, I thought it didn’t use any MP, but it turns out it just uses a ‘faint amount of mana’, huh.
I guess then, when that mana gets noticed by 【Mana Perception】 or 【Mana Detection】is when the 【Appraise】 gets exposed.
《However, on those hard to explain ones the analysis and conjecture didn’t work at all.
The Status screen was filled with garbage information, and even that was changing with the passage of time.
I haven’t seen a being like that so far in my entire life.》
Indeed, you can only describe that as ‘hard to explain’.
“Were those ones strong?”
《No, I didn’t fight with those ones that much.
But, from crossing my claws with them I don’t think they are that strong.
Of course the other ones that were there were considerably skillful, so only compared to them.
That’s right, you, who is accompanied by a fairy, if it was you, you could win against them, even if it wouldn’t be an easy victory.》
If we look at it in light of the standards of this world, then to a normal soldier or adventurer it would be a dangerous opponent, so I think it’s fairly strong…..
Nnn, they are really hard grasp.
“If that’s the case than does that mean that the ones who attacked your child was a group of 15 or 16?
A few 〈Yatagarasu〉 emissaries, the devil user and his followers, few of the hard to explain guys.
You said that those people tried to abduct your child, then got half destroyed by your counterattack, then retreated.
When did this happen?”
《It will soon be about month ago now.
After that attack I brought this offspring of mine and left our nest at the ridge and started looking for another place suitable for a new nest.
And so, this was the place where we arrived at, but―― to think that it was right next to where the headquarters of those people was, I can’t help but feel the irony of fate.
The proverb that says that the God of Fate is a cynical being might perhaps be the truth.》
The firedrake Agnia lets out a sound.
She is probably laughing, but when this huge body that we have to look up at lets out a sound like that it doesn’t sound like it’s done by a living being.
Donna even flinched.
“Does that mean that you gave up your nest?”
《Is there something strange about that?
We are a race that soars in the sky.
We create transient nests, but as opposed to humans, we are not tied to a plot of land.
If it becomes hard to live somewhere, then we just change or residence to somewhere else.
There is no need to voluntarily keep living in a bug infested house, right?》
I see. So they don’t even really care about those people.
《Then again, there are humans that revere us.
They are our dependents that, in exchange for our protection, serve us in minute matters that aren’t fit for the claws of dragons.
If those people don’t give up on abducting this offspring of mine, then the ones that danger will first befall upon will be our dependents that serve us.
There is also such a reason for our departure from the East Ridge.》
“Won’t your dependents think that they were abandoned?”
《When the nest settled, I planned on sending this offspring of mine.
These days they are most likely busy with preparing for the migration.
Agnia turned his black eyes towards Miguel.
Miguel is flustered, but even I was caught by surprise by this.
《You are a descendant of my dependents, the Zkornash people, right?
So why are you then a dog for a heinous organization like 〈Yatagarasu〉?》
“Kh….wh-what the hell, all of a sudden!
Don’t look down of 〈Yatagarasu〉!
I’m a Holy Emissary serving the Evil God-sama!
I heard that those Zkornash people chased my mom away anyway!”
Miguel answers with a red face.
As I thought――it was true, huh.
Miguel’s full name is Miguel Mittelt.
He got his family name from the middle name of Scarlet, Moria Mittelt Zkornash, who I met in the Adventurer’s Guild in Fauno City.
Also, Moria-san said that she is looking for her son, called Miguel.
With all those conditions being fulfilled, I thought it was impossible that it would be someone else with the same family and given name.
《Your mother was exiled――I see, your mother is that red haired twin sword user.》
“Wha-…..You know my mother!?”
《Your mother was exiled after committing a taboo of my dependents.
I don’t understand it, but I hear that beings that herd together have laws and systems that serve to protect the herd.
It’s unfortunate, but nothing can be done about it.
In fact, the ones that hated your mother was a portion of the priests, others liked her dearly.
Your mother――her name was Moria, I think.
Moria was an excellent warrior, so much so that she was tasked with guarding this offspring of mine.
Members of the herd tried to get Moria to stay, but Moria herself accepted the proof of her sin and decided to leave the herd.
I was greeted by her before she left the herd.
She was holding a newborn baby in her arms that time.
Donna let her voice out.
《It was most likely you, red haired young boy.》
I never wouldn’t have thought that the firedrake and Miguel’s mother knew each other.
In that case, I can’t keep that to myself either.
“Miguel, I have met your mom too.”
Hearing my words, Miguel looks at me surprised.
“Or rather, it seems that Moria-san partnered up with my mom and they were working as adventurers.
Moria-san said even now, that it’s her fault that Miguel disappeared.
She is searching for Miguel even now.
When I was abducted from Fauno City, Moria-san was also there in Fauno City.”
“Mom was……she was there that time, huh……”
When the mansion of Viscount Chrebl in Fauno City was attacked, the youth group was also there.
In other words, at that time, Moria-san and Miguel were in the same town.
《If your mission as an emissary is more important than your bond with your mother, then I won’t say anything.
However, your mother, even when she was branded as a criminal, she always faced her sin head on.
I don’t think that you, who has the blood of Zkornash in you, couldn’t do the same.》
The firedrake, Agnia, said this and she sent a meaningful gaze at me.
I get it now, she knew about his brainwashing, so she tried to shake things up from her position as a third party that knows about Miguel’s past.
As expected of someone that lived more than 500 years, she is quick witted.
《――Well then, with all these circumstances it turns out this place wasn’t a suitable place for a nest either.》
“…..are you going away?”
《If you say that 〈Yatagarasu〉 is the enemy of Atrazenec-sama, then how about I burn down the den of those people? Crow’s Nest, you called it?》
The one who reacted to the firedrake’s words was Donna.
Donna stepped forward in front of us and shouted with both her arms spread out.
“You, you can’t! Everyone is still there!”
《However, those are the comrades of the people that tried to abduct this offspring of mine?
You can’t really blame me if I decided to incinerate them to exact our revenge, right?》
“Th-that was…… they probably had some kind of reason for that!”
《Young girl of the beast people, then I ask you, what kind of reason could they possible have to be forgiven for trying to take away this innocent offspring of mine by force?》
Eremia stepped forward to switch with Donna, who was at a loss for words.
“――Evil God-sama, at times, orders us to do some things that seem evil at first sight.
However, that must be because of deep, special circumstances.
Firedrake-sama, please, would you believe in those special circumstances of Evil God-sama?”
《Who would believe that nonsense other than you people?
To begin with, if you say that people that are doing something that looks evil at first sight are not evil, then that means there is no evil in this world.
There are some cases where the outward appearance masks someone’s true nature, but in general, it’s normally accepted that an evil appearance is the result of an evil true nature, right?》
《Why is there a need to treat that Evil God as the only exception to this?
If there is a logical reason for that, then try and say it.
The Evil God is an existence that has given power to countless evil people and monsters and oppressed good people.
On what basis is he worthy of your faith?》
Eremia is biting her lips, looking vexed.
《――If you don’t have a basis which is enough to persuade me, then it’s just a waste of time.
I will burn down that Nest of yours and make this place our new dwelling place.》
“Even if you don’t do that, we could all get along――”
Donna says, almost crying, but
《Get along, you say? How could we get along with the people that tried to abduct this offspring of mine?
My nest and the Crow’s Nest is mutually exclusive.
Furthermore, since 〈Yatagarasu〉 is worshiping the Evil God, Monguenes, as someone who has received the Blessing of Dragon God-sama, I have to burn that place down after all.》
Donna started genuinely crying.
There, the firedrake sent me a meaningful gaze.
――It seems that’s really what she intends to do.
How quick witted is this dragon, really.
“――Could you wait a moment, firedrake Agnia.
Our comrades are still in 〈Yatagarasu〉.
When I say comrades, I don’t mean all of the emissaries.
Some of those fools that tried to abduct your child are probably mixed in there as well, but there are also those who are just children that believe in the teachings of the religious organization.
If you burn those children as well, then it will be you who committed evil this time.
The parents of those children will resent you.
Even if they were just kidnapped by 〈Yatagarasu〉 and they just happened to be in the Nest by chance.”
You say that a parent’s love for their offsprings is the same for both dragons and humans.
However, you should be aware.
I can’t stand idle when I know that the beings that tried to harm my offspring are this close by.》
“I understand your feelings very well.
I too was brought to the Nest via kidnapping.
My parents are probably worried sick right about now.
No, it probably won’t end up with just that.
Dad and mom are probably looking for me desperately.
So, I can imagine how you feel, even if not completely.”
《Then what do you suggest?》
“――I will catch those who tried to kidnap your child with my own hands.
Then I will expose their backgrounds and deal with them so they won’t be able to lay a finger on your child in the future.
So, would you give us some time?”
Ordinarily, I wouldn’t even consider what you say, but they are words from someone that is accompanied by a fairy.
Also, uncovering their backgrounds and bringing those who perform despicable acts behind the scenes in 〈Yatagarasu〉into the light is something I can’t do as someone who is not a human.
I will leave this matter in your hands, ――Edgar Chrebl.》
Saying that, the firedrake squinted one of her eyes.
A wink, maybe.
Yes, this series of exchanges was done in accordance with a scenario which me and the firedrake has cooked up, a type of theatrical play.
Agnia is thinking that if 〈Yatagarasu〉 will be crushed without fail, then it doesn’t matter if she is the one doing it, or she leaves it to me.
Burning down the Nest is certainly a method that is the least troublesome, but there is a chance of letting those emissaries slip through that aren’t currently in the Nest.
As a result, there is an undeniable chance that a part of the top brass would survive and rebuild the organization.
In that regard, it’s a much more reliable way to 「crush」 〈Yatagarasu〉for certain if I, a human, do it after a secret investigation.
Furthermore, Agnia understood my aim of trying to undo their brainwashing, so she vividly pointed out the outward characteristics of 〈Yatagarasu〉 to those four from a third party’s point of view.
That was something I couldn’t really do from my position.
No, if the 「third party」 was a simple human, then it would’ve probably been denied with the good old ‘deceived by the devil’ excuse.
However, Agnia is an over 500 years old firedrake, whose power the four of them experienced first hand.
There aren’t many who are better suited to be the 「third party」 in regards to objectivity.
Well then, let’s finish this theatrical play.
“――I understand, firedrake Agnia.
On the name of my great ancestor Chrebl, I will not break my word.”
Then farewell, humans.
Oh dear, I have to start making another nest again now.》
Agnia turned her head all the way up and breathed in deeply.
The high-pitched voices of the fire spirits sweeped over the nesting place of the dragons.
Agnia released a Breath right above.
After the flash of light, that we saw many times already today, lessened and we opened our eyes that were prickling with pain and looked up, we could see the blue sky and the sun.
The firedrake and her child greatly bent their wings, then raised their large bodies up from the ground.
Since we didn’t have anything to say to each other anymore, Agnia soared high into the sky and the offspring dragon followed her.
The offspring dragon at the end glared at me and made a 「Gugyaa！」 sound.
I more or less know what he wanted to say.
‘I’ll remember this!’, something like this.
As my reply I lightly took a fighting pose.
When he saw this, the offspring dragon let out a humph through his nose, flapped his wings and followed after Agnia.
The four from the youth group were left behind at the bottom of the firedrake’s dwelling place with their eyes cast down, some had a mortified, some a meek expression.
“Haaa~. I had no idea what would happen for a time there.“
“Yeah, for sure.“
As I was replying to Melby with 【Telepathic Communication】, I let out a sigh even though I couldn’t possible be tired.