The laboratory and the masks soaring into the sky
Once in Mylarka’s laboratory, we started rearranging the books on the bookshelves. After working for a while, she handed me a notebook.
“Manarina wrote the details of her researches here. She said she might have discovered something and wanted you to look at it.”
“Oh, she’s researching offensive magic? I never used Spirit Magic, but isn’t it easy to learn?”
“Well, students can learn it from books, so a lot of them majors in that. Hereabouts Divine Magic can be studied only by those who follow Albein’s doctrine, so only priests can use it, and people can’t really borrow power from other deities in this city.”
Was that a lecture or an explanation?
Anyone could enroll in the magic academy, regardless of their age, so I could’ve tried to join too… thinking about a student’s life, I felt some interest welling up within me.
I didn’t need to study right now, though, so I kept my interest at bay. Mylarka’s tone reminded me that she was a teacher, after all.
“How many students do you have at your seminar?”
“Manarina and several more.”
“Woah… I thought you could teach only to something like ten people. Guess I was mistaken.”
“I just spend the majority of my time researching, but many of them are too advanced for the people of this academy.”
Mylarka was a heretic among those who taught her same subject.
Her ‘Space Expanding Magic’ wasn’t something that could be replicated by others. Normally, people chanted the spell, and the gods or spirits granted them power, but she didn’t need to do that.
Knitting magic squares together, she could interfere with the laws of the world by expanding space. Mylarka could decide the range of her attacks, meaning that she was theoretically able to attack the whole capital.
Also, her expanding magic squares had endless combinations, which produced many different effects, and all of them were incredibly dangerous. That’s why Mylarka was inept with any non-offensive kind of magic.
When she applied for the expedition against the Demon Lord, her personal score was 102952, and almost all of it was due to her ability with offensive magic.
To demonstrate her skills, she was brought to some plains far from the capital, where she used her magic square ‘Wide area annihilation n°152 – Earth rending field’ to completely annihilate the den of a dangerous beast.
SSS rank adventurers were more than simple humans.
I promised myself to never make Mylarka angry, but thank Heaven she was as rational as powerful. She could control the range of her magic squares with elegance, to an extent that she could hit a single target with precision… but that was the only elegant part of the process, given that her magic was the most devastating power I knew.
“So, what do you need?”
“Oh, right. I want to ask you something about the academy too, but first…”
I started to explain her Kirsch’s circumstances, as I wanted that servant to get out of troubles as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, I prepared some juice of ‘mysterious grape’ from the southern country’s woodland and maple cookies made with ‘wisdom bean’ powder. The first enhanced concentration, and the latter reinforced memory. Mylarka was already flawless in both, so she didn’t really need them, but they still were a good snack.
“Don’t tell me the Demon Lord baked these. I wouldn’t mind it, though.”
“Haha… I did, even though I’m not good with sweets.”
“I think these are better than the average cookies. Why don’t you grow some self-esteem? Being too humble will make you insolent.”
“I’ll bear it in mind. I don’t value myself much.”
“Well, that’s good… or rather, it’s curious. Manarina is also like that, after you tried to look so good in front of Cody.”
She commented while crunching more cookies. Maybe it was because of the crumbles near her lips, or because she munched with a hand in front of her mouth, but she was looking really cute.
“Anyway, these are totally better than the cookies in the school store. Those are tasteless compared to yours. Why are you giving them to me?”
“I don’t think so, but I’ll give you more, if you want. It will be five silver coins each.”
“…Quite pricey, but it’s appropriate given the ingredients and taste. Why don’t you open a confectionery shop? I can help you with money, if you need.”
“No, thank you. Even though they’re a present from my bar, I don’t think they could be the specialty of a confectionery shop.”
“…I disagree. Even this grape juice is so good it’s irritating me.”
I didn’t know anyone who could feel irritated while in such a good mood… but let’s move on.
“Anyway, regarding what you asked me. You just want me to block the road that Velvechia will use to reach Vinceburg, right?”
“I’m glad you catch up quickly. I didn’t really want to ask you, but… you are the only one that can do it.”
“Let me be clear, I don’t want to cause a massacre. It’s not like I enjoy destroying random things or killing people.”
“Of course. That’s exactly why I have a strategy ready… can I count on you?”
We had to go west first… but it wasn’t certain that she would’ve accepted to follow me there right away.
She looked at me in silence as she consumed the remnants of her food, then placed the empty glass on the table.
“I will help you at one condition.”
“Ask for anything. I’ll try my best as long as it’s possible.”
“Since I have to pay for whatever I destroy with my own money, sometimes I want you to bring me food here. Whatever is on your menu is fine, as there shouldn’t be anything I haven’t tasted yet.”
“I don’t really want my face to be remembered in here… Oh, wait, right. How often should I come?”
“I’d like to say ‘until I’m satisfied’… but feel free to come whenever you feel like it. Now, let’s go.”
With that, she started preparing for departing.
Honestly, I didn’t expect that.
“…What, are you not ready?”
“No, I’m just grateful you accepted so fast.”
“I just don’t like slaughtering people indiscriminately. We must block the road before they cross it. Do people live around there? I heard that some families live in the western part of the mountain range.”
“I think Vinceburg will make Velvechia pass through another way to avoid any hindrance… but we can still check from above.”
“From above…? Is there a place like that on the mountain? Or do you know some spells that will do the trick?”
Support Magic could improve the eyesight, and I could scout the zone with a Small Spirit, but I didn’t intend to use any of those.
There was another way which didn’t include walking… flying.
In the west of the capital was a ranch for fire dragons, and Shura, an old dragon master, was taking care of them.
Reaching it by horse took us about two hours.
“Hi, Sir Dick. Do you want to see how are the dragons doing? Or is there another reason for your visit?”
There was still some time before the breeding season ended, so the entire dragon family was gathered together.
The little dragons, who weren’t so little anymore, approached us while tottering excitedly, and despite their size which prevented us to hug them completely, their voices were still high-pitched and adorable. Mylarka patted them on their heads and fed them.
“There there, who are good boys? You’re starting to take from mom and dad.”
“They listen carefully to what I say, young Lady. I’ve been separated from my sons and grandchildren long ago, so I can’t help but taking care of them.”
“Well, it’s important to enjoy your job. Now, regarding mounting them…”
“I already used the dragon flute on the father, and everything is ready. It won’t be hard for you to ride him with a saddle. Sir Dick… is the lady over there coming with you?”
“Wait, what?! Dick, you wanted me to ride with you? Have you ever done it before?”
“Yeah. Remember that I lived in a rural area? I helped an injured wyvern once, and it let me ride it.”
“It won’t be hard to ride other types of dragons, then. Wyverns don’t have the forelegs, so they’re quite unstable. They are one of the most difficult species to ride.”
After I healed it, it flew back to its flock… I hope it’s still healthy right now.
I didn’t think about it when I founded this place, but after hiring a dragon master and becoming his manager, I could have ridden the fire dragons in times of crisis.
The old man gave me his personal saddle, and after we adjusted it on father dragon shoulders’ protuberance, I mounted on it.
After that Shura fixed the saddle’s belts on the dragon’s stomach, I told Mylarka, who was watching us along with the little dragons, to get up. Since she never did it before, she was clumsy and couldn’t do it properly, so I had to help her.
“Give me your hands, I’ll help you.”
I enhanced my arm strength with magic, lifted her and placed her in front of me.
For Mylarka, it must’ve felt like she was dancing in the air.
“…We are more or less three times higher than a horse… will we be fine…?”
“Are you afraid of heights? You should close your eyes, then.”
“N-No, I mean… It’s the first time I ride a dragon, so I feel so awkward… Teach me how to do this.”
“Don’t worry, I’ll support you from behind, you won’t fall. There are also the reins to prevent that.”
She let out a cry while I adjusted her position from behind, then I passed my hands around her to prevent her from falling. That way, she wouldn’t panic when we started to fly.
“…Will you hold them? Seems like you only want to seize this chance…”
“Sir Dick, the fire dragon will move according to the flutist’s magic power… but given your skills, I doubt there will be any complication.”
Shura had crafted the flute by himself, like a real dragon master should do. I was quite interested in what kind of life he had, so maybe I’d have brought him some drink after we finished this work.
“Mylarka, the reins are up to you, then. I’ll play the flute.”
“O-Okay… but can you help me understand what I should do?”
She pulled my hands, made me grab the reins, and then placed her hands on mine.
“Do it like this. Let’s show Velvechia’s army what the Masked saviors are made of.”
And so, two mysterious figures set off for their mission on a dragon’s back.
It was then that we wore our masks, and Mylarka looked thrilled.
“Being young is such a great time… they can excite even a decrepit man like me…”
Shura bowed deeply as we departed and wished us the best as a senior in life.