DAR Vol. 2 Chapter 5 Part 6

“We will take down the mithril golem!! Please give us the means to!! And I beg of you…!! I don’t care what happens to me, but please save my comrades! Please help them if they’re in danger!!”

After a while, Roa heard this voice, so he looked back at the group. He found Dietrich, perfectly prostrating before the gryphon. He had concluded that it was impossible to stop Grandpa Gry and Bernhart and “that” was his solution.

His words were what started it all, so he would have to risk his own life, but he had no intention to put his comrades at risk.

<Admirable stance, indeed! I shall grant your wishes! My generosity knows no bounds, after all. I will not turn you down. And I will keep you from dying too! Because the brat would be sad otherwise!>

Grandpa Gry’s words lit a fire in Bernhart’s eyes and the other three sighed in relief. They all expressed their thanks.

Looks like they finally reached a conclusion…

Roa glanced at them and approved of the conclusion they reached. It wasn’t bad as a compromise.

Roa was sitting on the ground, on a place flattened by the golem. He had taken a small folding table from his magic bag and spread alchemy tools on it. Other than the tools, there were some faintly shining mithril fragments on the table.

They were what he had asked the twins to gather, mithril fragments about as big as a fingertip. He pinched them carefully with a scissor-like tool and put them in a small jar.

The wolf twins were sitting prim and proper next to him, watching his work attentively. Roa used tools to handle the fragments because touching them directly could cause magic stupor. The fragments were small, so they shouldn’t cause much of an effect, but he prioritized safety first.

He also had the magic wolf twins gather them because magic beasts did not risk contracting magic stupor even if they got close to mithril emanating holy light.

Not far from Roa, the gryphon spoke.

<Very well, let us start from increasing your magic power!!>

“Eh!?”

All of Nostalgia’s members expressed their surprise. No one expected to hear something like that.

“Er, esteemed Grandpa Gry…I believe humans cannot increase magic power just like that, so how…”

Bernhart’s sentence stopped halfway: he then collapsed. Not only him, but all Nostalgia members lost their senses. Grandpa Gry spread his wings, using them to sustain the adventurers and gently lay them on the ground.

“Hey!! Grandpa Gry!!”

Roa saw them collapse and hurried to see what happened, but Grandpa Gry was perfectly calm.

<It was a pain to explain, so I put it into practice right away. There is no danger to fear. Those who pride themselves in titles such as great mage or sage do it too, calling it “secret rite of magic increase”. I did it to the twins a few times too, but they’re unharmed, aren’t they?>

Roa looked at the wolf twins and they looked very distraught, as if they had seen hell. It was clearly a very unpleasant practice. The twins, maybe out of compassion, approached the sleeping adventurers and licked their faces.

I see, so that’s why they can use magic despite still being children…

Roa accepted the reason, but couldn’t help having other doubts.

“What did you do exactly?”

A “rite” that made people collapse without a sound couldn’t be normal.

<I just used my magic power to widen the pores they use to absorb magic power from the atmosphere. Just think of it like I forced the holes used for breathing to open wider.>

The holes used for breathing would be the mouth and nostrils. Roa tried imagining forcing them to open wider and chills run down his spine because of the hellish pain it must have caused.

Humans and magic beasts use the magic power stored in their bodies to cast magic. Magic beasts like Grandpa Gry and some magic users could use magic power in the atmosphere to cast spells, but they were the exception, not the rule.

Once that stored magic power ended, the user would be “out of magic”. To become able to use magic once more, normally one would have to wait until they could absorb enough magic power from the atmosphere.

The upper limit of magic that could be stored in the body could be raised via training. Just like muscles, however, it couldn’t be increased quickly. If trained, it would grow slowly over time.

In the past people experimented ways to increase it quickly, but their bodies collapsed, turning them into undead or living spectres. The “secret rite” developed then involved enlarging the pores that absorbed magic.

Even with a low storable magic limit, if the user could absorb more magic power at one time they would recover faster and be able to use more magic, or at least that was the theory. Training in such a state would also lessen the burden of continuously absorbing magic and the upper limit of storable magic would also increase.

“…you didn’t need to do that so suddenly…”

<Something like this hurts more if you brace yourself, you know? I made it end in a second, with no need for fear or worry before it started. All out of kindness.>

Grandpa Gry was perfectly calm, speaking as if it did only what was obvious. Roa sighed deeply.

Even if they were told that they would suffer pain to the point of fainting, if their magic power would recover more quickly and the amount they could store would increase, Nostalgia’s members wouldn’t have refused. In that case, to be hit by surprise might be better, since they fainted without feeling any fear.

When fixing the position of bones to heal fractures, doctors sometimes picked the wrong timing on purpose to avoid the fear of pain. This was probably something similar…

I feel like I’m being duped, somehow…

Roa still felt something was off, as if he was being tricked by Grandpa Gry’s eloquence, but there was nothing he could do anyway, so he forced himself to accept it.

“Grandpa Gry, can you do that to me too?”

Roa thought that, even if he would have concerns, he wouldn’t have refused if he was in the same situation, then he felt that he wanted to receive the same treatment.

<No can do, brat. Your body and mind are still immature, so doing it now might stunt your future growth. These people are fully grown, and the twins are magic beasts, that’s why it’s possible.>

Grandpa Gry’s answer did not fulfill Roa’s hopes.

<….besides, you have no need for that. You have formed a contract with me, thus there is a magic power connection between us and you can use my magic power. Your recovery is even faster than this mockery of a “secret rite”! Your body is not used to it yet, so I suppose you don’t feel it, but soon you will!>

“Eh, really?”

Roa didn’t understand too well, but after being told that he didn’t need it, he couldn’t insist. Grandpa Gry’s words, however, created another question in Roa’s mind.

“…the servant beast contract you said…what exactly is it? It seems different than simply taming a servant beast, is it?”

For Roa, taming a magic beast normally meant to use a subjugation collar on it. If the taming failed, the collar would be rejected and the magic beast wouldn’t be subjugated. The only deciding factor was if the subjugation collar could be used or not: Most people thought of it when they thought about taming magic beasts.

Taming magic beasts, however, was a discipline shrouded in mystery. The reason was that there was no discernible rule behind taming magic beasts. The conditions tamers mentioned about taming magic beasts were sometimes conflicting after all.

Some said that magic beast would serve those who beat them and showed their strength, others said that if the hearts of people and magic beasts connected, they would understand each other’s feelings and the magic beast could be tamed. Others again said that giving a magic beast a name would bind them to do one’s bidding.

The “contract” Grandpa Gry mentioned, however, was completely different from all the forms Roa knew.

<The taming you speak of is done through that subjugation collar, right? It’s because of that that the original form of servant beasts has been twisted. That is just enslavement.>

Grandpa Gry’s tone was full of irritation. It clawed the ground with its front claws, as if it remembered something unpleasant.

<That is not the true bond of servant beasts! It is nothing but a poor method that only humans profit from. True taming is a bond between equals, in which humans and magic beasts profit from each other.>

Grandpa Gry poked its beak in front of Roa’s nose and peered shrewdly into his eyes, as if threatening him.

<I don’t know and don’t care about human circumstances, but they probably spread such twisted information. If man and magic beast recognize each other and the human gives a name to the magic beast, their magic powers become connected, they can share magic and thoughts. That is all there is to it. Vastly different from the enslavement they call taming! How irritating…!>

“Hmm….”

Grandpa Gry howled, but Roa did not respond. He understood that Grandpa Gry’s mood turned sour, but knew that he was not the cause, so he wasn’t worried about it. It might seem like Roa was quite daring, but it was just a result of living together for so many years.

<The contract can be initiated by the human or the magic beast and can also be dissolved. It cannot be bound again, however. Some magic beasts hypothesize that it is a relic left by the gods or the curse of mythical magic users, but what is certain is that it’s a mysterious magic of unknown origins. For whatever reason, any magic beast can use it.>

“Ooh…”

…in that case, isn’t “servant beast” a wrong term? 

Since the creator was unknown, it was pointless to protest, maybe, but such a doubt came up into Roa’s mind. With a name meaning “Beasts who Serve”, it was inevitable that humans would think of subjugating them one-sidedly. In any case, the fault lied with the human who gave it such a name, didn’t it?

<…anyway, more importantly.>

“What?”

Roa was deep in thought, intent on studying about magic beasts in the library once he was back in town, when Grandpa Gry called out to him. Its angry beak was almost in Roa’s face until moments ago, but now it was looking elsewhere.

<I am looking for ideas.>

“Ideas?”

Its tone was much weaker than before. It probably wanted Roa to do something, but didn’t look him in the eyes. Grandpa Gry acted like this when it made a mistake and wanted Roa to help.

Roa used to understand what the servant beasts wanted even without being able to communicate, so he understood right away. Judging from the situation, he quickly realized what Grandpa Gry meant to say.

“Grandpa Gry, shouldn’t you look me in the eyes when you say that?”

Roa grabbed Grandpa Gry’s head, turned it towards him and looked directly into its eyes.

The twin wolves came next to Roa and imitated him in looking straight at Grandpa Gry.

<…gh….that is….I mean…>

“What ideas?”

“Bow-wow?”

“Bow-wow?”

Stared at by six eyes, Grandpa Gry tried to avoid them with all its might.

<Mmgh…>

“You’re not going to say that you said that without thinking of anything, are you?”

<No, well, I mean, I simply meant it as a little prank…I thought that whatever I said, they would desperately refuse…to think that someone would accept so eagerly…>

“You’re not going to tell me to come up with ideas, are you?”

““Bow-woooow?””

<…….>

If Grandpa Gry’s face wasn’t covered with feathers, it would be clearly covered with sweat.

“You didn’t knock them unconscious to buy time, did you?”

Roa looked at Grandpa Gry even deeper in his eyes, his face even closer than before. The one who looked away was the loser. It was a rule that applied to all living creatures, but Granda Gry had lost since the beginning.

<…the actions of servant beasts are their master’s responsibility, are they…not…?>

“You talked about equal standing before, so you change when it fits you?”

“…..”

“Grandpa Gry, I haven’t heard a “sorry” yet.”

“Growl!”

“Grooowl.”

“That….yes, twins, apologizing honestly is important, but…”

The boy and the two wolves continued to stare at the gryphon who didn’t quite know when to give up.

<…..I am sorry….>

With no escape route left, the gryphon finally surrendered and lowered its head. The boy and the two wolves looked and smiled.

“Okay! Then let’s all think together! But if it turns out it’s impossible, let’s honestly apologize to Nostalgia, okay? I’ll lower my head with you.”

<Please…>

Thus the boy, the two wolves, and the gryphon began a discussion outside all limits of common sense…

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