“Did you really knock down the elves’ sacred tree of knowledge?” Sera asked Vur while he ate a chunk of raw meat. She had been contacted by the elves earlier saying an imprinted human was wreaking havoc in their lands.
Vur shook his head. “Just a tree, no knowledge,” he said.
“… Were there golden fruits?” Sera asked.
Vur nodded. “They were very delicious,” he said. “Umm, not as juicy as bear meat though. They also gave me a bellyache.”
“Did you eat them all…?”
“No, Snuffles ate half.” Snuffles raised his head and looked at Vur before going back to sleep. Sera sighed.
“What’s wrong, Sera?” Grimmy asked while laughing. “The elves can just plant another one.”
“That tree takes 500 years to grow and 1 year to bear a fruit. As the matriarch of this land, I can’t just ignore their complaints. They want to take Vur and properly educate him,” Sera said.
“No! I don’t want to. I’ll turn stupid,” Vur said. “You won’t make me go, right Grimmy?”
Sera glared at Grimmy. “It’s your fault too for teaching Vur such nonsense.”
Grimmy snorted. “You’re the one who insisted Vur was a dragon.”
Vur pouted. “I am a dragon. Papa said I’ll grow wings and scales when I grow up. Papa wouldn’t lie to me because Mama said dragons don’t lie.”
All the dragons turned to stare at Vernon who let out a cough. “Ah, Vur… didn’t you lie about not knocking down the tree to the elves? That means you can’t grow wings and scales anymore.” Vernon smiled at the dragons who were looking at him and received a smack to his snout from Sera.
“What? I fixed it,” Vernon said while rubbing his nose.
“I feel bad now; when are we going to tell him?” Leila mumbled to Grimmy.
“Tell me what?” Vur asked.
“You’re adopted!” Prika said. All the dragons glared at the red dragon who clamped her claws over her mouth.
“What’s adopted?” Vur asked putting down the chunk of meat in his hands.
“It means we love you no matter what,” Sera said while still glaring at Prika.
“Oh, I’m adopted!” Vur said with a smile. “You’re adopted too, Mama.” Sera could feel a headache building up.
“Don’t let Grandpa hear you say that, or he’ll get jealous,” Vernon said.
“Grandpa’s asleep though. How can he sleep for so long? I still haven’t talked to him yet,” Vur asked.
“He used up a lot of energy a long time ago and he still has to rest,” Sera said. Vur nodded and yawned. He walked over to Snuffles and cuddled him before falling asleep.
“Are we sending Vur to the elves?” Leila asked while watching the boy’s tummy fall up and down as he slept.
“I think we should. It would be the best for him if he ever wants to leave this range,” Vernon said. “He’s only four, but he toppled a thousand year old tree with gravity magic. None of us are good at moderation; the elves should teach him.”
Grimmy nodded. “It would be good for us too. That boy eats a bear every month. Sometimes you get tired of hunting, ya know?”
Sera sighed. “Very well then. Tomorrow, he’ll go learn with the elves.”
“Wait, how about after a month? I just caught that bear,” Grimmy said.
Sera rolled her eyes. “After a month, then.”
“Why do we have to learn history? Just give me a mace and I’ll bash those humans’ heads in,” Gabel said. “I bet Tafel doesn’t have to learn this.”
“Gabel! You may be a prince, but in this room, my word is law,” a three-horned demon said and glared at him. Gabel looked down at his desk and mumbled, “Yes, ma’am.”
“You want to know why history is so important? How did the humans establish a foothold in our territory one hundred years ago? How did we take Flusia back from the humans? Do you know? Exactly,” the teacher said. “Knowledge is power; never forget that.”
Gabel felt his cheeks burn. “I understand,” he said.
The teacher nodded. “Eight hundred years ago, demons and humans arrived on the north end of this continent. At first they worked together to clear the elves and their beasts to establish footholds suitable for growth. The demons found a mana source to the west, our now capital Niffle, which greatly improved our capabilities as mages. The humans’ greed overwhelmed them and they declared war to take it. We forced them back to the east and were about to wipe them all out, but the elves couldn’t let that chance go and tried to eliminate us along with the humans. In the end, we were forced to retreat to the capital and the humans survived. The majority of both the demon and human forces were expended to stop the dragon patriarch at the time and the elves retreated to the south.”
“How did the humans survive the attack if they were so weak?” Loffel asked.
“They had the pope, Rafael. Even if he couldn’t use offensive magic, his barrier was strong enough to keep the demons out of their final city as the elves and beasts waged war against us,” the teacher said.
“So, they’re cowards hiding in their shells,” a voice called out.
“Sometimes, retreat is necessary. They’re still alive after all,” the teacher said. “I hope you future leaders never forget that.”
Tafel sighed. Using magic is so difficult, she thought. She cupped her hands and watched as a flame flickered into existence for two seconds before fading away again.
“That’s not bad.”
Tafel looked up at Dustin. He had six horns, three sprouting from each temple, that pulsed red every second. “It’s so weak though,” she said.
“But don’t forget, you’re only four. You should feel proud. There isn’t anyone your age who can match you in magic, demon or human,” Dustin said. “You could ask your father to get you a beast to imprint you to increase your mana. Or you can eat a fruit of knowledge, although that may require hiring S ranked adventurers.”
Tafel eyes lit up when she heard the word adventurer. “Can you tell me stories about your adventures, Dustin?” Tafel asked.
Dustin laughed. “Of course. This old SSS ranked adventurer has many stories to tell,” Dustin said while grinning.
“There was actually one time where my team accepted a request to bring back a fruit of knowledge. It’s the request that ranked me up from S to SS. We traveled for many days through the demon kingdom to head to the wilderness. That’s what adventurers call the beast’s mountain range. In the wilderness, everything will try to kill you if they think you’re weak. That’s why we go as a group. It’s actually pretty easy to detect any dangers to your life because the things that can kill you have a unique aura that can be sensed from a mile away if you have a mage.”
“What does it feel like?” Tafel asked with her eyes wide open.
“It feels like someone is staring at you while you eat your food. It just feels uncomfortable, ugh,” Dustin replied. “I felt a behemoth bear’s aura once. It felt like I was the food being stared at. Those things are massive, about half the size of a tree and the earth shakes when they charge at you.”
“Anyways, to get to a fruit of knowledge, we had to bypass the elves village which was actually pretty easy, but there was a patrol guarding the tree. Rumors in the adventurer’s guild say that the patrol is made of seven beautiful elves, each with the strength of an S ranked adventurer with their leader having SSS ranked strength. The tree was massive though and it took around five minutes for the patrol to make one lap around it. We sat there for an hour timing them. It took around ten of my windblades to knock one of the fruits down and the branch wasn’t even damaged.”
“Is that even possible? You’re not lying to me right?” Tafel asked.
“Everything I say is true. There are some really amazing things that nature can accomplish, Tafel. When we use magic, we only borrow a tiny portion of nature’s power,” Dustin said. “People say that dragons are the beings that can use the most power of nature. Of course, that’s only like five to ten percent, but it’s still an enormous amount compared to how much we can use. With Niffle’s powers, I estimate we are only at about half a percent of what nature can do. Never anger a dragon, Tafel.”