Chapter 5:

Chapter 5: A Storm with a Hint of Cloud

I Don't Know Much About the Outside World, so I Might as Well Work as a Beastiarian

A storm was brewing when I arrived in the next village. However, that was just my meteorological guess based on the dark clouds that could be seen far ahead in the mountains. Bookmark here

As the boatman was about to raise the anchor, I told them to stay in the village until the storm passed. Predicting weather or climate conditions was one of the most challenging topics due to their random and spontaneous nature. Even if the Meteorological Division had all the equipment needed for that purpose, at best, their estimations were about forty percent accurate, but it was better than nothing.Bookmark here

“Thank you, miss. I will take your advice to my heart.” The elderly man secured his boat to the pier and went to one of the groups on the other side. Probably his acquaintances in this village.Bookmark here

It was early afternoon, and travelling at this point would be dangerous due to the potential weather. Bookmark here

Finding a place to stay for a night would be for the best.Bookmark here

“But, a little exploration would do just fine since I got a few hours left before the storm comes in.” Bookmark here

“Pyuu.”Bookmark here

“Hmm.”Bookmark here

I looked down at my feet. A small monster(?) was staring at me from where it sat. We stared at each other for a while, the little one didn’t seem to be afraid of me, so it seemed that its nature of being a monster hadn’t been developed to be aggressive. Bookmark here

It was a little dragon with white scales with a hint of shades that made it looked like a colour of a cloud at the early dawn. A pair of translucent wings closed, covering its back as if they weren’t ready.Bookmark here

The way it was eyeing me was as if it was asking for my help. Monsters were considered threats to the general public, but there was a law that one wasn’t allowed to kill the young ones or maintain their populations not to drive them to extinction. Bookmark here

When I crouched low to meet its gaze at eye level, it tilted its head to one side. I slowly reached out to its head, testing if it would bite me. Instead of gnawing my hand, it rubbed its head against my hand. This whole process had confirmed that it was harmless.Bookmark here

“Are you lost?”Bookmark here

“Pyuu pyuu.”Bookmark here

I guessed that was a, yes, judging by the way it lowered its head and tail. Monsters were not allowed to be brought back in the village except for familiars that had formed a contract with adventurers.Bookmark here

Leaving monsters to their own accord in nature would be the usual solution. Still, part of me couldn’t just let this one go wandering around in the forest, especially the fact that it couldn’t defend itself, including the fact that it approaches me without any concern whether I’m a threat or not.Bookmark here

“This is concerning. How about this? I will help search and bring you to your parent. Would that be all right?”Bookmark here

“Pyuu!”Bookmark here

It responded enthusiastically, and its tail swung back and forth.Bookmark here

“For now, I shall call you Nimbus.”Bookmark here

It seemed to like its name when I called it that. With that, we continued our venture into the forest, searching for its parent. To be honest, I had never seen a dragon like this before. Bookmark here

During our journey, we encountered a few monsters, mainly giant boars. They range from about two metres in length and about one and a half metres in height. Their tusks were about a quarter of a metre, and it would be an excellent material to create weapons or medicine for the villagers. That is, if they were willing to purchase them. Bookmark here

Nimbus and I could have avoided them, but I decided to procure provisions out of them in case that we had to find shelter in the forest and wait for the storm to pass. Bookmark here

After a few hours of searching, we didn’t manage to find its parent. Bookmark here

“I’m sorry.” I apologised as I was setting up a fire at a cave we found earlier. Bookmark here

“Pyuu pyuu.”Bookmark here

Nimbus wasn’t feeling down from this. Maybe it was keeping its hopes up for both of us. For a young one, it sure knows how to be optimistic at this time of age. The storm was getting closer as time passed, and it was about to reach our location.Bookmark here

“Here you go.”Bookmark here

I placed a slice of raw meat in front of Nimbus. It happily chowed down and savoured it.Bookmark here

“Eat it slowly. You will choke to death if you do.”Bookmark here

“Pyuu!”Bookmark here

After hearing that, it followed my advice. I was surprised that it had the intelligence to understand at that level. There were some cases that monsters could understand humans, but they were scarce, and most of them were the ones that lead their packs.Bookmark here

Once we finished eating, we settled down in the cave and waited out for the storm, bathing ourselves in the warmth of the campfire and watching the heavy rain outside. I also let Nimbus rest on my lap as we waited and it was sound asleep.Bookmark here

I cast a few spells around us that could hide our presence from the outside and the ones that could warn us if there was a monster entering this cave.Bookmark here

I was thinking about taking a nap as well, but now would be an excellent opportunity to illustrate Nimbus to my grimoire, along with the details. There was no result coming from the Index regarding Nimbus, confirming that it was a new monster. Bookmark here

But worrying about it wouldn’t do much about it, so I let my fatigue took over me and rest. The feeling of having a little dragon sleeping on your lap wasn’t so bad due to its cosy warmth in an environment like this. Bookmark here

Thunk.Bookmark here

When I heard the sound that came from the cave’s entrance, I immediately opened my eyes. I looked around until I noticed that Nimbus was gone. That alone made me get myself up almost immediately and went outside.Bookmark here

The storm had arrived, and everything you can find in a forest was tossed around in circles, leaving not much room to see clearly as if I had just entered a mist.Bookmark here

“Nimbus!”Bookmark here

I cupped my hand around my mouth, calling for the little dragon. After calling it a few more times, I returned to the cave and took out my grimoire. There was a risk of getting caved in by the storm, but it was better than getting hit by a tree trunk or a giant rock.Bookmark here

Through the Index, I searched for the latest map that covered this area. Instead of reading the map in a 2D model, I imbue my mana into my grimoire, expanding the map to a point where verticality can be differentiated, and cast the Memory Transfer spell of this map into my head.Bookmark here

A surge of knowledge appeared in the back of my mind, and I knew my current location. I also created a form of defined mana that was as similar as Nimbus. This was meant for the Tracking spell that I was about to launch to locate it.Bookmark here

“Whispers of the wind, I ask for your help to guide me to the one that I was searching for.”Bookmark here

Trails of mana appeared in my hand and made their exit. With that, I followed it, being careful of the dangers lurking on the outside along with the storm’s wrath.Bookmark here

It didn’t take long when wolves came in my direction as I follow the trail, every time I engaged in a battle with monsters during situations like these, the strings of mana would wait for me to settle my actions. Bookmark here

I silently apologized to the monsters for not carving their corpses to obtain their magic stones. Finding Nimbus was my top priority, and I fear that this dragon could be the kind of monster that appeared once on a rare occasion. Bookmark here

The string of mana reached a stop leading to some altar. It had a stone platform and a stone wall erected in a semi-circular shape ahead. Both structures were carved in ancient glyphs, depicting the history and purpose that took place here.Bookmark here

"Nimbus!"Bookmark here

Sleeping in the middle of the altar was the little dragon, surrounded by a group of people in robes. They were preparing magic circles with Nimbus as the centre.Bookmark here

Judging by the magic circle, these people were dragon hunters. No, they weren't going to sacrifice the little one. They seemed to be luring a monster here.Bookmark here

Dragon hunters were one of the listed criminals in the kingdom due to their illegal hunting of dragons on the brink of extinction. It was part of the adventurers and non-adventurers' jobs to inform any Division to plan and protect the dragons from hunters like them.Bookmark here

"Release Nimbus at once!" I shouted.Bookmark here

"Who the hell are you? One of the dragon hunters noticed my presence and unsheathed a one-handed sword from his sword belt.Bookmark here

The others followed suit and focused their attention on me.Bookmark here

"My name is Sylvia, Beastiarian of the Merchant Division! By the law, you are under arrest for harming an endangered species, and any resistance would mean death is guaranteed!"Bookmark here

"Hah! There is only one of you and five of us! Do you really think we would just let this rare monster go in one piece? Not a chance! We have been searching for this one for ages!"Bookmark here

That person seemed to be the leader of the hunters. His men began to laugh with him.Bookmark here

He was right. They have a number advantage in this situation. However, after hearing those words, the words from a bunch of selfish groups who disregard the importance of the existence of the dragons, including their contributions to the ecosystems and the society, something snapped inside me.Bookmark here

My glare directed toward them had suddenly gotten colder, forcing most of them to stiffen. Some of them even broke a sweat from my gaze alone.Bookmark here

"Get her!" Their leader prompted.Bookmark here

They gave a warcry before running toward me. I knew I shouldn't let emotions take hold of me, leading me to irrational decisions. There were times where I used to assist rather interesting clients when I was a librarian, but this probably happened when there was a rare monster’s life at stake. Bookmark here

“So be it.”Bookmark here

My dagger slit out of my sheath. I remembered Melvyn’s description of the weapon’s augmentations; this would be my first to utilize Keen Edge and Haste. Bookmark here

I better prepare myself for the sudden change in speed.Bookmark here

When they reached my range, my body became lighter, and the atmosphere exuded from my blade had changed for the better. Bookmark here

“Wha-?”Bookmark here

I crouched low and circled their left, dodging their steels at a hair’s breadth. My conscience wasn’t there during this fight. Even if we were in the middle of a storm, my body moved on its own, guided by my blade. Bookmark here

This wasn’t a term where one would call “Let the weapon do the work.” That would be an exaggeration, but it did happen at this moment. Because of the sudden weight shift, pushing my body to manoeuvre at an unfamiliar speed, my eyes had to adapt and process the changes in my surroundings. It felt like a mixture of subconscious and conscious actions, and it was difficult to conclude which one is.Bookmark here

“Flash step.”Bookmark here

I murmured to the hunter that was closest to me. Once the words reached his ears, I was gone for a millisecond in their eyes. I dashed past them. In my eyes, the concept of time in this world had slowed down.Bookmark here

They may be criminals, but killing them wouldn’t solve anything. I need to gather information from them on their organisation. Bookmark here

At best, I slashed their thighs and arms to restrict their movements and prevent them from being able to wield their weapons. Temporarily, at least. I wouldn’t get a good night's sleep if I rendered someone to become physically challenged.Bookmark here

Once that was done, time had returned in order. Bookmark here

I turned to look at them. They lay down on the floor, wondering about what just happened. Of course, I was careful with not cutting their vitals, and they were not life-threatening unless there were monsters nearby. Bookmark here

Thunk!Bookmark here

Something massive just landed behind me. One of the hunters who had taken a look at what it was turned pale. Judging by the vibration of the earth, the distance, and the heavy atmosphere around me, my guess would be a colossal dragon.Bookmark here

“Hello, my name is Sylvia. I am a Beastiarian of the Merchant Division.”Bookmark here

I turned to face the monster and introduced myself. Bookmark here

Like I said before, most dragons were known to have the intelligence to converse with us. The keyword was most. Bookmark here

Looking up close to the dragon for the first time was a daunting experience if you were not quite sure whether they were hostile or friendly. If they were the former, I was pretty sure it would bite my head off by now. Bookmark here

Its eyes scanned the vicinity, assessing the situation to determine what we are to them. It flapped its wings for a while and folded them, then bow to me. The fact that it could discern and understand what had unfolded here was impressive. Bookmark here

“My name is Anemoi, Dragon of the Wind. My apologies for my rude and sudden appearance. I would like to thank you for saving my child from these Dragon Hunters.”Bookmark here

So this is Nimbus’ parent. Its features weren’t that difficult to differentiate from Nimbus. Dragons sure grow to be different in terms of appearances. As for their personalities, they were bound to be wiser depending on the environment they live in. Before that, I needed to confirm something. Bookmark here

“Forgive me. But may I ask for the name of your child over here.” Bookmark here

I looked over at the sleeping dragon at the centre of the altar then back to Anemoi.Bookmark here

“I have yet to name that child. She came into this world just recently and was soon captured by the Dragon Hunters.”Bookmark here

So Nimbus is a female dragon.Bookmark here

It steered its gaze at the criminals. The light in its eyes filled with wrath and anger that were sealed in itself, waiting for them to give Aneimo a reason to slaughter them.Bookmark here

Hearing that, I crouched down to one knee as if I was to be received an accolade. Bookmark here

“My sincerest apologies!”Bookmark here

“What for, Sylvia?”Bookmark here

“I gave a name to your child as Nimbus when I found it in the forest.”Bookmark here

In tradition to the dragons, the parents had to give a name to their child once they were born. If anyone was to name their child before them, that was a sign of intrusion and a way of making an enemy out of the dragons.Bookmark here

That statement alone formed beads of sweat around my temple. My heart had never beaten this fast. Bookmark here

“Why are you feeling nervous?”Bookmark here

Anemoi eyed me suspiciously. There wasn’t much I could do at this point. If the dragon chose to kill me, so be it. I couldn’t bring myself to kill them.Bookmark here

“I…”Bookmark here

I tried to put up a brave front and professionalism to answer Anemoi. I still couldn’t even finish the rest of my sentence until…Bookmark here

“Hahahahaha! You should have seen your face! I don’t mind about you naming my child.”Bookmark here

I stared at the massive dragon before me with a blank expression, trying to process what I just heard.Bookmark here

Did the dragon just prank me?Bookmark here

I should be grateful for this outcome. That meant I wouldn’t be eaten or killed. At least, that was what I had read from the records. Bookmark here

“…”Bookmark here

I didn’t know how to respond to this. We’re talking about a dragon here, so we have a cultural difference. There wasn’t many documents or books about conversations with dragons. Bookmark here

After recovering itself from laughing, Anemoi returned to its formal composure and continued. Bookmark here

“Even if you did name my child before I do, you saved her life. There is nothing to worry about it. What did your name her?”Bookmark here

“Thank you. I named her Nimbus. I know it wasn’t anything you would hope for, but you can change—“Bookmark here

“I wouldn’t mind. It is a name given by her saviour.”Bookmark here

“Pyuu!”Bookmark here

Without my realization, Nimbus ran to me and jumped. Once it landed in my arms, it rubbed its long neck to mine as a way to say thank you.Bookmark here

I knew we just met a short moment ago, but it pains me to move on our separate ways. To be fair, Nimbus was a cute dragon and a good companion when it comes to travelling. Bookmark here

“Before we return to our home, I want to give you something as a reward for saving my child.”Bookmark here

Anemoi shook its body. Scales of shining brilliant white with a hint of shade fell to the ground. Bookmark here

“Take my scales. Use them on whatever you see fit. Come, Nimbus. It is time to go home.”Bookmark here

Nimbus turned its attention to her parent and back to me. Bookmark here

When our gaze met, tears began to form in its eyes. Bookmark here

“This is…”Bookmark here

“A Dragon Tear.”Bookmark here

Anemoi finished my sentence. Bookmark here

A Dragon Tear was a crystal medium used in magical summons, weapons and even armours. Be it as an offensive or defensive property. Its functionalities depended on the memories it carried between the dragons and the rightful owners. In this case, Nimbus presented a gift of her own to me as the rightful owner.Bookmark here

Meaning, even if anyone tried to steal the tear, its effects and benefits would not activate unless they were my descendants. In addition, being gifted a Dragon Tear was a sign of acknowledgement by the dragon, bestowing a title to the owner as of the dragons’ ally. Bookmark here

The ownership can be proven if one imbues mana into Dragon Tear, and it responded with a glow of the dragon’s unique mana signature. Nimbus was young, but it still held its authority when it came into this world. Bookmark here

That was because the elder dragons’ knowledge will always pass into their offspring through the bloodline. Meaning the memories of their ancestors were mapped in their blood, and they would become theirs as time passed.Bookmark here

I placed Nimbus down on the stone platform before me, then bowed down to it. Bookmark here

“Thank you, Nimbus, for giving me the honour to become an ally of the dragons and your friend.” I gave my thanks formally and with love.Bookmark here

“Pyuu!” Bookmark here

Once everything was settled, Nimbus hopped onto Anemoi’s back as it was getting ready to head home. Bookmark here

“We are heading to the East. If you are heading in that direction, we can drop you off somewhere close to your destination.” Anemoi offered. Bookmark here

Dragons are a considerate race. Bookmark here

“If that is okay with you, yes, there is a village I had to get there. It was part of my task as a Beastiarian.”Bookmark here

“Very well. Be sure to hang on tight.”Bookmark here

“I will.”Bookmark here

With Nimbus and me on board, Anemoi began to fly up high in the sky. I didn’t notice until now. The storm that happened around here was nowhere to be seen. Since when Anemoi cancelled its large-scale magic?Bookmark here

But it wouldn’t matter. The important thing was that Nimbus was now safe and sound. As we were flying toward the East, Nimbus and I turned around to look at the sunset. Bookmark here

Dusk was upon us, and different shades of colour turned the entire scene a sight to behold. I was holding onto Nimbus as we watch the sunset. Bookmark here

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You can resume reading from this paragraph.