Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
“Two hours of free exploration. All of you need to learn independent studies of a completely unfamiliar otherworld being.”
Barnil turned to issue his instructions in the air to his students down on the surface below. After they had replied ‘Yes, Sir’ as one, Barnil simply stood by William and listened as his friend shared their findings enthusiastically.
“Perhaps normal people wouldn’t know, but to us Ancient Dragon Chasers, the power of Ancient Dragons lay not within their power but their life essence.” William was saying slowly as he flew lazily beside Joshua, patrolling the entire Squirming Forest.
“Like you and me,” he added, pointing with his right thumb at himself and then Joshua, “the essence of their being eclipsed most ‘beings’, with the exception that Ancient Dragons were born this way. They are condensations from primordial Steel Strength on the world of Mycroft which was also the origin of life in our world—there’s even this hypothesis in the business, that every life now originates from the body of a perished Ancient Dragon. That’s why indeed both you and I are their countless descendants, to a certain extent.”
“As for the Squirming Forest, it had clearly been eroded by the living mark of an Ancient Dragon. It was probably just a certain local plant in the Sixth Abyss that mutated under the stimulation of an Ancient Dragon’s lifeforce, turning into its current colossal and horrifying state—that’s right the entire Squirming Forest is one body, one lifeform.”
With those words, William retreated temporarily and switched places with Barnil, who took out a spiral green-blue test tube wherein thick fog was cascading. He stared at it, and spoked as if both in doubt and drunken stupor. “We drew information regarding that Ancient Dragon from the Squirming Forest, but it was unusual that it did not match any known Ancient Dragon. It could either be a brand-new specimen or one that is more ancient—its existence surpassed our knowledge.”
“That’s unexpected.” Joshua became curious too as he listened on. There was no trace found even of the few known Ancient Dragons—apart from the central Dark Forest, and yet the Barnil and William duo actually found the trace of a whole new Ancient Dragon beyond the world? It was truly inconceivable.
“Could it be an Ancient Dragon from another world?” The warrior said, revealing his own guess. “Additionally, ‘Ancient Dragon’ are names we forced on those primeval beings, and they may not have to be dragons either. Perhaps in other worlds, there are other primordial being such as towering trees that pillars the world, tremendous serpents that wraps itself around the oceans and giant tortoises that shoulders entire continents on their backs.”
“We have definitely thought about that possibility,” Barnil nodded solemnly. “As long as the Steel Strength is concentrated enough such creatures would be born in the moment of Creation. While the world of Mycroft is immensely blessed by nature, other worlds may not necessarily lose out to us—but that’s another topic entirely, the most important thing now is this.”
Even before he finished, Barnil clenched and broke the spiral test tube in his hand. The green blue fog-shaped presence that swirled incessantly within promptly touched the outside world, and in the very next instant, a forceful magnetic field engulfed an area of several hundred meters. The powerful currents even turned into physical bolts in the air, incessantly lashing the air in resounding booms.
“That Ancient Dragon possessed the ability to manipulate lightning—or perhaps magnetic fields,” the old mage said, enjoying the dazzling electric sparks he created.
Meanwhile, those currents had nary an effect for the Legendary trio, while William smiled as well. “And the Squirming Forest inherited part of that power—look.”
Following William’s finger, Joshua looked down at the Squirming Forest below them. At the moment, huge layers of forest that had scales, claws and tentacles started to close directly just like mimosa plants, having sensed the immense magnetic field above. The red-black scales on its outer layer started to change color rapidly as well, turning into a green shade that mimics the surrounding thickets just like how a chameleon camouflages itself in its surroundings.
As he watched while all that transpired, Barnil took out a smoking pipe, ignited it with mana and drew one mouthful. “There are many special attributes to this forest,” he said with a satisfied tone. “As an example, the scales would automatically turn into different liquid crystal bodies due to the variance between electric currents, as well as living organs that are even more sensitive to electromagnetic waves than the alloys we make. Every spot where Ancient Dragons passed are our treasure vaults, and such a little forest is sufficient to advance our technology for physical luminous screens and communications equipment over twenty years—”
“—and provide us with substantial funds.” William suddenly added. “If not for intermittent discoveries of such objects, it’s impossible for even Legendary champions to keep pursuing their interest.”
It appears that there is further meaning behind those words.
How could Joshua not understand what the pair meant? Due to the fact that the Squirming Forest has now rooted itself to the Great Ajax Mountains, the duo must cooperate with the Empire and Joshua himself, who was the liege of these parts—even if they wanted to excavate any special living resources, as well as despite the fact that they were the ones who found it and brought it back to the Mycroft Continent. That was why the two mages directly elucidated the point and made him aware of the value of the forest itself.
“It’s your spoil of war in the first place,” Joshua said, shaking his head. He understood clearly the worth of those liquid crystals and highly-sensitive magnetic organs—it was considered a discovery that transcends time, and he also generally understood why those two Legendaries who never allied themselves to any factions would still have enough funds after so many years. Still, the warrior was one who never lacked gold—why would he now try to take it away from the two who made the find, along with bringing it back. Furthermore, both William and Barnil made it clear that it was the source of income for their search in the future, for even Legendary champions had no way of conjuring gold out of thin air.
Or more specifically, it would be a cost that outweighed the gains even if it could be done.
In a nutshell, no one is so stupid as to fall foul of a Legendary—two, even.
“Relax, Noble Radcliffe. You went to the Abyss for us after all, and fought against a Demon General.” Barnil smiled, lowering his pipe at Joshua’s answer. “You will get a cut too.”
“And with us two wanderers, there was no trade to speak of in the first place,” William said leisurely. “That’s why it’s only you who could convert this finding into actual worth. As for us, that unknown Ancient Dragon that passed by the Abyss is especially unusual—the traces in the Squirming Forest is simply too fresh and was as recent as one or two hundred years. It definitely exists, and perhaps wanders nearby worlds.”
There was nothing much to elaborate on the rest of their conversation, with nothing else discussed other than the three leaders—two Legendary mages and the Moldavian territories—coming to a comprehensive, friendly and cordial partnership. The two entered a new round of discussions over the Squirming Forest itself, the final result being Barnil and William investing in two corresponding enchantment factories in the North, although the specifics and construction would be handled by the Moldavian Liege’s Residence and the subsequent division of profits remained to be negotiated by representatives of both sides.
Later, Joshua could not help recalling the possibility the two Legendary mages shown him after he returned to the liege’s residence.
“Liquid crystal display that does not need much mana to separate colors and communications circle that establishes stable links across half the continent?” He smiled, closing his eyes as he sat in an armchair.
“The next few years would probably see the widespread distribution of luminous screens and the construction of large-scale communications circle framework, huh? The speed of this world’s development is truly rapid—we had just stepped into industrialization, and yet in a few years we would enter the Internet age too.
Unlike the two Legendary mages, Joshua was very clear on what Barnil and William had actually found. They possessed monumental values that people on the world of Mycroft would never expect—it might even be one of the most profound inventions in the eight centuries of the Starfall Era.
For that was precisely the outline of the Internet.