Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
Joshua’s personality certainly would not allow himself to have some complex reception procedure. If there was a thought about meeting an old friend, he would just do it.
Therefore, when Funa held Hill’s head from behind to the point that his legs were hanging in the air while pressing him what he intended to do, she never expected that Joshua would so simply and straightforwardly appear before them, right in front of the Northern Empire’s expedition base.
“Long time no see.”
Joshua led Ling and Ying out of the base’s main gates. At the moment, the sun of Fairyland—the incarnation of the Fairy Queen of the Fire Element was slowly setting. The rays of twilight were faint golden veins on the horizon, but what clearly stole all attention was not Fairyland’s setting sun but the elf and dragon who appeared shocked before Joshua. The warrior nodded at their body language, and gave his assessment.
“You two are close, as always.”
At the moment, half of Hill’s head was buried between Funa’s chest, and he hung halfway in the air due to their difference in height as the dragon lady threatened him.
It was when Joshua spoke that the two finally reacted from their frozen sate—Funa rigidly let go of the black-haired elf, who dropped to the ground and tidied his clothes as if it could not be more natural. He then bowed with utmost formality and reverence towards the Legendary champion, and spoke at the same time, “Liege of Moldavia, Guardian of the North, Dragon Slayer, Steward of the Seven Gods… I, Hill Tidesong of the Leviathan Knights, ask for your…”
Joshua raised his hand, and used his gaze to stop Hill’s heralding that resembled listing out a menu of dishes. Still, he more or less accepted his salutations, and spoke summarily while arching his brow. “Where did all that come from? Why can’t I recall having so many titles?”
“My liege,” Hill straightened himself and laughed softly, before continuing unabashedly. “All champions are graced with many names. For example, Lord Barbarossa of Skypiercing White Tower alone has titles such as ‘Element Maven’, ‘Raiser of Continent’, ‘Enemy of Murlocs’, and ‘Custodian of Forty-Two Nations’ and so forth. All of those are used in official documents—you must claim such titles if you don’t want to be ‘ you-know-who 1 ‘.”
In reality, Joshua had never been concerned with such things. Leaving aside the title he already had as Liege of Moldavia, he was virtually the leader amongst Northern Nobles after he helped break the Dark Tide, purged Chaos aberrations in the Dark Forests around Moldova and closed the portals. Guardian of the North therefore made sense, and so did dragon-slayer since he killed dragons by the dozens. Steward of the Seven Gods must have been gifted by the Seven Gods Church after his monumental contribution for them—and would have required a nod from the gods as well. Joshua’s feats at the Battle of the Sacred Mountain merited the fame, not to mention he once conversed personally with Zinsen, one of the Seven Gods.
There are many different scattered titles as well, including Pioneer of the Great Ajax Mountains, Liege of the Northern Dwarves, Dragon Master, and Master of Winter Fort, earned for developing the Great Ajax Mountains, his honoring amongst the dwarves, taking in a Supreme-tier blue dragon, training a legion of dragon riders and establishing Winter Fort Academy. Whatever the case may be, Joshua was now a character whose titles could fill an entire sheepskin scroll.
“Just call me Joshua like before.”
The warrior shook his head at Hill’s explanation, although he knew it was a little impossible. In the end, his ability had reached such a state that he would never be treated with a carefree demeanor. Still, he did not mind that it was a fact for others to respect his ability—for Hill to behave in such a lively manner and melt the ice of a sudden visit following a long time apart, his emotional quotient was already considerable.
Joshua smiled at the thought.
“Alright, is there anything, seeking me out of the blue?” He said, while looking up to Funa beside him and greeting here. “Long time, no see—sea dragon lady. Are you well after that battle in Anos Abyss? ”
No longer feeling awkward, Funa returned Joshua’s greetings since she ultimately was an Oceanic Bladed Dragon that lived for almost two centuries, and possessed the required composure. Then, having concluded the complex greeting process, the topic shifted towards the reason Hill was visiting Joshua.
“So here’s the thing, Funa and I are soon putting our names down as… ouch.”
Hill had a joyous humor as he spoke that made others felt his easygoing demeanor, only to suddenly cut himself short and grab Funa by the waist affectionately, catching the sea dragon lady unawares. That was also why Funa, whose embarrassment turned into rage reacted by viciously pinching the elven druid’s nape, promptly stopping Hill.
“Alright, alright—I get it.”
Even Joshua found himself unable to keep watching. He certainly knew what Hill planned to say—he could see the pulsation of his windpipe very clearly. Hence, the warrior waved to stop them from speaking, while glaring at Ling and Ying who were murmuring things like ‘so that’s what the books call ‘Public Display of Affection?’, ‘PDA indeed’.
‘What books had those two been reading recently?’ He thought helplessly.
There was nothing much to hide at this point. Soon, Hill told Joshua and the others that he would be marrying Funa during the coming summer.
It was nothing unusual. Indeed, apart from the most ancient batch of original dragon riders who bound each other through contracts even as they stood against mutual enemies, most dragon riders were intimate with their dragons. Marriages were not uncommon if both were of different gender, since for rider and dragon to bond, they lived, ate and slept together. In fact, other dragon rider legions notwithstanding, there were three similar cases amongst the Leviathan Knights in the last fifty years.
“Then allow me to congratulate you first.”
Joshua glanced at Hill first, who bore a classical elf appearance, with pointed ears, large eyes, and a slim frame, before turning to Funa who had dragon horns on her head and was obviously a dragon in human form. He nodded thoughtfully after offering his congratulations—Hillya, the Sage’s Heir on the world of Grandia appeared to have been a dragonborn elf. He had thought about how such an individual of mixed bloodline came to be, and now it seems that such a union had really appeared. As races with long lifespans, elves and dragons were definitely compatible—they had similarities in their living patterns and ideals, or at least much more compatible than with humans.
“But to come to me so ceremoniously, surely you’re not here just to tell me this good news?”
The thought flashed through Joshua’s mind in point one seconds, and he was simply continuing his question in reality. “I would definitely attend your wedding, but please do raise any issues as quickly as you can. We were comrades who once fought side-by-side, there is no need to be so constrained even if I am Legendary now.”
“…It’s actually simple, the main thing is that Funa’s ability is lacking.”
Having known clearly Joshua’s personality as a well-spoken man who puts words in action, Hill would not mind considering the warrior a friendly old acquaintance even with his fearsome presence. Still, it was best not to speak nonsense with him, which was why Hill made his explanation very simple. “The family supporting me is considered one of the greater amongst the elves. I would never have been head of the family as the second son, but during the Draconic Plague, my father was severely wounded when he fended off several pure-blooded dragons at the same time, while my brother was dealt hidden damage in the same fight…”
The rest was easy to understand. Their large elven tribe had two sons, with the eldest groomed as the heir while the second sent to train under the Leviathan Knights that served the Sage of the Oceans. But due to the unexpected shift and the draconic invasion, the family head was forced to retire due to his severe wounds while the eldest son’s body was also crippled and could not purified, making him ineligible to succeed his place. Instead, it was Hill, who had been nurtured as a potential head of a branch family who displayed great talent.
It was nothing new, or perhaps what one might call classical. Due to the summons from his family, Hill who was forced to return to his Far Southern family would inherit the name ‘Tidesong’ in the future, as well as being groomed as the next head of the family. When that happened, he would not have freedom of marriage since only pure-blooded elves could become tribe leaders—which in turn meant that should Hill become head of the family, he would not be able to marry Funa.
“Stupid elves.” Funa gave her simple assessment. “We’ll see if they could protest when I ascend to Supreme!”
Hill simply shrugged at being classified as stupid. “That’s exactly the case,” he said feebly with the hint of a smile. “Although strictly speaking, are there really still any pure-blood humans, elves, or dwarves on Mycroft? In ancient times, highborn elves had either silver or green hair—would there be so many thousands different colors? As long as Funa ascends, the tribe would only be welcoming since the blood of champions is seductive.”
“If my liege wishes a union with elves,” he then added jokingly, “even the Elven Court would be moved.”
“Mortal beings can’t withstand my power… Alright, let’s save it. I understood why you’ve come.”
Not a guy whose brain was only filled with muscle, Joshua carefully recalled, abruptly realizing the couple’s intent.
In Anos Abyss, the elven druid and sea dragon lady had been friendly to Black, sparing strength and spirit to teach it transfiguration magic apart from caring from it. Though familiarity at first sight could be considered as a factor, it was more reasonable that they knew Black had ‘Ancient Dragon Bloodline.’
All life of this world originated from the earliest of Steel crystallizations, the source of life, the spoilt children of World Wills—beings known as ‘Ancient Dragons’. They were roots of the Tree of Life, the origin of all creatures within a world. Legend had it that the earliest of Extraordinary physique was established by emulating the form of ancient dragons, while the Path of Legendary was even much more closely linked to Ancient Dragons—even the base of Joshua’s powers at present, the Combat Aura Steel Armor that formed the Steel giant was a technique that imitated Ancient Dragons and Titans. Reasonably speaking, there is a trace of Ancient Dragon power in the depths of every living bloodline, but the most direct descendants of Ancient Dragons were those species known as ‘Old World Dragons’ that lived across all parts of the continent.
Unlike the Metal Dragons and Pentashade Dragons that came from other worlds and possessed civilization and intelligence, inferior Old World Dragons did not have intelligence, while superior ones possessed wisdom that far surpassed humans albeit without establishing ethical codes or societies. These earliest natives of Mycroft were the greatest amongst monsters and awakened a portion of Ancient Dragon power in their bodies—or to put it in another way, only monsters that had awakened traces of Ancient Dragon Bloodlines deserved the title of Old World Dragons.
As a draconic steed, Black naturally had inherited Ancient Dragon Bloodlines from its ancestors, but it would have been kept hidden if Joshua did not pay a huge price to aid its awakening. Still, when it did, the warhorse that once had normal abilities was born anew, becoming capable of sweeping away golems, creations of Chaos.
Funa’s ability as an Oceanic Bladed Dragon was attained from her ancestry bloodline as well but in turn limited to Gold-advanced. It could no longer be improved by sheer diligence, and she needed a boon from the Goddess of Fortune—but apart from simply waiting, Funa still had another path to choose as a powerful and intelligent Old World Dragon.
And that was to awaken her Ancient Dragon Bloodline, just as Black did.
Awakening her Ancient Dragon Bloodline might not directly improve her powers, but it would provide a new direction to Funa who now had reached the end of her bloodline’s talents. It was equivalent to attaining a Legendary emulation objective and much smoother than walking her own path.
It was surely because Hill had learned that Joshua once helped Black awaken its ancient Dragon Bloodline, that he sought out the warrior.
“My liege, I’m willing to…”
As he saw Joshua maintain his serene expression but without having saying anything, Hill had composed himself to state the reward he had long prepared, only for Joshua to interject again before he finished. “There is no need to mention some reward over something so trivial—just think of it as a reward for teaching Black how to transfigure. That being said, I’ve pretty much cleared the market of the materials needed for awakening and it would probably difficult to find another… Wait.”
It was then that he suddenly remembered the Squirming Forest—that land of Ancient Dragon relics that he and the two Legendary mages snatched from the Sixth Abyss! He turned in good humor towards Hill to find an easygoing smile on that elven druid’s face, and shook his head. “Looks like you’ve done your homework—you’re perfectly aware even when it came to Barnil and William’s whereabouts and recent movements. Alright, since you’ve already planned it, just come with me to the North later. I’ll take you to the Squirming Forest to see if there are any resonating materials.”
“Your kindness and generosity, my liege!”
Hill and Funa could not help becoming cheerful at Joshua’s reply—they initially believed that it would be troublesome, and never thought that it was all done with such relative ease. “Actually, we just lack some ingredients with concentrated Ancient Dragon scent,” Hill added. “We have already collected other materials such as Ancient Dragon Blood and Ancient Dragon Bone.”
After all, Hill had saved much over the years as the core of the Sea Dragon Knights. Along with the property a dragon possessed, it was normal for them to have more than half the materials ready.
Joshua was not too concerned either—he did not carry the Squirming Forest back from the Abyss by himself, and it would not be too much of a trifle to convince Barnil and William. Furthermore, he owned a portion of the produce from that place, and there was nothing too important to aid an old comrade who was at a bind.
At that point, the matter was almost concluded. Joshua thus left Ying and Ling who were still discussing things like ‘Could Hill be henpecked after marriage’, ‘Looks like Funa isn’t that overbearing’ in hushed tones, as well as Light that was no longer shining crazily in the expedition base, while he himself head towards the wastelands at the very edge of Fairyland.
After ascertaining that the place was wide enough and that there wasn’t anyone else, Joshua finally spoke.
“Alright, Your Holiness. I’m free now.”