≪6≫ – Adequate Livelihood

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Author: Kisasaki Suzume Original Source: Syosetu
Translator: Mui English Source: Re:Library
Editor(s): Silva

Several days have passed since.

Though Lucella had escaped the grips of death, he was still far from the normal state.

Lucella entrusted himself to lethargy and lay in the dragon’s nest all day long, sleeping and waking up in turns. It was comfortable, but there was nothing to do. With so much time, his thoughts focused on one thing—“just who am I?”

Maybe because he received its daughter’s name from the dragon, or because he suffered near-mortal wounds, Lucella’s memories of life until now were blurred.

He didn’t remember why he came to Mount Kuguse, or even why he was dying there.

However, he felt like he had to return alive at any cost, and also felt a burning grudge toward someone. His only lead was the clothes he wore. They were adult clothes with a bloodstained hole.

He also had a knife on his waist, but it looked like an outdoor knife you could buy anywhere, and it wasn’t a combat knife either.

—I wasn’t some hero who came to slay the dragon, right? Uhh… I don’t remember much, but I doubt I’d be on the verge of death if I was that strong.

There should be a place where Lucella used to lie dying.

He thought he had to go find that place, but it was far too unrealistic to search for a specific spot on this vast Mount Kuguse. The rainstorms and vegetation would also erase the traces if he couldn’t find it soon.

—Seriously, why was I about to die in a place like that? Why did I even climb a mountain where a dragon lived?

Lucella had the bloodied, pierced shirt wrapped around his body, clearly meant for an adult and too big for his body. He was looking at it quizzically now.

It had a piercing wound that passed through the body.

Whether he was stabbed by a sword or a monster with a long horn he didn’t know.

He couldn’t remember himself being strong, and as such, there were countless reasons that could’ve led to his death on this mountain.

The main question was why would a guy who couldn’t even fight come to a dangerous mountain like this?

“Grrroooarrr!”

There was a roar that shook the mountain and Lucella looked toward the source.

“Oh, did she take something down?”

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Mount Kuguse had a narrow field of view due to its abundant vegetation, but the dragon’s nest was located in a somewhat elevated spot, and the target also had a mountain-like body, so it was easy for him to find it.

He looked to the distance while shading his eyes with his forearm, and beyond the sea of green trees, he saw a deep crimson back and wings of a gigantic body.

The dragon had swooped down on her prey from above and seemed to have finished it off in a quick close fight; she eventually soared up while holding something.

Just by flapping her wings, she caused the trees around to start creaking.

She was a red dragon so big that even her silhouette was clearly visible even from afar. She gradually grew closer and closer and grew so big Lucella had to look up at it.

Her big and strong feet were tightly grasping a monster’s corpse with claws that could even pierce Mythril.

“Agh!”

Lucella almost got blown away by the wing pressure generated by her wings.

The owner of this nest, the queen of the mountain, had returned. The mountain trembled just from her landing.

The giant red dragon was impressive as is just by crouching next to her, but seeing her moving figure was too overwhelming.

She was most likely about twenty meters long. Her rugged body had an overall sharp impression and looked refined as a living being.

Dragons were known best for their breath attack but seeing one like this made it secondary.

The very weight of her existence was on a different level. A single light swing of her claws would shred a human being like paper. But she didn’t use her claws and fangs to tear Lucella up.

Instead, she rubbed her giant snout at Lucella to announce that she was back, and then proceeded to butcher the game she just hunted.

The game in question was a bear-like monster with colorful fringes all over its body. As monsters underwent mutation near the dragon’s habitat Lucella didn’t know what kind of monster it used to be, but it was most likely frighteningly strong. Though it had met its end by the dragon’s claw.

The dragon seemed to be able to move freely both on four legs and on two while standing up, and she was able to move her forefeet which were equipped with sharp claws quite skillfully. The red dragon inserted her claws between the monster’s hide and flesh and proceeded to skin it.

The monster’s corpse got separated into hide and meat in an instant.

She then tore off and chewed part of the meat to soften it, and grilled it with fire inside her mouth.

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This is probably the most magnificent furnace in the world, Lucella thought.

Before long, she presented the well-roasted meat to Lucella.

“…Thanks.”

Lucella looked up and thanked the dragon. But she didn’t show a reaction. It seemed that the dragon didn’t understand Lucella’s words. It was said that dragons were more intelligent than humans and could even take on a human form. But Lucella had never seen this red dragon do that.

It didn’t seem like this dragon was particularly unintelligent. It could be that she didn’t know human words since she spent her life without coming in contact with humans, but then that would mean the other dragons managed to contact humans in some way to learn their language. Lucella continued pondering about things he had no answer for.

At any rate, Lucella started to eat the offered meal.

The dragon-cooked monster meat had an indescribably peculiar taste. It was freshly-hunted meat that wasn’t even drained of blood. Lucella felt a strange sense of heat spreading in his stomach as he ate.

The dragon observed Lucella as he started to eat while lightly swinging her head. Lucella couldn’t tell her expression but she seemed to be happy at least.

This was quite an odd situation.

A dragon that had lost her egg in a rain disaster had picked up a dying human, giving him her daughter’s name and caring after him.

She took care of Lucella devotedly, just like a real daughter.

And, she seemed to be… enjoying it too.

—I suppose even dragons would feel lonely when they lose their child. I mean, I guess that’s obvious.

Maybe it could be called a whim. Or maybe it was cherishing. Or maybe even just a way to fill up the loneliness. Or perhaps all of that combined.

Lucella was grateful that she saved him, but he didn’t know how to understand her emotions. After all, he couldn’t even communicate with her. Neither knew what the other was thinking, so they had to communicate with gestures.

As the dragon observed Lucella’s meal, she started to peel the bear monster’s skin further.

She cut off its limbs, and head, and scraped off the meat.

What was left was the clean hide of its torso. It was a dark gray hide accented with colorful fringes.

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She then picked the hide up with her fingers and after checking it, she suddenly dropped it over Lucella’s back.

“Woah?!”

It was quite heavy.

“Huh, what? You want me to wear it?”

Looking up, the dragon was gently swaying her head.

Lucella was currently wearing the overly large shirt like a dress, and looked both a little improper and lacked protection against cold.

It was still a warm season, but when fall came the nights would get pretty cold. A single shirt wouldn’t cut it.

It was hard to tell how much of that the dragon understood, but she at least seemed to have realized the need to deal with cold and specifically hunted prey with a warm hide.

“Thanks…”

Lucella thanked her but he knew she wouldn’t understand it.

—I’m thanking her but I doubt she’s getting it. A human would’ve understood it through the nuance but…

But then, Lucella suddenly stood up and approached the burly dragon, and rubbed his face on her leg.

Seeing that, the dragon did the usual to Lucella.

“……Mrrrrrr……”
“Ahahaha, s-stop… Wah!”

She quickly responded back. She gently hummed and reached out, rubbing her head at Lucella.

But a giant dragon doing that resulted in Lucella falling back on the foliage and doing a spin.

He got entwined in the hide he wore in the process.

“………It smells like blood.”

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The hide, which was roughly stripped off with no proper manufacturing, had a choking bloody smell.

…But it was better than freezing. As for the smell… Lucella could only hope that it’d go away with time.

“….Ruo…wooo…”

The dragon spoke something.

It was an extremely simple sound, but the moment Lucella heard it, his head was filled with so much information it made him sick.

There was a magic that allowed people to communicate with mind and heart alone called telepathy, so perhaps it was something akin to it.

But the dragon’s words were mercilessly pouring down on Lucella and crammed information in his head.

Needless to say, Lucella didn’t understand the dragon language. It felt as if some difficult code was being forcibly decrypted in his head.

‘Lucella.’

He only understood that name alone.

The name that the dragon bestowed on him.

“…Lucella. Lucella.”

Lucella repeated that name while touching his body in a patting motion.

‘Tell me your name,’ he was trying to say.

It took the dragon a few moments to understand the meaning. She bared her fangs and groaned something shortly.

“…Grrrr….aurrrr…”

‘Kafal.’

Lucella clearly heard that.

“Kafal? Kafal…”

As he repeated the name, she ardently rubbed her nose at him. Had she made a mistake in strength, Lucella would’ve most likely been crushed to death.



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