Since time immemorial, gifts given
to that man have been cursed.
Cursed in that they cannot be returned.
“I did it! Nina, check it out!”
Seeing me so excited about something, Nina looked at me strangely.
“… What did you do?”
“Can’t you tell by looking?”
My eyes still wide open in surprise, I pointed at my feet with a finger on one of my forelegs.
There were a few centimeters’ gap between my feet and the ground.
“I’m flying right now!”
“You’ve been doing that since I met you though?”
Nina’s response to me—still uncontrollably excited—was rather indifferent.
“So you can’t tell… what I’m doing right now is floating.”
“What’s the difference?”
I’m stumped on how to respond, honestly. There’s no expression capable of easily making the distinction in Elvish.
“I mean… oh, see how I’m staying in the same spot even without flapping my wings? I’m not flying like a bird, I’m just drifting in the air like a leaf in a pond.”
“What’s so good about that?”
Nina’s simple question put me at a loss for words.
If I had to pick between good and incredible, what I’m doing right now is by far incredible.
“It’s magic, Nina. This is magic, too.”
I can’t say I know just how heavy a dragon’s body is, but there’s at least one thing that’s clear.
The lift that my wings produce definitely isn’t enough to support my massive body.
I’m still fairly young as a dragon, yet my body is at least two heads taller than Nina. I’m probably around three meters tall if you included everything to the tip of my tail.
So I’m much, much larger than a bird, let alone my mother, who’s easily ten times my size. Common sense would dictate that things like us couldn’t fly.
Given that I can do something that shouldn’t be possible, magic has to have something to do with it.
And my hopes hit the mark rather magnificently.
“Weren’t you happy about not using magic just a bit ago?”
“That was for fire. See? I’m not breathing out fire at all anymore.”
I deliberately exhaled in Nina’s direction.
“… Yeah… l-looks like you stopped breathing fire…”
My breath caused Nina to tremble all over and to have to reign in her now-disheveled hair, so I quickly apologized.
“And you’re going to teach that magic thing?”
Given the same question she’d asked last night, I suddenly noticed…
—I still hadn’t solved that problem at all.
All I’d done was become able to purposely use magic.
“I’m beat, I give up.”
I smiled wryly and Nina stared at me pointedly.
Nina suddenly looked away when she noticed I’d started staring back at her.
“You said you give up, but you don’t look stumped at all.”
“Eh, no, I really am stumped…”
Nina looked back toward me and pointed at my mouth, an innocent smile on her face.
“You’ve been grinning ever since last night!”
When I reached for my mouth because of her pointing it out, there really was a smile on my face.
Yeah… this is what it feels like.
“I’m happy that I’m stumped.”
My previous life didn’t have magic, so it wasn’t even possible for me to be stumped like this.
Being stumped means that there’s a problem.
There being a problem means that there’s room for trial and error.
And what a wonderful thing that is!
I hadn’t conveyed my thoughts to Nina, but she was able to guess most of it just by seeing how delighted I must look and repeated the same thing as before yet again.
Nina’s expression suddenly turned serious as she turned around.
“… Something’s coming.”
I wonder if Nina’s perception is some sort of magic as well? She’s keen enough to find a rabbit hiding in the brush.
Although a dragon’s perception is considerably sharp compared to a human’s, I only noticed by the point they’d practically arrived.
The people that arrived were the humans that I tried to contact a few days ago.
They were two of the men that threw spears at me and the girl that I’d landed right in front of. I didn’t take myself for someone that could remember people’s faces too well, but a dragon’s memory is a fearsome thing indeed.
I even managed to remember their faces despite only catching a glimpse of them.
The men were somewhere between thirty and forty years old from the looks of it. They had solid builds, but weren’t too tall. They were only a little taller than Nina, so maybe around a hundred and sixty centimeters or so?
They definitely seemed to be warriors given their spears and the structure of their fur clothing, but it didn’t feel like they intended to attack. Placing Nina behind me just in case, I looked to see what they would do.
The two men suddenly knelt, leaving the girl standing.
It was short, but the word clearly held some meaning.
With that, the men stood and left the girl as they dashed away.
Left behind, the girl looked up at me and trembled.
The girl was even younger than Nina. She looked to be around ten or so.
With her black hair, yellow skin, and shallow facial features, she looked similar to the Japanese I’m familiar with.
Although this era didn’t have elaborate clothing, her hair was decorated by flowers and she wore a necklace made out of carved turquoise-colored stones. She was obviously decorated for a specific reason.
“I guess… this is that, isn’t it…”
Nina said the word I was thinking out loud.
“I wonder if we can send her back…”
“I guess they want you to kill her to appease your anger?”
“I’m not even angry though…”
I was excited about seeing humans for the first time back then, but now that I think about it… I did soar down from the sky with both fire and a loud voice roaring from my mouth.
It can’t be helped that that caused them to think I’m angry.
“Don’t worry, I’m not going to eat you.”
I spoke slowly so that I might calm the trembling girl down.
“Your name is…?”
Oh, she doesn’t have one, does she? They still haven’t even developed a language to communicate with, after all.
“Right. Ai. From this day forward, your name is Ai.”
A name that’s short and easy to pronounce should be easier for a child to learn.
Ai blinked in puzzlement when I called her with her name a few times before clumsily imitating me.
“It’s good to meet you, Ai. If you are willing—”
With mine and Nina’s abilities, we shouldn’t have a problem with our daily lives even if we have to take care of another person.
But more importantly, this meeting of ours might actually be a good thing.
“Would you be my first human pupil?”