The Sacrifice

生け贄

 

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…”

“S-sorry!”

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?”

“Yeah.”

“How?”

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.

“What’s up?”

“Weirdo.”

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…”

“Liaaar.”

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!

“Weirdo.”

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.

“You guys…”

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.

[Offer.]

It was short, but the word clearly held some meaning.

With that, the men stood and left the girl as they dashed away.

“Uhh…”

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…”

“A sacrifice.”

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.

“A-i…”

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?”

 

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19 thoughts on “The Magus of Genesis — Chapter 5

  1. The concept is primitives don’t having languages – or having a very limited one – is frankly rather stupid. Oh sure, it will lack the sophistication of languages of modern civilization but it would no so bad so as making the speakers sounds as if having less intelligence than an infant. Primitive != stupid. Looks at the various primitive indigenous people in the remaining jungle corners of the world, especially the ones with minimum or recent contact with modern civilizations. Their culture and technology may be primitive, but their languages is not so primitive as to sound like child-speak. Or heck, looks at animals. We don’t have dog-translator and but I’m willing to bet there many dog owners who would swear at how communicative their beloved best friend could be. :V

    If they are humans who are capable of having complex and intelligent thought as much modern humans then they would have languages that reflect it. Think for example, this girl AI is brought as sacrifice for the MC, right. So, let’s Imagine how complex the discussion the tribe would undergo to reach that conclusion:

    Tribe members who have never seen a dragon would be questioning what that creature is, and tribe members who had seen one, if there’s any, would be explaining to those who don’t. There will be rounds of questioning why the creature has descended on their village in wroth, and why then it again goes back just like that. There will be people questioning if that thing would came again. Then there will be talks about about what can be done if it did. There will be assessment about whether they can fight it and there will tactics suggested and tactics shot down. There will be someone who airs the idea of appeasing it by making some offering instead. Then there will be discussions of what offering would both suffice and affordable by the tribe. Then they got around to decide that the offering should be a young member of the tribe, there will be discussion about just whose kid should be made sacrifice. This part is sure to be nasty and lengthy (though in fairness, may be the part that need language the less, it may just well skip into threatening gestures and fistfight :V ). Then they would discuss how to present her. Her decoration is not just come out of thin air, that too must be something the tribes talk about however brief (fashion talk, so unlikely :V ). And then there will be rounds of telling the girl what she is going to be and convincing her to go with it. Finally the rounds of farewells and prayer wishing the offering went well.

    Can anyone imagine going through all that in child-speak? Nah.

    You can probably expect primitive people to not have word to describe advanced tech/science things like calendar, germ, atmostphere, smartphone, etc, but they are likely going to be capable of having complext comunication.

    In fairness, though, no one says languages have to be in spoken words. It is possible their communication also have complex gesture component to it (or smell component, or telepahic component. Fantasy humans. Would not be so weird) and the narrating MC miss it, because he is an occult expert, not antropology expert.

    Well, that’s a long rant. Basically this is yet another instance of an author not understanding past people and/or looking down on them. Well to be honest and fair, this one is actually rather mild, it is just the linguist nerd me going linguist nerd. There are much worse offenders out there.

    1. That one bothered me a bit too. I expected to see lots of gestures in the communication of the cave people since it was expanded on that they didn’t have a comprehensive or cohesive spoken language

    2. They do have a language. It’s just very simple, consisting of only one-word sentences as shown before; but keep in mind that to us readers the tribe’s conversation occurs only during the “fight”. Maybe they do communicate some other way inside the safety of their caves, away from MC’s PoV.
      Or maybe they didn’t, and communicated largely through said one-word sentences, and the rest is achieved through instinct, for lack of a better word.
      By instinct I mean something like the tribe chief thinking and calling the decision and everyone following suit, much like an Alpha directs their pack. No need for discussion, just order followed through down the chain of hierarchy within the tribe.
      The only “mistake” here, if any, is the lack of these content. The author brushed off what could be world-building in favor of plot development, and hey, that’s fine.
      With the length of these chapters there’s barely any time to explain and world-build, and not everyone’s got a linguist/perfectionist that wants thorough world-building, so author went with plot development.
      At most, I can only hope for explanation in future chapters, all the while ignoring the missed world-build opportunity.
      After all, as they say, ignorance is bliss. Being angry at the supposed ‘flaw’ will only make YOU enjoy less, and it’ll be your loss only.

      1. “The only “mistake” here, if any, is the lack of these content. The author brushed off what could be world-building in favor of plot development, and hey, that’s fine.”

        You are mistaking my criticism. The problem isn’t that the tribesfolk isn’t shown in engaging in complex communication. The problem is that they are shown -and noted by the narrator- as only capable of child-speak.

        Fact is, the author did engaged in worldbuidling: by presenting a primitive humans incapable of languages, and calling the of flaw of that worldbuilding as it is.

        I’m not saying the author should delve at length in linguistics and anthropology, but I’m saying that where the author did delve a bit, they are being wrongful about it.

        Rather than offering in-depth explanations in future chapters (because you are right, not everyone is interested in linguistic nerdism and it’s often unnecessary to the plot), the wiser course would have been to not include that tidbit in the first place. It’s not like it’s necessary for the plot.

        Perhaps an explanation is upcoming in the further chapters, sure. But until they actually come and I comment nothing or judge anything about them. I can only consider what’s actually in the story so far.
        “After all, as they say, ignorance is bliss. Being angry at the supposed ‘flaw’ will only make YOU enjoy less, and it’ll be your loss only.”
        Who was being angry? I maybe ranted long winded there but that does not necessarily means I’m angry. I was pretty sure I used calm languages too, with the perhaps only possible exception the one word ‘stupid’ at the beginning.

        Secondly, enjoying a works fiction and being aware of its flaws are not mutually exclusive. Even if ignorance may further enjoyment of fiction, it’s not like one can forget what one has learned, no? On the other hand, discussing world-buidling minutua is enjoyable too.

        1. Why there’s no edit function in reply :/

          Fix for some missing words
          “Fact is, the author did engaged in worldbuidling: by presenting a primitive humans incapable of languages, and I was just calling out the of flaw of that worldbuilding as it is. ”

          “Rather than offering in-depth explanations in future chapters (because you are right, not everyone is interested in linguistic nerdism and it’s often unnecessary to the plot), perhaps the wiser course would have been to not include that tidbit in the first place. It’s not like it’s necessary for the plot.”

          (It should be obvious that I am rather pedantic) 😛 🙂

          1. “Perhaps an explanation is upcoming in the further chapters, sure. But until they actually came I can comment nothing and cannot judge anything about them. I can only consider what’s actually in the story so far.”

            1. Who is going to wax eloquent when a dragon drops out of the clear blue sky, anyway? His assumption that they have a simple language is predicated on way too limited a sample, and he’s acting like a fifty foot tourist talking to them.

              It’s also seems a little odd to me that this guy supposedly spent his entire previous life being essentially a skeptic, but is constantly conclusion jumping. First thing he can’t explain in a fundamentally different universe… must be magic!

            2. It’s super interesting to read comments about the LN, since people may think of stuff that you didn’t consider. I also totally agree with you, the author uses 1 word sentence, but how did they invent the word itself is weird… they don’t even have names, but they can invent words… why don’t they also invent new words as names? Isn’t it better to call someone by their name than saying:”You over there” or something similar? Plus it isn’t single-worded. Also, even though the dragon understood them with the gestures, isn’t him giving out words kind of randomly? I mean, they could have said something complicated like a sentence, but he himself translate them as one word. It might have been a sound = one word. So isn’t the author making the MC interpret the words with too much simplicity?

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