72.1 Returning to that Place
Gild-san doesn’t say much about his saber. He only tells me that it is an important memento of his late wife. I don’t ask anything more either. Everyone has something they don’t want to talk about or remember.
Once I get ahold of myself, I make a request of Gild-san.
“Anou, if it’s alright with you, can I keep receiving your guidance until the end of the year?”
“I don’t think I’ll get a chance to receive instruction from someone as incredible as Gild-san any time soon. That’s why, I want Gild-san to teach me a lot more.”
Even though Old Sleigstar is my master, there is much I can learn from other people.
“Except, I thought you had to go back to Sleigstar-sama’s place?”
“Yes, but it won’t be a problem if I keep coming to Gild-san’s place until the end of the year. That was the time limit I was given from the start and I’ve already received the Dragon’s Gem.”
Gild-san closes his eyes and thinks about it.
“Alright, I shall bequeath what I still have onto the next era’s dragon king.”
Then upon opening his eyes, with a gentle smile that reaches the corners of his eyes, he agrees.
Even though there are only a few days left until the end of the year, everyday starting from when I inherited the Dragon’s Gem, I go to Gild-san’s place for more instruction. In particular, I’m taught how to handle the explosive burst of dragon power contained in Dragon’s Gem. The knowledge and experience I gain from the new techniques I’m taught for controlling this extraordinary dragon spirit are invaluable.
I want to tell Ruiseine about Gild-san, but she seems to be busy preparing for the new year’s rituals. Kiiri and Inea haven’t been coming to school either. As such, even by the time school closes for the new year holiday, I am unable to tell her.
This year’s winter, it’s a bit warmer than usual.
I don’t know if it’s because each day feels more fulfilling or if this really is a mild winter, but this is the first winter since I was born where I’m not secluding myself.
Then, finally, there are two days left for this year.
The next day, I have to return to the moss-covered plaza and report the outcome of my trial to Old Sleigstar, all according to the time frame he gave me.
That’s why this day is the last day I will receive instruction from Gild-san.
Even though it’s the end of the year, my leaving home early in the morning gets a sigh from my mother as she sees me off. However, she seems happy at my slump having cleared away and my getting energetic again.
Thus, I receive my final lesson from Gild-san.
Evening comes and the sun begins to set beyond Dragon’s Peak.
“Even though the time was brief, thank you very much for your guidance.”
I give a deep bow to Gild-san.
“No, you have my gratitude. For being a good successor, thanks.”
Gild-san, standing with his saber in place of a cane, gives a gentle smile.
In the end, I wasn’t able to get a second victory against Gild-san. That I was able to beat Gild-san once absolutely was a miracle. My inheriting the Dragon’s Gem and combining with the spirit girl gave me an unfathomable level of power, but I was still at my wits ends against Gild-san.
Gild-san should have weakened after parting with the Dragon’s Gem, so why?
Even though I wonder that, I realize it after thinking for a bit. Gild-san only ever used sword techniques at the start.
Gild-san negated the power I received by utilizing dragon techniques. I was left utterly helpless at the clear difference between our abilities and experiences.
Looks like Gild-san has been going easy on me since the start. Even as an ojii-san, Gild-san was a Dragon King. It doesn’t matter how much power a beginner like me has, that I won’t beat him is to be expected.
As Gild-san sees me off with a gentle smile, I once more give him a deep bow and head back home.
But before departing, I turn back towards Gild-san.
“Eetto, would it be okay for me to still come here in the future?”
“Hahaha, except don’t you have to head to Sleigstar-sama’s place everyday from now on?”
“Yes, that is true. Still, there is a lot more I want to learn from Gild-san, too.”
“Fumu, hearing that also makes me happy. I’ll grant you my guidance whenever you come.”
“Thank you very much!”
Having received Gild-san’s permission, I again bow out of delight.
Then, as I finish bowing,
“Well then, it’s already dark. Hurry home.”
“Yes, really, thank you very much. Well then, happy new year.”
“Happy new year.”
With that greeting as a farewell, I hurry and get back home.
Then, on the eve of the new year, I once more set out early in the morning. My mother again sees me off with a sigh.
“I’ll be back just past noon.”
My mother responds with a light, “Yes, yes,” to my words.
As expected, I have to be at home for the last day of the year. The great cleaning hasn’t even been done yet…
For now, since I planned to be free today, I’m going to report to Old Sleigstar.
I also want to meet Mistral and Priscilla-chan, but those two are no doubt busy with end of the year preparations, too. I’ll properly report to them once the new year starts and everything is settled. With such thoughts in mind, I head to the moss-covered plaza.
The scenery created by the long since fallen leaves of the Dragon Forest is eye catching as always. Overcome with nostalgia, I breath in deep. The cold winter air calms me down.
All right, I’ll take a walk.
Since I still can’t get to the moss-covered plaza by my own will, all I can do is walk around. While doing so, I take in the scenery I haven’t seen in a long time.
Along the way, I meet the large, grey wolf, demon beast. That’s alright though, that guy won’t attack me anymore. On the contrary, we get along enough that I’m allowed to ride on his back. This is all thanks to Priscilla-chan.
Afterwards, I meet the large rabbit demon beast.
As I continue walking, I meet the deer demon beasts.
I meet the bear demon beast too.
You guys, why haven’t you gone back to Dragon’s Peak even though the decaying dragon is no longer around!?
While I’m thinking that, my surroundings change. It’s as if this was waiting for me to meet the demon beasts first.
The air clears and the sight of the deep forest calms my heart.
I’ve returned. I take in the deeply moving ancient forest.
T/N: Getting this out took a lot longer than I thought it would.