So, what is your plan, father? Leowynn asked as the two of us walked out of the citadel’s front gates. Are you really going to try to negotiate with the dragon, first?
I chuckled lightly at that, nodding my head. Well, I’ll try… no matter how intelligent of a creature it is, it hasn’t had any contact with a language since its birth. Similarly, it’s had no others of its own kind for it to communicate with to build its own language. If this were Fyor, I’d think that it might be able to speak the language of magic, but… a creature born on Desbar doesn’t seem as likely to do that.
I stepped off of the cliff of the floating island, allowing my ki to carry me through the air as I continued walking towards the nearby volcano. Already I could see the smoke rising up, the caved in peak glowing red. Soon, there wouldn’t be much of a roof left to the dragon’s cave.
Would you like me to prepare for a battle, then? Leowynn asked, and I could feel a touch of concern.
Not for battle, but… if you could manifest your dragon form, that would help. Maybe showing it something similar to itself will make it more hesitant to fight than if it simply saw a small ‘morsel’ overflowing with power.
So hungry… a cough escape the lips of the mighty dragon, bathing in lava. With it, another blast of fire, and a splash of molten rock falling over its form. It was comfortable, yet not. It did not wish to awaken, yet it had no more food. Nothing left to fill its stomachs.
The lava rippled as the dragon’s tail stirred within it, feeling the approach of a powerful figure. No, I don’t want to wake up. Let me sleep. The beast thought to itself, even as the presence drew closer. One wing stretched out lazily, splashing the hot lava towards the figure as soon as it had come too close, trying to drive it off.
The dragon could hear something, the call of some small animal. Surely, that presence didn’t belong to something so tiny? Yet, the call of an animal was simply like any other, unable to be understood by those of a different breed.
The lava that it had splashed seemed to have no effect. Either the creature dodged it, or simply endured the heat as the dragon did. It let out its call once again, though this time it sounded faintly different. The roar of the creature, if you could call such a small thing a roar, seemed to echo off of the cavern’s walls.
Slowly, the comforting heat that had surrounded it for so long was fading, cooling off. A low growl escaped the dragon, its ki surging once more to reheat the lava. Fine, I’ll get up… It thought to itself, its hulking body slowly rising from its molten bath.
The first thing that the dragon noticed was that its home seemed smaller than it remembered. Once standing at its full height, it nearly bumped its head against the soft ceiling. The second thing that it noticed was a golden image standing before it. A creature looking fairly similar to itself. Another of its own kind?
No… looking closely, he felt like he could almost see through the other dragon. It gave off a feeling of power no less than its own, but it could surely not be called the same breed. And besides, it was far too large to be the source of the call before. That was when the great dragon noticed another creature, a small little speck standing atop the golden dragon’s head. At first it had been mistaken for an off-colored horn, until it inspected more closely.
The creature stood on two legs, its hide purple for its torso, black for its legs, and oddly pinkish for the rest of its limbs. It was staring directly at the dragon, its mouth opening and calling out repeatedly. The different tones, the dragon almost felt like they should mean something, but it was little more than the call of a small beast.
It turned its head to the side, letting out another cough due to its hunger. The golden dragon recoiled back, but the look on the small creature’s face seemed more concerned than anything. The great dragon did consider eating the small creature. Its power felt quite enormous, but… there was simply so little meat to it. It would be little more than a snack, and the golden dragon seemed quite fond of it.
The small beast turned silent for several long moments, closing its eyes. Was it offering itself up? No, it was still too small to be worth eating. However, as the seconds passed, there did not seem to be any direct movement from either the golden dragon or the creature riding atop its head.
Suddenly, its eyes opened again, and the dragon could feel three other mighty presences, feeling far greater than even the two in front of it. In a flash of golden light, three figures appeared in the air.
One had the hair and tail of a jungle cat, one of the dragon’s favorite meals. It couldn’t help lick its lips at the memory of the taste. The next looked even more succulent, half its body appearing as a small beast, held up by four thin legs. At least this creature looked like it would be a juicy bite, if it weren’t so powerful.
The final figure was clad in golden chitin, but did not have any similarities with any creatures it knew. It looked to be of the same kind as the small creature standing atop the golden dragon, if not for the shining chitin covering most of its body. It even wielded a sharp stick with three tips at the end.
These three beings appeared in the air behind the golden dragon, their eyes all focusing on the one which had just been woken up. They communicated in their odd animal calls, seeming to be able to understand each other. Another cough to the side, and the golden creature suddenly lifted its pointed stick, the tip aimed at the great dragon.
It needed to get some food, and soon. It knew that it was hungry, and needed to hunt. As those thoughts flashed by, a fourth mighty aura appeared, this one directly in front of the dragon. It blinked its eyes in surprise, suddenly seeing a new figure. This one had the ears and tail of another beast, a pack animal that it had often hunted.
Can you understand me? The dragon tilted its head to the side, unsure why it had thought that to itself. Of course it could understand its own thoughts. Though, why did that thought feel different? Then it saw the eyes of the newest presence focusing intensely on its own. Yes, it’s me.
Another creature was thinking for it? Thinking into the mind of the dragon? Would you like something to eat?
The thought of actually getting food sent another tremor through the three stomachs of the dragon. Another cough rang out, this one just barely turned quickly enough to not blast the newest presence with its flaming breath. When it looked again, the lips of the creature were oddly turned upwards. If you would like to eat, follow us.
“Alright, that should be good!” Accalia called back to me. “Wherever you plan on taking it for a meal, better hurry. This guy’s actually starving.”
I nodded, having noticed that myself. When we arrived, I had noticed that it seemed to have more intelligence than a common monster. The fact that it turned its head to shoot the wall with its fire instead of us either meant that it was a warning shot, or it just couldn’t help itself.
Coupled with the knowledge that it was only waking up soon due to its hunger growing too intense, it was easy to figure out that the creature was starving. Probably sick because of it, hence the uncontrolled fireblasts.
“Leowynn, can you fly me to the nearest beach? And Bihena.” I smiled towards the human goddess, one of the ones I had called down to help me with this. “Would you be able to get something big from the ocean? I think that, by the time I got it myself, the dragon would lose its patience.”
“That’s not seriously what you called me here for, right?” Bihena asked with a deadpan expression. “I mean, I can do it, but I thought you wanted me here for something else.”
“I do. This is just something to get it in a better mood to cooperate.” I had tried listening to the thoughts of the dragon. However, since it was not a purchased race of mine, I couldn’t access its mind. Only Accalia, being the Goddess of the Hunt, could see into the minds of beasts and monsters.
As Leowynn took off, Bihena vanished from sight. Accalia, Terra, and Tryval all followed behind us, with the dragon behind the three of them as we proceeded towards the nearest shoreline. By the time that we arrived, we could see Bihena standing atop the body of a dead monster, one nearly as large as the dragon itself. However, it was clearly not at the same level, going by how it felt.
Nonetheless, the dragon’s eyes flashed brightly as it saw the corpse. With a gust of wind, it immediately overtook us, descending upon the sea monster fast enough that even Bihena’s eyes widened. She jumped out of the way to let the dragon tear into its rubbery hide, blood spreading across its mouth and claws.
“So… while we wait, mind going over the whole plan with us?” Bihena asked, hovering back to my side and standing on top of Leowynn’s head. It would take a little while for the dragon to finish eating the sea serpent, so there was no harm in explaining.
“I want to form a contract with it.” I said simply. “A binding contract. In a sense… I think it’s time for me to try out being a Monster Tamer. And yes, I know I haven’t personally trained that class yet, so a disaster-level dragon might be a touch above my pay grade. That’s why I called you all.”
“Between the domains of Fate, Fellowship, and Peace, I think we can make it work. We just need Accalia to act as our arbitrator, since she is the only one able to directly communicate with the dragon.”
“You wish to make the dragon your subordinate, my lord?” Tryval asked, raising an eyebrow as he watched the creature viciously tear into its newest meal. “Are you sure that you will be able to keep it fed?”
“Working on that.” I nodded, still fleshing out the plan in my mind. It was either this, or destroy an intelligent creature whose only crime was being too powerful. Maybe Tsubaki would be able to help cope with its dietary needs. From what I could estimate, it’d only need such a large meal once a week or so. And when it had been taught properly, it’d be able to get its own food.
“So…” Terra smiled, tilting back and forth on her heels, despite the complete lack of anything solid beneath her feet. “Fellowship and Peace to forge the pact, and then Fate to seal it, combined with your own energy as the final stamp? About right for what you had planned?”
I gave another nod. “I had thought about borrowing Irena’s pen, but a literal contract wouldn’t help much. It’d just impose a shackle on the creature that it would begin to struggle against. You guys are able to combine the powers of your domains to do joint efforts, right…? This is kinda pointless if not…”
Accalia rolled her eyes playfully. “Yeah, we can. As long as we all have the same goal in mind, and know our part to play. But with this, it should be easy enough. Just so long as tall, dark, and scaly over there is agreeable to the idea. If not, we go with plan A, putting him down.”
As cruel as that sounded, she was right. Left unchecked, and unwilling to be taught, the dragon’s hunger would lead it to more hunting grounds. At its current power, it would take either myself or one of the gods to step in and stop it. Most likely, no weapon or technique known to mortals would do anything more than annoy it.
And so, we waited. It didn’t take too long before the dragon had finished its meal, leaving only scattered blood and bones of the ‘offering’. It turned, facing Accalia who once again approached. In order to help both sides understand, she spoke aloud at the same time as she communicated with the creature’s mind.
“I’m here to offer you a choice.” Her tone was gentle, and she brought a hand up to rub the scales of the dragon, just between its nostrils. “You are simply too powerful to let roam about. If we don’t do something, you could destroy this world that we work to protect.”
The dragon once again tilted its head, but was careful not to move its snout too much. Accalia let out a light laugh. “Yes, I know that you don’t want to eat the ground. But there is more to this world than that. The creatures that inhabit it are under our care. If you don’t let us guide you… you may end up destroying them without realizing.”
“The choice I offer you is an alternative to the destruction you risk. Behind me stands the supreme existence of this world. If you submit to his rule, and allow him to guide you… not only will you be able to stay well fed like today, but you may even grow stronger as well.”
Moments after saying that, Accalia blinked, turning her head back to look at us with a sheepish smile. “He complains that he’s not full yet.” After she said that, she shook her head, looking back to the dragon. “We’ll work on that later, okay? For now… you need to consider what I told you.”
The dragon pulled its head back, seeming to look in my direction, before back down to Accalia. She sighed, shaking her head again and turning around. “He thinks that you can’t be the supreme being, because we feel stronger than you do. So… he’ll submit if you can beat him in a fight.”
I could hear the gauntlets of Bihena’s armor creaking as she gripped her spear tight, yet Accalia simply asked in that same, gentle tone. “Are you able to beat him without killing him?”
“You know… non-lethal techniques had never been high on my priority list.” I admitted rather plainly. “But I can try.”