After looking around and securing the safety, Iddy said hi.
“Kerk. Long time no see, hubby.”
“I told you not to call me hubby.”
“Kerk, Kerk. I see that you are finally ready to accept me, now that you have summoned me in this tiny room. Thankfully, the bed is large enough. Do you prefer a son or a daughter?”
Instead of going along with Iddy’s word, I aimed for Iddy’s head with Thousand Arms.
Iddy tilted her head, and easily avoided my attack.
“Kerk. Commander, you are still such a shy boy.”
Iddy laughed momentarily, and asked me.
“Commander, is this place safe?”
“For now yes. It’s an ally’s base. Can’t be completely sure yet though.”
“I see. Well, if you have time, I would appreciate a detailed explanation of the situation. Kerk.”
I explained the situation in great detail, as Iddy requested, about detailed setting of this stage and the objective I had to accomplish.
“Do you know about the dwarfs by any chance?”
“Kerk. Dwarf is a broad term any short humanlike race. Are there any other particularly special features?”
Of course, there is one extremely particularly special feature.
I told Iddy about a particular feature of the dwarfs I’ve met.
“Kerk. Kerk. We will end up meeting the breed that is normally very hard to find.”
“You know about those dwarfs?”
“Of course. Kerk. First of all, you mustn’t call them dwarfs in front of them.”
“Yeah? Then what should I call them?”
The dragon soldiers I was familiar with are definitely not one of those dwarfs with speech impediments.
It’s awfully different to what I’ve imagined in my head.
When I told her of my impression, Iddy laughed once again.
“Of course. Dragon soldiers are a great being in its existence itself. There is no way that they would be called the dwarfs.”
Then what the heck are they?
“They are not exactly dragon soldiers, but dragon soldier wannabes?”
“Correct. Essentially, they share identical process of birth with dragon soldiers. Same creator too. Of course they’re only identical in a way that a lizard man and a crow both come out of eggs.”
“Hmm…Then what are they called usually? Ah, like when they are not listening.”
“You said it yourself. They are called the dwarfs.”
Iddy said that “dwarf” is a broad term to indicate any short humanlike race.
So I guess that means those dwarfs don’t even have an exact title for identifying themselves.
Except for the title of ‘dragon soldier,’ which is only used by them.
“Kerk. They are naturally created to serve the dragon. It’s just like one of those electronic cleaning machines or laundry machines that you’ve told me about once in the past.”
[PR Note: I think what the author means is that they are born into serving the dragon race.]
I guess he meant the vacuum cleaner or the washing machine.
I’ve briefly explained modern civilization once; it was a while ago when I was living in the cave with Iddy on the 12th floor.
Especially the ones related to housework.
“Then they must be pretty damn useless in battle.”
I really have to drink the potions, for real now.
I announced my intention and asked Iddy to protect the room while I’m absorbing the potion.
“Kerk. Got it. But hey, if you planned such a thing, wouldn’t it have been better if you drank it somewhere safer before coming here?”
I silently rolled my eyes.
I didn’t know what to say.
“Kerk. Kerk. You’ve become such a softie, Commander.”
I had to agree with her.
Instead of giving some nonsensical excuse, I admitted it.
I have become such a softie; I’ve become too complacent.
It takes me longer to make a decision when I need to, and those calls are not as good as they used to be.
Even I am aware of it.
* * * * * *
I’ve spent my afternoon absorbing the potions nonstop and familiarize myself with the new buffs.
“Kerk. Are we finished now?”
“No, not quite yet. Even though I’ve finished absorbing its power, my body still needs some time. I will be able to adjust the effects by the time the battle starts tomorrow.”
“Kerk. Wouldn’t it be much better to just completely finish everything before the battle begins?”
“My ability of merit dramatically increases in crisis.”
Iddy laughed wildly.
Well, what can I do; it’s the truth.
While I was chatting with Iddy in the room, one of the dwarfs opened the door and came in.
Do they not know how to knock?
The dwarf eyes were about to pop out when he saw Iddy, but he started to say something regardless.
Ah, here it comes again.
Eddie didn’t even bother to let the dwarf finish his sentence and began to reply.
“Kerk. That’s right. I am a lizard man. I didn’t sneak in; this commander here has summoned me, so don’t you worry.”
“I am also very pleased to meet one of dragon’s descendants. Oh, it’s dinner time already.”
What the heck is happening?
“Iddy, is it really okay to rumble by yourself like that?”
“Kerk. Kerk. I knew it, you are not really able to understand their words because you don’t have the interpretation skill. Kerk. It’s hard to explain.”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Their first and second syllables usually contain most of the meaning.”
“So….does that mean that when he mumbled “Li” at first, it contained the meaning of ‘Oh, it is a Lizard man. What are you doing here? How did you enter here?’”
Iddy affirmed my thoughts.
“That’s correct. Kerk. And the words that come next are usually meaningless ramblings.”
Can someone turn this radio off from rambling!
The slow words the dwarf threw here and there in the middle of my conversation with Iddy were getting on my nerves.
“So the first syllabus contains all the meaning, and the rest has no meaning at all, but I’ve been interpreting it incorrectly by putting all the syllables together to form one sentence?”
“That’s correct. You understand things very quickly, commander. Kerk. Kerk.”
“But how come they use such inefficient way of speaking?”
“The language of dragons usually functions like that.”
“The language of dragons…I see….they copy the language of dragons.”
Now it’s completely understandable why the ‘knowledge before the time of Babel’ skill is unable to interpret the dragon language properly and got confused instead.
I am not sure if it’s due to my low skill level concerning the knowledge before Babel time, or if it’s due to the limitation of the skill itself. Despite its fancy name, it is actually completely impractical at all.
First of all, it’s unable to understand language of Lune, which is considered a very basic language of magic, and there were lots of words among ancient languages that 16th floor castle guard was saying that I couldn’t quite guess the meaning.
I was unable to interpret any dialect or slang the guard was using in the conversation.
“Then, how come you are able to understand them?”
“Kerk. I am a Lizard man. Of course I know some basics of dragon language.”
Alright, I see some relevance here.
Dragon or Lizard man or Lizard… Well they’re all similar to each other so it makes sense.
“Commander, do you know the location of the dining room?”
I’ve confirmed the location of the dining room on the fortress’ internal map.
“Then, let’s head to the dining room. They say the dinner is ready and they’re waiting for you.”
So that’s what the dwarf has been constantly babbling about.
“Sure. Let’s go.”
We got out of the room to head toward the dining room, while the dwarf followed us from behind.
Of course he didn’t forget to continue rambling.
* * * * * *
If there is a language hell on earth, this place is it.
Any linguists with their right minds will agree with me; there are no doubts about that.
The big dining room where about two hundreds of dwarfs were dining was literally chaos.
A bunch of them were speaking like that in the same place at the same time, and I couldn’t understand any of their ramblings.
Even worse, a few of them were babbling inconsistently while eating, I had no clue of what they were trying to say.
So I gave up trying to have a conversation, and let Iddy take care of it, while I only focused on my meal.
Dwarfs’ food consisted mainly of vegetables.
It wasn’t tasty.
“Wouldn’t dragons get upset if this kind of food was being served to them?”
I whispered to Iddy’s ear while she was chatting with the dwarfs.
Just in case the dwarfs gets angry by hearing this.
“Kerk. Dragon doesn’t eat food. I heard there’s no problem even if they don’t ingest any food.”
Having no problems without eating food is different from being unable to eat.
I bet the dragon refuses to eat it, since they serve this kind of food.
I didn’t say it out loud, not even to Iddy.
Just in case the dwarf overhear, since there’s a high chance they’ll get very angry.
“Kerk. And they have decided to show us the inheritance of Go-Ryoung, after we finish our meal.”
“Oh, Yes. Good to hear.”
“And I’ve told them that you absolutely love today’s dinner very much.”
That was such an unnecessary thing to do.
“They were asking me what was wrong, since you were menacingly scowling, so I told them you usually make that kind of face when you eat delicious food.”
I had nothing to say to that, since it was my fault for making such a facial expression while they served the food in the first place.
* * * * * *
After finishing dinner, we followed the dwarfs to check out the inheritance of Go-Ryoung.
Since all the dwarfs looked identical, I couldn’t tell the difference between one and another, but the one who is leading us right now is apparently the one who chatted with me this morning.
Well, I had nothing to comment on that really.
The dwarf started to babble about something again, but I didn’t have to be bothered to care since Iddy could take care of it.
Even the dwarfs seem to feel more comfortable communicating with Iddy instead of me.
I see that it has been a fabulous decision to summon Iddy; thanks to her, interpreting has become so much easier.
When I told her this, Iddy scolded at me.
“Kerk. You finally find the justification for summoning me, just now?”
I was surprised by her reaction, which was sharper than I expected.
“Kerk. Kerk. I like you but you are too slow-witted.”
Just like how she said how I’m slow witted, I couldn’t figure out why I felt offended by her words.
So I just kept my mouth shut, unable to say anything.
We reached the back side of the fortress after walking silently for awhile.
There was a small hall hidden behind the castle wall.
There was a necklace floating in the air in the middle of the empty hall.
Is that some sort of ancient sorcery?
“That must be the inheritance from the dragon?”
“Kerk. It seems like it. They say they cannot reveal the detailed history behind that necklace though.”
I don’t think it matters that much to know the effects or the necklace’s worth anyways.
I only need to protect it from Trilogy alliance.
“Then, Iddy, could you ask them if you could stay here and protect the necklace?”
“Me? Wouldn’t it be better if I fight at the front lines?”
“No, because I was informed to watch my back. Our priority is protecting that necklace. Since there is a possibility of marauders coming from the back side, I want you to protect it.”
The dwarfs readily approved of it.
They said, besides Iddy, they would place bunch of other dwarfs there to strengthen its defenses.
Of course, Iddy translated their words for me.
After finishing the tasks that for the day, I returned to my lodging.
I sat on the edge of my bed, and organized my thoughts.
There was nothing that seemed unstable, or which seemed like a trap.
The defense plan was very thorough, and there was no discord with the dwarfs.
This stage seems to purely be a stage where I defend an object.
However, I thought the fact that the dwarfs have been showing such complete trust toward me and Iddy were a little odd.
I mean, Iddy can be persuasive since she is related to them in terms of genealogy, but it was a bit suspicious that they trusted me so easily.
“What’s your thought on this?”
“Kerk. I don’t know. To be honest how should I know what kind of people the dwarfs of dragon are? I only know that they are dragon soldier wannabes, and that they refuse to accept what they were assigned at birth to become. Moreover, since I have no knowledge about the Trilogy alliance, I won’t be able to suspect anything.”
“Just don’t lower you guard, and let’s collect more information. Kerk. When the battle begins tomorrow, we’ll be able to figure something out after knowing more about the Trilogy.”
In the end, Iddy offered the exact same conclusion as the one I drew in the morning by myself.
Even though it was a same conclusion, somehow Eddie’s words gave me more confidence.
I felt relieved.
I spent the night chatting about things with Iddy, instead of getting a good night’s sleep.
Iddy and I are both unable to sleep easily in places where our safety isn’t guaranteed.
We chatted mostly about what happened to me during my journey from the 13th floor to the 20th floor, after we had our farewells.
While I was Iddy telling stories, I got to uncover some thoughts I was unaware of.
While Iddy listened to me, she often complimented me, or she quietly comforted me.
Iddy makes me feel like I’m home.
Buy us some coffee!