The two recognized me as their parent the moment our souls were connected. Igneel and Etaqua’s eyes were especially clear, and it was like they could see through the deepest parts of my heart. I had seen quite a few dragons before myself, but these two were the first to give me such a mysterious feeling. Igneel and Etaqua knew emotions even when they were just newly born into the world. I sensed their happiness and joy. Actually…
I shook my head inwardly. It wasn’t that they knew.
‘Just as I feel emotions, so do these two.’
They were learning through my emotions. Dragons that hadn’t been born for more than a few minutes were already starting to grow, facing me and putting my emotions to use. How surprising this was! But I had to be serious, because it meant that the emotions I felt, their environment and the like, had become that much more important.
I tried emptying my emotions. I became still like a statue, and soon there was a reaction.
Igneel and Etaqua, who were excitedly licking my neck, paused for a moment and tilted their heads. They appeared confused as the waves of emotions in my heart calmed down.
This time I tried becoming angry, bringing out emotions of rage. I revisited the memories where those I knew died off, one after another. The days when I couldn’t be anything but helpless. The countless good friends and relationships I couldn’t protect, even when I had the strength.
That’s when their reactions became separate. Igneel spread his wings to their limits and became wary of the surroundings. On the contrary, Etaqua slowly licked my neck as he rubbed his face on me.
Why, I wonder. Why was there such a difference when they received the same emotion?
‘They are twins, but their process in hatching differed.’
Igneel had absorbed all the magic power there was to be had. He took my emotions literally and expressed my rage the best. On the other hand, Etaqua had struggled to survive. He had evolved on his own as he resolutely abandoned what was unnecessary and maximized his physical abilities. Perhaps that was why, because I felt that he focused more on the ‘compassion and sadness’ deep within my rage. It wasn’t about who was right or wrong. They were both correct. It turned out that the both of them properly expressed my emotions.
But the two of them quickly tired out. I soon realized my mistake.
‘I’d forgotten they’re newly hatched babies.’
There was a limit to receiving emotions as well. However excellent they may be as a species, it wasn’t like the newborns were capable of everything.
I once again became engrossed in happiness. Infinite possibilities had opened up after obtaining these two. The past was merely the past, now I had the means to move forward. The people I had known wouldn’t die, and I wouldn’t abandon those who had devoted everything for the world as well. I wouldn’t allow a situation of helplessly despairing come about. I wouldn’t just stand by and watch even though I had power. Igneel and Etaqua were like the foundation of my vow.
“Just how could…such a thing…”
Laila had been surprised for a while now.
“The likes of Carpediem’s dark dragon is no opponent to Igneel and Etaqua.”
“Ho-, however, the auctioneer clearly…”
“Said that they would die. Because they failed to absorb magic power.”
“Yes. But it seems that my Lord had already known about the peculiarity in the egg.”
“Have you forgotten that I am ‘the one with piercing sight’? No matter how hard others may struggle to figure out something, it is nothing compared to a single look of mine.”
Laila knew of my ability. She should also be dimly aware of my Dominator’s Authority. After all, Laila had been the one to watch most closely how the slimes were evolved and how the shadow kaim was created. She wasn’t dull-witted at all. She merely kept her silence out of respect for me, because Uriel Diablo was of ultimate importance on all of her priority lists.
Laila asked cautiously.
“Do you intend to…begin using your ability in full earnest?”
“Your eyes tell me you are afraid of something.”
“That is not it. It is only that, my Lord had always been careful of not showing all of your abilities. You had always used your ability most sparingly at public locations as well. I am…simply worried, nothing more.”
Uriel Diablo was an illegitimate child at birth. He was fated to die at the Sun King’s hands if he were to reveal his ability, and even after escaping the Sun King’s grasp, it was highly probable that he would be taken advantage of if his ability were to become known.
That’s why he had hid it, and it seemed that hiding it had become a habit of his. It was most likely because the shadow of the Sun King had always haunted his footsteps.
Whatever the case, letting an ability like this go to rot was a sin. I had no intention to do the same at all. Contrary to his actions, I would use it without restraint and gain the most out of it.
“Apologies, my Lord.”
Laila bowed her head. She had realized that it wasn’t something for her to worry about. But I could understand. It was because Laila Diablo’s every action was centered around Uriel Diablo.
I once again gazed at Igneel and Etaqua. They appeared to be sleepy as they yawned and rested their chins on top of my shoulders. Perhaps that being the reason, even I became sleepy like them. This also amazed me. Excluding the time right after I use Transfer, I had never felt this demon lord’s body become heavy.
“Prepare something to feed these two. Their hunger will be something to behold.”
“Is there more you want to say?”
Laila approached slowly.
She then placed both her hands on her chest, and asked very carefully.
“May I hold them…just once?”
I had realized the longing she had towards dragons starting from the time at the auction room, but her yearning appearance with charmling light in her eyes made me feel disoriented as if the big bang just occurred before me.
I uneasily took grabbed Igneel and Etaqua and then directly handed them over to Laila.
They immediately began to squirm after entering Laila’s embrace. I could plainly feel their emotions of being reluctant to be apart from me.
I went speechless for a moment as I heard Laila’s brighter than ever laughter. An unimaginable sight for that queen of terror and slaughter…
I barely came to my senses and nodded to myself.
I saw nothing.
Igneel and Etaqua had great appetites, eating more than their own body mass. They were carnivorous, and would wholly devour a freshly caught cow, licking its bones clean. The cows in the abyss were slightly different in appearance, but in any case, the two of them would eat a whole cow for each meal, so I couldn’t imagine how much they would eat when they grew up.
‘It would be a problem on Earth.’
What’s worse was that they grew at a speed visible to the eye. It somehow felt like they were growing even faster than bean sprouts. A day had passed and they had grown about 10cm. I asked Laila regarding the growth of dragons, and she replied.
“There are differences between individuals, but it is said that they grow up to 1m within a month in general. Even so, growing this much after a single day is clearly strange indeed.”
A dragon grew to a maximum of 20m. I hardly ever saw any dragon bigger than that.
Upon seeing that a cow had already been consumed, she immediately left the castle to hunt and came back. Igneel and Etaqua were wary at first, but they relaxed their guards around Laila after being fed meals by her several times.
At the same time I was trying out several experiments, because there wasn’t much time left until the Transfer would end.
‘Igneel and Etaqua can both enter the Jewel of Space.’
It was as I had speculated. Lv5 and below, meaning anything with an overall stat up to 250 could be contained in the Jewel of Space.
‘I’ll send Etaqua.’
Etaqua was always full of energy, to the point that he would wander around the castle and could already fight slimes. On the other hand, Igneel was well-behaved. Most of the time he would stay in the vicinity and quietly gaze at me, but because I couldn’t sense any particular emotions from him, I couldn’t figure out as far as what he was thinking. He was just like a sunflower. Igneel’s neck would sway following my movements.
Etaqua, with his active personality and excellent physical abilities, should be able to survive even if he were exposed to all kinds of situations.
After deciding on sending Etaqua, I contemplated on the other things to send with him.
‘The shadow kaim and a few potions.’
There wasn’t much. The shadow kaim got along well with Etaqua. Even now, Etaqua was fluttering around the castle playing something like tag with the shadow kaim.
I roughly finished organizing in my head and got up, and went over to sit on the ‘castle throne’ at the end of the demon lord’s room.
‘Finally I can do some meditating without worries.’
I closed my eyes, and circulated magic power with my body.
I examined the interior workings of this body. I wanted to know what the difference between humans and demon lords were. I only I could find what that is, it could become a chance to greatly improve myself, or else I may even be able to figure out the weakness of demon lords. I had tried to do so intermittently, but it was only now that I had the proper time for it.
‘A demon lords magic power is inherently gathered at the heart and brain.’
The magic power circulating passageways were extremely narrow and complex.
It was different from humans. Humans mainly gathered magic power in the lower belly, the location commonly referred to as the ‘energy center’. On the contrary, the magic power in demon lords would come and go between the heart and brain, circulating with consistency. Even I found this kind of magic power circulation to be strange and wondrous. The reason being that…
‘This means that the middle and upper energy centers are opened.’
The heart is the middle energy center, while the head is called the upper energy center. But humans could only use the one below their belly, the lower energy center. A few people did attempt to break through to those other passageways only to end up dying as their magic power went out of control. After every single attempts ended in death, those sorts of methods became ‘taboo’.
‘Magic power is the hardest to raise. The reason being that humans can only use the lower energy center.’
It was only a hypothesis, but it did hold credibility.
This was why there was none to have raised magic power to 100 with pure stats. As far as I knew, there was exactly 0 such people. Countless methods were researched and attempted, but they all failed. Why? Because no one knew. It had been a mere dozen or so years since the world environment had overturned on itself back then. A period of time that was too short to advance anything far. Research regarding the human body had been going on since olden times and the existence of Ki(inner energy) inferred to, but that was all. That information was insufficient to enable the free use of magic to fly around the skies. It was only after awakening that people could barely begin to use such energies.
To be frank, the energy center itself had always been vague and uncertain. It was speculated to be the lower energy center, simply because magic power gathered in the lower belly. But the body of a demon lord didn’t use the lower energy center. It only used the heart and brain; middle and upper energy centers. Perhaps that was why, but the circulation of magic power was amazingly fast and responsive. It was an entirely different sensation. It was like transforming from a turtle into a eagle. The use of magic power was so smooth that it felt like soaring freely in the heavens.
‘Wouldn’t I be able to figure it out?’
I wanted to know. The difference between us. It would be much too unfair if it were simply an innate difference. That’s why…I would reveal the secret. If only I could do so, if only I could make use of it, then the speed at which humanity will grow may become several times faster, including myself as well.
I closed my eyes.
As I did so, Igneel and Etaqua gathered at my sides. The two took up seats on top of either sides of my shoulders, and adopted a similar posture to my half-sitting pose. Then at the same time, their bodies shined golden and white respectively. Those lights were absorbed into my body, and as if guiding the way, began to brighten my darkness shrouded mind that I was exploring.