183 Chapter 180 Saisho, the Mother of Dragons
"You won't be able to contact me," said Joseph to Daisy.
"Are you sure?" she asked in his head, uncertainly.
"The dragon that's taking me to see the Mother of Dragons, said she is surrounded by a magical barrier that prevents even teleportation. I'm going to have to fly with the dragon to get there," Joseph explained patiently.
The rage was right on the verge of his mind, so he was being overly cautious with everything he said and did.
"Are you ready?" asked the dragon, towering over him.
"Yes, I believe so."
The crowd that had shown up to see their king off, watched as the dragon leaped high, and with a massive flap of its wings, shot high into the air. Joseph and Stella flew up after it, waving at the crowd below.
He was just able to keep up with the dragon, but his mind wandered as he flew in silence. Daisy would try to stay in contact with him, as long as she could, but he fully expected NURKONG to try and do something while he was gone. He had everyone on high alert, for any attack, and hoped the system would alert him if Daisy couldn't reach him. Not knowing how long he would be with the dragon bothered him, because there were so many things he still needed to do. This was his one chance to gain knowledge from someone who might actually be able to teach him, and possibly make his tasks easier to complete.
When they reached the barrier entrance, Joseph had to admit he was rather impressed. It shimmered with a rainbow of colors, like an oil slick, over the entrance to a huge cave. Even Joe surfaced to voice his appreciation, but they didn't get enough time to properly study it, before they were through it. He could tell that whoever the spell originated from, was just brute forcing it with massive amounts of mana, that he could never accomplish. It was so wasteful; he had a hard time comprehending it. For the world to be so depleted in magic, this was extraordinary.
Once they were through the barrier, the dragon that was leading them slowed down, and Joseph and Stella were hit by how thick the mana inside was. It made the air itself feel thick. It was even worse than at the end of their time in the timeout bubble. Stella immediately slid her hand into his, to try and cope with the mana.
(JOSEPH, I'M BARELY ABLE TO CONTACT YOUR FATHER ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD. THIS BARRIER IS AMAZING!)
Frowning, Joseph didn't like that. If the system was having trouble crossing the barrier, Daisy didn't have a prayer.
Flying past a small alcove, he spied a small GATE open, forcing some of the hyper dense mana through it, before closing, much like a pressure valve. He wondered, as he continued after the dragon, if that was what had caused the magical storm near the gnomish villages.
'We are going to have to take precautions, Joe.'
'I agree, this is too strong for most of our people to survive. But look at all the magical plants and rocks that are growing around here.'
Dragon grass? It felt like whoever was in charge of naming this just gave up, or was typing this too late at night…again.
(OH, LIKE YOUR NAMING SENSE IS ANY BETTER. WIZAR? REALLY?)
'I like the pun,' Joseph thought to the system, as he studied some of the formations of crystal, they were flying past.
"I need someone to start learning alchemy. Maybe one of the kids will be interested."
"Interested in what, Joseph?" asked Stella.
"Oh, I was wondering if one of our kids would be interested in learning, or inventing alchemy. It would be awesome with all of the stuff growing around here."
Stella sighed, rolling her eyes, but she didn't pull away from him. He grinned at her. She was getting better at letting him talk about their future without freaking out. In the bubble it had been a game they played, to get her less sensitive about the subject. She knew it was something she needed to work on, and honestly, the subject of kids in general was fine, it was only when talking about her own kids that she started having issues.
"How…How many kids are you wanting?" She didn't look at him, as she said this, and he didn't miss that she was talking about them as if they were only his kids and not her own.
"As many as I can talk you into, obviously. I want a big family. I've never had one of those before. I don't want them to grow up lonely. They're already going to have trouble being our kids."
She turned pink, with her blush climbing up to the tips of her ears, but she still didn't pull away. He was really proud of her, and let her know it, through their mind link.
When they finally entered the center of the barriered area, Joseph's breath caught in his throat. They had entered an enormous hollowed out geode.
If he wasn't floating in the middle of a freaking crystal, he would have wondered at the cliché of it. There had to be thousands, if not millions of tiny gemstones softly glowing on the floor of the cave they were in. Giant gemstone spires rose along the edges of the cave, among area of what he could only describe as crystal seed beds.
In the middle of the cave, a massive dragon, so huge he couldn't see but her front half, curled comfortably around a giant throne made entirely of magic crystal.
The dragon he had followed here was easily a hundred feet long, and he appeared small next to her. There were other dragons lined up around her, waiting for them.
"Do you have 4 or 5 levels of mana enhancer?" asked Joseph as the sound of Stella swallowing reached his ears.
The Mother laughed. "I believe I would be a 5, if I understand your question correctly, child. Most ask how large I am, or how old, first. You are very intriguing."
"I know better than to ask a lady's age or sizes," he answered dead-pan serious. "Especially in front of my Stella."
Stella shot him a smile, and squeezed his hand. He thought it was in appreciation, but it could have been a warning not to upset the giant dragon.
"I am not familiar with the title Stella, is it like consort?"
"Stella is her name, not her title, and she will be my wife. I'm still talking her into it though."
"Ah. Your future mate. Would you like me to declare your binding?"
He turned to Stella and said, "As if my mom wasn't bad enough, even the dragon mom wants to marry us!"
Stella looked very surprised and Joseph jumped on it.
"We would be very honored if you would be willing to do so, but I wish to wait until she accepts. Um, what do I call you?"
"Mother of dragons."
"No, I mean, isn't that a title, not a name?"
"To beings of great power, they are often the same."
"Can I call you Tiamat? She's the only female dragon name I know."
Her eyes went wide. "You've met my older sister?"
"Uh, no, but I've heard stories about her."
"If you must name me, how about Saisho? It means first in the tongue from another realm."
"Are you the first dragon?"
"No, but I am the first to this realm."
"Dragons are both possessive and jealous. I wasn't comfortable being in a harem. If Bahamut couldn't love just me, then I didn't feel he loved me at all. Several of us left, and returned the divinity we had in order to come to a mortal plane."
"Really? That's amazing."
"Yes. Gods who wish to stay in a mortal realm have significant issues retaining their power. Unless the realm is your home plane, it tries to suppress your divinity or force you out."
"So, if NURKONG comes for me?"
"He will be suppressed in this realm, and will be weakened outside of his home realm. If I wasn't spending most of my efforts strengthening the barrier between realms and keeping this land from the world tree's corrupted mana, then I would fight him. It's only after some of the groups were wiped out, that I and my children were able to spare the attention from the barriers, in order to wake up. Thank you for that. While this realm isn't healthy enough still for me to wish my eggs to hatch, you still saved my youngest hatchling."
Reaching out with a claw the size of a skyscraper, she pushed a pile towards him.
"Here. Scales from each of us."
The bottom scale was the size of a tank. Joseph had no idea there were dragon scales that were so big.
"Wow. Thank you," he managed to say, turning to Stella, who promptly put them into her purse.
"I would suggest you use that fallen god's hide for the backing, and turn the scales into smaller plates." Then she smiled. "If you can figure out how to process them."
"Do you know the META rune?" he asked excitedly.
"No. Dragons do not use runes. I know the word for it, but I'm not sure it would be helpful to you."
"I think it would hurt you. You have learned all of the others through these runes correct? You have the feel of the lost rune master."
"But why would…lost rune master?"
"Yes. He greatly violated time, such that EMIT begged JUDGE to impose a rule preventing anyone, even gods from altering time."
'System, did you know about him?'
(NEVER HEARD OF HIM.)
"You wouldn't have. He was erased from time. He now never existed. Even the gods have forgotten about him," said Saisho.
(SHE HEARD ME?)
"Um, Saisho?" asked Joseph, uncertain just how powerful this dragon was…surely, she didn't have the system?!
"Yes, I heard you. You shouldn't be so surprised. Or maybe you should. The lost rune master also had a similar power. He was the first, or possibly the last. I'm sorry child but with him being erased from time the tenses get confusing."
(IS HE MY CREATOR? IS THAT WHY I CAN'T FIND HIM?)