Disclaimer: I don't own Gate or Nihon-koku Shoukan as it belongs to its rightful owners.

Arc 2: A City, A Diplomacy A Dragon

Draconian Blues

She had always imagined that by the time she reached adolescence, she would already be deaf.

That is the fact that she had already exceeded the expected age she predicted and is currently still enduring it no matter what healing ability she was blessed with long ago when she became an Apostle.

To her, it was not a perk but an annoying blessing.

Aside from that, she had lost track of how many years she had spent devoting the majority of her time to this monotonous task. She thought it was cool when she first heard about it; she imagined herself receiving long-overdue praises for her forgotten hard work as a lowly priestess, or even performing miracles for many who wished to follow her God and the church she belonged to.

However, that was not the case..

In the midst of a sunset, a small conflict took place in the highlands of the region.

Giselle's eyes widened as she realized the giant red dragon had noticed her presence while she was carefully sneaking up on her.

"Oh, crap," she muttered as she gritted her teeth and braced herself for another wild chase.

The powerful creature growled as it moved away from its previous position and launched herself towards the Draconian Apostle, who made a quick dash and managed to escape the dragon's humongous mouth, which was about to devour her.

The Flame Dragon, still in a beastly and wild state, pursued the young woman and followed her new trails. Its raged eyes remained fixed on the newcomer, suspecting that it had something to do with the disappearance.

Giselle flew as fast as she could in the hopes of directing the beast to a much safer location where destruction could be limited, while also sparing any small settlements in the mountains, and she knew exactly where the area was.

Every time she carried out a new version of her plan, it came at a cost, which was simply vast swaths of forest being burned or crushed by the beast. Navigating the numerous hills and mountain ranges was also difficult because it prevented her from having a smooth journey.

At this point, the Flame Dragon had begun to release and breathe massive waves of fire in an attempt to prevent the young lady from fleeing completely.

Everything was going downhill again.

"Oh, when will this end!?" She annoyingly exclaimed to herself, wanting to finally get this situation over with.

Fortunately, the journey was brief, and she could finally see what appeared to be a valley-like area from a distance. She smiled in relief as she spotted the massive uninhabited cave near the top of a certain mountain.

At the same time, a huge shockwave from the dragon itself had quickly reached her as she gripped her scythe, ready to perform the spell, destroying her momentum. By that point, the beast had gained a significant advantage and was approaching her at point-blank range.

However, the draconian woman anticipated it, launching herself downwards into a large sinkhole overgrown with trees and greenery, and the beast followed as expected.

Once she found herself descending, she drew out a small gray stone encrypted with a magical symbol, attached to her belt, and began to wait for the specific right time.

Giselle finally made her move as the dragon growled and gathered more power to unleash another reign of fire. She first uttered a small incantation to activate a specific power within it and threw the small stone ahead of her, followed by raising her scythe and slashing the air, creating a shockwave that directly hit the stone itself.

"Gotcha!" she exclaimed internally as a burst of energy manifested and erupted from the now-destroyed rune.

In the nick of time, the draconian apostle dashed away from the area, and the flame dragon herself had come face to face with the stone's power. As a result, a massive circle of ethereal light blue energy formed in mid-air and swallowed the large red reptile, transporting her to a different location.

"Mowto and Towato, Now!" Giselle exclaimed once more, drawing out two more stones from her belt and throwing them towards the nearby cave where a giant wall of stone was located.

The two dragons heeded her summons and proceeded to breathe their own fires onto the stones, casting a variety of spells.

Simultaneously, the previous circle of energy brought the flame dragon to the location and combined with the runes to form some kind of massive ethereal-like ropes and streams that pinned and bound the beast to the massive wall.

The beast roared violently as if it were demanding to be let go, it struggled and attempted to resist the magic that was now binding her.

Giselle, who had arrived just in time to see both of her companions guarding the beast, was nervous but curious. She patted both dragons on the back as if to compliment them on a job well done in carrying out the plan, and her gaze was drawn to the culprit.

"What happened to you?" She inquired, concerned and perplexed as to how things had come to this.

She had a feeling that there was a cause and she was confident that she had figured out a solution.

"This will break whatever spell or curse that plague her."

She recalled the old mage's words as she brought out another stone handed to her by the old woman, this time from a little pouch where she keeps the most valuable stuff she finds on her previous journeys.

"I hope this works." She said as she took off from the ground and approached the beast.

It was definitely her but the way the dragon acted as if it were a different being altogether.

"Don't worry, you'll be back to normal." She said as she uttered the incantation thus activating the rune's magical properties.

The ethereal essence began to materialize once more as it encircled the entire facade of the beast in an attempt to liberate it from any purported curse that had been torturing her.

And thus the dragon began to settle down.

Giselle thought the problem, which had lasted more than a decade, was finally coming to an end, and she thanked the old woman several times in her head, but she had no idea what was about to happen next.

"Almost there..."

Just as the dragon was now in a state of being removed from the supposed dark magic, it suddenly widened her eyes as the memories began to flash before its eyes, and the more it began to flood her mind, it began to build up its rage, and soon, it regained its strength, breaking the essence that bound her released a huge portion of fire once more.

Giselle was immediately thrown away because of the shockwave, though she was immediately caught by Mowto.

However, the setback did not end there, as the flame dragon, now free of its temporary confinement, turned its attention to the trio and charged at them. Furthermore, as massive rocks began to fall, the cave's foundations began to crumble.

Giselle, disappointed and shocked, attempted to flee the dragon's wrath once more. "I-Impossible, How did she...?" she trailed off, finding herself on her way to the cliff's edge to take off. Despite this, the beast had gained an advantage as it approached the woman in less than a second.

Meanwhile, the two smaller dragons came to a halt and faced the enemy, buying time for their master to flee.

However, as they were about to engage in another close-quarters battle, the red dragon suddenly widened its eyes and held its head and ears as if it was about to unleash fire.

Giselle and the two smaller dragons froze in their tracks, overcome by confusion. While she desperately wanted to leave the premises, a part of her wanted to investigate further. At the same time, her ears began to pick up on what appeared to be a high-pitched screeching noise that began to build up louder, enough to incapacitate any living creature.

Because the noise was too much for the draconian apostle, she cringed and covered her ears. The same was true for her dragon companions, who regarded the noise as torture.

Her focus had shifted to the sky by this point, and she widened her eyes in surprise as she saw what appeared to be glowing metallic beings in the shape of a long triangle with sharp edges and wings that zoomed past them at incredible speed.

As if it came directly from the realm of the Gods.

The agonizing high pitch noise faded, and in came a much more distinct sound that sounded eerily similar to the menacing Phoenix of the higher planes. She then had a thought, and she wondered if this small divine intervention was real.

Giselle briefly gaped in awe at the sight before she was brought back to reality. She turned around and saw the flame dragon returning back to its senses.

"Shit!" She swore for the first time, and knowing she didn't have much time to flee, she drew out another stone and forged it in the center of her weapon. She raised her scythe and began to draw a circle in front of her, seemingly creating an energy shield that surrounded her and the two dragons.

Though she was in the midst of casting the spell, the flame dragon abruptly came to a halt, and instead of launching another attack, it roared in pain and launched itself down into the massive wide sinkhole.

At the same time, a section of the cliff began to crumble fast, startling the young woman, and she soon found herself falling alongside the massive rocks.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

"Hey, wake up will ya!"

The next thing she felt was a wave of cold water that washed through her face.

Giselle jerked up from the spare table where she had been resting and found herself in a very familiar narrow back alley. Her mind was still trying to figure out what had just happened. She went from seeing tall trees and mountains in her dreams to finally seeing the usual wooden structures of shops, homes, and inns standing tall.

The highlight of it all was a pair of serious-looking eyes on the part of a teenage boy. It didn't take long for her to recognize him, and by then, she had regained control of her senses and emotions.

"What the heck was that, Albrecht!"

This was by far her first outburst of the morning, and seeing the boy's subtle snicker energized her even more.

"At least try to wake me up properly!" she grumbled, pointing to the empty cup where the water had been. "And not by rudely pouring water on me."

The teenager slightly chuckled in return.

"Giselle, this isn't the first time you've been woken up like this," He reasoned. "It's always been difficult to wake you up," he added, with a small smile.

The young adventurer was already used to this type of scenario because whenever the girl found herself in another small existential phase, she would frequently take a sudden break to head to the back alley and do whatever she could to recover. However, it was common for her to eventually fall asleep in the end, for whatever reason.

Thus creating worrying thoughts for the others.

The draconian lady rolled her eyes in return and dusted off her uniform, choosing to stay quiet instead of replying back.

Is this really worth arguing for?

"Look, both of us are really drained of encountering the Flame Dragon and as well as saving countless lives from her wrath." Albrecht explained." But, we also gotta focus on this." He added, pointing towards the entrance and subtly referring to a certain job.

"If we don't, we won't be eating filling our stomachs with delicious food all the time."

Giselle wanted to laugh, knowing that the boy was the owner's actual nephew and had no chances of dying from hunger, but she grimaced at his statement. Even though she had been granted immortality and no longer needed to feed herself to live, her desires and urges remained.

Her love for food was still stronger and it was torture for her not to have a single meal in a day.

Albrecht was aware that this was one of his friend's primary motivations, and she even told him that she preferred to live her life in this manner. But there was one strange thing that drew his attention.

He placed his hands on his hips and said.

"You've been in a daze again lately." He commented." Is there something bothering you again?" He finally asked, wanting to get straight to the point of this new mystery.

He thought the previous encounter of attempting to incapacitate the dragon for days went smoothly although there was something more to it.

Giselle couldn't really handle the pressure from the boy's eyes. Of all the companions she had met up to this point, he was the best one at taking out the truth of someone.

She eventually sighed and looked up to him.

"I'll tell you the whole story back inside." She yawned and then stood up, heading back to the back alley entrance in her usual casual manner. Yet there were hints of her trying to avoid those topics.

"Come on, I gotta earn more to pay the rent."

The boy stared at her with a puzzled look, then he immediately remembered." Oh yes, my uncle told me that you haven't paid the rent in weeks by the way." He said, which exactly did not help in a way.

Giselle shrugged it off and said.

"Tell the old man, he'll get his rent when he fixes that damn door."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

The Town of Lucrecia was a bustling settlement located in a huge valley, near the land of Elbe. Already considered as a small but fast-growing economic center, it had become a hot stop for many merchants nowadays and as well as a new home for many individuals in search of opportunities. Moreover, it was like a second home for the draconian apostle.

In fact, she had the privilege of witnessing the town's growth from a quiet residential village to one of the busiest towns in the region, in just a span of 5 decades.

Yes, the place itself was fairly young and coincidentally was established on the day of her birth, which took place more than a hundred of years ago. Something that she cautiously avoided telling anyone who she befriended in this town throughout the years.

She was intimately familiar with the town's customs. Fiestas and celebrations were ingrained in the culture here. Whenever it was someone's birthday today, that person would be subjected to countless drinking sessions and parties until hungover took over for days. The only positive aspect is that the food is provided by wonderful friends and families.

The establishment that Giselle had been working was...safe to say, spared from the noisy activities in the beginning since it started originally as an inn with a small cafe to accommodate the merchant customers passing by. But the economy quickly grew and the inn had to expand, adding its own guild section and the once small cafe grew and had become some kind of tavern that accepts various people from all walks of life.

"Young lady! Can you please refill these cups with wine?"

"I want more steak please!"

"More ale!"

"Can I get a new table to seat on? This one had puke in it."

The voices were just everywhere.

It was a beautifully chaotic scene inside the "Lonely Inn," which wasn't all that lonely. A sturdy two-story structure made of wood and adobe. Its main hall has been redesigned to accommodate large celebrations or visits from well-known figures.

The former cafe has been expanded to include more tables and chairs, as well as a bar area and lastly, a guild and merchant section.

Giselle couldn't think of anything to do next because she had to do everything that was supposed to be done by the Inn's other employees. Until she realized the establishment was understaffed for the day.

"Flu season is in full swing lately, so you're our secret weapon this time," the innkeeper, who was actually the boy's uncle and an old friend of hers, said during a briefing.

The young woman knew the old man for years, all the way back to his younger adventurer days, and it was because of him that she had a place to stay in the town. A small rare smile formed around her lips as she was reminded of the kindness the man had and it was enough for her to remain energized for the rest of the day.


Hours passed and the number of customers began to dwindle and the second wave began in the form of unique individuals returning from their journey.

The only thing that was left to do was to handle the Guild section.

Every now and then, there would be annual announcements regarding the updated and newly published quests. It was basically a big stack of papers, with various illustrations and details of quests and missions, to which she had to pin every single one of them on the big bulletin board at the main guildhall.

"Seriously, why do they have to establish a guild here?" She thought to herself, having no choice but to use her wings to pin some papers on the higher spots, which could result in weird situations.

"Hey! If I see you perverts looking up, better pray and run or else..." She narrowed her eyes and remarked, making a small subtle threat

"Damn! She knows...Run!"

"What the...!? She got eyes on her butt now?"

Surprisingly, her suspicions turned out to be correct as a couple of sneaky adventurers made a run for it.

She sighed once again.

Flying while wearing a bar maid's dress was not the best combination. So she had to finish things quickly as possible before some fellow would stumble upon the scene and get himself in an aroused and inappropriate feeling. Fortunately, the task ended smoothly for her without anymore interference..

And before she could finish her task, the young lady's eyes halted towards a certain quest." Seriously? Who would take up this quest? " She commented, brushing the illustration of a grand crystal off and pinned the last quest on the board.

"This is just a myth."

After dismissing it, she was now on to her next task.

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Giselle now found herself in the bar area. It was the last task that she had to handle, and it turned out to be the easiest of them all, since she only had to clean various mugs and glasses.

After a long series of tasks, silence fell, and she smiled wearily, knowing that she deserved some peace and quiet for a while. While the various unique individuals known as "Adventurers" were mostly busy taking up their own quests back at the main area, she rested on her seat and enjoyed herself with a cloud of thoughts.

"So this is how it feels like to live a normal life again."

Inside her head, the words kept repeating themselves. She'd forgotten how a normal person lived their life all these years. This is in stark contrast to her current life as an Apostle for a very relaxed God. She recalled fondly her early years before joining the church when she lived a fruitful life as a normal Demi-Human village girl and was raised by her own beloved family of Draconian origin. She remembered working as a clerk at a local establishment back in her hometown, prior to all of the changes.

She began to wonder if there was ever going to be an opportunity to return back to her former life.

She deeply regretted the decision, but she did have a good experience being a right-handed individual and representative of a well-known religion, which was also hard to let go of since it has now become her pride, without it, she was just nobody.

As just she was about to leave reality again, two voices then entered the scene, her own ears automatically rising as a conversation started near to where she was at.

"You know being in this world is better than I thought." The voice remarked. "Lots of opportunities and I get to experience being a hero...hehe"

"Well, we could say that the Gods' blessings are on your side."

The words came from a couple of young adventurers, one male elf archer and the other what appeared to be a young man, as they drank their own glass of grape-flavored wine.

"Thank you for the compliment!" The young adventurer chuckled, patting his elf companion on the back."Without you and the guys, I wouldn't have made it to where I am now."

The male elf smiled in return.

"Without your leadership, I don't think our party wouldn't last a year." He remarked." And I've been wanting to ask this but How did get yourself to this world again?" He said.

"Well, you won't believe this, but I died in my world, got hit by a big moving object called a "truck" while saving a little girl on a street. "He explained, recalling that fateful day.

The male elf raised both eyebrows." Oh, that's solemn to hear, but to my eyes, you're pretty much alive and well." He replied.

The young adventurer smile and nodded." Yes, that's the unbelievable part, I got reincarnated as a teenager again."

A brief moment of awkward silence followed.

"This guy could be lying." Giselle thought. shaking her head.

"Wait, so how old were you in your world?" The now surprised male elf asked again, while his companion casually shrugged.

"I think, I was in my early 30s during that time, single and stuck on a dead-end job."

Giselle found it hard to believe such tales. There was no such thing as one dying and then being reincarnated into another world in a different form. To her eyes, it was just a warrior's way of making his/her background interesting in order to be accepted into a guild or a party, and nowadays with a darker force on the rise, there were a lot of individuals like him to start popping up.

That is until the conversation reached into a more sensitive topic.

"You know, I really don't understand the idea of these apostles" The young adventurer then said." What do they exactly do in this place?"

"I mean, you've seen the likes of them before right?" He added.

The male elf Simply nodded." Yes, they are fierce as the bravest warriors to ever set foot in this land, and to many, they are considered as deities." He explained." But, since the dawn of the Guilds, they're almost left forgotten."

Giselle slightly cringed at the statement. It was all true.

"Heh, who needs them? I mean If they are powerful as many say they are, then Why couldn't they stop the wild dragon attacks on poor villages ?" The young adventurer remarked, triggering some negative thoughts.

"Remember that dungeon full of the undead?" He then said." If I remember correctly, the parties and their guilds were the ones responsible for cleaning that place."

The young man wasn't going to stop yet.

"They couldn't even save those poor villages from the cursed goatmen and orcs."

Giselle could feel the essence of her irritation rising from within as the young man began to bring up every fault he knew regarding the Apostles.

"Hush now, without their help in the first place, the lands and beyond would have been corrupted already." The male elf tried to reason out, but his friend continued bringing out the last fault.

"And the Flame Dragon wrecking havoc and destroying kingdoms, I bet the Apostle in charge of that has already been expelled from whatever congregation she belonged to." He remarked.

"Next time, those churches would be employing the likes of us." He slightly boasted." Since we're now doing the job better than they did before."

"So you're saying that they are not relevant anymore?"

Giselle's patience had finally run out. She walked away from the scene, slightly slamming the mug she was cleaning with a cloth on the table. Her actions drew a lot of attention, particularly from the young adventurer and his male companion.

Feeling dumbfounded about what had just happened, one of them could only ask the obvious question.

"What was that about?"

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

So tell me kid, how are we supposed to find this village overrun by fallen shamans?"

"The guide should be here in a minute."

"Hey, are there any of your parties or warriors available today? My farm is plagued by a Giant Demonic Rat."

"Please take this form and submit it at the other side."

"Young boy, how much should I get for this rare artifact?"

"Merchant section is just right there."

Albrecht sighed as he turned his eyes back to the several papers on the desk. He never thought that this would be a little bit overwhelming but he's doing good so far in it.

For him to inherit the establishment, he had to learn the various tasks that make things work together in this place. He knew that his dream of becoming an adventurer is just around the corner. Since his father's death, his uncle took him under his wing, and in just a span of three years, he had learned a lot from him.

From what he recalled, his uncle was the most successful in the family, having set up a growing inn in a prospering town after earning a lot of gold and money from his adventurer days, as well as a little bit of glory.

The boy was quite aware and assumed that running away from home had something to do with success in the first place. He almost did what the old man did, yet fortunately, his mother supported him throughout and so history did not repeat itself again.

Years passed, and besides helping his family back in his hometown, he had made a lot of friends and met a variety of interesting people as a result of his job. From parties made up of the most common warriors and common people who have now achieved something in their lives and are now hailed as heroes in their town, and some have even found glory in vast kingdoms.

Then there's Giselle.

He was taken aback by the name because he had not expected an apostle to have such a name in the first place. He had always imagined the names being more bombastic, special, and holy. Furthermore, he had no idea that this simple, brash, and sassy young lady would turn out to be the fiercesome Apostle of Hardy, a legendary figure.

To his Uncle, she was an old friend and companion throughout the years, though for the boy, she was more like his childhood neighbor back in his hometown, but older or basically an elder sister he never had.

A simple person wanting to prove something in life.

As more people began to approach him at the reception desk, a part of him silently came alive, encouraging him to look up, and there she was, walking towards the main entrance in the same bothered mood from before.

"Oh don't tell me she's been eavesdropping on those guys again." He sighed to himself.

Curiosity quickly took over him, but his concern was more dominant. He felt an urge to follow her again yet, he also wanted to complete his current tasks and fortunately, the opportunity arrived in the form of a co-worker.

"Sorry sir Albrecht! I am late!"

It was a certain wolf-girl who had arrived at the scene. She had a freshly tired face and look a bit messy, catching up to her breath, as if she had hurried her way towards her workplace without a conscience and care.

"Oh, Holo, I thought you'd be out for today." He then said with both of his eyebrows raised.

"I overslept, sir, and I also thought today was my day off," she said nervously with a smile, trying to explain her situation.

Albrecht sighed in return and that is when the idea came to him.

"Uhmm, Hey listen, since you are here now, Why don't you take over my position for a while and entertain our customers." He replied with a smile, presenting the line of customers, which had surprisingly grown in just a span of several minutes.

The wolf girl was taken aback by the sight and immediately felt overwhelmed to see the various grumpy faces of the customers, who were now barraging the girl with their requests and demands.

"Hey, I've been waiting for my seat?"

"What's the hold-up? I should be in my room an hour ago!"

As she was about to speak, the teenager patted her on the shoulder and quickly exited, leaving her stunned and dumbfounded, with no choice but to exclaim as loudly as she could in the midst of a now noisy reception area.

"I...Uhh... Sir Albrecht, where the heck are you going!?

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It turned out that finding peace in the woods was far preferable to being in an alleyway, especially since it was only a few minutes walk from town.

She wanted a place where she could be just herself and she found it.

Giselle arrived in front of a beacon tree and completely collapsed on its massive roots, beginning to find solace in her surroundings. Although, at the same time, the thoughts continue to fight back, trapping her in misery once more. It was pressuring and reminded her of the current ordeal that she wanted to avoid recently.

The young lady hugged herself tightly and planted her head on her knees.

She didn't really know what to do at this point other than let the tears flow from her eyes.

Finally, after centuries of maintaining a tough facade, she was able to let it go. She was tired, and moreover, she began to ask the question to herself again.

Did she ever want to be in this position?

The deeper she dug into the situation, the more difficult it became for her and thus she can't fulfill both of her dreams.

She should have listened to her aunties' advice in the first place and apologized to them whenever she gets the chance, yet the only problem is that they've been all dead for quite some time now.

Yes, loneliness had been with her since the beginning, she had no one to go to for comfort, other than herself. Her mother, who supported her dream throughout the years, was also gone.

It was the truth that she struggled to accept. The curse of being an emissary to a God who can't even do much since the beginning. Add to that the people's waning trust in Apostles, and then you have a new situation in which the Flame Dragon is on the verge of losing its identity and destroying every life it encounters if the problem is not resolved as soon as possible.

"You're really an idiot Giselle." She muttered to herself, blaming her past decisions.

And just as she was about to mock herself, even more, she was interrupted by a familiar voice.

"I had a feeling you'd be here."

Giselle looked up and frowned seeing the teenage boy in front of him.

"Come on Giselle, I know you're better than that."

"Just me leave alone, Albrecht." She told him with an annoyed tone of voice, before staring back at the blank space. "Let me handle my own problems." She went on to say, wanted the boy to not get involved this time.

The teenager could only form a sympathetic smile but kept going as he approached the young lady, slowly figuring out the issue that has been bothering her.

"Hey. don't bother what they say or think about you." He said, trying his best to cheer her up." We all know they have big egos sometimes." He added and smirked." And besides, they got nothing that you've accomplished."

Even though she hadn't responded to his remarks, He recognized a spark of confidence within her and wanted to help her overcome the difficulties she was experiencing.

"It's not about them or my reputation as an Apostle in general," Giselle finally said. "Many lives are at stake here, if I don't figure out what's been driving that dragon insane or find those flying iron horses that have somehow weakened her, I'm done for."

"They've been keeping that secret for a long time," she said, shaking her head, "and now they're wondering why my predecessors couldn't even fix the damn problem and had been relying on me ever since."

Albrecht sighed. "It's not too late, you know." He replied. "You have all the clues and hints at your disposal to help you." He added, prompting the latter to look at him with a puzzled but curious expression." And besides, I am here to help as well." He smiled.

"You are not alone."

The wind grew stronger thereafter, and the mood began to change. Albrecht was determined to help the young lady figure out a couple of mysteries.

"You said that the Flame Dragon was under some kind of spell?" He asked.

"And You also mentioned before that when the rune was destroyed, and you saw these vague memories just flashed before your eyes?"

Giselle returned the nod. "Yes," she clarified. "But I didn't believe it right away until I returned to the temple," she explained, still wondering if her predecessor's failure to fully inform her of all the issues surrounding the big red giant was intentional.

"I demanded answers, and thankfully, they told me everything, including the truth about the Dragon's agony," she said.

"The truth?"

Albrecht wondered, and as he was about to continue his sentence, his small manacom crystal necklace began to glow and the familiar voice of Holo spoke in amongst the din of the establishment and demanding voices from the customers.

"Uh, Master Albrecht, I believe someone here requires both Giselle and your presence."

XXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

It was the presence of a certain unusual carriage that caught the eye of passers-by, aside from the colorful aspect that it possessed or the rare hippogriff that led it here in the first place.

Although, for some members of the Guild, it was a sign of good news.

"Welcome back! Do you have any more booze that you have in that carriage?"

"Great old man! I really need some wine for my grandfather's birthday later night."

The men began to exclaim their own demands as if they would automatically receive a gift from a deity or a God. Even though they already thought of him as someone who could provide wine and booze all day and remain numb to any consequences, the old man was now yelling back at them in return.

"For the last time, there is no such thing as booze or wine here!" He yelled back at the several adventurers, who were trying to persuade him." And go buy your own drinks!" He added, while secretly taking a drink of his small jug of ale.

Albrecht and Giselle were left speechless by the time they arrived there. It didn't take even a moment for the two to recognize the tall dark brown-skinned man in front of them.

He wore a long, thick, dark brown overcoat with light brown fur around the top edge, a brown shirt under it, and turquoise pants, aside from his perky red nose and large, brown shoes. He also has gray hair, a long ponytail on the back, and a beard around his chin tied in a ponytail with a golden tie, plus the top of his head is bald.

Albrecht raised both eyebrows because he had seen the man visit the inn a few times before conversing with his uncle, and he hadn't had the opportunity to get to know him better. However, now that he had the opportunity to speak with him face to face again, he wondered if this was the man his Uncle had repeatedly praised.

"Never thought you'd be here in this time of the day, Bacchus." Giselle commented in a casual manner, with her hands on her hips." And I thought you were supposed to be giving bounties and quests at the other towns?" She raised an eyebrow of puzzlement.

The old man smirked in return, drawing out what appeared to be a piece of the folded poster, from his pocket.

"I was...and I decided to return here in order to provide you information, that I think would finally help solve your problem, Giselle..." He explained, eyeing the draconian lady.

By then, he led the two inside his carriage, which to anyone's surprise is big as anyone's living room. On both sides are couches that can also serve as beds and a green sofa opposite from the other entrance. Giselle and Albrecht took both of their respective seats as the old man continued his speech.

"But first off, I would like to commend you both for saving that tiny village in the mountains several days ago." He remarked, before adding." And Albrecht, I hope your Uncle is aware of your little dangerous sidelines." This time, he eyed the boy, who tried to look away in purpose but kept a surprised face, wondering how the man knew of him secretly taking up quests.

Bacchus cleared his throat, placing his small jug on the table.

As he unfolded the poster, the man finally revealed and presented its contents. The two then leaned closer and came face to face with the revelation.

"A circus in Qua-Toyne?" A puzzled Giselle wondered ." I don't get it why-"

"Look closely." The old man said as he pointed towards the small but important text which read." The Debut of the Red Dragon."

The young lady's eyes widened in surprise, and her curiosity piqued. The teenage boy, on the other hand, was more skeptical and was able to summarize the idea in a matter of seconds.

"Are you saying this is the one that the Flame Dragon is looking for?" He inquired." And it's trapped in a ship?"

"Exactly!" Bacchus simply nodded."

"Apparently, one of my colleagues had connections in the circus business, and he was able to gain access and study the creature's appearance and traits before the ship had set sail," he informed the two. "And based on the information provided by your church and the current information at hand, the description is a match, and the Dragon is without a doubt the offspring of the Flame Dragon," he concluded.

"And the beast will be one of the main attractions of the said circus when it opens to the public during the Principality's "Day of Unity" celebrations," he added.

Both of them nodded in understanding.

"So if this is really her offspring, then how the heck did it get there?" Albrecht then wondered.

Bacchus then eyed the Draconian apostle this time.

Giselle sighed in response, beginning to relay the previously classified information that her colleagues at the church had finally revealed to her.

Before I took over the case, the previous Apostle, who was in charge of keeping the Land of the Dragons in check at the time, had somehow failed to monitor the Matriarch's offspring and one night, the whelp vanished under mysterious circumstances." She went on to explain, "Because of that incident, the Flame Dragon abandoned her duties as guardian of her world and left home in search of her beloved whelp."

"That is until she started attacking every single settlement she came across for no apparent reason." She continued, bringing up a small rune from her pouch." I suspected that dark magic has something to do with her rage and I tried to use the rune to free her but she escaped again."

"But what about those iron horses you saw that time?" asked the boy. "Could they be summoned again?" he wondered. "I mean, they could really help us deal with the beast with their strange magic, as you saw."

Giselle remained silent as she turned her gaze to the old man, who shrugged, confirming that he, too, had no idea about the mysterious metallic objects.

"So where we do we go from here, Sir Bacchus?" She then asked.

The old man smirked, taking note of the young lady's sense of respect, recognizing what he used to be, as he took another drink of his ale.

"Good, I've already informed my colleague about your impending arrival, and he'll be glad to provide you with shelter once you arrive in the Principality," he told the two, who were taken aback.

"That quick? I mean, you're really going to give us a free ride there?" Albrecht widened his eyes, becoming more optimistic and imagining the possibility.

The old man cringed in return. It was not exactly a part of his plan to bring the two there and it was only his job to give them helpful information, but since the dukedom itself has severed every main connection it has, then they have no choice but to take the secret merchant routes to get there.

He then sighed.

"Fine, I'll take you both there by land, since flying there would create trouble on the Principality's air space." He said, much to the teenager's gratefulness.

"Yes! That's what I'm talking about old man!" The boy then formed his hands into a fist and slightly punched the air.

Giselle, on the other hand, rolled her eyes and tiredly let herself collapse on her seat. She had hoped this would be the final clue in ending this ordeal.

The old man cleared his throat.

"Alright, I am asking you two again." He said, giving them a now serious look despite the visible drunkenness on his face." This venture will also be risky, especially for you kid." He then eyed the boy, whose confidence was now skyrocketing." I suggest you let her handle this."

Silence took over for a brief moment, and the young adventurer didn't hesitate to make a grin.

"Count me in!" he replied, turning his attention back to his companion. "I'm not afraid of any challenges," he added, indicating that this type of situation was no longer unfamiliar to him.

Giselle took a deep breath, knowing she wouldn't be able to stop the young adventurer from joining, and raised her hand, giving a simple thumbs up and a somewhat determined look.

"I'm in..."

A small smile then formed across the old man's lips, clapping his hands together as he gave one more encouragement.

"Well then, what are you waiting for? Time to pack up!"

XXXXXXXXXXXX

The storm was now behind them as the sun finally emerged from the dark clouds.

A sense of relief filled the minds of the sailors as they finally survived the ordeal that almost took away their own lives. They accepted the offer and they had to endure it, and now they were going to reap their rewards.

From a few distances, they could see the port and the wonderful view of the noble city under the glory of the golden sun.

From the deck, the captain of the ship sighed, knowing that their task was about to end, he glanced at his crew, who were all exhausted from the previous situation, and for the first time, a smile crept across his lips, sensing the conclusion.

Apparently, only one task remained and that was to pass the burden to another.

CHAPTER END

AN: So I finally wrote a short chapter, and probably after this is published, I might take a short break for a while to rest and gather my tired mind.

Next chapters would now be focusing on the QT and the plot.

So, the main goal of this chapter is to introduce the other Major plot of Arc 2, which is the Dragon side of things. As we all know the Flame Dragon arc mostly in every fanfic is often portrayed the same. So I did a different take here, adding a story and background for the dragon, and giving reasons on why she is going crazy and all.

And you got the first Diplomatic chapters of Summoning Japan and I decided to combined the aspects of these two small arcs into one bigger arc.

For Giselle , I did a slight revamp and added more background to her past, and giving her small personal struggles where she sometimes finds it hard being an Apostle and attempts to live a normal life but also wants to fulfill her duties, fix the problem, and prove that her job is still relevant as an apostle. And Her conflict with the Flame Dragon and new information they had received from the old man, in the background on why they are heading to Qua-Toyne.

So we got the City (Maihark), Diplomacy (Coalition's goal in establishing connections with QT), and Dragon ( The ordeal caused by mysterious circumstances, and Giselle is forced to fix it)

The role of the Apostles is explored more, and akin to keeping the fantasy aspect in the continent in control. You have Rory, who deals with the dark curses and activities of dark supernatural forces and you have Giselle, whose job is to watch over most of the Dragons and their affairs. But the rising Guilds and emergence of Heroes are affecting their status and relevancy.

There is also a cameo referring to a generic reincarnated Isekai character, who eventually became a warrior in this world, and Albrecht is meant to be that young adventurer, who is eager to face any challenge.

With that said, Thank you very much for spending time to read the chapter, I really appreciate it! I apologize for any grammar/spelling mistakes since English is not my main language.

Thank you so much and Best Wishes!