Sol had been a little lost when Kiyohime talked about the nine heavens, but it didn’t take long for him to understand.
When setting up her territory, Tiamat had taken inspiration from the structure of the universe and divided her territory into nine layers—The Nine Heavens.
The first three Heavens were accessible to anyone. Even pirates with powerful enough flying ships could reach the third heaven.
The next three Heavens were only accessible to powerful spirits, elves, and subordinate families acknowledged by Tiamat.
Those families could be said to be somewhat noble since most of them were descendants of people who fought with Tiamat in the past – descendants of the true heroes.
Following this was the Seventh Heaven, home of the young dragons.
The Eighth Heaven was the home of the nine, or rather, eight children of Tiamat.
As for the very last heaven, it was obviously the residence of Tiamat.
It was only after hearing Kiyohime’s explanation that he understood how incredible it was for him to have the permission to meet Tiamat.
At the very least, until now, there were only a very small number of dragons, aside from the first nine, that had been allowed to reach the ninth heaven.
“Well, that’s all for now. Of course, I left some little details, but you will slowly learn them while acclimating. Do you have any other questions about the nine heavens?”
“No, thank you.”
“Do not worry. This is my duty.”
Kiyohime patiently explained the situation to Sol. For one, she was used to teaching and she also knew that Sol really lacked a great amount of information.
“If you are ready, shall we go?”
“Are we going to fly up there?”
Kiyohime was a little startled at the question but she chuckled when she finally understood the misunderstanding,
“Haha, no. It’s totally impossible to reach the different heavens through flying. Mother had distorted the space upward so even without counting the ward, people would simply become lost and wander without ever reaching the destination.
‘Tiamat is really incredible.’
The more he heard about her power, the more he understood just how truly impressive she was.
“Follow me. We will have to fly for a while, but once we reach our destination, it will be easier.”
After a rather strenuous flight, the reason being the increased gravity, a tired Sol and an exhausted Isis finally landed on land.
“Is this…a tower?”
Isis, who had mostly stayed silent, asked after gathering her breath and wiping away her sweat. Since coming here, she had been exposed to one wondrous sight after the other, but this one completely took the cake.
All around the tower, people could be seen mingling and entering different doors of the tower after paying a fee but that wasn’t what shocked her.
The tower was tall, so tall that even with her special vision, she could not see how far up it went.
Furthermore, from her point of view, it seemed to be like this tower was supporting the very fabric of this world.
Kiyohime didn’t want to speak too much to Isis, but she wasn’t one that could accept being rude to someone who was polite. She could also see that Sol was curious about and as such had no reservation.
“This…is the tower of Babel.”
“Why do you seem so sho–oh! Indeed, I do remember that you also have one in Lustburg. That tower is a copy based on this one right here.”
Kiyohime easily dismissed Sol’s concern, after all, it was impossible to compare the two towers,
“The tower of Babel is a tower created by a group of mortals who did not accept the separations of different heavens. Their goal was to reach the highest heaven through their own means. We wanted to destroy them because of their sacrilegious thoughts, but mother stopped us. She even took away the spatial restrictions just to see how far they could go.”
Kiyohime looked at the tower with emotions.
“Back then, we thought that it was just a way for her to pass time. We looked down on the stupid mortals because we were sure that they would fail. We even made a game out of it. Most of us bet that they would fail without even reaching the first heaven.”
Kiyohime blushed when she thought about her past personality and actions.
“Of course, we couldn’t laugh for long. One generation, two generations, three generations. Again and again without ever stopping. Parents passed down their dreams to their children, and once those children became parents, they did the same to their children. How long did it take? By the time we understood what was happening, they were already past the Fourth heaven. In the end, they managed to reach as far as the Seventh heaven, and as a reward, mother helped them finish the last two floors.”
Kiyohime remembered the dumbfounded expression she and her siblings had when they witnessed that scene. The fruit of the obsession of mortals.
“That day, mother made us understand two things. The first was that there was nothing wrong with being prideful, but one should never underestimate anyone even if they were of humbler origins. In this world, even an ant would bite an elephant if it was threatened. As for the second one…”
This time she shook her head, “She said that struggling was the destiny of the weak, but if the weak manage to overcome all those struggles, then it was possible for them to rise even above the so-called strong.”
That day was the first time she felt how small and how shameful all her previous actions had been. She understood that there was no pride to be found in one race or in one birth. Those things were nothing more than useless titles that were obtained because of pure luck.
Only those who rose above their own stations, those who desperately held on even against the mighty waves of fate and always stood back no matter how many times they were knocked down, had the right to feel Pride.
This did not mean that only the weak who became strong should feel pride.
The same went for those who were born strong. As long as they continued to advance. As long as they did not stay content by leaning on the glory of the past. Then and only then could they stand tall and full of pride.
While explaining the story behind the tower, Kiyohime was observing Sol and the others’ reactions.
This wasn’t the first time she was retelling this tale. In fact, she had told this story to basically all generations of young dragons. This was a way to slowly knock down their useless pride.
She was satisfied by the expression Isis and the fairy were showing, even the cat seemed shocked. Though it was odd how expressive a cat, even if it was a magical beast, could be.
This was also why she was a little disappointed when she perceived no awe nor respect or admiration in Sol’s gaze.
‘It seems like he is a difficult case.’
Kiyohime jumped a little early to the conclusion. Of course, it was hard to blame her. From an outsider’s perspective, Sol was a prince who had been pampered since birth by the most powerful women in the world and had one of the highest pedigree in the world.
He wasn’t born with a golden spoon, but with a spoon made out of all the most expensive jewels in the world and some more. The fact that Sol did not seem like an asshole was already a big plus in Kiyohime’s opinion.
Of course, if Sol could hear her thoughts, he wouldn’t know whether he should laugh or cry at the misunderstanding.
After all, Sol came from a world with no magic where humans literally walked on the moon and brought objects into space.
A world where, with a single push of a button, a man with no magic could bring more destruction in the world than anything most Duke or King-ranked individuals could ever dream to do.
Only the goddesses and other reincarnated people could understand the true potential of mortals more than Sol. This was why his gaze held neither awe nor admiration.
Nent on the other hand was watching this tower with pure derision. The words and actions of Tiamat were commendable, but they were hiding an ugly truth that Kiyohime had seemingly overlooked.
All that crap about potential or whatnot was only possible in the first place because Tiamat had relaxed her own ward and gave them permission. Otherwise, no matter how many generations passed, they would have never gone past the third heaven.
Even then, they reached their limits, and only after Tiamat helped once again were they able to finish the last two floors…and all that for what?
Generations after generations of pain and sacrifice…all of this to end up as a simple moral lesson for future generations of Dragon.
When she looked at the tower, she did not see how full of potential mortals were, but rather how helpless they were in the face of superior power—Like how divine beasts were helpless in the face of the goddesses’ whims.
Keeping her thoughts to herself, Nent took Sol by the arm and walked toward the tower,
“We have wasted enough time. Sol, this tower will bring us directly in our direction. Let’s make haste. I don’t believe Lady Tiamat likes to wait.”
Kiyohime bit down her lips at Nent’s action but did not comment for she was right. As such, while people kept ‘furtively’ stealing glances at them, the small group moved forward.
Kiyohime rarely used her human form when walking in the lower heavens because of how petite and unimposing it was. Still, the aura radiating from her as she walked was enough for any passerby to understand that they shouldn’t mess with her.
Like this, after entering the tower and reaching what looked like an elevator, Kiyohime entered a secret code using the display on the side of the door and finally hit the button with an 8 on it.
“We will enter my palace on the eighth heaven and I will settle you there. Only Sol can go to meet mother.”
Isis wanted to complain, but she was stopped by Nent. Even entering the 8th heaven was already an honor and an exception so it wasn’t wise to complain.
‘Tiamat is really spoiling her grandson.’
She couldn’t understand why. No matter how loved Blaze was, it shouldn’t have been enough for Tiamat to love and spoil Blaze’s son that much.
It wasn’t as if he was her first grandson and he would certainly not be the last. She even had a bunch of great-grandchildren and great great-grandchildren.
‘Is she also investing in him like I did?’
This was the most likely case…Or perhaps she was reading too much into it and Tiamat was really just spoiling her grandson?
‘Well, it isn’t like what I think will change anything.’
She did not care what goals Tiamat had for Sol as long as it wasn’t harmful to him and didn’t foil her own goal. She had become quite fond of Sol after all.
Trivia: There are many other types of dragons in Chinese myth. Like bruh. There are basically 100 types of dragons in Chinese myth and I don’t even know if it’s all of them.
Huang Long: The yellow dragon, the first of all dragons.
Tianlong: Sky dragons that live with the gods.
Shen Long: A spirit dragon that controls the weather.
Dilong: An earth dragon that lives underground.
Fucanglong: Underground guardians of hidden treasures and places of powerful energy.
Nie Long: An evil dragon that brings destruction.
Jiaolong: Crocodile dragon that can change form.
Panlong: Snake-like river dragon.
Feilong and Ying Long: Winged sky dragons.
Qing Long: The Azure Dragon symbolizing the East.
Long Wang, Dragon Kings who rule over the waters.
If Sol had to be compared, he would be the Qinglong which means “light dragon”. It is a dragon said to be associated with the sun’s power and the spiritual life force of sunlight, or Zhulong also known in English as the Torch Dragon, a giant red solar dragon and god in Chinese mythology. It supposedly had a human’s face and snake’s body, created day and night by opening and closing its eyes, and created seasonal winds by breathing.
(AN:This chapter was initially supposed to be a meeting with Tiamat. But I wanted to show more Nent and Kiyohime clashing opinions and ideals as well as the way they see the world. Also, I didn’t give this trivia for nothing. Though what do you think? Are you interested in those myth trivia? Or do you find them unnecessary?)