“If this is the character for ‘moon’… Wait, no, it’s slightly different. Day, perhaps? Oh, is this referencing an internal calendar? Fascinating…”
“Somehow, it’s oddly entertaining watching her work,” Kakane said blandly. “Although, I think I’d prefer something a little more hands-on. Is she always this vocal?”
“Yes. I do my best to help out but admittedly, I usually just get in the way,” Kai said, watching Mira scurry around. “This is more sort of Megrez’s thing.”
“Speaking of Her Highness, where is she?”
“I believe she’s talking with Serena.”
“If she brings Serena here in a wheelchair I will murder her.”
“Hello! I brought a guest.”
“Oh, what are you doing here, Your Majesty, Kakane?”
“Speak of the devil!!”
Kakane flipped out as Megrez arrived pushing Serena in a wheelchair. The white-haired girl had several pillows propping her up as well as a blanket over her legs. She seemed cheerful enough, and her eyes instantly sparkled upon seeing the stone tablets and notes surrounding Mira.
“Oh, wow, are these the ancient records?” Serena ghosted a few fingers along the antiques, almost as if scared to touch them lest they crumble into dust. “How many centuries’ worth of knowledge is here…? Oh, gods, I feel faint.”
“I thought this might happen. Back to the infirmary with you!” Kakane growled.
“What!? Kakane, my injuries are healed! It’s just my stamina and energy that need recovering, that and rehab! Honestly, I’m fine! Why are you like this?”
“Because you have a tendency to neglect taking care of yourself in favor of your pursuit for knowledge.”
“Since when have I ever𑁋”
“You’ve openly admitted to pulling all-nighters just to work on REAN, and you said you would stay up late to brew me a magic potion. Someone has to take care of you if you’re going to forget to do it! And that ‘someone’ will be me!” Serena closed her mouth.
“…I suppose you do have a point. But are you sure you should make that call? I mean, I don’t mean to insult you, I know you have some medical knowledge, but you seem to specialize in battle wounds rather than mortal injuries.”
There was nothing malicious about the way Serena said those words. She was blinking innocently, and Kakane knew she wasn’t trying to insult him; just state the truth. Still, he couldn’t help but feel guilty for a moment. But she was right; he wasn’t the one who should be making this call. So he sucked in a breath and placed a finger on his scar before shaking his head and giving Serena a stern glare.
“Fine. I suppose it’s alright for you to stay. But don’t get too invested, because you and I both know nothing good will come out of it. A king always looks after his people. I will drag you away from this place if I have to. You have been warned.”
“King? Are you secretly a royal?” Megrez asked. Kakane flinched.
“Honestly, I don’t know. It’s something he says often, but I think he’s just constantly trying to feed his own ego,” Serena said quickly. Kakane seemed irked by this statement, silently fuming while crossing his arms over his chest and staring at the wall.
“I see. What an odd behavior,” Megrez said.
“Is it really? Didn’t Elliot act similarly when we were children? Something about being a hero, and that a hero never gives up or stops fighting?” Kai tapped his chin.
“Oh, I remember that! Yes, I suppose it is something certain people will do.”
The conversation was interrupted by Mira, who had suddenly slumped over her work table, moaning. Serena could make out the words “it’s impossible”, “I can’t do it”, and “what is this”. Mira looked utterly drained, and for all her hard work she only had half a page of the Atlantean stone tablet translated. Even then, most of it was just a group of random words that didn’t form sentences or made coherent sense.
“Is something wrong?” Serena asked, peering over Mira’s shoulder.
“None of this adds up… I thought that our language might have evolved from the language Atlantis originally spoke, but nothing! Oh gods, I might have spent too much energy on the restoration project… My brain isn’t functioning right.” Mira groaned and began rubbing her temples.
“Um, Mira, I do not believe our language evolved from the original Atlantean language. Most likely, it came from Doryoku,” Kai voiced.
“The hell does Doryoku have to do with all of this!?” Kakane spat.
“Well, even in the past, the Doryokan empire took up a good quarter of Eyuth. It would be entirely within the realm of possibility that, over the course of several hundred thousand years, its original language would spread all over the continent as its influence grew. Various areas of Eyuth would develop their own dialects in the years to come, but in recent times, everything has been modernized into a single language to make communication and trade easier. This occurred sometime within the past several centuries. The language we are speaking right now and our current written system originally evolved from Doryoku. Whether or not Atlantis spoke their own language or had their own regional variant is something I cannot ascertain.”
“Ugh… Even our speech has been tainted by that gods-forsaken empire,” Kakane spat. His scar itched. Serena frowned but said nothing.
“Oh, no, then what am I to do now?” Mira groaned.
“You’re thinking too inside the box,” Serena chastised. “Put yourself in the mind of an inventor. If you’re developing something entirely new, something that will change the world, would you put your notes somewhere carelessly? Of course not. But as an extra precaution, oftentimes expert craftsmen would write in code to prevent other people from stealing their ideas. I never did it, but I sometimes considered doing it, just for fun.”
“That would make sense,” Mira agreed. “I’m a researcher, not an innovator. I want people to read my notes. I never thought of it that way.”
“In regards to translation, hm.” Megrez thought for a moment. “Let’s assume that Atlantis used a dialect of the original Doryokan language from 15,000 years ago. That language would eventually become our language, so there have to be some similarities. It’s a very indirect way of doing things, and there are bound to be some changes, but it should roughly give us what we’re looking for.”
“You’re right. Are there any copies of a dictionary or a list of ancient Doryokan letterings in the royal library?” Mira asked. “I think that would help immensely.”
“I don’t believe so… But as our language system evolved from that one, I suggest you start by comparing our modern language to the writing on the tablets first,” Kai said.
“Right, okay so this is our alphabet… Hm, the characters don’t match up exactly, but they certainly are similar… In an abstract, artistic way,” Megrez noted.
“Wait, there’s probably some sort of code we have to crack,” Serena pointed out. “A new alphabet based on the ancient dialect of our current language… Oh, I think I’m starting to see the pattern.”
“Already!? What is it?” Mira leaned over to check Serena’s work.
“You see how every character has a parallel line to one of its strokes that isn’t there in our alphabet? If we remove the parallels on these three characters… I think that’s ‘water’, ‘steel’, and ‘to temper’.”
“You’re right? So then if we translate this… Mm, vaguely, I think it means, ‘Use oil over water to temper the steel’. Oh, that makes sense now!” Mira gasped.
“I feel ostracized all of a sudden,” Kakane whispered to Kai.
“Yes… Shall we leave them to it?”