“I’ve never yet found lore that explains why the blending of human and dragon blood can be so incredibly different when the human outweighs the dragon. Humans are furred creatures, not feathered; you’d think if dragon scales gave way to anything, it would be fur. Which would make draconics look like werebats who got into a dye vat, so perhaps that’s for the best….” Caerulus paused, one talon of a finger raised in thought. “And yet, some speculate that the griffins may have been an offshoot of some pre-sentient dragon lineage. And fully feathered draconics don’t seem to have been born before the Year of Blood and Flame, over six centuries ago, when the Silver Flame itself was first manifested in Thrane. So we cannot rule out coatl involvement. Servants of good they may be, but if their offspring the shulakassar are anything to judge by, there’s little they enjoy more than slapping we mere mortals in the face with their grand and glorious piety….” He coughed into a fist. “Ah, never mind a grumpy old dragon. There are probably worse fates than being an innocent bystander caught between a transcendent shulakassar paladin and the fiend he’s sworn to destroy, but I haven’t survived any of them. Yet.” Scaled eyelids blinked, like a flicker of twilight. “So you have distinct opinions on preening, do you, young swordsman? Very unusual in a human. Very unusual.”
Kirito shifted on his feet, as if he were caught between curiosity and an all too reasonable impulse to dash for the door. “I know some draconics.”
“I don’t doubt that. But the chronicle I’ve been reading – Thinker’s Aincrad Newsletter, is it? – implies your bands of adventurers only met draconics a few weeks ago. And no one has that good an eye for feathers without a bit more experience-” Caerulus inhaled. And chuckled. “Well, well. You do know what you speak of. It’s not everyone who can groom a cockatrice.”
“A cockatrice?” Asuna echoed, aghast. She’d never seen one, but – Kirito was deliberately touching things that could turn him to stone?
“Check the Compendium Symptomatica Animalia Mystica,” Caerulus instructed her, waving her deeper into the stacks. “Under G.”
“G?” Kirito looked just as baffled as she would have been last week.
“For granite? It’s indexed by tracks and symptoms,” Asuna explained. “The author wrote it for adventurers who were trying to figure out what might have attacked a village.”
“Indeed, for granite,” the half-dragon nodded, toothed maw bent in a pleased grin. Which faded slightly, taking on a befuddled air. “Or was it F, for fluffy?”