The two friends continued on their way to the west. After several days of journey, they reached the territory of Maya-Tuwani'su', the area that corresponded to the thumb of the large hand of the God of Gods. This area was to a large extent a marshland, so they decided, to cross it, to make a part of the trip on a barge that ran along the banks.
When they landed, they found themselves at the gates of a medium sized city named Wu-Z'ori. They were about to enter, when a flood of screaming people coming out almost swept them away. In the confusion, they managed to find out that a great red dragon had arrived from the central area. After coming down from the mountains, probably following the river lapping at the city, it was now making havoc among the inhabitants.
Toma explained to Masu that the big red dragons were among the most dangerous among the dragons, because not only did they eat people and animals with seemingly insatiable appetite, but also because the females, when they had recently given birth, emitted long flames from two holes that were between their belly and breast, to defend the babies that they carried on their backs from attacks by the males of their species, or from any other danger.
Masu stopped one of the fugitives and asked him if the dragon that had invaded their city emitted flames.
"Yes, warrior, and it is burning down our houses!"
"But the warriors of your town, they do not fight?"
"The warriors? They were the first to flee, more than defend us. And besides, in their place, I would run away too. Who can to do anything to stop a red dragon? When it will not find anyone to eat any more, it will leave... there is no other solution," the man explained in a hurry before resuming to flee.
Masu shook his head; he could not understand how a warrior could flee in the face of danger. From a young age he had been taught that for a warrior it is better to die than face the disgrace that comes from cowardice.
When he said this to Toma, the young lord replied: "I don't think you can call it cowardice to run from a danger against which you can do nothing. I would rather call it wisdom."
Masu shook his head: "But there must be a way to defeat a red dragon, right? It must have some weak point to take profit from."
Toma looked at him curiously: "Don't tell me you are having in mind... to tackle the red dragon, right? On your own..."
"I don't know yet, but... why not, if only I knew its weak point..."
"I knew it! I should have made a bet... A weak point? As it is apparently a female, the only weak point is her kids..."
"How many young does a red dragon usually have?"
"Two, three... one only rarely."
"And she protects them by keeping them on her back."
"Yes, between two rows of upright scales that run between the neck and the tail."
"And how does she feed them? With her milk?"
"Oh no. She chews the meat of a victim, then regurgitates that into the mouth of her young."
"And, for what you know, do red dragons run very fast?"
"Apparently not. It seems that they are slow, but for this reason they throw their long flames to reach from afar those who attack them."
"From how far away?"
"I don't know, I've never seen it myself. But people say it is more than their body length... about three times the length of a man ."
Masu thought, then asked: "And how good is their eyesight?"
Toma laughed: "How should I know? Their eyesight? Why do you ask, what do you have in mind?"
"Don't know yet, I'm just trying to... to know the enemy before dealing with it."
"So you've decided to really deal with it."
"Not yet, but I'd like to. How does a red dragon recognize its young? By the shape, smell, the calls?"
"I think by the shape. I know that the chicks are mute... and about the smell, I'm not sure, but it seems they do not have a peculiar smell, at least I've never heard of that."
"And the little ones are on her back..."
"When she walks or sleeps; when she is feeding them, or when they play, she keeps them in front of her..."
"How big is a baby red dragon?"
"The newborn is like a human child of ten... then it grows and in about three years it has the size of an adult."
"And for how long the mother keeps them on her back?"
"About a year, I think."
"So, after a year, how big are they?"
"Just like you or me, roughly."
Masu nodded. Then he asked: "Can a sword pierce their skin?"
"I think not. Their only weaknesses are the eyes and the inside of the mouth… but the lips are extremely sharp."
"No, red dragons don't have teeth, but they have lips like razor blades"
"Good, I know enough. I'm going into town to see with my own eyes," Masu declared, pulling out his sword and holding it firmly.
"Do you want me to come with you?" Toma asked.
"No thanks. You would only get in the way, as I'd also have to think to protect you. Thanks, anyway," Masu said. However, he appreciated his friend's offer.
Toma seemed to almost breathe a sigh of relief. "So... I'll wait here," he said.
Masu nodded and went into the deserted city in a determined step, but with all senses alert. He began to wander at random through the streets, trying to figure out the whereabouts of the dangerous dragon.
Suddenly the warrior heard the sound of a crash. Instinctively he took cover, then headed toward the direction from which the noise originated. A loud bellowing made him realize that the beast was in the direction he had taken. With prudence he continued to advance.
In a clearing between two houses, one of which had collapsed recently, he saw the huge red dragon. She was lying on her belly with the mighty tail slowly waving from right to left. Between her stretched out front legs two little whitish-pink dragons were scuffling playfully under the watchful eye of their mother.
Masu stepped aside in order not to be seen but not to lose sight of the three dragons. He studied the scene and the beast. Behind him was an open door. He stepped back into the twilight of the hurriedly abandoned house. He looked around: it was a large kitchen and a cauldron was boiling on the stove.
He went to pick it up, removed it from the fire and climbed a ladder he had seen, going to the first floor. From a window he saw that he was now next to the dragon, but higher up. Gathering all his strength, he swung the cauldron full of steaming soup and tossed it in a way so it was going to fall in front of the great dragon.
With incredible speed the beast stood on its hind legs. From the chest came out two long flames that enveloped the pot, even before it touched the ground. When the improvised projectile fell to the ground, it was reduced to a twisted and shapeless piece of smoking metal.
The dragon looked around several times, then lay down again to watch and protect her children. Masu was hiding behind the jamb of the window, but had not lost sight of the scene. Again he looked around. He was in a bedroom. He went to the next room and saw that it was a kind of storeroom. He explored it with his eyes. He did not see anything useful. He moved to other rooms, from time to time peering through the windows at the huge red dragon. He went down another ladder and found himself in a warehouse. There he saw some coils of rope and a winch, that was attached to a wall.
Masu looked from the tools in the warehouse to the trio of dragons, trying to formulate an action plan. The ropes were quite numerous and long. The winch was operated by a system of weights and counterweights. He also saw some pulleys. Calmly, but with care, he fixed one end of rope to the winch and put it under tension. Unrolling the rope, he climbed the ladder to the roof while tensing it between the floors. He climbed the roof, fixed a pulley to the edge, passed the rope and measured a length that he hoped was right. The other end he fixed around his waist.
He took off his armor and picked up his sword. He looked down at the dragon that continued to watch and protect her children. He grabbed the armor and threw it with all his strength toward the two young. Right after that he launched himself from the roof. He was flying in the air, with his sword straight in front of him against his body, pointing at his feet, keeping the hilt with both hands. When the armor flew just above the two little ones, the dragon immediately got up and threw her flames centering on it in full. Masu found himself in front of the dragon's head and tried to hit her in the eye with the sword with all his might.
With a sharp clang he struck the hard skin of the dragon, without harming it. The rope, having reached all its length, triggered the winch and with a jerk it was pulling him back up before he reached the ground. The dragon launched her long flames at where Masu was a moment before, but the warrior was flying up. The lifting of the winch ended and his body stopped again, out of range, bumping into a wall of the house. Masu pushed himself down again with his feet.
The dragon had turned toward him. He was now rapidly swinging from right to left in a kind of arc, each time giving himself a boost with his feet against the wall, so flying in the opposite direction. The dragon launched a couple of long flames at him, first missing, but the second time Masu felt the acrid smell of his hair singed by fire. When his body was almost in front of an open window, with his sword he cut the rope that held him suspended from the roof. Banging badly against the window frame, he fell into a room.
He had failed to wound the dragon in the eye, as he had hoped... Anyway, he thought, the probability of success was quite low. But one thing he had discovered: the dragon was very quick to rise up and launch her long flames, but slow to walk and move. Not only that, but trying to intercept what she had identified as a threat, like the cauldron or his armor, for a time she had apparently forgotten her children.
A blaze came through the window, but being directed from the bottom up it did not reach Masu because he was still curled on the ground. Some furniture in the room began to burn. Masu went back to the ladder, took the rope and pulled, recovering it. He got out and picked it up, rolled back the winch, blocked it and fixed the counterweights. He made the free end of the rope into a noose and cautiously looked out of the warehouse's window: the dragon was still standing, throwing more flames toward the window where he had disappeared.
Quickly he came out of the store, reached one of the little dragons, put the noose around its tail and gave a tug on the rope. The winch snapped back and the small dragon, caught by the tail, was dragged towards the door of the warehouse. Masu, bending behind the body of the little beast, ran back to the warehouse. He looked at the great red dragon that now, with powerful strokes of the tail, was trying to demolish the house wall under the window where he had disappeared just before.
Now the small dragon was not far from the door of the warehouse, but the winch had run its course. Masu came in and pulled the rope with all his strength, dragging inside the small dragon, that was struggling weakly. He managed to bring it in, to roll it on its back and with a mighty blow of his sword to slash its belly. A terrible stench assailed his nostrils. Doing his best to find the strength to resist, Masu took out the offal from the now motionless body of the animal, then lay on the ground and crept into the half-empty carcass of the beast. Holding his sword with both hands and moving on his knees, bent under the weight of the carcass, as close to the ground as possible, he slowly moved out of the door.
The great red dragon seemed to notice the movement and looked down. She saw her baby and lowered her head, bellowing a loud wailing. Then she pulled out her large purple tongue and licked the nose of her baby...
Masu jumped up and, pushing his sword with all his strength, he managed to pierce with violence one of the eyes of the great dragon, that roared in the throes of excruciating pain, throwing some flames while standing up. But Masu was clinging to his sword and so hung next to the head of the huge beast. He felt that the sword was slipping out of the wound.
The angry dragon was giving violent blows with her tail. The flames she was throwing from her chest seemed weaker and less frequent to Masu. The sword was freed from the head of the furiously wagging dragon. Masu fell to the ground, still clutching his sword in his hand. He landed on his feet and managed to spring up and stay on his feet, jumping to the blinded side of the sight of the angry dragon.
Now he was between the big beast and the other puppy. He ran to the second dragon, quickly reversed this one too and quartered it like the first. Again he hid inside and froze. He could see the front legs of the great dragon and understood by how they moved, that she was approaching him. He hoped that his ruse would work again. But this time the great dragon grabbed her cub by the scruff with the mouth to lay it on its back. Masu found himself exposed.
He sprang to the side of the eye he had blinded, hoping that the beast had not seen him. The dragon laid the puppy on its back but, being dead, it did not hold unto her with its claws and slipped away. The mother seemed to realize it and looked at her young with the still good eye. She leaned down to push it with one of her short front legs, then bent down again to take it again by the scruff.
Masu, bypassing the big beast, ran before she raised her head with the dead weight of her puppy, threw himself at the still healthy eye and, at the first blow, managed to stick in his sword. The beast screamed and jerked her head. Masu let go his hold on the sword to not be drawn up. Now that the horrible beast was blinded, the warrior had greater freedom of movement, but he still had to find a way to kill her...
The dragon was giving big strokes of the tail against the walls of the surrounding houses, moving without being aware of where she went, and clashing with the buildings of the road. At times she threw a few flames from her chest, but it seemed they were getting increasingly weaker.
"Masu," he heard a call.
From the corner of a house he saw Toma looking at him.
"I blinded her! But now my sword is in her eye," he answered.
He went towards Toma, who said: "I could not sit there waiting for you, especially when I heard the screams of the beast... Damn what a smell! But it's you who is smelling!"
"I killed the two puppies... it is the blood of these animals that stinks so. But now I don't know how to kill the mother."
"She is furious..." the Lord noticed, pulling his friend behind the house. Then he said laughing: "But you, is it not better to go to wash yourself?"
They left the town heading towards the river. Some warriors of the city were prudently getting closer to it. Masu spotted the Shisi, and told him what he had done. He said that now that the dragon was blinded and weakened, they could go back into town to finish the beast. He also asked them to retrieve his sword and to return it to him. Then he finally dived into the water to wash away the blood of the dragon and the nauseating stench.
From the city terrible screams and an acrid black smoke were arising, then the screams ceased. Shortly after came the muffled sound of a horn. Then they saw the inhabitants emerge from the surroundings, starting to go back towards the town, hesitant and cautious. The warriors of the city greeted the people, informing them the dragon was finally dead and the danger was over.
The city was in a party. There were damages to repair, some family members were weeping for the ones who had been devoured by the red dragon, but the majority were dancing and singing in the streets, almost as if the day of Auspicious Growing was celebrated, when the Great Father and Great Mother united, and the day is equal to the night,.
From the city came the local Tu, followed by the Shisi and numerous To and So. Two slaves carried Masu's sword of on a cushion. They stopped in front of the handsome warrior and bowed. They gave him back his sword and thanked Masu and Toma for what they had done, making it possible to eliminate the great red dragon.
Both slaves wore a jacket and breeches that faded, from ankles to shoulders, from light green to light blue. Masu noticed that Toma did not take his eyes off of one of the slaves. He looked at him too: he was a boy of eighteen, with soft brown hair and brown eyes, a golden skin almost olive, his body slender and tall. He was undoubtedly a very nice looking guy.
The two friends were invited to the city's castle. As they crossed the narrow streets of the town, crowds of jubilant people were acclaiming Masu; everyone already knew they owed their salvation to him. Since Toma had entered to look for him, he also was hailed as a savior of the city.
When they arrived at the castle, Masu had to tell what he had done to wound, blind, and weaken the great red dragon. He often spoke in the plural, thus including Toma in his deeds. Even if the Lord actually had not taken part in the action, without his detailed explained beforehand, Masu would not had known what to do. In addition, he was grateful that Toma had entered the city looking for him, not leaving him alone. Toma, as far as he knew, had risked his life to be at his side, even though he had arrived when most had been done.
The Tu had made a great banquet prepared in honor of the two heroes. Throughout the cheerful and noisy meal Masu again noted that his friend did not take his eyes off the beautiful page. So he bent towards the Shisi, who sat by his side, and pointing to the page he asked him who was that handsome boy.
"That guy? He is Di Ja, a slave of our Tu. Are you interested in him? Do you want him in your bed? If you like, I can ask our Tu to put him at your service, as long as you stay here as our guest."
"No, not for me, thank you. But my friend Toma seems really fascinated by that slave. Can you ask your Tu to put him at the service of Toma?"
"Does your friend also love the male graces? It is not very common that a To has the same tastes as us So..."
"It seems so. Can you do this, and not disclose to my friend Toma that I asked for it?"
"Certainly, I'll do it with pleasure. But to you, Su Masu-Yari, does anyone interest you in a particular way?"
"Not really... and, quite frankly, I cannot wait to be able to have some rest. The fight with the dragon exhausted me, not so much physically, but mentally."
"I can understand that. However, beyond the 'official' praises so to speak, all of us So, and I especially, admire your strength, your determination, your abilities. We would be honoured if you would like to stay here with us, become one of us, if your Shiti would let you... But I doubt he is willing to give up your services... "
"In fact..." but Masu stopped there, as he did not want to tell him how in reality he had been exiled.
Finally the two friends were able to retire to the rooms assigned to them. After another regenerating bath, Masu lay in bed and fell asleep at once.
Toma had just entered his beautiful guestroom, when he heard a knock at the door.
"Come in!" the Lord shouted.
The door opened and he saw the slave who had so captured his attention.
"Noble Tu Toma-Bekere, my master sent me to you, to be at your service. Do with me as you like best, noble Tu..."
Toma for a moment gasped, almost in disbelief for his fortune.
"Come in... What is your name, boy? And how old are you?"
"I am Di Ja, and if the accounts are correct, I just turned eighteen."
"Why do you say 'if the accounts are correct'? Don't you know when you were born?"
"No sir. A merchant found me during a trip in the far west of our continent; I was an abandoned baby. He took me with him and sold me to the Tu of this city as a slave. At least so I was told by the others slaves."
"A foundling... You could be the son of a Shiti, therefore, which justifies your incredible beauty..."
"Me, the son of a Shiti, sir?" the boy asked smiling: "If that were so I would not have been abandoned."
"But even if you were the son of a slave, you would not have been abandoned. No master abandons one of his slaves with a light heart..."
"Oh, sir, a slave is little more than an object... a slave girl can be useful to give birth to new slaves, a male slave cannot even do that," the boy pointed out with a faint smile.
Toma drew the boy into his arms to hug him. The boy shuddered. Toma kissed him on the soft lips and Di Ja responded with obvious pleasure to the kiss. With no more talk, the young man led the boy next to the bed and began to undress him. He was caressing and kissing the slave with growing excitement. He asked the boy to undress him, so that soon their bodies were naked and tightly embraced.
Toma was totally fascinated by the beauty and sensuality of the young slave. He went down on the bed, making the boy lie fully on his body. He kissed him again, for a long time. For the first time in his life, and with some amazement, Toma became vaguely aware that, rather than wanting to enjoy that body, he felt he wanted to give him pleasure. So he devoted himself to him with increasing dedication.
Di Ja soon reached the heights of pleasure and stirred, trembling and moaning, in the arms of the young Lord.
"Take me, sir..." the boy pleaded.
"Do you really want that?" Toma asked.
"Yes, please... take me," the slave repeated, his eyes shining with passion and full of desire.
Toma took his legs over his shoulders and with tender pleasure plunged into the warm intimacy of the boy with a single, calibrated thrust. The slave sighed happily, moving against the strong pole that was penetrating him, until he felt it completely inside him.
"Oh, sir, it's good..." Di Ja sighed, beginning to move slightly under the body of Toma, in a slow back and forth to make him grind his hot tight channel.
Toma started moving his pelvis back and forth, in order to rub his strong pole against the prostate of the boy, while he bent over his body, and resumed kissing him. The two bodies were moving in a sweet synchrony, approaching and moving away just enough to make the union stronger and deeper.
"It is too good..." the boy murmured again.
Toma was pleased to see the bright smile with which the young slave welcomed him in himself. He was elated to realize that he was able to give the boy a pleasure so intense. The Tu was devoted to the Di almost as if Toma was the slave and Ja the master...
The strong and tough shaft of the young man slipped into the narrow hot channel of the guy in an incessant and vigorous back and forth, while Toma continued to caress and kiss the beautiful slave with abandonment. Teasing his small dark nipples and nibbling his ear lobes, his tongue played with that of the boy.
Both were in the throes of a growing passion, a pleasure getting stronger, and neither of them seemed any more conscious of belonging to two opposite levels of the social ladder. To Toma the pleasure, as well as being intensely physical, for the first time was also deeply spiritual. He was feeling the joy to give himself to another, to give more than to take.
Often the one who penetrates is identified with the taker, and the other one being the giver. Yet, at that time, between Toma and Ja the parts seemed naturally reversed. This filled both men with a pleasant surprise, while being so closely united on the bed.
"I am... near to... come..." the handsome Lord whispered excitedly.
"Yes... yes..." the sensual boy replied with a light of grateful pleasure in his eyes.
"Here I am... here... I..." Toma moaned, starting to squirt in the welcoming depths of the boy.
"Yes... I feel you... come," Ja whispered hoarsely.
Toma had just ceased to give all his seed to the boy, when that one started coming between their closely united bodies, moving wildly with the intensity of his enjoyment.
Still breathless and trembling, the two stopped; gradually they relaxed their bodies into a sweet calm, at times interrupted by a slight tremor.
Toma kissed him again, with great tenderness. The boy sighed. And again each one of them was aware of their social level, Ja first.
"Oh, Lord... I have never, ever experienced something so beautiful..."
"Neither did I, Di Ja. Stay with me..."
"I'm at your complete service, as long as you are my master's guest."
"But I want you with me forever. Forever..."
"That would be wonderful, I could not ask for anything more out of life, noble Tu. But it does not depend on me, you know that."
"Do you really want to be mine?" Toma asked, tenderly stroking his cheek.
"If a slave could decide about his own life, I would give myself totally to you, noble sir, body and soul. You are the first that made me feel... feel like a human being and not an object. I want to be yours, to belong to you... oh, yes, I would... "
"Di Ja, I will ask the Tu to sell you to me. You want it?"
"I would be honoured, proud and happy, sir."
"It will be the first thing I do in the morning. For now, stay here with me."
"With infinite pleasure, sir..."
During the night they made love two more times, and both times their union was wonderful, perfect. They both wanted to remain together forever, with increasing intensity.
When morning came, Toma decided he really wanted to have Di Ja with him, so he got dressed and went to ask the Tu to sell the boy to him. He offered all the money he had with him, but the Tu declined.
"You see, Toma-Bekere, I don't need money. I am just not used to separate from my properties. Even though I have to be grateful for what you have done for our city, ask me for money and I'll give it you with pleasure. But not one of my possessions."
Toma uselessly insisted, but the Tu seemed adamant.
When Masu met his friend, he immediately saw that he was gloomy. He asked about the reason for his trouble, and Toma told him.
"Is it possible that this slave has become so important to you, just in one night? You barely know him," the warrior said, rather amazed.
"Yes, I really want him... You see, our souls have made love to each other during this night, not just our bodies."
"You mean you are infatuated with him? Love at first sight?"
"Something much stronger... I'm in love with him, and I know it is reciprocated. What can I do? I want to kidnap the boy and take him with us, since there is no other way."
"And so have all the So of this castle at our heels? Moreover, now that you've offered to buy him from the Tu, and he refused it, the young slave will be watched carefully. How can you kidnap him?"
"But I have to do something... I must have him with me."
"You have completely lost your head over that boy! Toma, Toma... where's the passionate lover of women?"
"When you are in love, it does not matter anymore whether it is man or woman, beautiful or ugly..."
"That slave is very nice, no question about that," the warrior noticed.
"Rich or poor, young or old..."
"And he's in the bloom of youth..."
"A free man or a slave..."
"But he is a slave, he can not dispose of himself. And if his owner does not want to give him away..."
"You must help me, Masu! Please help me. I want to kidnap him."
"Yes, I will help you. But wait, before committing a crime by robbing the man who is our host, perhaps we can find another way..."
"I offered him all the money I have with me, even your money."
"My? No, it's all yours now.... But if he refused, what else can we offer?"
"The only solution is to kidnap Di Ja."
"First let me try something else."
"You have some ideas?"
"Maybe... Have you ever wondered how much the Kaoka is worth, if a slave is worth one?"
"No, but what has that to do with anything?"
"The Tu of this city offered us a reward for killing the dragon, is it not true?"
"Exactly. And we will ask him money..."
"But I want Di Ja, what do I care about money?"
"Do you trust me?"
"Then let me go ahead, and you will see that you'll get your Ja, without the need to kidnap him."
"You'll see," Masu replied with a mysterious smile.
Before saying goodbye to the Tu, Masu reminded him of the promised prize in coins... The Tu confirmed that.
"Well, what I ask is that you give me one coin for the Di of this city, two for the Da..."
"For every one of them? It can be done..."
"No, a single coin for all the Di, two for all the Da, four for all the Re, eight for all the Ru and so on, for all classes and all the steps, doubling up to your rank of Tu.... You will give the coins to me, and an equal sum to my companion."
"You ask me very little..." the Tu said the somewhat stunned.
"I content myself. So do you agree?"
"All those present here are witnesses to your promise," Masu said.
"But of course, and also all the gods, up to the Kaoka!" the Tu of the city responded cheerfully. "Call my treasurer, and tell him to count at once the coins for these saviours of the city, to express them the gratitude that owe them," the Lord commanded.
The treasurer came into the Tu's throne room, who ordered him to count how many coins would be due to Masu .
The man, a Tuha, took what he needed to write, sat at a table, then started to make his accounts. After a while he got up and spoke in a low and dismayed voice.
"You can't keep your promise, Tu Jaka-Roosuu'!"
"Who says that I cannot?" the Tu asked, looking half irritated and half amused.
"You can not, not even if we put together all the coins of all this city's inhabitants."
"Explain, how can that be?" the Tu asked, now a little more concerned with the insistence of his treasurer.
"In all you have to give them two million ninety-seven thousand and one hundred and fifty coins..."
"What? What? You have made a mistake," the Tu exclaimed and looked with a suspicion towards Masu and Toma.
Toma was almost more surprised of them.
"No mistake, unfortunately. You may want to do the calculations over and over again... but this is the figure. This is what you promised them."
The Tu made others do the calculations and redo them again, until he had to face the facts.
Finally he said despondently to Toma and Masu: "Apparently I made a rash promise, that I am not able to maintain. Can you please ask me instead for something that... that I'm really able to give to you?"
"Willingly, noble Tu. We will be content if you offer your slave Di Ja to my friend Tu Toma-Bekere. With this gift you will have honoured your word and we'll both be happy."
"A slave is not worth that much..." the Tu said perplexed.
"But we are content, isn't it Toma?"
The young nobleman nodded, still amazed.
So Masu and Toma left the city taking the young slave Di Ja with them.
When they were on the way, Toma asked Masu: "You already knew..."
"Not really. But you know, I have tried many times to understand how much could be the value of the Kaoka, each time doubling the value and... I have always been lost in the calculations before reaching the answer. So I thought it would work exactly as it has gone."
"And you gave up a huge reward just for me?" Toma asked.
"In any case I cannot have any wealth with me, because of the curse. And your happiness with this guy is a sufficient reward for me."
"You really are a friend, Masu!"
"As you are. You proved it to me when you came to look for me, risking your life, when I fought the red dragon..."