Chapter 52 – Jet Black Giant Dragon 2
Stunned, the two men watched the small magician as she fought the giant dragon.
It was the guild chief who had received the suspension of business order, and the vice chief.
The lowly magic artificer who they had dismissed.
They had followed her into the forest. And then it happened.
The breath pierced through the sky, tearing a hole in the clouds.
This was not an opponent that mere humans could face. This monster had power beyond comprehension.
And yet, it almost seemed like the magician was holding her ground without retreating a single step.
Magic circles were activated faster than the eye could see.
Magic that created blasts of wind that nullified the dragon’s breath head on.
The lowly magic artificer that they had driven out for being useless was now fighting a giant dragon.
Even though they were still quite a distance away, the shockwaves pushed their hair behind them.
And like that, the two just stood there with their mouths hanging open.
◇ ◇ ◇
The rain of breath would kill me instantly if I lost my concentration for even a moment.
And so I managed to focus my attacks, and get by through maintaining this equilibrium. But I was nearing my limits.
My body felt heavy. I was becoming tired and depleted.
And more than anything, my mana was running out.
Still, I had to buy just a little more time.
And so I moved the breath so that it was in a position where it wouldn’t hit the Adventurers, and then I stopped neutralizing it, and kicked the dirt.
In my accelerated state, I dodged the breath and unleashed my magic so as to provoke the dragon.
I was running in the opposite direction of the town.
The dragon, with its steel-like body and wings, moved with incredible swiftness. However, in terms of raw speed, I was not inferior.
And so I ran while weaving my way through the trees.
The dragon tore down everything in its path as it chased me.
This was my second time, fighting a monster in a forest.
And as I thought back on that first time, a certain possibility came to me.
Back then, the Goblin King’s army had used concealment magic.
It was possible that this black dragon had something cast on it as well.
I unleashed the magic from between the gaps of the trees.
And then the thin veil that had partially covered it was ripped away.
What I saw then, was a black collar around the dragon’s neck.
It glowed with an ominous light… A special grade artifact.
They were non-standard dungeon relics that were so valuable that you could buy a city, if not a country with them.
And the dragon’s body was enveloped in a commanding purple aura.
It seemed likely that the artifact had the power to put its target into a state of madness.
It had been turned into this state by force, and could do nothing but go berserk.
In other words, if I could only destroy that collar, then I will be able to save the town from the giant dragon.
This realization gave me a last burst of strength, even though I was running out of mana.
I looked around me, and then jumped into an area that was especially dense with trees.
I hid in the shadows and waited for it to get closer.
I would intercept the dragon that chased me.
That dragon… I will stop it here.
It charged straight towards me while turning trees into splinters.
But I was in time that was accelerated.
I dodged the debris and jumped.
Towards the neck of the dragon.
And I raised my hand towards the black collar, and used the last of my power to unleash the magic.
An explosive wind cannon.
The compressed air blew away everything.
That was when my vision shook.
The world now moved at a normal speed again.
My mana was completely empty.
Like a recoil, I am thrown through the air and land on the ground while rolling.
I try to get back up, but there is no strength left in me now.
Losing your magic energy so rapidly causes a state of ‘mana loss.’
As my vision blurred, I saw something very big thrashing about up ahead.
Red eyes glared at me.
And then giant claws came swinging…
However, they stopped right before hitting me.
…You saved me. Thank you. Little one.
I heard someone say.
…I promise to repay you. One day.
The beating of wings.
A large presence is moving away.
It seems that I had managed to stop it somehow.
The forest was now quiet.
I lay on my back, spread-eagled.
I did it. My heart was full with a feeling of accomplishment.
When he comes, I will be able to boast about it.
The circular hole and the blue sky.
On the soft bed of grass, I closed my eyes.
The warm rays of the sun dyed my eyelids red.
I was so tired. I am going to take a little nap.
Fall into a comfortable slumber.
“…Noelle! Noelle! Stay with me!”
Just as my consciousness was about to fade, I thought I heard him. Only, there was such panic and confusion in his voice that I had never heard before.
When I opened my eyes, I saw a familiar ceiling spread out above me.
A small town clinic that I had been to several times.
Apparently, I had been brought here after I lost consciousness due mana loss.
Shortly after, my mother rushed into the room and hugged me tightly before saying,
“You. They’re saying you accomplished quite a feat. My daughter is all grown up and respected now.”
I buried my face in her warmth.
It was a nostalgic feeling.
I felt like I was a child again.
“I’m so proud of you. I have always been proud of you, but even more so now.”
I heard the words from behind my ear.
I was happy, slightly embarrassed, but comforted.
We stayed like that for some time.
And then my mother pulled away in order to face me, and said with an impressed voice,
“Still, you’ve been doing so much better than you’ve been letting on. I had no idea that he cared about you to such a degree.”
“Hmm? What are you talking about?”
“The Walstein heir that you claim is just a friend. He was very pale when he carried you here after you fainted. And he would not leave your side the whole time. I’m your mother, and even I was surprised. Dear me. To think that my little girl was actually an expert when it comes to romance.”
Uh, I have no recollection of becoming anything of the sort.
As I looked at her with exasperation, my mother then pointed to a corner of the room.
I smiled when I saw who was there, sleeping while leaning on his arms over the side table.
He really had watched over me this whole time then.
I could feel how much he cared, and it made me happy.
“Now, I shall do everything in my power to ensure that you are not disturbed. So, I think you better strike while you can. Understand? If a gentle push is not enough, knock him off his feet. Love is war!”
I shrugged as my mother excitedly left the room.
As I said, it’s not like that at all.
I got out of bed and looked closely at Luke’s face as he slept.
He really was handsome. I found myself thinking. And then, as if he had noticed me, his eyelids twitched.
And then the eyelids opened.
The sapphire blue eyes settled on me.
I said. But Luke was so surprised that he jerked back.
“What’s with that reaction?”
“Uh, you were very close.”
Luke scratched his cheek.
Then he suddenly seemed to remember something.
“Yes. But more importantly, listen to this! I fought against a dragon. And I found out that it had gone mad because of an artifact, and so I was able to save the town!”
I said excitedly.
“Have you ever fought against a dragon, Luke?”
“Wonderful! So that means I win this time!”
I raised a fist in the air.
The feeling of accomplishment warmed my heart.
And then I pointed a finger at him as I made my declaration.
“You can’t win all of them. From now on, we will be rivals, just like we used to be. And since you aspire to reach Magus-rank, I will do that too. You won’t leave me behind. I hope you’re ready!”
Luke’s eyes widened with surprise.
And then they closed as he laughed.
“You don’t have to tell me that. I’ve already admitted as much.”
“Why are you acting so cool about it… Ah! It’s because you still see yourself as having the upper hand! Very well! Next time, I’ll do something that will leave you speechless!”
“Yes. I’ll look forward to that.”
He said with a grin, which made me protest with even more anger.
That being said, I didn’t actually hate his gentle, accepting attitude.
If anything, it was rather comforting… But it was also embarrassing, and I would never admit it to him out loud.