“They will be back soon. Let us go.”
Saragi was outside listening to the scout’s report. Good timing.
I rushed towards him while carrying my sword. Saragi turned to us and nodded.
“We’ll leave at once. Things sound a little strange.”
“What do you mean?”
“From what I hear, there is a giant iceberg and someone is on top of it. No battle was being fought.”
Kanatsuki asked with a bewildered expression. But it made sense to me. Only Asagi would do such a thing.
“Let us hurry then. Asagi is waiting for us.”
“He’s what? You think that he did it?”
“Aye, I know it. I will go on ahead.”
We had wasted enough time. I turned on my heels and grabbed the reins of my horse.
“He-hey! Wait a minute!”
Saragi called after me. I probably should have waited, but I had my own priorities. And so I hurried the horse along the path towards the Iris river.
□ □ □ □
Unfortunately, my horse was carefree and preferred to move slowly. And so it did not take long for Saragi to catch up with me, and there was much laughter as we headed for the river. I was so annoyed that I jabbed him the ribs for good measure.
“It is your fault, captain. Daniela was only rushing towards her companion. You mustn’t mock her for that.”
“I-I wasn’t mocking her… But she left in such haste and we found her in a trot…gggg…ahahaha!”
“You should look away, Kanatsuki. A horse is about to lose its rider.”
“Mi-miss Daniela, you wouldn’t!”
Do not stop me, Kanatsuki. I will be much happier upon meeting Asagi this way.
“A-alright! I was wrong!”
“Yes, I know that. And what do we do to such people?”
“I’m sorry! Now, take your hand off that sword…”
“Please take your hand off of that sword!!”
Seeing him bow in earnest was very effective. Besides, it was impressive that he could keep his balance like that…I wasn’t sure if even Asagi could manage.
“Look, there is the river!”
I looked away from the fool and to where Kanatsuki was pointing. The trees cleared away and I could see the river bed. The scouts had gone upriver to the west, and so we followed them.
As we were close to our destination, there was no more talking. Only the sounds of the rushing water and gravel could be heard.
Then the scout pointed ahead.
“…There it is.”
He pointed at something we had never seen before.
It was ice, but it was red. And it was massive. There was something encased in the red ice. I moved forward on my horse to get a better look, but I realized what it was before I was halfway there.
One of the scouts gasped.
The shredded Loup-garou was frozen inside.
“I-I don’t understand…”
Seeing it for a second time didn’t seem to lessen their alarm as they approached it.
The more you looked, the stranger it seemed. That black wolf had nearly destroyed me with just its wind, and here it was, frozen like meat. I could not imagine what sort of battle had taken place.
“Ri-right. So, where is Asagi!?”
I looked up as Saragi asked this. The scouts had said that someone had been on the top of the mountain. But I could not see anyone from where I was standing. We all backed away and looked up.
There was a sword pierced into the ice. A familiar one at that. It was the ancient elf sword. So that is what he used… Asagi was facing away from us and leaning on it. And so I couldn’t see his face.
“There he is…damn it. He did it all by himself…”
Saragi muttered. The scouts and Kanatsuki were silent as they looked on with undisguised horror. They would probably stay planted there for quite some time.
And so I lifted myself up into the air with wind magic. I had stolen this trick from Asagi, but I had not done it in a while, and it was difficult to keep my balance. Still, I made my way towards the top.
Carefully, I controlled the wind and landed near Asagi as softy as I could.
“…You look awful.”
Half his face was covered in blood. There was a deep cut that went down his forehead to his cheek.
I shook him gently. His eyes opened. No, it was just the right eye.
“Ahh…Daniela…you made it…”
“Of course, I did. Thanks to Kanatsuki.”
“I don’t know who that is, but I’ll have to thank…”
“More importantly, we have to treat your wounds.”
Asagi touched his cheek. Dried flakes of blood fell away.
“Now, let us go.”
I pulled his arm around my shoulder and helped him to his feet. Then I removed the sword from the ice and sheathed it. But when I tried to create wind again, I could not maintain my balance.
Just then, platinum and green wind enveloped me. Asagi was offering his support. Which of us was being helped now?
Ah, Asagi was alive. Far from being in the best shape, but he was alive. That was enough. I could feel his warmth. It made me happy.
“I am sorry that you had to wait so long.”
“It’s fine…actually, your timing was perfect.”
While we should have been descending, we were rising in the air. It was Asagi’s doing. He grinned and pointed. I followed his finger and was so surprised that I closed my eyes. Then I slowly opened them again. Everything was bathed in orange. It was the moment that the sun started to sink into the horizon. The sun looked red and beautiful beneath the clouds
“This is my favorite time…”
“Aye, me too.”
We stayed up there and watched until it was over. Until the sky went from azure to black. It was a quiet, wonderful time.