Past midnight, when everyone had fallen asleep, Renya, who stood guard, averted his eyes from the fire, feeling as if he had heard something.
There seem to be a couple clouds in the sky, and the stars’ shining is mysteriously conspicuous.
Although Renya’s sight is somewhat effective in the dark, he can’t see anything in the night sky that might be the origin of the sound he thought he heard.
“What’s wrong?” (Shion)
Shion, who was likewise on nightwatch and was currently sitting right next to Renya, notices Renya suddenly raising his face and thus asks.
As if I know that myself. After pondering for a little while, Renya decided to give a neutral reply.
“I felt as if I heard something, but I guess it was just my imagination.” (Renya)
Renya turns his eyes back towards the campfire and throws some more firewood into the flames.
The place with the small cave, where Renya and the others are currently resting, is located in an environment with no forest in sight and only small trees that grow sparsely in the vicinity, making it difficult to secure firewood.
They had brought some with them, but certainly not an amount that allowed them to keep a fire lit throughout the night.
If they were to burn the trees growing around them just because there’s no firewood to be found, smoke would rise and there is also the fact that live trees don’t catch on fire very well.
If smoke were to flow into the cave, it would definitely not allow anyone to sleep.
As a last resort Renya had to maintain the fire using the firewood they brought along while also drying the wood from the trees nearby with that same fire, but because smoke still rose as it’s not possible for him to completely dry the wood in such a short time, Renya was forced to carry out two tasks in parallel: first, keeping the fire going and second, using wind sorcery in order to make sure that the smoke doesn’t flow into the cave.
Missing the timing to change guard duty thanks to that, Renya expected to continue standing watch until midnight, but Shion, who was told to keep him company, watched Renya’s work while smiling without raising any objections.
Though it would be fine if she were to voice out her complaints, Renya believes.
However, in Shion’s mind doing her best so as to allow the others to have a quiet sleep is a great deed. At the same time she hasn’t realized at all that as long as the shifts don’t change it’ll just be the two of them.
“Just for reference, what kind of sound did you hear?” (Shion)
“I think you could call it the sound of wind being cut. Like a shrill, echoing sound…” (Renya)
“I didn’t hear anything, though…” (Shion)
Being told that, Shion looks up into the sky, but her eyes, which are only average for a human, can only see the stars’ twinkling. There’s no way that she could see something that cuts through the wind like Renya mentioned.
“I think it’s just my imagination. Even if something was there for argument’s sake, I don’t think that we would be able to see anything now seeing as said thing was moving at a speed that could cut the wind.” (Renya)
“That makes sense…” (Shion)
After nodding once, Shion rests her gaze on Renya again as he’s watching the fire.
Seeing her smiling face, Renya tilts his head in confusion, wondering just what was so amusing, but thinking that it might be something that he wouldn’t be able to guess anyway, he decided to stay silent about it.
“Given that this place is what it is, it’s not all that strange for outrageous things to be flying around either though.” (Renya)
“Well, it’s the dragonoids’ country after all…I guess it wouldn’t be a surprise for dragons to soar through the sky.” (Shion)
“It wouldn’t be strange, but it would sure be easier for us if they would descend here.” (Renya)
Renya says while throwing another piece of wood into the fire.
Considering it normally, there aren’t any idiots that would want to encounter a dragon while camping outdoors.
After all that would usually lead to one’s death.
However, in the eyes of the members currently present, an encounter with a dragon wouldn’t mean death, but only a future chance for a competition over foodstuff and materials, Shion smiles bitterly.
“I’m not going to hunt it, okay?” (Renya)
Renya says, apparently having seen through Shion’s thoughts.
As if hearing something unexpected, Shion’s expression changes into one full of surprise.
“You won’t?” (Shion)
Renya nods at Shion who asks back, wondering whether she had misheard.
“I won’t hunt it. I will capture it.” (Renya)
“I mean, it will serve as a means of transportation and a source of information, so what’s the point of hunting it?” Renya asks.
Dragon – a being that’s referred to as the strongest monster as far as it goes; it makes me wonder whether Renya and the allies around him are not crazy, Shion let a sigh escape her lips.
I don’t think that he’s bad, but at the same time he has many aspects that wouldn’t let me to honestly nod if asked whether he is a good person.
Though Shion herself is aware that recently her own thinking has been strongly influenced by Renya.
“Can’t you shoot it down?” (Shion)
“It might be possible if I see it, but in the night sky… In the first place, isn’t shooting it down, ordering it to hand over its information and forcing it to let us ride it not exactly the type of stuff a villain would do?” (Renya)
“Hmm, you’re certainly right there. But somehow I feel like, why care about that now of all times.” (Shion)
Based on that I’ve seen from the way he handles Dra-kun, aren’t those kinds of threats and coercions a daily occurrence? Shion wonders.
“Since I have never meddled with the dragons over here, you can’t really call it now of all times.” (Renya)
It looks like he’s well aware of his cruel treatment of the dragons over there, or in other words the dragons in the outskirts of Kukrika and those related to them.
Renya’s face, who stated such a thing flatly, doesn’t show a single sign of a guilty conscience.
“Well…that’s all fine, but…” (Shion)
Renya interrupts Shion, who started to speak in an astounded manner, with his eyes.
And this time Shion, who hurriedly held her tongue, could clearly hear a noise.
It’s a somewhat high-pitched, scream-like sound.
Guessing from the sound’s weakness, Shion felt that whatever made that sound was in a far away place from where they are now.
In front of Shion’s eyes, who was about to ask Renya just what might have caused that sound, Renya suddenly holds up a palm towards the sky.
In the next instant, several small fireballs, drawing countless crimson trails in the night sky, were launched from his palm.
“I don’t know anything beyond it being a small-scaled spell that is visible in the dark and thus usable at night.” (Renya)
Jeez, what a waste, Shion thinks.
Renya’s mana should be enormous, and yet he can’t use anything besides really basic spells, if you exclude the void and wind attributes.
Even though he should be able to become a world-leading sorcerer going far beyond the abilities of humans, if only he properly learned sorcery from a reliable sorcery teacher, Renya wastes most of his mana pointlessly or provides it to Frau.
Given that he should be disconnected from the supply line to Frau right now because of the distance, Renya’s huge mana pools seems to just be accumulating. The sight of the continuously fired <Fireball> spells as if now was the time to go all out, which consequently colored the night sky crimson, is fairly beautiful, yet a magnificently pointless act.
“R-Renya? Just what are you doing?” (Shion)
“There was something in the sky. I have no intention to hit it, but it might come down to see what’s going on, right?” (Renya)
It’s a spell that will explode if it hits something, but if there’s nothing to hit, it will merely scatter in the sky fruitlessly.
Even so, as he’s launching a number of spells that’s gradually going beyond common sense, the situation in the sky became visible for Shion, albeit only vaguely.
“Certainly, it’s quite far away, but…something’s flying over there?” (Shion)
“It seems to be circling around, but it isn’t actually coming down. I guess it’s being cautious?” (Renya)
“Wouldn’t it be better to stop with the fireballs and switch over to <Bright Light>?” (Shion)
Even if it’s called a weak spell, fireball is still categorized as offensive sorcery.
Shion could see a shadow, as small as the tip of her pinky finger nail, flying high up in the sky, but whatever it is, it only makes sense to be cautious if attack sorcery is launched up into the sky.
That’s why Shion tried to propose the usage of <Bright Light> which has no offensive ability, but this ends up being rejected by Renya.
“Divine arts look like they can be fired, but you can’t make the spell <Bright Light> fly.” (Renya)
“Oh, I guess it’s Rona’s turn then?” (Shion)
Rona is sleeping inside the cave.
Renya grabbed Shion’s shoulder, who was just about to go wake her up.
“There was a response over there.” (Renya)
Ahead of Renya’s gaze, the distant, small shadow cast a light strong enough to be seen even from their location.
Seeing that light, Renya stops releasing spells from his palm.
Watching the small shadow, which had been circling around in the sky, it abruptly started descending in a straight line, Shion’s face became stiff.
Obviously its speed is too abnormal.
The shadow, which had began with the size of her fingernail at first, quickly changed into a huge shadow with spread wings causing Shion to consider its speed as dangerous, even before asking what the true identity of the shadow might actually be.
“It doesn’t seem that it’s going to cause us any harm, you know?” (Renya)
“Even without that being the case, I feel like the result will be the same anyway!? If it comes down with such a speed, just the shock-wave and the wind pressure will…” (Shion)
A huge mass moves with a corresponding speed, and if it crashes into the ground, the generated shock-wave will be fairly devastating.
Also, the wind pressure needed in order to allow such a large mass to fly in the air shouldn’t be anything to scoff at either.
Shion called out to Renya while feeling uneasy about those topics, but Renya doesn’t seem to consider such things as dangerous at all.
“Those guys flying in the sky has no relation to physical laws.” (Renya)
Being told as such, Shion stares at the descending shadow.
The large build, which was landing at a fairly high speed while casting a light, was something even Shion had witnessed many times in Kukrika.
“A dragon!?” (Shion)
<Just as I was wondering who was randomly shooting spells into the sky at such a place, it’s you, huh?>
The large build, which lowered its speed and calmly stayed in the air after getting close enough, was certainly a dragon.
Moreover, Renya feels as if he had seen that dragon somewhere before.
“We met somewhere before, didn’t we?” (Renya)
<You forgot…but I guess that’s inevitable. I’m the individual called Emedra by you.>
“Ooh, Emedra-kun, eh? It’s been a while. You healthy?” (Renya)
Renya casually raises a hand in greeting.
The dragon with the name Emedra started to hover at a fixed altitude, but although it was vaguely, its astonishment was obvious from its behavior.
<There’s no change in the physical condition of us dragons. We always maintain the most ideal state.> (Emedra)
“It doesn’t feel like that applies to Dra-kun though?” (Renya)
<Such dragons exist as well.> (Emedra)
Renya and Emedra are having a light chat, but seeing that, Shion is on tenterhooks.
After all the dragon flapping its wings above their heads is far bigger than Dra-kun.
The intimidation triggered by its large build isn’t a joke either.
“Shion? What’s up?” (Renya)
Seemingly having noticed Shion’s nervousness, Renya calls out to her.
Shion gave him an answer while making sure her voice wouldn’t tremble.
“Nah…I just thought that you sure are calm about this.” (Shion)
“Calm, you say…you’ve met this one before, haven’t you?” (Renya)
Being told so, Shion looks at the dragon flying above her once more, but no matter how closely she looks, there’s no way for her to tell apart the individual differences of a dragon’s face. After scrutinizing the dragon for a while, Shion obviously gave up and shook her head.
“That dragon is unknown to me.” (Shion)
“It’s the Emedra dragon who helped us during the war against the Holy Kingdom.” (Renya)
<I haven’t met often with the woman over there. Since even you, who rode on my back, forgot, it’s not that unnatural for her to not know me.> (Emedra)
For some reason a hint of apprehension could be sensed in that telepathic message.
After perceiving the reality that she, who’s no more than a human that might as well be equal to trash in the eyes of a dragon, is apparently causing feelings of apprehension to surface in a dragon, Shion feels shocked.
Seemingly reading the stirrings in Shion’s heart from her expression, Emedra said with a clearly apprehensive atmosphere,
<It seems like you had your share of hardships. You have my sympathies.> (Emedra)
“Ah, no, it’s nothing of that level…wai-! You can hear my voice as well!?” (Shion)
<Even without hearing it, you were anxious during our conversation, weren’t you?> (Emedra)
Emedra honestly answers the surprised Shion, and gently lands on the ground.
It was a soft touchdown that didn’t produce any wind pressure or shock-wave as had been worrying Shion.
<It’s a reunion at a weird place, but I guess it’s not like you can really call it coincidence either.> (Emedra)
Emedra said while looking in the direction of the cave behind Renya and Shion, and Renya nodded.
“The transfer gates from the human and beastmen countries have become unusable. In order to investigate what happened, we came here together with the hero.” (Renya)
<I hear you are the guardian of the hero? That sounds like a hassle.> (Emedra)
“Thanks for your concern. Right now I’d rather have some information than such concern, though. Please tell us if you know anything.” (Renya)
Upon Renya’s request, Emedra didn’t use telepathic communication, but instead spit out its breath as if squeezing it out from its mouth, which contained an array of sharp fangs, and slowly laid its body down in front of Renya and Shion.
<Very well. I will answer your questions as far as I can.> (Emedra)
Somehow a pronounced weariness clung to Emedra’s telepathic message.