Due to Emedra’s opinion that it would be dangerous to fly with people on her back while the sun’s still not up, Renya’s party decided to spend the night at the cave as was initially planned.
The other members felt slightly worried about Renya as they hadn’t taken proper shifts in the guard duty, but as Renya provided the excuse that he had forgotten to alternate as he was busy with the adjustment of the scarce firewood, they calmed down by accepting it as being inevitable.
However, for some reason Shion took Croire and Rona to the side as there seemed to be some kind of dispute going on between them, but Renya didn’t find out the reason for their dispute nor the conclusion.
Although he didn’t understand, he lowered a fist on Emil’s head who was grinning broadly next to him.
“Isn’t that far too unreasonable!?” (Emil)
Once Renya grabbed Emil’s shoulders, who was stroking her head with teary eyes, and draws her to himself, he checks the vicinity.
Lepard and Kaede said that they would return back into the cave to go sleep, and since Kurz and the two priestesses couldn’t be woken up, both likewise carried the young ones into the cave.
Grün is talking with Emedra about something and doesn’t look in Renya’s direction.
“What do you think about Emedra’s story?” (Renya)
Once he asks that in a whisper, Emil touches Renya’s left ear with her right hand after pondering about it for a short moment.
<Isn’t that question way too vague?”> (Emil)
Seemingly perceiving that it would be best that no one to heard their conversation, she replied to his question through telepathic communication.
<You just have to think about what you want to say without worrying about it since it’s bidirectional.> (Emil)
Emil’s words held Renya back, who was about to speak up as he thought that he had to voice out his thoughts.
While keeping his mouth shut, which he had almost opened, again, Renya asked Emil anew,
<The scale of the monster army. The sortie of evil dragons. The abnormal invasion speed due to these dragons.> (Renya)
<All of it is probably related to the demon king.> (Emil)
Emil’s thoughts were entwined with a somewhat bored feeling.
Probably because this telepathic communication is an exchange of thoughts, the speaker’s emotions seem to be directly transmitted to the other party.
<The scale of the army is strange-ish. Their attacking method consists of nothing but surprise attacks. The feeling that the demon king doesn’t mind the drawbacks from recruiting even the evil dragons is prevalent. No matter how I look at it, it gives me the impression that the way matters are proceeding is too high-handed.> (Emil)
<Isn’t that what a demon king usually does?> (Renya)
Going by the image that Renya possesses, the beings called demon kings are overbearing and arrogant, pressing forward with any kind of method possible.
Once he informs Emil of that, she sighed once while playing around with Renya’s ear.
<Certainly, that’s how it might be.> (Emil)
<That’s a kind of halfhearted way of talking, isn’t it?> (Renya)
Once Renya asks that while peeking into Emil’s face which is right next to him, she stares back at Renya’s face after acting as if she were being somewhat hesitant while saying,
<I don’t know who’s become the demon king. But I know some of the candidates who were rumored to have a good chance. I can’t believe that any of them would have done something like this.> (Emil)
<In other words, you’re saying that someone else became the demon king?> (Renya)
<No idea. The probability isn’t zero, but I think it’s low. Say Renya, I have a little request. I wonder, won’t you listen to it?> (Emil)
Renya mercilessly drives his right hand’s thumb into Emil’s left flank, who was looking at him with upturned eyes after quietly leaning in closer as if snuggling up to him a little bit.
Emil, who jumped up with a start out of shock, reflexively removes her hand from Renya’s ear, and next crouches down while holding her side due to the pain assailing her.
“It’s a conversation about catching a demon alive or something like that, right? Even without acting like this, I will comply with your request as we share a reasonably good friendship.” (Renya)
“Y-Yeah. It’s a great help that you catch on quickly, but isn’t this treatment way too mean?” (Emil)
Renya looks down at Emil, who’s looking up at him with teary eyes while still squatting, with his arms folded across his chest.
Renya, who had become desperate to suppress his slightly risen pulsation, didn’t notice Shion, who had apparently knocked out Croire and Rona, intently watching them from the shadows while biting a handkerchief.
And then dawn breaks.
When Renya said, “Let’s depart then?”, and after everyone had gathered their luggage and extinguished the fire, he was driven by a somewhat uneasy feelings while looking up at Emedra’s huge body.
With Renya in the lead, his party consists of 11 people: Shion, Rona, Kurz, Tsubaki, Botan, Lepard, Kaede, Croire, Grün and lastly Emil.
Once Renya asked, “No matter how big your body might be, won’t you be overloaded like this, Emedra?”, Emedra lifted her long neck, gazed at the own back for a while, and then carefreely said,
<Won’t it work out somehow if you sit close to each other?> (Emedra)
“Hey, you’re one of those dragons that seem to give others a bad riding experience, aren’t you?” (Renya)
Although Renya said so, it’s not like there’s a huge cage like the one used before to carry the soldiers.
Even if it comes to making one, there’s no material, and they don’t have the time for look for some either.
“I guess there’s no other option but to resign ourselves to it…” (Renya)
<No, wait, if you give me a little bit of time…> (Emedra)
As if having suddenly realized something, Emedra lifted her head towards the sky and released a single, long, shrill roar.
Everyone was surprised by Emedra’s abrupt roaring, but they immediately grasp the reason as to why she did it.
It’s because they discovered the dot-like shadow that appeared in a section of the sky.
“Your friend?” (Renya)
<Since I found her flying nearby anyway, I called her over.> (Emedra)
Emedra says such a thing as if it were a trivial matter, but hearing that another dragon was going to visit this place, everyone’s faces, apart from Emedra’s and Renya’s, cramped up.
Emedra is more or less friendly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that other dragons will be friendly towards humans and beastmen.
There’s also the possibility that they will start acting violently while saying something like, “As if I could work together with such diminutive races.”
Having thought as far, everyone’s eyes focused on Renya.
Renya tilts his head to the side in confusion upon noticing that, not understanding why they are looking at him like this.
“What’s wrong?” (Renya)
“Hmm…I guess it just means that they will be separated into food and raw materials, if they are stupid enough to go on a rampage…” (Lepard)
When Lepard silently mutters that, which represented everyone’s feelings on the matter, it’s Emedra’s turn to have her expression freeze.
Without paying any attention to such an exchange, the shadow, which had been no more than a dot in the sky, quickly grew in size, and turns into a dragon before long.
Contrary to Emedra, this new dragon’s body was deep crimson.
“I guess this one will be Rubydra then.” (Renya)
<I wondered about it before as well, Renya, but could it be that you don’t have any naming sense?> (Emedra)
Renya looked sullen after being reprimanded head-on, completely having his naming sense denied, but although none of those present said anything, all of them agreed with Emedra’s opinion.
Without throwing a single glance at Renya and his party, the deep crimson dragon starts to hover above their heads and fixedly stares at Emedra.
Emedra returned that stare by looking back at the crimson dragon in the same way.
Two dragons that were staring at each other.
One is mannerly sitting on the ground.
The other is floating in the air while flapping its wings powerfully.
Renya’s group, which had been completely left out of the loop, has absolutely no idea just what was going on with that staring contest.
<Which reminds me, the telepathic communication among us dragons isn’t transmitted to you guys.> (Emedra)
Emedra says after a while as if having finally remembered about their existence. For some reason the hovering dragon averted its face suddenly in a huff.
“You were talking amongst each other, weren’t you? So, what’s the outcome?” (Renya)
Renya asks Emedra while looking up at crimson dragon who was still looking away, but from the new dragon’s attitude, it’s easy to imagine that the result wasn’t positive.
<She is unwilling, or rather, she declined. It looks like she can’t bear to have diminutive beings ride on her back.> (Emedra)
As Emedra said that, the crimson dragon raised the flapping speed of its wings and started trying to flying away.
However, no matter how strongly she tried to flap her wings, her body wasn’t ascending at all.
After looking above with nothing but an “Oh?”, Emedra slowly lowers her gaze towards the ground.
Within her line of sight she found Renya wiggling his fingers while having a smile plastered all over his face.
<What did you do…?> (Emedra)
Renya replies to the questioning Emedra while keeping his smile,
“Nah, I mean, I just thought that there’s no way that Rubydra would really do something so mean.” (Renya)
Emedra urges him to continue as she once again looks at the crimson dragon who hasn’t stopped trying to flap its wings even after having partially succumbed to panic as she still doesn’t understand what was done to her.
“In the end skinship is necessary to get along with each other, right?” (Renya)
<Who knows, but…what did you do?> (Emedra)
“That’s the <Manipulation> spell.” (Renya)
Renya says, but Emedra immediately denied those words inside her head.
The <Manipulation> spell can only manipulate inanimate objects.
Even the occasional armor throwing performed by Renya only consists of throwing a part of the armor through sorcery while letting the other parts fly while attached to said armor.
“The atmosphere is an inanimate object, right?” (Renya)
Although it’s unclear whether Renya knows of Emedra’s thoughts or not, he explains so.
Certainly the atmosphere itself is an inanimate object, and it’s not like you can’t move it with the <Manipulation> spell.
However, the amount of mana needed to restrain a flying dragon by just manipulating the atmosphere is not something a normal sorcerer could realize, even if they exhausted all of their mana.
<Renya…did you ever hear about something called common sense?> (Emedra)
“How rude. I’m applying the proper usage method of <Manipulation>, am I not?” (Renya)
Renya looked offended, as if being upset, but Emedra has no other options left anymore but to give up.
With the phenomenon taking place in front of my eyes, I’m pretty sure that all sorcerers around the world would deny that this is a proper use of <Manipulation>.
As Emedra ponders about such things, the movements of the crimson dragon, who continued to flap its wings, changed.
As if being tightly held by a huge, invisible hand, the dragon stopped flapping its wings and started to writhe in midair, still maintaining the same posture as before.
Averting her eyes from the crimson dragon that struggled fervently while raising a cry that sounded like screaming, Emedra is careful not to let her emotions leak into her thoughts and asks Renya,
<Just what the heck are you doing now?> (Emedra)
“In order to become good friends through skinship, I do this…tickle, tickle-tickle, tickle-tickle…I suppose…?” (Renya)
While still wiggling the fingers of his hand to manipulate the atmosphere, he adds motions as if kneading something.
Seeing that, Emedra somehow managed to grasp what’s happening.
<You mean you’re kneading her entire body…?> (Emedra)
“If my knowledge is correct, it’s the official way of forming physical bonds with animals.” (Renya)
The daredevilry of treating dragons the same as animals shouldn’t exist in this world, but even Emedra, who might have set everything on fire in a fit of rage if a normal human had talked to her like that, only feebly laughs at those words coming out of Renya’s mouth.
What he’s doing is awfully worthless in Emedra’s eyes, but the power spent on it not only hindered a dragon’s ability to fly away, but also crumpled its entire body. It’s something so colossal that it completely rendered the power of a rampaging dragon useless.
Moreover, even though he is using such outlandish power, Renya is still smiling and completely looks as if he’s casually doing some odd job.
For just an instant Emedra considered whether she should save her brethren.
But, it was really just for an instant. Emedra decided to leave the dragon, who’s in a spiral of agony, alone as is.
Is it because dragons are beings situated close to the top of the food chain in this world? At any rate, they have the tendency to look down on everything other than themselves without even investigating properly.
If the crimson dragon had been careful, it should have realized Renya’s existence, who’s far beyond common sense even if limited to the aspect of mana, on top of the three heroes among Renya’s party.
Its current situation, a consequence of him not doing that, can’t be called anything but reaping what you sow according to Emedra.
<Although it would be really great if she had the discernment to apologize before it becomes a matter of life and death.> (Emedra)
Emedra secretly shrugged her shoulders while looking at the state of the crimson dragon who had started to spasm in somewhat strange ways.