In a very distant place one can see blue dragons frantically releasing breaths and spells towards the ground.
The instant the blue breaths and water-attributed spells impact on the ground, they transform into vapor which quickly rises into the sky.
Even so, the ground’s heat doesn’t abate at all.
The blue dragons flying in the sky also seemed somewhat unsteady and dispirited due to that heat being released by the ground.
Although there’s nothing left that can combust anymore, the ground isn’t about to cool down.
Renya looks to the side.
The hill-like, large object lying over there is the ancient dragon, which was the strongest and biggest among the evil dragons which fell after being beaten down by Renya.
Since it crashed just outside the dragonoid city’s wall, he was worried that the corpse might have been hurled somewhere by the wind barrier he deployed himself, but thanks to him having made the barrier quite big leaving enough room between it and the wall, the huge body was left behind.
Renya cast the <Manipulation> spell on the corpse and moves it over to a spot that’s slightly further away from the city.
Even where they went there was nothing left in the vicinity other than faintly warm and blackened soil.
At the location, Renya takes out a knife from his inventory and slowly reinforces the knife by having his mana circulate through it.
<Well, what should I say…you will just insist that it was an emergency measure used in a dire situation, but Renya, let me pass on to you what I know about sorcery so that the same thing won’t happen again.> (Emedra)
After anything and everything had literally ended, Emedra, who had taken refuge considerably far away, said after seizing Renya as soon as she returned.
Renya silently surveyed the state of his surroundings from above Rubydra’s back.
Even though anything that was flammable should have burned up, bright red flames were flickering across the ground.
The dragonoid’s city, the only structure left standing on the ground, which had become barren as far as the eye could see, somehow managed to keep its shape despite one of it’s walls being partly destroyed while being illuminated by the red flames.
The sky was entirely covered in soot, which had been blown up by the explosion and the blazing fires, causing even the sunlight to vanish before reaching the ground.
<This…was me? What the hell…eeeeeehh!?> (Rubydra)
Rubydra was shocked while hovering in the sky.
The monster army that attacked the city had vanished without a trace.
All that was left was a ground that had transformed into crimson lava.
Besides that, nothing else was to be found.
It was in such a state that it would be too optimistic to describe it as just a burnt area.
<The dragonoids’ views are split into two factions; that they should thank you or should file a protest.> (Emedra)
Emedra says telepathically, adding plenty of sighs to the conversation.
<Even I wonder if filing a protest is right since they would have likely lost their lives if you guys hadn’t come, but this is a disastrous scene where you could say that they lost everything except their lives. Currently the dragons are frantically fighting the fires, but the prospect of them extinguishing all of it looks bleak. Wasn’t there a slightly gentler way of resolving this ?> (Emedra)
“I assert that at the time it was the very best move possible.” (Renya)
Renya declared flatly and clearly, but Shion and Rubydra didn’t overlook how his gaze was shifting around.
Rubydra, who might be the world’s greatest authority in regards to fire aptitude, thoroughly burned everything within her range to ash with her fire breath that was released after using the huge amounts of mana supplied by Renya.
By Emedra’s calculation, who had seen what happened albeit not all of it, the breath released by Rubydra might have been strong enough to change the terrain just like those released by the Four Greater Dragons if her mind had been a little bit stronger, which would have allowed her to accept an even greater amount of mana from Renya.
There were no mistakes in Emedra’a calculation.
Given that it hadn’t been a calculated act in the first place, there’s no way that it could have been miscalculated.
The attack, which was carried out under the extremely lackadaisical thought that the demons probably wouldn’t get burned along with the monster forces unless the whole area was reduced to ashes with maximum firepower, certainly attained that very result.
If there existed demons that could survive such a situation, Emedra definitely wouldn’t be able to come up with a way how to defeat them.
On the other hand, the damage, which the dragonoids suffered, is quite significant as well.
The reason why the city somehow kept its shape was thanks to the heroes, including the dragonoid Albert, being inside the city.
Those four created a defense barrier across the whole city, centered on the wall, which looked like a tassel. Together with the wind barrier deployed by Renya, the defenses somehow managed to completely withstand the blast .
“It didn’t feel as if we’d be able survive,” was Lepard’s impression of the event.
Because Emedra focused all her power towards escaping the moment she guessed what was going to happen, she didn’t sustain any damage, but the explosion of Rubydra’s breath, which she watched from far away, looked like the end of the world.
Everyone on Emedra’s back stared with their mouth gaping wide open, except for Emil who was apparently roaring in laughter.
Normally a dragon would never give such knowledge to a human, but Emedra judged that leaving Renya alone, especially after having watched such a spectacle, was more dangerous, coming even before the issue of defeating or not defeating the demon king. Thus she decided to transcribe a part of the sorcery knowledge she possesses into Renya’s head.
“Do I have a right to veto?” (Renya)
<Do you think so, based on this terrible scene?> (Emedra)
“I’m a swordsman, though?” (Renya)
<Please, I’m asking you; just accept it! I’ll even beg by prostrating myself before you if you like.> (Emedra)
Since there exists an upper limit in terms of brain capacity for humans, there’s no need for such knowledge, Renya thought, but once he was tearfully begged to accept it, he couldn’t decline it just like that either, resulting in him accepting the knowledge as he was asked to by Emedra.
Once he tried putting what he had received into practice, Renya realized that this knowledge was extremely useful.
Self-enhancement techniques that used mana, not to mention all the knowledge about sorcery.
Emedra furthermore handed over techniques on how to strengthen items through mana.
Renya wondered whether that might not simply raise his own danger level, but Emedra apparently judged that he would be less dangerous if he properly understands the principles behind using his power when compared to him using his power ignorantly.
<As for self-enhancement, it seems that you are already applying it unconsciously. But if you do it carelessly, it will hurt your body and since there’s the chance that you will damage your body beyond recovery in the worst case, it’s better for you to know about the technique in advance.> (Emedra)
Renya, who acquired a dragon’s sorcery knowledge for that reason, completely delegated settling the aftermath to others, and went to recover the evil dragons he beat down during the battle.
The corpses of their allied dragons were retrieved by Emedra and Rubydra.
Because they crashed into the city and not onto the battlefield, they were left behind without getting reduced to cinder or being hurled away. Emil wanted to get her hands on those, but Renya strictly prohibited her from doing so.
As there appears to be a burial rite for dragons, he thought that it might be sacrilege to put one’s hands on their corpses.
In exchange they were told by Emedra to do as they like with the corpses of the evil dragons. Emil readily went with Renya’s opinion on this.
Leaving aside the corpses of their brethren, Emedra and Rubydra apparently don’t care what happens with the dead evil dragons.
Emil merrily dismantled the small evil dragons, dividing their raw materials and meat, however Renya insisted on his ownership of the ancient dragon, and thus it was left to him. As it had been showered with fire spells, the scales and skin had mostly lost their value as raw materials.
Renya skillfully tears off the scales and skin, which have been burned and grilled all over, with his mana-enhanced knife.
Even the meat below that is burned on the surface, but high quality meat remains below the charred surface of the dragon’s body, and Renya cut that meat into suitably small chunks.
The flesh of an animal with a big body is red was the knowledge Renya possessed, but the ancient dragon’s meat didn’t have that much of a red tinge. If pushed to say, it had a pinkish color and softly coiled itself around Renya’s fingers.
Starting a fire with the firewood he retrieved from his inventory, Renya skewers the meat with metal rods, and begins grilling them by thrusting the skewers into the ground next to the fire.
As it might become too dry if it’s grilled for too long, he extinguished the fire as soon as the slightly warmed oil began to melt, sprinkled salt on the meat, and carelessly sank his teeth into it, causing him to raise a low moan.
He had wondered how the meat would turn out since there had been no bloodletting in advance nor had the meat been cured, but the instant it entered his mouth, fragrant oil streamed into his throat, and mellow meat juice poured out each time he bit into it while he felt a the firm texture of the meat with his teeth.
The slightly perceptible blood taste and smell didn’t decrease the meat’s flavor, but instead stimulated his nose and mouth with its wild smell and taste. That impressive quality excited Renya’s sensation all the more with a feeling of satisfaction after it reached his stomach.
Once Renya, who ended up eating a whole skewer in a flash, muttered that in ecstasy, he immediately came to his senses, and resumed dismantling the ancient dragon.
If it’s an ingredient that becomes so delicious by just grilling it in a fairly non committal manner, I’m sure it will become a lot more tasty if it’s cooked properly.
Moreover, if the meat’s already so delicious, the intestines might be even tastier.
On top of that, I think I’ll be able to make a great soup stock out of the bones, and if I open its head, I will find the magic stone and its brain.
I will turn the magic stone into money, and I believe the brain will be edible and fairly delicious depending on the way it’s cooked.
This is a corpse where I mustn’t waste even the smallest part, Renya devoted himself to his dismantling with all his energy.
This was the moment when the beings referred to as evil dragons, which are avoided as it’s rumored that they play a part in every calamity on this world, were registered as a first-rate food ingredient in Renya’s mind. (T/N: RIP Ebil dragons)
<I just pray that this perception doesn’t turn our way.> (Rubydra)
Shion smiles bitterly next to Rubydra, who transmitted this very worn-out telepathic message.
In front of those two, the huge body of the ancient dragon was dismantled at an absurd rate.
Evil dragons don’t matter to Rubydra. It was to the point where she didn’t care whether Renya turned them into food or raw materials as he pleases, but seeing as she’s also a dragon, she was scared that Renya would start asking, “Aren’t you guys actually delicious as well?”
In that case she would have no choice but to escape at full speed, but Rubydra has a hunch that she wouldn’t be able to get away anyway.
“I think you’ll be alright. You might not think so, but Renya is a gentle person to those who he has recognized as his comrades.” (Shion)
Shion gently strokes Rubydra’s nape, who’s limply laying on the ground, as if to give her a peace of mind.
Seemingly comforted by that sensation, Rubydra purred quietly.
<It would be great if I have been recognized as his comrade, but I’m not so sure about that.> (Rubydra)
“It’s fine,… probably.” (Shion)
<That’s a worrisome reply.> (Rubydra)
The reason for Rubydra’s exhaustion is Emedra’s sermon.
She was scolded that even though the main reason might be Renya, there might have been various methods to go about it, such as splitting and scattering the breath at the time of its release, or severing the path and thus stopping the mana supply before it got so big.
From Rubydra’s standpoint, as the one who got dragged into it, it was an argumentation that felt extremely unreasonable, but certainly, since she was well aware that she might have been able to decrease the damage dealt, had she not been confused by the amount of mana provided, she obediently received the sermon, albeit getting mentally worn out by it quite a bit.
<So, what are you guys going to do after this?> (Rubydra)
“Let’s see…” (Shion)
Currently the eldest of the dragonoids, who evacuated earlier, people of each race, such as Kaede, Rona and Croire who hold certain positions of power, and the four heroes are holding a conference to talk about that matter.
Shion quickly ran away saying that such talks were too difficult for her.
As for Rubydra, who heard about that, she wondered what to think of escaping from the conference with such an excuse, but Renya’s reason for escaping the conference was even more unreasonable.
“Please decide whatever you think is right because I don’t care.” Those were the words he left behind when running away from the conference.
This indifference, or rather, way of talking apparently made the dragonoids, especially the elderly ones, furious, but Renya doesn’t look like he cares at all.
In the first place, Renya’s position is that of the human hero’s guardian or patron. In the present situation where all four heroes are assembled, there’s no reason for him to be present at the conference.
And yet, since he didn’t know what Kurz would start to talk about if left alone, Rona had to stay behind as a watchdog.
Though Rona ended up sighing while saying, “I really drew the short end of the stick here.”
“I don’t know whether I’m correct, but I guess there are two options.” (Shion)
<Try telling me. I will judge by myself.> (Rubydra)
“First, aim for the recovery of the dragonoid territory. Second, put aside the dragonoids’ matters for the time being and defeat the demon king with the four heroes.” (Shion)
<You mean, various problems will likely get resolved, if you crush the main cause, eh? So, what do you think, which option are they going to choose?> (Rubydra)
“Probably the recovery of the dragonoids’ territory.” (Shion)
Shion sinks into silence for a while after that question.
It seems she’s sorting out what she should say inside her mind, Rubydra waited for Shion to open her mouth while still having her nape caressed.
“Certainly, if the demon king is defeated, the demons will likely withdraw to their own territory. But we have no means with which to allow the four heroes to reach the demon king castle, which is said to be located in the center of the demons’ domain, in the first place. Until now the four continents started a general offensive into the demons’ territory, penetrating the territory as far as possible. That was the usual practice, but…I think that will be difficult this time.” (Shion)
Rubydra stays silent and ponders about Shion’s opinion.
Certainly, so far they had adopted the strategy of approaching the demon king castle, forcibly breaking through with the heroes’ power and fighting against the demon king, as Shion said.
However, considering the current situation, the dragonoids had a fairly large part of their territory easily stolen by the demons first, making it very unlikely that they still have the strength to carry out a reverse invasion.
Despite the combat forces in the Trident Principality being in good health, the human territory has the weakness that the Holy Kingdom, which was its strongest country, had almost been destroyed.
The human losses didn’t amount to such large numbers, but the physical and monetary damage was too big.
In addition, the Holy Kingdom’s relations with the surrounding countries has deteriorated a lot due to the matter of the hero preceding Kurz. The atmosphere of cooperating to invade the demon country is definitely gone.
Even if the Trident Principality is capable of defending itself, it lacks the power to turn to the offense all by itself.
Rubydra doesn’t know much about the elves.
If it’s at the level of gossip, she heard that the nobles around the emperor have become cowardly due to having been attacked beforehand, and are now loudly advocating that defense should be given priority.
If that’s the truth, even the emperor probably won’t be able to overcome the resistance towards an offensive unless he ignores the nobles’ view, Rubydra assesses.
Expecting Rubydra to say anything regarding the beastmen was out of the question.
In the first place, there’s no precedence where the beastmen had succeeded when things were entrusted to them.
Even if they might be able to win local battles after solely focusing on the fight in front of them, there are many wars where they had been defeated in the big picture since they are battle maniacs, is Rubydra’s impression of the beastmen.
Moreover, there are presently four kings among the beastmen. There are rumors that they oppose each other. As long as they don’t resolve that issue, they won’t be able to move against the demon country.
<If I try considering it, it sure won’t result in anything decent.> (Rubydra)
“After all we don’t have the strength that lets us directly go to war.” (Shion)
<If they idle around too long, the monster casualties will be replenished eventually and we will be attacked again.> (Rubydra)
“I’ll leave it to the important people to think about that part.” (Shion)
Using a phrase that would be retorted by Rona with, “You are also in an important position as the first princess of a country which is one of the major powers of the humans,” if she were present, Shion gazes at Renya who has started to organize the parts, which had been efficiently cut apart, according to their purpose in front of the ancient dragon’s corpse which had mostly lost its shape.
“Though I believe that various problems would be solved rather quickly if Renya would address them seriously.” (Shion)
Even while knowing that Renya didn’t have any intention of something like that, Shion muttered this under her breath, seemingly unable to let it go unsaid. Rubydra raised a groan different from the one she made when her nape was caressed, as if agreeing with Shion’s words.