Chapter 4 – It Seems to Be a Search for Dragonoids

 


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Short Update:

Starting with this release, you’ll see a drop in the size of the parts released for this series.

 


 

 

“Just now you called yourself one of the Four Greater Dragons, didn’t you?”

With Shion remaining silent as she was still unable to recover from her shock and Kilie shivering and becoming very small after having heard the dragon’s name, Renya actively chatted up the dragon from his side, suspecting that neither of the two others would be able to hold a decent conversation. Putting Shion aside, Renya was still quite curious about Kilie being so strangely scared despite supposedly counting as goddess in this world, but right now he didn’t have the spare time to interrogate her about it.

(Quite so. I am certainly one of the Four Greater Dragons)

Kilie shrunk away even further with her trembling also becoming worse due to the telepathic message of the dragon which was accompanied by an intimidation that almost crushed anyone sensing it. But for the time being, Renya disregarded that and addressed the dragon.

“By Ruby Dragon you mean the Ruby Dragon who’s said to have caused the sea to boil many years ago by spitting breath that can change entire regions, right?”

(What about it, little one?)

Renya tried to get a confirmation for a story he happened to have heard a while ago, but the dragon answering as if it wasn’t anything worth of mention only triggered Shion to widen her already-gaping mouth even further. Renya worried that she might dislocate her jaw from opening her mouth too wide out of surprise, but believing that he ought to focus on his conversation with the dragon for the moment, he pushed Shion’s issue out of his mind.

(Rather than something like that, I want thou to answer my question, little one)

“Why did we came here, was it? We came to check on the dragonoids. Since we heard that they got attacked by the demons on top of having cut off all communication with the other races. Personally I don’t give a damn about the dragonoids themselves, but I’d like to secure the hero,” answered Renya very readily and without hiding anything.

In response, Shion stared at Renya as if he had said something unbelievable with her mouth still gaping while Kilie lifted her face and scrutinized Renya with a look in her eyes as if she was seeing something unbelievable.

Due to Renya cocking his head in puzzlement, wondering just what he had done to earn himself such looks, Shion forced her mouth shut by pushing her chin from below, and asked with a slightly quivery voice, “Renya, aren’t you scared of that?”

Being asked, Renya looked up to the Ruby Dragon once more. And then, after staring at the dragon’s face for a while, he faced Shion again, “I sure think he’s quite big, but if you ask me whether I’m scared, I’d say no. Rather, I don’t get why Kilie is being so frightened.”

“Right now I’m the peddler Kilie, so…I can be counted as a slightly strong human. No matter what I do, my actions are being influenced by my vessel,” Kilie replied while trying to hide herself behind Renya.

On top of that, she tried to cling to Renya’s back, but her hand was slapped down by Shion, who looked somewhat angry, resulting in Kilie reluctantly withdrawing the hand she had extended. Sensing the touch of Shion clinging to his back instead, Renya accepted it for what it was, and looked up to the dragon in front of him once more.

(I have understood thine objective. But, why are thou trying to head north in such a case? The dragonoids’ territory lies south from here, does it not?)

“Since it’s a tad too far away to walk all the way, I thought I’d ask you dragons to lend us some of your strength. Also, I hoped that we might be noticed by the dragons whom we met in the past, if we walked north. And even if that didn’t happen, I expected another dragon to notice us instead, but I certainly didn’t anticipate one of the Four Greater Dragons to show up.”

(Are thou saying that thou are trying to use us as mounts?)

A pang of something similar to irritation was blended into the dragon’s telepathic message, but Renya continued speaking without paying any attention to it.

“Things would have been easier if Emedra or Rubydra had come here, but whatever. It might be a bit of an effort for you, but could I have you carry us all the way to the dragonoids?”

Kilie’s face froze and Shion tightly clasped Renya’s clothes due to his demand being way too straightforward.

Then the Ruby Dragon opened his muzzle slowly, as if to threaten them, baring the fangs forming rows in there.

(Thou know no fear out of ignorance, little one? Thou say you want to get on mine back?)

“I wouldn’t mind sitting on your head either, you know?” Renya offered, believing that riding his back might pose some kind of issue for him, but his proposal only managed to increase the dragon’s anger.

Without answering Renya, the Ruby Dragon stomped a foot and spread his back wings widely. A tremor shook the vicinity, and a fierce blast assailed the three. Shion and Kilie immediately took shelter behind Renya while Renya himself protected his eyes with an arm so as to not be blinded.

(It does sound like thou did not have the chance to learn of thine own foolishness yet, little one. Curse thine bad luck that meeting me by chance shall grant thou that very chance for the first time)

The dragon’s thought, filled with tangible pressure, assailed the three as if to strike them down on top of the tremor and wind blast.

At Shion’s feet, who was holding out by clinging to Renya’s back, Kilie yelped lightly while glued to Renya’s legs after crouching down since she had no other spot she could use for clinging to him. Meanwhile, Renya remained stoically quiet while considering that it’d be difficult for him to move like this. He alone stared straight at the dragon without casting his eyes down from the various pressures hitting their little group directly from the front.

(In light of thine pitifulness, I shall not go as far as rob thou of thine life. However, I believe thou should still experience some pain to right thine way)

“Dra-kun, Rubydra, and Emedra let me ride them without any bickering, though.”

Now that things had escalated to such an extent, Renya finally noticed that Ruby Dragon felt offended by his demand. But, since the other dragons he encountered never flared up so intensely even when he dealt with them in the same way, he still couldn’t comprehend why only Ruby Dragon would become so upset.

“I suppose you’ve got quite the big attitude because you’re called one of the Four Greater Dragons, huh?” Renya spat out while pointing his right palm at the Ruby Dragon.

Once he let his mana flow through his body while constructing the necessary spell formula, a transparent wall was instantly created through his mana, completely warding off the wings’ wind pressure way off before it could even get close.

(It seems like thou are no complete pushover, does it not? But, thine abilities are too lacking)

A dragon’s roar unleashed alongside the telepathic message struck the wall Renya had just completed. Renya’s face twisted slightly due to the dragon’s attack.

The wall, which should have been formed with such a huge amount of mana that it was actually ridiculous, didn’t shatter altogether, but it was still damaged quite a bit, countless cracks running along its surface.

“So you can interfere with a spell formula’s compilation with a mere howling, eh?”

(Allow me to praise thou for still holding out. But, holding out is all thou managed)

He unleashed another dragon’s roar.

Renya’s defensive barrier, which somehow endured the first attack, was unable to block the second and vanished right after being smashed to pieces.

The Ruby Dragon was about to laugh out in satisfaction because of that outcome, but immediately desisted from doing so. This stemmed from another mana wall of the same quality having been constructed right beyond the first wall.

“Did you think that everything will be over just because you destroyed a single barrier? Dream on.”

(Thou can create a barrier of such thickness and density instantly without any delay? Are thou truly human?)

“Who knows. Feel free to ask the gods about it.”

Renya flashed a daring smile after sensing slight surprise blended into the dragon’s telepathic message. In contrast to that, the dragon once flapped his wings remarkably powerfully, causing his huge frame to float slightly above the ground and thus allowing him to look down at Renya’s group from the air.

At the same time, reddish mana rose from the ground, enshrouding their vicinity. Renya dealt with that immediately by transforming the wall into a sphere, wrapping up himself and the two girls in order to protect them.

“What’s this?”

“Renya, somehow…I feel like it’s become hot here.”

Even without needing Shion to point it out, Renya himself had already sensed that the temperature in the area had begun to rise. Its increase didn’t go as far that you could call it warm, but it was so sudden that they could feel it heating up right away.

Before he could even check his own magic knowledge about this phenomenon, Kilie called out to Renya while still clinging to his legs.

“The vicinity has started to be filled with mana carrying the power of fire. The Ruby Dragon is a being that stands at the top of fire-based powers. Because your defensive barrier has been so powerful, that dragon is getting slightly serious, intending to scorch the entire area.”

(He can create such a might barrier, so he will not die either way)

Him not having used his breath, the strongest attack a dragon possessed, was proof that the Ruby Dragon wasn’t all that serious yet, but he was about to launch an attack with mana that capitalized on his own attribute to the maximum.

The might of that one strike could be perceived from it containing so much power that it made the temperature sharply rise, despite it still being no more than a cluster of mana since he hadn’t constructed the actual spell yet at this point.

(Do thine best to block this, little one)

 

—————– End of Part 1 —————–

 

 

As he spoke, Renya could sense how the temperature rose by another level. The barrier put up by Renya had been invoked as a spell and could block anything it recognized as an attack, but it couldn’t shut out a simple rise of the temperature.

Still, if it rises to a dangerous level, it’ll probably become possible to block it after it’s recognized as an attack of sorts, Renya assessed, but if it continues like this for a long time, always remaining at a level before hitting that limit, it’s pretty much set that my stamina will be whittled down. Then I think it’d make more sense to cancel the barrier and shift to attacking.

But, since Renya was fully aware that a counterattack by Ruby Dragon would cause devastating damage if he couldn’t incapacitate the dragon with one blow, even Renya couldn’t dare to go easy here.

I must use an attack method strong enough to kill the Ruby Dragon in the worst case, but in such a case, I’d fail at achieving my initial goal of obtaining a means of transport and a source of information.

Even so, being in a situation where things would only get worse if he kept standing around doing nothing, Renya hesitated how to proceed while checking the state of Shion and Kilie who had started to pant heavily.

While Renya was wavering, the Ruby Dragon poured even more mana into his spell and sent Renya, who couldn’t take any action, a mocking telepathic message.

(Now, here we go, little one. Thou just need to show me that thou can fully take it)

Renya clicked his tongue, but at this point the initiative had already been taken from him. Believing that he had no other choice but to shut up the Ruby Dragon with a powerful counterattack after fully blocking the dragon’s attack, Renya supplied even more mana into the defensive barrier.

Just as the mana outside his barrier was about to manifest as a fire spell, that reached Renya from the distant sky.

(R-E-N-Y-A—SAAAN!)

Saying that a telepathic message would rupture one’s eardrums was weird, but the telepathic thought, which reached everyone present at the same time, was so loud that it couldn’t be described in any other way.

Once Renya looked up, feeling like he had heard that voice somewhere before, his eyes perceived something approaching his group very fast, falling from high up in a straight line towards their location while leaving a crimson trail in its wake, just like a meteor.

The Ruby Dragon apparently reacted in the same way, stopping his spell activation and looking up to the sky while blinking his eyes in surprise.

(Where are you, Renya!? Ah, somehow there’s an incredible accumulation of mana over there! So that’s where you are!)

Renya had an extremely bad feeling about that which was cutting through the sky and scattering all the clouds in its path. He grabbed the nape of Kilie who was crouching at his feet, and forced her to stand up. Then he pulled Shion closely towards his side with his free hand, lowered his waist, and prepared himself for the impact.

The Ruby Dragon, on the other hand, had forgotten all about attacking Renya’s group and started to become quite flustered for some reason, apparently knowing the owner of the telepathic voice.

(H-Hey! W-Why are thou here!?)

(That thought? Is that you, Ruby Dragon-sama!? You mustn’t, Ruby Dragon-sama! You mustn’t do anything rash!!)

Renya and the other two also grasped that the owner of the telepathic voice was getting closer from how the roaring of the wind being ripped apart gradually became louder.

“Both of you, cling to me! A huge blow is incoming!”

“No need to tell me!”

“Ah, what a bliss…”

“Shion-san, you dummy!”

Kilie cried in a somewhat whiny voice while Shion’s was kind of carefree.

Renya clenched his teeth while tightly hugging the girls. And just as he had predicted, ‘that’ which had flown through the air, impacted on the ground without dampening its speed whatsoever in front of Renya.

A tremendous boom, so loud that Renya thought he might lose his hearing, accompanied by a huge amount of sand and earth being whirled up and scattered all over.

On that occasion, all of the dirt and sound was added to the mana, which the Ruby Dragon had gathered to attack Renya’s group, turning into a huge torrent and violently striking Renya’s barrier. It resulted in Renya’s group, alongside the barrier, experiencing a huge tremor and a fierce impact. However, in contrast to a barrier cast by an average magic practitioner, which would have likely been blown apart in an instant, Renya’s barrier somehow managed to endure all of it.

On the other hand, Ruby Dragon had apparently focused all his attention on attacking Renya and the others, and thus couldn’t immediately shift towards defense. Not only did he suffer the aftermath directly and was slapped onto the ground from above, but he ended up heavily rolling across the ground as he got jostled by the torrent of dirt and rubble.

And once everything had settled, a single dragon with its large wings spread stood in the center of the crater it had created itself after causing a disastrous scene and bothering everyone present by causing a huge amount of damage to the vicinity, not to mention the crater, while being the only one coming out of it unscathed. Its body was somewhat paler in its red color than Ruby Dragon, but it still possessed crimson scales with a luster as if being gems, and it was much bigger than Dra-kun.

Not having suffered a single injury despite having supposedly crashed onto the surface with quite the speed, the dragon sent out another powerful telepathic thought while looking around it in a fluster.

(Renya-san!? Where are you!? Rubydra is here!)

“…Couldn’t you do something about your way of entering a scene…?” Renya muttered with a sigh.

While Rubydra restlessly turned her head around searching for Renya as she had completely lost sight of him due to all the dust and dirt still hanging in the air, Renya looked at the red dragon, who had previously traveled this continent together with him and Emedra, while being half buried in soil alongside his barrier.

After lowering Shion and Kilie who had fainted inside his arms, Renya pushed the soil that had almost buried them alive aside, and stared at the back of Rubydra who was still searching for him while standing in the center of her crater. Her actions were somewhat comical, but the situation she had caused couldn’t be laughed off as comical.

The Ruby Dragon, who had tumbled away quite a bit after receiving the aftermath of the impact that had created the crater, was laying on his back without showing any signs of being alive. Renya got a tiny bit worried that he might have died from the impact just now.

“Hey, you’re Rubydra, right?”

Deciding to put the worrisome matters aside for the time being, Renya called out to the frantically searching red dragon aka Rubydra.

Seemingly guessing Renya’s location from his voice, Rubydra turned her head around with such a verve that Renya got worried about her possibly breaking her own neck. Recognizing Renya, an expression that was very likely a smile appeared on her face. Then again, since the other party was a dragon, her baring her fangs and faintly lifting the ends of her gaping muzzle would most likely cause any child to run away in tears, no matter how much she planned to show a smile here.

(Renya-san! You’re fine!)

“Just now I was on the verge of not being fine, you know?”

Shion and Kilie were powerlessly slumped on the ground, still unconscious. The dragon, who introduced himself as one of the Four Greater Dragons, didn’t look like he’d get up anytime soon either.

While praising himself for having gotten through this without a scratch, Renya looked up to the crimson dragon who had stepped up towards him. Renya checking her once more despite her having charged at them while screaming her name stemmed from her having completely changed from the last time he met this dragon who had introduced herself as Rubydra.

It wasn’t as though her appearance had changed all over, but her physique had gone through a drastic transformation. Even in the past Rubydra boasted of a fairly huge frame when compared to Dra-kun, but her body as it now stood in front of Renya had grown by two sizes in comparison to before. As might be expected, her body hadn’t become as big as that of the Ruby Dragon, but even so, her limbs were brimming with power, and you could call her body, as she lumbered towards Renya, a masterpiece.

“Did you gain weight?”

(Renya-san!? I’m fine with it, but for your partners that statement would be completely out!)

Rubydra stopped and hit the ground with her tail, apparently intending to attack Renya. That one blow caused the earth to tremble so much that you could misunderstand it as an earthquake. Just that alone allowed Renya to perceive how incredibly powerful Rubydra had become.

“Didn’t you previously skip on using any honorific titles with me?”

(I’ve become an adult)

Rubydra curved her neck upwards as if to show off, but even if a dragon pulled a triumphant expression, Renya wouldn’t understand it either way.

“And the real reason?”

(Since I grew up after receiving your mana, Renya-san, I decided to revise my attitude towards you)

Renya almost cocked his head in puzzlement at her mentioning her receiving his mana, but then he recalled how he had partially forced his mana into Rubydra to make her spit out an extra-large breath. That action had apparently hastened Rubydra’s growth in a remarkable way.

In Rubydra’s eyes, her usual growth, which would take many, many years, had suddenly skipped several steps. So it was only natural for her to harbor respect towards the person who owned such a mighty power while at the same time being afraid of Renya’s mana.

Renya himself had an idea about the underlying reason for this.

The mana used by Renya was something so ridiculous that it’d be absurd to describe it as vast, but on top of that, Giliel and that little goddess had apparently added something called 「Resources」 to it. By receiving Renya’s mana which contained minuscule amounts of those resources, a power to sustain a world, Rubydra’s growth had been boosted tremendously, Renya estimated.

(If I continue to grow at this rate, becoming one of the Four Greater Dragons won’t be a dream any longer)

“At present, one of the current Four Greater Dragons is lying over there while not moving anymore.”

(Ruby Dragon-sama is already quite old, you see?)

(D-Damn it, little vixen…)

 

—————- End of Part 2 —————-

 

Renya watched how Ruby Dragon got on his feet, albeit totteringly, behind Rubydra who nonchalantly ran her mouth without a care about the elder dragon’s feelings. Almost at the same time, Shion and Kilie, who had sunk to the ground at Renya’s feet, stood up while dusting off their clothes.

(Thou are saying thou are aiming for my seat? As the little greenhorn thou are!?), Ruby Dragon roared while trying to somehow maintain his dignity, albeit Renya believed it to be too late for that at this point anyway.

In response, Rubydra frostily retorted, (Even without me aiming for it in particular, you seem to be headed for death soon, Great-Grandpa)

Ruby Dragon fell down on the ground with a thud after staggering backwards as if having had his chest stabbed by an invisible spear. But, without sparing him a single glance, Rubydra continued to happily address Renya.

(What kind of business do you have in this area this time? You need a means of transportation, don’t you? I’ll let you fly on my back)

“I don’t know what kind of relationship you two share, but don’t you think it’d be better to be a bit kinder to that?”

Even Renya couldn’t stop feeling pity well up in him when he received telepathic thoughts that sounded like weeping from the big dragon who was still prostrating himself on the ground. Seemingly feeling the same although she shouldn’t be able to quite grasp the situation, Shion ran over to the big dragon, who didn’t even try to move anymore, and began to stroke his head in consolation, albeit only in the range of where her hand could reach.

“Shion-san, you know no fear, do you?”

“No, I do, but…now that you mention it, I’ve been surprised, but I don’t really feel all that scared.”

“You two, you should be a bit more considerate towards your elder!” Shion yelled with a slightly stern expression.

Watching Shion as she did all that for Ruby Dragon, Renya somehow comprehended the situation.

It looks like Shion has reached the conclusion that he should be pitied because of Rubydra calling him old while conveniently excluding the fact of him being a dragon.

It wasn’t as though Shion didn’t know that the dragon, which was being treated as old, could still be classified as one of the strongest beings on this planet, but since Shion herself felt like consoling him and the pitied dragon also allowed her to do it while mumbling, (Ooh, what a tender girl thou are…), Renya decided to leave the two alone for the time being.

 

 

Of course he didn’t show it on his face or mention it with a single word that he actually considered Ruby Dragon as way too easy, seeing how he completely changed his attitude just from being treated nicely by a stranger after his family treated him coldly.

“Are you relatives?”

Renya thought that to be very likely because she had called him great-grandpa, but just in case, Renya tried to make sure by asking Rubydra.

(As far as the Spirit Link goes, all dragons with red scales are descendants of Ruby Dragon-sama in one way or another, but as far as my lineage is concerned, I’m the great-grandchild of great-grandpa, or rather, Ruby Dragon)

According to Rubydra, Spirit Link was about beings who had inherited parts of spirit factors. It also applied to the dragonoids who possessed dragon factors. Lineage, just like its name suggested, was about a blood relationship. In other words, Rubydra was a direct descendant from Ruby Dragon.

“So you’re actually a fine young lady, huh?”

(He he he, feel free to praise me a lot more!)

Rubydra was very likely putting on a smug face again, but in the end, Renya could only guess it since he was unable to read dragon expressions. Moreover, since it wasn’t as if being praised for your lineage automatically meant that the individual herself would be great as well, Rubydra shouldn’t have any reason to be so proud about something she gained just because she was a descendant of that lineage. As soon as Renya’s face twisted a bit as he felt a pang of displeasure about her behavior, Rubydra apparently sensed what he was thinking to some extent, and quickly put on a serious expression.

(L-Leaving that aside, why did you actually come here?)

Renya explained to Rubydra all that happened with Emil, Albert’s escape because of it, the loss of all communication with the dragonoids, and the attack by the demon king’s army. Once he finished his explanation by saying that they came here to secure Albert, Ruby Dragon, who had apparently listened to Renya while being caressed by Shion, and Rubydra, who had listened to Renya right in front of him, both sighed very deeply.

(What a foolish choice they have made…)

(It’s not that I can’t understand their feelings on this. But even if Renya might have given his backing to some demons…)

(Nothing is as foolish as exposing the whole race to danger out of obstinacy and vanity. Having such an attitude only make sense if thou have enough power to uphold it by thyself)

(Great-Grandpa, you were about to start something just as dangerous as that, you know?)

Being told so, Ruby Dragon stared at Renya with a truly puzzled look. From Rubydra’s point of view, Ruby Dragon had been on the verge of fighting Renya in order to protect his pride as a dragon. She believed his actions to closely resemble the actions of the dragonoids who had cut off all relationships with the other races as they didn’t approve of Renya siding with demons. But that stemmed from her having traveled together with Renya in the past.

For Ruby Dragon, who didn’t have that experience, being told that fighting a mere human would put his whole race at risk didn’t make much sense. On the other hand, Rubydra knew that Renya was someone who had no qualms with treating evil dragons as a source of food and material, on top of knowing his combat abilities. If things went south, it wouldn’t be strange for Renya to extend the evil dragon’s treatment to the normal dragons as well.

“No, as might be expected, the idea of treating a conversation partner as food is a bit…” Having spoken up to that point, Renya suddenly became evasive, apparently having recalled something. After silently looking up to the sky for a short while, he abruptly changed the direction of their talk. “Anyway, that’s the reason for us being here.”

(Hey, just a sec! What’s with the pause just now!?)

“Don’t mind it. I just recalled the time when I dismantled, boiled the stuff down, and drank it.”

(The stuff of what!?)

Rubydra jerked her face close to his. While pushing her back with one hand, Renya shifted his eyes to Ruby Dragon.

Feeling Renya’s eyes on him, Ruby Dragon’s face became tense, but since he was being caressed by Shion, you couldn’t even feel a sliver of tension or seriousness from his whole appearance.

“I’d like you to cooperate, but can I count on you?”

(Now that I know the situation, it is difficult to pretend ignorance. Rubydra, I plan to assign thou to them, but what is thine take on it?)

(I shall humbly accept that mission, Ruby Dragon-sama)

Stopping the jostling with Renya, Rubydra lifted her face, matching her eye line with that of Ruby Dragon who had also lifted his face after Shion finally stopped stroking him, and bowed towards him, more or less respectfully.

Renya believed that scene would make for a great picture if you could cut out only this one moment in time, but since he had seen all the events leading up to it, he couldn’t help but to somehow consider it as a farce.

“Don’t the dragons have any information about all of this?”

(We felt that the south had become somewhat turbulent, but it is not as if we keep up a close relationship with the dragonoids in the first place)

(We are aware that they are worshiping us from their side, but we almost never meddle in their affairs from our side)

“You guys are quite cold-hearted, aren’t you?”

The dragonoids supposedly were a race that had inherited dragon factors. In short, they should be much closer to the dragons than the humans, elves, or beastmen, but the dragons apparently didn’t care much about the dragonoids.

(Even if we might be connected to them through a Spirit Link, us and them are obviously different kinds of beings)

(I mean, Renya-san, even if it’s said that humans and apes are somewhat close as races, you wouldn’t care much about apes, would you?)

It looks like that’s the whole extent of how the dragons regard the dragonoids. I think you’d be hard pressed to find a worship more unrewarding than this, Renya thought for a moment, but once he thought it over properly, the idea that even the gods worshiped humans might harbor similar thoughts crossed his mind, causing him to reflexively look at Kilie’s face who was still struck by fear and heightened alertness towards Ruby Dragon while remaining glued to Renya all the time.

“W-What is it? I’m very concerned about your matters, Renya-san!”

“I think it’s a bad idea to only concern yourself with me… Right now you hold the position of chief goddess in this world, don’t you?”

“Nevermind that! The job I received from my mistress is, first and foremost, to be your guardian angel. The management of this world comes second,” insisted Kilie, basically loudly blurting out something that should be left unsaid.

Renya made her shut up by waving a hand, unable to find the power and will to correct her thinking.

Switching his thinking, he looked back at Rubydra, “For starters, I’d like to go to some dragonoid city. Can I count on you for that, Rubydra?”

(Leave it to me! Traveling with me will be very safe since beings, who could win against me, are hard to come by nowadays!)

“Well, one person who could definitely win against you is right here,” mumbled Shion under her breath while returning to Renya.

Hearing that, Ruby Dragon’s face froze, and although Rubydra had exuded an aura of pride and elation, she became depressed in the blink of an eye, beginning to emit an aura that made it hard to talk to her.

Renya lightly knocked Shion’s head, who belatedly covered her mouth with a hand after having probably noticed her verbal gaffe, with a fist while sighing lightly.

 

◆◇◆

————– End of Part 3 ————–

 

After making Rubydra, who had been depressed for some reason, pull herself together by soothing and humoring her, Renya, Shion, and Kilie climbed on her back. Rubydra immediately kicked off the ground, taking to the sky.

Ruby Dragon seemed somewhat sad as he saw them off from the ground, triggering Renya to lightly bow at the elderly dragon while suspecting that he wouldn’t see it anyway. Sitting next to him Shion fervently waved her hand. Just Kilie alone restlessly kept shifting around on Rubydra, looking somehow uncomfortable. She fidgeted about as she repeatedly glanced in Ruby Dragon’s direction.

“Sheesh, grandpa should have simply come with us,” muttered Shion as if regretting it a bit, but Kilie violently shook her head as if Shion had asked her to jump off.

“The Four Greater Dragons mustn’t interfere with worldly matters. They are allowed to be so powerful based on that restriction.”

“Didn’t he actually interfere this time, even if it might have been for the sake of his great-grandchildren?” Renya retorted, making it impossible for Kilie to do anything but stay silent.

Even she hadn’t expected to run into one of the Four Greater Dragons in such a place.

(I wonder whether you could be as kind as overlook it this time?)

Probably because she was concentrating on the flight, Rubydra joined the conversation without looking back. Rubydra’s intention was to avoid Renya and Shion having a bad impression of Ruby Dragon who had escalated things close to a disaster, but it wasn’t as though Renya would condemn someone who hadn’t truly charged into battle or similar, and Shion regarded the elderly dragon as grandfather, who had come out after worrying about his grandchildren, rather than as him having picked a fight, if anything, thus it wasn’t as if she held him in contempt.

“That part doesn’t matter anyway. Rather, do you have a reason for having taking this particular flight direction?”

Rubydra, who had been eager to become their means of transport, had immediately flown off in a certain direction without any hesitation whatsoever as soon as the three took place on her back. That action looked oddly confident, causing Renya to wonder whether Rubydra knew some information they didn’t possess. But, Rubydra’s reply was extremely simple.

(If I keep flying south, we’ll stumble upon something sooner or later, right?)

On the dragonoid continent, the dragons lived in the northern Dragon Nest, and the dragonoids occupied the southern part. Hence they’d run into dragonoids eventually if they kept heading south, was Rubydra’s line of argumentation, but although it was somewhat reckless as a train of thought, it followed a certain logic, making it impossible for Renya to object.

Given that Shion had intended to obey Renya’s decisions from the get-go, she didn’t feel like interjecting since Renya hadn’t said anything. Only Kilie responded to Rubydra’s words.

“Is it fine to fly with such vague reasoning?”

(Yes, it is. With my draconic perception I’ll be able to somewhat tell if I shorten the distance to an extent)

Despite Rubydra assuring Kilie that she’d be able to somehow tell, even if she didn’t have a precise guidance, Kilie appeared to still be doubtful, but Rubydra kept flying without paying it any heed. While feeling the scenery pass by at a speed that was very likely faster than any other means of transportation in this world, Kilie looked at Renya, apparently wanting him to say something about this whole matter.

“No problem. It’s okay. Even if her draconic perception doesn’t catch onto anything, a clue should come from the other side.”

“From the other side?”

“Think about it.”

Renya pointed at their vicinity with his finger and eyes. No living being could catch up with the flight speed of a dragon, and as far as he could see, only sky and earth were visible, not a single creature moving or flying wherever he looked.

“Such a huge, bright red dragon is flying through this airspace, right? I doubt anything else would stand out this much.”

“Are you possibly saying that the enemy will probably discover us from their side, even if we don’t find a clue about them on our side?”

(It would be the most comfortable solution if things finish without us having to even search)

Upon Rubydra retorting telepathically with a carefree laughter blended in, Kilie reluctantly fell silent while pulling a sour expression. As she was the only one making a fuss here and seeing how her opinion wouldn’t survive a vote, Kilie apparently settled for the verdict that it’d be pointless to continue arguing under the current circumstances where she was no more than Kilie.

(No need to worry. Beings who could win against the current me, won’t be that easy to find. And even if they’re around, Renya-san is with us)

As Kilie’s unhappiness and wariness was apparently passed on to Rubydra, Rubydra tried to soothe her with that telepathic message. In response, Kilie decided to shelve the issue for the time being, and switched her thinking towards enjoying the sky trip.

Even though Kilie was the goddess of this world as Giliel, her understanding of the world under her administration was quite shallow, considering that she was its goddess. Kilie believed that this might be inevitable while looking at the scenery around them.

In the first place, she had been one of many nameless angels and was only given a personality and ability as Renya’s guardian angel. Afterwards, she was ordered to take over the administration of this world, arriving at her current self. Appointing her as supervisor while completely omitting any knowledge about the world she should have been properly taught or obtained by touring the world herself, only came to be as a result of personnel change that would normally only be applicable in times of emergency. Of course, she harbored discontent about this, but just like she couldn’t find a reason to skip her work for that reason, she also didn’t feel like it’d be good to complain to her mistress. Because of her being like that, she thought that she should enjoy this sky trip, using any opportunity allowing her to take a proper look at the world.

“How to put it? It’s a scenery I’d love to gaze at in a more, umm, relaxed setting.”

Kilie was continuously exposed to situations where she didn’t have time to rest her mind as she was burdened with troubles and conflicts, and thus she couldn’t really enjoy this scenery which normal humans would never get to see in their life. Her feelings of wanting to be released from all her troublesome chores as quickly as possible so that she’d be able to freely enjoy sceneries revealed itself in her muttered impression, but hearing that, Renya frankly nodded his agreement.

“No kidding. I want to be released from all the troublesome stuff and try to go on a pleasure trip to enjoy the delicacies of this world or something like that.”

“It’s hard to do that while being a noble, isn’t it?”

For a noble affiliated to a country, it was impossible to wander all over the place according to their own whim. They were bound by the inconvenience of having to accomplish their duty for the country while tied to their own fief. Nobles being able to live luxuriously was grounded on them accomplishing that duty, was the common viewpoint so far as it went, but Renya clearly frowned after hearing that, and grumbled without a care about Shion sitting next to him, “If it’s going to get in my way, I suppose I’ll simply destroy the Trident Principality…”

“No, wait a sec, Renya. Please give that a rest…Mother will properly convince everyone and make sure that you get your wishes, okay?”

Shion clung to Renya’s shoulder in panic, but in his mind he thought that no one would probably get in his way as long as he told the archduchess that he was going on a gourmet trip. Of course, the administration of a territory wasn’t anything you could simply neglect, but he thought that part could be handled one way or another, and to be precise, if the archduchess experienced something like Mayria wailing with sleep-deprived eyes, it should settle things rather quickly.

“It’s not like I asked for the position of earl, you know?”

“Yeah, I know. It’s okay. I’m well aware, Renya.”

“As for leading the heroes, I wouldn’t have accepted the job if not for Kurz.”

“We must thank Kurz-kun for that, mustn’t we?”

“All of this being nothing but trouble…is completely the fault of that damn little girl,” muttered Renya with a sigh.

“Can I have you stop dragging me into this by hurling out curses!?” Kilie widened her eyes at the curse contained at the end of his remark, and raised her voice in protest.

In reality, it wouldn’t have much of an effect on Kilie, who had descended to the transient world, even if Renya’s curse reached the place of that little girl goddess, Giliel’s mistress. But, if that little girl collapsed or passed due to Renya’s curse by any freak chance, Kilie would be forced to settle all disputes on this world by herself.

Before caring about the little girl’s safety, Kilie protested out of fear towards the aftermath that might befall her, but even Renya, the source of those curses, reacted so swiftly that one might wonder whether it was truly alright.

“Sheesh, there’s no carelessness or openings to be found with you…”

“That thing wouldn’t bat an eyelid at something like a curse from me, right?”

“Your curses are strong enough that you can’t say she’d be alright, no matter what. Please restrain yourself.”

The conversation between Kilie and Renya went completely past Shion as she didn’t understand a thing, but as for Rubydra, she somehow managed to grasp that they were talking about some higher being, making her strongly renew her resolve of not angering Renya, who seemed able to destroy such being by just cursing them.

As all of this was happening on her back, Rubydra kept heading south on the dragonoid continent with her draconic speed. That speed was at such a level that she’d be able to cross the distance from the continent’s northern tip to the southern Miasma Forest in around ten hours, if she pushed herself a bit. Before long, they started to pass several villages and towns along their way, but as far as they could tell from above, neither dragonoids nor anything akin to the demon king army could be seen there.

“Do you feel anything, Rubydra?”

As far as perception went, Renya also possessed one that was quite superb, but he was well aware that his own fell flat when compared to a dragon’s perception. Not to mention eyesight or hearing ability, but humans couldn’t hope to ever compete with dragons when it came to the sense of smelling either.

Rubydra, who searched the vicinity while capitalizing on those abilities to the maximum, answered Renya’s question without stopping to scan the area.

(I can’t sense anything, nor can I see anything. Even though it wouldn’t be strange for us to already have entered dragonoid territory)

 

————- End of Part 4 ————-

 

Going by the events so far, the dragonoids should have decreased quite a bit in number. Assuming they suffered another attack by the demon king army at that point, they wouldn’t be able to hold the enemy back, even if Albert might be fighting on their side. The question whether the entire dragonoid race might have finally perished actually reared its head.

“We must somehow recover Albert, even if only his corpse.”

“Renya, let’s think in the direction of him still being alive, okay?”

“Isn’t it no problem even with his corpse as long as we find it in a state allowing for it to be reused?”

“Not you as well, Kilie! Until a little while ago I thought you were on my side!”

Renya and Kilie’s way of talking was somewhat cold and indifferent. Shion was the only one protesting against it. Rubydra had been listening to the conversation on her back, but since she didn’t harbor an interest in particular dragonoids, even if they might be heroes, she didn’t interject in any way.

“As long as he’s not in the hands of the demon king army, I don’t care whether he’s alive or dead, but…without any clues where to find him…”

“In my case, I’d be forced to consider what race should live in this place next if the dragonoids have been destroyed, so it’s quite headache-inducing.”

“You two, we don’t know anything about the current situation, so I think now is the time for us to pray for Albert-san’s safety…or am I wrong?”

(I also think that way would be better but, I…ah! Ouch!)

Rubydra suddenly groaned in pain in the middle of agreeing with Shion’s opinion. Accompanying her telepathic voice, shrill noises of two hard objects colliding intermittently assailed the three passengers’ ears. In panic, Renya, Shion, and Kilie began to become vigilant of their surroundings atop Rubydra’s back.

“What was that just now…?”

(It looks like I was attacked. Something similar to small stones was shot at me from directly below)

In response to her explanation, Renya sidled up to the edge of Rubydra’s back, and looked down at the surface from there. What he could see below was a terrain with sprawling hills and mountains. Countless red hot, small pebble-like objects, which had very likely been targeted at Rubydra from somewhere down below, grazed Rubydra’s body and vanished towards the upper sky while drawing red, dotted lines in the air.

“An anti-aircraft autocannon?”

Renya immediately guessed those pebbles to be bullets, or to be precise, the bullets of an anti-aircraft autocannon. Of course, you wouldn’t normally encounter these in a fantasy world of sword and magic.

As long as someone hasn’t produced or carried them over from somewhere, Renya thought while tapping Rubydra’s back scales.

“Rubydra! Did they hit you!?”

Just at that moment, the figures of what looked like demon soldiers suddenly popped out all over the place on the ground, making Renya wonder just where they hid before.

It wasn’t as though they had the time to hold a relaxed chat, but Rubydra initially complaining about pain meant that she got directly hit or grazed by a certain amount of bullets.

(Several shots hit my belly, but this much is a breeze)

Understanding that she didn’t lie as no pain dyed her voice, Renya felt relieved. But, he couldn’t be too optimistic either. After all, the attacks themselves continued even now. Moreover, it wasn’t just limited to a machine gun, but even other weapons started being shot at Rubydra.

Renya couldn’t make out the details with his eyesight, but he could spot a pedestal with some huge, cylindrical object installed on top and hand-held arms carried by individual soldiers around the pedestal.

“That thing…is bad news. Making something so boorish appear in a world like this…”

Renya knew only one person who possessed a corresponding ability. Deciding to postpone thinking about that guy, he prioritized somehow dealing with the plethora of weapons, which the soldiers tried to aim at Rubydra, for starters.

“Portable air-defense missiles…and a SAM device, huh…?”

No matter how fast a dragon might be, they wouldn’t be quick enough to leave missiles in the lurch. And although Rubydra could block machine gun bullets with her own scales, Renya would be hard pressed for a clear answer, if asked whether her scales would be able to endure even the destructive force of missiles.

(It looks slightly dangerous?)

Rubydra asked with anxiety coloring her thought as she had apparently picked up on Renya’s thoughts, but Renya didn’t know how he should answer her here. Even so, he ordered Shion and Kilie to duck so as to avoid falling off Rubydra’s back, moved up to the root of Rubydra’s neck, affixed his body by straddling her neck, and lowered his eyes on the surface.

“It appears like things will become a bit hairy. I’ll intercept as much as possible, but it might be impossible to block all of the attacks.”

(Got it. I’ll concentrate on defending and evading)

Entrusting Renya with the interception, Rubydra decided to solely focus on defense.

Thinking that this method would make it easier to deal with all eventualities, Renya watched how missiles were launched one after the other from the SAM system on the ground while filling the air with smoke and thunderous roars. All aimed at Rubydra.

 

◆◇◆

 

“Full throttle from the get-go! <Small Fireball>!”

Renya was the first to move after seeing the launch of the SAM missiles. The <Small Fireballs>, which literally deployed at full throttle as Renya released the mana within him, appeared in a dense cluster, tracing the path of Rubydra’s quickened evasive maneuvers. Then they began to pour down like an avalanche towards the missiles aimed at them.

“This might become a bit ugly.”

The countless fireballs produced with Renya’s mana rushed at the missiles and kept crashing into them, but the missiles pushed their way through the avalanche of fire. No matter how much mana Renya might have poured in the fireballs, they either didn’t possess enough power to punch through the hull of the missiles which could be called state-of-the-art in Renya’s former world, or maybe the ability of the one who caused these missiles to appear in this fantasy world couldn’t be destroyed in its structure by spells at the level of a <Small Fireball>.

“Renya! They don’t work, you know!?”

“Well, you’re right about that, but…even so, maybe if I continue firing them…”

Renya kept firing <Small Fireballs>, albeit being aware that they didn’t work, while restraining the panicking Shion with a hand. Not comprehending the meaning behind Renya continuing to use a spell despite knowing that it was pointless, Shion tilted her head in confusion. But, Kilie somewhat grasped what Renya was trying to achieve and shifted her attention back to the missiles.

“The heat sensors?”

“I think these will at least work as something similar to a flare replacement, but…unfortunately Rubydra is a fire dragon, so I wonder how things will turn out…”

(Me!? Because of me!?)

Rubydra sent a flustered thought upon Renya’s murmur. Ignoring her for the time being, Renya focused his attention on the behavior of the incoming missiles. He could identify how the flight path of those missiles became disarrayed after being swallowed by a carpet of fire, just to run into another wave of additional fireballs. Because of the multiple heat sources and the enormous heat exposure, the missiles’ guidance system had apparently lost Rubydra as a target.

Yet, it didn’t mean that the missiles fell down just like that. As he alertly watched their behavior, Renya immediately shouted to Rubydra, “Rubydra! Defend! They won’t hit, but they’ll explode very close-by!”

(Eh? Ah! O-Okay!)

In response to Renya’s instruction, Rubydra instantly activated her mana and deployed a defense barrier around herself and her passengers. At the same time, Renya pumped power from within the barrier, further strengthening the barrier.

“An impact might hit us! Hold onto her back!”

After shouting, Renya remembered that he was atop Rubydra himself as well. Even though he told the others to hold on, nothing suitable for him to hold on was to be found around him. Renya perceived that he had blundered and couldn’t do anything about this anymore, but without any hesitation, Shion and Kilie simultaneously clung to Renya’s waist. In the state of a woman hanging onto him on either side, Renya looked up to the sky, his expression somewhat miserable.

“I’m no handrail, you know…?”

(Is that the right time to bicker!?)

The instant Rubydra made that retort, a stray missile exploded near Rubydra after having lost its target.

(Kyaaaaaaa!?)

While Rubydra screamed, a mighty impact hit the exterior of her defense barrier. The barrier she had deployed using her mana should have been fairly tough, especially considering how Renya had reinforced it as well, but maybe because she was flying through the sky or maybe because her bracing didn’t work due to the barrier itself, Rubydra was shaken violently alongside the barrier due to the blast that had hit the barrier’s wall. Even though she blacked out for a moment there, she barely avoided crashing, but that was all she managed to do.

 

 

Renya, Shion, and Kilie avoided falling from her back, but even so, all three of them were knocked down on Rubydra’s big back.

 

————– End of Part 5 ————–

 

 

 


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