Chapter 16 – Dragon & Speculation
“Well, it’s good that I’m here and all, but now I have to figure out how to deal with this.” [Chie]
I thought while looking up at Fafnir, who stood before me.
Fafnir, they said.
It growled as it glared at Hayate and myself.
It gave off an evil aura befitting its nickname of ‘Cursed Dragon’.
That was the feeling I got from the dragon.
It was quite large when looking at it from such a close distance. The dragon moved like a tortoise, taking large, staggering steps while keeping a low center of gravity.
Even with Sakuya, assuming it was as powerful as the holy sword, I would only be able to leave a small scratch on those scales.
Therefore, I increased the sharpness of Sakuya by pouring my magic into it.
Holy Swords unleashed their inherent power by absorbing the magic of their owners.
Yuusuke has Dynamis, which exudes sword pressure when absorbing his magic.
However, the constant absorption of magic could exhaust the body.
My opponent was also a dragon that could take flight with its wings.
Although there are some things I would like to test, it would take a large amount of magic to attempt them.
As it stands, it was still much better to attack the abdomen, as originally planned.
You could pierce it from the back, which would likely injure its internal organs.
You could also pierce or cut off the head, which is the duty of the sword.
Still, it was best to aim for the abdomen.
After deciding, I edged closer to Fafnir.
When I did so, black smoke started to leak from Fafnir’s mouth.
It’s Fafnir’s poison.
It inhaled a large breath and it looked like we were bound for the world of the dead.
Regardless, Hayate started running.
At the same time, Fafnir rose up into the air and let out its poisonous breath.
I felt intense wind pressure and a portion of the rampart was blown away. A large amount of black poison filled the area.
Hayate’s horn glowed with magic and began to purify the poison around us.
“It’s way more than I thought.” [Chie]
We couldn’t see anything around us because of the black, poisonous smoke.
I thought about the amount of damage that would have been done to the city if I had not put up the barrier.
Unpleasant sweat began to flow down my back.
If we couldn’t finish this quickly, things would turn bad.
“Hayate, I’ll make a path.” [Chie]
I visualized an image in my mind and yelled.
“Black Road!” [Chie]
I activated the magic that I had created with my imagination.
On activation, a black road that was one meito wide appeared in front of us and extended towards the sky for several meitos.
This was the magic that I created in order to fight flying opponents.
When I went to the lake with Hayate, I realized that if you casted magic to stretch across a boundary and then made it sturdy like a scaffold, you would be able to move across it.
As I thought, it made a strong foothold.
Hayate stepped onto it and began running.
As we ran, new footholds were created ahead of us, while the ones behind us disappeared.
The idea was to keep the road as short as possible to conserve magic.
The drawback of this spell was the constant release of magic that was required.
Therefore, if I kept this magic up for too long, I would not be able to supply Sakuya with magic.
I could pour magic into it just as I attacked, but then I ran the risk of becoming exhausted and the battle would be lost.
However, it couldn’t be said to be lucky or unlucky for Fafnir, the ‘Cursed Dragon’.
Sakuya had the same effects as the dragon’s poison, ‘Malice’ and ‘Curse’.
That’s why it was my win if I could cut into its abdomen.
I firmly grasped Sakuya while riding Hayate.
When we exited the black poison, we were high enough that the capital looked much smaller.
The ground below was completely covered in black poison, to the point I couldn’t tell what was below my feet any more.
I glared at Fafnir.
He let out a low growl and flapped his huge wings as he moved to prepare the next attack.
I concentrated on avoiding and looking for the right opening.
It opened its mouth wide and thrusted its head forward to bite us.
We immediately advanced upward.
It was agile despite its size.
It also kept its abdomen well guarded while attacking. I couldn’t win by normal means.
We spun around after retreating to a safe distance and noticed that it was ready to spew poison from its mouth. Then it unleashed another breath at us.
Caught off guard, I sent Hayate to the right as we ran.
Black flames were discharged from Fafnir’s mouth.
It was a much larger flame than I thought it would be.
A massive amount of hot air engulfed us.
I didn’t feel the heat at all, thanks to the armor, but the wind pressure created by the heat was immense and I clung to Hayate,
Hayate was also fine with the heat and we lowered our altitude in order to avoid being blown away.
The breath ended and the area where the poison used to be was revealed. I was finally able to see the damage the poison had done to the surroundings.
All the trees in the forest that once spread out from the walls were dead and withered wherever the poison had touched.
What was once a lush forest and wilderness was now a wasteland where not even a shadow could appear.
“Prolonging this fight could seriously be bad.” [Chie]
It would be great if I could finish this quickly.
Even though the capital was being protected by the barrier, the environment surrounding the capital was not.
“Hayate, let’s finish this.” [Chie]
Hayate stamped his hooves in response.
We vigorously sprinted towards Fafnir.
I took a deep breath and sent magic into Sakuya.
At the same time, Fafnir started to prepare another breath.
I immediately made the road reach above Fafnir and Hayate sprinted up.
Fafnir released its breath just as we arrived above it.
“Okay, here I go!” [Chie]
I stood up on Hayate’s back and jumped away.
I continued to make the road for Hayate as I prepared Sakuya and fell towards Fafnir.
The breath grazed by me in the next moment.
I used the speed of my fall to increase my momentum.
I raised my voice and held up Sakuya, grasping tightly.
When I passed its neck, I thrusted Sakuya into it and applied all of my magic. Sakuya cut into the neck and continued all the way down Fafnir’s body.
Fafnir let out a roar of pain.
I continued to fall towards the ground after pulling out Sakuya but was caught by Hayate, who was waiting below.
I grabbed the reins and moved us out from under Fafnir.
Fafnir, who was in so much pain that it could no longer fly, fell to the ground head first.
The dragon smashed into the ground, creating a tremendous tremor.
Since Fafnir was so heavy, it created a crater in the ground.
“Hah, hah, hah.” [Chie]
The fallen Fafnir didn’t move.
As I looked down at the sight, I attempted to control my breath, which had become ragged.
I seemed to have used too much magic.
My head was spinning.
I checked one more time to make sure Fafnir wasn’t moving before heading back to the capital.
I looked towards the direction that the dragon had fallen.
“It’s over? As expected of the Black Knight.” [Emperor]
The person standing next to me had a face that said that they couldn’t believe it and stared in the direction that the dragon had fallen.
“Incredible…one person, against that dragon.” [???]
“Honestly, even I didn’t think he would be that strong.” [Emperor]
I felt something boundless from Chie the first time I met her.
At the time, I felt that, if it was this person, the current empire might be able to change.
That was why, without hesitation and against overwhelming opposition, I gave her the highest position.
A gamble, so to say.
A massive bet, with the future of our kingdom on the line.
“…But still, don’t you think it’s dangerous? That person’s power is too much. It’s possible that they may end up drowning in it.” [???]
The person asked me with an uneasy look.
However, after talking with Chie, who was a human, I clearly understood.
That person would never use their power for self-interest.
Actually, according to what Conrad had said of the last few weeks, her desires are rather lacking.
‘This is normal’ is her favorite phrase, or so he claims.
In addition, he mentioned that although she is not angered by slander directed at herself, she takes great offense when others are treated disrespectfully.
It was very unlikely that such a person would be lost in her own power.
“There will never be a time when that person falls to their own power. Rather, that person is simply too good of a person at times, according to Conrad.” [Emperor]
“But, your Majesty…” [???]
To object even now.
There is no other way.
“How about this. There will be a daily report of the actions and movements of the Black Knight. In time, you will understand how reliable the Black Knight is.” [Emperor]
“…And if I am not convinced?” [???]
“Then do as you like.” [Emperor]
I said with great confidence.
I am certain that I will win this gamble.
“But, if they are able to convince you, we will move forward with the plan that we have been considering for some time.” [Emperor]
“!? The Black Knight!” [???]
I believe Chie is most suited for that role.
Her red cloak and position of Duke, alongside her rank of Knight Commander were all in preparation for this.
I expect great things from her in the future.
I smile while thinking of all the good things to come, looking at the moon floating high in the sky from my castle window.
Moving away from where Fafnir fell, we landed near the sheath I had stabbed into the ground.
‘My head feels hazy’, I think to myself as I descend from Hayate.
The sheath was plucked out and Sakuya was returned to it, before I placed it back onto my waist.
At that moment, the barrier surrounding the capital was dispelled.
“Phew~, all finished.” [Chie]
Feeling completely relieved, I collapsed on the spot.
Hayate approached me and rubbed his head on mine.
His horn glowed with magic power, and I felt my energy returning.
I stroke his head with my right hand.
…Way too much stuff happened tonight.
The attack on the auction venue went pretty much as planned, but that Fafnir being summoned was completely unexpected.
Not to mention demons being involved.
Since Yuusuke would not be summoned for four more years, the thought that the Demons would already be moving hadn’t crossed my mind.
Thinking about it, I came to this world by chance.
I just want to go back to the Castle and rest.
The power required to fight against that elite monster was incomparable to anything I’ve done yet. I’m wiped.
For the first time since coming to this world, I’m truly tired.
Feeling a strange presence, I quickly placed my hand onto Sakuya.
This presence…isn’t human.
“Hohou, to notice my presence. As expected of the one who defeated Fafnir.” [???]
A man in a butler-like suit stood tall on a nearby building, broadcasting his pompous voice and glaring with his crimson eyes..
His hair was white, fine, and well-cut.
I can only see his face from afar, but he looks to be a handsome man with a tall, slender stature and a clean appearance.
He looks strikingly human; the only tell was his pointy ears and fangs.
I could tell from a single look.
“Hoh, you understood what I am from a simple glance.” [???]
“No, I think anyone could tell just by looking at you.” [Chie]
I spat back.
“My name is Brad.” [Brad]
I was ignored!
Moreover, I‘m completely surprised that a vampire showed up!!
“…Oh~, are you perhaps working alongside demons like Gardo?” [Chie]
Recovering slightly, I posed that question.
I need to determine what his intention is before taking action.
Confirming the situation before taking action is a good choice.
“That’s right. I was the one who approached the Parliament of this country and struck a deal. We agreed to not harm this country in exchange for some humans.” [Brad]
“In any case, it’s a trivial matter. They’re all worthless trash anyways, don’t you think?” [Brad]
Brad grinned and laughed as he spoke.
“Not a single decent one among the bunch. Well, it was fun watching the country slowly destroy itself, but thanks to you the plan is ruined.” [Brad]
He says in a voice that is clearly trying to intimidate me.
He said in a foul tone.
As I thought, another unpleasant situation found me.
“Okay, so what now? We can either try to kill each other, or you can withdraw.” [Chie]
Thanks to Hayate, I recovered some of my stamina so I can probably survive for a bit.
This guy really gives off a sadistic aura. He probably likes to watch humans suffer before killing them off.
So many things have been happening behind the scenes, so I’m kind of pissed off.
“…No, many things need to be prepared before one fights against you. This time, I will withdraw.” [Brad]
Brad raises his hand to indicate there is no will to fight.
“There will eventually be a day when you and I fight each other. Farewell for now.” [Brad]
He faded into the darkness as he said those parting words.
“Eh~ give me a break already, now there’s two I have to keep an eye out for…” [Chie]
I sigh deeply as I climb onto Hayate and ride back to the castle.
When we arrived, the soldiers were waiting for us.
“Congratulation, Knight Commander!!” [Solder]
“Sir Knight, are there no injuries!?” [Citizen]
The shopping district was full of citizens and soldiers.
I was surprised by the surge of people as I returned.
I was stunned and was unsure how to answer.
That familiar voice pulled me out of my panicked state.
I call out in response to his voice.
Despite the ruckus, hearing his voice instantly puts me at ease.
Conrad ran up to me.
“Commander, you’re safe!” [Conrad]
“Oh, I’m fine.” [Chie]
I said as I dismounted Hayate.
As tired as I may be, I have no issues walking.
“Fafnir is dead outside the city. It’s fine to retrieve the scales and teeth tomorrow. Oh, we should also get a priest or priestess to purify the body as soon as possible.” [Chie]
Even though Fafnir is dead, it doesn’t mean the power of the ‘Cursed Dragon’ has disappeared.
We can retrieve the materials from its corpse to make armor and weapons, but it’s best to purify it first.
Though, I feel the curse would be weakened since I used Sakuya.
It shouldn’t take too long to purify.
“Hah~, as usual, I’m completely surprised by you.” [Conrad]
Conrad said with a vexed smile.
I wonder if I worried him too much?
“Sorry…I worried you.” [Chie]
I apologized at once.
Indeed, confronting a dragon alone would normally be considered suicide.
I must properly reflect on this!
“Indeed…is what I would like to say, however, I think this time around I would have only been a burden.” [Conrad]
Conrad said with a sigh.
I give a small smile behind my helmet.
“Sir Knight!” [Byron]
I turn around once I heard Byron’s voice, and noticed Aaron was with him as well.
“I was surprised, Sir Knight.” [Aaron]
Aaron said with a laugh.
His loose expression doesn’t hold the disgust it had when we first met.
“To face a dragon, and alone at that!” [Byron]
“No, I wasn’t alone. I had Hayate with me.” [Chie]
I said in response to Byron while stroking Hayate.
He responded cheerfully.
“Gahahahaha! As usual, you haven’t changed a bit.” [Byron]
He chuckled in amusement.
“You know it wouldn’t hurt to act a little more prideful, right?” [Aaron]
Aaron said while amazed.
“No, I’m just a normal person though?” [Chie]
“What about you is normal!?” [Aaron]
Aaron yelled that pretty loud.
“It’s useless. The Commander always insists ‘I’m normal’. I’ve tried to point out the pride bit before, but it’s been shot down immediately as distasteful.” [Conrad]
“…How difficult for you.” [Aaron]
“What of it? I just don’t think it’s right of me to treat others as lower than myself!” [Chie]
I argue to refute them.
“Okay, okay. It just goes to show the greatness of Sir Knight.” [Byron]
Byron cuts in between the two with a laugh.
I still don’t think I’m that great, though.
Is the change in the air due to the expression on their faces?
They seem happy, but I get the feeling they’re still not satisfied.
“Well~, that’s fine and all. Thought I’m pretty tired after all that, so I think I’ll turn in early.” [Chie]
Hearing my words, Conrad entered a state of panic.
“Commander! By chance were you hurt somewhere!?” [Conrad]
“No, I’m just dizzy since I used a lot of magic.” [Chie]
Conrad had a look of relief once he heard my words.
“Is that so? Okay then.” [Conrad]
Such a relieved expression. Conrad’s a worrywart.
“That’s right, your opponent was a dragon! You have good reason to be tired!” [Byron]
Byron said that, turned around, and starting yelling at people to open up the road.
Everyone moved aside, creating a road to the castle.
“Sir Knight, if you could ride the Unicorn on the road to the castle? Everyone wants to see the hero of this country, after all.” [Aaron]
Conrad and Byron nodded in agreement.
While getting a tingling feeling when he said ‘hero’, I mounted Hayate.
Cheers were rising from all around me.
“Let’s head back to the castle, Commander.” [Conrad]
I nodded and slowly rode Hayate to the castle.
The cheers wrapped around me the whole way.
Feeling embarrassed and slightly happy, I returned to the castle.