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When I picked the spear and something that could be used from Liao’s luggage, I started walking.
The forest around here was difficult to walk.
‘There may be no inhabitants at the border between Kilghina and the Isus City-States area.’
‘If this is the forest of Shaalta, it’s still easy to walk because the local residents cut trees to collect firewood. Instead of Satoyama, I feel like this place was a desolate Satono, Japan.’
“Aah, damn it… that hurts…” (Yuri)
It couldn’t be helped to utter it since it came out instinctively. Even if I was careful to walk on easy-to-walk paths, I felt severe pain in my lower back at a certain moment.
‘Even with a cracked fracture, it should get swollen due to internal bleeding if I’m overdoing it, so I don’t think I have a fracture.’
‘If this is a mountain walk that I can do casually on holidays, I could take a break without hesitation, but that’s not the case. It’s necessary to confirm what happens to Carol as soon as possible. Like Stardust, it would be nice if Mountain Vapor could serve as underlay…’
Then, a bad thought ran across my mind.
‘If it was the opposite my case… It’s similar to Stardust, what if Carol was injured in a way that didn’t make her in good shape? If she’s still alive…’
My legs unintentionally stopped and my head hurt.
‘If so, do I have to kill Carol, like Stardust…’
The thought was too realistic and horrifying.
‘It’s quite possible…’
My spine felt like freezing, I felt sick and I suddenly felt nausea. Astonishingly, I couldn’t think of anything.
A few seconds later, I noticed that I was stopped. Then, I started walking again.
‘It can’t be helped to think that. Nothing is definite yet…’
I kept walking in the direction marked on the compass.
‘It’s about time…’
At the moment I thought that…
It was like a wild beast… I heard a menacing sound of a beast. It sounded like a brown bear.
‘At such times…’
‘Should I keep going?’
Even if I go there, I doubt that I could defeat a stray dog, let alone a wild beast, in my state where my lower body isn’t strong. However, there’s a possibility that Carol has been attacked.
Am I relieved with Liao’s spear in my hand…?’
While thinking so, I lowered my hips and approached quietly.
As I got closer, I got convinced.
I could see the wings of the dragon moving through the grove.
The grayish green skin was covered with fine scales like lizards in the South Sea area. The texture that seemed to be slightly wet looked like a smooth woven fabric or armor with a series of plates.
It seemed that the sound of the beast I had heard was the moaning of the dragon.
However, by analyzing from the limited information I had, the dragon was also lying down and I didn’t think it was in a healthy state. It didn’t seem to rampage at any time soon.
I let out a breath of relief. While being nervous, I went around the side of the dragon.
It was no longer the case when it was lying down in pain. The pain wasn’t too much of a concern, perhaps because of adrenaline.
If the dragon was here, there must be a Dragon Knight, whether he was alive or dead. He should have fallen like I had fallen near Stardust.
As I took a long distance, going around the dragon, I saw a stranger there. He turned his back on me. He was wearing clothes with an unfamiliar design.
He was wearing something like a gray turban, wrapping around his head. Perhaps, there was such a culture. I could only see from the back, but not only it was placed on top of the head, the chin and the forehead were covered by the wrapping cloth. Perhaps, it was a traditional design of the Dragon Knight.
There was no doubt that he was a Dragon Knight.
And beyond him, there was an Eagle King. Since it didn’t make a single movement, it probably died. From the feather color, it was Mountain Vapor.
It seemed that it crashed on the same spot.
‘Did it fell while being bitten by the dragon?’
Then, I also noticed that Carol was next to it. Carol sank into the spot. I wondered if the back was hurt, but then… she was holding her dagger on her neck.
In other words, she was attempting to kill herself.
I felt a freezing sensation as if ice water was poured into my spinal cord.
Carol was confronting the Dragon Knight. The Dragon Knight didn’t seem to want Carol to commit suicide. He was yelling at her, while pointing at her dagger.
He didn’t speak the Telor language. It was a language that didn’t make sense to me.
‘Perhaps, it’s the An language which is spoken in the Cocolulu region. The intonation feels closer to the Shan language rather than Telor language, but the pronunciation uses a lot of nasal voice, which doesn’t sound familiar to me.’
He was trying to capture Carol, but she refused and tried to commit suicide, so he was probably yelling something like ‘Stop. Just give up and tie yourself with the rope’.
The situation must be dealt as soon as possible.
‘If I don’t do something quickly, Carol will die. I have no time to think about strategies.’
When I had decided… my head was clear and the pain was gone, and I felt like I was a machine.
I walked out of the grove. After a few steps closer, Carol noticed me and looked here. The Dragon Knight noticed the change in the line of sight. He tried to look back.
“Hey, lizard rider.” (Yuri)
While saying the derogatory name of the Dragon Knight in Telor, I carried the spear in my right hand on my shoulder, and kicked the ground vigorously with my left foot. At the same time as stepping on the right foot strongly, I threw the spear from a close distance.
The spear pierced the right arm of the man, who was turning halfway to look back, with the momentum of the initial velocity.
I threw it too early. While having the thought that it was ideal if that stabbed his body, I thought ‘Yeay’.
The spear pierced as if bending the arm sideways. Underneath of the arm, there was a large knife hanging. It was the arm with a weapon. In other words, the dominant hand suffered fatal damage.
‘This is good. I thrust in with the momentum of throwing the spear, and immediately grasped the spear handle hanging on the man’s arm and slammed the spear deeper into his body.’
While groaning, the man stepped on and didn’t fall. In reaction to the collision, the momentum of the whole body had disappeared.
At the same time as the momentum was lost, I took a step and kicked on the man’s knee like a step. The knee bone felt like it was crashing. Then, I pulled the spear as if I was pulling it out by using the reaction of kicking.
The man lost his balance and put his hand, which held a weapon, on the ground. I stuck out the spear I pulled out without taking a break, and sewed his palm on the ground to the ground.
I turned my hips on the spot, and swung my folded knees. At a distance that was mostly in close contact, the knees entered the jaws of the sitting man.
When the feeling of shooting through the chin echoed in the knee, the man collapsed on the spot as if fainted.
I watched him for a few seconds, but it seemed he didn’t move.
“Haa… haa… Are you alright, Carol?” (Yuri)
While keeping an eye on the man, I asked. As I got the victory for the time being, I felt at peace, as if my heart had returned inside the body. My mind was uplifted and my body felt warmth after exercise.
‘What’s with that ‘Yes’. You’re not replying to a lecturer or something, you know. Are you alright?’
When I took my eyes off that man and looked at Carol, she didn’t look like there was something wrong with her life. She wasn’t bleeding, and it didn’t look like the internal organs were damaged.
‘Aah, it’s good.’
I was relieved from the bottom of my heart.
“First off, put the dagger down.” (Yuri)
“A-ah… yeah, you’re right.” (Carol)
Carol’s hand holding the dagger was trembling. She might be prepared to commit suicide instead of bluffing. With a trembling hand, she removed the dagger from the neck and put it in the scabbard.
‘I’m relieved with this.’
I turned around and looked at the dragon. The dragon was limping down when looked from the front, and the Dragon Knight was attacked and fainted. However, it didn’t show any interest.
In the first place, unlike the eagles, it might be an animal that didn’t share a relationship of trust with its rider. There might be ways of controlling the ferocious animal that instinctively tried to attack people, and let them turn their fangs toward the enemy like me.
When I thought about it, that was how it was like when it knocked me down.
‘If the rider instructs the attack and then, it moves according to the instruction, there should be a delay, but at that time, there was no such a thing. It was probably because the dragon followed its instinct to attack without instruction.’
‘My interest in dragons is endless, but for now, I have to leave it alone. I feel like it made a move either because the internal organs were ruptured due to the impact of the fall or my spear pierced its wings and stabbed the important parts within the body.’
‘If there’s no stimulation, it will die in the meantime.’
“Y-… yes.” (Carol)
‘Again, huh. Oh well.’
“Myaro and Liao were flying over here a moment ago. According to him, it seems that we lost the decisive battle.” (Yuri)
Then, I briefly explained the current situation.
“In short, waiting here only makes things worse. The ones who will come here won’t be our army but the enemy.” (Yuri)
“G-got it. I see…” (Carol)
Carol looked depressed.
‘It’s no wonder.’
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After considering the situation with Carol, when I thought calmly again, there were few situations that were so troublesome. When I thought how much trouble I had to deal with, it was daunting.
“Do you get it?” (Yuri)
“Yes, somehow.” (Carol)
“Since we are here, they will give chase. We should move immediately.” (Yuri)
Aside from the Dragon Knight, who was visually recognizing her at short distance even in the sky, it was doubtful that the Kuran on the ground could discern Carol’s blonde hair.
However, if they knew there was a blonde Shanti, they would definitely come here.
‘After all, if the other side here is a blonde Shanti and she is a beautiful woman, they can use it for political transactions between kingdoms, and they can draw concessions at the national policy level as compensation. According to Eisa-Sensei, such a thing actually happened about 30 years ago. In other words, it has a value that can’t be priced.
Regardless whether they are informed about Carol’s identity, it’s safe to say that someone on the ground was observing a rare dragon aerial battle. Considering that, there were two eagles and a dragon crashed. I’m sure that the fact until that point of time is known. If anyone had a good eye or was looking through a telescope, one of the eagle riders was a blonde. So, it’s not impossible for them to know it.’
For some reason, Carol apologized. Far from apologizing, she regretfully had tears in her eyes.
“My leg… somehow, it’s bad. It hurts and I can’t stand…” (Carol)
‘What a mess.’
I was taken aback, and had no choice but to be stunned for a while. I could only stand on the spot.
“Please leave me…” (Carol)
Carol said in a lonely voice.
‘That is probably her true intention. In that case, she is going to wait for a rescue here, and if the Kuran come first, it would be a suicide…’
“Now that is the stupidest line of all your remarks so far.” (Yuri)
Carol whispered in a small voice.
“You know I can’t leave you behind.” (Yuri)
“But if you are here, you’ll be in danger…” (Carol)
“It’s too early to give up. Your life isn’t that cheap.” (Yuri)
‘However, the situation is serious. I really want to sigh once.’
Yes, I really did it.
‘What should I do from now on…’
‘Once I think about it, if she could stand and walk, it would be strange if she didn’t stand and fight when the Dragon Knight appeared. She couldn’t even do that, and she brought the dagger to her neck and used her life as a shield. I’m not sure if it’s a broken bone or a strain, but I think she can’t really walk.’
‘Is there no choice but to carry her on my back?’
The conclusion came out unexpectedly easy.
‘However, how far can we walk? Even if it is impossible to go to Reform, walking with Carol on my back to the Nyuka village, where our base is located, is…’
‘Moreover, since we lost in the decisive battle, we will see a lot of enemy’s horses running around on the main roads. If I’m alone, I can run into the forest and run away until the pursuers give up, but if I carry Carol on my back, it’s not possible.’
‘I will get found out by the pursuit. Even if we hide in the forest, it’s a matter of luck whether they can find us or not.’
‘No matter how many lives we have, it’s not enough.’
‘There’s no choice but to walk on non-existent paths in the forest.’
“I guess I have to carry her on my back…” (Yuri)
When I tried to say it to affirm my determination, I felt the hopelessness in my spine.
‘Carol is leaner, but she has muscle. She isn’t as heavy as an elementary school student. In addition, even if I cut down the amount of luggage to the best I can, I can’t afford not to carry anything. No matter how good a marathon runner you are, if you compete with a weight of 50 kg or more, you won’t be able to beat an amateur opponent.’
‘If they start chasing us, we would be inferior in speed and they would be able to catch up with us someday.’
‘If I could prostrate myself to God, and use Curaga or Midheal magic to heal Carol’s injury, I feel like prostrating myself now. The situation is so bad that I want to ask God.’
‘Am I ready to sacrifice by asking the Eagle King unit to go into the forest?’
‘Then, at the expanse of 26 eagles and some accidental deaths, 20 or more so will be available. With that much effort, it might have been possible to break through even if they chase use.’
‘No, there is no way to supply… It is possible to secure food for one or two people while walking, but securing food for more than 20 people is absolutely impossible. It takes three to four days to die starving…’
‘No, this is not the time to think about such non-constructive ideas. What should I do from now?’
‘Is there a way to dig a hole around here and hide without running away?’
‘As for me, I have an idea of a person who definitely comes to the rescue. It was the Queen Sword. She must come here even if she’s going to die.’
‘However, even if she arrives here a day or two later, I will still have to carry Carol when we’re running away. That woman has high agility and skill, and she may have reached a level where she can’t train her physical strength as much as a normal person, but with her physique, I don’t think she can walk more than me while carrying Carol on her back. The burden for each person will be reduced if you change turn of carrying Carol, but the speed won’t be doubled.’
‘As expected, this is not good. Her arrival has no absolute effect to overthrow the hopelessness of the situation caused by waiting here.’
‘I suppose I have no choice but to carry her on my back and run away.’
‘Even if she could catch up with followers, I can see that she will get stuck sooner or later. If so, it’s necessary to plan so that they can’t catch up.’
I saw the fainting Dragon Knight. Blood was dripping from his arm.
‘First off, shall I make use of this guy… It will be a loss of time, but if the enemy is faster, the only difference is whether the catastrophe will become bigger or not. Whether it is all or nothing, I better try to do something.’
I lifted up the upper body of the fainted man, and took off his armor.
‘As expected, the dragon with a good physique may not have a good load weight capacity. Although the design of armor is different, it is made of light leather similar as mine.’
‘In addition, he isn’t muscular, which is also similar to me.’
After that, I took off the helmet and shin pad, the clothes and only let the underwear left.
“Yuri, what are you doing?” (Carol)
Carol asked as if she was concerned with my strange behavior. I didn’t answer because there was no time to explain.
I took off my clothes and I put it on the man while checking his fainting condition. It was fine armor prepared by Rook, but either way, it must be thrown for the sake of future.
I forced the man to wear the armor which was a bit out of size. After putting on the shin pad and helmet, I laid him on his back.
Then, I searched around and brought as big a stone as possible. While carrying it, I didn’t feel any pain in my lower back.
I lifted the stone as high as possible and dropped it on the face of the fainted man.
There was a dull sound. When I thought the body was convulsed, the stone slipped sideways down the face. The man’s face was covered in blood and caved in.
The red blood came out of the broken nose, probably because he was still breathing, and the nose became red like a lantern.
I lifted the stone again, and struck it in the same way. After hitting him a couple of times, the man stopped moving.
The face was crushed so much that it couldn’t retain its original shape, and the pink streaks were visible throughout… Blood was splatter on the armor that I was wearing a while ago.
I roughly removed the helmet with blood, and threw it as casually as possible. Then, I struck a large knife that the man had, against a nearby stone, and crushed the blade slightly. I cut off the tip of the earlobe with that blade, and cut off the other ear with my dagger.
With this, I made my ‘dead body’.
‘This would create a story of me riding Mountain Vapor, and was killed during the fall. Unfortunately, I crashed my face into a rock on the ground and died instantly. The Dragon Knight was safe, but as the proof of killing the Eagle Knight, he stripped off one ear and disappeared somewhere. The helmet covering the ears was a hindrance to cutting the ears. So, the helmet was roughly taken off and thrown away on the spot. One ear was cut and the other wasn’t. However, the armor was certainly the Shanti armor.’
‘All of these are too sloppy and childish work, but it’s better not doing it. Perhaps, the one who will find this first is a soldier at the lowest rank. So, even though it’s not good, they don’t have a proper military organization system. It may be possible to make the pursuers questioned, having divided opinions and confused… Well, maybe.’
‘They may feel satisfied with one corpse, and choose to disregard the other… Is it too convenient to assume that…?’
When I looked at my hands, both hands were covered with blood and soil.
‘Is it possible to wipe it with a rag?’
‘No… let’s wash it. I don’t feel good…’
Then, I rinsed my hands with precious water.
- Curaga is a magic from Final Fantasy series while Midheal (Behoimi in raw) is a magic from Dragon Quest series.
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