Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Dragon King」Part 1
The next day, the forest within my view was illuminated by the afternoon sun.
The Wind Dragon Mountain Range extended to the east, connecting to the Ice Dragon Mountain Range in the northeast and the Fire Dragon Mountain Range spreading out before us.
This valley was somehow formed between these mountain ranges.
Yesterday, we were successfully able to find our way back to the main cavern from the underground lake and today we managed to complete our trek into the valley.
Back in the underground lake area, using earth spirit magic and transfer magic to climb up next to the waterfall, we found a branching passage that eventually led into the main cavern at the waterfall’s mouth.
There had been plenty of light-emitting stones in the lake area that made the use of transfer magic possible.
We were now standing outside the cavern’s exit, halfway down the Wind Dragon Mountain Range, with Ariane and Chiome taking in the scenery below us.
“We managed to make it out before dark.”
Ariane sighed in relief after saying that and pulled out the map she received in the village.
“I’ve finally passed through the Wind Dragon Mountain Range. This will be good news for the village……”
Chiome seemed deeply emotional about something as she stared out at the scenery, which allowed Ponta to happily play with her cat ears.
Chiome blushed a little at Ponta’s playful antics before she returned to her usual expressionless face.
“Ariane-dono, where is the spring located?”
When I called out to Ariane she started to alternate her gaze between the map and scouting the area.
“It seems to be near the top of that mountain over there.”
She pointed to a separate mountain that was located just beyond the forest below us as she spoke.
The mountain was next to the Wind Dragon Mountain Range and wasn’t all that impressive in comparison. Sitting atop it was a huge tree whose roots covered the entire thing, and was giving off a strange vibe I could even feel here.
“I take it that that’s the Dragon King’s tree. Though I can’t see any sign of a huge dragon from here.”
I strained my eyes as I looked around the mountain.
“I still can’t make out anything from here. When we do encounter the Dragon King, don’t do anything reckless and leave the talking to me, alright?”
Ariane lightly thrust her finger against my armor as she spoke.
It wasn’t like I wanted to pick a fight with the strongest of the dragon species, so I returned a silent nod.
Since there was no direct path from here to the Wind Dragon Mountain Range, we descended a gentle slope into the forest.
After our descent we continued walking along the eastern mountain and soon came across a hilly area from which the huge tree could be seen at a better vantage point.
Getting a closer look at the tree, I could see that the mountain the tree sat on was more spectacular I thought it’d be.
There was a small patch of grass between the blueish ground in front of the mountain and the rest of forest, with four large boulders set off to the side.
I could hardly believe my eyes when I caught sight of the structure that had been built at the base of the mountain.
Though I couldn’t tell their exact height from here, based on the height of the surrounding trees they were maybe ten meters tall.
There were two pillars standing parallel to each other with a connecting bar near the top of them…… Seeing such an unusual structure in this uninhabited region caused me to unintentionally shout.
“Arc, what’s the mat──!?”
A near silent mutter escaped my lips, as I unconsciously used 【Dimensional Step】 and materialized right in front of the gray stone structure.
I’m sure I heard Ariane try to say something before I transferred, but the activation of the spell cut her off. However, that was a trivial matter right now.
Right before my eyes stood a torii.
The bases of the pillars were covered in moss, there was no decoration and it was constructed of simple stone, but it was unquestionably a torii*.
After coming to this world, I haven’t seen anything like this anywhere I’ve been.
I then remembered the reason Chiome had been accompanying us. She said she was in search of a hideout that the first head of the Blade Heart Clan had set up.
If the first head had been a japanese person like I thought he’d been, then this torii could be a marker for his secret hideout.
Just beyond the torii, I could see man-made steps carved into the foothill that would make climbing it easier.
The hideout that Chiome had been sent to find was probably located somewhere on this foothill. Just as I was about to go back and tell the good news, the ground beneath my feet suddenly started shaking.
《To stand on this one’s back, thou art quite reckless, young one!!》
I heard a strange voice in my head and frantically looked around to find its source, only to have the ground move beneath my feet and toss me into the air.
I was thrown a considerable distance into the air before the weight of my armor and body dragged me back down.
However, as I fell I caught sight of the bluish boulders uncoiling into two sets of large wings.
A large horned head attached to a long neck rose up and opened its large, fang-filled mouth before releasing a mighty roar that shook the whole area.
The shock wave that accompanied the roar caused the birds resting in the nearby tree to fly away.
I somehow managed to curl up into a ball in midair and safely disperse the momentum by rolling across the ground.
I was greeted by a giant dragon the moment I stood up.
The dragon’s body was covered in bluish scales and the four wings on its back were completely uncoiled. The two horns on its head were pitch black and there was a striped pattern on its neck. From its head to the tip of its tail, the dragon was twenty, no, thirty meters tall.
Despite its large size, the dragon’s movements were rather nimble. The dragon was also considerably powerful, given that a casual jerk of its body was enough to cut down a few nearby trees.
……I take it that this was the Dragon King Ariane talked about!!
When the Dragon’s reptilian eyes focused in on me it opened its mouth and roared again.
My body was pushed back a little by the shockwave and I needed to shake my head to stop the ringing in my ears.
《Oh? For a young one to receive an attack of mine… It appears a challenger has come forth for this one!!》
A man’s voice entered my head again as the Dragon smiled at me, baring its fangs in the process.
Then it started laughing.
The Dragon appeared to be the one producing the voice. It was using some kind of telepathy to communicate with me.
Normally, interactions between intellectual beings started with a proper greeting, but after a single glance the Dragon King had labeled me a hero here to challenge him.
I’d been so preoccupied with examining the torii that I hadn’t even given any thought to the Dragon King.
When I looked up to the Dragon King, I knew I’d be crushed by this pinnacle of power if I didn’t explain myself.
“Wait! I’m not here to──!”
I quickly tried to explain everything to the Dragon King, but he rudely cut me off before I could say anything.
《Cease your pleading! Prepare to pay the price of thy foolishness!!》
The Dragon King’s shout rang through my head as his bulky body began to move. With a twist of his body, the Dragon King whipped his tail at me.
──I thought about the trivial matter of this being the first time an opponent didn’t want to speak with me instead of the imminent threat that approached.
As the Dragon King’s powerful tail closed in on me, it flattened everything in its way.
In half a breath, I used my left hand to grab the 『Heavenly Shield of Titus』 off my back and blocked the Dragon King’s tail strike with it.
A massive shock traveled up my left arm and my hand became numb, but right now I didn’t have time to worry about that.
As soon as his tail was repelled, the Dragon King had already pulled his neck back. While I couldn’t accurately grasp his movements, I saw a pale green light forming around his mouth that sent a shudder down my spine.
Having fought dragons in the game, I knew what was coming next.
The next moment, the Dragon King opened his mouth and unleashed a torrent of light and heat in my direction.
The ray of light the Dragon King had released in a straight line had instantaneously blown away huge swathes of the forest and ground.
I had managed to dodge to the side just before the beam of light hit me, and proceeded to roll to disperses most of the damage the pressure wave had generated.
The surroundings shifted in my view as my body bounced against the ground like a skipping stone.
When I finally hit something strong enough to stop my momentum, I rose to my knees and tried to scan the area.
However, everything in front of me was pitch black.
“Huh!? Did the Dragon breath have a blinding effect as well!?”
I tried touching my face with my empty hand in a state of panic.
“Oh, my helmet was just turned around……”
It most likely spun around when I’d been thrown around by the shockwave. I fixed my helmet and checked my condition at once.
After confirming that I was alright, I slowly rose to my feet while looking around.
All that remained of the land after the Dragon King’s breath attack was a smoking crater that had once been a grassy plain.
Somehow the mountain behind the torii had remained undamaged.
The nearby forest area had evaporated completely, leaving behind nothing but a deep linear gorge in the ground.
Even my current body might’ve been unable to survive a direct hit from that. I’d even suffered a bit of damage just evading the attack.
The name Dragon King wasn’t just for show.
“This isn’t the type of enemy one should fight alone…… 【Large Heal】”
Though I wasn’t sure if this boney body could be bruised, I cast recovery magic on myself to alleviate any damage.
As the warm lights that appeared when I cast the spell were absorbed into my body, the pain I felt lessened and my body became lighter.
《Ohh… Thou art still alive even after being grazed by this one’s attack. It appears this will be a worthwhile battle after all.》
As the smoke cleared, the bulking body of the Dragon King came into view and despite the distance I’d been thrown away I could hear his voice loud and clear in my head.
Even from here I could tell that the Dragon King’s fighting spirit had risen. The Dragon King raised his tail again as he flapped his wings and became airborne.
Even if I tried to shout my explanation now, the enemy was dead set on fighting and there didn’t seem to be a way to stop him.
I could run away with 【Transfer Gate】, but I’d be leaving Ariane and Chiome behind. There was a limit to how fast I could move with 【Dimensional Step】in this place, not to mention that Dragon King would easily keep up with me in an open field.
While I might’ve been able to dodge using short transfers, it would be difficult to shake off a flying dragon.
We were now beyond the point of using words.
── I resigned myself to my fate and drew my sword.
“【Sacred Lightning Sword】!!”
My sword’s blade shined a deep blue color as it more than doubled in length and an electric aura wrapped around it.
No hard feelings.