Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 4 Chapter 41: Dragon-san’s Struggle
While I returned to my dragon form, I turned towards Ten and quickly asked her, seeing how the ‘Eclipse’ dragon was slowly descending from the cracks in the barrier.
“The most annoying thing about this guy is its ability to bend space around itself. Ten, how are we going to deal with that?”
“That is actually my specialty, so you would need to copy the exact things that I’m going to do. That is, if you are able to keep up with the process!”
Ten must have scanned me to see my capability for casting magic, and then whistled shortly in admiration.
I honestly think that my magic processing speed is quite fast, since in the past I was forced to cast powerful and complex spells one after another and I had little to no problem with that.
But for Ten’s technique to be so wide? It was quite a shock for me.
The ‘Eclipse’ dragon opened its mouth wide, and from inside of it I could feel numerous signs of magic. Then, it shot numerous small objects towards us.
Magic projectiles, each the size of a baseball ball came raining down on us with tremendous speed.
I initially used the same kind of barrier as I used in Melias dungeon to protect us, but eventually the magic projectiles managed to break through it and I felt an immense amount of pain spreading through me.
“Are you okay? The ‘Eclipse’ also influences the mind, so please do well to remember that. It can also start affecting you if its density increases, so rather than tanking it with a barrier it is best to avoid it entirely.”
You should have said so earlier! Still, I lifted the barrier and doged to the side, trying to avoid the rain of projectiles that was falling onto us.
I technically could have used the same thing that Ten and that dragon were using to erase the projectiles right before they were about to hit me, but since space-time wasn’t really my forte I preferred not to do that, since I wasn’t sure if I’ll be able to get the timing right.
As a result, I managed to avoid some of the projectiles, but others came crashing right into my inner shield that I erected around my body.
Still, it wasn’t good to just let them hit me like that.
The ‘Eclipse’ dragon kept on shooting these projectiles one after another without stopping, but even so, Ten wasn’t hit by any of them so far!
Uwah, it’s like she wasn’t scared of that thing in the slightest!
“Just try to endure it for some more. Now that I have see it enough times, I’m pretty sure I can get the timing right. I will also try to put the most of my magic into my next spell, to see if I can do something about this dragon’s space-bending ability!”
Ten says something like that as if it was no big deal, but she soon shares with me the concept of what she was about to do. It was a schematic of a large magic cancelation field that was supposed to take its effects in real time.
While I was overviewing that, I could see something strange at the very corner of my field of view. Looking towards that something, I could see a huge whirlpool of distorted space beginning to gather around the ‘Eclipse’ dragon.
Uwah, amazing! Was it all the distorted space? …… Hm?
“Hey, is it ijust me, or is that dragon grew bigger than it was before!?”
„Maybe he assimilated all of the surrounding fog just so it could grow stronger. I can certainly imagine it doing that!”
We ascended to the skies above Taisha, where we thought it would be easier to avoid the incoming missiles as well as the ‘Eclipse’ fog.
But just then my tail hit the space-time distortion and suddenly it becomes as heavy as a rock.
When I realized that it was trying to pull me in I became distressed, and just then a whole lot of small ‘Eclipse’ monsters attacked me, coming at me from all over the sky.
I quickly cast the spell in order to protect myself.
「Become the raging fire that incinerates my enemies!」
But just before I cast my spell Ten came to my rescue, creating a firestorm that swarmed all over the ‘Eclipse’ monsters, burning them to nothingness, although its effect was slightly delayed by the space-time distortion.
Then, the magic that was taking hold over my tail suddenly subsided.
Once I flew higher and got out of its reach, I could finally let out a sigh of relief.
Although the space-time distortion was neutralized by Ten’s spell, it was like trying to cast multiple different spells at the same time. If we keep on doing that, our defenses against ‘Eclipse’ fog are sure to become weaker in no time.
Oh well, it wasn’t all that different form being mowed down by the ‘Eclipse’ monsters, so it would be equally as bad.
At that time, Ten conveyed a certain thought to me.
“Say, Lava, aren’t you used to fighting against dragons?”
“Ahh, yeah, there was this one time when my Senpais pinned me down and I tried to resist them, but it didn’t account to much.”
At that time I couldn’t use my magic, so having to rely solely on brute strength I was quickly overwhelmed by them and defeated.
As you could probably easily imagine, it was still frustrating to me, thinking about that.
“…… Unexpected violence?”
That evaluation wasn’t very pleasing.
“We are really busy at the moment, so care to save that conversation for later?”
“Yeah, I wanted to say the exact same thing.”
As if to cheer me up, Ten showed me an image of her cuddling the tails and soft fur of every Shrine Maiden in here. It was a truly heartwarming scene.
Wow, it looked so soft and fluffy.
But, I had the reason to wrap this up quickly as well.
Aaaah, geez! Now I wanted to cuddle my sweet Aru even more!
Then, there was really one thing left to do here!
So we flew even higher, accelerating this whole time.
That ‘Eclipse’ dragon was a tough opponent.
Once it found out that its attacks were not so effective, it switched their pattern to something much more deadly and quicker, focusing almost exclusively on me.
I think it is because it also absorbed some of Ten’s memories and experiences, and because of that I almost wanted to cry while erecting protective barrier after protective barrier.
I was really hard, constantly shooting magic at it while also maintaining the highest level of defensive barriers.
No, that’s not it. Of course it was hard for me. Why wouldn’t it be? After all, for me it was the first time ever using some of them.
“That’s my magic! It’s not yours!”
“I know that!”
I say that while making a whole lot of tight dodges.
While doing that, I would sometimes turn my head back and spit my breath at the fog dragon, with magic incorporated in it.
My magical flames shoot through the sky and manage to hit the fog dragon in the tail, but it was not enough to do any kind of damage to it.
And what really breaks my heart is the fact that it kept on regenerating so quickly that it was insane.
Shit, absorbing the mist from its surroundings to regenerate and changing attack patterns!? What the hell is this!? The last boss from some kind of hardcore RPG!?
“It’s none of your business!”
Seeing as Ten was able to glimpse into my mind, I quickly rebuilt the mental walls around me.
To tell you the truth, I wanted to finish this as soon as possible.
Although the flow of time was different here in Taisha, the real world was now plunged into an all-out war with ‘Eclipse’, so we needed to wrap things up in here in order to avoid as many casualties as possible.
Also, as to avoid our egos from merging completely.
Even though I was doing my best to resist, I was already beginning to lose the sense of distinction between Ten and myself.
Even though dragons are all part of the world, our sense of individuality remains tightly connected to our physical vessels.
The dragon network was an entirely different thing because of the vessels being present and kept separately, but now a raw spirit was mingling with my mind.
So even if Ten’s spirit was an outsider in my mind, it was being treated as something completely natural.
“You’re not me!”
“That is right. You are not me, and I am not you.”
We were doing that time after time in order to see if we could still distinguish ourselves from one another.
Still, I couldn’t really help it but to witness the scenes that I knew were not my memories right in front of my eyes.
It was a scene with lots of winged monsters filling the sky.
The white fog was filling the ground, so thick that it was impossible to see the earth or trees or grass.
Even though I was doing my best and threw magic after magic at the monsters, almost half of Towa was eradicated right in front of my eyes.
It was enough of a reason to fall into despair.
But I needed to survive. No matter what.
It was to give hope to those of people who managed to survive.
But I was overcome with grief. I couldn’t stop ‘Eclipse’ myself.
I don’t want to forget this. I cannot forget this.
For the sake of those who lived on, as well as those who passed away.
I won’t speak about that to anyone. I will be the only one to carry that burden, no matter how heavy it turns out to be.
No matter what. No matter who.
I shall never forgive the white scales and blue……
Why my soul was in so much pain, I could hear Nectar’s voice ringing somewhere in the distance. I then woke up and saw monsters crawling all over me, and so I started to use my teeth and claws to fight them off.
It feels as though I barely made it, but for now I was safe.
I could still hear Nectar’s voice ringing in my ears.
“Lava, you slowed down, so I thought you were in trouble!”
“Yeah, I was. But thank you, Nectar. You saved me.”
I meant that from the bottom of my heart.
It was really dangerous. I let myself to be sucked right inside of Ten’s memories and I must have blacked out.
I we were to merge together then, we would become a completely new dragon with both memories of Ten and myself.
I don’t know which one of us would end up being a dominant one, but even with my memories still intact, I know I wouldn’’t be myself anymore.
The pain in my soul was slowly dying down, and I could feel my connection with Nectar again.
“I’m sorry…… Looks like I dragged you inside of my memories.”
“It couldn’t be helped, so don’t worry about that.”
Ten apologized to me and I reassured her.
This memory was so shocking to me, that for her it must have been some kind of a trauma. Nobody could possibly remain calm after witnessing something like that.
However, being able to see things that were probably buried deep inside of her mind was certainly a bad thing.
If we don’t take any countermeasures against that, no amount of protective barriers will be able to help us.
Also, while trying to avoid the fog dragon I looked down towards the ground, where I could see worried Nectar who was gazing upwards towards me.
It must have been very difficult for him to keep the barrier going, and after he managed to pull me back to reality I would be really glad if there was anything I could do to thank him right now besides offering my words of grattitude.
That’s right. I was really glad that Nectar was my beloved partner.
But, now wasn’t the time to be thinking about that!
“Nectar, can you stay connected to me like this?”
As long as Nectar was with me, I shouldn’t forget myself, no matter what.
“Of course, I don’t mind! I don’t mind at all!”
I felt bad for puzzled Ten, but Nectar was overflowing with happiness right now.
So as Ten ultimately gave up, I accelerated yet again and aimed straight at the fog dragon.
Then suddenly, after inhaling, Nectar began to talk.
“Lava’s scales are blacker than the darkest night and they have a wonderful luster to them, just like obsidian. Their smooth texture always makes me feel euphoric.”
I tried to fire multiple fireballs at the dragon, but thanks to Nectar’s words my mouth slipped and it managed to avoid the most of them.
Well, some of them actually managed to connect, but it was way too few to make any kind of damage to it. I was pretty upset with myself for that.
Besides, Nectar! I know I was the one who told you to keep talking, but aren’t you taking that way too far!?
I tried to calm him down, but once Nectar’s switch was flipped on, there was no stopping him.
“Her red and black wings hold tough bones inside of them, but the membrane itself is thin and soft, so much that you could see the sun shining right through it. It feels so strange, but at the same time extremely comforting. They can protect you from the rain, or you can bury your face in them if you’re feeling down.”
I flapped my wings strongly to chase away the gathering fog.
But next time it is raining, you are using the umbrella, my dear husband, you hear me!? Umbrella it is!
“Her red hair look like the dancing flames themselves, and are so hot and beautiful that you can fall in love with them! I was always thinking that her dragon form was that special, one of a kind of beauty that you won’t find nowhere else.”
I gather the flames in my mouth and then cast them towards the fog dragon.
At least I wanted to, but I was so embarrassed by Nectar’s words that I was unable to send my flames forward.
“Her long tail is really supple but can also be quite emotional. When she’s happy, it swings happily as well. However, taking care of it is a really hard work, and she also needs to make sure to protect it from different kinds of damage.”
Wah! Wah! I’m sorry! I was trying to hide that fact from everyone else, but I’m truly sorry!
I tried to shoot at the fog dragon, but it was no use. It was always one step ahead of me.
So I try to lash my tail at it, hoping it will connect.
Surprisingly, that it exactly what happens. My barrier-coated tail crushed right into its skull.
Although the wound already regenerated by the time the dragon managed to collect itself, it seems that this attack managed to deal some major damage in.
“Lava’s golden eyes are just like the glow of the full moon. There are full of kindness and warmth, reflecting her true nature towards the world. I could never get bored of looking right into them!”
“Kyaah! I’m so jealous! Thanks you for such tasty treats!”
Even though Ten seemed to be enjoying this greatly, I was taking more and more mental damage.
Well, thanks to that I managed to draw a firm distinction between my ego and Ten’s, but still it was so embarrassing that I just wanted to crawl under a rock and just stay there.
“Right, that about does it for the appearance alone! Now, onto the traits of character! There’s a whole lot of goodness that we need to cover in that department!”
“Good, good! Keep ‘em coming!”
“Haven’t you had enough, Ten-san!?”
But even though Nectar said he wasn’t over, it seems like he ran out of things to talk about.
If this keeps up and Nectar blabbers some more, I will have to kill him out of shame and then kill myself to atone for my crimes!
Now I was motivated even more to get rid of the fog dragon as soon as possible.
At that time, the fog dragon finally noticed both Nectar and Mikoto and plunged all the way down towards them.
Ten screams towards Mikoto.
I was irritated with her behavior, but I could completely understand it. Still, I somehow knew they would be fine.
The fog dragon does not slow down. It wanted to break through the barrier, knowing full well that there was a lot of delicious fodder on the other side.
…… I’m not sure if fodder was a good expression here.
Nectar holds Mikoto close to him as he was backing away.
However, seeing the light in his eyes I realized the he was backing away on a purpose. He must have had some sort of a plan.
Then, he smiles in his usual, gentle way.
“I love you, Lava.”
“I love you, too, Nectar!”
To be honest, I wasn’t able to keep my composure.
I knew that it would be risky and I would open myself for fog dragon’s attacks, but keeping up the protection barriers around me this whole time was eating way too much of my magic.
I also needed to carry out Ten’s spell, but its magic consumption was relatively low for a spell of that caliber.
Still, I let go of the magic inside of my body.
「Bent both space and time to my will!」
A slightly greenish wave of magic cast by Ten hits the fog dragon, severely crippling its movements.
It was the spell that slowed down the space and time many times.
Of course, the fog dragon was trying to break free from that spell, but while it was doing that, I had the time to cast a new spell.
I created a burning hot, bright-red ring of flames all around me, and soon there was a green flame of Ten mixed in my own as well.
「By my order, burn the space and time itself in blazing inferno!」
The ring proceeded forward and encircled the fog dragon, and then it erupted into a gigantic pillar of blazing flames that shot into the sky.
The barrier cracked and broke down, and soon both Mikoto and Nectar disappear behind the wall of smoldering fire.
To keep the flame going, I had to remove every other spell that I cast before, but right about now I needed all of my remaining magic to keep the flame ablaze, and to even make it stronger!
‘Lava!! What about Makkocchi and the others!?”
“Forget about them! Now, concentrate!”
In the sea of fire, Ten’s desperate voice sounded even more miserable, especially since I wasn’t able to see her.
But as soon as I was to explain to her what was going on, the fog dragon began to thrash about inside the blazing cyclone.
Even though two powerful sources of magic were attacking him and cutting him away from its fog, that thing was still trying to break free.
If we were to lose our focus now, even for a spilt second, it would break free and escape.
Then it would be all over.
I’m sorry. I know this is painful, but if we won’t do this right now, everyone’s going to be in grave danger.
Ten supported me with all of her strength, even though I could clearly feel just how distressed she was.
I put the last remnants of my magic power to power up the raging firestorm.
The fog dragon lets out a bloodcurdling roar, similar to a death cry. It echoes throughout my whole body.
The vortex of feelings was nothing like the ones I felt before. There was no hatered, no pain. Only deep sense of sorrow and loneliness.
Sadness, hurt. Painful. Fear. –––––– Loneliness.
What was that, all the way back there?
“It’s over, it’s already gone! Anything more and you are going to break apart!”
I hear a scream like that and I regain my consciousness.
I could feel the last shreds of fog dragon’s presence disappearing inside the cyclone of flames.
As soon as I cancel the spell the flames disperse, showing no trace of the white mist anymore.
Then once the flames were no more, I could see Nectar right next to the portal, waving his hand towards us and showing that he was okay.
Makoto was also there, waving her hand at us.
That’s because Nectar was wearing a certain amulet around his neck. That amulet held a spell that would never let Nectar and the ones he considered friends to be hurt by my magic.
The phrase which activated the spell was ‘I love you’, which showcased my desire to protect those I cared about, without letting them be harmed by my power.
Originally it was something I wanted to keep as a last resort in case of a crisis or life or death situation, but I guess now was as good opportunity as ever to use it.
And just when I thought that, all power left my body.
“See, that’s what happens when you use too much of your magic! Just get to the ground and rest for a bit.”
I tried to move my wings and get down to the ground just like Ten advised me, but it was no use.
On a side note, the strained another dimension was also beginning to collapse.
I felt so heavy. I don’t think I will be able to use my wings at all.
Eh? But wait, isn’t that like, totally bad?
At the moment when Makoto shouted towards Ten, I was almost completely passed out.
It seems that Makoto accepted Ten inside of her body again, and she kneeled on the spot, exhausted just like me.
She must have done it so that Ten could focus her magic power on maintaining the rest of the realm here that was still standing.
As for me, I turned into my human self in order to minimalize the consumption of magic, and before long I was slowly regaining my ability to move.
Seems like we won’t be falling into another dimension anytime soon.
“Lava, I’m here!”
“I’m fine. You go on ahead.”
I uttered to him, but Nectar just shook his head.
It is really fortunate that Nectar managed to secure the gate that it was still operational now, even though I thought it would be impossible.
Nectar proved himself to be an invaluable help yet again.
While I think that, the seven tori gates gradually begins to shake.
I see, even though the gates been maintained by Shrine Maidens, Ten was also a part of this process.
And now, when she was too weak to act, this space couldn’t be maintained anymore.
Once the gates disappear, we won’t be able to rebuild them and go back.
As a result, we would end up drifting through different dimensions forever, unable to return to our original world.
If it was a joke, then it must have been a poor one.
Just a little bit more! Just a little bit more!
Feeling my way forward, I eventually managed to reach out the gate that Nectar managed to protect.
As soon as I got through the portal, I could feel water splashing all around me.
It spreads all around me and wets my clothes, but I could clearly sense my magic and leylines presence was clear in the air.
I don’t know if I managed to go back, because my body was so tired that I wasn’t able to stand up or even lift a single finger.
As expected, my body was really selfish in that matter.
Before I fall to the ground, someone supports me.
I thought it was Nectar, but that was not the case.
Because I could hear Nectar’s voice clearly coming from the distance.
Realizing that, I managed to raise my face and when I saw who it was that was supporting me, I opened my eyes in astonishment.
Because it was none other than Lute himself, a young spirit that I met during the previous ‘Eclipse’ crisis not so long ago.