Translator: Kurehashi Aiko
Volume 3 Chapter 25: Dragon-san Is Shaking
Once we heard Nectar’s story, surprisingly enough neither Ligurila nor I were all that surprised to hear that Belga joined Lute’s little group.
Impossible! …… Is what I wanted to shout, but to be honest, once I thought this all through and recalled all of the recent events and the case of the magic tools thief, it wasn’t that much of an implausible story.
Belga’s magical guns were supposed to be kept as display objects at the Ballow Royal Museum, or so I heard.
And when they got stolen totally out of the blue, once you put the two things together, the fact that it was Belga whom they met earlier wasn’t all that impossible.
However, if she was transformed into a spirit and took back her guns, it must mean that she has a consciousness of her own.
The fact that she didn’t show any kind of reaction upon seeing Kyle or Nectar was especially a cause for concern.
Was she being manipulated by Lute? Or maybe her memories were being sealed away?
In any case, once they have been caught up in Lute’s Teleportation spell, they were thrown out just outside of the entrance to the dungeon.
There were already monsters out there going on a rampage, and various Hunters were engaging them in order to buy civilians some time to escape to safety.
Apparently the magic stones were the source of the white fog…… No, that’s not quite right. The stones may have accelerated their birth cycle, but they were all appearing from the different entrances to the dungeon in large numbers.
As a result, the monsters went out to attack both Hunters and civilians alike.
I was worried about that fog, but first thing first: we needed to take care of the monsters, who at the moment were far more dangerous than the slowly advancing fog.
So, while Kyle went to help the Hunters fight off the invading monsters, Nectar worked on erecting a barrier strong enough that would prevent the monsters from spreading any further.
After we established the center of the city of Melias as the safe spot, we left Kyle to his own devices, seeing how he was consumed with anger and jealousy.
It was only natural. I mean, the most important person to him in the entire world completely forgot about him and chose to be with another man.
Worse yet, there was nothing that any one of us could do about it.
There was also the case of Lute’s strange behavior towards us, and it was making me all anxious for some reason.
But apparently I was not the only one who felt that way.
「Lava, Belga called this fog “Eclipse”. Do you know anything about it?」
When Kyle asked me that, it wasn’t right away that I responded.
We dragons know about almost one hundred percent of the events and happenings that befell this world throughout its long history.
It was all in order for us to make a better job at conserving the leylines and preserve the circulation of magic in the world, but it was nothing more than basic information.
Throughout history, all living creatures create their own ecosystems and cultures, so it was only natural that if there was so many of them, some of the finer details may have gotten lost or omitted to our knowledge.
To put it simply, there were sure bound to be the things about this world that escaped even our vast knowledge.
As much as it pains me to admit that.
Even if all of this looked like a very serious event, one that was presumably connected to the end of the world, there was not even a single trace of information regarding the white fog in the dragon’s collective knowledge, and trust me, I looked through it very thoroughly.
When I flew up in the air to get a hold of our current situation, the landscape has changed considerably.
The fog gradually kept on expanding, covering the mountains and forests, covering the earth with thick white blanket that concealed everything from sight.
Some of the local wildlife managed to flee to safety, but those of the animals that weren’t fast enough stopped moving and dropped dead on the spot, as if their batteries were suddenly pulled out when they were touched by the fog.
There was nothing left behind.
That white fog was swallowing up everything in its path…… Be it a plant, a building, a spell or a human being. It was sucking the life out of them.
There should have been at least something describing a crisis like that, but so far I wasn’t able to find anything. …… I was afraid that it might have been something that was far beyond our comprehension.
But, we couldn’t just sit around and do nothing. I couldn’t sit around and do nothing.
I could feel the leylines being damaged further and further, the flow of magic deteriorating by the minute.
As a dragon, as a guardian of this world, I had to put a stop to this.
But even though I think like that, I was at a loss what should I do.
What was that fog in the first place? And from whence did I came?
I could feel my hands gradually becoming colder.
The inside of my head was one big white stain.
Someone put his hand on my shoulder, and I immediately snap out of it.
When I look up, it was Nectar who came to me and was now hugging me tightly from the side, looking at me with his gentle eyes.
「Lava, please answer me honestly. Don’t leave me hanging like that.」
Nectar must have already noticed that I knew nothing about the white mist.
But still, I was hesitant.
If I don’t know how to counteract this predicament, then who is supposed to know?
Was despair the only thing that was now left to us?
Dragons were supposed to be the mightiest beings in the entire world. We are necessary for this world to function properly. So what use is for us, if we can’t even do our job properly.
A warm hand touched my cheek gently. Somehow, that made me feel even more depressed.
「Even if you don’t have the answer, just try to think about what you know and it will all come to you. That’s how people come to deal with the unknown. It’s just like when Aru was born, remember?」
To those words, I opened my eyes and saw Nectar who was smiling brightly at me.
「You are not alone in this. You have us, your companions, so don’t be afraid to ask us about anything when you don’t know something.」
Nectar said that, and Kyle, Senjiro and Ligurila were all behind him, nodding their heads in agreement.
Even though they were so tense before, right now Kyle looked concerned, and Senjiro seemed to be thinking about something.
Heck, even Ligurila had that smug look on her face.
Each and every one of them was trying to think of some solution to this predicament, and no one was trying to blame me for anything.
「So, let’s try to think together of something?」
Nectar said softly, and I couldn’t help myself but to let out a small, painful sigh.
When I was still human, it was a bad habit of mine to struggle with my problems all on my own, and try to solve them on my own. This habit of mine must have become stronger after I became a dragon.
But, now I have friends that I could count on.
And above all else, there was one person to whom I was the most important person in the entire world.
During my previous life, it was simply unthinkable to me that I may one day have such wonderful friends.
I turned towards Nectar and hugged him back with all of my might.
While joy was slowly overwhelming me, the strength began to come back to my limbs.
「I knew it, I’m the happiest when I’m with you, Nectar.」
「…… Eh, thanks? I feel the same way.」
Although he seemed to be slightly flustered at first, he soon enough hugged me back.
The pleasant warmth of his body was giving me strength.
「I’m so sorry. I don’t know anything about that fog.」
We stayed just like that for a little while, but eventually we parted from each other, and I shifted my gaze from Nectar to the rest of my friends.
「I can’t possibly hope to do this on my own. Will you lend me your strength?」
「But of course, Lava. There must be some kind of solution to this case.」
When the dragons were opposed to the idea of me having a child, Nectar hugged me just like that as well.
I don’t think he is aware of just how many times small gestures like that saved me during all of those years, but I guess it was just like him.
「…… Okay, so for the time being, maybe the two of you could stop flirting with each other for a second, so that we may thing of a possible solution, would you kindly?」
Ligurila spoke up kind of awkwardly, bringing both of us back to reality.
「But Ligurila-dono, this doesn’t bother me in the slightest.」
「I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I must agree with this guy……」
Ligurila was stunned to hear both Kyle and Senjiro talk like that.
Also, Kyle let out a sigh and put his hand to his forehead with visible resignation.
「While Nectar’s barrier is still working, we will try to manage the monsters as well as the mist.」
I could feel a wave of heat hitting my cheeks, and I nodded my head to their words.
…… T, they were all so nice to me, even though I didn’t deserve it.
「Everyone, thank you.」
I laughed and looked at the volumes of white fog engulfing the mountains just outside of the barrier.
It still felt scary and creepy.
There was also that feeling of fear, knowing that my body would cease to function once the white fog touches it.
Still, to make myself feel a little bit better, I give myself a good old slap to the cheeks.
「If we don’t solve this case quickly, Aru’s spring break is going to end!」
「Yeah, so let’s get this over with as soon as possible.」
Nectar nods his head to my words, and right after that we begin to think about the strategy for our next move.
「The fog moves slowly, but its reach is constantly expanding. If it spreads beyond the mountains, it will be extremely hard to contain it.」
「Also, there is no magic inside of it. But seeing how it managed to eradicate my Wind Barrier in a manner of seconds, it must contain some magic nullifying effect.」
We also managed to confirm that even the spells of the highest caliber were pretty much ineffective. It was a really strange quirk to have.
「But was such a thing sealed away inside of a dungeon? Was it left there intentionally? That fog is a one thing, but combined with monster infestation this is pretty much an overkill.」
While we were talking about that, Kyle and Senjiro were busy discussing some other topic.
「Maybe that facility was a defense mechanism against the monsters?」
「And would that even work?」
「Once the amount of monsters in the dungeon exceeds a certain number the fog is released to cleanse the dungeon?」
While saying that, Senjiro looked towards Nectar and Ligurila to back his theory, his tail swaying nervously.
「Once it began to absorb monster, the fog clearly grew thinner. So maybe the ancients really intended to fight poison with poison. It is true that the monsters are a threat to the world, but that fog is not much better at the same time.」
「But if so, this does contradict the words of this young man named Lute. Judging from his words, the dungeon was built to contain the fog within its depths specifically.」
Once the name Lute is mentioned, my mind was brought back to poor Oblivio and Lishella.
Ligurila, however, only responded by shrugging her shoulders.
「But the monsters produced out there are artificial, meaning that their existence does not upset the balance of the leylines. The fog eats away at magic and living beings. And if they weren’t alive, they would bypass my barrier and run into the city, causing havoc and destruction.」
「The monsters shall continue to grow unless we fix the leylines responsible for their birth. The only problem is, that leyline is probably deep within the fog by this point.」
Kyle seemed to be crushed by this statement, but Ligurila only puts her hand on her hip and says something completely ridiculous.
「What about bringing the whole mountain down? Who knows, maybe the fog will stop seeping out once its supply is cut off ––––」
At that exact time, the whole ground started to shake violently.
At the same time I could hear the world scream in agony in the exact same way as it did not so long ago. The volume of the fog around the mountain increased while the amount of monsters decreased.
「…… Hey, hey, am I seeing things, or did the mountain just shrunk?」
「It seems that not only magic, but the world itself is withering away.」
I could see Kyle and Senjiro breaking into cold sweat.
Ligurila also shuts up and doesn’t even say a word.
It happened so fast that none of us knew how to react.
But the question was: what could be done?
According to Nectar’s story even the strongest forms of magic were pretty much ineffective against the fog, and even if it was affecting monsters it would still prove to be fatal to the citizens once it reaches Melias.
And once the alarm sirens went off, all of the dungeon’s defense mechanisms were disabled in order to make it possible for anyone who was still inside to get out.
Hmm, wait a minute.
「Why was there an alarm in the first place?」
We all fell silent for a moment out there, just staring at each other and pondering that question, and eventually I spoke up, even though I wasn’t sure what to say.
「Say, did the warning signal went off at the exact same time as the fog appeared in the dungeon? Because if that was true, that would mean that the ancients knew about the fog, wouldn’t you agree?」
「In addition, while I was facing this Palette spirit on the lower floor, she seemed adamant on not letting me go any further. She also said that stopping the supply of magic was not recommended. That means there must have been something further back there.」
「There might still be some clues back there on how to stop the fog.」
We all looked upset at the very thought of that, but it was Kyle who became livid first.
「That fog eats away all magic! I hardly believe that anything of worth remains there at this point.」
「The materials used to construct the dungeon seemed resistant to the fogs effects, so an even more amazing magic must have been used in the process. I think that the probability of finding something there is quite high.」
「Even so, how do you intend to reach it? It’s in the middle of the fog.」
「I will go.」
Once I declared that, everyone’s eyes were focused right at me.
「Why don’t we try magic? Even if we are unable to seal away the fog, we might be able to contain it long enough to find something.」
「Indeed, I remember that Lute guys saying something like the only thing capable of dealing with that fog might be ancient magic……」
「When it comes to dragons, our scales are the best armor in the entire world. I should be fine for a little bit if I also protect myself with ancient magic.」
There are many types of magic out there, but ancient magic is the type that possess the power to interfere with the natural state of the world.
If normal magic can be compared to a miracle, then the ancient magic could be compared to a force that governs the laws of this world.
So you could also say that the body of a dragon was composed of the world itself.
If I am unable to do this, then I don’t know who else possibly could.
「I will go as well.」
For a moment I thought that I didn’t hear that right, but Nectar’s expression was as serious as ever.
「I know that my ability to use magic out there will be severely limited, but I’m the only one who knows the exact location of this room.」
「Eh, but it will be dangerous, you know?」
「All the more reason not to let you go alone.」
At this moment Nectar’s expression was so serious that I was at a loss for words.
But for some strange reason, Kyle, Ligurila and Senjiro looked really concerned!?
「I’m worried to let you guys go there all on your own.」
「Watch out for anything dangerous. Worst case scenario, you might be able to use him as a cannon fodder and make a run for it yourself.」
「You’re just awful!」
Ligurila just shrugs her shoulders while looking unhappy.
At the same time, she covered herself in a bright light and her tattered gown transformed into her usual everyday attire.
She then takes off into the sky above.
「Don’t leave but a single monster standing. But watch out for your arms getting tired with their numbers.」
「That sounds somewhat painful.」
For a moment out there, I felt anxious while watching Senjiro readying for battle right next to Ligurila.
That is because Senjiro is a really strong person.
But I would be lying if I told you that I wasn’t worried seeing he was about to fight a whole group of monsters on his own.
However, once she looked upon Senjiro, a smile rose on Ligurila’s lips.
「It seems that they are mostly First Class monsters. Perfect playmates for you, wouldn’t you say?」
「Umu, rest assured. I shall show you the results of my training!」
Senjiro then turns towards me, wearing the softest kind of expression I have ever seen during my whole life here in this world.
「He may be but a simple man, but if it’s a monster or two he can handle them easily.」
I suddenly felt embarrassed about my own thoughts, but it seems that others paid that no mind at all, especially Senjiro.
Ligurila knows Senjiro the best from all of us, so when she says that his ability is more than enough, it must be the truth.
I believe that they will be okay.
Senjiro was that kind of man that was capable of doing anything once he sets his mind to do something.
So naturally, I trust him as well.
「We’ll leave things back here with you.」
「Yeah, just leave it to me.」
Senjiro laughed nonchalantly, which was totally out of character for him, all the while exposing his bestial fang.
「Right then, we trust that you won’t let other Hunters die over here.」
Kyle, who up until now was looking at the whole scene from the side, placed his hand upon his forehead and said to us:
「Don’t forget that you have a child waiting for you back home.」
「But of course.」
Both Nectar and I nod to confirm that.
「After all, all of this is for us to spend the spring break with Aru!」
We both smile brightly, and Kyle smiled back at us in return.