I was running through the wilderness.
There is a small black dragon that looks just like me running by my side while occasionally crashing to me.
However, the only thing that is similar to me is the appearance, its atmosphere and sensation is incomparable to me. It has a ferocious aura like when Rēko’s fighting, and its eyes were clearly hostile to me.
「Y-you! Isn’t it about time to stop chasing each other!? If we talk calmly, we will surely understand each other—Kyaaa!」
I’ve tried to persuade it a lot of times, but it would charge at me everytime I did so, as if saying that “Talking is useless”, making me stumble.
However, my body, which has been strengthened by the mysterious phenomenon of demonization, was not injured by the vicious dragon at all.
「If it goes on like this, then I will have to fight… yeah, no. I’ll just wait for Rēko to come.」
I changed my black claws into wings and flew into the sky.
The dragon also had wings and started to chase after me. And, the shape of its wings is similar to mine after all.
However, a sudden change occurred on its body.
Until now, it was about the same size as me when I turned small, but it suddenly became huge and transformed into a size comparable to my original one.
And in its wide and open mouth, a burning fireball appeared.
Aiming at me.
I made a sharp turn to try and make it miss his aim. However, the fireball that was released homed into me with a sharp movement like a bird to its prey.
No, if that hits me directly, I’ll die.
The crisis in my life stimulated my survival instinct, and my body started springing up.
My body swelled as I observed it. The rejuvenating drug is no longer effective and expanded my body to the same huge size as the enemy.
I crossed my front legs and made a defensive posture.
「Gya! Ouch, ouch, ouch!」
The flames clung into my front legs that I used as a shield and I groaned from the heat, but I managed to prevent my whole body from being swallowed by the fireball.
On the contrary, at the same time my body turned to my original size, my magic power overflowed even further, and my front legs hardly felt the damage.
「Um… Are you going to stop already? It seems that I’m getting stronger, and this will be prolonged if we go on, and we will get tired, right? Or rather, what kind of dragon are you?」
Without any reply, the dragon flew toward me again.
It’s like it is a soulless doll or something.
「Even though there are no enemies, Rēvendia jumped out by himself… Is it a hallucination?」
「What are you talking about. It is impossible for Evil Dragon-sama to be confused with hallucinations. I wonder if a monster from the netherworld, which can only be seen by Evil Dragon-sama, has attacked.」
What are those monsters from the netherworld, I’ll leave that tsukkomi to somebody else.
However, it feels strange to simply brush it off as a hallucination. The Saintess has a barrier in this cave. Although her personality is like that, she has considerable ability in terms of defensive performance. It is hard to think of a way to easily break through it.
「Saintess. Is there anything wrong with the barrier?」
「Yes? There are no intruders or attacks from the outside. I guarantee this.」
The Saintess proudly said. I feel like it is going to backfire if she confidently guarantees it like that, so please be a little more modest.
「If it’s not an attack from the outside….」
A hypothesis emerges when I consider it together with the fake kin’s story to “make a real Evil Dragon”.
「Rēvendia is about to become a demon… He is already in a state where strange magic power is planted into him. Is it possible that his body’s rejection toward the magic power was seen as an enemy?」
Almost everyone tilted their heads to Ariante’s guess.
「If you get sick and have a high fever, you can get nightmares. It’s the same thing. He may have misunderstood the foreign magic power entering his body as a threatening enemy.」
「Do you think Evil Dragon-sama can get sick and made that blunder?」
「Don’t get angry. It’s like falling asleep. Can Rēvendia fall asleep?」
「Mu, come to think of it, that’s true. Evil Dragon-sama will sometimes wake up and say “Rēko~. I’m actually a herbivore, you know~” or something like that.」
That stupid lizard.
Did you really step into such a land mine on a daily basis with a drowsy momentum?
「Well don’t worry about it. Evil Dragon-sama will wake up soon and come back here.」
Rēko was calm about it, but Ariante couldn’t help but be worried. It is, however, unlikely that Rēvendia will turn into a vicious demon as it is. His affinity with magic power is bad, so the magic power would leak out before he can get used to it.
So saying that, his current condition is not much different from a condition of complaining about abdominal pain due to diarrhea.
If he endures it for a while and puts out the bad magic power, then that’s it.
「Same to my technique, eh…」
Ariante pulled out a sword in a scabbard from her luggage in the cave. It was brought along to hit Rēvendia due to the 343.3 million times accident.
「Rēko. No matter how strong Rēvendia is, it is too soon to be relieved. Rēvendia and you are sometimes too defenseless because of being too strong.」
「Fu. Why does the king of beasts need to defend itself against worms?」
「If you are saying that, then stop moving for a bit. I’ll show you the ingenuity of an insect. 」
Ariante held the sword on her hip.
Rēko seems to be calm and composed, she didn’t even show a sign of pulling her dagger.
The sword flashed.
Ariante slashed with all her might, but Rēko simply tried to catch it with only her finger without losing her calm.
Her expression stiffened.
The moment she received the sword with her finger, her complexion changed.
「Even a weak person has some ingenuity. Since you are strong, it might have been a while since you’ve felt pain, even if it is just a jammed finger.」
Ariante smiled as she remembered giving a similar greeting to Rēvendia when they first met.
Rēko shook her finger.
「What kind of secret skill did you use? How did you damage me?」
「What. There is no damage. I just did some “superficial pain”. In fact, it isn’t swollen or wounded right?」
Ariante tipped over the scabbard sword into the ground, and Rēko glared at it.
「I see. It’s a special sword that causes pain.」
「Ah. I’ll want to say that this is a magic sword—but it is just a “training sword”. It is a common item used for training in my dojo.」
Right here, the Saintess who is listening has a reaction.
「Well, if you used an ordinary sword, instead of being stopped by her finger, it would have been crushed when it hit. Seems like this “training sword” is also valid to use against the Evil Dragon’s kin.」
「What do you mean?」
「What if this sword was strengthened?」
Rēko picked up the sword that had fallen to the ground and sighed.
「If I use my magic power, it won’t matter if it is a training sword or not. I’ll shoot a slash that will cuts through mountains.」
「That kind of idea is the drawback of overwhelmingly strong people like you and Rēvendia.」
「What did you say?」
「Strengthening through magic power, is the basics of the basics. However, simply “strengthening” it does not mean increasing it’s attack power and strength.」
As long as it is treated as a training, it will not injure the other party.
If the essence of such a tool were to be strengthened to the maximum, “a magic sword that will give only pain to the opponent” wil be created.
「Then, what about it? Are you proud of that?」
「No. I’m just saying to not underestimate the tricks of tricks,because I still did not know what that fake kin did to Rēvendia.」
Even if this strengthening technique were to be applied to Rēvendia as it is, only a “ herbivore that grows while eating plants and vegetables with overwhelming power” will be born. His “essence” is a creature like that.
But, I still can’t be completely relieved. It would be a very roundabout way of doing things, but it is not impossible to distort the “essence” depending on how you do it.
「That’s why, in order to avoid any unforeseen circumstances, we should pick up Rēvendia right away. It would be a hassle if he falls asleep as it is and got into an accident.」
「Don’t give me instructions.」
Dissatisfied, Rēko began to search for Rēvendia with her blue eyes.
And her face immediately made a smile.
「Female knight, it seems to be a needless worry. Evil Dragon-sama has just returned.」
Rēko pointed to the outside of the cave.
Certainly, when I listen, the footsteps of something huge is steadily approaching.
「Ahh! Rēvendia is back! Thank goodness!」
The very happy Sousou almost ran outside, but the Hunt God restrained her.
「Wait. Something, is strange.」
「Hm? What is?」
「I can’t, get in touch with, the claws. It has been disturbed, by a strange noise, all the time. It’s not, normal.」
Ariante agreed to that.
This footstep means that Rēvendia is currently huge. However, that stupid lizard shouldn’t be able to cancel the effect of the rejuvenating drug on his own.
Something must have happened.
While being cautious, we all proceed to the entrance of the cave.
Beyond the plains, a giant Rēvendia can be seen.
But Ariante knew at a glance that it wasn’t the usual Rēvendia. He has a terrible presence. His gait is imbued with bloodlust. There is no way this change is the very same person.
And when the evil dragon approached us, he laughed with his fangs exposed.
「Kukuku…I am the Evil Dragon Rēvendia…the one who brings destruction to this world…gods and demons are equally powerless before me…」
In spite of his vicious presence, a cheesy line came out.
Yeah, he feels just like Rēko.
「Oi, Rēvendia, right?」
「Fuh. For a stupid human to casually call my name…your daredevilry is applaudable…pathetic…」
「You are somewhat annoying.」
My true feelings spilled out.
Perhaps because it has been hijacked, my sense of urgency is low.
「Move, female knight.」
Rēko pushed Ariante aside and stepped forward.
「Wait, Rēko. That is.,,」
「Ahh. It’s a bad quality fake.I don’t know how he managed to deceive my clairvoyance…but I can see it in person. That is not Evil Dragon-sama. 」
Rēko pulled out her dagger.
「Evil Dragon-sama doesn’t vomit those thug-like threatening words. He always has the composure of a strong man. My eyes as a kin cannot be fooled—die. [Dragon King’s Claw].」
Shortly after, Rēko fired a slash of light toward Rēvendia.
It was a direct hit.
However, Rēvendia emerged from the other side of the smoke, uninjured.
It’s natural. Even though he has been brainwashed or something, the real thing is still a real thing. Rēko’s attack is ineffective.
Rēvendia slowly raised his claws up.
「Even if it’s a single blow that does not even itch, I can’t not retaliate. Eat this. [Dragon King’s—」
This is bad. If he really has the power of the Evil Dragon, then there is no way to defend against it.
「Lizard-san! I’ll give you some vegetables, so please wake up!」
Rēvendia suddenly stopped, as if his time stopped.
「Vegetables… Vegetables… Uhh, my head.」
「That’s right! It’s a delicious vegetable! There is some carrots and freshly picked cabbages!」
「I want… potatoes…」
「I understand! I’ll add potatoes too!」
「Uhh, kuh… I am… I am…」
Rolling on the ground, Rēvendia begins to cry in agony.
「No… I am a frightening creature… more cabbage…」
「There are also pumpkins!」
As Ariante began to look at him without any expression, he began to shed tears uncontrollably.
「Rēvendia… He is fighting an enemy in his heart… So to not hurt us…」
「He is fighting, but I feel that the direction of the fight is a little different.」
Rēvendia, who has been suffering for a while, soon got up, breathing heavily.
And uttered words that did not match the movement of his mouth.
『Geez. You are just a lizard, but you are surprisingly persistent. Let’s get rid of you at later date.』
The winged Rēvendia flew away, wandered somewhere.
Ariante and Rēko look at each other.
「What is happening… Wasn’t the fake kin destroyed completely?」
「…He should be. However…」
That voice from Rēvendia’s mouth was unquestionably the fake kin’s.