That moment felt like an eternity. I excessively struggled to get over this predicament and the world turned into slow motion, appearing like a revolving lantern.
First thing I spotted was the figure of Rēko brandishing a dagger and throwing herself upon the Saintess. It was an unavoidable future the moment Lady Saintess made the mistake.
In response to that, I tried to shout “You mustn’t kill her!” Nevertheless, amidst the slowly flowing time my body’s movements couldn’t keep up. That was a no-brainer. Despite my senses becoming sharp, it wasn’t like my body became able to move faster.
However, Lady Saintess also displayed an unexpectedly fine play. She probably had a cowardly disposition by nature. From the start she appeared to be wary of us, so her escape was fast. Screaming, she hurled the basket and the scattered vegetable scraps blocked Rēko’s vision.
Naturally, Rēko wasn’t perturbed by some vegetables. When the dagger flashed, just the created wind pressure alone shredded all of them into little pieces. Yet, there was no Lady Saintess’ figure beyond the cut up vegetable scraps.
No, that wasn’t right. When I focused my eyes, I saw the long blue hair fluttering around the corner at the end of the hallway.
She just simply ran away. At any rate, she had fast legs.
“Y-You can’t kill her!”
At last my voice caught up. Because I was hurrying and faltered in the middle, my scream turned into an order in a normal tone. Rēko, who even now was intent on chasing her, said “Why is that?” with a serious face, while still tightly grasping her dagger.
While breathing out a sigh of relief because I made it in time, I said,
“Don’t ‘why’ me. You can’t just thoughtlessly hurt people. Once something happened, there would be no turning back.”
“However, she served the Evil Dragon Lord a meal akin to trash――”
“And that’s fine. Being really strong means not getting mad at trivial things. Besides, I like vegetables.”
I ate the lying on the floor cut into little pieces vegetables. They were pretty spoiled, so it wasn’t like I really wanted to eat them, but unless I did that, Rēko’s wrath wouldn’t subside.
“E-Evil Dragon Lord. To eat like that… I will gather them at once, please wait a while.”
“Aah, never mind that. More importantly, Rēko, I’d like for you to have the character of a strong person.”
“The character of a strong… person?”
“That’s right. You are my― Evil Dragon Rēvendia’s kin. These claws aren’t something to be swung lightly at every minor trouble. That’s why, until you possess sufficient self-awareness, I forbid you from using strength without my permission. Ah, but protecting yourself is an exception. You can also fight when there’s no other option, but even then, killing is not allowed.”
That’s right. I should have ordered this from the start. With this, Rēko should avoid needless battles. It’s a brilliant idea, despite being mine.
I nodded in self-satisfaction and raised my gaze from the floor, while saying “Did you understand?”
Thereupon I saw a figure of Rēko, depressed beyond my imagination. She sat on the floor in seiza with her head drooped low, the light in her eyes completely extinguished. The lack of vigour, as if her soul could leave her body at any time.
“R-Rēko? What’s wrong? You don’t have to be so depressed. It’s okay to just be careful from now on.”
Accompanied by the almost visible cloud of gloom over her, Rēko responded with her head lowered,
“Is that so… I wasn’t adequate enough as the Evil Dragon Lord’s kin, was I…?”
“No, that’s not true. I didn’t mean that.”
“Your kind concern is not necessary.”
I thought it was a brilliant idea, but unexpectedly the sense of guilt is terrible. This child, she appears simple but is quite troublesome.
“Rēko, I really am glad that you became my kin.”
Rēko kept quiet with her head hanging low.
“You’re still young, I think its fine to grow from now on.”
Rēko still was dejected.
“That’s why, unless you cheer up, I also won’t be able to…”
Thereupon, Rēko suddenly straightened her back with a cracking noise.
“That won’t do. I see, the kin’s energy also has some effect on the head, namely the Evil Dragon Lord. It won’t do for my inexperienced self to drag the Evil Dragon Lord down any more. At the very least, I have to possess a firm spirit.”
“Yeah… That wasn’t what I really meant. What should I say…”
If possible I really wanted to follow-up somehow, but now I had to chase after Lady Saintess and solve the misunderstanding. After all, she was almost killed, so it wouldn’t be weird if she was finally attempting to escape from town.
“Rēko, I’ve something to take care of, you just keep still and――”
No, if I left her to sit quietly when she’s feeling down, she might just brood even more.
“You also can go for a walk through the town. It seems there are a lot of children in this area, so there might be someone you could play with. Understanding human customs and habits is also a valuable learning experience.”
“I understand. As you wish, I’ll carry out my walk resolutely.”
“I didn’t mean it with that sort of obligatory feeling…”
The tension has subsided completely. When I took a step forward in pursuit of Lady Saintess, I faced Rēko once more, along with some last words of encouragement.
“Even if you’d lose your power as kin, I’d never come to hate you. Before thinking of you as kin, I consider you an important comrade.”
Rēko stared blankly. Since she was called a comrade by me, the head, it might take her a while to understand it. Then I inquired suddenly.
“By the way, Rēko, what would you’ve thought if my strength disappeared?”
She responded immediately. It’d be nice if she’d get along with me, despite me being a powerless, worthless dragon―― As I was thinking that, what reached my ears was…
“There’s no way Evil Dragon Lord could lose his power.”
Yep, I’ve thought it was going to be like that. I started trudging through the hallway with my back hunched more than usual.
After meeting with Lady Saintess, I’m probably going to have to comfort Rēko all over again, but who’s going to comfort me? After all, I’m trying so hard. I want to cry.
It happened along with these thoughts, when I neared the corner Lady Saintess disappeared behind. A splash sound came from my foot, along with a cold sensation. When I looked at the floor, there was a fairly big puddle of water in the wooden hallway.
Maybe someone has spilled it? But the amount was as if someone would have dumped a whole water bowl. If that was it, wouldn’t there be a lot of noise, which I’d have noticed?
All of a sudden, the water puddle reflected Lady Saintess’ face.
Startled I turned back, but nobody was there. Which meant that Lady Saintess was literally in “the water puddle”――
“Y-Y-You fell for it! Eiyaa―!”
Plop. This time the sound was much louder than when I stepped into it. My whole body was dragged deep under the water.