“I’m glad I found you. The children will surely be happy.”
Looking down upon the lying on the ground unconscious silver dragon, Rēko dusted off her hands. “Senior, look what you’ve done…” The three-headed elephant was lamenting next to the dragon.
“Now then, let’s strike while the iron is hot. I’ve to make you into a children’s toy right away.”
Just like that, she started pulling the heavy dragon by his tail, dragging him to the town. Then, one of the dazedly staring soldiers came running over in a hurry. A knight in his prime smiled stiffly, saying,
“Y-Young lady? What do you intend to do with that dragon?”
“The town’s children were looking for him. Looks like they want to play and feed him.”
“Erm yeah. That has to be some mistake, I think.”
“That’s not true. There aren’t that many dragons. This one has to be Doradora, I’m sure of it.”
“No, no, it’d be dangerous for them to play with a dragon. Besides, there aren’t that many children either.”
“There were 5 or 6 of them.”
“Oh, Lady Saintess…”
The soldier covered his eyes and turned towards the heavens. When Rēko let out a sigh, thinking he finally agreed, there was someone else running after her. It was the three-headed elephant.
“Kin girl, wait a minute.”
“You still here? Since I found Doradora, I’m busy over here. If you got no intention to attack the town, you can make yourself scarce. Go back to your forest.”
“That’s not it. I’m sure senior can’t be that Doradora. It’s not even mistaking a person, but a dragon. Unless one’s extremely strong, if a demon tries to enter the town the Saintess’ barrier will prevent it. Senior isn’t an exception. If someone tries to enter forcefully, his body will be torn into pieces.”
Rēko stopped her feet for only an instant, but she got a new idea and resumed walking forward.
“In that case, even if it’s just a torn head, I just have to deliver it. It’s enough for a game, where you need to feed it.”
“That has to be really horrible for the upbringing. If you made the children play such a crazy game, their parents would break down crying.”
“T-That’s right! Please, don’t make them do something like that…!”
While the knight in his prime turned his ardent gaze towards the three-headed elephant, both of them nodded many times over. For some reason, it seemed like a strange sense of connection was about to be born between a demon and a human.
“Besides, what I want to say, is that senior isn’t able to enter this town, so there’s no way he met the children before. That’s why, isn’t the Doradora children talked about someone else?”
Rēko leaked an “Ah” and let go of her grip. It was a blind spot. Certainly, if he was Doradora, yet at the same time couldn’t enter the town, the fact he was fed yesterday would be a contradiction.
“Is the Saintess’ barrier really that strong?”
Rēko narrowed her eyes and asked. According to Rēko’s experience, the resistance was akin to tearing through a thin paper. If it was that much, were the other demons to hold out a little, they should be able to get through.
“Nah, there might be absolutely no effect for you and the Evil Dragon Boss, but it’s a menace to us. If you don’t believe me, you can try throwing senior towards the waterway at the town’s boundary. He’ll bounce off of it for sure.”
“Okay, I’ll try it.”
The soldier only put his hands together, offering a prayer to the Saintess. Arriving at the town’s boundary, Rēko lightly tossed the silver dragon in the waterway’s direction.
If the three-headed elephant’s words were correct, he shouldn’t be able to cross above the waterway, and instead should be flicked outside the town.
―― However, as if it was the most natural thing to happen, the silver dragon’s body entered the waterway raising a large splash of water and started going under.
“Ah, senior! No good! He’s going to drown!”
Three-headed elephant, who was the first one to say the unexpected result, ran up to the waterway, stretched his noses and began the rescue operation. During that time, it looked like the elephant also wasn’t going to get repelled by the waterway.
“I knew it, that Saintess’ strength doesn’t amount to much. This one has to be Doradora. Yesterday, I’m sure he had entered the town stealthily and got fed by them.”
“No, leaving aside the case of the barrier, senior isn’t a person with such gentle hobbies.”
“Everyone has a side they want to hide.”
“Oh… Senior, by some chance, did you really like to hang out with kids…?”
Looking just like a drowned body, the silver dragon was pulled out of the waterway.
“Anyway, it’s weird. When we attacked this barrier in the past, neither me nor senior were able to get through. It’s true.”
It doesn’t appear like he’s lying. Since this elephant has sworn his allegiance to the Evil Dragon Lord, surely he wouldn’t play some stupid games.
“Kukuku… It seems like our strategy was a success…”
The silver dragon regained his consciousness unnoticed, resounding with a fearless laughter. However, it seemed he couldn’t move his body, all the while spouting out water from his mouth, being in a near-death state.
The one who answered Rēko’s query was the three-headed elephant.
“Ah, yeah. It totally slipped my mind. The first stage of the Demon King army’s plan was to have senior act as a decoy and weaken the barrier’s strength. Even if senior didn’t break it, as long as he attacked it with all of his strength, he’d be able to focus some of the Saintess’ magic power on the barrier.”
“That’s right. Both the Saintess and you guys have completely fallen for it. To have panicked because of my, the great dragon of violent winds fierce attack and lost sight of the true threat, how foolish you have to…”
“Senior, are you okay? There wasn’t anything close to a fierce attack. Maybe you were dreaming?”
Rēko silenced the silver dragon by stepping on his snout.
“Most likely, the reason the barrier was suspended is the Evil Dragon Lord. A short while ago, the Evil Dragon Lord has gone to meet the Saintess. Surely, she has withdrawn all of her power from town and should be using it in self-defence―― although it’s a complete waste of effort.”
“Saintess, you poor thing.”
“And so, elephant. What does the Demon King’s army intend to do after weakening the Saintess’ barrier? Hurry up and speak.”
“I’ll speak, I will. I don’t plan to hide anything from you.”
Once elephant blew all the water from his noses, he started explaining.
“The high-ranking demon commanding the whole region around here is a fairly peculiar fellow. He doesn’t have his own body―― he’s a spirit demon, so to speak, who resonates with the wicked humans’ or demons’ hearts, seizing their bodies.”
Originally, Saintess was also a demon, he added.
“The point is, when senior was acting as a decoy, that guy was supposed to haunt the Saintess and make her heart return to the time, when she was a bottomless swamp demon. Because once he accomplished that, this whole town would turn into a swamp and sink under. But, well, it’s fine, isn’t it? As long as the Evil Dragon Boss is nearby, that rascal will just get wiped out if he even tries to approach the Saintess.”
That’s it? Thought Rēko with relief.
“You’re absolutely right. Seeing that the Evil Dragon Lord is besides her, there’s completely no reason she’d get manipulated by that guy. If there is, she’d just earn the Evil Dragon Lord’s wrath and get erased.”
“Naah, there’s no way. Evil Dragon Boss is a benevolent person, he wouldn’t do something like that.”
“Saintess’ stupidity might even surpass the Evil Dragon Lord’s magnanimous nature. She’s a staunch fool.”
“That true? Then I wonder how it――”
It was at that time. In one breath, the town’s ground was tinged with the black colour of impure mire, and a row of buildings began to slowly sink under.