I was dragged into the puddle of water inside the inn’s hallway. It’s just a puddle of water, why is it so deep―― I was able to think leisurely only for a moment, afterwards I was in a frantic struggle, desperately seeking air.
However, I wasn’t able to float to the surface.
There was nothing surprising about that. Since Lady Saintess clung to my forelimbs with both of her arms, trying to pull me to the bottom. I was suffocating, my face distorted with the pain of impending death, but Lady Saintess’ face looked even worse. No, I should say her face showed her resolve. Once anyone saw it, they’d know. It was an expression of a warrior wanting to defeat his opponent at any cost.
Please stop. Just calm down and listen. There’s no value in giving your all when aiming for someone like me.
“H-H-How’s that―! It hurts, right―! It’s because I’ve gathered here a―ll of the demon repelling water from town! I-If you want to surrender, now’s the chance――!”
I really want to, but nothing except foam is coming out of my mouth. Or rather, the demon repelling water doesn’t matter. Just normal water is plenty enough for me to die.
I’m done for, it happened right when I gave up hope.
Rēko’s dense and dreadful bloodthirst went through the space filled up with water.
Normally, identifying the person who released his killing intent was an impossible feat for me. Then, if I were to answer why I could assert it was Rēko’s bloodthirst, it’d be because I faintly saw a translucent phantom of Rēko thrusting her dagger at Saintess’ neck. Her otherworldly figure, which was aiming at someone’s life with a terrifying expression, looked just like a vengeful spirit.
After being hit directly with the bloodthirst, Lady Saintess fainted abruptly. As soon as that happened, filling the space water drew back, and what remained was a water level low enough to only cover my claws, exposing the white floor made of stone. Walls were nowhere to be found. The white space stretched endlessly, no matter how far I looked.
“At the end of the day, I always get saved…”
I was doing nothing but reprimanding her how to use her strength, but now I really was saved. Lady Saintess was still lying on the floor with a pale face, all the while making restless noises. It looked like she was having a nightmare.
Walking up to her timidly, I shook her shoulders using my claws.
“Erm, are you okay? I think there was some misunderstanding, so if you could just calm down and listen…”
Unexpectedly, Lady Saintess quickly opened her eyes. And then, the moment she met my gaze, her eyes rolled over and she once again lost consciousness.
I didn’t really like to badmouth other people, but putting it mildly, she was a tool. Nevertheless, to escape from this space, I had no other way than to talk with her directly, so I decided to persevere patiently. If I were too close she’d just faint again, so I drew a proper distance and lied flat on the ground.
Maybe because I woke up early, or because of my old age, when I sat still I started getting sleepy. No, I shouldn’t; while thinking this, my eyelids started closing before I knew it――……
“Please wake up, cute Dragon.”
I woke up to someone caressing my head. Are these the yesterday’s children―― when I opened my eyes, what I saw was actually Lady Saintess standing before me and patting my head.
Lady Saintess smiled in response to my bewilderment, and for some reason started explaining very quickly.
“You nearly drowned in the town’s waterway. I saved you. That’s why, you being dragged under the water has to be some mistake.”
She judged that her plan of drowning me failed, so she switched to the excuse mode. I was expressionless; it was too much of an abrupt change in attitude for me, but if I were to argue poorly here, she might again attack me desperately with the intention to bring both of us down.
“Then I’ve to thank you for your help. By the way, where are we? A companion is waiting for me, so I’d like to quickly return to the inn.”
“Well, this is… Erm… House of a great person. That’s why it’s so big.”
“I see~, a great person’s house, is it?”
It had an extremely innovative layout. Ordinary people didn’t live in a house like this, where to the horizon was nothing but a brilliant white floor layered with water. Maybe God or something. Well, in this town Lady Saintess was an existence similar to a God though.
“Well then, I’m sorry but could you show me the exit?”
“Ah, yes, of course. Then, please turn around for a little bit.”
Why did I have to turn around? I had my doubts, but I did as she instructed. During that time, I could hear rummaging sounds coming from behind me and knew she was doing something.
“Okay, you can turn around. The way back is right here!”
I wondered where she got that from. In a place where there was nothing just a while ago, a superficial door has been prepared. Despite clearly being paper-thin and should lead to nowhere, when Lady Saintess opened it, the scenery of the town’s heart was projected.
“This house’s doors are a bit different―― when you pass through them, you’ll get ejected out of the town’s spring, sort of like a fountain. But please don’t worry, okay?”
“I don’t have the confidence to not worry, but I’ll do my best and try not to.”
Just how should I explain it to the praying in front of the spring people? I wonder if they’ll accept it if I say I wanted to try playing in water. Although doing that in a sacred spring, I feel I’d be charged with a crime of disrespecting their God.
I stood in front of the door. After preparing myself to escape at any time, I turned around to Lady Saintess while persistently maintaining a low profile.
“By the way, I heard a stupid rumour, but it isn’t true that this town’s Lady Saintess is a demon, right?”
The moment I looked at her, I knew I screwed up. Lady Saintess opened her eyes wide, trembling visibly.
“A-As expected―― that’s right. You also knew it, that’s why you came here.”
“Erm, excuse me? Umm, I’ve no ulterior motive at all, I was just a bit worried.”
With a swish, something swirled near my legs. It was the sound of water spread on the floor, which started writhing like a snake and coiled around my leg.
“But I won’t yield! It doesn’t matter even if I’m a demon! I’ll protect this town”
A big water serpent warped greatly and flung me away from the door. Up high in the air, so high that Lady Saintess looked like a speck of dust.
Most likely, it was simply a throwing technique to keep me from escaping, but if I were to land like this despite not knowing how to break-fall, I’d kick the bucket.
If I were to die here, Rēko would go berserk. It’d be nothing but a tragedy, be it for her or for humanity.
Contrary to my agitation, the altitude of my fall reached its peak and the floor started to rapidly come closer.
And then finally, gathered on the floor water made a large splash.
However, I kept my consciousness. On the contrary, it didn’t even hurt. While striking a slovenly pose on the ground with my limbs spread wide open, I managed to turn my line of sight to face Lady Saintess.
The reason for that spread right under me. The useless weapon given to me by Hunt―― black mist had spread under my body like a cushion.