―― It was soft and fluffy.
Black mist, which now looked like a squashed ball, had magnificently absorbed shock from the fall and was making peaceful ripples in the water spread on the floor. If I had to say, that softness wrapping my body was similar to a sponge.
Once I expressed my relief in broken language due to excessive fear, the black mist returned to my claws with a hissing sound.
I looked up to the heavens, making sure to express my gratitude to Hunt. Thank you very much. I’m sorry for thinking it was a useless weapon.
“Perhaphs―― it became usable when I was at death’s door? If that’s the case, I’ve some hope.”
I wanted to cling to anything now, no matter how slim of a hope that was. I put strength into my claws, just like Hunt said. What sprung up were the same claws as before, about the length of a fly.
As a test I tried scratching the floor, but my claws were only slipping like on ice, not leaving even a scratch.
“Damned Evil Dragon! Prepare yourself!”
When I was wailing in despair over here, Lady Saintess made her next move. In spite of her visible lack of experience, she rushed over while being accompanied by an extra-large wave.
She was planning to drown me again. Last time, I had a lifeboat called Rēko’s bloodthirst, but I was pretty sure there wouldn’t be a next time. Because most likely, Rēko wasn’t aware of what was transpiring here.
Since if she were, Lady Saintess would have already been killed ten times over.
“Or rather, it’s not a time to think about this! Somehow, I need to find a way to escape――”
If I could float at least―― the moment I thought that, something twined around my body. I thought it was the controlled by Lady Saintess snake again, but I was wrong. The stretching from my claws black mist made a lap around my torso.
“… Is that, a swimming ring?”
I somehow guessed its use. The moment I took a deep breath, a tremendous amount of water fell onto me from above. Rocked by the mighty waves I lost any semblance of distinction between heaven and earth; still, my body was naturally moving towards one direction. It looked like the swim ring was working.
However, there was someone trying to prevent that. Lady Saintess once again clung to my legs, trying to drown me.
“Stop floating! I’m telling you, you can’t float!”
But unexpectedly, her strength was really meagre. Buoyancy of a swimming ring was stronger than her pull, so my head surfaced in a twinkle. On the contrary, Lady Saintess’ bright red face could be seen underwater, persisting with all of her might. Even so, the swimming ring didn’t appear to budge an inch.
Since I managed to get a little bit of leeway, I tried speaking gently while supressing my rapidly beating heart.
“Say, Lady Saintess. It seems there’s a misunderstanding, so can’t we calmly talk it over?”
“No way I’m gonna believe it!”
Although underwater, her voice reached me just fine.
“But we can’t continue this tug of war like this, right? I’ve absolutely no intention to fight you, so could you pull back the water?”
“… Really? Ah, but despite being an evil dragon he’s gentle to children, so maybe he’s not so bad.…?”
“Erm, I’m not an evil dragon, but well, it doesn’t really matter now. First, let’s peacefully――”
All of a sudden, Lady Saintess let go of my foot.
“Okay, I understand. However, before we talk, I’m going to absorb your magic power. That’s fine, right? After all, you’ve no intention to fight, right? You don’t mind me cutting your magic power off, do you?”
Somehow, her understanding of the situation suddenly got better. It wasn’t like I didn’t feel a tinge of uneasiness, but I still nodded, saying that it’s fine. It was because, I didn’t possess any magic power to absorb in the first place. Just like one couldn’t pull out water from desert sand, even if you absorbed nothing, there would be no change. After all, I was nothing but a barren land.
Slowly but steadily, the water level has started receding. In exchange, the water around me seemed to concentrate, intensifying its blue colour.
Lady Saintess held both of her hands below my eye level. Probably, she was trying to absorb my magic power. I had no subjective symptoms though. Just as I expected, most likely because she couldn’t absorb anything, her face turned bright red like a minute ago.
“Why, why can’t I absorb it? It can’t be that’s the Evil Dragon’s power…? Even though I planned to thoroughly plunder it…”
“What isn’t there can’t be absorbed.”
Using this as a chance I wanted to tell her my real identity, but Lady Saintess’ fighting spirit had already reignited.
“Eei! If I steal here all of the Evil Dragon’s power, I’ll be invincible! After that I’ll be able to hold my head high! Don’t lose! Let’s just absorb it with all my power――!”
“Hey, Lady Saintess, I’m telling you it’s not like that. Or rather watch out, your true intentions are leaking.”
When Lady Saintess put in more energy than ever, an accident happened.
Probably, Lady Saintess has sucked up the sole magic power enveloping my body―― magic power of the secret rejuvenation medicine Ariante gave me.
As a result, effect of the medicine abruptly snapped.
My body, which suddenly became huge, forcefully landed on the ground raising a large splash of water. And being directly under me, Lady Saintess has had her consciousness reaped by a combo of a physical as well as mental shock.
This was the full picture of this tragic drama, which occurred in an instant.