Editor: Ghost Ape
I am a coward. From the moment I was born, I’ve never even thought about fighting demons. In the first place, just imagining a fight made me paralyzed with fear.
The me like that was strangely calm, despite having perhaps the most sinister demon before me.
“I’m seeing you in a new light. I thought of you as nothing but a pathetic lizard, but heedless of danger you want to save that girl… you’ve actually got some guts, don’t you?”
Flashing me a smile, Ariante grabbed my tail. She was misunderstanding me a little. I’ve certainly mustered up courage, but it was only a resolve to be swung as a weapon. I didn’t really consider opposing Rēko dangerous.
“How should I say it… it’s not like that.”
“You should close your mouth now. I really would prefer to turn you into your original size first, but looks like it won’t go that easy.”
When Ariante’s and Rēko’s gazes locked, the lightning-like tension could be felt in the atmosphere. She was coming. Rēko extended each of her five blade-like claws and came swooping down, trying to mow us down like weeds.
Rather than saying I stopped it, Ariante was the one who skilfully handled me. This time instead of swinging, it was more appropriate to say she put me down. She foresaw the trajectory of Rēko’s assault, and holding my body with both of her hands thrust it in the position where it’d hinder her the most.
When the claws flashed――
Right after clashing with my stomach, Rēko was sent flying hard and landed on her back with a loud thud. Not being able to process what happened, she tilted her head puzzled in her half dragon form. Even though the source of her power, her wrong belief, was going strong, she probably wasn’t able to recognize who I was in her berserk state. Or she might actually have been refusing to accept the present reality, thinking “the Evil Dragon Lord cannot possibly be used as equipment”, like how it went down when I was mimicking a goat.
Seemingly being on guard, she had once more flapped her wings and soared high into the air.
“Okay… good, just fly there and watch. Saintess, you ready to turn Rēvendia back?!”
“Please leave it to me!”
From Lady Saintess’s feet appeared several water snakes which coiled around my torso. Then she had reeled the snakes like a rope in a tug of war and began to absorb the magic power.
However, maybe because she inferred something, Rēko moved into the offensive. The dragon scales coiling around her limbs stood up and the enormous wind born from her wings shot them like bullets.
Cursing, Ariante started dynamically swinging me around. My eyes were spinning and I felt like puking, but I somehow managed to clench my teeth. Given the wide scope of the attack, Ariante’s hands were tied. Lady Saintess also hid behind me, stopping the magic power absorption.
Moreover, I could dispel the magic power put into the scales, but I couldn’t void the wind. Each time the scales collided with me, I could feel a relentless pain run through my flesh and bones, as though I was hit with stones. Besides, Ariante’s stamina wasn’t limitless.
If we continued being shot at like this, we’d sooner or later succumb. And then, exactly when I was starting to believe we’d meet with a tragic end, something occurred.
The path of bullets riding on the windstorm brought forth by Rēko suddenly bent, and they were sent flying in the other direction.
“Fuu, disregarding me and trying to control the winds, what an absurd――”
The silver dragon, which should have been bound and battered, had undone the iron chain and stood up. Seeing a portion of his body charred he must have been hit with the fireballs, which melted the binding.
“―― Come now, the stage is ready! Let’s now have our rematch, shall we, little girl?! And when I win, I will have you return my true name! That is how I will be able to discard this shameful Doradora name, and―― Ngaa!”
The huge fireball released by Rēko hit the silver dragon directly and blew him far away.
“We should be thankful, that dragon had earned us precious time. Let’s erect him a tombstone later.”
“Hold it there, Ariante. He’s probably not dead yet.”
“How so? The power of that was pretty amazing. Even the ground is gouged out. It’s true the dragon kind is a tough bunch, but we’re talking here about that girl’s offensive ability…”
“That’s true thinking logically, but…”
“How should I say it… Even though she became like that, I believe she’s still the same Rēko. I mean, how she’s a nuisance to others, how she’s strangely only listening to me; just because she turned more violent than always, I don’t think she changed fundamentally…”
When I had realised this, I suddenly was no longer afraid. I didn’t know whether this was true. In actuality, she might already be reduced to nothing more than a demon. However, thanks to that my trembling stopped, so I didn’t mind.
Rēko, who got rid of the nuisance, turned over here in order to continue hunting her original prey. Behind her back the evening sun was slowly setting. Its place was being taken by the translucent moon floating on the horizon.
“Fundamentally the same, huh. She really is an incorrigible problem child, isn’t she?”
Ariante laughed in spite of the critical circumstances.
“That’s right. So I’ve reflected a lot, whether I’ve slipped somewhere or not, and――”
Fwoomp! The sound of my noticeably larger paws echoed in the surroundings.
“I’ve finished! C-C-Can we start?!”
With her legs quaking, Lady Saintess shrieked at us. As soon as we nodded, the plan went into motion.
First off was Lady Saintess’ provocation.
She had really shabby vocabulary. Even Rēko, who had lost most of her reason, looked down upon her with a gaze full of pity rather than rage. In this way, we passed a while of painful silence.
“What do we do, Rēvendia? We pointlessly got some time, in a setting where we don’t particularly need it.”
Who would have thought, that even though she had relentlessly touched Rēko’s “reverse scale” unintentionally when she was simply being herself, she’d just look pitiful when she tries to touch it on purpose.
“Uuu… how… I was sure she’s going to get mad…”
“Don’t cry, Lady Saintess. Right, you just need to make fun of me. This child, she gets the most angry when someone ridicules me.”
Or when someone brings up Raiotto.
“Ah? Is that so? In that case, it seems like a piece of cake. Well, here I go… Heeey!! Your pet is a useless lizard!!!”
Rēko roared loud enough to distort the surrounding space. I was a bit hurt. But I didn’t have the leisure to feel sad. Roaring, Rēko was converging the magic power in her mouth; I surmised she was going to unleash an attack that would, let alone us, wipe out the whole town in its aftermath.
“I-I’m leaving it to you!”
With her body bent forward, Lady Saintess vigorously pulled the water snakes for one more time. At that moment, my body returned to its original size, a transformation into a form befitting an Evil Dragon.
Of course it was a mere false impression. I was powerless. However, right here and now, that was entirely irrelevant.
“Rēko, if I am to blame for you turning like this――”
Rēko was spouting flames. The quality was on a different level from what she had released so far. Focusing in a sharp straight line, it was a beam set on thoroughly burning all creation to the ground.
I clashed with this beam with my whole body and erased it without leaving any trace.
“―― it’s because I didn’t scold you properly upfront.”
Starting from my tail my body rose into the air, and after a quickly accelerating full rotation around Ariante I was flung at Rēko.