Editor: Ghost Ape
I puked. My vomit flowed into the murmuring stream at night. I didn’t want to show it to Rēko for all kinds of reasons, so I slipped out from the tavern by myself. Despite not being used to drinking I suddenly dived head-in, drinking beer served in buckets. Even recklessness should have limits.
“Uuuh… Somehow I’ve a feeling I said plenty of things I shouldn’t have, I wonder if it’ll be okay…”
“It will be fine, Evil Dragon Lord. I think nights like this are good once in a while.”
Rēko calmly murmured while rubbing my back.
“Weren’t you just talking with Sheina? I was pretty sure I’ve left you behind…”
“If the Evil Dragon Lord vacates the premises, it wouldn’t do for me to not accompany you. Incidentally Evil Dragon Lord, is this an act of distributing nourishment to this earth? So this land’s ecosystem had the good fortune to invite upon it the Lord’s favour… This is effectively an expansion of the ruled territory…”
I replied while rinsing my mouth with the running water. I no longer had any reaction to her delusions.
After puking out my insides for a while I noticed a red light reflected on the water’s surface, glittering. Once my line of sight followed it to the source, I saw the still burning gold mountain.
“Hey Rēko, when will this fire go out?”
“I burned it with quite a lot of vigour, so… I could use my magic power to summon rain clouds, but if I were to send enough rain to extinguish the flames, this town would most likely sink due to a flood.”
“That so. Versatile, aren’t you?”
Rēko replied looking as if she was embarrassed,
“No… That’s not true. I could never compare with Evil Dragon Lord. All of my techniques are nothing more than an inferior copy after all. However, lately I’ve been thinking I should soon develop my own techniques…”
“It’s still too early for you. You better forget it, okay?”
Even though she was drawing techniques with relative abandon now, she still wanted to bring out even more originality?
“Yes, but I believe dedication is crucial in order to reach that boundary as soon as possible. Just now I was able to have quite a helpful conversation with that girl called Sheina.”
“What kind of conversation? It wasn’t anything bad from the educational point of view, was it?”
“It’s all right Evil Dragon Lord. It was mainly about the necessary effort to become strong.”
My face turned white and I had to take a sip of water from the river.
“She pestered me to instruct her at length about what I said earlier, so I complied just a bit. Since I was able to hear how human magicians practiced as a training reference, I believe it was beneficial for both of us.”
“Sheina really did misunderstand, huh. Even though there’s no way one could become strong by just sleeping and eating… I wonder how I should apologize to Haizen…”
“No, to be precise, it was in regards to effort other than sleeping and eating well. Particularly, she asked in detail how do I manage to keep the Evil Dragon Lord’s vast magic power under control. I was told that normally, a human being keeping this much power shouldn’t be able to even retain his shape, not to mention their sense of self.”
This judgment was similar to the one Ariante gave before. However, I definitely never thought that uninhibited Sheina would say this kind of observation.
“Of course, the reason that didn’t happen is thanks to the Evil Dragon Lord’s thoughtfulness. You are keeping it in moderation so that it doesn’t devour my body. And yet―― I still am full of shortcomings, seeing how I went out of control the other day.”
“Not at all. I think you did really well at that time. Also everyone turned out safe and sound.”
Rēko’s eyes sparkled brightly. She spoke with a face more or less giving off confidence.
“You really do evaluate me so highly like this? Truly speaking, I had a feeling I got the hang of it a little. Till now I squeezed out the energy like WHOOSH, but now it’s like BRRUM. Given my improvements, did Evil Dragon Lord increase the amount of magic power sent to me?”
“I don’t remember increasing it, but if you say so I’m sure that’s how it is.”
“I reckon I still have much more room for growth, so please increase it each and every time.”
“If possible I’d prefer to leave it like this.”
Somehow, I felt like I was extorted out of something I didn’t even have.
“Be that as it may, it seems this advice was somewhat hard for a powerless human. That girl tilted her head, asking ‘Whoosh…? Brrum..?’”
“I don’t blame her.”
“And so, I ultimately ended up telling her to sleep well and eat a lot.”
“Isn’t that too negligent?”
Rēko shook her head and looked up at the burning mountain.
“Judging from appearance, that girl suffers from a chronic lack of sleep. It looked like she was having some meals, but if she lacks rest her nutrition supply won’t be very good. Unless she learns to let her body rest a little, her efficiency will only be falling down no matter how earnestly she trains.”
It might’ve been because I was drunk, but I couldn’t really comprehend what I was hearing.
“Hey, Rēko. It sounds almost like Sheina practices without sparing any time for sleep then.”
“As I expected, Evil Dragon Lord was aware. Due to my ignorance, I haven’t noticed until we had our duel. The method of saving her originally scarce magic power by releasing only an appropriate amount instantaneously, and a sharp eye allowing her to probe out the opponent’s weak point guised as a casual conversation. These abilities are without doubt results of an ordinary person diligently accumulating experience by practicing over and over. Even now…”
Rēko pointed at the foot of the fountain. The leaping flames at the summit were still burning, flickering.
“Please take a look. It seems she’s practising with the flames I released as a sparring partner, trying to cancel out higher rank magic attack.”
It was too far for me to see anything. While sweating embarrassed, I tapped Rēko on the shoulder.
“Say, Rēko. You didn’t drink any alcohol, did you?”
“Naturally I didn’t.”
“Good… Let’s go for a walk.”
I set out in the direction Rēko pointed at in order to ascertain the truth of the matter as well as to sober up. There was quite a bit of distance between the encampment and the mountain. The night guard was also properly keeping watch, so if someone were to leave he should stand out. Did she really go so far as to slip out from here unnoticed?
“I’ll try something out as practice.”
Rēko suddenly snapped her fingers when she saw the watchmen standing guard at the checkpoint. Thereupon, the sounds she was making disappeared altogether. The footsteps, breathing, and even the sound of her snapping fingers disappeared.
―― It’s the imitation of that girl’s technique.
Rēko casually spoke in my mind. Even I should soon get used to it.
“Did Sheina use a skill like this? If I recall correctly she caused an explosion.”
―― That was most likely sound transformed into an impact by amplifying it.
“I guess you’re right.”
―― Well then, I’m going first.
Taking advantage of the gaps in guards’ line of sight and awareness, with erased sound of her footsteps Rēko was brazenly drawing near the checkpoint. At times she’d use cover, whereas at others she’d boldly move forward. I wondered whether Sheina slipped out from the encampment in the same way.
Incidentally, I couldn’t do anything ingenious like that, so I simply greeted the checkpoint’s soldiers saying ‘Good work’ and went through. When I came out Rēko was waiting calmly.
“As expected of Evil Dragon Lord. There’s no need for the one worthy to be called the Supreme Ruler to lower himself to using such petty hiding techniques.”
“Yeah. Fair and square is the best after all. That’s why you also shouldn’t lightly steal other people’s techniques.”
I wouldn’t endure it if the number of her unthinkable abilities increased even further.
“I understand. Still, the present me is still not able to copy complicated techniques. That female knight’s skills looked quite useful, but I still can’t do it quite right…”
“Hm? You’re talking about Ariante? Wasn’t it simply strengthening your body?”
She said Ariante was originally a magician. Wasn’t her superhuman strength thanks to that?
At least that’s what I thought, but a grumbling Rēko replied, “There’s a close resemblance, but it doesn’t seem to be merely that. Well, it doesn’t compare with Evil Dragon Lord’s strength anyhow, so there’s no problem with dumping it.”
I had been a little relieved when she was speaking. If it were skills even Rēko couldn’t imitate easily, there was no way for that Raiotto to learn it, even though he became her disciple. To begin with, he had almost no magic talent when I saw him at the village. He’d no doubt give up halfway and return to his countryside.
…―― At least it’d be great if he did.
“By the way Evil Dragon Lord, isn’t it too far walking to the mountain?”
“Yeah… I guess you’re right. It’s farther than I thought.”
Fwoomp, wings sprouted from my back. You don’t understand. You don’t understand anything. That’s not what I wanted. No one will become happy by doing that. Only sadness will spread further in this world――
“Carry us well, wind of the night.”
Boom, my neck was swung so hard as a result of the rapid acceleration that I got whiplash. It also caused an adverse reaction in my stomach and the welling up vomit started pouring down incessantly, like rain under the moonlight.
Ughhhh… Ignorant of my anguish, Rēko was as always in high spirits on my back. In my field of vision that was beginning to black out, I accidentally saw someone moving.
It was the figure of Sheina, who seemed to be struggling, holding her hand against the inextinguishable flames. And then, maybe because she sensed the tremendous aura Rēko was emitting, she turned over here with astonishment written all over her face.
I screamed, since a crash into the mountain’s bare rock was imminent. The speed declined instantly, and in all my relief due to the incoming release I puked out my last vomit while descending lightly.
Thereupon, when my raining vomit fell onto the scorching red flames they were extinguished without leaving behind a trace. It looked like the nullifying effect against Rēko’s magic was even in my vomit.
“Eh? How? Why? Why did you come?”
Sheina took a step back while thrashing her arms around in confusion. She was wearing a black cloak in order to stay hidden in the night or to slip out from the encampment.
“Hmph, the Evil Dragon Lord personally said he wanted to view your training. Even if you try to humbly feign putting in no effort, your diligent work surely wouldn’t escape Evil Dragon Lord’s eyes. You can think of it as an honour――”
Sheina jumped at Rēko and blocked her mouth
“W-Who would have thought――! I was taking a walk at night and accidentally wound up here! This beautiful campfire like flame must have attracted me, huh? I only zoned out!”
“Sorry, even I think this excuse is a little painful.”
“… Did you tell other people?”
“I didn’t. But your father―― wouldn’t Haizen be relieved once you told him? Why are you hiding and training secretly?”
Sheina wrinkled her eyebrows and answered stamping her feet in frustration.
“Because…! It’s much cooler to get powerful by sleeping like a slug rather than becoming strong through hard and steady work! How do I say it… it feels like a real genius! I want others to think of me as a genius!”
“I don’t really think you’ve to put in so much work for that kind of vain reason. Or rather, did you say you wanted to become my kin as part of your act?”
“Well, yeah. Geniuses say weird things, besides with my talent I figured that the Evil Dragon Lord wouldn’t accept me anyway.”
Sheina scratched her cheek while forcing out a smile.
“This kin girl is also amazing, but Evil Dragon Lord is even more terrific. I’d never have thought that a flame which wouldn’t extinguish no matter what I did would be put out by vomit.”
Rēko who slipped out from Sheina’s hands, said,
“Don’t be mistaken, human. This isn’t vomit. It’s composed out of the Evil Dragon Lord’s densely compressed life energy. If he touched it even Demon King wouldn’t come out unscathed.”
“Huh? Is that true?”
“Well I guess, after all it’s not something the Demon King would want to touch proactively.”
It was too filthy.
“W-Well, anyway, could you please keep it a secret from my father or other people? If the image of a genius I built after so much trouble was to collapse, I’d be so embarrassed I’d have no other choice but to run away from home…”
At that time, Rēko averted her gaze away from Sheina with amazing momentum. My and Sheina’s face turned stone-like.
“R-Rēko…? What’s this movement…?”
“Rēko, you can’t keep secrets. If you remember doing something own it up properly.”
Her lips were pressed together into a line, and it seemed her eyes didn’t know where to go. After repeatedly turning around and glancing in the encampment’s direction, she clenched her fists as if she decided on something.
“It’s fine. I’ll still make it. Since it came to this, I’ll alter the memory of those guys at the tavern. It’ll be a new technique performed on the spot, but I’ve confidence to make it go okay. Although there’s a risk of their heads actually exploding…”
While I was busy stopping her, Sheina fell into panic.