Chapter 69 Going to Meet the Master of the Voice
I awoke after hearing the cry, and Femm stood with me.
Femm was nervous, and its tail stuck out straight.
「Wha!? Wha, what was that?!」
Vi-Vi was scrambling in the tent. Moofy was as well.
It took her a little while to find her way outside.
「What do you think that was?」
『I have no idea.』
Femm seemed not to know either.
While we were discussing this, Vi-Vi crept out of the tent.
「What was that sound, Al?」
「No idea. But whatever it was, it seems we found our culprit.」
While I was talking about it, Vi-Vi nodded in assent.
I was glad she hadn’t peed herself yet either.
「There was magic in its voice too.」
『Yes, I could feel it as well.』
「You mix magic in your growls too, Femm. What does it feel like compared to yours?」
『It was so far I only heard the echoes, but, it seemed like there was a lot mixed in.』
『It’s not hard to project your voice to echo far away, but it is hard to project magic far away.』
I guess the magic disperses from a howl or cry much quicker that the sound does.
『…sorry to say, but it’s way stronger than I am.』
Femm looked quite sad about it. Femm had pride as a wolf king.
All of those magic monsters fled from here right up to Femm’s territory, and then stopped.
They must have not been that scared of Femm compared to whatever this is.
Calling a cry imbued in magic a kind of magic itself wasn’t an exaggeration.
If it hit you it could make you fearful and run away.
There was no doubt that the animals and magic beasts had fled after hearing whatever that monster is cry out.
「Vi-Vi, do you want to wait here?」
「Because that cry is going to be far worse when we get closer.」
With as close we would have to get to it, it’s cry would be far worse to bear. It would be much stronger than the earth dragon.
If the earth dragon made her pee herself, then Vi-Vi wouldn’t hold up against whatever this is at all.
「Don’t mock me, AL! I can take care of myself!」
Vi-Vi was saying that out of pride though.
I knew she would pee all over herself this time.
I whispered over to Moofy.
「Hey Moofy, you take care of Vi-Vi, okay?」
Moofy nodded and mooed back at me strongly.
We slept a little more until the sun came up.
Until the sun rose, we heard the thing cry out three more times. It woke us up.
「I can’t get any sleep because of that damn thing!」
「Well, don’t push yourself too hard, Vi-Vi.」
I was a veteran adventurer. One thing about people like us is that we don’t sleep like a rock, so I was okay with it.
Beasts like Femm and Moofy were cautious so they slept light as well. They were fine with it.
But Vi-Vi looked worn out already by lack of sound sleep.
We ate breakfast and set out.
Before we did, I said to Femm and Moofy,
「Since these are mountain roads, you don’t have to hurry.」
「It would also be bad if you’re tired and we have to fight.」
We climbed the mountain pace by pace.
We could feel that this was a place where strong beasts resided.
Ordinarily, we’d have to battle them as we moved along, but now…
「It’s nice we have nothing to fight, but…」
「All the enemies have run away from whatever we heard, Al…」
「Yeah, just thinking about it is scary.」
As we climbed higher, I could feel Femm’s anxiety.
Femm could feel a very strong enemy coming.
「Femm, do you feel a strong enemy.」
Femm’s speech became short like Moofy’s.
Femm was probably quite scared.
「Moofy, are you okay?」
Moofy still seemed quite calm. I wonder what the difference was.
Maybe between magical and sacred animals. Or maybe carnivore and herbivore.
It was past noon.
「You hear that?」
「Yeah, I heard it, Al.」
There was no magic in the cry. It was much smaller than last night’s.
Even so, Femm looked rattled.
「Let’s proceed carefully, and quietly.」
As we continued, we saw a massive creature in the distance.
It was two times larger than Moofy’s largest size…and a dragon.
「Is that a ancient dragon?」
「That’s the first time I saw one, Al?」
They were the strongest of dragons, these ancient dragons from the sacred times.
All of these ancient dragons were also called Dragon Lords.
It had magic in amounts that were totally in a different class than normal dragons.
Vi-Vi and I dismounted and talked it over.
「What is an ancient dragon…said to be a strong as a god…doing in a place like this?」
「I don’t know.」
Normally, there would never be an ancient dragon in a place like this.
The usually were in places where humans rarely go, like the coldest extremes, high up where the air is thin, or in the deepest oceans.
The places they lived were the places hardest for humans to get to.
「These ancient dragons are thousands of years old, right, Al?」
「Well, I wouldn’t go that far.」
I told her about some knowledge that Luka had shared with me.
People think that ancient dragons have the name because of their old age, but it’s just their species.
Even newly born ancient dragons were still…ancient dragons.
「So, you’re saying this thing might only be like five years old?」
「No, an ancient dragon that’s nearly born is just smaller. It would take a while for that thing to grow that big, right?」
「I guess so.」
The academics really didn’t know much about the ancient dragons.
It was hard to research them, simply because it was hard to reach them.
It was actually only recently that they were identified as the class ancient dragons.
「It would have been better if we had brought Luka.」
「Yeah, it’s kind of sad we left her behind.」
It was extremely rare to encounter a beast like this.
Just then, the ancient dragon cried out in a soft voice.
Almost rhythmical, and quietly.
「You think that thing’s sleeping, Al?」
「There’s no magic in its cry, so it may be.」
Femm shook its body as it heard me speak.
『So what now? Do we attack it directly?』
「We don’t have to.」
Femm really wanted to attack.
It might be because it was fearful inside, and I knew how Femm felt.
「An ancient dragon is very intelligent. And its fighting power wasn’t normal. We need to avoid fighting however possible.」
「Do you think we can speak to it?」
「No idea. But we need to do something other than fight it. Even if we have to fight it, there’s no reason to do it now.」
「So, Al, if we fight it, will we win?」
「I can. But I think all you others need to go away.」
「I don’t think I can protect you while I’m fighting.」
Honestly, I wasn’t sure that I would win.
If I said that I couldn’t win, then Vi-Vi and the others would urge all of us to fight together.
With Cruz, Luka, and Yureena, I’m sure we could win.
However, I don’t know about doing it alone. It was fifty-fifty. Or maybe more of a chance I’d lose.
「You need to get out of here too, Femm.」
『No way. I’m your ride, Al.』
I guess Femm had really warmed up to me.
I was thankful Femm looked at me this way.
「I’m going too, Al!」
I tried to stop them, but Vi-Vi and Moofy were not going back.
I whispered to Moofy again.
「If we do get in a fight, take care of Vi-Vi. Run whenever you have to.」
Moofy could at least get Vi-Vi out of there if necessary.
「Femm too. If you think it’s dangerous, run, okay?」
『I don’t want to.』
「If something happens to me, then tell Cruz, Yureena, and Luka, okay?」
『I know already.』
We both got back on our rides.
Then we quietly neared to the ancient dragon.
I knew that this was a stupid thing to do, but it had been a while since I faced a strong enemy, and I was excited.
Cruz was always talking about what tough enemies she had defeated, but I wasn’t that type of brash warrior.
「I’m getting to old for all this.」
I whispered to myself.