Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Drake’s Parting Gift
The Route Sheep was fast, three times faster than a human walking. It proceeded at a trot, its fluffy wool making for comfortable seats. It was like the creature had natural suspensions. Since there wasn’t much shaking, Hikaru’s party barely felt tired.
It seemed to understand humans. Hikaru was able to easily communicate the direction, and they arrived at the location where they found the Pinky Deer yesterday in just two hours.
「It was around here, wasn’t it?」
「Yeah. But there’s nothing left.」
While signs of fighting remained, there was no sign of the doe’s carcass. Some other wild animal must have taken it away.
「That’s the food chain for you, I guess.」
I just witnessed the cycle of nature, Hikaru thought.
For the next two days, they rode the Route Sheep until they reached a large river that was impossible to cross. They continued on with the Route Sheep even if it meant a little detour, simply because it was easier and Lavia had really taken a liking to the creature.
「Bye, Mr. Fluff…」
Regretfully, she waved goodbye to the Route Sheep. The sheep itself glanced back a few times as it went away. It was fluffy, meek, and able to avoid most danger. The only downside was the mud.
They lost a day by helping the Pinky Deer, but overall, made faster progress thanks to the Route Sheep.
After crossing the large river with their hang gliders, they camped for the night. Every day, they came across expedition squads engaged in battle, spotted them from afar, or just heard sounds of fighting. But from here on out, they shouldn’t encounter the soldiers anymore.
「Hikaru-sama, is the Evil Drakon gone?」
「Hmmm… Drake made it sound like that would be the case. I’m not sure, though.」
「But how exactly…」Paula trailed off.
「There’s the possibility of them eating the corpse.」Hikaru said.
「Hikaru-sama! I didn’t say it out loud on purpose!」
The image of Drake eating the Evil Drakon was not pleasant, so they immediately stopped talking about it.
Hikaru’s party continued north, and after five days, the northernmost tip of the continent came into view.
It had been about half a month since the last time they came here. Hikaru’s mind was full of thoughts of defeating the drakon last time that he hardly felt the chilly temperature in the extreme north. Now it felt slightly warmer.
They climbed the last hill leading to the basin. The sky was blue as far as the eye could see, the land a blanket of gray.
Everyone had been silent for a while now. Not knowing what lay ahead, they all held hands, Hikaru activating Group Obfuscation.
Drake claimed to be a Rule Maker, which wasn’t unusual, considering drakons were God’s servants. But I thought for sure God himself was the Rule Maker.
Once things settle down, you should check the place out. I’m sure you’ll find something interesting.
I wonder what he meant by “interesting”? I have a vague idea, though.
Drakons are able to use holy mana. By purifying the Evil Drakon, they can obtain a high-energy crystal. Perhaps the crystal was made into something else. Hikaru would be delighted if it was related to the Drakon Passage. Traveling ten days to get back to Dream Maker was too exhausting.
Whatever Drake left had to be worth the back and forth trip of twenty days. Of course, Hikaru was also curious about the Evil Drakon itself.
Actually, maybe I’ll get a weapon? Nah. That elder dude seems to have the sense not to leave behind anything dangerous.
Hikaru crested the last few steps with those thoughts in mind.
The wind was blowing. With Lavia and Paula on Hikaru’s side, the party looked over the land. There was nothing there. Not the miasma, nor the corpse of the Evil Drakon. Even the blackened ground had turned back to mere gray stones.
「Amazing. It’s like there was nothing here in the first place.」
「Maybe something like Paula’s Purification was used?」Lavia said.
「It’ll take years for me to cast it over such a wide area!」Paula cut in.
「That’s true, but they’re drakons. Maybe they can cast Purification over a large area. I must say, there’s nothing here. Like, absolutely nothing.」
It was a bit of a letdown. Hikaru was relieved, no doubt, but considering the hassle of getting here by hang glider, he couldn’t help but be slightly annoyed about it.
Maybe he just wanted to show off how clean it was. Hikaru hardly found it “interesting”. Or maybe they failed to leave anything?
Hikaru felt it was the latter. Drake wanted to leave something behind, but the elder drakon took it with them.
「Hmm?」Lavia cocked her head, arms folded.
With no monsters in sight, Hikaru had turned off Group Obfuscation.
「Hikaru… it looks like there’s something right there in the middle.」Lavia pointed to the center of the basin, where Hikaru killed the Evil Drakon.
Hikaru strained his eyes. It felt like he was looking at something blurry, as if some sort of mist had settled in.
「Looks like there really is something there. Let’s check it out.」
They went down the slope. Maybe it’s a hot spring, Hikaru thought. Then something clattered behind them.
Hikaru’s wakizashi was rumbling. The scabbard made from a Sacred Tree of Everlasting Darkness was supposed to be able to conceal anything. It prevented the mana stored in the wakizashi from leaking out, and at the same time blocked outside interference.
Yet the wakizashi, the weapon that sucked Drake’s mana before, was reacting to something.
A chill ran down Hikaru’s back. He had a hunch that something was about to happen. That they were about to discover something.
「Hikaru-sama?」Paula asked, noticing Hikaru’s odd steps.
「I’m fine. We’ll find out once we get there.」
Slowly, they inched closer to their destination. To where the drakon said they’d find something interesting. Mana Detection didn’t pick anything up.
It was eerily quiet. The thick, shifting mist seemed to be bigger than Hikaru. It shimmered like vapor.
「Hikaru. Are you really okay?」Lavia looked concerned.
Hikaru was far from composed. They were only about twenty meters away now. The wind brought with it a certain smell, one that he shouldn’t be smelling at a place like this.
「I know this smell…」Hikaru muttered.「I’m sure of it. This sickening odor… is exhaust fumes.」
When they were about ten meters away, he heard engine revving, accompanied by the sound of horn blaring.
All of this was common back in Japan.
「No way… I really didn’t expect this one, Drake.」
A rift between worlds?
「Who would’ve thought you could connect two worlds?」
Beyond the mist, Hikaru could see asphalt road and silhouettes of passing cars.
A rift that led somewhere on Earth had appeared.