Inside Earth’s dungeon surveillance room―――
『Well… guess I should get in touch with Una and Dos.』
After parting ways with Elibel, I’ve found myself in the surveillance room deep within the dungeon.
The reason? To communicate with Una and Dos.
Considering everything that happened yesterday, I haven’t had a chance to touch base with them.
I’m also curious about the situation outside.
Before making the call, I check the images displayed on the terminal.
They show the surface and the entrance areas.
And today, as every day, everything seems bustling… or not.
While there are some signs of life near the Add Mountain Range and Guor Volcano, the surface dungeon of the Yuguru Great Forest looks noticeably deserted.
Well, it figures.
Given what happened yesterday…
The flooding caused by the Celestial Dragon, Yamu.
That disaster inflicted significant damage on the Yuguru Great Forest’s surface dungeon.
Not only adventurers who were exploring the dungeon but also the people trading near the entrance were swept away by the muddy flow.
According to Gijie, a considerable number of people died.
So, it’s only natural that a research team from the Magic City Endymion will be dispatched soon.
Seriously, how are we going to deal with this?
That Yamu left one hell of a mess behind…
Why are these dragon king types always such inconsiderate jerks?
Just like the Holy Dragon, who’s a monster parent, or the arrogant Celestial Dragon.
Oh, and Jibru too.
Come to think of it, why are there so many people around me who never listen?
Maybe when you live for a long time, you just stop caring about others?
I hope I never become like that…
Suddenly, I sense something off.
『…Wait? Did Elibel go outside?』
I always feel Elibel’s magical aura.
Now, it’s gone.
Not just her; Berg’s presence is missing too.
Both of them disappearing from the dungeon means―――
『…Maybe they went for a walk?』
To clear their heads or refresh?
I should focus on contacting Dos and Una.
But, wait? I feel another odd sensation.
『Did I just feel a drain of magic from my body for a split second?』
I get this sensation that my magic is flowing somewhere.
Is it just my imagination?
Well, no big deal.
It wasn’t a significant amount, anyway.
But man, I have this gut feeling that something bad is about to happen…
Since the start of the Continental Congress, nothing good has come of it.
On the first day, an Earth Dragon (my mother) showed up and wreaked havoc in the dungeon.
On the second day, the Celestial Dragon (Blonde one) did the same thing.
You know the saying, “Third time’s the charm”? At this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if another dragon king type shows up today and messes up the dungeon again.
Just my luck, right? Haha… ha…
An uneasy sweat trickles down my back.
…They won’t really come, right?
I’m not joking, I’m dead serious.
Feeling a strange chill, I operate the terminal to contact Una and Dos.
On the outskirts of the Imperial Capital―――
Elibel and Rias.
The two women are locked in a tense stare-down.
In the ensuing silence, it’s Rias who breaks the ice first.
「It’s been a while, hasn’t it, Elibel, my lady? You’ve changed so much that, for a moment, I didn’t recognize you.」
「Oh, really? And yet, you seemed to recognize me as Elibel in an instant?」
Despite Rias’s sarcastic remark, Elibel remains unfazed.
「I’d never mistake the magical aura of Ms Elibel. It’s good to see you’re well.」
「Really? Your words sound nothing but sarcastic to me… But then again, I don’t really care about this change in appearance. Well, I might care a bit, seeing as I can’t flaunt my childish looks anymore.」
「You really haven’t changed a bit, have you?」
There’s a hint of exasperation in Rias’s voice, while Elibel casually scratches her skeletal head in response.
「So, Rias… after two hundred years, you don’t have anything to say to me?」
Elibel asks, flames burning in her eye sockets, giving Rias an intense stare.
Rias tilts her head in thought.
「Not particularly… Why?」
Rias replies nonchalantly.
An audible creak comes from Elibel, who seems taken aback.
「You have nothing to say? Seriously? Nothing at all to tell me?」
Elibel’s skeletal fist is trembling, the sound of bones grinding against each other is clear.
She’s evidently trying hard to control her emotions.
Seeing this, Rias sighs.
「Such an aimless question. It’s not like you, Ms Elibel. What exactly do you want to ask me? About my unauthorized use of your research findings, like the ‘Dungeon Destruction Theory’ or the ‘Mass Teleportation Spell’? Or maybe about how I instigated Berg to ensure you didn’t turn undead? Or perhaps—」
Rias pauses momentarily, a smirk gracing her lips.
「About the passing of your sister — ‘Luriel’?」
In that instant, countless shards of ice shoot towards Rias.
She immediately conjures a defensive spell, blocking the attack.
In her hand, she now grips a twisted staff.
「That was close.」
「So, it WAS you… You were behind ‘that’ too!」
In a fit of rage, Elibel releases her spell, creating a massive dragon of water and ice.
It lunges straight for Rias.
「Even if you say so, Lady Ruriel’s death was more like an accident… I’m not responsible for it.」
Rias states, using a wind spell to alter its path and block the icy attack.
「You’ve got to be kidding me! My sister, how much she trusted you… How much do you think she believed in you?!」
「Even if you say that, it doesn’t change the fact that I did my job properly. It’s not fair for you to hold a grudge over that. Oh, by the way, wasn’t it after Lady Ruriel’s death that you became so obsessed with dungeon creation?」
Magic flies around them, changing the surrounding environment, but they continue their conversation regardless.
「Well, I do apologize for using your research without permission and for deceiving Berg. I’m really sorry. Please forgive me. But how long will you hold onto a grudge that’s two hundred years old?」
「What did you say?!」
「Fufuu, instead of that, isn’t it more like you to be screaming, ‘Give me that little girl!’?」
Rias says with a smirk.
Around her, tiny tornadoes form, whirling towards Elibel with ferocity.
「―――Damn you! If I wanted a little girl, I’d just go to the slave market and buy one myself!」
Is that really the point of contention here?
The argument seems to be veering off track, but let’s not dwell on that.
A wall of ice forms in front of Elibel, blocking the tornadoes.
She tightly grips the staff in her hand.
「Yes, I remember. Two hundred years ago, you tried to create a harem of little girl slaves, but Lady Ruriel and everyone else stopped you. Your face back then was priceless. Fufufu」
The ground around Rias surges, and from it emerges a group of makeshift golems.
They’re roughly human-sized, and there are about twenty of them.
In their hands are swords and axes crafted through alchemy.
「While they might not be as refined as Lady Luriel’s golems, they should be more than enough to handle you.」
On her command, the golems move all at once.
Their movements are distinct from any standard golem, resembling those of elite adventurers, as they close in on Elibel.
「I told you! Don’t you dare speak my sister’s name!」
But Elibel is no pushover.
Despite her anger, she calmly analyzes the magic of each approaching golem.
She instantly determines where the golem’s “core” is located.
With a swing of her staff, Elibel unleashes a volley of icy projectiles.
By accurately targeting and infusing magic into their weak points, she annihilates the golems in a heartbeat.
Without missing a beat, she casts a water spell, hurling it straight at Rias.
But Rias, with the slightest margin, dodges it gracefully.
「Sigh… Honestly, dealing with you, Ms Elibel, is such a pain… especially when we’re short on time.」
Throughout, Rias remains cool as a cucumber.
The mere fact that Elibel appeared before her doesn’t seem to faze her in the least.
Suddenly, Rias’s magical energy surges.
「Just releasing a tad bit of my magic. What’s the matter?」
It’s clear she hadn’t been going all out until now.
The flames in Elibel’s eye sockets flicker in astonishment.
Yet, she immediately unleashes another offensive spell towards Rias.
Rias, on the other hand, fends it off as effortlessly as one would swat away an annoying fly.
「…If you were still alive, perhaps there’d be a challenge. But in your current undead state, you stand no chance against me.」
A cataclysmic gust of wind ensues.
It shatters the surrounding rocks, gouges the earth, and wreaks havoc.
Elibel tries to set up a defensive spell, but it’s not enough.
The force sends her crashing back into a large rock behind her.
A chilling sound of cracking bones fills the air.
「You’re no sage, just a mere shadow of your former self. I have no use for you.」
From Rias’s twisted staff, a divine light emanates.
「Goodbye, Ms Elibel.」
Right after, an explosive wind spell hurls towards Elibel.
「Hmm, what’s going on here?」
Wald muses, watching the unfolding drama.
He’s been feeling left out since everything started.
Who exactly is that Arc Skeleton that appeared out of nowhere?
The fluent speech, the awe-inspiring display of magic.
It’s hard to believe it’s just a General-class monster.
However, the way it uses its magic seems reminiscent of Eclair. But that doesn’t matter now.
I might as well finish off both Rias and that monster in one go.
Just as he’s preparing to jump into their battle, a six-armed giant steps in his way.
「…What’s this now?」
「I apologize for the inconvenience, but would you mind standing back? We don’t want any unnecessary interventions. Don’t worry, as long as you stay quiet, we won’t harm you. Our only target is that woman.」
A smirk forms on Wald’s face.
「So, you’re my opponent then? Everything’s been so confusing, and it’s starting to get on my nerves!」
Magic energy pours out from Wald’s body.
Watching this, Berg lets out a weary sigh and shakes his head.
「Young ones are always so hot-blooded…」
As he speaks, Berg infuses his own body with magical power.
And so, the battle between the Elder Tyrant Golem and the Dragon Slayer begins.
Meanwhile, at the Imperial Castle―――
The Continental Congress venue has become a cauldron of chaos.
The emperor of the hosting country has been attacked.
What’s more, it seems the news has leaked.
Representatives from various regions demand explanations, and the empire is in disarray. Continuing the meeting seems almost impossible.
Amidst the swirling chaos, a woman named Léna-Lloyd, who seems lost in her own world, notices something unusual.
She isn’t concerned with the commotion in the hall.
Her attention is on something “outside.”
「This energy… Elibel? And… could it be Rias?」
Closing her eyes and focusing intently, she delves into her magic sensing abilities.
The barrier over the conference room is troublesome, but Léna-Lloyd’s magic manipulation is more refined.
Skillfully navigating through gaps in the barrier, she easily detects the external magic signatures.
They’re located on a small hill on the outskirts of the imperial capital.
There are four of them: Elibel, Berg, Rias… and someone with the energy signature of the Dragon Slayer.
I recognize the first three, but why is Wald with them?
Well, that doesn’t matter right now.
「I see, I see. Elibel finally met her, huh?」
A gentle smile spreads across Léna-Lloyd’s face.
「If that’s the case, I can’t just sit around here. I want to be part of this.」
The attack on the emperor has plunged the hall into chaos.
It will probably be canceled.
In such confusion, sneaking out without being noticed should be easy, especially for someone like Léna-Lloyd who tends to go unnoticed.
She’s adept at moving without drawing attention.
Silently, Léna-Lloyd slips out of the venue.
Finding a secluded spot, she retrieves a communication magic stone from her pocket.
「Hello, Rugios? Is now a good time? Where are you?… Yes, it seems like Rias and Elibel are fighting… Right, so, please join them… Yeah, that’s the situation. See you later.」
After ending the call, her smile deepens.
「…Things are getting interesting.」
With that, she leaves the imperial castle behind, and no one notices her departure.
Léna-Lloyd begins her journey toward the location where Elibel and the others are.
「We’ve got a response. Looks like Rias has finally made a move.」
「Is that so? Then, we should head that way too.」
「Are you sure? Considering what happened yesterday, are you fully recovered?」
「There’s no problem. As I said yesterday, I’ll be the one to stop both Ouronus and Rias. It’s my responsibility, after all.」
「In that case, hop on my back. If I unleash my full power, we’ll get there in time even at my speed. Save as much of your magic as possible.」
「Understood. I’m counting on you, Gwyve.」
「Don’t worry about it. Besides, I’ve got a few things I want to say to Rias as well.」
「Let’s go then, to put an end to all of this.」
Their individual thoughts and feelings intertwine, and the story’s pace quickens.
Yet, the Earth Dragon, who should be at the center of all this, shows no sign of emerging from the depths of the earth.
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