「It’s a lie…」
Stopping his attack, Cadias said in a hoarse voice.
Frustration and confusion were clearly visible on Cadias’ face.
『It’s not a lie, it’s all true.』
「There’s no way…」
His words trail off weakly.
He denies it, but he must intuitively understand.
That I’m not lying.
I can’t see Cadias’ expression as he bows his head.
But he opens his mouth as if murmuring.
「I…I had no memories.」
「When I became aware, I was in this world…」
「I remembered my name and that I came from another world somewhere, not here…」
『Those aren’t your memories. They’re remnants of my memories as a human…』
The tiny fragments of memory left in my human body.
Cadias must have mistaken them for his own memories.
Believing them, he must have struggled until now, believing he would someday meet his compatriots from his own world.
But now, that’s been completely shattered.
Cadias was originally a human of this world.
He was gifted the power of the Stellar Veins and used by Jibru as a hero because of his aptitude.
After defeating the Demon King as a hero, his power, memories and experiences were stripped away, used to strengthen my soul―――the stillborn child of Jibru.
My human soul as a veneer covering my earth dragon soul, reincarnated in this world to play the role forced upon it.
And Cadias’ empty soul entered my now empty human body, reincarnating in this world.
That is the truth about me and Cadias.
Thinking about it, Cadias is really pitiful.
Used by Jibru in her experiments, granted the power of the Stellar Veins and exploited as a hero.
After defeating the Demon King as a hero, his power and memories were stolen to empower my soul.
Becoming an empty shell, he struggled on, gaining companions, only for those companions to die as well.
On and on and on―――
But thinking that way, my normal self surprisingly carefree.
That’s impressive in its own way.
「No…no…then what was I…? Suiren… Lau…what did they die for…? I, I am… AAAAAAAAAAAAAARRGHHH!!!」
With a scream, lightning erupted from Cadias’ body.
The lightning spread in an instant, indiscriminately destroying the surrounding walls and floor.
『Yup, this is how it goes…』
I knew Cadias would lose control when he learned the truth.
But I had to tell him.
If I didn’t, we couldn’t move “forward.”
Because my… no, “our” true goal starts from here.
『Alright, let’s begin.』
I focus my consciousness.
Honing my mind, I activate full body armamentization.
My body transforms.
In real time it’s less than a split second.
Full Body Armamentization complete.
…Okay, let’s do this.
I look ahead.
There Cadias’ form is visible, having become a mass of lightning.
To stop the rampaging Cadias, I broke into a run.
In Area Eight―――
The battle between Celestial Dragon Yamu and Witch Léna-Lloyd was becoming more intense.
A fierce back and forth of magic, neither giving an inch.
What burst from Yamu’s back at his shout were claws of light.
Not just one, but countless claws of light assailed Léna-Lloyd.
Léna-Lloyd was not to be outdone.
「War God’s Wind Blade」
What manifested was a gigantic wind blade.
A wind magic once used as a trump card by a certain dead person.
The claws of light and wind blades collided and canceled each other out.
「Hah! For all your bluster in trying to stop me, you’re fighting quite defensively, witch! What’s wrong?」
「I wish you’d stop calling me that nickname. I’d prefer if you called me by my dear name, Léna. Or even something cuter~」
「Hah! As if a witch like you deserves anything more!」
Over a billion shards of ice spread out around Yamu.
All at once, they fired towards Léna-Lloyd.
Deploying defensive magic while nimbly evading the ice shards, Léna-Lloyd responded:
「Come to think of it, we’ve known each other for a while, but this is the first time we’ve fought properly, isn’t it?」
「Is that so?」
Immediately, Léna-Lloyd deployed an assault-type magic.
Countless flames assailed Yamu.
But with a wave of his hand, Yamu dispersed them.
Looking closely, countless white, snowflake-like crystals floated around him.
「Really, your ability is unfair. Whether on the ground, in a dungeon, the sky–anywhere–you can fully leverage your power. I’m jealous.」
Yamu’s innate magic―――Heavens.
The ability to interfere with the weather and nature, activating various phenomenons as magic.
Meddling with rain, it becomes a muddy torrent swallowing all.
Meddling with snow, it becomes ice shards destroying all.
Meddling with wind, it becomes a desolate breeze decaying all.
Truly an ability bordering on omnipotent.
「Hah, trying to distract me by chatting is useless! My aim is you–!」
Yamu snapped his fingers.
Behind him, enormous water thorns manifested.
They pierced Robun and Rasetsu who had been approaching Yamu from behind.
「Hmph, if you want to ambush me, you’d best raise your abilities more.」
Firing the water thorns, he smashed them into the wall.
「Uwaaa… Yamu, aren’t you being a bit careless? Arrogant? That’s the kind of character you are… Right?」
Their presences and magic power should have been perfectly concealed.
And he had focused his attention completely on Léna-Lloyd.
Yet despite that, the ambush failed.
Yamu was not careless at all.
「Anyone who’d let their guard down against you would have to be a first class fool.」
Yamu does not look down on Léna-Lloyd.
He knows she’s no easy opponent.
Aside from her ability, her intellect is undoubtedly top-class among those he knows.
Aside from her communication disorder and loneliness, she’s close to perfect.
「Oh, so does that mean I have a surprisingly high evaluation?」
While firing off magic, Léna-Lloyd looks a little bashful.
This isn’t the time for bashfulness, Yamu thinks irritably.
「But if so, I have another question.」
「What is it?」
「It’s that―――they aren’t dead.」
A brief flicker.
For an instant, Yamu’s expression changed.
But truly just for an instant.
Immediately, he unleashed Thousand Ice Pillars at Léna-Lloyd.
「If you were truly serious, they there should long since be dead, no?」
While dodging the nearly billion ice shards Yamu unleashed, Léna-Lloyd questioned him: “Is that really so?”
Her gaze turned to the two who had fallen from his earlier attack.
Rasetsu and Robun.
Their wounds were deep. But they were not dead.
The same went for the other. Their wounds were serious, but none had died.
Even the skeleton army reduced to dust still had their “cores” left intact.
「Hah! They’re certainly more stubborn than I expected. Seems I can’t casually crush them like insects after all.」
With a vicious grin, Yamu brought down Heaven Claws on Léna-Lloyd.
To Léna-Lloyd, the attack seemed like an attempt to disguise his emotions.
As evidenced by:
「Do you really think so?」
With a crisp sound, Yamu’s Heaven Claws were severed.
At some point, she had grasped an enormous sword as long as she was tall.
「―――Didn’t you actually not want to kill them?」
She leveled the blade at Yamu.
It was the beloved sword of her knight, Rugios.
―――The Dragon Sword Ascalon.
Seeing as she didn’t have it earlier, she must have used teleportation magic.
「Yamu, I already said it, didn’t I? You’re much, much kinder than you think.」
「Nonsense! It was merely a whim of mine!」
This time, huge water pillars erupted from Yamu’s shoulders.
Roaring torrents in the shape of dragons assailed her.
But Léna-Lloyd easily avoided them.
「You’re agitated, aren’t you?」
Léna-Lloyd’s eyes shone.
Her eyes, which could see through to the essence, to the “soul”, pierced Yamu.
「What are you…」
「Like how I left Baal in the dungeon across the way. Somewhere inside, you were hoping for it, right? That I would bring him here. That’s why you’re conflicted. Whether together with Agil you should destroy the Stellar Veins and Earth, or if there’s another path―――」
A tornado whipped up around Yamu.
Raging violently as if to keep Léna-Lloyd away, the tornado of mixed water and ice attacked her.
But she did not fall back.
「Your magic betrays your hesitation.」
Rather, she charged straight through the raging tornado, breaking through it.
Within the eye of the storm, Léna-Lloyd’s bloodied yet smiling face appeared before Yamu’s eyes.
Yamu was taken aback by her reckless action, but responded quickly.
Immediately unleashing Heaven Claws, he fired them at Léna-Lloyd.
But once again, she “avoided” them.
Even as her arms, legs, neck and cheeks were lacerated, she did not stop, continuing her approach.
Yamu’s body froze for an instant at her actions.
「See, you’re agitated.」
That was the deciding factor.
Léna-Lloyd smiled thinly.
Closing in on Yamu, she readied the Dragon Sword Ascalon in her hands.
（―――This is bad!）
Panic surfaced on Yamu’s expression.
He knew of Ascalon’s properties.
That’s why he absolutely could not take this blow!
「―――Dragon Sword Ascalon」
「You know it too, right? This greatsword artificially recreates the ‘dragon slaying’ passed down in the Nored family.」
An innate magic appearing only in those of Nored blood.
Its effect sealed dragon souls within the user’s body, allowing them to freely draw on their power.
And the dragon slayer Ascalon was a magic sword that artificially recreated that ability.
「But its performance is superior to the original. After all, the Ascalon mimics the origin of ‘dragon slaying’―――the ‘Gluttony’ of Earth Dragons!」
Yamu cried out.
Flapping his wings, he retreated.
But Léna-Lloyd was just a bit faster.
She slipped deeper into Yamu’s bosom.
「That said, with a true dragon king like you, sealing you for more than a few hours is the limit. But―――」
Léna-Lloyd’s Ascalon pierced Yamu’s chest.
「Agh… damn… you…」
「Sorry, Yamu. But I promise. I will show you a different ending… No, “we” will show you a different ending」
Léna-Lloyd gently smiled.
The dragon slaying activated.
Yamu’s soul was sealed within Ascalon.
Silence filled the air.
The contest had ended surprisingly smoothly.
Flopping down where she stood, Léna-Lloyd sat.
She had lost too much blood, but more than that, she was mentally exhausted.
「Why couldn’t you just be honest…?」
Gazing at the Ascalon stabbed into the ground, Léna-Lloyd muttered.
「If you had just ‘awakened’, this seal wouldn’t have worked to begin with.」
Originally, she had no chance of winning this contest.
Like Jibru and Ouronus, Yamu had awakened his power as a ‘True Dragon King’.
No matter how strong Léna-Lloyd was as a “person”, it couldn’t compare to a true dragon.
Yet she had won.
Right up until he was sealed by Léna-Lloyd, Yamu did not use his “power” at all.
No, somewhere along the way, he had ceased to be his true self.
―――Anyone who’d let their guard down against you would have to be a first class fool.
Recalling those words…
（Then you’re the number one fool…）
But if she hadn’t done this, Yamu would not have stopped.
He had deliberately shown an “opening” to his friend.
Somewhere inside, he must have been hoping. That someone would stop him.
「Well, can’t keep dawdling. While Yamu’s sealed, I have to finish this…」
She looked up.
Due to the earlier battle, this dungeon had been blown open to the surface.
In the sky she gazed at, countless massive magical arrays floated.
And at the edge of her vision.
There, an enormous beast could be seen.
「Here I come, Agil…」
Dragging her body, she headed for the Emperor Beast.
And then, crack.
A crack appeared in the greatsword she held.
The current battle situation:
Area 2, Ford Desert – Ongoing
Kshathra the “Intimidating Ox” vs Zahak
Agil (powering up)
Area 8 – Concluded
Léna-Lloyd en route. Yamu (sealed).
Rasetsu, Robun, Othel, Ljung, Pururu, Gonzo injured.
Area 6 – Ongoing
Earth (temp) vs Hero Cadias
Depths Surveillance Room
Elibel under attack and in danger
Ann en route with Heleb
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