『I’M GONNA KILL YOU!!』
I put all my strength into kicking the ground.
With that momentum, I charge at the man in front of me and swing my claws with all my might.
The man doesn’t avoid it.
He holds his holy sword forward and guards with one hand supporting the hilt.
The moment the claws hit the sword, a tremendous impact occurs.
The ground cracks around us, and the vibration shakes the entire floor.
I attempt another strike with my free hand, but this time the man kicks the ground and dodges backward.
Tch, he dodged it.
「Heh… amazing… power…!」
The man then swings his sword.
Is that the long-range slash attack of Leviathan?
Until a while ago, I was too flustered to dodge, but now it’s different.
I can avoid it.
I twist my body to the left and dodge the slash.
The deflected slash crashes into the wall and shatters the rock.
The shattered rock falls into the abyss.
『Wait…! It hurts! Debris… debris is falling… ugh!』
Elibel is shouting something.
It can wait for now.
However, this slash… indeed.
Compared to a direct attack with the sacred sword itself, long-range slashes seem to be significantly slower and weaker in power.
This area in regards seems to be similar to the degraded version of the Sacred Sword Leviathan that I created.
Unless it’s an exception like Tres, the effect seems to be the same.
「Oh! You dodged it!」
Despite having his attack evaded, the man had a smile on his face.
He’s a creepy guy.
…For now, let’s try to assess the current situation.
Now that I’ve calmed down, I can accurately assess things.
『Well then, now that I’ve calmed down… let me ask again. Adventurer, why did you destroy my dungeon? What is your purpose?』
I send thought transmission to the man in front of me.
「Hmm, this voice… it’s the same as before. Could it be you who’s sending it?」
Upon hearing that, the man’s expression showed surprise, but he quickly laughed.
「Wow, that’s amazing! Among monsters, there are very few who can speak and have a conversation! Judging by your size, I guess you’re not fully grown yet. And yet, possessing such advanced intelligence is astonishing.」
The man spoke with great enthusiasm.
『Answer my question.』
「Oh, right. Why did we come here, to your dungeon? I guess there are two personal reasons and one national reason, I suppose.」
While holding up three fingers, the man nods his head and replies.
「On a personal level, it’s to avenge Paldi and because we received information that there might be an Earth Dragon here. As for the national reason, it’s to exterminate designated disaster species.」
『Avenge Paldi?』I asked.
「Yes. Adventurers came to this dungeon before. We’re here to avenge them,」the man replied.
Adventurers… Oh, right. Ann reported that she took care of intruders before.
I must have ignored it during peaceful times.
Seriously, I lack a sense of crisis…
Even though such a report was made, I was just leisurely eating magic stones and sleeping.
Seriously, I’m useless…
No wonder Ann and Una are working so hard.
In a way, it’s amazing how I can stay like that.
And as for exterminating designated disaster species… The only one I can think of is… Ann.
If they were here to exterminate me, they wouldn’t use the term “designated disaster species” but rather “Earth Dragon extermination.”
From the way this man speaks, it seems my situation is more of a personal reason.
『…So you came to exterminate the Imperial Ant.』
「Exactly. The country has suffered a lot of casualties from Imperial Ant in the past. So we wanted to strike it down while we had the chance」
But is that the only reason they came all the way to this wasteland?
If I recall correctly, the last recorded sighting of the Imperial Ants was over four hundred years ago.
They came to the Eld Desert based on such ancient records?
Even though there are high-level monsters like Accurate Crows and White Wyverns flying around?
Are the humans in this world really that strong?
No, according to the information from Una, one needs the strength of at least S-Rank class to contend with King-class monsters.
In other words, does this country’s military possess that kind of power?
Did they view Ann’s existence as that much of a threat?
Something feels off…
Let’s probe a little.
『Well, it’s quite surprising that you’ve come all the way to the Eld Desert to exterminate the ants, considering the presence of Accurate Crows and White Wyverns. Isn’t it?』
How about that…?
Upon hearing that, the man surprisingly burst into laughter.
「Hahaha! I was surprised too, you know? Even though it’s the occurrence of a designated disaster species, dispatching an extermination force to such a dangerous place… It felt a bit strange, but… well, it’s none of my concern.」
At that point, the man paused his words.
「Whether the military took action or not, it didn’t matter to me. Regardless, I intended to come here with Beldi. Since the military moved this time, as adventurers, we just fell in line with their pace due to our position,」he said, repositioning his sacred sword.
「Now, the chitchat ends here. Shall we continue the killing?」
Damn, it seems like I won’t be able to extract any more information.
The man kicked the ground and approached me once more.
I evaded the direct collision and, in that instant, attacked the man with my tail.
But he dodged it.
He leaped backward, kicked off the wall, and accelerated again.
Thwack! He swung his sword, launching another slash.
This time, it was multiple slashes.
Seriously, he can fire in rapid succession too!
Dodging all of them would be impossible.
I rolled up my body and evaded the slashes by rolling on the ground.
However, two of them hit. One struck my tail, and the other hit my left leg.
But I can’t afford to show pain.
The man is already approaching me, right beside me.
He must have predicted where I would evade to.
Truly, the difference in combat experience is apparent.
Instinctively, I guard with my left arm.
If I’m going to get the same injury, it’s better to use my already wounded left arm than my unharmed right arm.
I wouldn’t have been able to make such a judgment earlier… Truly, the “white powder” is remarkable.
Its effects are truly magnificent.
Scales shatter as the sacred sword embeds itself into my left arm.
But in that instant, I counter with my free right arm.
The man quickly withdraws his sword and steps back, unable to avoid the counter completely.
Blood gushes from his shoulder.
He gazes at the wound intently.
Suddenly, the man in front of me bursts into mad laughter.
What on earth is happening?
「Ha~ it’s enjoyable, isn’t it? …Fighting against a dragon is truly exhilarating. …It’s good, really good. Battle isn’t interesting unless it’s like this!」
…What is this man saying?
After laughing for a while, he looks at me.
「Earth Dragon, come to think of it, we haven’t introduced ourselves yet, have we? I’m Wald―――Wald Nored, also known as the ‘Dragon Slayer.」
Why did he suddenly start introducing himself?
And a Dragon Slayer?
Has this guy actually killed a dragon?
「If you don’t mind, could you tell me your ‘name’? With such strength, you must have a name, I presume?」
『…I don’t have one.』
『I don’t have a ‘name.’ I’m just an Earth Dragon. I don’t have a ‘name’!』
I shout and once again launch an attack at the man before me, Wald.
But he dodges it.
Then, he keeps his distance from me.
This guy… He’s getting used to my movements.
While I might have the advantage in physical abilities, the difference in combat experience is too great.
This is… a bit tough.
To think I would be fighting against such an opponent in my first battle.
「I see. That’s a shame… I wanted to know your name since I’m going to kill you. Oh well…」
Saying that, Wald takes off his already tattered coat.
His clothes are in tatters from our previous exchange.
Upon closer inspection, that guy… Wald isn’t wearing any armor.
He’s been using just that sacred sword all along.
There’s no way he looks like an adventurer with that attire.
「Phew, clothes really are a hindrance… They mess up my movements.」
Underneath the clothes, a well-toned body is revealed.
And on that body, various colorful “tattoos” are marked.
『…What’s with those tattoos?』
The tattoos on Wald’s body have no sense of unity at all.
They have different colors and shapes, ranging from red, blue, gray, to white, and the sizes are completely random.
But if I had to say, they all resemble claws and fangs.
Each tattoo faintly emits a light.
What are they?
『Hm? What’s wrong, Jiryuu?』
Elibel sent a thought transmission, seemingly sensing my abnormality.
『Elibel, do you happen to know anything about the person in front of me? His body is covered in colorful tattoos all over. His name is Wald Nored, and he called himself a dragon slayer,』I asked.
『Tattoos… Dragon slayer… Nored… Could it be the Nored family, the dragon slayers!?』
Elibel’s astonished voice echoed.
『You know about them, Elibel?』
『Of course. It goes back to the time when I was still alive. The Nored family is one of the three major noble families in the Borhelic Kingdom, with a long lineage. They are a special clan that has made killing dragons their livelihood. They are born with not only high combat abilities to slay dragons but also with a unique ability: they can seal the souls and magical power of the dragons they kill within their bodies,』
Elibel utters shocking information.
『Seriously… What’s that supposed to mean?』
『I mean it literally. The souls and magical power of the slain dragons are incorporated into the bodies of dragon slayers. Due to their extraordinary abilities and high combat prowess, they have always been treated differently even among the nobility. Otherwise, why would the royal family entrust someone with such a dangerous weapon as the ‘Dungeon Destruction Ability’ sword? Well, it’s kept top secret, so hardly anyone knows about it,』
『You seem to know a lot.』
『Of course. My Löwenherz family was also one of the three major noble families in Borhellic at the time, although I was disowned. But it seems they haven’t fallen even after two hundred years… I wonder how they are doing now.』
『I see. Thank you, Elibel. You’ve been a great help.』
『Oh, no need to mention it… But it’s kind of weird when you express your gratitude so sincerely…』
『Yeah, I feel the same way.』
Hooray for the drug effect.
With that, I end the conversation.
Regardless, it’s certain that Wald is up to something.
「…Let’s go. Activate ‘Dragon Slayer’!」
In the next moment, Wald’s body was enveloped in a strong light.
This light is similar to the light of the Evolution Magic Stone.
I can sense Wald’s magical power expanding.
To seal the souls and magical power of the dragons he kills within his body… If he can freely tap into that power.
He can power-up.
There’s no way I’m going to wait for that!
Immediately, I launch my attack.
I swing my claws towards the center of the light.
Wald, who was in the center, didn’t dodge.
Immediately, he got slammed into the wall.
However, his magic power doesn’t disappear.
Tch, did I fail to finish him off?
「Phew… That hurt… You don’t usually attack someone during their transformation, you know? Can’t you appreciate it from far?」
As the light subsides, Wald emerges from the crumbling wall.
But his appearance can only be described as bizarre.
『Hey, what’s up with that appearance…』
If I had to say, it’s like a human body with dragon features added to it.
Horns protrude from his head, a tail grows out, and wings even sprout from his back.
Strange patterns appear on his face, and sharp fangs peek out from his smirking mouth.
Is this guy really human…?
『Is that the effect of ‘Dragon Slayer’?』
「Yeah. We call it the ‘Dragon Form.’ They say I can draw out the power of dragons better than any previous generation. After all, I’m the current head of the family.」
A lineage that can kill dragons and seal their souls and magical power within their bodies.
It’s a power that’s almost as unfair as my “Gluttony.”
For them, dragons are not something to fear but rather prey to hunt.
「Right now, there are a total of fourteen dragons within my body. Well, I can only unleash the power of about three of them… But even so…」
Wald’s figure disappears.
He’s too fast.
His physical abilities have increased significantly.
I activate my magic detection.
「――――Right now… ain’t I strong?!」
Reflexively, I swing my tail,
Wald effortlessly grabs my tail. Then, he slides his body and slips into my embrace.
This is bad!
The magical power emanating from the Sacred Sword is on a completely different scale than before!
Is he enhancing the sword’s abilities with the power of the dragon?
「SACRED SWORD LEVIATHAN, MAXIMUM POWER!」
――――――This is bad!
I quickly concentrate all my magical power forward.
A deafening roar.
My chest is ripped apart, and with the recoil, I crash into the wall.
Breaking through the wall, I’m thrown to the neighboring floor and finally come to a stop, embedded several meters deep.
Damn, that didn’t sound like a slash… no matter how you think about it.
My body was in tatters, battered all over.
Even my previously unharmed right arm was covered in wounds, scales peeled off in various places, and blood overflowing.
『Hey! Jiryuu! Are you alright!? Hold on―――』
I could hear Elibel’s voice.
Damn it… it’s unfair to suddenly become stronger like that.
I have no real combat experience to begin with.
I could barely fight by compensating with my physical abilities and magical power, but if even those are surpassed, I have no chance of winning.
The pain from my wounds throbbed intensely.
This is bad… I’m at a severe disadvantage like this.
There’s no chance of winning…
「I see you’re still alive. Well then… shall we continue… the fight?」
Wald’s voice resounded.
He was slowly approaching me.
He’s so confident…
Why does he enjoy fighting so much? I don’t get it.
『Cough… wheeze… wheeze…』
I wish I had a powerful weapon at least…
But there’s no way a convenient weapon would be lying around. Actually, not just a powerful weapon, even the materials…
And then, it suddenly crossed my mind.
A way to quickly become stronger.
That’s right. The best ‘materials’ were always with me all along.
I immediately activated my magic.
Through the dust and rubble, Wald approached.
I couldn’t see his figure due to the cloud of dust.
「The dust is quite something. Come on out, let’s fight already.」
But thanks to that, I bought some time.
Now, let’s see what happens.
From here on, it’s a gamble.
I swing my arm.
In the next moment.
Shwoosh! A flash of light flickered.
The area where the flash passed through was neatly severed.
The rocks, the ground, and――――Wald’s left arm, which was in the line of fire.
Cleanly, to the point where it was impossible to tell it had been cut, Wald’s left arm was severed.
Blood gushed out.
The dust settled, and Wald’s figure became clearly visible.
His expression contorted in agony.
Nevertheless, he didn’t let go of the sacred sword he held in his right hand.
「Guh… Ugh… What was that…? That wasn’t… a breath attack! It shouldn’t have any long-range attack beside the breath…!」
…The power was beyond my expectations.
To think that such power could be unleashed with just a slight swing of my arm.
I’ll need to adjust it later, but that’s not important now.
I emerged from the rubble, revealing myself.
And upon seeing my form, Wald’s face was filled with astonishment.
That’s right. It’s only natural.
After all, for a monster to do something like this is unheard of.
「What in the world… are those claws…!?」
Yes, that’s right.
When I think about it, there were plenty of materials available.
Because “I” am what humans would call the “best material.”
「―――――Could it be you weaponized ‘your own body’!?」
If there are no weapons, then I’ll create them.
Using “my own body.”
Up until now, I have made a lot of golems and weapons from my own molted skin and claws.
With the research materials left by Elibel, my expertise in this area is tremendous.
This is an application of that knowledge.
My claws have transformed into flexible, thick, and hook-like appendages that emit a hard, radiant sheen.
…Honestly, I’m glad it worked out well.
The power is beyond words.
In an instant, I tore through Wald’s dragonized arm.
The finest armament.
“Armamentization” of the body.
Enhancement of physical abilities through it.
A quick method of strengthening that only I, the best material, can achieve.
This is my trump card.
Now, shall we settle this, Dragon Slayer?
I’m not just a prey to be hunted.
I’ll show you the determination of a dragon.