I drove my armed claws into Wald.
However, he didn’t take the hit.
He dodged it by flying sideways instead of blocking it with his sacred sword.
My claw attack that cut through the air sliced through the ground and walls as well.
Four claw marks, created by the claws’ strike, extended over twenty meters, raising clouds of dust.
「…I wouldn’t dare take that attack head-on. Its power is no joke. Even now, I’d prefer to avoid a direct hit,」
Wald attempted to move to where his severed arm had been sent flying.
『What are you going to do with just an arm?!』
Before Wald could retrieve his arm, I launched another claw strike.
Once again, he evaded it.
However, his left arm, which was in the line of fire, was shredded by the claw attack.
「Do you have to do that?! Now I can’t reattach it back!」
It can be reattach?!
I thought maybe he was going to pick up the arm, but if it can be reattached even when severed, then this guy isn’t really human… Not that I’m one to talk.
「Sigh… It’s probably not in my favor to fight you in your current state with just one arm…」
I thought he was going to leave after that but apparently he’s not.
Although he sounds resigned, he doesn’t look like he’s giving up at all.
In fact, his magical power seems to have increased since before.
「Phew… I really don’t want to use this, but… ‘Dragon Soul Consumption’… Target: ‘Left Arm’.」
As he said that, one of the tattoos carved into Wald’s side disappears.
And at the same time, the left arm that should have been missing is “regenerated.”
What the hell?!
『What’s with that cheat power?!』
How is it possible for an arm to grow back?
「It’s a secret technique called ‘Dragon Soul Consumption,’ a secret technique for slaying dragons. Didn’t I mention earlier that there are fourteen dragon souls sealed inside my body? By consuming one of those souls, I regenerated my arm. If the price for regenerating a single arm is a dragon soul, it’s quite a bargain, isn’t it?」
What a cheap move.
Seems like this “Dragon Slayer” ability is even more unfair than I thought.
No wonder Elibel is surprised.
She hasn’t been responding for a while now. Did something happened to her?
No, right now, that’s not important.
『…What happens to the consumed dragon soul?』
「Hmm, it disappears. Isn’t that obvious?」
Wald casually responds.
「Losers become the stepping stones for winners. Isn’t that what fighting is all about? The dragon souls originally sealed within are like batteries meant to be consumed. The more you use them, the better.」
『Oh, I see.』
I can’t accept such reasoning.
Although my opponent seems to have recovered, I bought myself some time.
The next “preparation” is also complete.
So… just wait a little longer.
『――――Armamentization: Arms and Legs, ACTIVATE!』
Using the only earth magic I can perform, Alchemy, I armamentize both my hands, feet, claws, scales, and skin.
Crack, crack, crack, crack… My body is reassembled and transformed.
Intense pain shoots through me, but I must endure it for now.
To be honest, I’m not sure if I can go back to normal, but that’s not something I can worry about right now.
Or rather, if I worry about it, I’ll die.
Wald charges at me.
「I won’t let you! You attacked me in the middle of my transformation! Now it’s your turn!」
It’s fine when I do it, but it pisses me off when someone else does it to me!
However, my armamentization is slightly faster!
Just before his sacred sword strikes, I infuse magical power into my armored hands and feet.
It feels like wearing gauntlets. But without the discomfort.
It fits snugly on my arms as if it had always been there.
Of course it is since it’s a part of me after all.
With a clash, my arm and Wald’s Sacred Sword Leviathan, collide.
Wald looks at me with eyes filled with disbelief.
My armored skin and scales, in their armamentized state, remain completely unscathed even when struck by Leviathan’s slash.
The Earth Dragon’s armament enhances its performance exponentially when infused with magical power.
The gauntlet formed by my scales, filled with ample magic power, must possess incredible defensive capabilities.
At the very least, it should be able to withstand a single strike from the sacred sword without a scratch.
I immediately follow up with a claw strike using my free arm!
Aiming when he’s wide open.
This time, my attack connects!
Taking a direct hit from my attack, Wald is sent flying, spinning in the air, and crashes into the wall.
The sound of the impact echoes as the wall of my already crumbling home further deteriorates.
I can still sense his magical power.
Wald is still alive.
「Huu… Huu… You’re really… a monster!」
It seems he used “Dragon Soul Consumption” again.
Three of the tattoos on his abdomen have disappeared.
Hmm… I wonder if the amount of soul consumed varies depending on the damage inflicted.
That last attack seems to have taken quite a toll.
Seriously, the ability of “Dragon Slayer” is unfair. Being able to recover even when on the brink of death…
A sharp pain throbs in my wounds.
I’m reaching my limit too.
『Haa… Haa… One more time…』
I dig my claws deep and kick the ground.
Those claws head straight for Wald.
But he narrowly dodges at the last moment.
Then Wald keeps his distance from me.
Oi, oi, he dodged even with my current speed while in the armed state?!
I wasn’t able to track him with my eyes. Did he dodge based on experience?
He’s truly an incredible guy.
「Haa… Haa… I see. It’s true that the power is extraordinary… but…」
Wald points at me.
「From what I see… your physical abilities can’t keep up with that ‘armamentization,’ can they?」
…As expected, he saw through it.
By partially transforming my body through “armamentization,” I succeeded in enhancing my physical abilities.
My attack power, defense, and speed have all dramatically increased.
However, the parts of my body that are not armed bear an immense burden.
Especially my abdomen, the damage is severe.
In addition to the damage taken from the sacred sword, there’s the continuous strain from reckless movements.
If it weren’t for the effect of the drug, the intense pain would have broken my spirit long ago.
To be honest, even moving has become quite exhausting.
I think one more strike is probably my limit.
『…But still, I can’t just admit defeat like that, can I?』
「Hahaha! Yes, exactly! As expected of a dragon! You understand what fighting truly means!」
He seems genuinely delighted from the bottom of his heart.
And that way of laughing was truly unpleasant to me.
So, I couldn’t help but say it.
『Huff… Huff… Don’t misunderstand.』
「Hm, what do you mean?」
『I’m not fighting because I want to fight. I’m fighting because I don’t want to die, because you’re here to kill me. I have no choice but to fight. Otherwise, who would bother with such a pointless battle?』
Wald freezes as if struck by my words.
He’s wide open.
But not yet.
Just a little more.
「What?! What’s that supposed to mean? Is that something a dragon would say?」
He seems genuinely shocked by my statement.
This is the most unsettled he’s been so far.
Did I say something strange?
『Haa… Haa… Who would willingly engage in a life-or-death battle? Besides, I didn’t want to fight.』
I loved that peaceful life
—eating magic stones, taking naps, and making golems.
With Ann, Pururu, Una, Dos, Tres, and the others around, it was a leisurely and carefree existence. Before I knew it, another day had passed.
Those boring, hopelessly idle, and yet incredibly dear days were enough to make me happy.
But then, you came and destroyed the home I had worked so hard to build, and you left my family in tatters.
That’s why I can’t stay silent about what you’ve done!
「This isn’t what I was hoping for…」
Wald trembles upon hearing my words.
I sense a hint of frustration in his tone.
What’s with him?
Is he… angry?
「Dragons are the embodiment of battle! And we Dragon Slayer exist to fight! We kill dragons for the sake of fighting, and dragons kill us for the same reason!」
As if my words deeply displeased him.
「We fight because we want to fight! We, the ‘Dragon Slayers,’ dragons, monsters, and humans alike! But you’re saying you fight because you don’t want to die? Is that what you call fighting? Fighting is instinct! It’s impossible! That’s not what a dragon is! That’s not what a monster is! It’s not what any living being is!」
…Really, we just can’t see eye to eye.
Not that I want to.
It’s incredibly frustrating.
It seems that even in this regard—my essence—hasn’t changed under the influence of the drug.
No matter what, my essence is that of a “slacker.”
『That’s just your argument… Don’t impose it on me. It’s bothersome…』
「You’re disappointing more and more!」
With a bang, Wald thrusts the tip of his holy sword into the ground.
He must have really disliked my statement.
Ah, I see now.
Now I get it.
I can’t stand this guy.
He fights because he wants to fight.
We’re complete opposites.
That’s why I can’t stand him.
I really can’t stand him. It’s impossible. Even on physiological level.
『 Let’s just get this over with. We’re at the end of our rope, aren’t we?』
I utter those words.
I want to make sure they reach him.
And I provoke Wald.
「Yeah, I’m at my limit now…. Let’s end this.」
Wald readies his sacred sword, and prepares to attack.
Honestly, in a direct clash like this, even in my current ‘armored’ state, it will be tough.
This is likely the final clash.
Wald is confident that he can dodge my attacks.
While I may be compensating with my physical strength and armored state, my attacks themselves are monotonous.
He definitely realized it.
That’s why he plans to dodge and counter.
And if he dodges my attack, I won’t be able to avoid his counter.
It’s highly unlikely that I, who lacks practical experience, can pull off such a feat.
However, things would be different if I could fully armor my entire body.
But there’s still a chance of winning.
Wald kicks the ground.
He must have released his magical power to its limit.
This is the fastest I’ve seen him goes.
And the moment he readied his sword, the tattoos on his body vanished once again.
At the same time, an immense amount of magical power is infused in his sword.
He probably converted dragon souls into magical power through “Dragon Soul Consumption” and infused it into the sacred sword.
To counter my armor.
「Now then! Shall we settle this?」
Wald charges straight at me,
paying no attention to his surroundings.
He really loves fighting, doesn’t he?
But you know, Wald… There’s one thing you’re forgetting.
This place… is a “dungeon.”
As I kick the ground, I transmit my thoughts.
To her, to them…
―――To those who have desperately concealed their magic power and presence up until this very moment.
『”Ann,” “Tres”… FIREEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!』
In the next instant,
just before the collision between Wald and me,
acid spears and Extreme Sunbeams are unleashed at Wald from both sides
It was completely unexpected.
His expression is filled with astonishment, his attention captured by the attacks coming from both sides.
What’s he so surprised about?
This is a “dungeon,” after all.
So it’s only natural that the Dungeon Master has subordinates protecting him.
Well, I also realized that after receiving the thought transmission earlier.
That’s why I instructed the two of them to conceal their magical power and presence, waiting until this moment.
The attacks from the two of them are perfectly aimed at Wald.
But, as expected, Wald’s combat experience is incredible.
「With something like this…!!」
Reflexively, he deploys a defense against the attacks from the left and right.
He blocks the acid spears and Extreme Sunbeams.
And then, he charges towards me.
He doesn’t even try to stop his attack against me.
Such tremendous experience that allows him to respond instantly in any situation.
Truly, this guy is incredibly strong.
But――――――in that instant, a momentary, fatal “opening” is created.
Ann and Tres’ attacks were just a distraction.
And Wald’s fatal mistake was that, due to his defense deployment to the left and right, his attack on me was slightly delayed.
In that moment, I go towards Wald with all my might, ready to “take” his slash.
I reach him before he can attack me!
The sacred sword pierces into my left arm.
But it doesn’t sever it. It probably doesn’t have enough force to pierce through the bone.
It hurts like hell.
「What did you do?!」
He was distracted by the attacks from the left and right.
In that state, his attack wasn’t fast enough to deal critical damage.
And the sacred sword that has penetrated my arm… won’t come off so easily.
Reflexively, he releases his grip on the sacred sword.
He really can make such judgments in an instant.
But just for a moment, he was too slow.
『This is… the end!!』
I tear into Wald with the claws of my right arm.
Fresh blood fills the air.
His right arm is torn off, his left arm flails, and Wald, drenched in blood, falls backward.
『Haa… Haa… Haa…』
Wald… doesn’t try to get up.
He hasn’t activated “Dragon Soul Consumption” either.
Whether he’s unconscious or dead doesn’t matter, but he can no longer fight.
The final outcome has been reached.
Ann and Tres rush over.
『Huff… huff… Thank you both… Honestly, I’m grateful…』
I look at the fallen Wald.
He still seems to be breathing.
…How is he not dead from those wounds?
Both his arms are torn off, and his torso has a deep wound running straight through it.
His vitality is beyond belief.
Is this also the ability of a Dragon Slayer?
But he’s completely unconscious. It seems that “Dragon Soul Consumption” is an ability he can activate at will, not automatically.
If it were automatic, he would have regenerated long ago.
I want to deliver the finishing blow, but it’s impossible.
I can’t move a finger anymore. The holy sword is still stuck in my left arm, and it hurts.
I’d like to pull it out quickly, but my body won’t move.
…Sorry, but I’ll leave the rest to you two.
With that thought in mind, just as I was about to try to move my body slowly…
「Oh my, my, you’ve been quite beaten up…」
An old man stands before me.
He has horns and is carrying someone on his shoulders.
The person he carries is charred… probably a woman.
Furthermore, there’s a crimson spear in the charred body’s hand.
Who is this guy? Where did he come from!?
『…Who are you?』
「Oh ho, no need to be on guard. I have no intention of fighting you, lad. I just came to retrieve these idiots.」
Saying that, the old man swiftly grabs Wald with the free arm.
「Well then, Earth Dragon. Until we meet again.」
『Wait a moment!』
With those words, the old man “disappears.”
Not metaphorically, but quite literally vanished.
『What the… Who the hell was that?』
With my wounded body, I gaze at the empty space where they had disappeared.
All that remains there is the pool of Wald’s blood, reminiscent of the fierce battle that took place.