In the vast expanse of the Eld Desert―――
Gwyve, the leader of the White Wyverns, soars straight across the desert at high speed.
His destination is the Holy Kingdom of Harshalud, a place ruled by the Holy Dragon, far north of here.
He needs to discuss recent events and persuade Elja’s father, ensuring that no harm comes to Earth and the others.
But his expression is somewhat grim.
『Hmm… I told Earth one thing, but who knows if it’ll actually work… That old man’s doting is pretty insane…』
He pictures a dragon―the father of Elja and the current Holy Dragon.
Gwyve knows all too well just how much the dragon dotes on his daughter, Elja.
He had agreed to let her out into the world for her growth, but he can imagine the state of the Holy Land now.
Most likely, it’s in chaos.
There could even be casualties if things went poorly.
The pope, or someone of similar stature, is probably suffering from a stomachache right now.
He needs to get there quickly.
『Really… why do all Dragon Kings have to be so doting on their children?』
As he grumbles, Gwyve keeps up his speed, but suddenly a massive wall of flame appears before him.
Out of nowhere, a towering wall of fire, at least a hundred meters long, erupts in front of him.
With a roar, Gwyve spreads his wings and comes to an abrupt stop, forming a barrier with his wind magic to keep the heat from reaching him.
The fire wall burns across his entire field of vision, its temperature and magical density both extraordinary.
Only a few monsters could generate such a fire.
In this Eld Desert, Gwyve only knows of one.
From the center of the flaming wall emerges a colossal crow, shrouded in immense magical power.
It’s one of the two great monsters of the Eld Desert, matched only by the White Wyvern himself.
This is the leader of the Accurate Crows, Heleb―the proud black bird who once fought a fierce battle with Ann and ended in a draw.
『Long time no see, Heleb. Quite a flashy entrance for a reunion.』
『…The first thing out of your mouth is a joke? Don’t you have something you should say to me first?』
Heleb’s sharp gaze is aimed directly at Gwyve.
His eyes and voice carry clear anger, which is echoed by the fire wall in front of him.
『Right… I did cause some trouble for your group. And I pretty much broke our agreement…』
Heleb’s body erupts with a gust of wind and flames, and the fire wall roars even louder.
It seems to express his emotions.
『Half a year… half a year! What the hell have you been doing all this time!? You abandoned your duties as a leader and left the Eld Desert. Tell me the real reason!』
Heleb shouts his demand, and the threat in his tone suggests he won’t settle for just an answer.
『I met with the leaders of the Holy Dragon, Earth Dragon, and Celestial Dragon.』
Hearing Gwyve’s casual confession, Heleb can’t help but be taken aback.
All the beings Gwyve mentioned belong to the class known as Dragon Kings.
『I met with the Holy Dragon’s leader, Harsha Lude, the Earth Dragon’s leader, Jibru, and the Celestial Dragon’s leader, Yamu. Mediating their relationships is part of my ‘duty.’ But this time, it took longer than usual. The ‘feast’ is close. Everyone was quite on edge.』
『I see… so that’s what happened. Hmph, understandable.』
With a nod, Heleb extinguishes the fire.
The anger and dense magical power that filled the air disperse at the same time.
This time, it’s Gwyve who is surprised.
『I thought you would blame me more… Honestly, I even considered that I might have to fight you here.』
『Are you mocking me? Given the circumstances, I have no choice but to understand.』
At Heleb’s words, Gwyve chuckles.
『You’ve changed, Heleb.』
『You used to be the type to try and annihilate me without a doubt if I neglected my duties as a leader. The fact that you forgave me is quite surprising. Did something happen?』
『There’s nothing in particular. But I’ve come to realize there’s more than one way to be a leader.』
With that, Heleb thinks of a black ant.
The leader of the Black Ants who once bit his throat in a fight and ended in a draw.
He’s visited that forest a few times since then and had conversations with Ann about their roles as leaders.
That’s all there is to it.
『Pfft, haha, HAHAHAHA!』
『What’s so funny?』
『Nothing, it’s just that Earth and his followers are fascinating. They even changed someone as stubborn as you, Heleb.』
Heleb makes a slight face of displeasure.
『I can’t stand the way you’re saying that. As if you’re suggesting that I’ve become softer because of Ann? It’s utterly distasteful.』
『Isn’t that the case?』
『You’re completely wrong.』
Heleb denies it, but Gwyve has not once mentioned Ann’s name personally.
It’s clear what that implies.
Heleb himself has not realized it.
He’s unconsciously accepted her and her way of being.
Of course, even if told, he’d never admit it.
『Hmph, get going. You’re an eyesore.』
With that, Heleb steps aside.
Gwyve can’t help but smile wryly at his obstinacy.
『I cause you a lot of trouble, Heleb. I apologize, but while I’m away, I’m entrusting the Eld Desert to you.』
『I don’t need you to tell me that. This is our home. Now get out of here.』
As Gwyve nods in understanding, he prepares to resume his journey.
『Hm, what is it?』
『When your ‘mission’ is over, come back right away. This is the only place for both of us to return to. Don’t forget that.』
At Heleb’s words, Gwyve is at a loss for words.
He hadn’t expected to hear such words from Heleb.
『―――Well, I don’t need you to tell me that.』
Spreading his wings wide, Gwyve sets off towards the north.
The sky above is endlessly blue, and the desert below stretches on forever.
I should hurry.
If I fly at full speed, I can reach the Holy Kingdom by half a day.
I need to get there fast and convince that doting dragon.
Meanwhile, on a certain road within the Hà Giang Empire―――
Three adventurers walk along the highway.
One is an elderly demon with horns.
One is a man dressed flamboyantly, with bright blue hair and red eyes, as if a bucket of primary colored paint had been thrown at him.
And one is a woman with long silver hair fluttering behind her, an eyepatch over one eye and a spear in hand.
「…Hey, master. I’ve been wondering, why do we have to meet the Emperor of the Hà Giang Empire? We were wanted, aren’t we?」
「Prior to the upcoming Continental Congress, the guild has declared that the past crimes you committed in the two nations will be overlooked.」
「Eh? Is that really true?」
「It’s true. Here, it’s an official letter from the guild.」
「Wow, it’s really true. But wouldn’t this become an international issue?」
「It most certainly will. But the Emperor of Hà Giang Empire, Kagrias, and the Guild Master of Endymion, Gerald, have approved this. Meaning―――」
「The two nations are definitely going against Borhelic and, or rather, that witch.」
「Probably. They would want as much strength as possible for that.」
「…I mean, Wald and I are originally from the Borhelic Kingdom.」
「But you don’t have any attachment to that country, do you? You’re not planning to fulfill any obligations to it now, are you?」
「…Well, I guess not. It might have been different if my sister was still alive, but there’s no one left there anymore. Not Paldi, not any member of the Silver Crow…」
「Yeah, right? Plus, Eclair is dead, too. Well, I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t worried about everyone in the Nored and Reynolds families, but they’re all pretty resilient. They’re probably doing fine even under the witch’s rule.」
「Eclair, huh… If he had survived, things might not have turned out like this. He was a valuable man we lost. Well, it’s all right. Let’s head to the imperial city. We’ll deal with the dungeon and Pathless later.」
「Wait, isn’t your real interest not in the dungeon but the casino there? I’ve never seen such a friendly casino. The mohawk guys there strip you of everything but always pay you back. And the thing about Pathless, isn’t it really about―――」
「Silence, you foolish apprentice!」
「…Really, you should learn to listen.」
Even outside the frame, the story continues to unfold.
The situation is advancing little by little―――but it is definitely starting.
August 2023 Patron: GoatBeards