The dragon’s fury and the light insect

Duke Solver’s first book, ‘Dragon slaying for dummies.’

The assault’s plan was explained accurately in the second chapter.

First, the dragon won’t pay much attention to its surroundings when is drinking.

Fire dragons have a sharp sight, but their field of vision isn’t wide, so they can’t see enemies approaching from their side or back.
They won’t notice you until they are watching in your direction.

They are specialized in frontal attacks, and their forelegs are quite developed.
They’ll try to strike you down with their claws, but if they think they’re going to be attacked from behind, they’ll swing their tough tail to crush you, even without looking.

Their tail presents protruding scales like thorns, but it’s the perfect ingredient for an amazing soup… Now, let’s return to the assault.

Once the dragon notices you, it will roar to summon its companion.
It doesn’t matter if the other fire dragon isn’t near.
Sealing its voice with a Silent Dart will put it in disarray for more or less ten seconds, and that’s the moment when you should strike. A powerful adventurer can end the battle in that span of time, but it’s recommended to deal as much damage possible anyway.

The scales are relatively thin at the base of its tail, its sides, its legs and its neck.

Once it receives too much damage, it might go on a rampage and increase the temperature in its surroundings. When that happens, nearby grass, trees, bushes and whatever is burnable might ignite, so it would be better to finish it before this stage.

It’s recommended to aim at its legs with a slashing weapon, and if you manage to cut through its flesh, the dragon will try to escape flying.
If it turns anti-clockwise, its destination is the hill in the north-east part of the forest.
If it turns clockwise, it will head towards the river in the south-east and tread down everything there with his heavy body.

After landing, it will surely look at his body to confirm its conditions.
In that moment, its head would be an easy target, so charging frontally and hitting it with a blunt weapon or a shield would likely stun it for a few seconds.
That’s when you should strike again.

If you don’t finish the battle at that moment and the dragon has enough time to recover, you have to be careful and end it as soon as you can. Given the structure of its legs, it’s hard for him to kick laterally, so it would do that only while flying. Attacking it from the sides will surely damage it greatly and keep you safer.

It would be better to cover your weapons with paralysis and sleeping poison.
Its blows will become fiercer in its final rampage, so if you don’t hamper its movements, unexpected incidents might arise.

The shield bearer should act as a decoy, and if the archer or the vanguard receives too much damage and are in a grim situation, the supporter should think careful about the next move.

The dragon’s attacks are extremely powerful, but there’s a high chance to parry the first one. Still, given the enormous strength of those blows, blocking even one of them could be life-threatening.

At that point, the battle’s difficulty skyrockets, so you should end the battle before this stage. Only a team of adventurers above the S-rank can face a fire dragon’s rampage.

Everything was frightfully accurate. It was like Duke himself read the dragon’s thoughts.

Repeating the whole process in their head, Timis and her team made their way into the forest and hid, waiting for the dragon to arrive at its destination.
As soon as it landed, Timis charged and hit its head with her shield.

“Eeei!”

“Grrrhhh…!”

The thump produced a deep sound, and the dragon stepped back.
Lia unsheathed her sword and begun another assault while Timis realized her hit’s success.

“This is the end! Aaah!”

With enough confidence, the werebeast slashed at the fire dragon’s defenseless body with all her might, breaching its scale armor. Seeing that her attacks were effective, she pushed her skills to the limit and swung her sword repeatedly as if she was dancing.

“I’ll help too! Yaaah!”

Timis aimed at the dragon’s side and stabbed it… but she couldn’t pierce its scales.
Trusting the book’s words, she then tried to hit the lower part of the beast’s body with full force.

“Ghaaawr!”

Again, it was effective and the dragon stepped back, giving McKinley a chance to fire at him repeatedly. His job was to keep shooting poisonous darts to dull the dragon’s actions. At first, they bounced on its scales, so he aimed at the gashes that Lia was opening in the dragon’s flesh.

“We can win… if we keep this up…!”

But while McKinley was reloading, something unexpected happened.

“Groaaar!”

Even though it should have been stunned, it tried to stop the girls’ assault by flapping its wings, this time even more fiercely than before.

“Aaah!”

“My Lady!”

The wind pressure caught Timis off guard, and now that her defense was wide open, the dragon turned around and swept whatever was in range with its tail.

“Gh!”

Lia’s reaction was instantaneous.
She kicked the ground, closed the distance between her and Timis, pushed the knight away… and took the dragon’s attack. Her flank was torn to pieces, and the next moment, pain spread through her entire body as she was blown away.

“Shit! How could this happen?!”

Losing his composure, McKinley lost his focus and missed its target.

The dragon came back to its senses. The flames of wrath were raging in its eyes, and its scales became red-hot. The air around it started to deform and shimmer because of the extreme heat.

The beasts’ blows were truly devastating.
The unbearable pain that was coursing through Lia’s body was proof of that.

Stabbing her sword in the ground, the werebeast managed to get on her feet and pressed on her wound, well aware that she wouldn’t be able to stop its next attack with a single hand.

“My lady, run… Leave me here…!”
“No! I can parry one of its blows! Lia, you have to run!”
“Gh… You can’t! The dragon is now in a frenzy… its next blow will be much stronger than this…!”
“Please, forgive my egoism, Lia. But I won’t let you die! Iyaaa!”

Because of the wound, Lia couldn’t stop Timis like she would have wanted to.

Wielding her shield, she charged the enraged beast.
They could have won if things didn’t turn out like that.
But just like a beast, the dragon was now fighting with its and its offspring’s life at stake.

Mother… Father… Forgive me, but I failed…
“Don’t surrender! Did you forget what was in the book?!”

“Nh?!”

A masculine voice rang in Timis’s head. It was a familiar voice, but somewhat it wasn’t.
In her heart that had already accepted defeat, her fighting spirit reignited.
She tossed away her lance and wielded her shield with both hands, when…

“Groooaaar!”

The dragon’s ferocious roar shook the forest. Timis’s entire body and soul jolted, but she kept charging, firmly gripping her shield with faith.

◆◇◆

They could hear the soft sound of flowing water.
A warm light caressed them, and the sun’s position in the sky suggested that it was noon.

Not a long time passed since the start of the operation.
At first, everything proceeded smoothly.
The dragon fled, they chased it, fought it… then, they were driven into corner.

“Gh… Lia! McKinley!”

Timis called out the name of her comrades as she jumped on her feet, looking around her. On the ground were lying her lance and shield… near them was Lia, and not far away, hid in a thicket, lied McKinley face down.

“Lia… I’m so glad… So glad that you’re alive…”
“My… Lady…”

She should have lost a considerable amount of blood, but her wound was now closed.
A werebeast regeneration ability was noteworthy, any normal wounds would close relatively quickly. Timis was so relieved to see that Lia was safe, that tears of relief streamed down her cheeks.

“Knights shouldn’t… cry in front of anyone… Military mustn’t… let their emotions show…”
“Yes… I know, Lia… Sorry…”

The werebeast smiled faintly.
The next moment, Timis’s blood froze in her veins.
Where was the dragon? She slowly turned her head.

Her heart nearly stopped. Even though she understood the situation, a mix of relief and an unknown feeling wrapped her chest.

If the dragon heads to the riverside and you deal him enough damage, you can catch it in a trap.
That’s what Duke Solver’s plan said.

In the riverside of the “Forest of Hunters” were left many traps.
The weakened dragon stepped on the “Binding Armor” and was caught in it.

If they were to slay it, now it was the perfect chance.
Instead, if they were to capture it, they should have had fired him the remaining poisonous darts. When the poison enters the bloodstream, the dragon must fall into a deep sleep to recover from its effect.

So, he activated the trap… and McKinley fired…? No, that’s wrong… It’s impossible…

In front of her laid the sleeping, bound dragon.
Timis’s shield didn’t present cracks or scratches. It was still untouched.
Also, she felt perfectly fine, like she didn’t receive any sort of blow.

If McKinley had completed this alone, then why would he lay face down in a thicket?

Maybe someone else was around? No, that was impossible.
But she couldn’t help thinking that someone helped them.
She looked around in search of an answer, and…

“A light insect…?”

It came out from her armor when their first assault was about to start, and Lia reassured her saying that they live in the forest.

“…Don’t tell me…”

She put a hand on her chest. Was the rune still there?
She wanted to find it out right away, but she couldn’t just take off her clothes in such a place, so she gave up for now.
That rune was drawn on her chest to help them in the operation.
What if it activated the moment when they were about to be defeated?

The Forest of Hunters. McKinley’s poisonous arrows nowhere to be found.
Timis’s last charge, and both her and Lia’s safety.
Everything was strange.

“Duke Solver… did you…?”

The moment she talked to the light insect, it disappeared like an illusion.

Then, the sounds of the forest and of the flowing water drown her thoughts out.
Still confused, Timis picked up a dragon’s scale that broke from Lia’s assault and held it close to her chest, thinking about how precious that gift was.

Then, she remembered what was written in the last part of the book.

To make this plan a success, the party shouldn’t have more than four members. Trying to fight a dragon with more than four people would make it breathe fire to thin its foes down, so it’s relatively safe with four people or less.
I strongly suggest you to bring a fourth member as a support if you are thinking to fight the dragon with three people.
Of course, this is just an opinion, so feel free to ignore it.

“…Sir Duke…”

Maybe it wasn’t him, but she couldn’t think of anyone else.
A sentiment similar to the admiration she felt for her elder sister, but somewhat different, bloomed in the young, inexperienced knight’s heart.


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