TL note: heartfelt thanks to Vorobyov Andrey, who donated us ten euros for this WN!
We changed “secret pomegranate” (chapter 8) into “concealing pomegranate”.
Encounter with the enemy and the catchphrase
A hole in the ceiling of the ranch was used by the fire dragons to enter and exit their nest. I heard that they didn’t like having the entrance on the ground because earth dragons, their natural enemies, might have snaked in during their absence, so that was probably something dictated by their instinct.
As soon as we started to fly and exited the ranch, I noticed that our compass wasn’t working probably due to the magnetic minerals contained into the dragon’s skin… But we only needed to go east from the capital.
Riding a dragon was exactly as Shura said: way more stable than riding a wyvern, and overall really comfortable.
The dragon flute that I was wearing around my neck started to play whenever I poured magic into it, and our mount obeyed my every order.
“…Hey, you’re using some kind of magic, right? Now, I’m almost not frightened anymore.”
“Well, anyone would be afraid of experiencing this height for the first time, but being scared is risky, so I used Spirit guard.”
“You don’t enjoy seeing me afraid, huh? And here I thought you’d make fun of me…”
“I prefer to enjoy the view from up here, honestly. Don’t you think that being scared a little is worth being able to witness such an amazing scenery?”
At first, she was rigid due to tension, but as time passed, she finally started to calm down and leaned her back on me. The paperwork must have worn her out.
“I shouldn’t be heavy, but let me know if I am.”
“Nah, I’m surprised you’re this light. Even more than when I lifted you before.”
“G-Good… I guess it’s fine, then. You are thick-skinned, that’s probably why you don’t find me heavy.”
“You’re not as tall as a Deku stick, though. I can take books you can’t reach.”
“If I wore high shoes, I’d have reached them too, but they hurt my feet, so I don’t like them much.”
We peacefully kept chatting on our way. No matter how big and filled with elites Velvechia’s army was, it was no match for us.
The Republic of Velvechia was located beside the country of another Demon Lord, who, according to Verlaine, was only S rank, but since no one could defeat him, every year the cities sent him a lot of tributes to avoid facing an invasion. The strongest warriors in Velvechia were AA rank, with scores around twenty thousand, meaning that the average soldier was rank C or worse. It was pretty much on the same level of Albein.
Still, Velvechia had yet to know about our expedition and victory against Verlaine, an SSS rank Demon Lord.
The Duke of Vinceburg was thinking of crushing us with sheer numbers, but that was a miscalculation on his part.
“I bet you’re thinking that we’re the adults going to stop a children’s fight… I’m feeling the same, you know?”
“Well, if we hadn’t taken part in the expedition against Verlaine, we wouldn’t have known our real power. Still, we’re clueless about how to handle fights between humans.”
“If we were to fight against a horde of monsters, I could just blow them away…”
When we were traveling together, she did exactly that to a lot of monster dens, and if a demi-human race was using them for some reason, the nearby habitations would have been badly damaged too. Oh, and let’s not mention what became of the monsters…
That’s how she earned her title as a raging calamity… Sweet disaster.
“Dick, is that it? My sight is better than yours, isn’t it?”
“The zone is slightly clearer, and there are stone statues placed at a regular distance… That must be the path that Vinceburg arranged for Velvechia.”
“I can’t believe the ones who should protect us constructed that. Don’t you think they deserve some punishment?”
“Honestly, yes. If I’d anticipated this at the time of Manarina’s engagement, I could’ve settled everything without attracting attention…”
“If that was the case, you’d have become this country’s king… though, if someone asked for it when we got the chance, maybe the king himself would’ve allowed it.”
I wanted to remind her that each one of us was indifferent to prestige.
Especially Aileen, who could be called ‘Master Warrior’ by any fighter or martial artist’s teacher if only she wanted it.
“Maybe I’ll try to make Aileen our ruler… Would that make her more responsible?”
“Nice idea, but she has horns. How is she supposed to wear a crown?”
I laughed at her joke, which she rarely cracked. Sheesh, if I wasn’t tense, that’d have been heartwarming.
A road trailed across the mountain, and following it with my gaze, I could see a village in the distance.
“That’s the only village around here, right…? The enemy will surely pass by it.”
“Yeah… if it wasn’t there… Wait, what are those? Velvechia’s scouts?”
“Seems like that. Our country doesn’t use black armors…”
She could see them well. Five knights clad in black armors, rufous mantles fluttering behind them, were galloping on the road.
They were screaming wildly, bows in hand like hunters chasing their prey.
At that moment, I was sure.
When they nocked their arrows, I firmly embraced Mylarka.
“Wah! W-What are you doing?! W-We’re not here for…! Waaah!”
“They’re chasing someone. We’re swooping on them before it’s too late.”
“O-Oh… I-I see, okay. I’ll hold on tight.”
She lowered her body as I flowed my will into the dragon flute, and our mount adjusted his wings to glide down the sky.
“Ugh…! Wait, won’t they notice us like this…?”
“Don’t worry, I made the fire dragon eat some concealing pomegranate. No one will notice us before we get close, and their comrades, if there’s any, won’t see us from afar.”
“Oh, you got it covered already…? Okay, let’s sneak up on them and wrap things up quickly.”
As we approached them, the knights didn’t notice anything, but the simple feeling of being targeted triggered their sixth sense.
“S-Something is coming against us…”
“A… d-dragon! Captain, a dragon is…!”
“Where did that come from?! Damn, shoot it!”
We swooped on them tracing an arc on the air, and as we closed the distance between us, I could see Sweet disaster’s body shrinking in my arms before glaring at them fiercely.
“‘Restricted area annihilation n°66 – Disintegration field!’”
She started to weave her magic field at an unfathomable speed, which enveloped the target in a mere instant, and activated it with a snap of her fingers.
“What’s going on…?!”
“My bow and armor… Waaah!”
They felt completely lost.
After a fire dragon grazed their heads, a terrific gust of wind made their horses stop, and their entire equipment turned into fine sand that fell on the ground and dispersed.
When we regained altitude, I ordered the dragon to hover there.
Their captain, who was younger than expected and now almost completely naked, turned his confused horse and looked up to us.
“Who are you, Albein’s dragon masters?! Take off your stupid masks and show your face!”
Seems like he still had the power to snarl at us, but riding a horse while in his underwear made his coercion attempt all the more ridiculous.
Mylarka had spread her magic field with so much precision that their underwear was the only thing left to cover them. That was a sweet concern and an aberrant action at the same time.
As far as I knew, only the two of us knew how to disassemble material into dust like that… and I believed that it was highly improbable to find someone with the same ability.
After clearing her throat, Mylarka started to speak firmly.
“You are from Velvechia, right? We have our reasons to prevent you from going back to your main army. Surrender now, and no blood will dye the earth.”
“I knew it, you’re from Albein… Damn those useless idiots…”
I guessed that he was cursing Vinceburg. They had to keep everything a secret, so he was probably thinking that there was a spy among them.
“Captain, we should try to run away! It will be enough if only one of us gets back home…!”
Suggested a young man with a trembling voice, and no one replied as they moved to escape.
“Mylarka, plug your ears.”
I brought my hands to her ears and cast a protection spell on both of us. I took a moment to reflect before giving a new order to the dragon.
It has been a while since I could be any moved in combat, but thanks to Shura, who taught me the charm of dragon flutes, I was having a lot of fun fighting from the sky with Mylarka. If I had to say it like him, it was really exciting.
The thunderous roar of our mount shook both air and earth: that was the daunting power of his voice.
The horses cringed in terror and stopped moving, while the knights limply hung their heads in a trance.
After that, we landed with a loud stomp, and Mylarka rose her voice.
“Heavens might forgive you, but the shining eyes behind our masks shall not overlook wickedness!”
I didn’t know how to react to that declaration… Our targets were in a trance and they probably didn’t hear her, but seeing her having fun while pridefully puffing out her chest was enough to make me want to sit back and see what was going to happen next.
“…Did you come up with that yourself or is it the masked saviors’ catchphrase?”
“The former. Maybe I should add also a part that mentions the earth…”
“W-Well, you have a lifetime to think about it. By the way, where did the one they were chasing go?”
As I surveyed my surroundings, the clapping of someone’s hands reached our ears, and when we turned to face its source, a demi-human lady, a bit younger than us, was hiding in the shade of a tree.
“Mylarka, she likes us. Isn’t it great?”
“That’s only natural when someone saves you… but now I really need to complete the catchphrase. I knew it was a nice idea.”
She was so happy that my cynicism didn’t go through her, and even though she should have acted more mature, she was really excited of being a warrior of justice, and that made me confirm again the age gap between us. I would’ve never said that she was childish, though. I didn’t really dislike this whole thing.
If Aileen was around, she might have laughed at Mylarka without fear of the consequences, so it was better she wasn’t with us. The genius teacher made sure of our targets’ powerlessness while thinking about her catchphrase.
Meanwhile, the girl, who, given her ears and tail, was part of the tiger-race, kept clapping her hands with sparkling eyes.