“Pochi! Do something about them!”
“You know thats impossible! I mean, its a herd of Grand Centaurs! You know, Rank S monsters! Ill die if I go in! You do it yourself!”
We were running like hell, with a herd of half-horse beastman monsters behind us.
Their technical name wasKentauros, and it was said that their numbers have been decreasing consistently to the point of near-extinction now… but here they are.
Theyve got to be SOMEWHERE, I suppose.
“Dont be ridiculous! Im the last line of defense! I just cant go fight on the front!”
“Shut up! Even ten lives wouldnt be enough to take them! Uh, so… how much of them are there!”
“Youre asking me! I cant even turn around! Should be around twenty, from what Ive seen at first, though! And more importantly…!”
“DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHERE WE ARE!”
We were out on a grass-covered plain, and were being chased by a herd of Grand Centaurs.
Pochis voice echoed far and wide, but I sure as hell couldnt answer her now.
We definitely had gone into the place that marked my beginning… our old home, the Dungeon in which wed lived for centuries.
And as expected, we had encountered a great number of monsters, though none nearly as dangerous as the ones at the entrance.
Soooo… how did we pop up at a grassy plain, and whats the deal with these Grand Centaurs, when we were deep under the Dungeon just a while ago
Oh, right… it probably happened when Id entered the back most room, the one Id formerly used as a research lab…
“Were finally here.”
“Yes, weve checked all the rooms except this one.”
“I dont see monsters around anymore, so… wait, theres nothing here”
“What about that pile of garbage, sir”
What Pochi was pointing at was what Id left behind, untouched since wed abandoned the place years ago.
Outdated doc.u.ments, old alchemical tools, those sorts of things.
Better follow Pochis advice and not ignore anything… even these useless stuff, I guess.
I lifted up the whole pile with magic, revealing the earth underneath it.
I mean, we both took part in it.
Is it normally even possible for two people to share one”
“Yes, it is.
We did a few times, actually.”
“…Huh, I guess stuffs gotta happen sometime, what with us having lived together for 800 years… -!
“I can feel it, too! Magic invocation! What in the world is going on, sir!”
Pochi said, her ears twitching up.
As usual for this kind of situation, we had our backs against each others.
I didnt feel anything coming at us from the rooms entrance.
In fact, the whole Dungeon must be empty aside from me and Pochi by now.
What I did feel, however, was the activation of a spell, but I still couldnt tell where it actually was.
Without warning, the pressure of arcane energy closed in on us, sending cold sweat running down my back, and prompting Pochi to ready her fangs.
An intense blast of sound blared through the whole room – no, the whole Dungeon.
“No, there shouldnt be anything like that! I mean, weve checked every corner of every room! There isnt anything here, either!”
“You mustve overlooked something! Once a fool, always a fool!”
“As if! Huh… wha-!”
A Spell Circle suddenly appeared, as if parts of it had seeped out of the floors, walls, and ceiling, and then combined to form a whole.
What the blazes!
“Whats with this Circle, sir! Its got so much data, I cant decode it! I mean, the letters are so small…”
“Yeah, I cant read it either! I dont even have enough arcane energy to start up something this detailed!”
“W-W-W-W-WHAT! If YOUR energy isnt enough to use it… then who can!”
“Hell if I know! But yeah, looks like this things a trap after all!”
“Do you have any idea how big this Circle is! It could cover the whole Dungeon for all we know! No one wouldve noticed it if they didnt break open the walls!”
“How does one even draw a Spell Circle inside a wall, anyway!”
Once Pochi finished her line, she realized what was up.
And so did I.
Who was the one who had led us here
The topic had been first brought up by Warren, yes, but the one whod solidified my decision wasGramps.
So, that Gramps… what did he claim to be
A Divine Messenger.
Yes, that was it.
So chances were, he was the one whod set this up… or perhaps an existence above him… oh, God.
“Wha – now its invoking itself!”
Hand in… front paw, we screamed.
Hit by a flash of light, so bright that I couldnt even see Pochi right in front of me, I lost consciousness.
“…D-did we lose them”
When wed come to, we were in the middle of some unknown grassland, and then, immediately after I successfully woke Pochi up, those monsters had come charging at us.
We eventually got ourselves into a forest, and fortunately, it had rock formations for us to hide behind as we moved along, quietly and with suppressed breathing.
My body immediately cramped up.
It was on reflex, without any deliberate reaction on my part.
The roar instilled fear such that I thought my guts were being blown out.
Pochi and I could only jump at each other, belittled by the pressure that assaulted us from the skies above.
I couldnt even raise my face – only feebly rolled my eyeballs up in an attempt to see what was up there.
“Wow… its… breathtaking…”
We were witnessing an exceedingly strange phenomenon.
Its gargantuan size, and the majestic figure of its flight, was sure to instill fear in all who looked upon it.
If the Grand Centaurs were still here, they surely would run away with their tails between their legs – in fact, it was far stronger than an Ogre King.
It was an exceedingly dangerous monster, the golden-scaled serpentine Dragon… Kiryu.
Technically a variant of the Heavenly Beast Kohryu, this monster was said to be the peak of Rank SS power.
But why… why did it look so bloody and full of wounds, descending like it was on the verge of death!
The Kiryu landed, sending tremors through the earth.
It looked briefly in our direction, seeming to have noticed us, but soon glared up at the sky instead.
That was… the direction itd just descended from
Which could mean… no, this was definitely right – way over there… was someone who reduced the Kiryu to this state
I wish I could go get a real good look at them, but… our lives were still at stake.
No way in hell we were staying around here just to satisfy my curiosity.
I started to retreat, one step back at a time, and Pochi was already clinging to my back.
Some Familiar this stupid dog is, using her Master as a human shield…
Well, cant blame her for how scary this thing were up against is, I suppose.
I took another step… and then another.
All right, looking good.
Once the Kiryus figure disappeared behind the tree, I instantly turned around and hightailed it out of there.
I didnt even care about the direction I was going in – it was all survival instinct, running away until I was out of breath again.
On the way, Pochi struck by b.u.t.t.o.c.k.s… like she was directing a horse.
I sure wished I could tell her to run by herself.
Oh, I wish I had enough breath to spare for that.
“Hah hah hah… whew! W-why the hell are the monsters around here so damn strong!”
“You can say that again! All the monsters Ive seen on the way here were all at least on Rank A, sir!”
While catching my breath, I surveyed the location wed ended up in.
“Good thing were safe for now, but this cave feels off… its not a nest or anything like that, right”
In response to my remark of worry, Pochi sniffed around the area.
I dont smell any monster, or even a beast.
As if to rush the conversation ahead, my answer instead came in the form of an imposing figure, approaching from deeper within the cave.
Thats… a person!
“Who are you”
There – they were probably what Pochi had tried to inform me of.
Though the voice was androgynous, the feature of the persons silhouette was feminine.
I knew I couldnt let my guard down just because of that, however.
Practically hearing the extent of her battle experience echoing from her footsteps, I put myself on high alert, but then I felt another presence approaching from the cave entrance behind me.
No, to be precise, that other someone was already behind me before Id realized it.
The one behind me pointed a blade at my throat, prompting Pochi to freeze up as well.
It seemed that she hadnt noticed anything happening at all.
I dropped my staff and raised both my hands, and Pochi followed suit.
It seemed that theyd like to know who we are, and to ascertain whether or not we were a threat, so I wouldnt want to provoke them.
The person behind me, while tapping the tip of his blade on me, whispered in my ear,
“Answer the question.”
That sounded like a young man.
But at any rate, I have to do as he said… or else hell kill me.
That much, I could tell.
“I am Shiro! And this is my Master, Poer!”
Pochis alias for me – which shed come up with on the spur of the moment, Im sure – was a name Id heard before.