“W-w-w-w-w-what are you doing!!”
Pochi shouted at Chiquiata, who now was facing away from us.
The volume of her voice woke up Ferris, who I carried on my left arm.
“Wh… where am I…”
Everyone present was too occupied to answer young Ferris question.
All of us had our hands full just trying to process what had just happened right before our eyes.
The Cobalt Dragon, with Chiquiata astride it, ascended and disappeared into the eastern sky; the latter was in a loud fit of laughter all the while.
Could it be that they wanted to assassinate the two kids Then what was their reason for giving up trying to kidnap them
No, thats not it…!
Circ.u.mstantial evidence was all one needed to sway the public opinion.
If word got out that anaccident had occurred after Ferris had headed into the mountain herself… then the responsibility would all fall to the Adams household.
Oh, I see – they had seen this as an opportunity to destroy the allied households themselves.
It would be easier to pull off now, too, during Polcos absence.
Damn it, monsters are so much easier to deal with.
This is why humans are so… oh, wait, Im also a human myself.
Besides…do I really need to fight ALL these easy-looking monsters
Now Im not seeing them aseasy opponents at all.
Bright hopped down from my arm and awaited further instructions.
Ferris, eyes trembling as she looked at the top of the mountain, seemed to have begun to grasp the situation as well.
“The Blazing Dragons are coming straight at us! Everyone else is taking refuge in the forest to the east; Shiro, you take Master Bright and Lady Ferris there! And be careful of your riders this time!”
“Now, please hurry and get on! Oh, Master, what about him!”
Pochi looked at Guile and asked me.
…And mid-sentence, Guiles eyes snapped open.
Man, he just had to pull through at the perfect moment, huh…
“Hes all right! You go on ahead, Shiro!”
I looked at Pochi as she gradually picked up speed and headed south-east; when she was gone, I turned to look up at the summit again.
“Poer, dude… seriously”
“I wouldve liked to ask you to go with them and watch their backs, but…”
“Nah, Im just pullin your leg.
You think Id let you fight alone”
Right… thats totally what hed say.
I should know; although we hadnt been acquainted for long, I had gotten to know a great deal about Guiles personality.
He always fought head-on and was always caring for his comrades; that was why he had been made the leader of the convoy, his abilities acknowledged by Polco himself.
He resembled Bruce quite a lot, too, albeit nowhere nearly as clumsy.
“That said… theres only so much I can do when theyre flying, you know”
“……I have an idea.”
“…Lets hear it.”
“Blazing Dragons are known to be mindful not to attack their own kind.
Considering their size, only four or five of them can surround us at a given moment.”
Hearing just that, Guiles expression turned grim; it seemed that he understood what to expect next.
“You need a decoy…”
Id like you to bait that group of four-five Dragons and direct them to where I need.
That way, the rest wont come at us – they have to wait their turns.”
“And while they wait, youll shoot down all of them.”
Man, hes good.
“To be honest, itll be quite tough acting as the decoy.
If you dont want to do it, we still have time to-“
“-Things will get easier when that wolf-dog comes back, right Ill do it.”
Guile drew the sword from the scabbard on his waist and rested it on his shoulder; he seemed to already have his mind made up.
Then, he said,
“But I need you to promise me one thing first.”
“…What is it”
“…Buy me a drink when all this is over.”
“Nah, Id rather not.”
Hearing that, Guiles eyes popped.
It wasnt that I was refusing to buy him a drink, though; I was actually planning to have someone else pay for it.
“Instead, Ill have Lady Ferris treat all of us.”
“Pfft… hahahaha! Thats a good one! You know what, Ill be there for you when you break the news to the young lady, man!”
Guile burst out laughing – so hard that his armor rattled.
By now, the Blazing Dragons were already just a few hundred meters in front of us.
“…About time, huh”
“I dont think youll be able to shoot down hundreds of them in one go, though.
And itll be all over if they see you, right”
“Rise, Invisible Illusion!”
Seeing me disappear right before his eyes after drawing a Circle, Guile smirked.
“Heh, so you can do that, too.”
“Oh, I sure can.
Rise, All Up: Count 2 & Remote Control!”
“Man, I can never get enough of this.”
I had cast the same enhancement spell on all the convoy guards on countless occasions on our way here from Brunnera.
Although the spell didnt exist yet in this era, it simply provided too good of an advantage in battle, which resulted in Guile always asking me to use it.
I was glad to know that he liked it, though.
So… dont you die on me, man.
“Theyll be coming from all directions! Watch out for their Purgatory Breaths! Be on high alert at all times – and remember, you can use their bodies to your advantage while escaping, too!”
“I got it!”
Guile shouted and ran off; I looked to confirm his status at regular intervals.
Countless Blazing Dragons were already closing in on us.
I know Im saying this as a semi-warrior myself, but him being able to charge head-first at a terrifying group of monsters like that… his warrior spirit sure was amazing.
Guile clashed with the first Blazing Dragon in line.
His sword struck the horn on the Dragons nose, causing the monster to flinch back.
Without a moments delay, two other Blazing Dragons appeared from its sides, going at Guile with their sharp claws.
Their slashes were meant for Guiles head and legs; he slipped in between them and came out unscathed.
Oh, no – now a Purgatory Breath from above.
Guile avoided it by slipping under the Blazing Dragon in front of him.
Thats good; he didnt look like he was pushing himself.
Hell hold just fine until Pochi comes back.
Now Guile was completely surrounded – one in front, one behind, one at each of his sides, and one overhead.
They have been completely drawn away from me.
But… those five Dragons will most likely be worn out as the fight drags on.
Guile would eventually be as well, of course, but he should be able to move around easily as long as the enhancement spell was in effect.
In a sense, as long as he avoided being hit first, that enclosure could be considered a safe zone.
…All right, about a dozen of the Blazing Dragons have gathered around!
“Rise, Transient Blades! Pochi Pad Bomb! Rise, Absolute Zero! Rise, Icicle Hellfire & Remote Control!”
I opened with magecraft to intercept the Blazing Dragons coming from the back, launched my strongest spell at the center of the flock, then used the ice spell to pick off the ones that werent significantly damaged from the last one.
Then, in order to make the distracted Blazing Dragons focus on Guile again, I directed the last large-scale spell – one especially good for dealing with the Dragon archetype – in Guiles direction.
The Blazing Dragons beat their wings, blowing dirt and sand through the air.
Looks like that took them by surprise.
The second wave was completely thrown off; now they werent seeing anything but Guile as their target.
Still, one wave amounted to about a dozen.
Considering the avalanche of Dragons ready to come at us, Id prefer that fewer of them came at a given moment.
Things would be much easier if Pochi was here; considering the distance she had to travel with the two kids on her back, she should need two more minutes.
Until then… well have to hold the line somehow!
“Rise! Earth Control! Rise! Earth Rampart! Rise! Rock Blast! Pochi Pad Bomb!”
I called up an earth wall, then sent it running up the mountain with magecraft.
When it reached the center of the second wave, I detonated it, splitting the group into two.
Then, when the Blazing Dragons had their attention on the explosion, I shot my strongest spell at them.
All right, that worked!
Now to lure them back to Guile- what!
Damn it, theyve already seen through my Invisible Illusion!
One of the Dragons had been blown away by the Rock Blast; it was too far from the center of the explosion to be distracted!
I dodged its Purgatory Breath – well, more like rolled clumsily away.
The change in ambient temperature disabled the effect of my concealment spell…
“OH MY GOD!!”
Wait, no – this might be a good thing.
Guiles Arcane Energy was in even more disarray than before.
I suppose it was quite mentally taxing to take on five Dragons at once, even if his body could handle the stress just fine.
Two Dragons remained among the first wave, and also half of the second wave; the third wave was approaching fast… and ready behind them was the fourth.
And fifth, and sixth, and seventh, and eighth…
This is tough…”
Countless Blazing Dragons directed their gazes at us, their eyes gleaming.
We could try to hide, but itd be tough, since they all had their sights locked on to us now.
In this case… and considering the strength we have left…!
“Well have to run for it!”
“Then hurry and get on!”
“Shiro! Why are you here!”
Does! Not! Compute!
“Are you really that much of a fool, Master Did you already forget that Ive just leveled up”
“Besides, I could have just dropped them off at a place where they could see the forest, right I happened to cross paths with some of the guards, too!”
I hopped on Pochis back, paying no mind to her ramblings.
Then I felt Pochis pulse on my t.h.i.g.hs… beating incredibly fast.
Listening more closely, she was breathing quite heavily.
“Hah hah… Now, Master! Hah hah… Here I go!”
“Stop acting and breathe properly, damn it!”
“HAAH! A-all right! Hah hah…! S-sorry bout that, sir! Ack-!”
Cmon, enough coughing already.
She really pushed herself hard on the way there and back, huh…
…Id better remember to praise her later – no, lets just do that now.
“You did great, Shiro!”
Opened one by one, the Blazing Dragons prepared their breath attacks; crimson flames practically spilled out their mouths.
…Here they come!
“All right, Shiro… we gotta bounce!”
“Leave it to me!”