My field of vision was being shadowed.
Because of the bad footing, standing ground isn’t effective, but there’s one of the Four Saint Beasts who are the strongest of Ushtolma. Even in this sudden situation, there’s no waste in her movements. She jumped back, and takes a stance with her long sword.
“Hey, Amalietta.” (Makoto)
“What? This is not the time to do idle talk, you know?” (Amalietta)
“Isn’t this guy the one that was reported as a dragon sighting?” (Makoto)
She directed an angered voice at first, and next, a stupified one. Amalietta changed her expression hectically. With her long sword still at ready, she looks attentively at the giant body.
The giant body that surpasses 10 meters has two dorsal fins at its back that could be mistaken for wings. If someone were to see them in a poorly lit area, it wouldn’t be strange to mistake them for the dragons that are written in myths and legends.
“It might be possible. Can’t say much since I myself haven’t seen a real one, but it does match the appearance that’s been passed down.” (Amalietta)
“Even a Dragonewt like you has not met one?” (Makoto)
“I think the Elder is acquainted with them, but someone like me is not worthy of having an audience with them.” (Amalietta)
Even a Four Saint Beast can’t meet them? How much of an important existence are they?
Well, most of them are prideful idiots that look down on others, but the ones called Ancient Dragons are on a different level.
Even I would break some bones having them as opponents, like, literally. The first time I met one, my bones broke with just their pressure when I lowered my guard, which is a funny story now that I look back on it.
“Growing to that size is cheating, fer just a damn lizard.” (Makoto)
“That’s why it is considered a sudden mutation, right?” (Amalietta)
“Even so —woah- for such a big body… hoop….his movements are quick.” (Makoto)
“Urgh, damn it. Stay in place…for a bit!” (Makoto)
Cutting through the wind, the variant Poison Lizard was swinging its tail haphazardly. Its eyes look like had gone crazy with anger. The reason is probably the tragic sight of the Poison Lizards in this place.
The subspecies was born from a variant, so this one is probably the mother. Then, watching her children get cut down must have maddened her to the point of losing herself, even if we are talking about a monster here.
“Dah! So annoying!” (Makoto)
I avoid the tail that crossed right in front of me, jump to point-blank range, and gift it a roundhouse kick.
A dull sound was made a breath later, and the variant raised an ear-piercing cry, its giant body shaved the ground as it slid on it, and brought down trees as it did so.
“…What kind of legs do you have there?” (Amalietta)
“Normal ones. See there? Quite the slender legs, right?” (Makoto)
“No, I’m not talking about looks… Even I wouldn’t be able to manage something like that, you know?” (Amalietta)
The amazed expression of Amalietta as well as her finger were directed at the variant that is half buried in the ground around 50 meters of distance from us.
“…Did you defeat it?” (Amalietta)
That’s a flag.
The variant raised a roar to the sky as it stood up, shaking its head several times. When it directed its gaze at us, it began to rush at us as if mad in anger.
“For now, let’s shut it up.” (Makoto)
“…Makoto? —-!!” (Amalietta)
I already obtained what I wanted, so wasting time here wouldn’t be a good idea. Amalietta directed a dubious voice at me without lowering her guard, but the moment I released a bit of my magic power, she closed her mouth.
“Bore through…” (Makoto)
I increase the concentration of magic power in my extended palm, and form a firmer than regular iron cone. Then, take aim, and shoot it at the variant.
An instant after, a hair-raising deadly scream of agony reverberated in the area along with the sound of something cracking to pieces. The body of the rushing variant had its upper body shot up, and just like that, it passed by our side, and slid through the wetland.
“Just what in the world happened?” (Amalietta)
Amalietta seemed to not understand as she absentmindedly looks back, and after seeing the giant body lying down at the wetland, she had a confused expression as she asked me.
“Hmm, I created an iron cone and pierced that thing’s forehead?” (Makoto)
“Why are you the one tilting your head in wonder? You were the one who did it.” (Amalietta)
“Cause it is an application of alchemy, but even if I say that’s alchemy, it is not as if any alchemist can do it, so…” (Makoto)
“That’s true. If anyone could do something like that, it would be scary.” (Amalietta)
Shaping magic power, create an iron cone, and have it spin at high speed. In other words, it is imitating a gun, but the power of it is as you see.
Honestly speaking, this is overkill. However, it would be a pain to have it go on a rampage after throwing a half-assed attack, and I am a bit apprehensive in damaging important research material.
“…Looks like it is dead.” (Amalietta)
I slap the body, then, slowly walk from one end to the other confirming its state.
“…Hm. This one’s female.” (Makoto)
After I arrive at the lower end, I notice this and spoke, and Amalietta got closer.
The abdomen of the lying down body was inflated, and something was pulsing from inside it. Most reptiles lay eggs, but that logic doesn’t apply to monsters.
She most likely was waiting for a large amount of children to be born from inside her.
“…She is indeed female.” (Amalietta)
“Moreover, pregnant.” (Makoto)
“Yeah. With this giant body, she could give birth to tens…no, hundreds of children, which would explain this abnormal propagation.” (Amalietta)
“The growth of monsters is faster than that of normal animals after all. There’s even monsters that grow into adulthood in one month.” (Makoto)
“Right. Poison Lizards are in the spectrum of fast growth, but them being a subspecies probably made their growth even faster.” (Amalietta)
Yeah. If this is the source, it would explain the abnormal propagation.
“…So, what should we do with this one?” (Makoto)
“You ask me, but…there’s no way we can bring it back.” (Amalietta)
“What about Inventory?” (Makoto)
“This size would be impossible to store.” (Amalietta)
Ah, right. Erin did tell me that Inventory has a size limit. So this is way too much, huh.
“Then, I will bring it back. Ba-sama might be able to understand a variety of things.” (Makoto)
“…Yours can fit, Makoto?” (Amalietta)
“Mine is special in a lot of ways, you see. Right, before that, [Melt Wave].” (Makoto)
I touch the abdomen of the variant, strengthen my magic power, and send waves inside it.
“What are you doing?” (Amalietta)
“We are going to bring it back and dissect it. Having Poison Lizard children inside it would be quite dangerous, right? They won’t be able to live for long anyways, but just in case.” (Makoto)
“True… Could it be that you killed them just now?” (Amalietta)
“Yeah, I simply sent magic power to stop the life functions of the targets.” (Makoto)
Using microwaves as reference, I pour strengthened magic power as waves inside the body, disturbing the beats of the heart and boiling the blood till it dies. It is one of the Unknown Magic spells I created.
However, the effects of it are pretty rough, so I don’t abuse it. Continuous exposure of it will melt the body of the target. The last time I used it, I couldn’t eat meat for a while.
This time around, it would take too much time to open the stomach and kill them one by one, so it is an exception.
“Well then, store~.” (Makoto)
I touch the body, and with my other hand, I hold the bag in a storing position, and then, chant ‘store’. When I did so, the giant body blurred for an instant, and suddenly disappears.
“O-Oooh… To think it would actually enter.” (Amalietta)
Amalietta was watching this with eyes like that of a child, and said…
“I would like to try putting in something that big too…” (Amalietta)
She nodded a few times as if in admiration, and mutters that as if wanting to do it too.
No, don’t say that while biting your finger. Or more like, phrasing!
“And so, what do we do now?” (Makoto)
“Let’s investigate a bit more. We still haven’t finished exterminating the subspecies.” (Amalietta)
Then, I return to the top of the rock, and resume the investigation by activating [Parallel Research].
☆☆ ★★★ ☆☆
Would you blame her for being unable to believe what happened in front of her and standing absentmindedly there?
What the man -Makoto-, who she couldn’t see even with her eyes, had done. Those unbelievable actions of his had given a shock to Amalietta several times.
Running in such a light way that it felt as if he were sprinting in the air itself, and when he captured the Paralysis Lizard, she watched in fascination. He only displayed optimal movements with no waste in them, and on top of that, the attack he used to capture the Paralysis Lizard, Amalietta couldn’t even see it. Amalietta is praised as a Four Saint Beast and has fought against many strong people, but witnessing a powerhouse that surpasses by several levels the many strong people she has met, she couldn’t hide her excitement. It was taking her all to just control herself.
Right after that, he sent flying the variant Poison Lizard with a kick, moreover, he killed it in one attack. Amalietta was filled with delight like never before inside of her, and her female instincts were unbearable.
—I want to request a duel.
As a warrior, as a Dragonewt woman, it is a natural desire to seek the strong.
Makoto would most likely make a bitter smile and accept the request of Amalietta.
“No, that won’t do…” (Amalietta)
Cutting the Poison Lizard that approached her, she cut down the neck of the next one, and the other one she did a side-throw.
“No… That isn’t it.” (Amalietta)
She scolded herself as she defeated Poison Lizards.
“His movements were more natural.” (Amalietta)
There wasn’t a single wasteful movement, like a dance. That is the ultimate ‘martial arts’ that Amalietta aims for and has been diligently doing her best every day to reach that goal. But she was reminded today that she is far from reaching that goal.
However, for some reason, it felt refreshing.
This is the first time she felt like that. Admitting defeat in the very thing that she has dedicated her life in -her ‘martial arts’. It would be the same as admitting that she is still crude, and yet, what was expanding from within her chest was something different from vexation. It was burning hot like that of a maiden in love, even so, it was also mixed with an animalistic passion.
“Argh, this is not it!” (Amalietta)
“What’s the matter?” (Makoto)
“N-No, it is nothing.” (Amalietta)
The temper tantrum she was making inside of herself had unintentionally leaked out from her mouth, and Amalietta tried to play it off, but not only her ears, she got red all the way to her neck. Her waist was pulled back, and she was showing a strange look, but the person herself didn’t have the leeway to notice.
The second tantrum exploded inside of herself, and she cuts down the attacking Poison Lizards leaving it all to her anger. Different from before, she didn’t slice them in two with a single stroke, but it crushed their spines, and with a single cry, they died.
Amalietta bit her lips at the clear proof that she was being affected by idle thoughts represented by her swordsmanship dulling. She tried to drive away those idle thoughts by fixing her breathing.
“Ooi, want to tag out?” (Makoto)
“I am okay! More importantly, did you see any changes?” (Amalietta)
“Nope. There’s only the subspecies here.” (Makoto)
Sitting cross-legged at the top of the rock and scratching his head, Makoto looks at the surroundings, and while listening to his voice, she slowly calms herself down.
(No, this is just my imagination. A prank of the mind. It is impossible to fall in love with a man that I have just met.)
In the events of yesterday at the guild, in the time when they spent a night having a friendly chat, and this morning when he saw her unsightly attire; there’s no mistaking that she thought ‘if it is him, I don’t mind’, for some reason.
‘I want him to know me. My chest throbs whenever I speak with him. I want him to see my everything’.
The more she thought, her feelings for him grew stronger. Amalietta desperately shook her head and tried to calm herself. However, a Dragonewt can instinctively sniff out their lifetime partner. That’s why, she can’t lie about the ‘feelings’ that she herself is feeling.
Her instincts are telling her: ‘the man that is by your side; the man that you have met for this short amount of time…’
“Hmm…if the subspecies are the children, then there should be a father somewhere though…” (Makoto)
But the fickle voice of Makoto made her raise her alert at once.
(That’s right. Why did I forget? Because of the many outrageous things Makoto did, my mind was completely blanked out, but there’s the need of parents to have children.
That’s right. There’s the need for parents… In order for Makoto to have children, there’s the need for a partner…)
“…Wait, no!” (Amalietta)
“Uh, no? Hmm, in that case, that variant might have been both male and female. Shoot. I should have confirmed that before storing it.” (Makoto)
“Ah, not that. Uhm…it is not a ‘no’, you see…” (Amalietta)
“…What’s the matter? You have been acting weird for a while now. Could it be you got poisoned?” (Makoto)
Her thoughts were so scattered right now that even she herself didn’t know what she was saying anymore.
Makoto jumps off the rock with a dubious expression, and while avoiding the bodies of the Poison Lizards, he approached her.
“I-I am okay… Yeah, no problems.” (Amalietta)
“No, your face is red and your breathing is rough. Rest for a bit. I will take your place.” (Makoto)
“No ‘but’s. Go over there.” (Makoto)
Doing a gesture of ‘shoo shoo’ as if shooing away a cat, Makoto passes by Amalietta, then puts a hand into his bag, and slowly takes something out.
“…! That’s…” (Amalietta)
“Ah, this?” (Makoto)
A slim sword was being held in Makoto’s right hand.
The legendary blacksmith group that was founded by a dwarf, Yahad, had created this thin single edged sword which resembles a katana, but the handle, guard, and all the scabbard is pitch black in color which can only be called bizarre. The only thing that is engraved in the scabbard is the light pink petal, but because of the overwhelming ‘power’ aura that can be felt from the sword, it can also be seen as a cursed petal that’s soaked in blood.
Receiving that aura of it from upclose, Amalietta was unable to stop her trembling, to the point that she might even lose consciousness the moment she lowers her guard. This sword is that much of an ominous and sharp sword.
“This is my sword of preference.” (Makoto)
“…Your sword of preference? Makoto, aren’t you an alchemist?” (Amalietta)
“I am also an alchemist…is probably the correct way to put it.” (Makoto)
Chuckling and showing a wry smile, he takes a stance with the katana that was taken out of its scabbard.
The reason Amalietta was watching in fascination might have been because of the smile of the man that was in her mind, or maybe because of the sword that had been unsheathed; whichever it was, Amalietta was currently in the dream world. When she snapped back to reality, she writhed in embarrassment.
However, when she saw her reflection in the fascinating pitch black blade, Amalietta had unknowingly snuggled to the side of Makoto.
“Oi, if you watch it too much, you will be hypnotized…” (Makoto)
“–! Could it be…that’s a cursed sword?” (Amalietta)
“Hmm, close but no cigar. Now then, it is been a while since you have had a turn…” (Makoto)
Amalietta returns to her senses with the casual tone of Makoto, and was shocked that her hand was extended towards the sword that Makoto was holding. The fact that Makoto could still maintain his sanity with a sword like that made her awe and respect towards him increase, and she finally admitted the feelings expanding in her heart.
No, she had no choice but to.
“—[Futsu no Mitama]—” (Makoto)
The fated partner that can only be met once in her lifetime…
Being certain that that person is the one taking a stance with a sword right in front of her, she watches him with a fiery gaze and rough breath.