A Promise with that White Dragon
Currently, I’m having a drink with an old friend at a particular bar where lots of adventurers tend to gather.
I received quite a bit of war funds from Kazuma, so I could afford to enjoy some of the more high grade drinks.
Right now, I’m fulfilling Kazuma’s requests
The favour that my bosom pal asked of me is to aid in harassing Serena. Specifically, he wanted me to spread rumours that would tarnish her reputation in this town.
He couldn’t give me his exact reasoning,but I accepted anyway.
The bag of money he was offering as advance payment played a part in that decision, but it mostly came down to the fact that I wanted to do something, too.
Bars at night is the best way to spread any sort of rumour, so after some extensive persuasion attempts, I managed to get Faitfore to agree to stick with Lynn and came here alone.
There’s no way I’d be able to visit a bar with a young girl clinging to me, after all.
“Hey, you heard about that priest Serena that’s been wandering around the town as of late?”
“Yeah, that’s the name on everyone’s lips lately. Ah, she sure is beautiful. I want to get close to her, too.”
“This is just a rumour I heard, but apparently she has certain unique tastes when it comes to men.”
“Unique tastes? Tell me more!”
Oh, he sure bit on hard.
“Apparently, she likes the smell of men. Especially the musky ones that sweat a lot. She’ll probably love it if you send her some unwashed socks as a gift. I mean, you’ve seen how she surrounds herself with nothing but burly men, right?”
Well, that’s because she’s surrounding herself with strong adventurers to help ward off Kazuma’s harassment.
“Now that you mention it… Wait, seriously?”
Normally, no one would believe such a silly story, but with the amount of strong wine he’s been drinking at my expense, it’s easy to get him to believe any story I want.
“And one more thing. Ah, this is a secret between us, alright? Don’t tell anyone else.”
I suddenly lowered my voice and leaned in.
Seemingly taken aback by my sudden serious demeanour, the man nodded.
“From what I’ve heard, Serena is actually a man.”
“Hey, keep it down. I told you to keep it a secret, right?”
Even after he’s quietened down, excitement still glimmered in his eyes.
He’ll definitely spread these news around later. As a general rule, no secret told in a bar ever remains one.
Anyway, now that I’ve gotten his interest, it’s time to layer the story a little more.
“I heard this from her usual crowd of hanger ons. Apparently, her voice occasionally cracks and she starts using far more vulgar language. In the first place, don’t you think the prim and proper air she maintains about herself is a little forced to begin with?”
“Seriously? She looks so pretty, but she’s actually a man? No, wait, it’s certainly not impossible…”
He crossed his arms and nodded.
Seems like he bought it. It’s far easier to make up a believable rumour if you mix a little kernel of truth into it.
At this rate, it wouldn’t be long before everyone in the bar knows about it.
“–So tell this to your customers.”
“Um, why would I do that?”
I went to the succubus shop in order to try and get Loli Succubus’s help in spreading these rumours, only for her to shut me down.
“You don’t get it? This will help you too, you know?”
“In what way would talking about somebody I don’t even know be beneficial to me?”
“Do you know the kind of state your store is in? Take a look around. It’s practically empty.”
After scanning the store for a brief moment, Loli Succubus let out a huge sigh.
Normally, this store would be stuffed with male adventurers around this time, but right now, if you include me, there are only three people present.
“True, we haven’t been getting very many customers lately, but what does that have to do with this Serena-san?”
“Of course it does. That woman has pretty much all the men wrapped around her finger. In other words…”
I deliberately paused in order to draw the attention of the other succubi.
Due to the store being practically deserted right now, my voice carried pretty far.
After confirming that the bored looking succubi hanging around were looking in my direction, I raised my voice just a tad and said…
“Serena is more adept at charming men than succubi.”
I feel like the temperature in the room suddenly dropped by several degrees.
The stares of the succubi suddenly became far more intense, and I could see them staring daggers at me out of the corner of my eye.
“I can’t let that slip by. Are you saying that a human priest is better at charming men than us succubi? Even as a joke, that’s not funny.”
Even though she’s smiling, I can feel an immense pressure coming out from Loli Succubus.
I think this is the first time I’ve seen her get this angry. Having men under their thrall be stolen away from them is the ultimate insult to succubi.
I brought this up because I knew they would react to it, but it seems to be far more effective than I expected.
“Right? I don’t think Serena’s charms is anywhere close to that of you succubi. She was talking up her pure and innocent image and joking about being more charming than even succubi. She was making fun of other women of the night too, but… well, if you have no interest in this, I guess it can’t be helped…”
When I pretended to give up and tried to get out of my seat, Loli Succubus, and the other succubi who’ve somehow surrounded me before I noticed, pushed me back down.
“Tell me more!” x4
Despite the fact that I was surrounded by a bunch of scantily clad women, the only thing I could feel was the rivets of cold sweat running down my back.
The next day, when Faitfore took an afternoon nap after eating her fill, I left her sleeping in the room and went out to town.
“Those rumours are going to sound a lot more convincing coming out of those girls than me. With this, it’s going to spread like wildfire amongst the male adventurers.”
Judging from how enthusiastic the succubi are, that gossip will be be common knowledge amongst the men within a few days. I’ll also put in some legwork and visit the taverns at night to help the buzz roll along while enjoying a few drinks.
The problem is others.
I’m not really trusted by the townsfolk and the women. I’d really like the help of someone who’s in the good graces of those people.
“Dust-san, is Faitfore not with you today?”
The suspicious seeming girl who had been pacing in front of a fashionable cafe on the main street suddenly called out to me.
Oh, wait, it’s Yunyun.
She should’ve just entered the store if she wants to, but I suppose it’s hard for someone as shy as her to walk into a brand new store on her own.
“You know, if you’re free enough to brisk walk in front of that store, why don’t you help me out… Actually, nevermind.”
“Stopping halfway just makes me more curious.”
“It’s way too heavy of a burden for you, that’s why I said nevermind. Neither of us wants to work on a fruitless task, right?”
“What’s that supposed to mean? I’m the future chief of the Crimson Demons. I’m not like you who does nothing but laze around every day. As I am right now, I’m confident I can handle whatever challenge comes my way!”
She sure does sound confident.
Did she gain a little more confidence after passing that chieftain’s trial or whatever? … Though, her newfound pride does rub me the wrong way a little.
“Well, if you’re that self-assured, I’ll entrust this task to you. There’s a certain rumour I want you to spread amongst your friends… no, I mean, acquaintances. It should be an easy task for the future chief of the Crimson Demons, right?”
“Sorry, I can’t do that…”
Her confidence sure does disappear in a hurry, huh?
I knew she wouldn’t be up to the task at first glance, which is why I stopped myself.
“Umm… If I can ask, who and what is that rumour about?”
“You know that new priest, Serena, right?”
“Yes, I know her! I asked her to help me make friends, but she told me not even the power of Regina can do that…”
Even a god can’t win against her loner aura.
Speaking of which, Regina is the minor god that Serena worships. I asked around, but it doesn’t seem like anyone knows much about her. It seems to be a fairly unpopular faith.
“You seem to be someone who’d be easily tricked, but nothing happened to you, right? Say, what do you think of Serena?”
“Er, well, hmm, I’m envious of how many friends she has.”
She seems to be acting the same as usual.
I don’t know how exactly Serena is gaining followers so quickly, but at the very least it doesn’t seem like anyone she talks to automatically becomes her fervent follower.
“It’s best if you don’t get too close to her. She’s a bad person to get involved with.”
“For Dust-san to make such a warning, is she that dangerous?”
“She’s especially dangerous to you.”
In Yunyun’s case, as long as you use the word “friend”, she’d pretty much do anything, so you don’t even need to brainwash her or whatever Serena is using.
Yunyun seems to have come to her own conclusions and nodded before leaving.
As for influencing the townsfolk and the female adventurers, I guess I’ll have to do it the old fashioned way. Seems like I’ll be busy spreading rumours for the next few days.
Half of the money Kazuma gave me went towards feeding and placating Faitfore, which allowed me to spend almost every night out in the taverns buying drinks and spreading rumours.
It seems to be working well. Just the other day, I heard that Serena, along with a large number of adventurers in tow, were chasing Kazuma halfway across the town. Those rumours and Kazuma’s continued harassment must have gotten to her.
Well, that’s all fine and all, but the next piece of news I received almost made me want to grab my head and scream.
For some reason, Kazuma ended up as a follower of Serena too. He’s practically abandoned his mansion and has been living full time with Serena these past few days.
What confused me even further is that the other adventurers slowly came back to their senses after that, including Taylor and Keith.
Right now, both of them are drinking happily in front of me.
“I’m surprised you guys dare come back all dandy like this. Weren’t you going to spend the rest of your life as Serena’s followers?”
“Well, about that, I don’t remember that time period too well. Even I myself don’t know exactly why I became so obsessed with her.”
“Me too. It felt like my mind was filled with fog or something. Though, I’m perfectly sober now.”
It doesn’t seem to me like they are playing dumb.
I knew it, they must have been brainwashed by magic or some other method.
“Don’t think you can play dumb by pretending to forget things whenever it’s convenient for you. The heavens are watching you! Now, hurry up and cough up some compensation money. If you give me everything you have, I’ll forgive you.”
“Dust, conveniently pretending to forget things is your specialty, isn’t it? They are safe and back with us, so let it go already.”
Lynn has an exasperated look on her face, but she also seems to be relieved.
She has had a lonely look in her eyes in the past few days, but it seems to be a thing of the past now.
“If you coddle them too much, they’ll become spoilt. As their owner, we need to properly discipline them.”
“Who the hell are you calling a pet!!” x2
Lynn tried to break us up as the two of them pounced on me, but despite that, she had a smile on her face.
Well, that’s one problem off my list, at least.
“Hey, that’s a little too hard! Don’t you know what restraint means!?”
“Sorry, it’s been a while, so it seems I’ve put in a bit too much strength. By the way… What happened to Faitfore? I don’t see her around.”
“She was still sleeping when I left the room, but it’s about time she wakes up. I’ll go check up on her. Order some food for her when we get back, okay? It’d be your treat, of course.”
“Normally I’d refuse, but I’ll do it just this once. It seems like I caused quite a bit of trouble for you, after all.”
Keith waved one of the waitresses over, and I headed upstairs to Faitfore’s room.
When I opened the door, the bed was empty.
“She didn’t go out alone, did she? I told her not to wander off on her own… Is she entering her rebellious period? You’re going to run into all kinds of problems if you go out on the town by yourself… What’s this?”
There was a piece of paper on the table next to the bed.
On it was a sentence written in a crude, but still legible hand.
“You won’t take me out to play, so I’m going outside.”
… Did Faitfore write this? I always knew she was a smart kid, but she even learnt how to write. She’s sure grown… Ah, wait, now’s not the time to be impressed.
Come to think of it, I haven’t been able to spend much time with her lately because of the Serena incident. That’s probably why she’s sulking and went out alone.
Up ‘till a few days ago, this town was filled with devoted Serena followers, so I didn’t feel comfortable taking her out, but as of right now, the only one acting weird is Kazuma.
The town has pretty much gone back to the old days, so it shouldn’t be particularly risky even if Faitfore is out there on her own. In the first place, I doubt anyone in this town would be able to track her down.
… Apart from Sir Vanir.
“She might not be in any danger, but she doesn’t have much knowledge of the outside world, so…”
Faitfore looks like a simple young girl, and she’s probably starving right now.
If someone were to approach her carelessly, she might very well bite their heads off…
“That was a really grotesque scene I just envisioned. Yeah, I should probably go look for her.”
To be honest, there’s not really a lot of risk to her safety, but there’s no telling what they’ll say if it becomes known that I abandoned a young girl alone out on the streets.
I quickly explained the situation to my companions and had them help me out in the search.
“I can’t find her. Where did she go… Rather than looking around like this, wouldn’t it be faster if we lay a bunch of meat skewers along the streets to lure her back to the guild or something instead?”
That sounds like a decent idea, but if the cops were to see me leaving skewers around the street, they’ll probably take me in for questioning. I’m not exactly the most popular man amongst the police right now.
I even visited the old man at the general store and Loli Succubus, but they didn’t see her either.
At this point, I’ve pretty much visited every cafe, restaurant, tavern, and soup kitchen in town, but there just isn’t any sign of her.
“Seriously, where the hell did she go? Argh, guess I have to rely on Keith and the others.”
I made my way back to the plaza that we agreed to be our meeting point earlier, but the only person there was Lynn.
“Judging from your appearance, it doesn’t seem like you found her.”
“You seem empty handed too. Keith and Taylor went out to search again. Say, do you have any idea where Faitfore might go in this town?”
“I can only picture her eating or sleeping. And she does like plains and forests. She did use to drag me around those places back in the day. Apart from that… I suppose she enjoys playing in the water..”
“Oh? You sure sound like you had a lot of fun back in the day.. Seems like you know a lot about that girl. To think that a girl that young would be within your range too…”
I just honestly answered your question, so why are you getting unhappy?
I really want to shoot back, but right now, Faitfore comes first… Though, I suppose there’s something I should say.
“Who cares about the past? And… Lynn, do I really look like I’m not enjoying myself in this town?”
“The only thing you do every day is cause problems for everyone else, so, okay, yes, I was mistaken.”
“Seeing you concede the point so quickly like that makes me a little irritated.”
“Yeah, yeah, sorry about that. Anyway, back to Faitfore, from what you just told me, isn’t it possible that she might’ve gone out of town?”
“It’s… Certainly not impossible.”
Could it be that the outside she wrote on that letter was referring to outside the town?
In the past, I didn’t really pay much attention to my actions, but I’ve found that I’ve become much more aware of them ever since she came to me in Axel.
Hmm… no wait, I’m a little slow on the uptake when it comes to this, but how did Faitfore know I’m in this town in the first place? Ever since I left the country, I haven’t kept in touch with anyone from back home. No matter how good her nose is, there’s no way she’d be able to track me down all the way from there.
… No, there’s no point in thinking about it now. After I track her down, I’ll ask her about it while lecturing her.
“If she really went outside, we need to hurry! A giant frog would eat her in a single gulp!”
“Wouldn’t that be a little too much for her?”
Faitfore might be a big eater, but even so, there’s no way she can swallow a giant frog in a single gulp.
The two of us exchanged confused looks.
It feels like we aren’t on the same page.
“A-Anyway, if we have time to talk, it’d be better used heading to the gate. It’d be faster to just ask the gatekeeper.”
“Yeah, I’m sure the gatekeeper isn’t so foolish as to let a young girl go out of the town by herself.”
Upon reaching the gates, I called out to a bored-looking guard who was standing around.
“Say, have you seen white haired brat wandering around here?”
“Hey, you… At least explain it a little better. Err, have you seen a young girl about this tall with long, white hair around here?”
Lynn placed her hand around her waist and conveyed Faitfore’s height in an easy-to-understand manner.
“Nah, I haven’t seen her. The only people who’ve passed through today are a few carriages and a couple of adventurer’s parties. We especially keep an eye out for lost children, so it’s doubtful that she could pass by us without any of us noticing.”
Yeah, the primary duty of the gatekeepers is to keep outside threats from entering the town, but part of their job also includes preventing mischievous children from sneaking out.
On busy days, it’s possible to blend in with the crowd and sneak out that way, but with the recent fears of the Demon King’s army on the march, there haven’t been very many people going out of town.
And the walls that surround Axel are tall and thick. They were recently renovated after Aqua destroyed a part of them with her flood, so they should still be very sturdy.
It would normally be impossible to get over them, but…
“That’s a relief. Axel is a pretty safe town, so there shouldn’t be much to worry about.”
As I looked up at the ramparts, Lynn breathed a sigh of relief.
“Yeah, she wouldn’t do something so flashy. Right then, lets search the town again. It’s probably about time she started rummaging through trash looking for food.”
“She isn’t you, Dust. There’s no way she’d do that.”
“You’ve seen how she acts when she’s hungry. Are you really sure she wouldn’t do that?”
“… Let’s hurry up and find her.”
Lynn has been looking after her while I wasn’t around these past few days, so it seems she’s gotten to know her very well.
As Lynn ran down the street shouting Faitfore’s name, I turned back and gave one last lingering look at the gate.
“Nah, there’s no way.”
A few hours passed without any one of us being able to locate her, so we decided to gather at the guild to calm down and exchange information.
For some reason, Yunyun and Loli Succubus were there too, along with my companions.
“What are you guys doing here?”
“Because we are worried, obviously! Is it true that Faitfore ran away from home!?”
“I’m curious as to what her exact relationship is with you, Dust-san.”
Yunyun seemed to be genuinely worried as she shook me by the shoulders.
Loli Succubus on the other hand seemed to be here out of curiosity than true concern.
“Rather than run away, it’s more like she took a walk around the town.”
“Why are you treating it so casually!? A young child is walking around outside the town by herself, you know!?”
What Yunyun is saying isn’t a lie. According to Keith and Taylor, someone sighted a person who fit Faitfore’s description getting onto a carriage.
And we couldn’t catch hide nor hair of her anywhere in town despite combing it over several times by now, so the chances of her having left the town is quite high.
“Even I am starting to get seriously worried about her.”
“Are you really that heartless of a person?”
Don’t you two men gang up on me like that.
Lynn and Loli Succubus didn’t say anything, but they both gave me a cold gaze. Is this what they mean when they say a look can convey more than words?
“Sigh, there is a reason why I’m not worried for her. I was lying when I said that her parents brought her to this town. The truth is, she came over to Axel from the neighbouring country by herself. It’s quite possible that she went back home by herself too.”
“That doesn’t match at all with the letter she wrote. There’s no reason for her to leave such a note if she’s really going back home. Do you really find the search so bothersome that you’re willing to come up with such a lie?”
Lynn got up in my face with a furrowed brow.
“I didn’t think you were that heartless of a person.”
“You really are scum.”
“I already knew this from the start, but you really know how to exceed my expectations.”
“That’s really horrible. The shop raises the price for people who don’t treat girls well, you know?”
Everyone started berating me.
“Do you have any other excuse, or anything you’re hiding from us? If there is, you best come out with it.”
Lynn’s tone was less of an interrogation and more akin to someone asking out of concern.
Did she pick up on something after spending so much time with Faitfore over the past few days?
If I tell them about her true identity, it’d probably clear up a lot of the misunderstandings and suspicions they had.
However, more so than letting her wander around the countryside, revealing her true form would be a greater risk to Faitfore’s safety.
“Tch, shut up. I’m going to sleep, so if you want to keep searching, you guys can do it yourself.”
I put on a disgruntled act before leaving the guild.
I could hear them shouting behind me, but I ignored them
“Where did that unruly girl run off to? If she’s looking to stretch her wings, she’d probably go to the forests, right?”
She shouldn’t have gone too far, but even after searching around the outskirts of town until it became dark, I couldn’t find any traces of her at all, nevermind Faitfore herself.
Two days have passed since then.
Faitfore never returned.
It seemed like my companions, Yunyun, and Loli Succubus continued searching for her, but in the end they didn’t get anywhere close to locating her.
As for what became of my reputation during this time, well…
“Hey, the fiend who made use of and abandoned a young girl is approaching.”
“A person who tricks a child to take advantage of her before abandoning her… I think calling him a fiend is an insult to fiends.”
The adventurers whispered in voices just loud enough to be heard by me.
It’s nice that the guild is beginning to fill back up with adventurers after the Serena incident wrapped up, but more people means an easier time for rumours to spread, and this is the result.
Even so, I boldly strode over to my seat at the corner of the guild. I’m not the kind of person who responds just because one or two more bad rumours started spreading about me.
Outsiders can wag their tongues however much they want.
“It seems like he’s grown tired of young girls and is now more interested in mature women instead. That short, pink haired one at that store told me.”
“Actually, I heard that he leans both ways. That strange helmeted man said that some time ago, so I’m sure it’s true.”
Just because three or four more bad rumours…
“I heard that he actually looks up to that crazy Crimson Demon girl and has been begging her to take him as her disciple or something.”
“Ah, what I heard is that he’s actually really compatible with young lady Lalatina’s tastes, and they frequently meet up at night to visit a certain club–”
Just five or six…!?
“You bastards! I can stomach the other rumours, but don’t lump me together with Kazuma’s party! All of you guys stay right there! I’ll give it to all of you in sequence! As for you girls, present your breasts or your ass! I’ll let you off with just a grope!”
“Bring it on!” x4
I confronted those adventurers who were spreading such slander about me, which resulted in a huge fight that lead to all of us getting thrown out of the guild.
My companions were in the guild too, but they simply looked on without lifting a finger.
… Are they still angry at me?
“I need to hurry up and find Faitfore and dismiss all these rumors sprouting up around me.”
As I walked down the familiar road to the main gates, a woman’s voice called out to me.
“Hey, perverted looking delinquent over there.”
“You sure say something horrible out of the blue. I’m in a really bad mood right now, so even if you are a woman, I won’t hold back… You look really different.”
Turning back, the woman who called out to me is none other than the popular priest, Serena.
The Serena I know was a dignified and gentle woman who despite projecting a prim and proper image has a somewhat sultry air about her.
However, the woman standing in front of me has frayed hair, bags under her eyes, and hollow cheeks.
It’s obvious at a glance that she’s not exactly in the prime of health.
“It’s all that guy’s fault!”
Her rough tone and words were completely unsuited to that proper priest image that she had before.
So she really was putting on an act before.
“So is this your true nature? By that man, are you talking about my friend Kazuma?”
“You bastard, you’re a friend of Kazuma? Dammit, of all people…”
“Oh, did I hit it on the head? Hehehehe, making an enemy out of my friend isn’t going to turn out well for you. His deviousness is far beyond anything you’d expect from a small, two-bit villain.”
He’s quick witted and isn’t above stooping to dirty tricks. Even though his skills as an adventurer aren’t too much to speak off, he has defeated several Demon King’s Generals through that alone.
Definitely a gem you should keep an eye on.
“I’m well aware of that. Sigh, he was supposed to become my ally, so how did it end up like this…”
Serena heaved a sigh so deep that I swear I could see her soul peeking out.
Seems like I can leave this matter in Kazuma’s hands and it’ll be resolved before too long.
“I don’t know what’s going on, but my condolences. Anyway, if there’s nothing else, I’ll be heading off.”
“Hold on a minute, there is some business I have with you. Take a look at this.”
With that, she suddenly lifted the hem of her robes and flashed her panties at me.
Black, huh? She has a pure and innocent image, so wearing black panties makes me give her a lot of points.
“You sure wear some really bold underwear.”
“Y-You little… You look like a pervert, but is that all you’re going to say? You just saw the underwear of a priest, you know? Shouldn’t you be a little more thankful about that?”
“What are you saying? You are the one who decided to flash your panties at me. Why would I be thankful for that? There’s nothing in it for me.”
It seems like this girl doesn’t understand the finer points of seduction.
“Sigh, you don’t get it. Intentionally flashing yourself without the slightest hint of shame is just playing at seduction. Such basic tricks won’t work on someone like me who’s been in the care of the cops numerous times because of peeking!”
I’ve been coaching Loli Succubus through those points, so I know exactly how powerful just a hint of shame can be.
Plus, I’m busy right now.
“Why is this guy saying such things so proudly? Is there no decent person amongst the acquaintances of Satou Kazuma? Just what is wrong with this town!?”
She cradled her head and said in a strained voice. Seems like Kazuma is giving her all kinds of hell.
Still, this woman is really blind to her own shortcomings. Even though she’s a simple slut.
“I thought it’d be easy to get some money out of this guy…”
She was mumbling something under her breath, but staying here any longer would just be a waste of time, so I ignored her and carried on.
“Not here either.”
I ran into a few one-strike rabbits and took care of them, but still no sign of Faitfore.
Maybe she really did get homesick and went back home.
Still, is she really someone who’d go back without saying anything to me?
Well, she might still be holding a grudge against me not taking her along when I left, so she’s doing this as revenge… If so, I really have no right to be angry.
I slapped my cheeks and took a deep breath.
“I guess I can search a little longer.”
It isn’t a problem if she went back home, but it’d be a big problem if she’s only hiding somewhere in this country.
I skinned one of the one-strike rabbits I defeated and took it along with me. It wouldn’t be worth much more than a snack to Faitfore, but it’d at least settle her stomach a little.
“I suppose I should start searching places a little further from town. Faitfore wouldn’t have any problems straying far from town, after all.”
I’ll end the search close to town and extend my range a little further.
I spent the entire day searching, but still no progress.
Perhaps it’s about time I seriously start considering bowing before Lynn and the others and begging for their forgiveness. I have no intentions of stopping the search for Faitfore, but being left out alone like this is taking a heavy toll on me psychologically.
So this is how Yunyun feels… I think I’ll be a little kinder to her in the future.
When I returned to the guild, fully prepared for any kind of heckling, the guild was in such an uproar that they didn’t even notice my presence.
The guild staff were busy running around, putting up notices on the board, and adventurers were excitedly gathering around it.
“Did they put up some lucrative quests or something?”
I elbowed myself to the front of the noticeboard, and pasted front and center is a large poster, reading:
[Capture the white dragon!]
As I was taken aback by the completely unexpected contents, one of the other adventurers shoved me back and I was ejected from the crowd.
Normally, I’d be fuming right now, but this is not the time for that.
“Ah, it’s Dust.”
I must be pretty out of it. I didn’t notice Lynn’s presence until she called out to me. Keith and Taylor were standing behind her too.
The fact that they called out to me means that they aren’t angry with me anymore, right?
“I saw the quest poster.”
“That’s the talk of the town right now. It seems like several people witnessed a white dragon not too far from here, so the guild is really starting to mobilize.”
“… Is it really that white dragon?”
“Yeah, it’s the same white dragon that’s rumoured to bring good luck and wealth. Everyone who’s looking to strike it rich has their eyes on it.”
White dragons are, as their name implies, dragons with a pure white body with a strong holy attribute. They are said to be fairly intelligent and docile, but as a species they are considered on the verge of extinction.
“The bones and fangs of white dragons are said to raise your luck and allow you to make money hand over fist, right? Nobles, merchants, and other folks with too much money to spare will pay a handsome sum for them. If we manage to capture one, we would be able to live the rest of our lives in luxury.”
What Keith is saying isn’t wrong.
The materials of white dragons go for extremely high prices on the market. Amongst noble circles, it was even rumoured that the blood of a white dragon can reduce aging or even grant eternal youth.
It was commonly believed that the people who believed such rumours hunted the white dragons to extinction a long time ago, until a few years back.
“Speaking of white dragons, the most famous one would have to be–”
“That Dragon Knight, right!?”
Yunyun suddenly cut Taylor off.
Her presence is as faint as always.
Still, this is a rare occasion for her. As a general rule, she almost never joins a conversation of her own accord.
“Um, which Dragon Knight are you referring to?”
“S-Sorry for cutting you off like that…”
“No, you don’t need to apologize, just tell me more about that Dragon Knight.”
Yunyun repeatedly bowed her head, but Lynn simply brushed it aside and pressed on.
“Um, you know about the Dragon Knights of the neighbouring country, right? Amongst them, there was a particular Dragon Knight who was said to be the very exemplar of a knight, with both a sharp mind and handsome looks. The dragon that knight rode was a white dragon! … Or so I’ve heard.”
Yunyun grew more and more excited as she told the story, and her voice grew louder and louder, before she seemed to notice and hastily composed herself.
“Doesn’t it sound amazing? A knight riding a white dragon… Haaaah, that’s so dreamy. I wish a white dragon riding prince will appear in front of me someday…”
[TL note: 白馬の王子 (Lit: Prince (riding a) white horse) is the Japanese equivalent of prince charming. In Konosuba the horse is replaced with a dragon, but it otherwise has the same connotation.]
Lets just leave Yunyun to get lost in her own imagination for a while.
“I heard that story too. Apparently he kidnapped their princess and took her around the country. It’s a crime that would have lead to immediate execution, but it turns out that he didn’t kidnap her, the princess herself ask him to do it. But it still didn’t change the fact that he spirited the princess away for several days… If I recall, his lineage was destroyed and he was exiled from the country.”
“Nevermind about that story, let’s talk about this quest instead. Are you guys planning on accepting it?”
This conversation was going in an unfavourable direction, so I forcibly changed the topic.
Feeling someone’s gaze on me, I turned around to see Lynn narrowing her eyes. Looks like I was a little too obvious.
“Nah, taking on a dragon is a little too much for us. It seems like a bunch of other parties are planning on teaming up to take it down, though.”
“If Kazuma and his party were coming along, we might have a shot, but it seems like they are busy with something else and are sitting this one out. If Aqua was coming with us, we could at least count on her resurrection.”
Seems like Taylor and Keith weren’t too keen on it.
White dragons are considered to be one of the more docile subtypes, but even so, it’s still a dragon.
Even if a dozen or so regular adventurers were to get together, it’s doubtful they’ll be a match for it.
“According to eyewitness reports, the dragon was engaged in a flashy battle with a monster. The dragon put on a threatening display and scared the guy off, but apparently it didn’t do any harm to humans at all. I don’t feel like hunting down a creature like that.”
Threatening display? That phrase seemed to ring a bell, but right now I have more pressing things to take care of.
“But the quest is also offering a large reward for reliable information about the dragon. If it’s the docile type, we might be able to easily find it.”
“You don’t often suggest sticking your neck into dangerous situations.”
“If the information is right, there weren’t even any casualties. It’s a mild mannered subtype, so it’ll be fine. And don’t you want to see a rare white dragon with your own eyes?”
My last words seem to have struck a chord with their adventurer’s spirit, and after a short pause, they all readily nodded.
Right, then, that leaves just one more thing.
I took a deep breathe to ready myself.
“And, while we are at it… Um, could you help me look for Faitfore? It’d be really dangerous if she runs into it by accident, right? Plus, there’s a limit as to how much ground one person can cover.”
I looked away to hide my blush.
My companions seemed surprised for a moment, but that was soon replaced with cheeky grins.
“Oh? Oh my~ Didn’t you wash your hands off Faitfore a long time ago~?”
“Didn’t that girl go home? Hmm~?”
“Hey, you weren’t going out looking for her behind our backs, are you? So you do have a cute side, Dust-chan.”
Dammit, this is why I didn’t want to ask them!
Stop giving me that grin! Don’t poke at my cheeks!
I was the one asking a favour of them, so I put up with it, and it didn’t take long for them to be satisfied and agree.
“Um, can I join you too?”
Yunyun nervously raised her hand.
“Of course, you’re welcome. We’ll be counting on you if we do end up running into the dragon.”
“L-Leave it to me! Ehehe, I’m being counted on.”
With this, the firepower is secured.
Still, I really want someone who’s well suited for searching. If possible, I want to narrow down the places I should start searching too.
And the one place that can fulfill both these requirements would be–
“Well, that’s the situation, so do you think you can help us, Sir?”
I paid a visit to the familiar magic item shop, and in it was Sir Vanir, wearing an apron, and Loli Succubus, busy cleaning the floors while wearing a similar apron of her own.
She’s been spending her days in the magic item shop and her nights at the succubus store recently.
As for the beautiful shopkeeper, she’s nowhere to be seen. Judging from the scorch marks that Loli Succubus was busy trying to wipe away, she must have done something and got punished by Sir again.
“Hmm, basically, you want me to ascertain the current location of that silver haired girl, yes?”
“Yes, please, Sir… I don’t have any money on me right now, but I’ll definitely pay you back! Really!”
I put my hands together and bowed, and Sir let out a small sigh.
It’s hard to tell his mood because of the mask he’s wearing, but I can tell that he’s exasperated.
“There’s not a single person in this town that would take your promises of payment at your word, but very well. Moi shall divine the girl’s location for you.”
“Thank you, sir!”
“However, there is one condition.”
The conditions that Sir whispered to me sounded reasonable, so I immediately agreed and reached a deal.
“To request such a thing, as expected of you, Sir.”
“Moi has no need to keep secrets. That girl is… currently close to a lake. It appears to be the same place where the Tranquility Girl resided a while back.”
“Ah, I know that place. You’re a lifesaver, Sir. Oh, and, one more thing, do you mind if I take her along?”
“For Vanir-sama’s sake~ I’ll do any dirty work~ Kyaa! What are you doing!?”
I grabbed Loli Succubus who was busy shaking her butt while cleaning the floor like she was trying to seduce Sir by the collar. I thought I should at least ask first.
“Do as you please. It’s of no concern to me.”
“That’s horrible! But… If I can get Vanir-sama to drink the soup that I personally brewed, that might be worth it!”
Really? Loli Succubus is so infatuated with Sir that if he told her to die, she might seriously do it. I think even the fanatics who follow Serena around are more sensible than that.
“Right, then I’ll be taking her for a while. Hurry up and take off your apron, we’re leaving.”
“Is that how you ask others for a favour!? Even if we are close, you should still have some manners!”
“Stop making a ruckus in the store. If you are done cleaning, then you no longer have any business here. Go shack up with this delinquent instead.”
“Aah, getting such a cold treatment is nice too! If NTR is to your tastes, no, I mean, it’s painful, but I can go with Dust…”
Don’t look at me while saying such crazy words.
And don’t give me such looks of disgust just because Sir can’t see you from that angle! I have the right of refusal too!
It feels like her infatuation with Sir Vanir is just getting worse by the day.
She reluctantly put away her cleaning tools and slowly stripped off her apron in a way that’s probably meant to be sexaully titlating, but given her appearance, I can’t see her as anything but a child.
She seems to be conscious of Sir’s gaze, but he didn’t even glance at her.
“I’m being ignored, but what is with these feelings welling up within me? Is this the joy of being abandoned? I feel like I understand Darkness-san’s feelings a little better now. A new door is opening for me.”
“Hey, don’t you dare open that door!”
There’s no need to understand the feelings of a dangerous pervert. The last thing I need in my dreams is to be plagued by the desires of a masochist.
As I pulled Loli Succubus with me, she reached out to Sir with tears in her eyes.
“Vanir-sama is getting smaller… When I get back, I need to fill my lungs with Vanir-sama’s scent. Ah, the fragment of Vanir-sama’s shell that I have still has his smell, right? I need to check when I get back!”
Isn’t Sir’s body made of dirt? Wouldn’t it just smell like dirt?
“Say, we already have more than enough perverts in this town, so please don’t join their ranks.”
“Don’t treat my love for Vanir-sama like some kind of perversion! My love for him is pure!”
“All stalkers say the same thing…”
I feel a pang of regret for bringing her along, but she is vital to the search. She can fly, after all. Searching for someone would go much faster with someone in the air than on foot.
She’s still gazing longingly in the direction of the magic item shop, but she should return back to normal after we spend some time away from Sir, right?
“We don’t really have enough people to capture a white dragon, but that isn’t our objective, so I guess it’s fine.”
“Lynn, if you say such things, it’ll definitely appear, you know?”
“Stop it, don’t say such scary things.”
Following the advice of Sir, the six of us are currently heading towards the lake.
We ran into several other adventurers along the way, but most of them were headed over to where the dragon was last sighted.
That place is quite some distance away from the lake, so there shouldn’t be anyone who’s beating me to the punch.
“Vanir-san said that Faitfore-chan is by the lake, right?”
“Yeah. Sir Vanir’s predictions are always accurate.”
The accuracy of his predictions is unreal. Though to be more accurate, they are more like prophecies than predictions.
I really want to find her right now, but the problem is Sir’s words. Just what did he mean by–
“Seems like we’ve reached the lake. It’s quite a large area, so let’s split up into two teams. One team will take the left shore, the other the right shore, and we should be able to meet up on the other end without letting anything slip by.”
I didn’t have any objections to Taylor’s suggestion, so we decided to split the party in two.
On my team is Lynn and Loli Succubus.
The other side is Keith, Taylor, and Yunyun.
Yunyun’s face is stark white with anxiety. She never interacted much with anyone else other than me, and on top of that being the only girl in her party seems to be giving her quite a bit of anxiety.
“You know, you look like you’re about to faint.”
“I-I’m fine. As the future chief of the Crimson Demons, I need to i-improve my communication skills.”
There’s no way anyone would look at her tremble and stumble over her words like this and think she’s fine.
“We can handle our end with just the two of us. I have the Farsight skill that is perfect for searching for someone, after all.”
“Yeah, Yunyun, you can go help them. Us men will be fine on our own.”
It seems like the two of them couldn’t stand to see Yunyun in such discomfort any longer and yielded to her.
“I-I can’t just go back on something we agreed on. There’s no way I can be that selfish.”
She says that, but at the same time she repeatedly shot expectant glances towards me.
From the looks of things, this conversation would probably go around in circles until we extend an invitation. And she’d be too nervous to search for anyone if she’s with Keith and Taylor anyways.
“Fine, you can come with us. You have a lot of experience with telling how someone wandering around by themselves would act, right?”
“O-Oh fine, if you are willing to go that far, I’ll go with you.”
Despite saying that, she seemed really relieved. I don’t think she even picked up on my backhanded compliment there.
We split with Taylor’s party and started walking along our side of the lake, and so far, nothing unusual has happened.
“U-Um, this might be a little late, but do you really think Faitfore can wander this far away from the town? It sounds a little far fetched to me.”
“It’s not a distance you’d think a child would be able to cover on foot, right? Normally, I wouldn’t believe it, but if Vanir-sama says so, there’s no doubt about it!”
Loli Succubus relied only on her unwavering trust in Sir Vanir to dispel Yunyun’s doubts.
Lynn didn’t open her mouth, only silently staring at me, as if waiting for me to say something.
“It’s fine if Sir says it. He enjoys toying with humans, but he wouldn’t…!”
Suddenly, my head started spinning and my vision blurred.
I fell to one knee, unable to withstand the sudden bout of vertigo.
“What happened? Did you stub your toe on a rock or something? You should be less clumsy.”
I couldn’t even muster a response to Lynn’s ribbing.
What’s with this sudden sensation?
I took a feel deep breaths to regain my composure so my companions wouldn’t find out.
“Seems like last night’s wine hasn’t fully gone out of my body yet. I’ll catch a break here, so you guys go on ahead.”
I sat down facing the lake and casually waved my companions onwards.
“What a hopeless man. Make sure you catch up with us, okay?”
“Take it easy on the wine. It’d affect our jobs too.”
“… We’ll go on ahead.”
After confirming that the three of them have left, I drew closer to the lake and took a good look at my reflection.
My eyes staring back at me were slightly redder than usual.
“So that’s what’s going on.”
Ignoring my nausea, I got to my feet and sped off in a different direction than the other three.
I jumped into the thicket of trees around the lake and sharpened my senses.
The smell of greenery and earth came to me much sharper than they normally would.
“She must be close. Where are you, Faitfore!?”
I heard the sound of something crashing against the earth from deep within the forest.
That’s the sound of trees breaking. And it’s not just one or two trees. Something large is smashing its way through the trees as it made its way forwards.
Normally, I’d avoid running into a monster if I can, but this time, I headed straight for the source of the noise.
The sound gradually became louder. At the same time, I could feel the ground shaking beneath my feet.
Something large is rampaging around. This is most likely…
My nausea worsened as I drew closer. These feelings welling up from my gut… Is that rage? And sadness?
And it wasn’t just that, a large variety of emotions came flowing into me.
As I ran towards what seemed to be the source, I stepped on something round beneath my feet and almost tripped.
“Pant, pant. Don’t throw your trash out here. What’s with this mountain of vegetables… Hey, wait, aren’t these mandrakes?”
Oh yeah, that problem priest of the Axis Cult threw out most of the mandrakes that she took, right? So this is where they dumped it.
Looking over the pile, quite a few of the mandrakes had chunks bitten out of them.
“I see, so she’s delirious after eating this.”
That explains why she’s rampaging around.
Trying my best not to succumb to my nausea, I carried on ahead and stumbled into a clearing.
A large number of trees have been knocked aside, and standing right in the middle is a single white dragon.
Unlike other dragons, this one was more beautiful than it is scary.
It’s pure white scales shone magnificently in the sunlight, and when it spread its wings as a threat display, it looked almost like an angel descending from the heavens.
This is why it’s not only considered an omen of wealth and luck, but also fetch high prices as ornamental pieces.
And on its neck is a single necklace with a red gem.
A loud roar cut me off.
This species is known to have a gentle and cautious demeanor, but this one bared its fangs at me in an overt display of hostility. It’s normally pearly black eyes are instead red with the colour of fresh blood.
“H-Hey, calm down. You’re just confused because you ate something bad!”
The feeling of nausea in my head is getting stronger, but I fought to keep it down and slowly approached the dragon.
When I advanced, the dragon shrunk back, even while keeping up its threat display.
“It’s fine, there’s no need to be afraid. Everything will be alright.”
Saying that, I slowly extended my hand–
“Dust, what are you doing!? Lightning!”
A sudden flash of white light shot past my vision, obscuring the dragon from sight.
Looking back, Lynn came charging out of the underbrush with her staff pointed dead ahead.
The dragon twisted under the light, but it recovered quickly and turned it’s blood red eyes towards Lynn.
“What is it doing here!?”
“We followed you because you were acting weird! What are you doing without even drawing your weapon!? Do you have a death wish!?”
“This guy won’t hurt me, so don’t interfere!”
I shouted towards Lynn before turning back to the dragon.
“Sorry, that must have surprised you…”
The first thing I saw when I turned back was a set of large claws, which came swooping down at me.
With the sound of something ripping, my surroundings suddenly turned into a blur.
No, that’s not it! It’s my body that was sent flying back.
My flight soon came to a stop when I crashed into a large tree.
That impact knocked the breath out of me, and I had to fight to even draw the most shallowest of breaths.
My vision swam with red, but I could barely make out Lynn rushing towards me.
She seemed to be on the verge of tears. It wasn’t an expression I thought I’d see on someone who’s normally so headstrong.
“Dust! Dust! Get a hold of yourself!”
Come to think of it, someone once called my name with the same, almost sobbing tone before…
The sudden shortness of breath only amplified my nausea. This is bad. At this rate, I’m going to pass…
“Is this the end of the line?”
An uncountable number of monster corpses lay sprawled beneath my feet.
I really want to praise myself for taking out such a large number of them, but an even larger horde of monsters stand before me.
I stayed behind to hold the line to give my companions a chance to escape, but I suppose this is as far as I can go.
My left arm hangs limply by my side, and a cut on my forehead is allowing blood to leak into my right eye, obscuring my vision.
My armour is heavily battered and there are even prominent cracks in several of the plates. It’ll probably only take one more good hit to completely shatter it.
“So this is what they mean by on your last limb. Still, my companions got away. As a knight, this is the end one can hope to achieve … If I die, will she cry for me?”
That person’s face swam appeared in my mind.
I tried to picture her being sad, but all I could imagine is her, hands on her hips, angrily yelling that she won’t allow me to die without her permission.
Even though I’m at death’s door, I couldn’t help but smile.
“It’s too early to give up…”
I can’t push such a troublesome task off onto someone else. Plus, she isn’t the only one waiting for me. I promised that I’d always be with her. Breaking a promise would be taboo as a knight.
I thrusted my spear at an approaching monster, and the shaft split in twain.
I might have lost my favoured weapon, but I still had my sword. And if my sword’s gone, I still have my fists. And if my fists are gone, well, I’ll just have to bite them to death.
“I can’t die here yet!”
With a desperate strength of a man on the edge, I brought my sword to bear.
Several of the monsters came charging at me right this instant.
Death might be just around the corner, but I’ll fight till my last breath.
I managed to raise my sword into position, but I no longer had the strength to swing it.
As a final act of resistance, I stared directly at the monster charging at me.
Just before its claws could reach me, my vision became covered in white.
That was a pure white dragon.
“Did you come back for me… partner?”
Even if it is a dragon, nothing could take on such a large number of monsters without injury. As she threw itself into the horde, her beautiful body became covered in wounds and speckled with blood.
Even so, the dragon fought on desperately to help me.
Mustering the strength to press on in spite of my ragged state, I charged into battle by her side.
Something white is slowly approaching.
I was taken out by her… Why did she take me out?
Did I do something to make her angry…? No, I was searching…
No, wait, who was I searching for?
Someone is crying next to me. Her face… it’s the princess.
And a dragon is approaching her.
I am a knight in charge of ensuring the princess’s safety.
Now is not the time to be sleeping.
“Please be at ease, I’ll definitely protect you.”
Even though I still felt a little shaky, I stood up and put myself between the princess and the approaching dragon.
“Now is not the time to be fooling around! We need to hurry up and run!”
“I will protect you with my life.”
Even if I lose my life while protecting the princess, it’s a point of honour as a knight.
I tried to raise my spear, but apparently I must have lost it somewhere, so I drew my spare sword from my waist.
Despite being my first time holding this sword, it sits nicely in my hand … Wait, first time?
Then what was it doing on my waist?
No, now is not the time to be thinking about such things. Protecting the princess comes first.
Just then, the princess pulled upon my cheeks and pushed her face close to mine.
“Stop saying such disgusting things! You were never such a serious person! You are always more underhanded and selfish and create nothing but problems… but even so, you’d say something stupid and resport to whatever underhanded tricks you have to in order to survive! That’s what you are, Dust!”
What is the princess screaming about?
My name is Line Shaker. A proud dragon knight. Not Dust or whatever she’s calling me.
“Princess, please get ahold of yourself”
“That’s my line! Your eyes are still red. You must still be seeing stars… Oh, I’ll have to use my last resort.”
The princess brought her face even closer to mine. Just before our skin would’ve made contact, she suddenly drew her head back.
And then, she brought her forehead crashing down against mine.
“Ouch! That hurt! How is your head so hard!?”
“Argh! That hurt quite a bit, but it seems like you’ve regained your senses. Can you tell me your name?”
“It’s Dust, obviously. Did something go wrong with your head?”
“That’s my line… Idiot.”
My head is still slightly fuzzy, as though it’s filled with fog, but I can put that by the wayside. Just like all these pent up feelings of frustration and self loathing.
Me in the past would probably be caught up thinking about some useless things, but right now, I’m Dust!
“And you should stop panicking too! I’ve told you not to eat stuff you find on the floor, right!?”
I angrily scolded the white dragon who was glancing down to the side with one claw on her forehead while we were talking.
My annoyance must have gotten through, for she shook her head as if she was trying to come up with an excuse while folding her wings behind her.
“Eh? Is the white dragon scared?”
“If you don’t come to your senses right now, you’re not going to have any dinner tonight!”
When I shouted, the white dragon trembled for a brief instant.
I thought she might regain her senses, but her eyes remained red and she opened her mouth.
A dark flame blazed at the back of her throat, past the lines of sharp teeth lining her maw.
Is she planning to use her breath weapon at such close range!?
By myself, I would be able to get out of the way in time, but Lynn is beside me.
I kicked off with all my might and closed the distance with a single leap.
“Eh? When did you become so good at jumping!?”
At the same time as Lynn’s surprised voice, a blazingly hot burst of fire came roaring at me.
At this angle, Lynn won’t be caught in the blast.
The jet of flames shot past me, singeing my clothes with the heat, I clenched my fists tightly.
“Knock it off already, Faitfore!”
The moment I got within range, I swung my fist at her head.
A loud smack echoed throughout the forest, and the shockwave from my blow resonated through the grass and weeds.
As for the white dragon, it stumbled around in a daze for a few moments before collapsing on the ground.
Then, a faint light came from the dragon’s body, and it started to shrink. Within moments, the dragon has completely disappeared, leaving a much smaller form where it once lay.
The form of Faitfore.
“Eh, Eeh? Eeeeeeeh!?”
Lynn opened her mouth like that of a goldfish, seemingly completely taken aback by this sight.
“Sorry, my head became weird after eating those veggies. I didn’t want to hurt you, Dust, but my body didn’t do what I wanted…”
Faitfore managed in a wavering voice, tears flowing down her cheeks.
Seems like she has reflected well enough on her actions.
I placed my hand on Faitfore’s head and gently patted her.
“Seems like you’ve regained your senses. If you’re sorry about that, I’ll forgive you. I’m this close from being char broiled, but nevermind that. And, um, well… Sorry for leaving you alone for so long.”
I shouldn’t have left her all alone back home. I thought that she’d be treated much better there than following someone like me who has lost my status as a dragon knight, but… it seems like I was mistaken.
After reuniting with me after such a long time, she must have been taken aback by how much I’ve changed and been at a loss as to how to treat me.
“I didn’t expect you to visit me as a human.”
My home country knows a lot more about dragons than any other, and as a dragon knight, I too have been privy to some classified information, but even so, this was a shock to me.
Within the first hundred years of their lives, dragons are considered lesser dragons. After that, they become greater dragons who are about as smart as a human and can understand human speech.
After many years spent as a greater dragon, they might awaken to their ego, become an elder dragon and become capable of assuming a human form.
It was just an unconfirmed rumour back then, but to think that it was actually true.
Back when I left her, she was only just becoming a greater dragon. To think that she would become an elder in such a short period of time.
She must have come searching for me after finding herself being surrounded by unfamiliar faces while being unused to her new body.
“Seems like I have a lot of things to apologize for.”
“No, I love you, Dust!”
She jumped up onto my chest, so I held her and lifted her up.
Come to think of it, she used to rub her face into my chest the same way, didn’t she?
“… I really envy children who can say such things without any care in the world.”
“Did you say something, Lynn?”
“Not really. I knew that you were hiding something, but to think that the true identity of the white dragon was Faitfore. They say that when a person receives too many surprises at once, they’ll instead act calmly. I think I’ve experienced that first hand.”
Lynn drew close with a wry smile on her face.
I thought she’d be much more afraid after learning her true identity, but she’s taking it in stride pretty well.
“Say, can you keep this a secret? I mean, it’d be pretty troublesome if anyone else knew.”
“Yeah, fine. If people knew that Faitfore was a white dragon, she’d become a target. Plus, not only Faitfore, you’d be troubled too, right?”
Saying that with a wink, Lynn gave me a most uncharacteristic smile.
I kicked down the door that led to the hidden room underneath the mansion and jumped inside.
“Get down! I’m Line Shaker of the Braidle royal knights! We have received information that a white dragon is being kept in this location! If you cooperate, the judge will be lenient on you!”
I boldly declared myself as a knight, but nobody responded.
I thought I felt a presence behind the door, but it seems like nobody is here.
… It’s a little embarrassing.
With my sword drawn, I advanced deeper into the room.
Despite being underground, the ceilings were quite high, and while it’s quite spacious, it has a certain barren feel about it with almost no furniture present.
The walls, floor, and ceiling were covered with thick iron plates. It must be meant as a measure to keep anything held inside from breaking out.
And right in the very back is a single monster kept within a sturdy looking cage.
Even though this room is only faintly lit up, the creature’s body seemed to illuminate its surroundings just by virtue of its pure white body.
The dragon’s red eyes are sharp, and it bared its fangs at me.
A fearsome roar left my eardrums ringing.
The force of that roar was a little louder than I expected, but nonetheless, I threw my sword on the floor.
A thick chain is connected to the white dragon’s neck, and its body is covered in numerous wounds.
From what I’ve heard, white dragons can make use of holy magic, yet it isn’t healing its wounds at all.
In other words, this cage must be a magic item that inhibits the use of magic somehow.
This creature isn’t really want to threaten me, it’s simply afraid of humans.
“Come on, I’ve tossed away my weapon. There’s nothing to fear. You can relax.”
I approached the dragon with both arms extended to demonstrate my peaceful intentions as it produced a low growl.
The cage holding it might be tight enough to prevent the dragon from slipping through the bars, but there’s more than enough space for me to go through.
Soon, I was close enough that it could simply bite my head off with a simple lift of its neck.
It did open its mouth wide, showing of its rows of sharp teeth, but I can easily tell it was only putting on a threat display.
I couldn’t detect a single ounce of killing intent from it.
Perhaps surprised by my unflinching reaction, it closed its mouth and looked me over curiously.
“You might have heard my name earlier, but I’ll properly introduce myself. My name is Line Shaker. Pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
As I extended my hand, the dragon raised its head and pressed its cheek against my palm.
“If you are okay with it, would you like to make a covenant with me? You know what that means, right? One who has made a covenant with a dragon can gain a measure of power when the dragon is close by. In exchange, I’ll be able to draw out your true powers as a dragon.”
The white dragon appeared to be smart enough to understand my words, and seemed to be seriously thinking it over.
“I’ll never betray someone I’ve made a covenant with. From now on, we’ll share in both joy and pain.”
“Well, at the end of the day, all’s well that ends well.”
As usual, we were gathered at tavern in the adventurer’s guild.
We told our companions who came rushing towards us after seeing the commotion that we ran into the white dragon but it ran away, after which Faitfore came running to us.
They probably wouldn’t have believed me if I was alone, but Lynn managed to smooth everything over, so it seems like we managed to get them to believe it.
“It’s all thanks to Sir’s divination that we found her.”
“Isn’t it a little too accurate? It’s kinda scary. Oh, by the way, what did you do for the fee?”
“Oh, I told him to put it on my tab.”
The truth is, I had to give him a strand of Faitfore’s hair and a little bit of her nail clippings. Even just a small part of a white dragon’s body is plenty valuable.
“Kazuma also managed to take care of Serena somehow. Why did I become so infatuated with her in the first place?”
“To think Serena was a Demon King’s general. Just thinking that we could’ve been caught up in her spell too sends chills down my spine.”
Keith and Taylor’s shoulders drooped a little.
As it turns out, Serena had a certain special ability that allowed her to charm anyone who thinks they owe a debt to her. Even simple feelings of gratitude can end up with you being turned into a puppet.
Casting spells on the other adventurers for free seems to have been a plot to get them to feel indebted to her.
And these two ended up falling right into her trap.
“Now, then, we can enjoy our meal free of any worries. As promised, you can eat as much as you want. These two people will be treating you.”
“I’ll do my best.”
“… Please show some moderation.”
Keith and Taylor looked a little pale, but who cares about that?
Faitfore enthusiastically nodded when she heard me say she can eat as much as she wants. Her expression didn’t change much, but I can tell that she’s practically over the moon.
I’m not entirely sure what to do about her in the long term, but for now, she seems to be content staying by my side and doesn’t seem to have any intention of going back home.
As for me, I’m fine with letting her do as she wishes.
… Though, they are probably in a right panic back home after a white dragon went missing.
With no idea of the thoughts going through my head, Faitfore happily ordered everything on the menu apart from alcohol and smiled contentedly.
Taylor and Keith had enough money to pay for it, but, well, that’s just it. My condolences.
I wanted to order some wine for myself, when I remembered something that was bugging me.
“Oh, yeah, how did you find out where I was?”
When I whispered to Faitfore sitting beside me, she seemed to jump up in shock.
“I forgot to tell you. Err, the princess told me that you were here.”
“What? … Seriously!?”
I blurted out.
Hey, she knows about this place?
“Yes. And she said she’d be coming by to visit soon, so I should send you her regards.”
Dammit, after overcoming one crisis, another awaits me!
I was planning on letting loose today, but I think it’s best to go easy on the alcohol.
Knowing that she is coming here, I have nothing but bad premonitions about the future.