Can I Cry
As I swung the Katana in my hands, Novem caught it as she spun her scythe.
Following through with its large, spinning motions, she turned its blade towards me and lowered it. Its speed was even greater than before, and I couldn’t dodge it so easily.
Novem approached. As I parried her attack with my katana, the golden dragon took to the sky. It headed for the place the ancestors stood.
As Novem purposely brought this to a competition, she closed in on my face.
“Now hurry up and defeat me. By your own hand, Lyle…”
Her calling me without a –sama was quite a fresh feeling. But now wasn’t the time to think about such things.
From behind, Aria cried out.
“Novem, give it a rest already…”
As Novem’s eyes narrowed, a monster appeared at Aria’s feet. While it looked as if a land dragon had surfaced, its scales held a golden glint.
I could see the blurry, staticky image through Aria’s field of vision. That something that looked like a land dragon emerged from the earth to stand before Aria.
“What did you call out this time!?”
When I forcefully separated myself, Novem purposefully leapt back. I could only feel as if I was being played with.
“It’s a sub-species of Land Dragon. It wouldn’t be any fun to call out a normal monster when we have a Labyrinth’s boss among us. She doesn’t have a part in this, so I got something to pull her away. It’s strong. Aria may lose and die.”
Aria took a stance with her spear, confronting the Land Dragon. Eva, Clara, Monica and the Valkyries went in to support her as well.
Monica looked over the whole field, offering me support as well. As lines of light came down on Novem, she simply took them with a calm look on her face. The parts that were hit let off a red light.
She was putting up a partial Magic Shield.
“Che! Damn vixen!”
Novem looked at Monica in the sky.
“.. Do you have the leisure to pay mind to us? I don’t think Aria and the others are enough to triumph over that child.”
It was just as Novem said. The non-magic-centric Aria was mismatched to deal with a beast that boasted metallic scales.
While she swung her spear, its blade wouldn’t reach. Eva supported, but she looked to be at a disadvantage. And while Clara was specialized at support, offensive magic was her weak suit.
Monica narrowed her eyes before going off to aid Aria.
“Now with that, the hindrances have gone away. It’s just the two of us.”
“You should save a line like that for someplace with a better ambiance.”
That was the best comeback I could come up with. As I cut forward, she dodged by a paper-thin margin. I prepared magic in my hand, firing it off at close range as she passed me by, but she deflected that magic with her bare hands.
Her scythe was coming closer, so I turned it aside with my Katana, only to feel a strange sense of unease. On top of a creak.
Novem sounded disappointed.
“I should have prepared a stronger weapon for you, Lyle. Well, you’d best be careful from now on.”
She skillfully lifted up my blade with her scythe. Once the sword had left my hands, I prepared magic in both hands.
When I shot out low-class fire magic from my hands, she cut it through with her scythe. Aiming for that moment, I leapt in and embraced her body. I had thought to lead into a submission or strangle hold.
But even with my full body’s weight against her, Novem didn’t even flinch.
“If you don’t have a weapon, go for magic, and if that doesn’t work, your bare hands. How wonderful.”
She lifted me off with her left hand and threw me a distance. I rolled and stood only to find she wasn’t before me anymore.
And there from behind.
“That will that never folds… as expected of you.”
I heard a voice right next to my ear. As chills ran down my spine, I leapt from the spot. Novem looked at me and giggled. It was almost as if she had succeeded in some mischievous deed.
“Without any means to go about this, my heart is already on the verge of folding over here, you know?”
As I broke into a cold sweat, Novem smiled.
“If you give up, everyone will die. Now try to kill me, Lyle.”
Novem rapidly approached, so I pulled my gun from my rear holster. As I discharged it, she dodged with a speed great enough to leave an afterimage, and closed in.
I was able to turn aside her scythe with the barrel of the gun. As expected of the gun I got from Vera. It was able to stand up to Novem’s strike.
“That wasn’t enough. What’s more… you didn’t even aim for a vital point, did you?”
The laughing Novem went expressionless. I had subconsciously missed her vitals, and it seems she didn’t quite like that.
“… What exactly do you expect me to do?”
Was I even capable of saving Novem? Save… free her from that goddess or evil god or whatever… I didn’t want to have to select that option.
… The ancestors stopped their squabble to look up at the sky.
The rowdy Walt House had grown so quiet, the Second’s mutter rang through clearly. In the sky, of golden scales… and massive red horns, a dragon looked down over them.
While everyone was put silent, despite all the static, they could still catch Lyle’s conversation.
“The lord of a Labyrinth floor mankind has yet to reach? This thing is…”
The First was shaking. That dragon’s presence was truly one to rule over all the lands while remaining in the sky. Its sublimity spoke for itself.
It was a monster humanity hadn’t yet a name for, but Novem had called it a Legend Dragon. It truly was a legendary-class monster.
The Sixth quietly readied his halberd.
The Third silently watched the legend unfold in the sky.
To such a place.
“That dragon’s my preeey!!”
As the Seventh rushed off on his horse, he pulled his silver gun and discharged it at the dragon. But from the opposite side, someone had gotten the idea even sooner than him.
“Too bad. I’m first.”
Pushing up his glasses, the one who kept on stabbing daggers into the dragon’s presumed weak spots was the Fourth.
The First cried out.
“Bastards! I’m the one who saw it first! I’m the one who’ll take it out! Oy, you lot!”
The First’s soldiers raised a warcry, while the Second’s soldiers urged him on.
The Second sighed as he sent a sharp glare at the dragon.
“If I beat that thing… I’ll be a legend. Meaning I’ll be the strongest in history. The books will finally have something to say about me.”
On his words, the Sixth let out a hearty laugh, as he leapt up to slice at the dragon. On his grand strike, he managed to damage the dragon’s scales.
“The strongest is meeee!!”
There, the Seventh yelled at the Sixth.
“Father, I’m going to stuff it, so could you please not damage the surface!? I’m going to blow it up from the inside with these bombs, and make a splendid mantelpiece!”
In the Seventh’s gleeful preparations, the one handing over the bombs was Zell. There, extending his galient blade to wreathe the dragon’s neck, the Fifth hopped onto its back.
“Oy, that’s playing dirty!”
The First called for the Fifth to get down, while the Fifth mounted the dragon, reverting his galient blade to its original sword form.
“It’s first-come, first serve. You think poison will work on it?”
As the Fifth tried to pour poison into its open wound, the Sixth cried out.
“Pops! You’re always like that! You try and end things too quickly! Savor the moment some more!”
The Fourth used his floating daggers as footholds to approach the beast. The dragon that started thrashing due to the Fifth’s presence on its back began gathering magic in its mouth to blow away the surroundings.
“I was waiting for that!”
Channeling his magic into his daggers, he threw them one after the next. Preemptively setting off the magic it had gathered, an explosion wrung out in the dragon’s mouth.
The Fifth was blown away as well.
The one who approached the blown-away Fifth was a pretty woman. She had horns, and while she’d lost her right arm, she had scales over her other limbs.
May caught the Fifth and landed on the ground. Unlike before, she was in her grown-up form. Seeing her like that, the Fifth…
“M-Maayy! What happened to your arm…”
He looked like he was going to cry. His eyes actually were tearing up. The Sixth looked at him.
“That quilin is? I get the feeling she was supposed to be a little younger.”
The Fifth glared at him. But when he was in a princess cradle from a taller woman, his glare didn’t hold the slightest bit of intimidation.
“Hah? Quilins have all sorts of characteristics! And there’s no way it could be anyone but May! Are you sure your eyes are properly working!?”
May lowered the Fifth onto the ground.
“Yeah, my arm was taken to the other side. But it’ll grow back in a few years.”
“So you’ll be like that for years!? That Lyle, what the hell is he doing!?”
Seeing the Fifth’s rage, his wives whispered amongst themselves.
“When he’s mistaken his own sons and daughters before…”
“Why is it when it comes to animals…”
“… If only he didn’t have that part to him.”
Seeing the Fifth’s wives unable to speak out too strongly against him, the Sixth’s wife laughed.
“Hah! It’s that passive tone of yours that’s no good! Because of that, you even brought trouble to us!”
When she was confessed to and married, the man brought along mistresses as if it were natural. She had grown quite enraged at the Sixth’s attitude. And as a result, he had two mistresses, and she had become quite irritated at his mother-in-laws who didn’t criticize him for it.
The Sixth silently cut at the dragon. His form was gallant, but… it was courageous, but… it could only be seen as if he was trying to run away.
The Fifth’s and Sixth’s soldiers. And the Sixth’s brothers and sisters looked at the Dragon in high spirits.
“I’ll go at it too!”
“It’s a dragon hunt!!”
“You think I should have a whack at it?”
The soldiers prepared ropes, fastening them to nearby rubble as they tossed them to capture the beast. The dragon tried to escape into the sky.
“I won’t let you get away!”
The Second fired off arrows of light, incurring a rain of arrows down on the dragon. When those sprinkled arrows hit, they raised explosions, preventing its upwards flight.
The Seventh also turned his gunpoint, opening up holes in its wings.
“Hmm, we can mend the wings later. We’ll take this dragon down and stuff it. And if we make it the symbol of Lyle’s empire… I will become a legend!”
Zell led his battalion.
“Support Brod-sama! Those who wish for the title of dragonslayer, don’t be sparing with your lives!”
The soldiers who leapt one after the next.
There, leading Ludmilla along, the Fourth’s wife met up with them.
“Hey hold it! Don’t stuff it! You need to preciously preserve it, and the next time you need to borrow money, you can just use it as collateral! I’m sure this thing’s materials and magic stones will make for a splendid deposit!”
The Fourth seemed to be in agreement. So he turned to the Second and Seventh.
“We’re going to cleanly take it apart! And don’t think you’ll be able to put it together again! We’ll take it out in one blow if possible!”
The Fifth yelled at the Fourth.
“Bastard, just recall what you just did! And this thing isn’t so fragile. You have to beat it to…”
The Fourth’s wife leapt at the Fifth. His face rubbed, and being in front of everyone, he shied back.
“Mama, stop it!”
There, to the Seventh, late as he was, the previous king of Faunbeux arrived. And upon spotting the Sixth.
“Damn old man Fiennes!! Today is the day I deliver your requiem!”
As the prior king of Faunbeux attacked with his spear, the Sixth raised his hand with a smile.
“Oh the whelp from back then!? How nostalgic!”
From the other party’s point of view, the Sixth was an existence he couldn’t forget about if he wanted to. He jumped down from his horse and lowered his spear.
“Here I’ll put an end to our cycle of fates…”
But the Sixth he competed with laughed.
“We’re both already long dead. And you see… your granddaughter’s engaged to my great grandson. So can’t we just let it be water under the bridge?”
The past king of Faunbeux opened his mouth blankly for a moment… after which, his face turned bright red.
“As if I could accept that!!”
The Sixth looked quite troubled.
“Wait! Just wait for now! Else the other ancestors are going to take that thing down! Just give me a minute, ‘kay!?”
The Sixth troubled by the king of Faunbeux.
Ludmilla stood still as she took in the scene. Before the dragon that clearly had an aura of majesty, seeing the Walt House members gleefully stand against it left her taken aback. Of all else, they didn’t even know what means of attack their enemy held.
And yet, me, no me, they all tried to be the first to cut at it. The only one looking on calmly was the Third.
The Third’s wife spoke to him.
“You’re not going to take part?”
The Third smiled.
“Me? Oh I’ll be there to take the final blow. As I thought, at a time like this, it’s most efficient to steal in later for the kill.”
Dewey looked up at him.
“Sleigh, I think that’s a little wrong.”
Hearing that from his brother Dewey, the Third seemed quite flustered.
“Oh my, how interesting. A golden dragon… truly marvelous.”
The Seventh who gleefully discharged his gun at the Legend Dragon reacted to that voice.
As the Seventh raced towards her, Zenoire snapped her red folding fan shut.
“You never came to get me! I had to come here on my own strength. But that dragon truly is nice. It’ll make a nice gift to give to Lyle.”
“… Dear, you have to defeat it before any of the others. For our cute grandson’s sake, you can at least do that much, can’t you?”
The Seventh tried to say something, but glared at by Zenoire, he lowered his shoulders.
“U-understood. I’ll do my best. Zell! No matter what, we have to take that thing down!”
Zenoire looked at the gold dragon- the Legend Dragon- as she stuck out her chest and raised a grand laugh.
“Ohohoho, splendid. Truly splendid! It’ll be the finest of gifts!”
The ones watching her back were the ones who’d forcefully been dragged along, Gracia and Elza. Both of them had begun to wonder whether Celes had inherited her ill nature from this woman. Or so spoke the faces they were making.
“Elza, I’m beginning to think…”
“You don’t have to say it. Rather, there’s no place for us to do anything.”
Cut at, with magic raining down incessantly from all sides to bathe it, the Legend Dragon. A black magic snake wrapped around it, before it exploded in a gale of black flames.
Then captured with the magic raining down from above, a steel ball came at it to blow it away.
The First looked at the Legend Dragon that continued to regenerate.
“You’re all useless! Switch out with me!”
Swinging his large sword around, he cut in. There, perhaps irritated at being called useless.
“Stand down, barbarian! I have a reason I can’t back away! You’re not taking my prize!”
The Seventh continued raining his bullets down on the fallen Legend Dragon.
Ludmilla offered a word as she looked upon the scene.
“I actually feel sorry for it… that poor dragon.”