Magma taken on the shape of man, a winged monster gave chase through the dark sky.
Receiving winds so strong the magic barrier couldn’t suppress them, Rudel looked behind him.
“Sakuya, it’s about time. Begin ascent!”
Rudel’s plan was simple.
If the enemy was a monster of magma, he concluded they simply had to fight where there was water.
He led the monster along the night sky to distance it far from Celestia.
Sakuya’s four wings swayed grandly.
She rose as large fireballs passed right beneath her.
As the monster closed its large mouth, Rudel looked at his foe’s single large eye.
Under the eyelid as if the eye itself had been divided vertically, what looked to be an eye of flesh… it bore the eye of a lifeform.
Even when its body was made of magma, he questioned why it didn’t burn.
‘That thing’s persistent!’
Sakuya complained at the enemy chasing her.
Rudel observed it with a serious face.
(If we want to take it out in a single blow, our best bet’s to get into close combat and drop it into the ocean. How do we hit it down… explosions just blow away parts of its body, the rest isn’t affected.)
Looking at the monster of magma, Rudel thought over how he might manage close combat.
Even with Sakuya’s fists, their enemy was magma.
Her hands would stick into the monster’s body, and Sakuya would be scalded.
But to get off with such little damage, dragons really were amazing after all.
Sakuya entered a cloud.
As his vision grew worse all at once, Rudel issued orders to Sakuya.
“Sakuya, break through the clouds!”
Sakuya shot straight up through the clouds.
But there, the monster was waiting for them.
‘I hate this thiiiing!!’
On Sakuya’s directional change, Rudel leaned over and gripped the handrail off so as not to be thrown off.
As the scenery around him changed at a dazzling pace, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
“Just for a little while. Sakuya, take the wheel… head towards the ocean.”
‘On my own!?’
Hearing that voice on the brink of tears, Rudel opened his eyes and stomached his urge to throw out that idea.
Rudel’s eyes were magic eyes.
As he closed his eyes, they gradually began to emit heat.
By flowing magic into them, he could imbue them with various effects.
While Sakuya hurried to flee, Rudel waited for his preparations to be readied.
A sudden rise, a sudden turn.
It was hell clinging on to not be thrown off.
(I should’ve used the belt.)
Repenting on his actions before he closed his eyes, he finished up preparations and opened them.
A red light dwelled in the pupils as he gazed at the monster.
Narrowing his eyes, he tried scanning the magma for the monster’s true form.
“What’s this… hundreds, thousands of people are crying out?”
Hundreds of human souls squirmed and struggled, imprisoned.
Captured by a stone in the monster’s chest, they struggled within the magma.
(Are those the sacrifices? And who’s that in the center of the stone?)
That soul in the shape of a woman looked at Rudel from within the stone.
His magic eyes focused and showed her form in vivid detail…
“She looks like Cleo… no, I guess it’s the opposite.”
He recalled the painting in the king’s room.
He remembered the painting with an unnatural space left in it. And the painting of the queen as well.
“The previous sacrifice was the queen, was it? Which means.”
All the captured, squirming souls were related to the royal house.
A prison of spirit even death couldn’t escape.
The monster was a kind of cage.
Rudel took a deep breath.
“… Sakuya, can you see that?”
‘If Rudel can see it, then Sakuya can see it too. We’re connected.’
To a proud Sakuya, Rudel,
“I see. Then you know what I want to say. Alongside the mission… we’ll be destroying that thing.”
Rudel touched Sakuya’s body with both his palms.
Feeling out Sakuya’s beat, he used his own magic to control it.
He still wasn’t accustomed to it, it felt all too unnatural, but this was no time for hesitation.
Glaring at the monster, Rudel…
“I’ll free you now.”
As he put that to mouth, a golden insignia surfaced over Sakuya’s body.
Rudel used his own magic to manipulate the mana flowing through her body. Under her four wings, a new gold-glowing smaller pair manifested.
A number of sharp sword blades protruded out of the now six-winged Sakuya’s tail.
As if covered in golden gauntlets, masses of energy manifested around her fists.
‘I’ll show you serious Sakuyaaa!!’
To intercept the monster, Sakuya held her position in the air.
Readying her two large fists, she took on a fighting pose.
As the monster opened its large mouth to produce fireballs, Sakuya opened her mouth as well. She usually gathered stones or fired breath attacks from it, but this one was different.
A number of water orbs formed around her mouth, before shooting right off towards the monster.
The fireballs the monster shot were taken down by water one after the next.
As water and magma collided, a water vapor broke out, rendering everything out of sight.
“It won’t go down the same as before.”
After saying that, Rudel called out to Sakuya.
While she had been running away to that point, Sakuya started straight towards the monster.
Rudel’s magic eyes captured its sinister form.
Sharing Rudel’s vision, Sakuya slammed her fist into the beast.
The water hit first, and she aimed her attack into the portion that had hardened. The black lump on its surface shattered from the force, but the golden gauntlets had managed to capture the monster without piercing through.
Hurdling back, the monster regained its posture, moving its single eye left and right to search out the dragon’s form.
Circling around beneath it with a nosedive, Sakuya went into a steep climb…
‘Handed down from Mystith, taste the… what was it called again?’
Having forgotten the name, still oblivious, Sakuya got her large fist into the enemy’s body.
The monster bent into an L shape, flying into the air upon receiving the impact.
And with speeds greater than before, Sakuya chased after it, putting both her fists together and lifting them above her head, she came right above the monster to lower them.
Seeing the monster fall towards the earth, Rudel spoke.
“… And that’s that. I’ll free you now.”
Sakuya’s gauntlets disappeared, she opened her mouth wide.
There a large mass of mana emerged and Rudel compressed it. Once the forcefully compressed lump of magic swelled again, it was compressed even further.
Drawing out a dragon’s power… no, the power Sakuya originally possessed was Rudel’s job.
Sakuya turned the mass of magic towards the monster that had fallen into the sea.
Water vapor rose all around, the writhing monster could no longer maintain its form.
It spread and spread, and spread some more.
It was almost as if a single large island was forming.
Sprouting countless hands, it opened its large mouth to cry out.
Water leaked from its large eye, making it look as if it were crying.
“Being sealed away forever, sealing others away, you must’ve hated it… so this is the end.”
Sakuya fired the compressed mass of magic.
Her body shot a bit back from the recoil, as her small light was sucked into the monster’s open mouth.
As she left that space, the golden markings disappeared from Sakuya’s body.
The color of Rudel’s eyes also returned to their usual blue.
Hurriedly fastening on his belt. Rudel clung to the handrail.
“It’s the first time we tried going all out.”
‘Sakuya did her best~.’
Hearing her tired voice, Rudel tried to open his mouth as he looked at the large pillar of light.
From the monster’s open mouth, magma erupted into the sky.
It was almost like an endless stream of lava.
As the shockwaves assailed Sakuya, it became difficult to fly properly, sending her barreling through the air.
“The output was too high.”
Perhaps it would be best not to use it again.
Gradually the pillar receded, and by that time, Sakuya had regained the ability to fly normally. Regaining her position, she commenced hovering on the spot as she looked at the monster.
‘It just keeps spreading.’
Where the monster had fallen, a black island was born.
The scene of it visibly expanding wasn’t one he could witness all too often.
Rudel turned only to suddenly raise his right hand in front of his face.
The morning sun.
“So it’s already morning.”
‘Sakuya is tired. I want to go to the hot spring.’
Rudel was of the same opinion.
“You’re right. I’m also worn out this time.”
After seeing the sun, Rudel turned to the island that continued to expand.
There, from within it, a large blue light in the shape of a human waved its hand. Below it, several hundred waved their hands at Sakuya.
Rudel rubbed his eyes, looking at the island again.
“… They’re gone. Was the magic eye’s effect still lingering?”
Just as he thought he’d seen a hallucination, Rudel pulled his sword and turned around.
Where he pointed it, a single woman watched the rising sun.
The blue-haired woman closing her eyes, she spread her arms out as if to bask in its light.
‘You have our thanks. Foreign knight.’
Seeing that smile, Rudel noticed it was the queen he had seen from the painting in the king’s study.
And sheathing away his sword,
“It’s dragoon. I’m a dragoon.”
‘Eh? You’re a knight, aren’t you?’
“Yes. But I’m more precisely a dragoon. I can’t budge on that one.”
The other party was successfully confused but as Rudel wouldn’t concede that point, she gave a cute clearing of her throat as she started from square one.
Rudel made a satisfied face.
‘You have our thanks, foreign dragoon.’
“I was in the neighborhood on a mission. Call it a whimsy. Also.”
“With this, I have proven the dragoons are the strongest. This is my victory, so in the end, that last draw has become the dragoons’ victory!”
Seeing Rudel’s delight, the blank stare of the transparent woman turned to a smile.
Her smiling face was reminiscent of Cleo.
‘What an interesting person. To think you’d defeat our guardian deity.’
“It looked more like a monster to me.”
As Rudel looked down at the island from Sakuya’s back, the woman leaned over to do the same.
Her feet weren’t there.
‘… It was twisted over the course of a history far too long. At first it was there to bring bounty to our country. Once it was used for war, its power was shown and it became a tool for battle.’
Rudel looked at the woman.
“You’re Cleo’s mother, aren’t you?”
There, the woman smiled and shook her head to the side.
‘I’m her aunt. That girl’s mother was my sister… I see, so Cleo is safe. That really is wonderful.’
Seeing the woman’s delighted smile, Rudel thought back to the unnatural painting in the king’s office. The person who was meant to occupy that space, surely it was Cleo’s real mother.
(… I guess every royal house has its complications.)
The woman stood and looked at Rudel.
‘Thank you, dragoon. With this, Celestia’s guardian deity has been freed, and we can return to the stream of souls.’
“I wholeheartedly accept your thanks. Of course, from the country’s point of view, I might end up the villain.”
‘We should have never held a power so far beyond our means. I can see it in hindsight. It was an unnatural, twisted country. But even so, it’s my sister and my homeland, so I think it’ll recover.’
To the woman gradually becoming fainter, Rudel spoke.
“Anything you want me to pass on to Cleo or the other royals?”
The woman shook her head.
‘Nothing personally… just tell them I’m watching over them.’
Her face turning serious, the woman looked right at Rudel and spoke.
‘… As I am now, I can understand. You’ll be coming over to our side in the near future.’
“… Is that so.”
With no further words from Rudel, the woman made a praying gesture.
‘But please don’t forget, you’re not alone…’
Turning a smile to Rudel at the end, as the light of the sun grew stronger, she disappeared as if dissolving away.
Sakuya let out her voice.
‘Rudel, who were you talking to?’
Rudel opened his mouth to explain it to her, closed it along the way, and smiled as he shook his head.
“No, it’s nothing. Now once we get back, it’s going to be busy.”
Directing Sakuya to return, Rudel turned just once to look at the island that continued to expand.