“I thought I was going to die.”
“My bad, my bad. I was only going about half the speed I normally would on my strolls, though.”
“If that was just half of it, my body will explode and disintegrate if you get serious.”
I knew this would happen. I saw it coming.
I was limp, my semicircular canals damaged, while Gard carried me on his back and laboriously walked through the rocky terrain.
Gard’s flight took us to the middle of Axio Valley within five minutes. It was just behind the demon lord’s castle, yet I couldn’t reach the center of this vast valley at that speed. The near-death experience I had earlier was worth it.
However, a gigantic dragon couldn’t make it through the steep, complex rocky paths in the valley, so we had to land in a slightly more open area and explore on foot.
I got nauseated on my accord even though he took me here at my own request, yet Gard was walking slowly so as not to shake me around, as if he felt guilty.
It was hard to tell from his sturdy appearance and his personality of doing things at his own pace, but Gard seemed to regret his wild and reckless behavior. He was a delicate dragon.
I gently reached forward my arms that had been resting on his shoulders and leaned my chest against his back.
“We got here so fast, thanks to you. It would’ve been much harder if I were on my own. Thank you.”
“Ngh… Well, if the Demon Lord doesn’t forgive you despite obtaining a present and apologizing to him, I can take you with me instead.”
I was grateful for his words.
Surely, I would be killed someday if I went back to the nation. I also didn’t have any friends to rely on, so I would be naturally weeded out.
Gard began to hum, and I loosened my mouth in delight at his thoughtfulness while on his back. I had also sobered up quite a bit.
Having recovered, I asked Gard to put me down from his back and started to search around the rocky areas, moving my eyes around restlessly.
He looked very disappointed and didn’t want to put me down, but he reluctantly let me go.
Why? I’m heavy, aren’t I? Is this the usual case where I couldn’t understand what’s going on with his head?
“The flowers Maruo told me about seem to be found often in the shadows of rocks on cliff sides.”
“Based on what you’ve said, they’re probably Aryma. They are short, white flowers with eight petals.”
Based on the information given to me, I carefully scanned the cliffs above, around, and below my feet as I walked with my hands on the walls.
I couldn’t find anything that looked like it, but peering into the dark, obscuring depths of the cliffs was enough to make one pass out if they were afraid of heights.
I couldn’t use magic either, so the end credits would roll straight through if I fall.
We searched for rocky cliffs, looking as closely as possible on all the paths we walked in this way.
However, we couldn’t find it even when the sun was pointing directly above us… Even now that it had begun to set, the Aryma was nowhere to be seen.
It felt like half a day had already passed, but it probably hadn’t been that long yet.
Incidentally, Gard was starting to get bored and had been grinning and chasing grasshoppers as they bounced around. Just earlier, he was watching a swarm of ants. Is he an elementary school student?
I had been silently searching around suspicious spots for a while now when I stopped and put my hand on my stomach. My stomach was growling.
Come to think of it, I skipped breakfast. It was now well past noon, so I couldn’t help feeling hungry.
Gard heard my empty stomach, left the fleeing grasshoppers, and came hopping over to me.
“You hungry? Same here.”
“You too, huh.”
He had only come to complain of his hunger. Oh, god. There were only the two of us in this wild valley, hungry and without food. Seeing the whole picture made me feel even more starved.
“Aight, let’s go hunting. I’ve got three plans, which one do you prefer?”
“What do we have?”
“Plan A: I saw a bunch of buffadons1buffalo + ドン (don = meaning dull or sluggish) earlier, so I can take one of the sluggish ones down. Plan B: I will make the gryffor that was trying to get that buffadon into a grilled chicken. Plan C: I will eat Shal.”
“Anything but Plan C.”
Don’t look so disappointed.
That’s right. Just like how vampires like blood, dragons like meat.
I had heard that demons with excellent recovery abilities could grow their arms back if they were accidentally blown off, but this wasn’t the case with humans. It would be intolerable if I were to be eaten like a bento.
Mm, then the choice of plan was important. I didn’t think I would be useful in combat at the moment, though.
After all, my magic was sealed, and I had no sword. I would be able to fight with my bare hands somehow if it were a weak demon in the human realm, but… I couldn’t hunt outrageous monsters in the demon realm…
“There’s probably a cave a bit further ahead in a more open area. I’ll set up some firewood near there, so I’d like you to hunt whichever you prefer.”
Gard smiled at my response that I had thought of for a while. He transformed into a gigantic dragon in that short moment, making the end of his words muddled.
The distance from the ground to the top of his head alone was probably around thirty meters. Perhaps he found it difficult to move after transforming in such a narrow passage that he immediately spread his enormous wings.
He stepped firmly on the ground and flew with gentleness and lightness that didn’t suit his huge body. The ground shook, and a strong wind blew for a moment. The next thing I knew, Gard had already flown high into the sky.
He flew splendidly, as always—the ruler of the skies, a first-class silver champion, unparalleled among dragons.
“Don’t make any detours and return quickly, okay!”
Did he get it or not?
A roar came back in reply, and the startled monstrous birds from the nearby mountain recess flew away.
I know how they felt. After all, he looked like the boss of some dungeon even at a glance.