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Volume 4: Chapter 268 – The Unexplored Lands of the West (1/3)
The all-healing light covered the body of the red ryuu in its warmth, sealing its wounds.
Meanwhile, Reshia looked divine as she bathed in that light with her eyes closed and her hand held over the ryuu’s wounds.
The Goblin King hesitated for a while, but in the end, he chose to watch over her quietly. He took back the arms he’d extended from the sword pierced into the ground, then he folded them and watched over Reshia and the red ryuu as Reshia healed him.
Before long the light and the wound on the ryuu faded, and Reshia smiled.
“…Are we continuing?” The Goblin King asked.
As one might expect, those words startled the two goblins behind him. Not only did he allow his opponent to heal, the opponent in question was a red ryuu. This much gap in knowledge and power was not something that ought to be challenged.
And once again, the red ryuu groaned in displeasure as he brought his head down to look at the Goblin King up close.
“…Do not mock me, Demon Child. Do you intend to make this Douhet the Flame Ryuu a shameless ryuu?”
Already, the breath exhaled was without heat.
“State your business, Demon Child. Consider yourself spared thanks to the adherent.”
“My business is with one of the servants of the Goddess of the Underworld, the Wingless Sky Snake, Gawain.”
The moment the Goblin King said that, heat returned to the breath of the ryuu.
“…You have business with my master!? Choose your words carefully, Demon Child. Depending on your words, I might have to kill you even at the cost of my pride!”
“Calm down! I just want to talk!”
The ryuu bellowed out and so did the king, then the ryuu eyed the king carefully.
The Goblin King had said something so outrageous, and yet he returned his gaze so calmly, while the two goblins behind backed off and gulped.
“…Very well,” The red ryuu said. “I will allow you an audience with the king. You have the qualifications. It’s a pity, though.”
Douhet tilted his head, then urged the king with his gaze.
“Get on. I will bring you to my master.”
The Goblin King nodded, then turned to Gi Go.
“Have the people waiting make camp and continue to wait. If I am unable to come back, you should know what that means.”
“…Your Majesty, forgive me for this insolence, but if you can’t come back, I will fight the ryuu.”
Gi Go Amatsuki knelt on the ground and held his curved sword with his right hand as he bowed his head.
“You intend to disobey me?” The Goblin King asked.
“We can’t go back anyhow if we can’t protect you, Your Majesty,” Gi Go said.
The Goblin King wryly smiled.
“Okay, my bad, I’ll be sure to come back, so you be sure to stay safe while waiting for me. Understand?”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” Gi Go said before turning heel and glancing at Gi Za.
Gi Za nodded in response, then he got on the back of the Ryuu along with the Goblin King, but then…
“Why are you also getting on, Reshia Fel Zeal?” the Goblin King asked upon seeing the girl climbing the ryuu matter-of-factly.
“Is it not fine, Your Majesty? After all, who do you think you owe it to for getting Douhet-san to be so cooperative?”
The Goblin King was speechless, and Reshia snorted proudly.
“I can kick her off if you wish, Your Majesty,” Gi Za muttered impolitely, but the Goblin King frowned.
“Stop it. I don’t want my precious subordinates to die for no reason. Besides, Reshia is right,” the Goblin King said somewhat in jest.
“If you say so, Your Majesty,” Gi Za said as he too frowned.
Apparently, the adherent of the Goddess of Healing was much better suited at negotiations than the king. That much was apparent from the attitude of the red ryuu. The power of the human gods that ruled over the world was simply that powerful. Said power might belong to the enemy, but if it could be used to their benefit, then why not? The Goblin King reasoned.
But there was no denying that he was also worried over her safety.
In the worst case scenario that Gawain should try to kill her, he needed to have Gi Za escape with her; so he gave Gi Za those orders ahead of time.
“…I don’t understand, Your Majesty.”
“Gawain won’t kill me so long as the protection of the Goddess of the Underworld is within me, but… That’s not the case for Reshia. I’m sure you can understand if I tell you that much, right?”
“…I can, though I can’t say I agree, but if that girl’s safety were to be ensured…”
“We’re just preparing for the worst case situation.”
“Good if so…”
“What are you talking about!?”
Reshia called out to the two goblins quietly talking among themselves. Apparently, she wasn’t happy to be left out of their conversation, so she protested while puffing up her cheeks.
“We were just discussing what to talk about with Gawain!”
The Goblin King said in an intentionally louder voice, but Reshia just glared at him reproachfully as she said.
“They say liars have two particular traits, one, they make their voice louder, and two, their eyes tend to dart around… Can you meet my eyes, Your Majesty?”
“—Of course,” the Goblin King said.
“—Mess around if you wish, but I’m flying now,” Douhet said.
Once everyone had gotten on, the red ryuu flew into the sky, but really, it was more like a crawl, as though the earth extended into the sky.
When the ryuu slithered up, a sensation akin to that of floating assaulted the innards of the Goblin King, and he found himself inadvertently letting out an anguished groan.
“…I understand this is an important experience, but I must say, this is quite the frightful one,” Reshia said.
“…Indeed,” the Goblin King said.
“Really? Well, I suppose it is, but more importantly, I’m surprised that the ryuu can fly so smoothly.”
Contrast Reshia and the Goblin King, who gulped when they looked below them, Gi Za just tilted his head. Rather than their current altitude, the goblin wizard was much more interested in the composition formula of the spell that allowed the ryuu to soar the skies.
In fact, Gi Za himself could also fly, albeit temporarily, but it was really more the principle that Gi Za was interested in rather than the flight itself.
As they quickly left the ground, the shape of the continent gradually became apparent. The volcano from which smoke billowed, then the dense forest that expanded to the south, and then the volcanic region of the northern mountains. As they flew up even above the black smoke, even their kingdom came to view.
And when the route they had traversed for over 30 days could be covered with a single glance, Reshia, and even Gi Za, gulped.
“So this is the perspective of those that soar the skies,” the Goblin King said.
The goblin king narrowed his eyes as he beheld that view that he could never see with his goblin body alone. Meanwhile, Douhet slithered through the sky while eyeing the peak of the giant mountain to the northwest.
“This is a height land walkers such as yourselves will otherwise never see. Be proud. It is likely you are the first among your kind to be able to look down on the earth like this.”
Douhet laughed, but the corners of the Goblin King’s mouth twisted.
“We walk on the land, while you soar the skies, but that’s all. Merely, a difference in our way of life.”
“…And yet if we will it, we could scorch the ground.”
“It would do you no good to look down on land dwellers. The power of numbers is much more formidable than it might appear. Scorch the land, and it might just bring about your end.”
As the king and the ryuu spoke, their destination came to view, the peak of a mountain that stood above the rest with clouds of lightning swirling around.
And there it was, lying on the frozen ground, upon which no plant nor tree grew.
With the black, lustrous scales of a ryuu and a length spanning over 200 meters, even the giant Douhet appeared small. With its waist was as thick as four several-thousand-year-old trees bundled together, it painted a terrifying visage fitting of a servant god to the Goddess of the Underworld.
The horns upon it that stood as though to rebel against the heavens were milky white, but there was a strange luster to them.
When the fire ryuu, Douhet, appeared before Gawain, he curled himself and prostrated himself before the ryuu, then Gawain’s eyes opened, revealing a pair of jet-black orbs seemingly born from the condensation of thunder clouds.
They eyed him carefully.
And then Gawain spoke.
“…Douhet,” he said.