Chapter 4: The Strongest Onmyouji Scolds
“Subdue……? That dragon?”
The prince nodded at my dumbfounded question.
“That’s the only way to resolve this situation.”
The Astilian side had prepared a plan.
“You think …… such a thing is possible?”
“I’m certain you saw it, Seika-dono. The summoned beast of Zekto kicked out the dragon. The dragon is afraid of that monster.”
I thought about it.
The Lava Tiger is larger than a human, but still much smaller than the Greater Dragon.
But the dragon certainly seemed to be intimidated by the lava beast.
The honey badger, which lives in the south of Tenjiku (ancient India) and Africa, and the wolverine, which is said to live in the far northern reaches of the Ezo Emishi lands, are said to be small in size but go at lions and brown bears with their ferocity.
Perhaps the Lava Tiger is a similar relation to that for dragons. Certainly, looking at that armor, it doesn’t look like even a breath of fire would work.
It just can’t be defeated.
Unlike lions and brown bears, dragons have the ability to fly.
I glance at Zekto and his cronies.
There were less than ten in all, and other than Zekto, there were only those who carried swords, with no magicians in sight. There may be others, but I don’t think they’d be able to handle it even if they were all present.
I tell the prince.
“I think you should reconsider, Your Highness.
“I don’t think we can defeat the dragon with that monster. The difference in physique and the fact that it can hold the sky is significant. If it comes at you without fear of being wounded, it will tear you to pieces. No …… if it loses, it’s still good. The worst that can happen is that it will abandon its nest and flee the region. That could be the situation the empire fears the most.”
“Oh, you are a scholarly man who can talk as he pleases!”
Zekto is closing in on me.
The face peeking out from under the hood had morbidly white skin.
“We’ve already slain dragons many times! Even the strongest monsters can be defeated if you’re prepared. I hope you, scholarly boy, will not interfere with something that is not your area of expertise!”
“….Don’t be rude.”
I smiled and said.
“It’s certainly not my area of expertise. I guess there’s a manner of monster extermination. But…. you too, If you’re an expert, I’d like you to avoid being too careless. It was a close call earlier. Good thing I managed to stop it.”
“Ha, that earth magic was you? I would have been able to hold it off without it.”
“Hold it off….? I don’t think so.”
I tell him sarcastically.
“I’m telling you not to take out your precious summon so lightly in front of me—- I almost obliterated it into charcoal.”
“Wouldn’t you have been in trouble if I had?”
Zekto pulls his face.
“Oh, you were going to turn my Lava Tiger into charcoal….? You’re talking out of your ass….”
“Stop it! That’s enough!”
The prince broke in between us.
“Zekto! I told you not to be rude! Enough of this. You can go back!”
“Tch… I understand, Your Highness. This is not what we do.”
The prince, who had been watching Zekto and his cronies leave for the city, turned back to me.
“You too, Seika-dono. Don’t provoke such a ruffian.”
“I beg your pardon. My attendant was in danger.”
Having said that, the prince fell silent.
I let out a small sigh and said the one thing I wanted to ask.
“Let me return to the subject, Your Highness. Do you have the confidence of Her Majesty the Queen and the people in your plan to subdue the dragon?”
“Oh… that is…”
“The dragon in the old royal city is like a symbol of Astilia. Does Her Majesty and the people consent to subdue a neighbor they have lived with for so long?”
“…… it doesn’t matter.”
The prince says to himself.
“I’m the head of Proto Asta. This matter is entirely up to me.”
“Is it Her Majesty’s will?”
“The chief’s authority is defined by law. The law supersedes the will of the king.”
The rule of law.
That’s all very well, but now we see its shortcomings.
“I know Mother and the people will understand.”
“Seika-dono. This is a matter between Proto Asta and my country. It’s not your responsibility. I ask you not to interfere.”
“You are right…. I’ve gone too far.”
“The dragon issue will be resolved. You’ll see to it that it’s resolved and you will report back to the kingdom.”
“……Yes, that’s right.”
I’m very uneasy.
It seems to me that this prince is floating around and acting arbitrarily. I’m certain that’s the case.
The mercenaries are also very suspicious.
But I am not in the mood to say anything more right now.
It can’t be helped.
For now, let’s do one more thing.
I looked back at Ifa, who was coming back to me.
She appeared to be unharmed.
I was glad to see that, but…….
“Eh… ah, Seika-kun, thanks for earlier……”
“Why didn’t you use magic?”
She was so surprised to hear my stern voice that she was stuttering as if she was amazed.
“Why did you hesitate? You could have died.”
“Uh, I was …… surprised……”
“If you’re startled, do you die? Or do you decide to have someone help you?”
“Se -Seika-dono! It’s not like that……”
The prince interrupted me in surprise, but I ignored him and continued.
“What will you do when I’m not around and you’re in danger?”
“I told you I was investigating dragons. Besides, you’re traveling out of the country to begin with. I thought you were smart enough to know the risks. Was it wrong of me to bring you along just because you’re good enough at magic?”
“Seika-dono! You don’t have to blame her like that! Don’t worry about it, Ifa. You are a woman…..”
“What does her being a woman have to do with anything?”
I glared at him sideways.
“Your Highness, this is between me and Ifa. It has nothing to do with your responsibilities. Isn’t that right?”
“Uh, but ……”
“I’m not asking you to protect yourself from now on, but at least use magic. No, it doesn’t have to be magic. You can run away or ask someone for help. Just act on your own, that’s all you need to do. I’ll help you until you can manage on your own. Understand?”
I patted Ifa’s head when she was down.
“…… You’re being a little too harsh, Seika-dono. Ifa is a woman. Why should she learn to fight?”
“She’s a woman but, she has power. What good is it if she can’t wield it when she should?”
“It seems the front of the castle gate is open. It’s time to go back to the wagon. Come on, Ifa.”
I walked to the carriage, taking the tearful Ifa’s hand.
I feel a little sorry for her, but it can’t be helped.
Cowering in fear happens to everyone.
In such a situation, a person cannot move unless he or she is strongly patted on the back.
In my case, it was the only sibling I was close with who was eaten in front of me.
I’ve never forgotten that time.
I still use that ghostly creature, which I sealed in a phase with my mind, as a pawn.
I didn’t want her to feel that way.