Chapter 90: Dragon’s Nest

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Author: Kobayashi Homare Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3758 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1817 words
Editor(s): Deximus_Maximus

Dragon’s Nest had existed since before I retired, a place inhabited by dragons. There were different species of dragons in this world, like Green Dragons and Red Dragons, but in Dragon’s Nest all the different species lived together. Having an entire mountain range as their nesting place might seem excessive, but considering the actual size of the dragons, it was still a bit cramped.

The actual center of Dragon’s Nest was slightly to the west of the continent’s middle, and started inside Bordaule and spread through the other countries. It was very tall, but not very wide, so it did not interfere much with travel routes. That mountain range was also the place where I hid until Karin and Ciel pulled me away. Most dragons lived at a much higher altitude, so I almost never encountered them while I lived there.

“I’m beat..!”
“I can’t walk more, I don’t want to walk more!”

Karin and Diaria were completely out of breath, sitting down on the floor without strength. Ciel and Luvias were not in the mood to talk either, silently unloading their luggage.

“It’s less dusty than I expected.”

We had reached the small hut where I once lived, taking a break inside. I looked around and noticed almost nothing had changed since I left. It had been empty for a long time now, so I was expecting it to be overrun by wild animals or monsters, but it did not seem like anything had entered it. Maybe I had lived there for so long that my presence still lingered in the place, keeping them away. There was a light cover of dust everywhere, but that could be easily cleaned with a broom. It really was a good spot for a momentary rest.

To put it in simple terms, our journey here had been a struggle already. Once we had taken care of the mess in Strom, we returned home and quickly prepared everything for our training trip. I went to the guild to submit a request for a long break, and left enough money for Maria and Sepia to take care of the house, and then we left, walking towards Dragon’s Nest. And we went on foot, not using Flight Magic once. It was no mere walk either, but instead we trotted as quickly as we could until we were tired. We were wearing armor and carrying our luggage too, so everyone except me got tired really quickly. But tempering our legs would not allow for shortcuts, I did not care how many breaks we would need, I would not let them use Flight Magic this time. They had gotten too used to flying anywhere recently, neglecting much training, so I had to set them straight.

And this was the result. Even taking their used traveling clothes was too much effort, so the moment they unloaded their weapons and luggage they dropped to the floor.

“”…””

For a while there was silence, and when I decided to talk to them, Ciel and Diaria were snoring already. Karin and Luvias were still awake, but I could see they were about to doze off too, and they would join the other two soon enough.

“Good grief…”

If I left them like that, they would quickly lose body heat and catch a cold. The weather might be nice during the day, but at night it could get really chilly around here, so I had to light a fire at least. I lightly massaged my shoulder as I went out of the hut and checked the place where I usually left my firewood.

“Nice, I can still use these.”

Everything had been left exposed to the elements, so a large portion had rotted from rain and wind, which created the perfect habitat for worms, but there were some logs that had remained untouched. I was also tired, though not as much as the rest of the group, so if possible I wanted to avoid having to cut down trees, so seeing these logs made me feel relieved. I carried some pieces back to the hut, threw them inside the fireplace and lit them with magic. At first there were some crackling noises as plumes of smoke came out of the fireplace, but they slowly subdued while the hut got warmer.

While I waited for the fire to settle, I took out some of the meat we got hunting on our way here, as well as some seasoning. Making some skewers with salted meat, I left them to cook on the fire, the scent of which seemed to lure the four sleeping girls.

“Mm…I smell something nice.”
“…I think I passed out without noticing.”
“I’m sorry Master, we left you to take care of everything alone.”
“That smells so good…I didn’t realize I was this hungry.”

We had come here to train, so I wanted to avoid using magic for simple things as much as possible, since getting our bodies to move would strengthen us. But we all were tired, and going out to find drinking water was too much of a hassle, so I made an exception. I rinsed the old pot I used before, and filled it with magic water, leaving it to boil with tea leaves in it. Everyone kept watch over the pot, waiting for it to finally boil, and then I poured each of them a cup of tea. We had walked a long distance already, so they were all looking forward to eating. That meant they had spent a lot of energy already, which was a good sign their bodies were exercising.

“I’d like to talk about our plans tomorrow, you can eat while you listen.”

They all were busy chewing on their meat skewers, but their eyes focused on me when I spoke. After a short pause, I cleared my throat and continued.

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“Tomorrow morning we’ll leave this hut and head further into the mountains. As we go deeper, the terrain will get more dangerous, and the flora and fauna, as well as monsters, will get gradually stronger.”
“Umm, Lapis?”
“Hm? What is it?”

Karin raised her hand and interrupted me. She cocked her head, struggling to understand something already.

“You just mentioned flora, fauna and monsters. I get that animals and monsters can be dangerous, but flora refers to plants, right?”
“Ahh, that. It’s exactly what I meant. From here on out, there are plants that might attack us too. You know of carnivorous plants, right? There’s really big ones around here. Some could easily swallow an entire human.”
“…”

Karin was left speechless, while the other three girls also stared open-mouthed. I could not blame them for reacting that way, it was really strange for a regular person to ever encounter a plant like that.

“…Anyway, we’ll force our way through anything that we encounter, and our goal will be the tallest peak in Dragon’s Nest, which is literally a nesting ground for dragons. It’s said there’s a powerful dragon there who rules over the rest, called the Dragon King. I’ll fight against the king, while you all fight against his subordinates and get stronger.”

They reacted as if a chilly breeze had just blown through the room. Their hands that had been busy tearing off pieces of meat froze in mid-air, and it felt like they even forgot to breathe as they looked at me in horror. Only the crackling sound of the fireplace broke the silence.

“Wait, wait wait!”
“Ah, you’re moving again.”

Diaria was the first one to recover. She stood up and cornered me, spit flying from her mouth as she began shaking my shoulders.

“Are you mad?! The Dragon King? You mean the Dragon King?! Which is said to be more powerful than legends can tell?! That it’s only second in power next to a god, and neither hero nor Demon King can beat, right?! That thing is here?! And you want to fight it?!”
“C-calm down…”
“I can’t calm down after what you said!”

In simpler terms, the Dragon King was simply the strongest dragon. It was said to be almost immortal, though maybe they died off and a next one took their place without anyone noticing, but as far as I knew, there was only one of that kind. He and all of his subordinates were incredibly strong, and even before I retired it was risky for me to fight them. And while they are so powerful, they have very little interest in earthly things. Usually only young dragons are active and wild, but as they get older it is not uncommon for a dragon to spend decades lying down without doing anything. They did not seem bothered by the conflicts of men and demons.

But regardless of that…

“Hyah!”
“Huh?!”

Diaria showed no signs of calming down, so I went around and restrained her with my arm around her neck. That seemed to finally make her calm down, as she gave up and began tapping my arm to release her.

“Did you calm down?”
“I guess…or more like you forced me to calm down… I couldn’t breathe, you know.”

She glared at me intently, but I ignored that.

“Well, they are strong, yes. But that means that if we survive for one month inside of Dragon’s Nest, then we’ll certainly get far stronger than we are now.”
“But umm… Master, wouldn’t that be excessively dangerous?”
“It will be dangerous, if we aren’t careful we could die, too. But if we try fighting against more demons without getting stronger, we’ll die too. I’m sure all of you have realized that by now.”

Luvias was taken aback, but I just smiled and straightened my back.

“Everyone, it’s time to make up your mind! This is your chance to get stronger! You already call yourselves a hero’s party, a group that bravely charges into danger! And I’m here to support you in any way I can!”
“Mm…yeah, that’s true. It’s kinda scary, but you’re right.”
“This isn’t the first time you do something crazy like this. I guess we’ll just have to go along with it.”

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Karin nodded, and Ciel followed with a shrug. I looked at the remaining two, and they seemed to have decided as well.

“I will honor my title as hero, Master. I can’t run from this after everything you’ve said! I’ll go with you!”
“Ugh, I hate thisss. It sounds scary and I hate it…but I also hate staying back alone. I have no option but to go too.”

I grimaced a little, somehow I had expected they would reply like that. But at least it was decided now, we only had to wait the night and we would head towards Dragon’s Nest, and fight our way through until we were there. I was already looking forward to seeing how much they would improve.



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