|Author: Kisasaki Suzume||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library|
The adventurer party Blue Flag was in a serious bind. There were four of them. They lost one of their invisibility magic items called Undershade Overcoat, only remaining with three now.
They also wasted their magic stones which served as their power sources, so most likely, only one of them could reach the foot of the mountain with the Undershade Overcoat.
They were currently in a demonic region full of magic beasts – an area about 70% up on Mount Kuguse.
In other words, they were in a completely hopeless situation.
“How’s the compass?”
“Still not working. It’s going all around.”
“This is why I said we shouldn’t take a magic compass!”
“It should’ve been fine even on Mount Kuguse in theory. Didn’t we all agree on that!”
The winter had passed, and the lingering snow disappeared with it too, and the mountain entered the season full of life.
The adventurers hid behind the bushes and checked their remaining luggage.
“Be quiet. We’ll die if the magic beasts find us now.”
“…And what if the dragon finds us?”
“We’ll die, brutally at that.”
The female magician, their party leader, dressed in a white witch getup consisting of a white mantle and white witch’s hat, Emeralda, analyzed the situation in an indifferent tone.
“Hey, let’s just bet everything on it and fire the signal flare, after all.”
The middle-aged thief with a beard, Bram, took the signal flare launching pipe from their luggage.
“If we do that, the dragon will definitely find us first.”
“B-B-But it might not notice, right?”
“If we’re doing it, it should be at night when the dragon might be sleeping. That thing shines so it could be seen from afar, better to launch at night too.”
“Will… Will we even survive until the night?”
“And even if someone does see it, who would even come to Mount Kuguse to save us?”
A dwarf fighter wearing rock-like armor, Gadon.
A slender man dressed in colorful, theatrical light armor (which was all dirty now), who was better with a sword than with songs for a bard, Lufus.
They were normally lacking tension, but now that they were pushed to the brink of death, even their tension had flared up.
—This is bad. Everyone’s overwhelmed by this situation. At this rate, the next time we encounter a monster will be our last.
Everyone in the party Blue Flag was fourth rank. In other words, they were experienced adventurers who could be entrusted with any normal job.
Rising in ranks that high obviously meant that they had walked the line between life and death a few times.
But their experience didn’t mean anything in the face of this monster-infested place. The shaken Blue Flag members had already lost without even fighting and only awaited their ultimate deaths.
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But fortunately, their luck hadn’t run out just yet.
“Aagh! Save me! I won’t taste good even if you eat me!”
Suddenly, they heard a questioning voice, and everyone became alert, their legs on the verge of giving in.
But what greeted them there was not a monster.
It was instead a girl of about ten years old who wore some kind of pelt.
“W-What is a girl doing here…”
Her flaming red hair reached down to her waist, looking like a mane of a beast.
Her body was white and slender, but gave no signs of weakness. The paleness of her skin was instead like the brilliance of the steel. She was walking barefoot and with exposed arms in a place like this, but oddly enough, there was not a single graze on her.
Her features were innocently lovely, but her clear, light brown eyes looked odd. Her pupils were slitted like a cat’s. Given the situation, she didn’t seem like a normal person, so Emeralda remained vigilant.
Above all, it was her strange presence.
Emeralda didn’t sense her until she came this close due to Mount Kuguse making it hard to detect presence, but…
This girl was giving off an aura so intense it could even disturb the flowing dragon aura.
Emeralda even felt nauseous from it, similar to carriage sickness.
The mysterious girl was also observing Emeralda’s group with surprise. But that only lasted for a moment, and it was replaced by a stern expression.
“It’s dangerous on this mountain. I don’t know what Kafal would do to you! Hurry up and head down!”
“…The red dragon that lives on this mountain. The queen of this place.”
The Blue Flag members looked at each other.
Mount Kuguse was where a dragon lived. Her words didn’t come as a surprise because they came here knowing that fact, but what about this girl?
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How did she even know the dragon’s name, in the first place? No one should have known that.
“Who are you?”
The strange girl took a small pause. Then she continued with a slightly embarrassed tone.
“Lucella. A foster child of the queen.”
“Wait… the dragon’s?”
The four were dumbfounded by the unbelievable truth.
The short answer of the girl calling herself Lucella only explained a fragment of the mysteries surrounding her.
“Kafal is out, hunting away from the mountain for the first time in a while now. But I don’t know what she will do when she comes back and finds the intruders. I don’t know what reasons led you here, but I suggest you turn back while you can.”
“…We’d like to do that, but we got lost.”
“Ahh… so that was the case after all, huh.”
Lucella shook her head at Gadon’s answer, then turned her back on the four and started to walk.
“Follow me. I’ll guide you halfway.”