The Dragon-slaying sword
With my beloved sword in my right hand, I dashed out of my house and ran down the one path that led to the field of flowers.
I kept on running forward as I powerfully kicked off the ground. I continued to advance as the scenery around me changed along with the faces of villagers who were taken aback when they saw me.
My body felt a bit unnatural although I could move even faster than this back in my adventurer days. Was it because of this being my first time running with full power since I moved into this village? Right now, my feet felt heavier than usual, as if there was lead attached to them.
I did run around the mountains when I was hunting, but that would only count as a warm up compared to the special training that I did when I was an adventurer. My body had become quite dull.
Since time is of the essence right now, this dullness was very frustrating.
I continued to run while I felt irritated from my feet not moving the way I wanted them to. Eventually, I arrived at the path that was surrounded by trees. The surrounding scenery has now become somewhat of a dense forest.
At this time, my body had gotten looser and my legs had become a little lighter. As I regained those feelings of the past, I dashed through the path surrounded by trees in one go.
Then, I reached the vast field of flowers where colorful flowers bloomed.
It had the same usual beautiful scenery that would capture my gaze and heart, but I kept on running this time without batting an eye.
I did not have time to be careful to not trample the flowers that I like as I ran. After every step I smelled a sweet scent as the colorful flower petals flew up.
Thanks to me not caring where I was plunging my feet into, I’ve got leaves and ivy tangled around them. However, I pulled my feet out by force and tore the ivy off as I kept on going.
I couldn’t help but frown when I heard the clicking sounds of flowers being broken as I moved.
Despite feeling the guilt from trampling the flowers, Flora’s life was not something that can be replaced.
Gah, at least I was not running over the flowers mindlessly without a care. I engraved the glittering colors that appeared in the corner of my eyes into my mind.
The way the petals danced around me was very beautiful.
I don’t want to fight the monster if possible. I came here because I wanted to leave the bloody smell from killing monsters behind. But no matter where you live, there are threats of monsters in this world and there is no escape from the fight.
The old me wanted to live, wanted to eat good food, and wanted to get stronger to not live a miserable life. I fought my battles following those basic human instincts and desires.
And so, after I got the power and the fame I wanted, I lost my reason for fighting.
My motivation and purpose were taken from me when I was convinced that it was no longer possible to fight a monster that was stronger than what I’ve already fought.
I left the battlefield for that reason and came to live in Nordende, but now I’ve taken up the sword again with the same kind of firm resolve that I had in the past.
Was it because I wanted wealth like before? Or good food to eat? Or was it strength?
—No. This warm feeling that I’m feeling in my heart right now is something completely different from all of that.
It was because I wanted to protect these places and friends who are irreplaceable— No, that isn’t it. It’s because I wanted to protect Flora, the girl I like.
With that thought in my mind, it became clear to me what the fuzzy feeling in my heart was as I placed my hand on my chest.
She had stolen my heart the moment we met under that tree.
Her words, her gentle smile, her kind soul, and her cooking. From the time I met her, my empty heart was filled with vibrant colors.
It’s okay if I don’t understand these feelings. I just want to protect her smile that wrapped me in her warmth.
Just the thought of that alone gave me plenty of motivation to fight monsters with.
I’m in a situation where my body has dulled, with no friends near me to depend on. However, I feel like I could even take down a dragon by myself right now.
Yup, if she were by my side…
Eventually, I passed the tree where I first met Flora and I kept on running north.
After I passed the tree, the field of flowers came to a stop and the surroundings became a forest full of lush greenery.
I stopped for a moment in front of the forest that I’ve never entered before, but if I run into any dangerous monsters in there, I’d just have to cut them down.
And so, I stepped into the forest without hesitation. Then, I advanced in the direction where Flora should be at as I paid attention to my surroundings. Any small changes to the trees, any grass that was stepped on, and the possible trails on the ground; I will not let any of those signs go unnoticed.
However, it seemed that Flora had taken a different path since I could not find any traces of her trail.
I was frustrated, but I kept on reminding myself to remain calm.
If I was not able to rely on the information I can see just like when I’m hunting, I will pay attention to the flow of the air and sounds.
I stopped moving and listened carefully to what was around me.
I listened for any faint sounds in the air. I did not let even the vibrations in the air escape my ears as I focused my nerves. Soon, my head was cleared of any noises, as even the sounds of my own heartbeat felt far away from me.
I could hear… the sound of leaves moving on trees from the gentle wind and the sound of birds.
Then, I felt a strong air vibration coming from the far west.
I immediately acted on my instinct and ran towards that direction as I weaved my way through the cluttered trees.
Before long, the sound of an earth-shaking roar shook the air…
At the same time, I heard a faint scream right when I was convinced that roar just now was from the red bear.
The scream just now was from Flora! I yelled out her name as I ran to the direction her scream came from.
When I jumped over the branches and bushes that were blocking my vision, I saw Flora there, holding a flower that was glowing pink by her chest.
Behind her was a red bear with burning, red fur that was walking towards her on all fours.
I started to run at her right as I saw her trip and fall just a few steps away while she held on to the flower by her chest.
The red bear raised its body and roared excitedly as it saw its prey showing signs of weakness.
Flora screamed in terror with her back against the floor as the red bear slowly closed in on her with its sharp claws coming out of its paws.
Then, as it swung its huge claw down at Flora, I slipped my body in between her and the red bear.
The red bear growled in astonishment and took a step back when its claws clashed with my mithril sword.
「Flora, are you alright? 」
「EEh…? Aldo-san? 」
When I called out to Flora, who I saw cowering on the ground with a glance, she opened her eyes fearfully and muttered my name while stunned.
Thank goodness. She seems to have some cuts on her, but it doesn’t seem like there are any serious injuries.
I felt relieved from the bottom of my heart as I was able to confirm that nothing serious happened to her after observing her from above.
She looked right back up at me with watery eyes. Then, my memories from nine years ago resurfaced.
It was the same scene of me saving a little girl who had golden colored hair and jade colored eyes from a red bear.
—Thanks for saving me!
The girl loved flowers, and she proudly taught me about them in the field when I had no interest in them.
–The colors of the flowers here change depending on the seasons! Isn’t that amazing?!
The image of the little girl’s face from nine years ago overlapped with Flora’s.
…No way… the girl from nine years ago was… her?
「Look out! 」
Flora’s sharp voice brought me back to reality as my sword shook.
Sparks scattered as the red bear’s black claws clashed with my sword.
「Run, Flora! 」
「You should know from nine years ago that I won’t lose to a red bear 」
After I said that to Flora, who was hesitating to run, she wiped the tears around her eyes and moved back some distance.
When I confirmed that she was far away, I skillfully parried the red bear’s claws and dodged its attack.
The bear snorted before it closed in on me again. I dashed back a few steps to dodge its fangs.
And then, I swung my sword down at last.
The red bear roared as if it was frustrated from having to deal with an intruder that barged in right before it was about to claim its prey.
Whether it was nine years ago or right now, Flora and I still have something like a deep tie to red bears.
I laughed at this strange tie we have with the monster as I taunted it with my sword.
Before long, the red bear roared in anger and charged right at me.
Since red bears are extremely ferocious territorial monsters, it is very easy to get them to charge at you by provoking them.
Without a moment of delay, I sidestepped to dodge his charge as my blade shook its stout arms. I attacked its left and right sides with my sword while dodging its attacks with minimal movements as it continued to chase me.
Each time I dodged, parried, or counter attacked, more of my battle senses came back to me.
My movements became smoother as my opponent’s movements became easier to read.
I would be trying to extend this battle for as long as I could if it was the old me who got drunk on battles, but now, I’m different. I’m not an adventurer anymore and Flora was worrying about me as she watched.
I don’t want to make her worry about me any more than this.
「… It’s about time I put an end to this」
My mana flowed through from the sword’s handle that I was holding. Before long, the blade was enveloped by a faint blue glow as it started to emit light.
The red bear was surprised for a second by the sudden light that was emitting from magic on the blade, but it decided to not care and kept on attacking with its big paws. It probably thought that it could defeat whatever it is by overwhelming me with brute force.
I slashed at the red bear with my glowing blade at the same time it came at me with a vigorous attack from its brutal claw.
Sparks flew out again as my blade clashed with its claws– But no, this time, the red bear’s claw was slashed off.
The red bear let out a roar as if it was embarrassed that its claw had been cut off since it was not able to withstand the clash with my sword like the previous time.
I did not let this opening escape and dealt a blow to its defenseless stomach. Its muscles that were as hard as tree trunks were easily cut through, and the red bear fell to the ground as its body split into two.
When I saw the unmoving corpse of the red bear, I stopped feeding mana to my sword.
The glowing light from the blade gradually disappeared before long.
That is the true power of my sword that could cut through a dragon’s hard scales.
This sword was crafted with mithril of high purity and its sharpness multiplies if you feed mana into it. Even though I don’t really have that much mana, I could still make this sword considerably sharp.
It’s possible to stretch the length of the blade as well if you have enough mana to soak the sword with. It would be possible to extend the blade to about thirty meters in length.
No matter how skilled you are or what tactics you use, you cannot beat an opponent when your blade cannot reach. This sword was made to defeat opponents like that.
Of course, a sword like this is expensive. It is estimated to be worth as much as a country. To be honest, I wanted to return this to the country. But since I killed the dragon that was a big threat to them, I decided to keep this as a reward.
Instead, I have donated lots of money to them through Kiel, so I hope that they’ll forgive me.
「Aldo-san! Are you alright?! 」
When I sheathed my bloody sword back into its scabbard, Flora ran up and hugged me.
「I’m okay. What about you, Flora? Are you hurt? 」
「No. I have some cuts on me but I’m okay… Once again… you’ve come to save me」
When I hugged her and asked her how she was doing in return, Flora replied to me as she shyly smiled.
While my heart was beating fast from seeing her smile and feeling her warmth from her being so close to me, I opened my mouth,
「…Shall we go home? 」