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Chapter 262 – Unexpected Reunion (3)

    Chapter 262 - Unexpected Reunion (3)

    Theodore looked calmly at the situation before crying out once again, "...This is a ridiculously serious situation!"

    The Magic Kingdom, Meltor, was proud of its tower masters, and amongst them, Tower Master Veronica was the strongest and most famous. She was a monster who could be compared with the 1st and 2nd Swords of the empire.

    Veronica didn't have the physical weakness of a magician since she had inherited the blood of a red dragon. A preemptive attack from the strongest person in Meltor was nothing short of declaring a war on the whole empire.

    It wouldn't be strange if a war had started immediately on the spot!

    Furthermore, the Andras Empire had also sent their strongest person, the 1st Sword.

    If the strongest representatives of Meltor and Andras were to fight, there would be no delaying the war any longer. Either Veronica or the 1st Sword would die, collapsing the balance of power and causing the nations to move.

    "Well, don't get too excited and listen until the end." However, Aquilo still had a relaxed expression and started to elaborate on the circumstances of that time. "It was a fairly good surprise, but neither one of them died. Apart from the 1st Sword, there was also that crown prince? He used his strange ability. It is either Distortion, Interference, or Refraction."

    "Aura Ability....!"

    "Anyway. Regardless of whether he knew that Red would react to that provocation, the prince hastily stepped forward. Then―"

    *     *     *

    Kwaang!

    Prince Fermut was hit in the face, giving him a nosebleed and blowing him away. If he hadn't defended with a high-density layer of aura, he would've been killed by the shock. The space distorted from mere physical force!

    Perhaps he should be proud of surviving Veronica's blow. However, Fermut didn't agree with this opinion.

    "You damn bit...! How dare you touch this body?! You human and dragon mongrel!"

    Aside from his father, who was the emperor, everyone had to act respectfully in front of Fermut. It wasn't just because of Fermut's high rank. He was the next emperor who had the power to become the empire's 3rd Sword. Only the 1st and 2nd Swords were above him.

    When did such a valuable body last shed blood? Fermut's eyes filled with killing intent as he looked at his nose that was crooked from the hit.

    "―You were lucky." Veronica didn't pay attention to him at all, as she shook the blood off her fist. "I unconsciously moved my fist. You should've flown off nicely if I hit you properly. I'm sorry."

    It was true. Fermut's mouth had been moving, and before Veronica realized it, she was already punching him. It was like hitting a fly that was right in front of her.

    So, of course, Fermut and the 1st Sword hadn't been able to respond in time. She hadn't had a purpose, and her punch had been the embodiment of 'absence of self', which made it undetected. It probably would've been blocked if she had been planning to kill him.

    In any case, it didn't matter. Veronica felt regretful that her attack had failed to kill Fermut. Both rationality and instinct supported her thought that Fermut was the one who had ordered Theodore's assassination.

    "I thought I should leave it to the boy to kill you, but... now I can't endure it anymore. I'll kill you here."

    "What nonsense are you saying...?"

    Shortly after that...

    Huk.

    The space three centimeters in front of Fermut's face heated up. If someone hadn't pulled on his clothes, his head would've been blown off. His instincts cried out one beat too late. He absolutely shouldn't fight this monster.

    As the flame sword heated up the space around her body, the greatest magician of Meltor faced her enemy. "Do you intend to interrupt, 1st Sword?"

    "...I don't want to be hostile to you here." With dark hair and green eyes like evergreen plants, he was a swordsman who looked to be in his 30s despite having been active for over half a century.

    He was the empire's 1st Sword, Crowd von Russell. In this era where the grandmasters had disappeared, he was the man who could be called the strongest swordsman on this continent.

    "This isn't the place to fight. How about we end today's talks here since they aren't working out?"

    "What? Sir Russell! This is too shameful!" Fermut was quicker than Veronica in protesting the proposal. "This mongrel threatened a prince of the Andras Empire, this Fermut! It is also the meeting where there is a tacit promise of non-aggression! We can't leave this insult alone...!"

    "Your Highness," Crowd von Russell cut off Fermut's enraged voice. He then bowed politely and whispered at a volume which couldn't be heard by the two people from Meltor, "If you fight here, both of us will die. If you don't understand the situation, just follow me."

    "...Huh?"

    "You can't tell?"

    Crowd von Russell looked over at Aquilo, who was next to Veronica.

    Realizing the meaning of his gaze, Aquilo gave an amused smile. 'I used a camouflage, but I guess my identity was found out. Does he think it is burdensome to deal with me and Red at the same time?'

    The swordsman judged that Aquilo was a considerable monster. She didn't have pure power like Veronica, but her strength was the pursuit of 'depth.' Despite being far behind Veronica in a one-on-one fight, Aquilo was a wild card capable of killing a giant.

    If Veronica were here alone or with the White Tower Master, Crowd would've chosen to fight here. However, he couldn't win against both Veronica and Aquilo.

    It might be different if the 2nd Sword had accompanied him, since Prince Fermut hadn't reached the same level as them yet. However, fortunately, Crowd saw that Aquilo wasn't active, so there was room to retreat.

    Indeed, Crowd's judgment was correct.

    "...Tch," Veronica clicked her tongue when she realized the situation.

    Aquilo enjoyed seeing Veronica's frustrated expression and whispered in her ear, "I have no intention of attacking people who are running away. What will you do? I might consider it if the boy was in my arms. But of course, I will refuse if you ask me."

    "Damn pirate, shut up."

    It was a delicate situation. Meltor would dominate if Aquilo joined in, but it would be disadvantageous if she didn't. Veronica was torn by the intervention of the 1st Sword and didn't know what to do.

    However, she didn't want to just let them go. She looked at Fermut with murderous intent and worried about the situation for a moment before coming up with a compromise. "Hey, number 1."

    "What is it?"

    "Get that piece of ** away from me before I change my mind. I won't chase you."

    "I will do so." Crowd understood the meaning of Veronica's words and turned to retreat. In some ways, this result could be called his victory. Andras was in a disadvantageous situation, yet Meltor couldn't remove the two people despite their superior firepower. It was also a bonus that they noticed the existence of Aquilo.

    "...Huh?" Therefore, Crowd was one beat delayed in realizing it. Veronica said she wouldn't chase them, but she never said she wouldn't attack. The sword masters, who were wide open targets, were subjected to a merciless magic bombardment.

    ―――――――――――!!!

    The Infernal Blade struck the ground, causing a cause explosion. This was followed by a severe firestorm which melted the ground. The explosion burst outward before disappearing.

    Clouds in the distant sky were torn apart, while some sandworms sleeping deep in the ground ended up dead. A few birds that unfortunately looked down were blinded. If they were lucky, they would die before struggling with the pain.

    It was truly a transcendent destruction. The grassland, where butterflies had been flying peacefully, had now changed into a hell-like scenery. The land was burned to a depth of a few hundred meters and would only recover after centuries. This damage was produced by the peak of the most destructive magic attribute.

    The scale of the damage was proof of Veronica's destructive power.

    "Sigh, couldn't you have warned me? You savage," Aquilo, who had quickly flown into the sky, grumbled as she looked at the distant horizon. "Besides, those guys avoided the attack surprisingly quite well."

    For dragons, extended long-distance vision was merely a part of their senses. As such, Aquilo noticed that the two sword masters who had escaped far away weren't injured at all.

    Veronica's robes flapped as she agreed, "I can't kill them anyway. If the 1st Sword could be hit by a surprise attack like this, the war would've already been over. It would be strange if it was effective."

    "Then why did you attack while knowing this?"

    "I just wanted to vent my anger. I didn't want to just sit down and do nothing like you."

    After pricking Aquilo with her words, Veronica sighed as she stared at a distant place. She had wanted to kill one person in this place but missed her chance because the 1st Sword moved so fast.

    As such, the talks ended without any conclusions.

    *     *     *

    "Crazy." Theodore grabbed his head as he listened to Aquilo's words.

    It was fortunate that Veronica hadn't gotten hurt in the talks, but it couldn't be called a positive end to the meeting. The northern powers had taken a step toward a war. No, it happened a month ago, so there was a possibility that the war had already begun. Theodore's mind went blank at the news.

    Aquilo smiled at him and enjoyed the funny sight. She might not always show it, but Aquilo was essentially an evil dragon. She was someone who accepted the suffering and agonies of mortals.

    Despite her goodwill toward him, she enjoyed the sight of Theodore's agitation.

    "...Aquilo." A few minutes of silence passed by before he spoke.

    During this period of time which no one had counted as to how long had passed, Theodore raised his head. Aquilo saw his hardened eyes and laughed, "Yes. Do you have something to ask this evil dragon, Boy?"

    For her, Theodore was a hero. He had used Aquilo's power to dismantle the Pirate Archipelago, rather than use it for his own private desires. Originally, he should oppose Aquilo, who existed as an evil dragon.

    Yet, a just hero was currently asking an evil dragon for help. This situation caused a thrill to run down Aquilo's spine. Without knowing her wicked thoughts, Theodore said, "I will pay anything. Please let me borrow your strength and take me back to Meltor via the shortest path."

    "Any...thing?" Aquilo bit the pipe in her hand pervertedly and licked her lips.
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