Book 4: Chapter Seventh Tactic of Slaying a Dragon: Choose Your Companions for Slaying a Dragon
As I gradually regained consciousness, I thought of opening my eyes, but I immediately stopped myself.
Why should I? I’m blind; there is no point in physically opening my eyes.
The images in my mind gradually became clearer… However, all of a sudden they stopped becoming clearer. My sight was still very blurry, not at all like how clear it had been before.
I opened my eyes thinking that they might actually be of some use, but even after doing so the images around me were still blurry and unchanged.
I was startled, slightly confused as to why this was happening, until I realized that the dark element in my vicinity was interfering with my ability to sense other elements, causing the blurriness of the images in my mind. When I strengthened my sensing ability, the images returned to their usual clarity.
This has absolutely nothing to do with opening my eyes!
I ripped a strip of cloth from my robes and started winding it around my eyes.
After that, I stood up and roared to my surroundings, “Scarlet, where are you? Don’t keep on hiding. I don’t trust you, I don’t trust Ecilan, and I don’t trust Sybil. I don’t trust anyone!”
This time I wasn’t taken by surprise. I actually thought of slowly turning around and facing the little girl behind my back, but I stopped again. The movement would have been as meaningless as opening my eyes.
I had already “seen” her, so I had no need to face her. She looked exactly the same as before, like a little girl, although I now highly doubted that she really was one.
“You are becoming more and more like how you should be. Have you started regaining your memories?” Scarlet asked teasingly.
I flinched and reflexively turned around, blurting out, “What do you mean?”
“Ah! Seems like there’s still a little ways to go.” Scarlet, however, smiled and said, “You don’t actually need to turn around to see me, isn’t that so?”
Hearing this, my fury welled up again and I could not help roaring, “Don’t change the subject! Scarlet, what on earth do you mean? Don’t play riddles with me, and don’t disappear again!”
“I can’t help that. They destroyed my body and now I have no form, so I had to wait a really long time before I could appear before you!”
What? Stunned, I asked in confusion, “Who are ‘they’?”
“Who else?” Scarlet sneered. “Who else but the people who had just tried to lie to you?”
“Blaze Knight?” I asked, then stayed silent for a moment before answering in full confidence, “No, you mean the Church of the God of Light, don’t you?”
“Bingo!” Scarlet nodded her head, satisfied, and said with a smile, “However, to be more exact it’s the Sun Knight.”
The Sun Knight wants to deceive me? I hesitated, yet I still could not stop myself from saying, “But, Ecilan said that I am the Sun Knight…”
Scarlet suddenly snorted and laughed. The tinkling, silver-bell-like laughter of hers rang for quite some time until she shook her head and said, “Grisia, you actually believe him? You are full of the dark element, you use necromancy, you don’t know how to use a sword, and you’re not good at horseback-riding… Even if you have lost your memories, you can’t really think that you’re the Sun Knight, can you? You don’t even meet the simplest of requirements for being a knight!”
“I…” I was dumbstruck. That’s right! What on earth was I expecting?
Scarlet suddenly gave a cry, “Oh no, my time is up again. Grisia, remember, don’t trust anyone. Use them, but don’t trust them.”
My heart lurched, and I asked sharply, “Including you?”
Scarlet nodded her head, then said, “Decide for yourself whether or not you want to follow my instructions. Now, I’m telling you, you have already arrived at your desired destination, the entrance to the Kingdom of Moon Orchid’s largest land of darkness, the Valley of Trizer. The item you’ve lost is in the deepest part of the valley. Go and get it. After that, you will know the entire truth.”
Valley of Trizer… That was indeed my desired destination. I had originally planned to lure Blaze Knight here, but it had never crossed my mind that the “item” I had lost would be here as well.
Even though I had intentionally followed Scarlet’s instructions to head northeast, I didn’t think I would make such an accurate choice and actually find the exact place Scarlet had talked about.
Although my mind was still full of questions that I wanted to ask, Scarlet’s figure was already fading away. Seeing this, I hurriedly asked, “You’re not coming along with me? Then at least tell me, what did I lose?”
“You will know… when you see it, because it is something that originally belonged to you.”
As Scarlet’s figure slowly faded, her voice also became fainter and fainter, as if it were floating away like the wind…
“Just like how you knew that that unicorn belongs to you too.”
Before disappearing, she stretched out her hand and pointed to a corner. I extended my sensing ability to the spot and unsurprisingly discovered that the previously vacant space was suddenly occupied by the unicorn. Even Ecilan was still tied on top of it, but both of his eyes were tightly closed. He didn’t seem conscious.
Even after Scarlet’s figure had completely disappeared, I blankly stood where I was for a while until I remembered that I had been cut by a sword. If I don’t hurry up and heal myself, I might die from excessive blood loss… Eh!
There was not a single scratch on my chest, or even any bloodstains. If not for the fact that my shirt had such a gaping tear in it, I might have even doubted whether I had really been injured.
Was it Scarlet who healed me? If so, then following Scarlet’s instructions shouldn’t be a mistake, right?
My mind was in a muddle. I had absolutely no idea who was lying to me and who wasn’t, but at least, up until now, Scarlet had never hurt me. She brought me to the unicorn, gave me A Complete Guide to Necromancy Spells, saved me from the hands of Chikus Blaze, and even healed me; furthermore, she brought the unicorn and my hostage back to me as well.
With my hand, I beckoned the unicorn who immediately hurried over happily and started licking me. I gave a back-handed smack to its head.
“You like licking me so much, do you think I’m food…”
Speaking of which, what does a unicorn eat to sustain itself? How come I don’t think I have ever seen it eat anything? I stared doubtfully at the unicorn. It still persisted on sticking close to my hand, continuously licking it to show its affection.
It doesn’t feed on humans, does it?
When I immediately retracted my hands, the unicorn started whinnying in displeasure. I hit it on its head again. After the unicorn gave a cry of dismay, it lowered its head until it was almost touching the ground.
Seeing this, my heart softened. After all, it had been very obedient all this time. Letting it lick my hand a bit was not a problem… as long as it didn’t eat me.
“But still, you always lick me. You have never bitten me, so you probably don’t eat humans, right?”
I hesitantly extended my hand. The horse immediately lifted its head and started licking my hand. What on earth is on my hand that is so nice to lick?
Even if it is eating “sweat,” after two licks all my sweat would be gone. Other than the horse’s saliva, there was absolutely nothing else on my hand… Hang on!
It couldn’t be… I doubtfully gathered some holy element onto my hand. My body naturally attracts a small amount of the holy element. If there is anything on my hand, it should only be this.
After I finished gathering it, I started to observe the unicorn’s movements. The horse was actually so excited that it snorted and stomped its hooves, both eyes shining with greed… What? I can’t see color, so how can I see that its eyes are shining with greed?
If a horse has opened its eyes even wider than peaches and saliva is drooling down the length of its face, then I don’t need to be able to see color toknow that its eyes must be shining even brighter than my holy light.
Following that, I extended a hand, rested my chin on the other, and sat on the ground, grudgingly letting the horse eat its “meal.”
“So you really have been treating me as your food all this time. No wonder you like to lick me so much, you gluttonous horse.”
Although I said this, I gathered even more of the holy element, letting the unicorn lick to its heart’s content.
After all, this perverted and gluttonous horse was my only companion now. I forced a smile, looked at the unicorn, and muttered, “Say, I really should give you a name, since you’re my companion.”
Hearing this, the unicorn actually stopped licking its food, lifted its head, and neighed urgently.
“You actually want a name so badly? Alright, let me think. What I should call you?” I frowned and started thinking.
At this, the unicorn used its head to nudge me, and it gently bit my hand. It kept on repeating the nudging and hand-biting actions.
“Hand?” I asked in confusion.
It shook its head vigorously, stopped for a while, and then switched to gathering a massive amount of holy light onto its body.
Somewhat understanding, I asked, “Light?”
The unicorn nodded its long neck energetically. It then used the horn on its head to touch me gently, and then it kept on repeating the action.
“Horn?” I hesitantly said.
The unicorn nodded its head vigorously. After nodding, it stared at me with much anticipation. Don’t question me any more than this why I am blind yet can still see something like anticipation.
If there was a horse who was continuously braying at a pitch eight times higher than normal, had eyes which were wider than peaches and hooves that were rearing restlessly towards one’s body, only someone who was blind, deaf, and had lost all sense of touch would not know how strongly this horse was anticipating my answer.
I felt sorry for Ecilan, who was still on top of its back. He definitely had to be sleeping very precariously.
“Don’t rush. Let me think, light and horn… Light and horn!”
A thought flashed though my mind and I cried out, “I get it, so you are…”
The unicorn stopped all of its movements and stared at me with wide eyes, not daring to even breathe loudly.
This is the first time I’ve ever seen a unicorn fall down.
“Aren’t both light and horns white? They should be white, right? At least that’s what my general knowledge is telling me. Since you pointed to light and horn, and both of these are white-colored things, your name must be Whitey. What on earth are you making a ruckus for?”
I unhappily smacked Whitey’s head and reprimanded, “Even if you have a name, there’s no need to jump around so happily. Keep up the noise and you won’t have any dinner tonight!”
Whitey didn’t dare to jump around anymore, but it started making whimpering sounds. This time though, I didn’t stop it. Since the entrance to the valley was so eerily quiet, a little bit of noise was alright.
After naming Whitey, I observed my surroundings. To both my left and right were cliffs; only to my immediate front was some blurry flat land, the reason for the blurriness being the super dense dark element there.
In front of me should be the Valley of Trizer. Should I head in? Or should I leave, taking Whitey and Ice Knight along and continue being chased by people?
Actually, I don’t have any other choice.
Unless I was willing to continue living as a person without memories, on the run from people out to kill me, I had absolutely no choice but to follow Scarlet’s words…
Startled, I reached out with my sensing ability and noticed that it was Woodrow and the others who had arrived earlier than me. They jogged out from the valley, naturally running toward where I was.
Iacchi was the fastest. He was the first to reach my side and immediately slapped my back, hard. As I painfully turned to face him, he suddenly burst out with a gong-like cry, “Grisia, what happened to your eyes?”
When both Igor and Woodrow reached me, they also stared at my eyes in surprise.
I then remembered that my eyes were still bound by a strip of cloth. I immediately took it off and told them, “Nothing, my eyes had just hurt a little, so I covered them for the time being.”
“They have already healed completely, right? Don’t scare us.” Igor grabbed my head with his hands and stared at my eyes relentlessly, as if he would find some sort of incurable disease in them.
Woodrow worriedly asked, “Do you want to go find someone to heal them first? You might have fallen sick.”
“No way, can’t your healing spells do the trick?” Iacchi let loose an incredulous expression.
“A cleric’s healing spells aren’t all encompassing. If it’s a normal illness, a healing spell’s effect won’t help much.” Woodrow explained thoroughly and then turned to me and asked, “Grisia, you must have tried a healing spell to heal it, then noticed that there was little effect, right?”
I… I could only nod my head.
“Oh no, you might really have fallen ill,” Woodrow said with concern while placing a hand on my forehead.
“How is he? There’s nothing wrong with Grisia, is there?” Igor asked anxiously.
“I don’t think he has a fever.”
I carefully sensed their expressions. All of them seemed to have a look of concern, and none of them bore any atypical looks.
“We should leave and bring Grisia for a checkup…”
How can I let that happen? I still have to find the item I’ve lost! I hurriedly said, “No, don’t. Blaze Knight might catch up soon, and I really am alright now.”
“Really?” Woodrow asked me doubtfully.
“If you aren’t alright, don’t push yourself,” Igor loudly muttered.
My heart suddenly prickled painfully, and I forced myself to say, “There really is nothing wrong.”
Iacchi clapped my back and said, “Then that’s alright. It would be terrible if we finished this at the expense of your eyesight. That wouldn’t be worthwhile at all.”
“That’s right, I forgot to say, you did well!” Woodrow patted my shoulder. His pat was definitely a lot gentler than Iacchi’s. He softly said, “Good work.”
Igor said in a loud voice, “I admire you, Grisia. You actually escaped from Blaze Knight. You really are talented…”
Sybil and Yuna betrayed me.
“What’s wrong? Why aren’t you saying anything?” Iacchi asked, puzzled.
“Could it be that your eyes are hurting again?”
“Do they still hurt?” Igor asked, worried, “Then we should follow what Woodrow said and go heal them.”
Sybil even shot an arrow at me.
“Nothing… I’m really alright…” I gave a brilliant smile and said, “I just feel a little tired. As long as we move slowly, I’ll be fine. Let’s move out. It’d be bad if Blaze Knight caught up with us.”
Everyone nodded their heads.
Along the way, Igor and Iacchi were warned in advance by Woodrow not to goof off, otherwise they might disrupt my rest, so both of them were very obedient. Then, while walking Woodrow told me about the Valley of Trizer’s current state, even lowering his voice, treating me as though I were sleepwalking, and he was afraid to wake me up!
“Ever since we’ve reached the Valley of Trizer we’ve been following your plan, first setting up at the borders of the valley, but we found something strange.”
“What’s strange?” Listening to his soft voice had made me feel drowsy. Finally something has caught my attention.
Unsettled, Woodrow furrowed his brows and said, “The Valley of Trizer has always been one of the three largest lands of darkness in the Kingdom of Moon Orchid. It should be filled with undead creatures and dark demon beasts, but we found an area with absolutely no undead creatures.”
Iacchi, who must have been bored out of his mind, immediately cut in, “While waiting for you, we thought about going in to take a look, but… Hehe, even though there weren’t any undead creatures, there were still ferocious beasts! So we didn’t actually go in.”
Absolutely no trace of undead creatures… This abnormality gave me a familiar feeling. It might have had something to do with the item Scarlet spoke of. I couldn’t help voicing my suggestion, “Let’s go take a look!”
Stunned, Woodrow said hesitantly, “But we still have an unconscious Ice Knight on our hands. Isn’t this a bad idea?”
“Don’t worry, he won’t wake up for a while.” I said with indifference, “Just treat him as Whitey’s saddle.”
“…Whitey? Who is Whitey?” Woodrow, Iacchi, and Igor all had startled looks on their faces. They seemed not to understand who Whitey was.
I replied crossly, “Besides the unicorn, who else here can wear a saddle?”
Everyone’s eyes widened, and after a while Iacchi cried out, “You named a unicorn Whitey?”
I immediately denied it. “No, the unicorn wanted that name.”
The unicorn immediately started whinnying loudly and stomping its hooves, occasionally even rearing up… Poor Ecilan! He definitely could only be having nightmares.
I nodded my head. “Yes, it signed it out for me.”
“Since when did it have hands…” Igor said, dazed.
“It pointed at my hand and brandished its horn.” I said confidently, “Think about it! The holy light on my hand is white, right? The unicorn’s horn is also white, right?”
All three of them nodded their heads. I felt happy. Luckily, I hadn’t guessed wrong.
“So there’s nothing wrong with calling it Whitey, right?”
“That’s true when you put it that way! So it really is named Whitey.”
Igor was the first one to nod his head and agree with me. Iacchi shrugged his shoulders, and seemed not to care about what the unicorn’s name was. Woodrow, however, hesitated for a while before nodding his head.
The unicorn whinnied even louder… It really is very excited! Is having a name so delightful?
Just then, Woodrow couldn’t help whispering, “But don’t you think it might also be referring to ‘Holy Lighthorn’ or something of the sort?”
The unicorn suddenly started neighing brazenly and stomping its hooves.
“You really are noisy! If you make any more noise, you won’t get any dinner!” I roared at Whitey, then turned my head and said, “Don’t you find it strange for a horse to have such a sophisticated vocabulary? Not to mention how ‘Holy Lighthorn’ is such a mouthful. Isn’t Whitey easier and more understandable?”
Woodrow couldn’t help agreeing, “That… that’s true. It must be Whitey then.”
I nodded my head matter-of-factly.
At this, the unicorn dropped its head. Igor stretched out a hand to pat its head and said, “The name Whitey really isn’t too bad. It’s definitely much easier to pronounce than Holy Lighthorn… Ah! You bit me, let go! It hurts!”
“Alright, let’s get a move on! Whitey, let go of Igor’s palm… I mean, let go of his entire arm.”
Afterward, we moved deeper and deeper into the valley and finally stopped having an easy time. A few types of creatures of darkness, especially undead creatures, became as numerous as weeds on a grass plain. Two steps in and a crowd would surge forward. At first, Igor and Iacchi attacked the low-level undead creatures as if playing a game, even competing over the number of undead creatures they finished off.
However, as we headed deeper, all of us started noticing something strange. No matter how many we’d beaten, the number of undead creatures wasn’t being reduced but was increasing instead. Even some of the low-level undead creatures that should have run off after one beating rushed and attacked us from the back.
Finally, in comparison to the five people and one horse on our side, the undead creatures opposite of us seemed like an army.
“Hurry, hurry up and fall back!” Iacchi shrieked.
“What’s going on?” Woodrow gaped and gasped uncharacteristically, “When we came earlier, there weren’t that many undead creatures!”
Immediately, Igor the warrior dutifully lifted up his sword… Although the tip of the sword was trembling enough to look like a V.
“Probably because Whitey, Ecilan and I are all here,” I realized.
“Our bodies are filled with holy light. In the eyes of those undead creatures filled with the dark element, we’re probably as bright as a bonfire. Although undead creatures should be afraid of the holy element, this is their base camp. There’s a high chance that their fury has already overpowered their fear, so they’re all grouping together to attack us.”
“N-now what are we supposed to do?” Standing at the forefront, the warrior Igor’s voice was trembling so much that he sounded like he was about to burst into tears.
“Don’t worry.” I smiled lightly and said, “As long as we turn into them, there won’t be any problems. Undead creatures won’t attack their brethren.”
“Turn into undead creatures?” Iacchi immediately cried out in a strange tone, “Who wants to change into them! Better to die than to cling onto an unnatural life! I don’t want to die so young!”
“Don’t panic so much,” I said crossly. “You don’t want to die. Do you think I want to either?”
“Then what are you planning to do…”
“No matter what your plan is, hurry up! They’re rushing toward us already!”
Iacchi hadn’t even finished his question when Igor cut him off. Hearing Igor, Iacchi and Woodrow immediately assumed a fighting stance. Iacchi drew out a dagger and stood behind Igor. Woodrow, on the other hand, changed into a panther, and stood next to the warrior.
This surprised me. They’re facing so many undead creatures, yet they still have the will to fight? Maybe I really have been belittling Woodrow and the rest of them.
However, even so, I had no wish to fight against an entire army.
I dispersed more than half of the holy light surrounding my body and started gathering the dark element. This was even easier than gathering holy light. The dark element here was so thick that my surroundings had been misty and blurred to me all along. I simply stretched out my hands; immediately, my hands filled with a large ball of dark element that was thick enough to be kicked around.
After that, I shrouded everyone in the dark element I had gathered.
Under the shroud of dark element, the undead creatures immediately ceased rushing forward. They acted as if they had lost their target. After staring stupidly for a moment, they started searching but couldn’t detect anything. After a while, they started dispersing. Some even floated past us, but none bothered to give us a single glance.
Seeing this, the originally terrified trio calmed down and sheathed their weapons. Even Woodrow changed back to human form.
“So that’s what you meant. You should have said so earlier!” Iacchi loudly proclaimed, “Explain things better! Changing into them… Did you want to scare us to death?!”
“Grisia, I want to punch you dead!”
True to his words, after sheathing his sword Igor rushed over and caught me, wedged my head in his arms, and raised his fist… I actually worried for a bit, thinking he really was going to punch me, but in the end he placed his fist on top of my head and then twisted his fist back and forth incessantly.
“Hahaha! That tickles!” I was itching and laughing as I strongly objected, “It’s your own fault for misunderstanding. It had nothing to do with me!”
“You little…” Hearing my words, Iacchi also joined in rubbing his fist into my head.
Off to the side, Woodrow shook his head with a completely helpless expression on his face as he watched our childish antics.
After playing about for a while, I suddenly shrugged off Igor and said indifferently, “You’re awake, Ice Knight?”
Everyone stopped their games and swiveled their heads to look at Whitey’s back. Ecilan really had opened his eyes. He stayed silent for a while; only his pupils moved from left to right, as if observing his surroundings. Finally, he murmured quietly, “How could I have fainted…”
It was probably Scarlet’s fault, I think? However, I thought Scarlet would have made it so that he would remain in a comatose state until the end, just in case he started lying to me again. I had never thought that Scarlet would leave him be.
Ecilan turned to look at me and asked in a quiet voice, “Is Blaze alright?”
“Yes,” I sneered and couldn’t help mocking, “He’s in such perfect health that he almost cut me in half.”
Hearing this, Ecilan said, startled, “He didn’t know that the person he was attacking was you, did he?”
“He knew,” I said coolly. “He also said that I’m definitely not the Sun Knight.”
Ecilan blinked, confusion on his face.
Woodrow asked acutely, “What Sun Knight?”
I hesitated, but still explained, “Nothing. To escape, Ecilan lied to me and said that I’m the Sun Knight. He wanted me to leave with him.”
“You’re the Sun Knight?” Iacchi opened his mouth wide.
The three of us plugged our ears in unison.
“How can that be~~ HAHAHA! That’s so funny that it’s giving me a stomachache!” Iacchi laughed while saying, “If Grisia is the Sun Knight, then I am the Pope!”
Poor Ecilan… Because he was tied up, he had no way to cover his ears and could only suffer through Iacchi’s explosive laughter. Unfortunately, all three of us only had two hands each. Although we sympathized with him, we didn’t have any extra hands to help him block the noise.
Finally, Iacchi’s loud laughter stopped, and only then did the three of us drop our hands. I sympathetically cast two healing spells on Ecilan’s ears. The latter’s expression showed that he was probably about to faint again.
Woodrow murmured quietly, “Luckily an undead creature’s hearing isn’t particularly good. If not, all of the undead creatures in the valley would have been drawn out by that.”
“Poor you!” I sympathetically rubbed Ecilan’s head, and at the same time mussed up his hair to prevent him from being too good-looking.
Ecilan stared at me coldly.
I don’t know why, but after being glared at by him, I suddenly felt that something was not quite right. I immediately changed the subject. “Ecilan, since you’ve said you know me, look carefully at me. Do you feel as if there is something missing from me?”
Unexpectedly, he replied without any hesitation, “A lot of things are missing.”
“I mean, are there any very important items gone?” I thoroughly explained, “Anything that I always keep by my side, never removing it, but is now gone?”
Ecilan stared seriously at me. After quite some time, he nodded and said, “There really is something missing.”
“What’s missing?” I asked in agitation. Finally, finally I will know what it is that I have lost.
All of us listened attentively to the answer.
Ecilan replied in complete seriousness, “You’re missing a little pouch with a sun-shaped symbol embroidered on it, the one that I gave you for you to stuff in your sweets. You never take it off your body.”
If the item Scarlet wants me to find is a pouch used for storing candy, I will definitely mince her and make sweets out of her!
Then, Ecilan suddenly added, “There also seems to be a necklace, but that was something you only started wearing about a month ago.”
I started. A month ago? “What did that necklace look like?”
Blanking out, Ecilan shook his head and said, “I’ve never paid much attention. I’ve only heard from Metal who said that he saw you wearing a large jewel. He wondered where you’d snatched it from, and wanted to inform the Pope that you’d stolen it…”
“…What is Metal Knight’s name?”
I viciously said, “I’ll remember him!”
“Is that so?” Ecilan murmured in a low voice, “Then he’ll definitely be very touched. Besides Knight-Captain Judgment, you’ll actually also remember his name correctly. Before, whenever you called him by his name, you would call him Lime, or Slime.”
“Sl-Slime? Ha…” Iacchi wanted to laugh again. Fortunately, Igor managed to cover his mouth in time.
“I called him Slime?” I asked curiously, “Then what did I call you?”
“Hey! Talk!” I nagged him, “Unless you are lying to me again! If not, tell me! What did I call you?”