Ch. 207 To Haranae
Hagen tripped over his own feet and fell down on the spot. Hagen gasped exclamatorily as he looked up at me with his butt flat on the ground.
“Wh-why!? Why are you here Adofu… sir!? More than that, why are you mounted on a double-headed dragon!?”
Hm… Hagen seemed to hesitate on whether or not to call Adofu sir. Well, whatever. Since Adofu isn’t exactly in the best position right now, there’s nothing I can do about it.
“You can drop the ‘sir’. I’m no longer the captain of the knights. I’m just an escaped prisoner now.”
Hagen gets up while pulling a short sword from his waist and faces Adofu, who’s standing on top of me. The tip of Hagen’s sword trembles with unease.
“Lower your weapon, Hagen. I’m not here to fight you. Do you know what happened to the other members of the evil dragon subjugation squad?”
“Yeah, those guys left me for dead and scurried on back to…”
“They were all attacked by the evil dragon and died. That’s what Irushia said.”
“What are you saying!? That’s ridiculous!”
“I heard it was you who told Irushia that, Hagen. You never met up with him, did you?”
“If I had met him I wouldn’t be wandering around in this damned desert! Almost everything you’re saying is just… nonsense!”
“Hm, I see… I get it now.”
Adofu pauses for a moment before continuing on.
“You were thought to be dead, after all. Being left in front of an evil dragon, anyone would have thought you’d be dead. However, they missed something.”
As Adofu says that last word, he turns to me. I give him a subtle nod.
“In any case, Irushia believed the false report and put your name out there as the captain.”
“So, what you’re saying is…”
“Let me be abundantly clear, Irushia framed me. He probably also killed the other evil dragon subjugation members as an excuse to take me out.”
“N-no! The Hero Irushia would never do something like… anything like that! He would never go that…”
“If I’m lying, then there’s no point in having this conversation to begin with. Follow me. I, at least, want to hear your story.”
Hagen didn’t believe Adofu at first. However, as Adofu explained everything once more, Hagen gradually came to an understanding. Hagen seemed suspicious from the start about the murder case that Adofu had supposedly been a culprit of.
“So… the double-headed dragon there is the evolved form of that evil dragon from before? Does that mean I failed to notice as well?”
Hagen says while drooping his head.
“Alright… I’ll help you… Because even if I were to return as normal, I’d likely be killed to keep the story straight.”
Finally, Hagen came to an understanding. The horse’s- er, Maria’s leg injury was completely healed with a single [[High Rest]] from Partner. While getting up, Maria glared at Hagen like he was a pile of trash.
There was a guy in my previous life who said something about how it’s difficult to regain the trust of an animal after you’ve lost it. However, the one who committed that act first by running away from their master and leaving them to die was you, Maria.
With Ball Rabbit, Adofu, the two red ants, Hagen, and Maria on board, I head toward Haranae. It’s become awfully noisy.
“Dragon, would you wait outside the city? With Hagen being there, it’s unlikely that talks will break down into battle. If you’re worried about how heavily guarded it is, we can push through, even as we are now. I’m sure we’ll absolve that beastman girl of her crimes.”
I shake my head. If bad luck befalls us and we time this poorly, we could end up exacerbating problems and reopening wounds that were almost healed. But, I really don’t think that a discussion alone is going to put an end to all this. While I don’t know how this is going to play out, I just don’t think that I’ll be able to wait outside until things are over.
After that, I once again fly low for a few more hours, aiming for Haranae.
Eventually, a number of boulders arranged in a circle come into view. That’s nostalgic, I’ve seen this before. It’s the magic circle meant to ward off evil monsters. Finally, something that indicates that we’re nearing Haranae.
I feel a tad uncomfortable, but it won’t be a problem… or so I thought until Ball Rabbit fell off my head. I hurriedly catch Ball Rabbit and land on the ground.
((That… something… really no like…))
Just like what had happened before with me, is that thing affecting them the same way?
I’m not all that affected, though. Could it be because of my almost complete lack of monster-like instincts?
The red ants and Maria also fall off of me. Is it really that bad? Should I go around it? What am I thinking? The formation likely encircles the entire city. It’d have to. There’d be no point if it didn’t.
“If we can get through this perimeter, then that should get us outside of the effects of the powerful monster warding formation.”
So if we get through this perimeter, we’ll be good? If that’s the case, then sorry, but, can I carry you guys in my mouth?
I give Partner a quick glance. After that, I stretched my neck out and scooped up Ball rabbit and one of the red ants into my mouth.
The red ant’s voice cried out, but the ball rabbit didn’t even make a peep. The poor thing didn’t like it at first, but it got used to it.
Partner copies me and sticks her tongue out to the last remaining panicked and confused red ant, scooping it up into her mouth. Don’t eat them like you did last time. I’m serious. While feeling the ant squirm around in my mouth, I break through the magic circle’s perimeter. I land once again and let Ball Rabbit and the red ant out of my mouth.
When the morning sun began to peek out from over the horizon, Adofu said that it would be better to stop flying soon, so I descend onto the ground and began running. Before long, Haranae was in sight. I crouch down and continue moving. After approaching to a certain extent, I let Adofu and the others down. I can’t get any closer with this dragon body.
After everyone gets off of me, I use [[Humanization]]. With the skill being level 7, it should be much better now.
Heat courses through me as my body becomes smaller and smaller.
Partner’s neck twists and contorts as she flails around. She might be afraid of what will happen next. I should have told her beforehand through the ball rabbit.
While my body was in the middle of shrinking, I suddenly had a bad premonition… Won’t my head and Partner’s head remain the same size after the transformation?
I promptly grab Partner’s head with my hands and push her into my shoulder, pushing it in with a lot of force.
Forgive me, Partner… but if this keeps this up, I’ll end up with two heads at this rate.
Partner’s head has softened now since we’re in mid-transformation. As my body continues transforming, the accompanying head gets smaller and smaller and by the time my height was that of a human’s, it had completely disappeared.
Whereas I previously should have towered more than two meters over him, my eye level is now lower than that of Adofu’s. I think I’m a good 170 to 180 centimeters tall now.
I reach my hand around to the back of my head. I have hair. I comb it between my fingers and bring it forward. My hair is white and long enough to come down to my shoulders. It’s likely because Ouroboroses have manes.
I look over my body. It looks solidly built, but not as much as it did before. Though there are some scales here and there, it looks much closer to a human body now. My skin looks pale and my claws have become much more preferable as nice and pointy nails.
Obviously, I don’t look like a normal human, but I should be able to pass as a demihuman in this world, right? While I can’t imagine how things will play out, at least now I won’t be blasted with magic without being questioned first… or at least I shouldn’t be blasted first. While I was feeling around on my head, I noticed that I still had horns.
“Hagen, please lend me your cloak. I need to hide my face.”
“Uh, umm… sure.”
Hagen throws his cloak to me. It folds up as I catch it. This thing is pretty long, isn’t it?
Adofu takes off his cloak and wraps it around his body like a robe. I imitate the way Adofu wraps himself with his cloak and conceal my head and body.
The red ants rush up to my feet. I get on top of one of the red ants with Ball Rabbit tucked under my left arm and my right arm placed on top of the red ant’s back. Adofu was already riding atop the other red ant and Hagen was mounted on his favorite horse, Maria. Maria wore a face of pure disgust. Maybe it would be better to switch him out with Adofu?
((Me think… they just pouting.))
Yeah… If only that were the case. But, guesswork is guesswork.