The two borrowed another room in chief residence. A middle-aged woman brought them a meal. It was only then that it occurred to Tigre that he hadn’t eaten at all since he’d woken up, and he tried desperately to stuff into his mouth the bread, vegetables and potato soup that the chief’s family had provided. Once he realized he was hungry, he couldn’t stop eating. After all, he had slept the whole day, so there was nothing he could do about it. The middle-aged woman who delivered the meal understood this and went out to bring in more food. As a result, Tigre made her make two trips.
Lim also ate a little bit of bread, and at the same time she picked up the bits of vegetable that were on the edge of Tigre’s mouth with her fingers and shoved them into her own mouth.
After all, it’s an emergency, so no amount of food should go to waste.
Somehow, she seemed happy about it.
After filling their bellies, they saw the middle-aged woman leave the room. After making sure the walls were thick enough, she began to clean up the situation so far.
“She’s like a character in a narrative poem,” said Lim sarcastically.
“All her family were killed, but the princess escaped unharmed. The dragon slayer she meets on her journey comes to her aid. A fitting subject for a minstrel to rap and sing about,” she said.
“Unfortunately, this is the reality.”
“And because it’s reality, there’s no need for us to play heroes for the minstrels to sing about to future generations.”
Lim’s strict advice from the start made Tigre laugh. It was sure Lim, who’s been complaining about Tigre’s bad manners for years, is worried that he’s going to get in deeper and deeper into trouble, and that he won’t be able to get out of it.
It’s only been half a year since he arrived in Zhcted, and yet things are happening all the time. He’s been known to spend entire days with children looking for lost cats. But Tigre is fully aware of this, too.
Tigre and Lim understood Guinevere’s wishes, but they also had their own positions and concerns. “So–” continued Lim.
“Let’s decide on the course of action. Let’s start with our big goal.”
“Goal…ah, I see. You mean we shouldn’t forget where we’re going, right?”
Tigre understood what Lim was worried about.
“Then let’s make returning to Zhcted the goal, is that okay?”
“That’s it ?Are you sure it’s okay?”
“What do you mean by that? Oh, no, that’s right. Zhcted is currently being invaded by Asvarre. That’s why we should aim to stop the invasion, right?
“That’s a problem beyond our reach.”
“Perhaps that’s true. But if we’re looking for the root cause of Asvarre’s invasion of Zhcted, they might be pretty close to the answer. Is it really possible to squander such a rare opportunity?” Tigre put these thoughts into words.
“It’s not that we can’t investigate, but under the circumstances, it’s a secondary goal, not a major goal.”
“That’s true,” he said.
“It would be confusing if we set several goals. Even if we were to conduct a survey, we should do it within the limits of our primary goal.”
“Now, let’s decide on our medium-term goals. That’s what we should do to get the two of us back to Leitmeritz.”
“What’s the plan? Shouldn’t we go to the port town first?”
“Right. One option was for the two of us to head south to the port town, and from there to the mainland.”
“I had asked the chief earlier, he told me this village located in the mountains of the Peñaine Range, the backbone of the island of Asvarre, and the capital, Colchester, was far to the south-east, a considerable distance away.”
“The other way would have been to tell Elaine where we were. But a letter might not be the right way, so I thought we could make a name for ourselves here and get the Leitmeritz to come and get us.”
“So that’s another way of looking at it.” Tigre was amazed and impressed by Lim’s cleverness, and didn’t think there was any other way to rendezvous with the Leitmeritz than to come themselves.
“But there’s a problem with both of them. If we were to go to the port town, would the two of us really be able to make it through the unfamiliar mountains? Even if we do arrive at the port, can a man and woman from a foreign country dressed in attractive outfits like us arrange a ship? It is also worrisome that the southern belt, closer to Colchester, may already be under the control of the group calling himself Artorius. The war between Asvarre and Zhcted has only just begun and the situation is unpredictable. We Zhctedian are having a hard time just getting around the populated settlements, not to mention the currency problems. Do you have any, Lord Tigrevurmud?’
“Not a single coin, of course. I left all the currency of Brune in the cabin, not to mention the currency of Zhcted”.
“So did I.”
“It’s understandable, after all, we could never have dreamed of being in such a situation.”
“In the end, there’s only so much we can do with just the two of us, that’s the conclusion.”
Lim discussed her thoughts with Tigre, as if she were trying to organize her thoughts. Sometimes she would stop in mid-sentence to think.
“Even for hunting, all we have is this bow and a few arrows that the village hunter was kind enough to give me. We don’t even have a knife for sharpening wood.”
“And I am dressed like you in the dress of Leitmeritz, and mine is the rather peculiar garb of Acting Lord of Zhcted. It’s really quite striking. Selling them will give us a leg up, and I’d like to make it a last resort ”
The two of them discussed the matter, and finally found a glimmer of light.
“I think it would be just as difficult to inform them of our presence in a letter as it would be to get to the port, but it would only attract more difficult enemies.”
“In times of war, it is impossible for a foreigner to write and send a letter in a leisurely manner, and it is unlikely that the Asvarian would send one for us.”
“It seems we’ll have to make a name for ourselves and let Eleonora know we’re here. As for the method…”
“I’ll lead an army, and we’ll do well, and make sure the word gets around the continent.”
Tigre and Lim looked at each other and nodded at the same time.They both happened to come to the same conclusion.
“Fortunately, we now have a flag to fly before our eyes. There are those around us who will rise up, and there are those who will follow her. And the heir to the rightful throne is actively seeking our help.”
“When you think about it, aiding Princess Guinevere is the most logical choice. I would not have come to such a conclusion on my own, Lord Tigrevurmud, thanks to you.”
“No.” Tigre said, shaking his head.
“It’s all thanks to you, Lim, for clearing up the situation. If I were on my own, I would have made an emotional decision to help Her Highness. But that wouldn’t work. They wouldn’t really trust me. We need a reason that anyone can accept to help Her Highness.
Tigre continued to think, but even so, the future of the two of them didn’t look too promising.
“Princess Guinevere had few followers with her, and only one knight. The villagers’ morale was high, but there were only a few dozen at most. Even if they asked for help from other nearby villages that had been helped by the Princess, it was hard to tell if they could muster a hundred men. And they are not soldiers.”
“The enemy is a fake king who calls himself Artorius and his army, and they control dragons. They are not normal opponents.”
“In that case, I’ve decided to help Her Highness. But I hope they won’t call me a dragon slayer again.”
After saying that, Tigre felt much more relaxed. Maybe it was because he had a clear goal in mind, just like Lim had said.
“You’re not taking this seriously enough. This is a problem that affects more than just Asvarre’s country.”
Lim’s tone was soft, though it sounded like a rebuke. It was like a sister disciplining her stupid brother, and that made Tigre feel a little unhappy.
“Well, that’s not important right now,” she said.
In any case, there’s one more thing that needs to be confirmed first.
The two return to the guest room they were in earlier and report to Guinevere on the outcome of their discussion, explaining to her what the two are planning to do to help her while raising the reputation of Tigre and the others in order to make Zhcted aware of their presence.
Guinevere was forthright in her joy.
“With the help of the Dragonslayer, it’s like getting a hundred man power!”
She smiled like a flower blossoming on her face and held on to Tigre’s hand tightly. Tigre was taken by surprise, and Guinevere’s attendant knights pulled her away.
“Lord Tigrevurmud, please don’t shake Her Highness’s hand so hard,” she said.
For some reason, even Lim was accusing Tigre. Although her expression didn’t change, Tigre could sense her displeasure. He shook his head to get back to the subject at hand.
“Your Highness, may we see the dragon’s remains first?”
“Why is that?”
“I don’t want to be hailed as a dragon slaying hero for some obscure reason. I want to see with my own eyes if the dragon was really defeated by us.”
Shortly afterwards, Tigre and the others came to a hill some distance from the village, at the corner of the forest. The area was a vast area of deciduous trees that had been crushed, and the situation was quite grim.
Along with Tigre was a hunter from the village, as well as Lim, Guinevere and her attendant horsemen, all five of them.
Guinevere also insisted on seeing the dragon’s body one more time. Although it was a small miscalculation for Tigre and the others, Her Highness was adamant that she would not be burden in her journey. In fact, she’s really strong on her feet and can walk.
A day had passed since the crash, and the dragon’s corpse had been covered by vines so fertile that it looked like a small mountain. According to the village’s hunter, the scene was unchanged from the last time he saw it.
Tigre took the knife he had borrowed from the villagers and stabbed at the dragon scales.The sound of the knife’s blade flicking open and the crunching sound echoed through the forest.
“It’s been a whole day since It died, but the scales are still hard.” Tigre said.
He repeated it several times, but the result was the same.
“No matter how sharp the sword is, no matter how sharp the spear is, it cannot scratch the dragon’s scales. That’s normal. I’ve never seen it before either.”
Said Lim, who was standing next to Tigre.
A knight in Guinevere’s service regretfully recounted the story of how many brave men had challenged the dragon used by the false Artorius’ army, but none of their blades could pierce its strong, tough scales.
“Then how did Tigre and his companion manage to kill this dragon?”
Tigre climbed up on the remains of the dragon and then used his memory to investigate the root of the dragon’s left wing. As Guinevere tells it, the root of the wing is split wide open, revealing a broken bone, a grisly sight.
Tigre’s eyes stared straight into a spot where a deep, pierced hole had been drilled here. This must have been a fatal wound. The dragon crashed here, screaming for his life.
“Did I really cause this wound?”
Tigre stared at the black bow in his hand, fear rising from his heart and running up his back. He now felt that this heirloom was more strange and frightening than ever. Was there something unknown that he could never imagine attached to the bow?
He remembered that he heard someone’s voice. It seemed to be a woman’s voice. That might not be auditory hallucinations, it might be the will of the bow itself….
“Say, what is it?”
Tigre looked at Black Bow and muttered. But the bow didn’t give any reply.
It was no different from a normal bow when fighting against the pursuers sent by the imposter Artorius. Even if it was called quietly, it didn’t seem meaningful.
Was it because of the bow, or because of Tigre himself?
Or is it because of Lim…?
Lim climbed onto the dragon’s back. Like Tigre, she spotted the deep hole that had been pierced and gasped.
“It’s… If looked closely, it’s a really scary wound.”
“If my memory is correct, this was indeed caused by my bow. But…to be honest, I don’t really think I did it.”
“It’s bad attitude to blame it on tools,” Lim said, looking at Tigre.
But, Lord Tigrevurmud. Thanks to you, my life was saved. Thank you very much.”
Honestly, it’s a miracle that the two are alive right now. Tigre tried to remember as much as he could, but key parts of his memory were so vague that he seemed to be really focused.
“If you could do something that you couldn’t have done by just committing yourself and being selfish, it would be easier.”
She’s absolutely right. If he were in the same situation again, Tigre doesn’t think he could do the same thing again. And Tigre didn’t want to fight dragons anymore.
At that moment, there was a noise. They looked back, and it seemed that someone had climbed up too onto the dragon’s back.
It was Guinevere. Even though the attendant knight reached out to stop her, the princess was able to get past the rider’s arm and crawl hand and foot towards the stunned Tigre and Lim. At this point she stumbled as she lost her footing, and the two hurried over to support her from the right and left.
“I couldn’t properly identify the wound yesterday because my followers stopped me. You pierced this hole, Lord Tigrevurmud, as proof that you fought the dragon, did you not?”
“Why is Your Highness so sure? I don’t even remember what happened.”
“That’s because I’ve read many books on the Knights of the Round Table and investigated all the ancient legends… So, I could see it right away.”
Guinevere looked at the black bow in Tigre’s hand and said, as if declaring.
“It is one of the objects given to man by the gods and has been called an artifact since ancient times. You are the heir to this artifact, my Lord Tigrevurmud?
“Did you say…artifacts?”
Tigre looked at Black Bow and shook his head in denial.
“Your Highness, I am very sorry, I do not understand what you mean. This bow is a family heirloom that has been passed down to my family since ancient times, not something given by the gods.”
“Can an ordinary bow hurt a dragon? I may be sorry to say this to you, but the fact that you caught by the dragon’s claws, ride on its back, and come across the ocean alive is even stranger?”
She had a point, and there was absolutely no room to refute it. Even Lim, who was too straightforward to argue, thought about it.
Then, Tigre and Lim looked at each other. After a moment’s thought, Lim whispered to himself, “I see. Arifar.”
That was the name of the dragonic weapon that was originally held by her master, Eleonora.
“The war princess of Zhcted had special weapons called Viralt. They have a will of their own and can wield powers that no human can master. You should have seen it yesterday, Lord Tigrevurmud”.
“Uh, yes. Lord Eleonora attacked a flying dragon with a dragonic tool that could control the wind… but it was ineffective.”
“I’m afraid that the Asvarian had installed something on the dragon that could resist the power of the dragonic weapons. If not, that strike would have been powerful enough to knock the dragon out of the sky. I’ve heard Ellen say, “The dragonic weapon is strong enough to split the dragon scales”. So, if your bow has the same power as a dragonic weapon, I, as a Zhctedian, think it’s possible. It is possible that your bow was given to man by the gods, just like Viralts was given to the Black Dragon.”
“However, the reason why viralts are so powerful is because they are special weapons related to the legend of the founding of Zhcted. As for this bow, it’s just a family heirloom… as I told Guinevere earlier.”
“But is that really the case?”
Tigre pondered a bit, and decided that it was pointless to discuss such things now, and finally decided not to explore the origin of the black bow for the time being.
What’s important is that it seems that he and Lim were saved by the extraordinary power, and the reason might be the Black Bow, that’s what happened.
As long as the power of the Black Bow can be drawn out again, if a dragon under the imposter Artorius attacks, he might be able to defeat it.
At least Guinevere was planning to rely on this power for now.
“Your Highness, can you tell us more about the artifacts?”
So, Tigre decided to ask Guinevere that.