Chapter 1 The Hero Ran Away
A monster called dragon wasn’t the same as another type of monsters.
It’s not just about their strength.
They would suddenly appear at an interval of about once in a hundred years, eat humans, spread destruction, and then later they’d be slayed by those who are called Heroes.
The strange part is that, there’s no foreshadowing until their sudden attack waves at all.
The Evil Dragon Berseros
A few years ago, it suddenly appeared in the great labyrinth of Mount Bells, attacked nearby villages, ate the villagers, and burned down the houses.
In order to stop the giant dragon’s atrocity, skilled adventurers continued to challenge the great labyrinth.
Some of them are challenging the labyrinth in order to obtain the treasures that the dragon has accumulated in its dwellings and to obtain huge wealth.
Some of them are to obtain the honor of defeating the evil dragon.
Some are driven by their sense of duty, and some are driven by revenge.
But none of them returned alive, and the others are retreating because of spirit got broken, so the evil dragon was still left alive.
And now, a new adventurer’s party has challenged the great labyrinth.
The Rock Golem, which has a huge body that even plugging up the labyrinth’s passage, was smashed in a single hit with a huge axe.
The Lesser Devil, who flies in the air, was burned by fire magic.
Also, two Werewolves are defeated with one swing of a single sword slash.
Rino watched the party members in the rear line as usual.
「Amazing…. I think about this every battle, but everyone is really strong, huh? Port-san.」
Rino turned his eyes at the party support that is one step ahead of her, Port.
His mission was to help out the party by using recovery and support magic, but this time he didn’t get into action.
「It’s because everyone is being serious. Being serious, I mean… to defeat the evil dragon Berseros. Of course, me too.」
While looking at the smiling face behind his glasses, he headed to his comrades who are finishing the battle.
「Oh yeah, that’s all done! The hell, I thought that the rumored great labyrinth where the evil dragon dwells would be hard, but it only to this crappy level…! 」
The blond swordsman who pierced his sword at the fallen head of a Werewolf laughed. He was the leader of this party, Bart. He is the man who has received the honor of being honored as a 『Hero』 by the King, and a man who only his ability was the real deal.
「You should respect the deceased even if it’s just a monster」
A huge man with a height of just over 2 meters, carrying a giant axe on his back, commented on Bart’s action. His name is Orgo, a Veteran adventurer who works as a vanguard defense for the party.
「What?! Hey, Orgo-san! Ya know who I am and still blabber your mouth like that, huh? 」
「Well, of course…. I said it despite I know…」
「Hooh? What a nice attitude you have there! To me, who is the third son of the Earl’s family? 」
「Now, now, you two, there’s a lot of danger in this place, so let’s save the fight for later, okay? 」
Port got in between both of them and tried to calm them down. Besides the support for the party, he also holds the duty for the party’s human relation. This party consisted of the best people all around the country to accompany Bart who is the third son of the Earl’s family to bring back the honor (of killing the evil dragon).
However, a rude man who hides behind money and political power won’t be popular (in the party).
So the party members aside from Bart gained unity through the hatred towards the existence of Bart himself.
The one who sighed and spit those words was a girl wearing witch cap on her white short haired head who approached Rino’s side while she holds a broom in one of her hands. What she meant by “worthless” was pointing to how tiny Bart as a person.
「Thanks for the hard work, Aries-chan! Even today, your fire magic was so swift! 」
「I think it’s the same as usual… but well, thank you」
Aries is someone who doesn’t show her emotion. Even if she was praised by Rino, her expression loosened only by a bit. However, Rino who is her childhood friend knows her very well. She knows that Aries was very happy.
「Aries-chan and also everyone else was so strong. Sometimes I think that is it okay for me to be here with all of you」
「…Rino also helpful for the party.」
Aries’ expressionless red eyes was emitting a slightly sad glint. Only Rino can distinguish those slight differences.
「Because you’re here with us, Rino… we can all travel without worry. We can concentrate on the fight. Because of you, this party could be like this.」
Rino Broomwind, a girl with a red-brown hair carrying a backpack. Her role at this party is to carry luggage. Her unique skill [Storage] allows her backpack to carry anything ignoring its capacity. In addition, she is extremely swift by the constant activation of her passive skill [Dodge]. She never got hit in any battle, and she has not suffered even a single scratch on the journey so far. Although her physical strength was lower than any ordinary people and she can’t even hold a sword properly, because of her two skills and also her cooking ability, Rino has gained some trust from the party members.
「I wonder about that….. Even though I can’t even hold sword properly? 」
「Battle is not only about that, be confident about yourself.」
Rino is encouraged by Aries’s hard-to-notice smile. I see, I was able to come this far with everyone until the end.
I’m also a member of this party. So if I don’t have any confidence, I’d be rude to Aries who encourages me. When she was about to regain her confidence,
「Oy, luggage carrier! Until when do you want to fkcing talk and waste my time, haa? Hurry and go on ahead! 」
「Tch, even though you’re just a useless luggage carrier…! Damn, you useless brat! 」
Her confidence shattered into pieces. Bart who calmed down thanks to Port’s mediation kicked Orgo once and started walking to the way they’re headed.
「Rino, you don’t have to hear that trash’s words.」
「… Thank you, Aries-chan」
Her beloved childhood friend’s words should be ringing inside her heart, more than Bart’s trash talk, but… Even though that’s true, Rino can’t help herself but to think about Bart’s rants. She wants to be more useful to everyone, she wants to fight by her comrade’s side, and her heart is screaming so.
The party led by Bart continued steadily and finally about to reach the deepest part of the great labyrinth, the dwelling of the evil dragon. It has already been over a week since the party raided the labyrinth. It’s not like everyone is hiding their fatigued face and forcing themselves to fight. It was a result of Rino’s items and ration provided by her [Storage] skill, also her cooking ability. After going up the last stairs of the great labyrinth, what awaits them is the deepest part of it.
It was a vast underground space (room), so vast that you can’t even see the walls on the opposite side. The ground was extremely uneven; lots of boulders were sticking out here and there. If you look up, you won’t even see the ceiling, it’s just an open big hole, with darkness extends beyond that what you can see. Perhaps the Evil Dragon goes through that hole into exiting the labyrinth and attacked nearby villages.
「Hey, useless brat! You go first! 」
「Humph, even if you don’t say that…. I’m this party’s shield, that’s my role.」
Bart tried to kick Orgo’s butt, but before he could do so, Orgo went forward. Bart kicked the air, lost his balance and fell down.
「Tch, I can’t stand that guy」
Bart got angry at Orgo’s attitude and Port tried to calm them down. Although it’s the usual sight, still, not a pleasant thing to see. In the party formation, Orgo is the vanguard. Behind him, Bart and followed by Port, Aries and Rino at the rearmost.When they’re cautiously checking the surrounding and arrived at the epicenter of the room,
The sound of a huge flying entity flapping their wings could be heard. A goose-bumps-inducing blood thirst permeated the party’s whole body.
「Everyone, get ready for battle! 」
「Don’t fckin order me!!」
By Port’s shout, the four of them ready their weapons at the same time. Before long, from the darkness above them, a giant dragon covered with jet black scales appeared. It has a giant body of around 50 meters, a strong limb with a pair of huge wings. With bloodshot red eyes, and flame mixed in its breath escaping through its sharp fangs within its mouth.
「So this is a dragon…… the evil dragon, Berseros……! 」
It was completely different from the demons in that area. Even though she was at the back of the formation, Rino’s legs shook with fear and she heard a trembling voice calling out to her.
「So you’re fcking scared, luggage carrier! I’m not like you, I’m a Hero so I’m not scared of anything! 」
「Please wait, Bart-san! You’re too reckless! 」
Without minding Port’s warning, the Hero ran forward and attacked the giant dragon. According to his unique skill [Strength Manipulation], it allows him to forcefully destroy the enemy with heightened strength.
That is his strategy to victory…
「Reckless my ass! Eat this, fucker! 」
He jumped and aimed the dragon’s neck, which is its vital point. The blade which of a thick Damascus steel was….
…shattered easily at the moment it faced dragon’s scale. After it shook the itch from its body, the dragon caught the Hero’s figure with its eyes and opened its mouth. A magic circle was deployed in the back of its throat while facing Bart. The next moment, a flame magic with several times the power of Aries wrapped Bart’s body.
「Not good…, <Splash>! 」
The water magic that Aries casted immediately covered the Bart’s body like a water balloon and then the flame was extinguished. As soon as he falls to the ground, the water pops, and the dragon’s foot lifted up to attack him the second time.
「Hi-, Hiiiiiigghhh! 」
He certainly has the title of a Hero.
[Hero] is someone who has wits, a title that refers to someone who is wistful and courageous.
However, in his case, it seems that the heroic trait of [wit] in him was not [wistful] but [dimwit] instead.
「It’s impossible, I won’t be able to win, and nobody could win against such a monsteeeeer! 」
Bart escaped from the stomping range of the dragon while he dislocates his hips.
He, who has spirit broken by just one attack, let out a miserable voice and escaped leaving his comrades behind.
Looking at the hero whose spirit has been broken; the evil dragon distorts its mouth as if laughing at the shameful exit of the Hero.
「B- Bart-san, he… ran away…」
「Humph…what a worthless man…」
Rino sees off the back figure of the Hero who runs up the stairs while he stumbled many times in his way. Although she knew that he’s someone who has a personality that couldn’t even be praised even for a little bit, she didn’t expect that he would escape alone without minding his comrades. When the party lost their vanguard damage dealer, their hope for defeating Berceros was lost.
However, they don’t want to increase the man-eating dragon’s victim any more. Immediately after, the target became the remaining four people, it fired flame magic from the bottom of its throat.
In front of the forthcoming flame, Orgo brandished his axe in front of the party and an aura overflowed.
At the same time, Aries aligned her feet together, sat on her broom and soared into the air.
And Rino, she immediately hid behind a boulder.
「＜Elemental Guard – Magic Shield＞」…!”
Inherent skill [Wall]
Using life energy that flows in his body, he spread out the defensive wall.
As the name suggests, the Magic Shield is a shield that blocks magic.
Orgo’s wall stopped the flame to spread further.
「Port, now…! 」
「OK, ＜Heavy Weight＞! 」
Following Orgo’s defense, Port used a support magic.
The magic Port cast was not something that could directly causing damage to the enemy, instead it was a magic to increase the weight of an enemy several times.
The evil dragon’s mouth was closed shut by the pressure from above.
「My turn! ＜Explosion＞」
Aries shot her advanced tier fire magic which caused a huge explosion.
The center of the explosion was the evil dragon’s face.
Even though there’s no damage dealt, the enemy staggered and broken its stance.
「Now, Bart-san! ….oh right, he’s not here… so he ran away, huh… 」
If only he hit the dragon’s eye within the time window the party created, it would have taken a serious damage.
A party that has no vanguard attackers could not finish their enemies.
Thinking about the miserable party leader, Port looked could only stare blankly to the sky.
「Gururu aaaaaa ！! ! 」
The explosion that brought into the evil dragon’s eyes lit its anger. It whipped its tail. Orgo jumped in front of Port and managed to stop the attack with his giant axe… Furthermore, it fired flame magic that has many several times power towards Aris, who flies in the air.
Rino, who peeked upon the battleground, thinks only two words floating in her head. The worst outcome is “Total Annihilation”. If it’s going on like this, everyone would be done in by the dragon. The dragon won’t let anyone escape, and without any vanguard damage dealer the party couldn’t defeat the dragon.
Rino who made up her mind, peeked out her face out of the rock and called on everyone.
「… Everyone! I will go bring Bart-san back! 」