The Visitor — Part 2
Editor(s): Joker, Speedphoenix
Upon arrival, Enne, Rir, and I crashed into the true throne room with enough force and speed to turn every head in our direction. As most of the other residents were yet unaware of the looming threat, they looked much more confused than they did panicked.
“Don’t go outside, no matter what!” I shouted. “Stay here and stay together!”
“D-did somethin’ happen, Master?” stuttered Lyuu, nervously.
“Something ridiculously strong is heading this way.” I spoke as I fiddled with the dungeon’s UI and rapidly bought and placed as many traps as I possibly could. “Sorry Lefi, but I don’t think I’m going to be able to manage by myself this time. Can you help m—”
My request was interrupted. The dragon I’d directed it to plopped a hand on my shoulder and began speaking over me.
“Calm yourself, Yuki. Is the individual you are referring to the one that has recently entered the forest?”
“Yeah, that’s the guy. Guess that means you also sensed him. He’s the biggest threat I’ve ever seen, and for some goddamn reason, he’s headed straight for us!”
“I believe that the man you speak of is likely one of my acquaintances.”
“We’re going to have to deal with him one way or anoth—wait. What did you just say?”
I stopped messing with the UI to give Lefi a blank stare.
“I said that the man you speak of, the mighty individual that has only just entered the forest, is one of my acquaintances, and not one in Gyogarr’s vein. Unlike the dim-witted dragon you slew, he is one I consider as something of an old friend. A violent confrontation is unlikely, let alone one in which we attempt to take each other’s lives. His presence is no cause for concern, Yuki. Calm yourself.”
“Are you sure?”
“Do you not trust me?” she said with a teasing grin.
Seeing her act the same way she always did pulled my mind out of crisis mode and allowed me to finally accept that nothing was wrong.
“…I do,” I responded after a brief pause. “There’s no one I trust more.”
“I am well aware of that.” Lefi chuckled. “Do not worry, Yuki. I will ensure that you remain safe, even in the face of your overwhelming cowardice.”
I smiled wryly as the dragon girl reassured me the same way I usually reassured the girls—with a pat on the head.
“If you say so.” After taking one last deep breath, I stopped setting up traps, closed the dungeon’s UI, and lowered my hands. “So… this friend of yours, what’s he like?”
“I am not quite sure how to best describe him.”
“What do you mean?”
“He and I were never particularly close. We rarely interact. It is only the occasional twist of fate that brings us to do so. To tell you the truth, I know very little about him.”
I guess that’s why she said “something of” an old friend.
“The one thing I can tell you for certain is that he neither eats nor drinks. In fact, he does not even possess a body.”
“Yeah, I dunno about you, but me, I don’t really think that makes any sense.”
Pretty sure you can’t be a living thing if you don’t eat, drink, or have a body.
“It was not exactly correct for me to conclude that he does not have a body,” elaborated Lefi. “It would be more accurate to state that he does not have flesh or blood. He is, in effect, a conscious orb of light.”
“Yeah, not helping. I get that you were trying to come up with a better explanation, but all that really did for me was confuse me even more. I’m trying to imagine him based on how you just described him, but I’m drawing up a blank.”
Might as well slap an “unexplained phenomenon” label on his head, like they did for Nessie and whatnot, and call it a day.
“T-that is not my fault,” said the dragon, indignantly. “There was no way I could have provided a better explanation given my lack of knowledge of his nature.” She paused for a moment to clear her throat. “Whatever the case, there is no need for us to enter the forest to intercept him. I will meet with him when he arrives, as he is headed in our direction and likely aware of my presence.”
“A-alright, then how about we wait outside the cave?”
I was still a bit nervous, so though I had our pets, who were hanging around in the grasslands, stand down, I had told the rest of the dungeon’s residents to stay put for the time being. Once all that was sorted, I ventured into the great outdoors with Lefi by my side.
“I feel… a familiar presence.” He halted as he found himself overwhelmed by a sense of nostalgia. The domineering aura that lay ahead of him was one that led him to reminiscence of the days of old. “It is a strange twist of fate. To think that the child would find herself in the company of one I am so familiar with.”
He began to move again after chuckling at the unexpected discovery. And though his advance led him through none other than the dreaded Wicked Forest itself, he remained unconfronted. The sense of power that radiated off him kept all the monsters at bay. Their instincts drove them to evacuate his vicinity and steer clear of his path. Eventually, after a long, unobstructed advance, one that almost made it seem as if he was slowly phasing through the forest, he reached his destination.
It was a clearing, one that was merged with a tall, rocky wall. As he directed his consciousness up the cliff face, he found himself greeted by a pair standing in front of the entrance to a cave—the first creatures to confront him since he entered the forest. One was a young maiden from which he could feel power overwhelming, and the other a man whose magical energies could only be described as bizarre.
“It has been but the briefest of occasions since our last encounter. Yet, your corpus has diminished greatly in size, oh greatest of all dragons.” He called out to them as he approached.
“Hmph.” The maiden snorted. “And I can see from the manner of your speech alone that you have not changed at all.”
“It is in my essence, for its permanence is second only to the perpetuity of the flux. A mere few hundred years is too brief an instant for time to see me altered,” he said, indifferently. “I had known that the passage of the ages differed between us, yet your newfound form is incongruous with even the wildest of omens.”
“…I have had many new and unexpected experiences as of late,” said the dragon, with a wry smile. “I see that your habit of suddenly appearing without any prior warning has also failed to change. Why have you come this time?”
“I will soon vindicate my presence, but I believe that it must be delayed, for I must first engage in a vital exchange of salutations.”
He turned his gaze to the man that stood by the dragon’s side.
“This is the first instance in which our paths have intersected. It is an honour, oh lord of labyrinths,” he said. “It is Yggdrasil by which I am referred. My title deems me to spirits what you are to dragonkind—the sovereign entity under which they are observed.”
With a slow, nod-like bow, the lord of spirits introduced himself to his newest acquaintance.