Journey To the Elf — Part 2
I spotted the undead dragon after allowing my eyes to follow the massive trench its roar had created. It was mostly bone, covered with only bits and pieces of rotting flesh. Not a single one of the tough scales that served as its natural defenses remained. Its wings, now skeletal, were flapping desperately to keep it afloat. How the hell is it even flying? Those wings are straight bone.
Most disturbing of all was the cold, dead look in its sunken eyes. Its half rotten peepers continued to function, moving in a manner that was obviously unnatural. A single glance at its face was more than enough to tell me that it’d been long dead.
Even so, it continued to chase down its prey, forced to serve as an eternal servant to the master who raised it.
“Nell!? The fuck are you doing here?” I shouted a question to the wolfrider that the dragon was pursuing.
“Huh? Yuki? And you even brought Lefi, Rir, and Enne with you?”
What species of wolf is that? And why’s she all by herself?
“I thought it was going to take you another day!” she exclaimed.
“We hurried over because it sounded kinda bad,” I said. “…Wait, this probably isn’t the time for this. We can catch up later!” I drew Enne as I flew past the hero and drove my trusty blade into the skeletal undead’s side. “Stop stalking other people’s wives, asshole!”
I wasn’t able to cut through its bone, but I was able to at least send it flying. Its lack of organs and muscles left it surprisingly light given its size.
It crashed into the ground, taking down a row of trees before finally spreading its wings to neutralize its momentum and regain its altitude. It shifted its attention towards me, casting a rotten glare.
“A pitiful youngling indeed.” Lefi came from above it, grabbed the back of its neck with just one hand, and stopped it in its tracks. “It perished before overcoming its pride. And before learning the wonders that this world has to offer. Now, even in death, it continues to see use as the tool of another.”
It tried to resist, but Lefi being Lefi made that outright impossible. It wasn’t able to get her off its scruff no matter what it did. Both its hand and tail-based attacks were futile. My Magic Eye informed me that it even tried to activate some sort of spell, but my ever dependable wifey cancelled it without even a show of effort, dispelling the mana it gathered and scattering it to the winds.
“You may be at peace. It shall fall to me, as your elder, to resolve what you were not able,” she said. “Now go. It is time for you to rest.”
All at once, its body went up in flames, bones and all. The flames burned with such intensity that even I felt like I was about to catch fire, despite being a fair ways away. For the briefest of moments, it attempted to resist. But that soon stopped. The hatred and hostility faded from its eyes as it directed them towards the sky, one last time, before it turned to cinders.
Its ashes scattered in the wind and vanished into the forest as they fell to the ground. Nothing else of the once mighty beast remained.
Lefi continued to watch it drift away until the very end, as if to send the undead child off to whatever awaited in the beyond.
The task we had set out to accomplish was complete in but the briefest of moments. And without any contribution on my part, or Rir’s, for that matter.
“Nicely done, Lefi.”
She leaned onto my shoulder as I pat her on the head.
“Wow, uhm… wow. That undead dragon threw us for a loop. We couldn’t do anything to it at all,” said Nell. “You handled it in an instant. But I guess that’s what I should’ve expected.”
She slowly approached, still mounted. Likewise, Rir, who had been standing by just in case, did the same.
“You hurt at all?” I asked.
“Nope, I’m A-okay!” she said.
“That’s good,” I said with a nod. “So, why again was it chasing you around?”
“Someone had to distract the dragon so we could save a merchant and his escorts.” She dismounted as she started to explain. “I volunteered, thinking that I would be fine, but the dragon wouldn’t let up, so I couldn’t make it back to the village.”
“Didn’t I literally just tell you not to do anything risky?” I grumbled. I was, admittedly, a bit annoyed that she did the exact opposite of what I told her and made me worry. “Oh, whatever, fuck it. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
“I thought I would be okay as long as I didn’t try to fight it.” Feeling guilty, she avoided my eyes and laughed awkwardly. “It was using magic to move itself around, so it was a bit slow to react, and it wasn’t really nimble. I have this wolf with me too. Working together with him made it a lot less dangerous,” she explained, while petting her mount. “And it’s not like I didn’t have a backup plan. I was going to teleport away if it got too risky.”
She pulled out a warp crystal from underneath her armour. I guess I can’t complain, seeing as she really did think this through.
“Is that wolf a new pet of yours?” asked Lefi, who’d taken my silence as an opportunity to join the conversation. “An excellent choice indeed. A direwolf is not a beast a member of the races can overlook.”
Direwolves were considered rather powerful. At the very least, their stats were high enough for them to live in the Wicked Forest.
“He’s the elven queen’s pet. I was just borrowing him,” said Nell. “That reminds me, Rir, I really need to thank you. Direwolves are supposed to be really proud, but he listened to me right away, and I think it’s because he smelled your scent on me.”
Her statement led me to recall that, while Rir was fairly low on our local social ladder, he was considered to be top dog when it came to wolf-based monsters. Yeah, wolves are pretty smart, so he probably realized right away it was better to listen to her than not.
Now that they were sharing the same space, I realized that, while Rir didn’t particularly care about the Direwolf, it was consciously making itself smaller whilst shooting the Fenrir near constant glances. Damn bro, you really were a total badass this whole time, huh? Dude’s literally losing his shit just looking at you.
“I can’t believe it…” said one of the demons that we had been traveling with. “Dragons have extremely high magic resistance. Even if it’s undead, turning into ashes like that with magic alone is absurd…”
“Who are they?” asked Nell.
“Phynar’s guys, apparently. We ran into each other on our way over.”
“Oh… Does that mean you guys are the ones sent to scout our surroundings?” Evidently, Nell already knew exactly what was happening.
The demon commander nodded.
“Yes we are, ma’am. We were just about to head back,” he said. “I have to say, milady, that what I just saw was nearly unbelievable. I now understand why even you depend on these people.”
“Aren’t they just great?” she said with a big smile. “I love them both.”
The straightforward praise led Lefi and I to exchange an awkward glance. Pretty sure I’m even more embarrassed than she is right now, seeing as how I didn’t do jack.
“It was… a surprise, to say the least,” he said. “And I’m sorry, but I think we will have to leave immediately. We have urgent matters to report on.” He bowed. “We will inform the others that the threat has been eliminated. I bid you farewell, for now.”
And without another word, he flew off.
“Oh yeah, Yuki, I wanted to talk to you about something,” said Nell. She was more serious than she was before.
“Sure, what’s up?”
“I think they have a demon lord on their side too.”