56. His Majesty the Dragon Emperor is Enjoying his Slow Life (4)
The gentle plains were cut off by a river flowing to the sea, transforming into a steep slope. The forest lined with trees gradually disappeared. A green plateau could be seen under the soaring clouds.
Is it because of the altitude?
The air had changed. It had the serenity and sacredness she had once felt in the Imperial Capital of Kratos. It felt like being protected by God.
Eventually, the clouds cleared, as if they were but fog, and she could see the capital spreading to the zenith.
“This is… the Imperial Capital of Raelm…”
The heart of the Rave Empire. Located in the northernmost part of the Rave Empire, the capital had a high altitude and the air was a little cold.
The dignified appearance of the Imperial City, towering against the blue sky, made it worthy to be called the ‘Heavenly City’.
The city walls that divided the plateau and the city where clouds flowed continued to the cliff. Its height was so tall, it couldn’t be crossed without the help of a dragon.
The cityscape beyond the wall, which could be seen diagonally from above, was both orderly and beautiful. A number of stairs extended towards the center on the white sidewalk. Smoke billowed from the colorful rooftops and chimneys. In the middle of the city was a clock tower with a bell. Behind it, a white castle with three steeples stood majestically in the sky.
“Is that… your castle, Your Majesty?”
Hadith nodded as they flew in parallel with the plateau crossing the castle wall. His voice sounded tense.
Yes, at least for now, neither the town nor the castle could be called a cozy home for Hadith—it was a battlefield.
Jill put her hand atop Hadith’s which was holding the rein that controlled the dragon. Without saying anything, Hadith took her hand in his—that was when it happened,
“!? Your Majesty! Above the wall, isn’t that a magical barrier!?”
“Jill! Close your mouth!”
It was a device that was also deployed on the wall of Kratos. It was for defeating enemies on the outer wall.
A transparent wall with a geometrical pattern appeared up on top of the castle wall—several beams of light were emitted in a straight line. By lowering the dragon, they managed to dodge the magical heat rays by mere inchs. They escaped while turning in the sky.
“Why, why are we being attacked!?”
“Rave, escort those two and the dragons to a safe place! Their target is me!”
“Why did this happen~!? Even though Your Majesty is the Emperor~!”
“No, Your Majesty, I’ll go instead! Your Majesty, Zeke, and the rest should retreat to a safe place!”
She could hear Hadith panicking. Iit seemed that he wouldn’t escape. As such, Jill kicked her saddle and flew straight to the barrier, avoiding the oncoming beams. It was as Hadith said—the rays were targeting him! Or, to be precise, the dragon Hadith was riding?
Is this why the Imperial Capital sent us the pick-up dragons!?
Perhaps it was made so that a specific dragon would be identified as an enemy. The rays emitted from that barrier were automatically aiming for the dragon Hadith rode—which was further proven by the fact that even though Jill was heading straight towards the barrier, none of the rays came for her.
She unsheathed her long sword, concentrated her magical power at its tip, and pierced the barrier—
—there was a response. The barrier was unraveling and soon would be destroyed.
It was then, all the hairs on her back stood up—
She tried to avoid it, but she was a step too late—
—her long sword was blown away, causing her right arm to be assaulted by a sharp, dull, pain.
In that moment, Jill realized the ability of her opponent—to be precise, the trap that was set on the barrier to negate her weapon’s attack.
When she screamed, Hadith was already being struck to the ground.
Her body slid as she went to the ground. When she felt that her fall had abruptly stopped, Jill opened her eyes. It was shocking—but it wasn’t painful, nor she was injured—while holding her up, Hadith was embracing Jill.
“Your Majesty! Your Majesty! Are you okay?”
Her right arm was injured, but there seemed to be no bleeding. Jill rushed to stand and took a breath. Hadith was roughly cut in his shoulder blade. But just like the injury in her right arm, there was no blood flowing. It was caused by magic.
However, perhaps he had struck his head when1 he fell to the ground because blood flowed from Hadith’s temple as he rose.
“Your Majesty, back me up.”
“It’s not a serious injury …Rave.”
The voice of Rave, the Dragon God, as he transformed into a sword, was firm. Jill panicked when she saw how thin the sword was.
“Your Majesty, Rave is…”
“It’s alright. I can still use some magical power.”
Suddenly, a low, high-pitched voice was conveyed through the air.
“To be able to block even this sword using magic… what a bunch of monsters!”
Someone was looking down at Hadith and Jill whom had fallen to the ground.
The person’s age was approximately 50. His hair and beard were mixed with gray, giving the impression of being old. But his firm posture and good physique could be considered youthful enough.
His cloak, which fluttered in the wind, was crimson—the color only the Royal Family of Rave could use.
Hadith murmured, holding Jill with one arm as he remained standing.
Quickly, Jill recalled some information from a corner of her memory.
George Theos Rave—the brother of the former emperor!
According to the history that Jill knew, he was the first person to rebel against Hadith’s reign. Having ruled over a special territory called Radel, he condemned Hadith for the tragedy that happened in Veilburg, thinking Hadith burned the city. He then gathered together the Marquis Veil’s people whom were under severe threat of being purged and concluded that Hadith was a false emperor.
Later, it became the cause of a civil war within the Rave Empire, one which was known as the ‘False Dispute of the Duke of Radel’—
—but His Majesty saved Veilburg! So why is he be on the offense like this?! The purging of Marquis of Veil was avoided; therefore, he shouldn’t have any reason to condemn His Majesty—
“Did you think that if you came home as it is, you would be let off the hook?”
“…Uncle, that sword is?”
“It’s the divine sword—the real thing, you know.”
Hadith’s didn’t even lift an eyebrow when George answered cheekily.
“Meanwhile, what you have there is a fake, it is not!?”
“You’re claimed to be suitable for the role of the Dragon Emperor because you possess the divine sword. That’s probably because your older brother, whom was threatened by the serial deaths of the princes that you enacted, arbitrarily assumed that your fake sword was the real thing!”
“His Majesty is the true Dragon Emperor!—and his divine sword is undoubtedly—…”
When Jill tried to stand up, Hadith hugged and hid her from George with a whisper.
“We’ll escape, Rave, teleport.”
“If it’s once, sure.”
“Emperor, what do you mean, escape?”
“The magic of the barrier eroded our wounds. If we leave them as they are, neither of us will be able to use magic.”
Jill tried to concentrate her magic on her fingertips—however, as Hadith had pointed out, her usual power didn’t come out.
“I can only use teleport one more time. Moreover, it can’t cover a great distance. But for now, both our escorts and the luggage can also be teleported. With our remaining magic, we should focus on escaping rather than fighting.”
Saying that, Hadith stared at the sword in his right hand—Jill also looked at it and nodded.
The figure of Rave, which could only be seen by humans with high magical prowess—
—however, once he turned into a sword, everyone should be able to see it.
The sacred weapon kept getting thinner and thinner.
The reason was because Hadith’s magical power was disrupted.
“I’ve made an official notice, already. You’re a false emperor. You’re a liar! You deceived us all, the Rave Empire! You aren’t the Dragon Emperor!”
George raised his hand. At the signal, dragon knights emerged from the other side of the castle wall. From the opening castle gates rushed out an army bearing a flag.
Again, the magical barrier above the plateau began to shine. It seemed to have an automatic repair function.
Hadith dispelled the simultaneous attacks they had launched using his half-vanishing sacred weapon. George, whom was also blown away, clicked his tongue as he readied his sword.
“So, you can still use magic, huh!? But not for long!”
“Jill, hold fast.”
In response to Hadith’s shout, Jill and Hadith’s bodies floated for a moment. At the same time, their bodies were pulled and swallowed inside the whirlpool of magic, to be teleported somewhere.
Was it because Hadith’s magical power was unstable? It felt nauseating and uncomfortable—still, she desperately clung onto Hadith and endured.
“Little Lady, for a while, I won’t be able to move.”
She heard Rave’s voice, nevertheless, she was unable to give any reply because she was clenching her teeth.
“I’ll leave the rest to Hadith.”
The exhausted Dragon God’s voice became distant.
When she opened her eyes, they were inside a forest. It was near dusk.
Jill and her friends fell in front of an abandoned house near some broken stone walls.
***T/N: George sounds like that uncle who would brought seashells from the other part of the world and show it to his fam while boasting ‘each has different affinity and effect on the flow of your soul!’ when it’s actually just seashells.