Side Story The Ride on Black Dragon's Back
『Oy, is that it for today's stroll?』
Black Dragon I was riding sounded his displeasure when the castle came into view.
"Yeah, I have a war council to attend soon. Fortunately, I should make it in time."
『Forget about that stuff, why don't we have another round of sky stroll? The veins in your head are gonna pop off if you don't let loose every once in a while, Ryota told me.』
"And the reason I don't have enough time for leisure is because you keep pestering me to find strong men you could fight..."
『Ah, popping veins was the reason Ryota died in his past life just you know, keep that tucked in the corner of your mind.』
"...Considering how rambunctious you're behaving, I'm starting to believe he died from the same cause in this world as well."
『Of course not, I behaved after the defeat of demon king cause he lost his revival privilege. Thanks to that he lived an unusually long life for a human and died a peaceful death at 90... Before that, he coughed up blood and died every once in a while even though he suffered no injury however.』
"That's a stomach ulcer! And there's no doubt it was all you!"
...We've known each other for almost 20 long years already yet I still get tired whenever I talk with this dragon.
I shouldn't have touched upon the topic of Hunting Fest. I blurted it out without thinking when Randorainam came up during a conversation about a ship heading for the neighboring continent at the eastern port town.
To think that ended with us going to the next continent over... And I had been careful to avoid these topics.
『Fumu, still, despite what I heard about promising folk at the fest, none of them was of note. Quite a let down.』
"They were pretty strong compared to average Combat job people. Being able to defeat magic beasts I tamed in the prairie depths is a testament to their strength."
『I could have a bit of fun if only I took on those people hunting in those prairie depths.』
"Forget it. Picking a fight out in the open like that is akin to antagonizing the guild, we have to avoid that."
『Why not? All the strong folk would flock if we did.』
"...You'd get raked over the coal by Sword King and Arch Mage again. Those two are Rank S adventurers."
『....I don't wanna fight that pair again. That was the only other time I feared for my life besides in the battle with Demon King.』
Black Dragon trembled as he squeezed those words.
...That time this dragon got beaten down so hard was truly a masterwork.
I did feel bad for him, but part of me also thought he got his just desserts for all his daily selfish antics.
The blade swung by Sword King easily sliced open dragon scales that should have been impenetrable to ordinary weapons, and the spells cast by Arch Mage brought about destruction on the level of natural disasters.
The collateral damage left in their wake was much more severe than when this dragon rampaged around. Our kingdom would have been finished had they fought near the castle that time...
"I want to avoid causing a huge uproar. Make do with being an observer today."
"Also, despite your claim, I saw a promising individual who prevailed over Rank A beasts. Get yourself ready to fight him once he's grown enough."
『Hwo, I wanna fight that guy this instant.』
"I said no, quit it. It's about time for the war council, we can't afford flying back to Randorainam."
『War council huh, sounds tense. What for?』
"...Demons have been becoming active all over the world as of late, resulting in a huge loss already. The third continent has it the worst, they have lost many principal cities the entire continent is on the verge of a complete collapse."
Devils whose entire raison d'etre is to sow seeds of calamities everywhere in their quest to eradicate humanity.
A demon king is said to rule over them, they always get revived after a period of time post-mortem, hence there is no possible way to fundamentally solve this issue.
Although once he's been defeated, all demons will cease operating and there won't be any more destruction by their hands for several hundreds of years, thus killing the demon king is not wholly without meaning.
『Hmph, mere demons getting ahead of themselves. I shall head over to that continent and devour every last one of them.』
"We have to take care of the demon bases on our continent first. The war council this time is to prepare for that preparation. It's not yet your turn."
『Yet more days of boredom...』
"Bear with it... You might get to meet him if you stay put like a good dragon."
"The present day hero."
This dragon still cannot forget the hero who won over him even now.
I've lost count how many times he spoke of hero Ryota Souma.
His attachment and promise to Ryota is the reason he's willing to serve our kingdom even now.
...Otherwise, he likely won't even listen to my commands and do as he pleases.
If the present day hero hails from the same country as that past hero, he might find some commonalities. That should serve as the best possible consolation to this dragon's boredom.
"...I have my position, hence I cannot accompany the hero. However, I should be able to find you an opportunity to talk with him. Try to not cause any trouble until then."
He agreed to it right away, just as expected.
Wish he always was this willing to listen.
I understand how much the hero means to him now.
...I'm sure he actually wishes to accompany that hero instead of being bound to our kingdom.
『Rana, worry not, I have no intention of following that hero. My promise to Ryota is to 'lend my strength to this kingdom', nothing to do with successive heroes. My allegiance lies not to heroes, but to you.』
This dragon can see through me sometimes, likely thanks to his stupidly long life.
He usually thinks nothing but himself yet he can be really attentive at times, it's disorienting.
...Thanks to this humane nature of his, he's avoided being seen as a mere weapon.
"...The castle is near, lower your altitude."
『Ou. Summon me once you're done with your council. Where are we going to next.』
"We're not going anywhere anymore today. Just go get some rest."
Just when I was starting to have a better opinion of this dragon. Ah, my stomach is aching...
...Let's just hurry to the war council. Good grief, between private life and work, why can't I have a time to myself...