The Villainess Makes Her Decision
Within that pitch blackness, a massive eyelid opened.
The golden pupil beneath, with sight that far surpassed any hawk, surveyed a city far in the distance.
With a bone-rattling rumbling, the earth began to shake Something glinted in that eye, and it looked towards the source. A dim light. The light of the moon.
As the clouds passed to block out that faint glow, the massive eye closed again. But once the moon was exposed again, the light returned.
And that illuminated the owner of that piercing eye. An entity that seemed to dwarf even the mountains.
This entity’s crocodile-like maw was so huge it looked like it could swallow any number of things whole, and its neck extended longer than a giraffe’s. Its body was covered in fantastically huge scales, and four jet black leathery wings resembling a bat’s lay at rest on its back.
That enormous beast was the embodiment of mythological strength – a Dragon. It lay atop the food chain even in this world, and that was reflected in its designation as an S-Rank monster.
“Fshuu….” the Dragon exhaled, causing the trees at the foot of the mountain to shake violently like a sapling caught in a gale.
The city the dragon had spied in the distance bore the name Takrath.
Such a small city probably wouldn’t even withstand a single gust caused by the flap of its wings.
With a deep resonance echoing in its throat and drool spilling past its fangs, the beast took flight. Up into that dark sky. Slowly, but surely, it turned in the air towards the distant city. If something like that plunged into the streets of Takrath, entire neighbourhoods would be wiped out. However, that is not the Dragon’s aim.
No, it has a very different motive.
The dragon has only one thing on its mind. Food.
He would swoop down on that peaceful town, and eat anyone in his path. And for that sole reason, Takrath will be destroyed. But, such a thing is of no concern to a dragon.
It is a monster with a terrible darkness lurking within. And like a looming natural disaster, the dragon steadily closes in on Takrath.
“…After all, it really is quite awful.”
I passed judgement on the taste of the Thousand Legged Spider. The texture is like chewing on rubber, and it’s near impossible to chew through, let alone swallow. In the end, I had no choice but to reinforce my jaw with magic and power through.
It lacks any real taste at all. Coating steak sauce over the top made the surface taste bearable, but there was nothing I could do about the rest of it.
It’s doubtful that this kind of meal can really be called cooking.
“Of course it is. But, isn’t that just what you think of its taste? Please also review the presentation.”
Yua, who had someone managed to position herself as far away from me as possible whilst remaining at the same table, tilted her head to the side as she asked me that. Even some of the patrons had stopped being so rowdy and had begun to gather around and watch.
As I say that, I took a sideways glance at my meal. It looked as if someone had stuffed a bunch of twigs into a snowman, a perfectly well-plated meal. I wonder what her problem was?
“Is there something strange about it? It’s cuter than I thought it would be.”
“It’s not the only thing that’s strange, how can you find this thing cute!? It’s absolutely revolting!”
“Do you think so?”
I imbued my steak knife with magical energy, and cut the Thousand Legged Spider from top to tail. Inside, there’s nothing. No meat, no bones, no organs. Just this rubbery substance.
I wonder if this monster was even real.
“Uwaa… It doesn’t even have bones or anything…”
Still channeling magical energy, I cut it into bite size pieces and continue eating. Even though Yua is eating her own food, I can’t get through this entire order on my own.
(It certainly doesn’t taste good, but maybe I can at least get her to try one bite…)
It’s just as I go to take another bite, I sense it.
“What is this magical presence…!? It’s getting even closer now… This isn’t even comparable to the monster I took out this morning…!)
Even though it’s still far away, its energy was so palpable that I could feel it all the way here. Yua had also become aware and pulled on the hem of my sleeve.
Even though it was an unbelievable situation, those strong eyes reached out to me.
“Did you also notice it? Whatever that is, it’s at least A-rank…”
“Yes, but I’d wager that this is an S-rank.”
Although some people seemed similarly aware, most of the diners seemed perfectly relaxed and blissfully unaware. S-Rank monsters are something that requires the resources of an entire state to defeat. The country would have to take loans from the aristocracy, hire the finest minds in the magical world, and assemble a group of renowned knights and mercenaries to defeat it, and even then it would be a struggle. That’s the kind of threat that’s approaching.
Something impossible for us to defeat.
So, there’s only one thing to do. We have to flee. If it’s just Yua and myself, we might just make it in time. But, as I think that, Yua gets to her feet first.
“Veena-sama, let’s go.”
Those gleaming eyes of hers reflect an unshakeable will.
“Noblesse oblige. Protecting the citizenry is the duty of nobles like us, right?”
That’s correct. But, I am no longer nobility.
“Yua, what happens to this country is no longer my concern.”
Instantly, my heart was weighed down when I saw tears begin to brim in those eyes.
My lips form words as if controlled by my heart.
“If you’re going to go… I have no choice but to stand by and protect you.”
The one most surprised by that was me. The voice that slipped out said the complete opposite of what I was thinking. I was prepared to abandon this town to its fate, so long as I could ensure Yua’s safety. In fact, that’s still the best course of action. Then, why did I…
“I’m not doing it for this country, nor for its people.
That was the truth. I don’t particularly hold a grudge, but all the same, it’s difficult to just forgive and forget all that has transpired. So if you think that I’ll simply risk my life to help the people of this country, you’d be mistaken.
“I’m only doing it so that you can live.”
At this point, the words are rolling unconsciously off my tongue.
…So that’s how it is. I realized that ‘she’ is the only thing I think about now. All this time, she was the one who had been filling the empty shell I had become, giving me purpose and a new path. My beloved Princess.
“Yes, just for your sake…”
「I stand up.」
And I took Yua’s hand. As I did, she nodded slightly with a happy smile.
“Alright then, let’s do this, Yua.”
“I’m with you, Veena-sama!”
If it’s for her sake, I’ll confront any danger. I stepped outside and immediately saw “it” on the horizon.
“Fu fu, this can’t be real.”
I couldn’t help but smile. Those few others who had sensed its presence and followed us outside shared my disbelief.
Finally, after a few stunned seconds, someone in the throng puts words to our thoughts.