Ardis recalled 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 back into his hands and immediately dashed.
There was a total of five mana signatures two hundred meters away. They were all about the size of a human’s, most likely Solte’s and the three mercenaries’. But the problem remains with the fifth signature.
「It moved? 」
The moment when the fifth which had the largest signature moved, one of the other signatures vanished. Ardis couldn’t tell whether that was Solte’s mana signature or the mercenaries’.
As if ridiculing at Ardis’s worries, another signature vanished. Even though it’s a distance within seconds if the trees weren’t blocking his way, the mere two hundred meters felt extremely long for Ardis.
Just before Ardis finally got through the trees and arrived at the destination, another signature disappeared.
Ardis sent out 『Springtime Mist』 and 『Moon’s Blizzard』 first. The two swords flew out in a straight line towards the signature that was thought to be a demonic being’s.
「It was dodged!? 」
But the two swords were stabbed into the ground mercilessly.
It seems that the opponent is fairly proficient in their senses. Dodging the swords that Ardis sent out from a distance, it took a distance from another mana signature.
Ardis finally arrived belatedly after the swords. While keeping his guard up at the demonic being which should be still around, Ardis quickly surveyed the surrounding.
There was one corpse with no head, another that had lost one of his leg and died of bleeding, and another who had his body gouged out and died. All of them were the mercenaries. And at the side, there was the girl in the monastic clothing on the ground.
「Still safe huh……」
Without showing on his face, Ardis felt relief.
But he couldn’t let his guard down a moment. After all, the demonic being which was responsible for the deaths of all three mercenaries in a moment was still hiding between the trees.
It is capable of even dodging Ardis’s surprise attack with the flying swords, Ardis could never let his guard down. It seems that the opponent doesn’t have the intentions to back off. Under the lantern’s dim light, Ardis still felt the enormous mana signature behind the trees.
「If you don’t come, I will go. 」
The pale yellowish green and white blades moved with Ardis’s words as the trigger. Towards where the demonic being hid, Ardis’s swords drew an arc from both directions.
Of course, Ardis didn’t expect it would hit at all. He planned to recall the swords when the demonic being leaped out and stab it from the back swiftly.
Contrary to his expectations, Ardis was surprised. Ardis reflexively drew 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 and guarded.
There was a quadrupedal beast with golden fur baring its fangs towards Ardis. With its mouth biting the sword that Ardis swung out, its claw tried to swing at Ardis stomach.
Ardis immediately let go of 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 and retreated.
Taking a distance, Ardis faced against the beast with golden fur. Although 『Skies of Myriad Colors』 was taken away, Ardis still had many ways he can attack.
But Ardis didn’t use any magic, nor recalled his flying swords, he only stared at the beast. It wasn’t eyes that are filled with bloodlust like normal demonic beings, Ardis felt that there was intelligence behind them.
On top of all, the beast felt familiar to Ardis. The way its tail that’s larger than its body waved around, and the golden fur that covered its whole body.
The few seconds that the both stared at each other. Ardis opened his mouth first.
「You……, could you be Rona? 」
The beast’s body reacted.
After a short moment of weird silence, the golden beast released its bite on『Skies of Myriad Colors』. The sword fell onto the ground with a loud clank.
The beast narrowed its already narrow eyes, it seems that it’s surprised at Ardis’s words, eventually, it talked with its mouth that had sharp fangs.
「I don’t remember having given my name to a children like you. 」
That was a human speaking.
「A-A demonic being……spoke. 」
Solte’s eyes became round from the surprise. Without giving a single glance to her, Ardis continued his contact with the beast.
「It’s me. Ardis. Don’t tell me you forgotten? 」
The beast was obviously skeptical about it as it looked at Ardis.
「The Ardis I know doesn’t look like you though. 」
「Oi, that’s cruel of you? We’ve been together for so many years. 」
「……The smell certainly resembles Al. 」
「I’m saying that I’m Ardis. 」
The beast sniffed and was still suspecting Ardis’s claim.
「If you’re really Ardis……. Then, 『Third whites of the second』, you understand? 」
「I don’t really mind but……, who’s the white? 」
The beast seemed to have smiled, then leapt.
「――It’s to my decide! 」
「Oi, that’s dirty! 」
Ardis complained as he deployed a magical barrier to defend. And the beast released a magic. A light rain started to appear in the darkness and poured down on Ardis.
They were like fireworks as they collided with Ardis’s barrier.
「Wasn’t it three turns!? 」
「It’s your fault for lowering your guard? 」
Floating in the air, the beast was smiling as if enjoying the fight.
「Oi, Solte! 」
「Go elsewhere! Yell if you are in danger! Sorry but I don’t have time to be watching you now! 」
Without waiting for Solte’s answer, Ardis had stood on one of the tallest trees around after lifting himself up with mana.
「Sorry for the wait. 」
「Don’t mind. It’s not my interest to involve some spectator as well. 」
「Who knows. The Rona I know is an inconsiderable kid, he’s not one to see his surroundings when he gets into a fight. 」
Could it be that it was irritated after being pointed out, the golden beast muttered grumpily and countless icicles appeared by its tails. The icicle reached it top speed without even a sound, and came at Ardis.
Ardis lifted himself up again, and dodged from the targeted area. Having saw the tree that he was standing on just a moment ago vanished, the young man transformed the mana he was gathering into a single spear.
The beast seemed to be ready for the attack head on. Just before the spear of magic hit itself, the beast slapped it away with its fore foot. Following on, deflecting the fireball that came its way, it also deployed a wall of water to delay the remaining attacks. The beast seemed to have avoided all the attacks when the dusts settled.
「It’s about my turn. 」
The beast’s ear piqued and suddenly the atmosphere in the air changed. The mass that appeared above the beast’s head was making a whirlpool in the space. With the compressing space, a huge amount of air was sucked in as it compressed.
「Take this! 」
With a yell, the beast manifested a crescent blade. Three from the front, and one each from the sides. With a weird ringing sound in its wake, the blades accelerated and came at Ardis.
「This much! 」
It wasn’t a speed that Ardis can’t dodge. Making a foothold invisible to the eyes in the air, Ardis leapt from it and dodged the crescent blades.
「Too bad! 」
As if a kid succeeding in his prank, the beast laughed at Ardis. The crescent blades that Ardis dodged came around in a curve and chased after him.
Ardis stretched out his hand, and deployed a barrier with his mana. It was the triple fold magical barrier that defended against Nere’s magic before.
But the moment when the crescent blades touched the barrier, Ardis immediately regretted. Ardis expected it to be deflected after clashing with the barrier, but the outcome wasn’t that.
「It sticks!? 」
Not even having an impact when it clashed against the barrier, it didn’t get deflected but became a liquid consistency and stuck to Ardis’s barrier. The blades that seemed hard and sharp just now suddenly became a thin film that covered Ardis’s barrier and blocked his sight.
「That was your aim huh! 」
Sensing a huge amount of mana gathering at the direction of the beast, Ardis readied himself. It was an attack stronger than any before. It was in a degree way above incomparable to Nere’s light ball, the unbelievably huge amount of energy circulated around.
Ardis changed the vector of the magic barrier outwards, and used his mana to blast away the sticky film that covered his sight.
The beast laughed again. Accompanied by small explosions, Ardis’s view opened up. But that seemed to be well within the beast’s expectations. The moment the explosion happened, Ardis noticed the mana that was like a rope that bound his hands and legs.
It seems like during the explosion, the sticky attack had changed shape and came at Ardis to bind him.
The rope shaped mana had tangled around Ardis’s limbs, dulling his movements. Finally, the one who casted all this magic, something visible started converging on its tail.
「Now, the finisher! 」
As the beast pulled its tail, Ardis felt the rope bound more tightly on him. The beast started to knead mana happily.
Suppressing and compressing the strong mana that was on its head, it seemed to be waiting for the moment it struck the unescapable prey it had caught.
But Ardis didn’t seem to be panicking.
「It’s convenient that you connected yourself to me. 」
Saying so, Ardis started to change his mana attribute.
His body started to crackle with small pops. And its numbers slowly increased, with the frequency increasing. Along with the sound of crackling, there were countless lights that looked like fireworks manifesting.
Eventually, when Ardis’s entire body was covered in a might of lightning, Ardis smiled smugly towards the beast.
The beast that seemed composed before suddenly hardened.
「Eh? Eh? Eh? W-Wait. No. Stop! Not the biribiri――! 」
With the beast trying to sever the rope of mana quickly, the black-haired young man declared mercilessly.
「Unfortunately, too late. 」
Just as he finished so, the electricity charged up in Ardis’s body flowed through the rope of mana that bound himself to the beast.
It seems that it is more than just effective. Although the beast had an absurd resistance towards magic, Ardis knew that Rona hated lightning attributed attacks the most.
That much probably wouldn’t injure it at all but, 『Being fine』 and 『Dislike』 wasn’t the same after all.
「Well then, Rona. Still want some more? 」
「Uuuh……, Al is so mean. You knew that I hated that the most, yet……」
「That means you finally understands who am I? 」
Ardis’s question was met with the beast’s nod reluctantly.
「Muu……. I don’t really know but, only Al would’ve known the password……」
「I’m glad that you understand. I have mountain loads of stuff that I need to ask. For the time being, let’s go down and group up with Solte. You got anything to do? 」
Rona shook its head.
「Not really. I also have many things to ask Al. 」
「Good, it’s decided then. 」
The both landed back on the ground. And the one waiting for them there was a lone girl. With no ability to comprehend the unbelievable scene that had just unfolded, it was Solte who stared at blank air stunned.