Act 2 – 30 : Battle to the Death in Holy Dragon Mountain 1
The entrance to the Holy Dragon King’s cave was enveloped by thick smoke because of Chiyuki’s magic.
「Did we kill him…? I really want to believe that.」
The magic Chiyuki had released a second ago was her most destructive magic. The only problem was that there was a risk of destroying the Holy Dragon King’s cave. However, Chiyuki had put her bet on the Dark Knight’s defense magic and hoped that it would leave the dragon’s cave unscathed. All her hope was on the Dark Knight receiving the full brunt of her explosion magic.
Luckily, she was spot on.
Even though her magic was strong enough to annihilate the entire mountain, after the smoke had vanished, she could see that the mountain was unharmed. She could now confirm that the spell had hit the Dark Knight.
「Well you can say that at the end of his life, the villain ended up doing a good deed. Such a praiseworthy villain.」
「As expected of Chiyuki-san.」
Chiyuki laughed in glee as Nao rushed up to her.
「Thanks, but it wasn’t just because of my power. This result is thanks to all of us working together.」
The spell Chiyuki decided to cast was one that required a really long time to prepare, she was in constant risk of becoming the enemy’s target during the preparation. Therefore, it was Reiji and the others’ job to distract the Dark Knight enough, preventing him from interrupting her aria.
Rino unsummoned the spirits once she confirmed that they had won the battle. The Snow Queen and the Thunderbird then vanished.
「And that’s the end of him. I wanted to beat him with my own hands though.」
Shirone spoke with a rather disappointed tone.
「I understand, Shirone. He dealt me a deadly wound after all.」
Reiji spoke while looking at the cave’s entrance, where the Dark Knight had met his end. They couldn’t see his figure due to the smoke and dust caused by the explosion. But, Reiji judged that there was no way the Dark Knight could come out of this attack alive.
The dust and smoke gradually diminished and they could finally see the entrance of the cave.
Nao shouted with a look of disbelief on her face, she was the first one to witness such an unbelievable scene.
The Dark Knight was standing right there, unaffected by Chiyuki’s magic.
「I-IMPOSSIBLE!! I DEPLETED MY ENTIRE MANA INTO THAT SINGLE ATTACK! THERE’S NO WAY HE CAN WITHSTAND IT AND COME OUT UNSCATHED!」
「He survived after being on the receiving end of such terrifying magic…」
Both Chiyuki and Sahoko couldn’t hide their shock.
「No, look closely, it seems to survive that explosion took everything he had.」
Kaya, the calmest amongst them, stated as she pointed at the Dark Knight. Following her words, Chiyuki used magic to take a closer look at the Dark Knight. She found that his armour was completely ruined while his helmet had a crack. It was then that she noticed that the Dark Knight was propping himself up with his sword—he had barely survived her attack.
「Huhm! It seems he isn’t completely unharmed! This is definitely the end!!」
Reiji pointed his sword towards the Dark Knight and opened his mouth.
「DARK KNIGHT! YOU’RE STRONG! FAR STRONGER THAN ME!! BUT, YOU DON’T HAVE WHAT I HAVE!! YES, YOU DON’T HAVE THE GODDESS OF VICTORY ON YOUR SIDE!!!」
Reiji then looked at Chiyuki and the other girls with pride written all over his face.
Sahoko and Rino looked at di*khead with moist eyes, deeply moved by his remark, while Nao and Shirone smiled shyly and Kaya, as usual, was expressionless.
Chiyuki, on the other hand, sent di*khead an icy glare that could send a chill down anyone’s spine. She couldn’t belive how he had spouted such idiotic nonsense without batting an eye.
（Well, should I feel grateful that he’s at least keeping his promise and not acting rashly? We won since he kept his promise after all.）
After confirming their victory, Chiyuki heaved a deep sigh as she looked at Reiji.
「HERE, I HAVE GODDESSES WHO WILL SAVE ME NO MATTER WHAT! THAT’S WHY I HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR NO MATTER HOW POWERFUL THE FOE I FIGHT! IN THE END, I AM THE LAST WINNER!」
After his exclamation, Reiji’s sword shone brightly. He was now intending to kill the Dark Knight.
「NOW, THIS IS THE END, DARK KNIGHT! BEGONE WITH MY SWORD OF LIGHT!!」
「WAIT A MINUTE, REIJI-KUN!!」
Chiyuki stopped Reiji when he was about to walk and finish off the Dark Knight.
「What’s up, Chiyuki?」
Reiji turned his face, seemingly dissatisfied. That was natural since she stopped him from doing what he always wanted to do.
「Yeah, what’s the matter, Chiyuki-san. Are you planning on saving him?」
「Rino-chan is right! He’s dangerous! Why do you want to save him after we painstakingly managed to beat him?!」
「I have no intention to save him, Shirone-san. There’s something that I want to ask him.」
「Something to ask?」
「Yeah, about that masked guy. That’s why we cannot kill him yet.」
Chiyuki recalled the masked man she met in the underground passage; she wanted to ask the Dark Knight of her savior’s identity and whether he was still alive.
「Well if you say so, I guess it really can’t be helped…」
Shirone and Rino finally agreed with Chiyuki.
「If that’s the case, we don’t need to heal him for the interrogation.」
Reiji was laughing since he intended to torture the Dark Knight if he didn’t speak.
「Do it moderately… you’re in front of girls after all.」
Even though, after a year, Chiyuki had been more or less getting used to the way of this world, she still couldn’t bear to see torture, even if the target was a monster.
It would end up differently if he confessed willingly.
Thus, Chiyuki and co walked towards the Dark Knight while laughing with each other.
Kuroki, who was just barely staying conscious, heard Reiji’s remark.
（He’s right. There’s no Goddess by my side to save me. This might be the biggest difference between Reiji and me.）
Kuroki saw an unsurpassable wall between him and Reiji. In the first place, he was fighting along against seven of them, truthfully, it was an unfair fight.
But, there was no use thinking about it even if he just realized that now.
（The last spell was really dangerous. It’s a miracle that I survived the full brunt of it.）
Kuroki placed his hand on his chest. In there, he felt the breath of the fire dragon.
「Thank you… you saved my life… But… I can’t fight… anymore.」
Kuroki muttered to his savior. It was thanks to the Fire Dragon’s flame resistance that Kuroki could withstood the terrifying heat of the explosion. It was the only reason he survived. However, this didn’t mean that he was spared from the shockwave of the explosion; it had heavily damaged his armor. In the end, he barely managed to prop himself with his sword.
When he raised his face, he saw Reiji and the girls approaching him, all laughing together.
（They seems to be really happy after defeating me…）
Kuroki knew he couldn’t stay like this, but he couldn’t even move his body right now.
（Oh whatever. They might even forgive me if I reveal my identity and apologize to them properly. Yet… my pride won’t allow it. I’m really such an idiot.）
Kuroki knew that behind him Glorious was ready to leap up anytime to protect him.
「Glorious, stop… don’t reveal yourself in front of them.」
He knew that Glorious would be safe as long as he stayed hidden like that.
Kuroki staggered back and shook his head to get a grip on himself.
By the time he realized his mistake, it was already too late.
Because the moment he shook his head, his already tattered helmet broke, and fell on the ground.
The helmet of the Dark Knight broke and fell on the ground right in front of Chiyuki. It was at that moment that the face hidden behind the helmet finally got exposed.
Chiyuki received a great shock upon discovering the Dark Knight’s identity. Because she was under the impression that the face beneath that helmet was that of a monster. And yet, reality showed that the Dark Knight’s face was neither that of a monster or demon, it was the face of a normal human. The young man before her had a slender face and black hair, there was a tinge of red on his pale face.
Suddenly, Rino screamed while pointing at the Dark Knight.
「Is something the matter Rino-san?!!」
「CHIYUKI-SAN! I-I’VE MET THAT MAN BEFORE!!」
Rino was referring to the Dark Knight.
Shirone muttered his name in disbelief. Hearing her identify him, everyone turned and looked at her, surprised.
「W-WHY ARE YOU IN THIS WORLD TOO―――?!!！」
Shirone shouted at Kuroki.
「T-THAT’S IT!! HE’S SHIRONE-SAN’S CHILDHOOD FRIEND!!!」
Chiyuki and Nao couldn’t hide their shock upon hearing Rino’s remark.
（Come to think of it, Rino did say that she saw Shirone’s childhood friend before. And Shirone herself already confirmed that the Dark Knight’s identity is truly her childhood friend, So that’s him huh? I wonder what he’s doing in this world?）
Chiyuki was really confused right now.
「Why is Shirone’s childhood friend in this place?」
Reiji suddenly raised the question in everyone’s mind. At that, Chiyuki took a closer look at Shirone’s childhood friend. His pale face was already as white as paper, as if he was about to collapse any moment now..
At that exact moment, Shirone’s childhood friend, the Dark Knight’s body, shook, and then collapsed in front of them.
Shirone was about to rush towards the Dark Knight when a giant shadow leaped from the cave and got to him faster than Shirone.
「EH, A DRAGON?!!」
Chiyuki screamed upon seeing the shadow’s figure. The thing that leapt out of the cave was a jet-black dragon.
In just a moment, the dragon picked up the Dark Knight, placed him on its back, and flew away at an unbelievable speed.
Chiyuki and co were frozen on the spot upon seeing such a baffling scene.
「EH, WHA… WHAT JUST HAPPENED――――?!!」
Shirone roared in bafflement. Her companions were no less shocked at the revelation and scenes they had just witnessed.
By the time they snapped out of their confusion, the dragon had already become a speck in the sky. Chiyuki couldn’t do anything but to look as the shadow of the dragon vanished in the horizon.
Later on, they descended from the mountain, completely forgetting about checking the safety of the Holy Dragon King.
Kuroki was lying powerless on Glorious’ back.
「Thanks a lot, Glorious.」
Glorious had leaped out of the cave the moment Kuroki fell. It was thanks to his action that Kuroki’s life was spared.
（I have no Goddess of victory, but at least I have a dragon to watch my back. That’s why even if I lost, I at least survived this battle.）
He was rather confused since Reiji and the others didn’t go after him. But once he placed his hand on his face, he remembered the fact that his helmet had fallen right before them.
「My identity got exposed, huh…」
With this, he would be hated not as the Dark Knight, but as a man called Kuroki. They now knew that he was the one who almost killed Reiji. They wouldn’t treat him in a friendly manner anymore.
He couldn’t help but feel sad about it.
「Yup, I can’t win after all. The hell, just what is wrong with me for taking on a losing battle in the spur of the moment…」
Kuroki laughed at his foolish self, he then touched the horn strapped on Glorious’ back.
「I wonder what kind of Goddess will I get with this…」
Kuroki’s consciousness dimmed as he wondered about that.
「I’m so tired. Sorry, Glorious… I’m gonna sleep for a while.」
Glorious flew high above the clouds as the unobstructed sunlight shone over his jet-black scales.
Kuroki slept peacefully while basking under the warm sunlight.