SETP Vol. 2 Chapter 6

Chapter 6 – Gravity

With steps in the sand, Lychaine and Zerum separated from the rest of the group as soon as the ship landed and were already nowhere to be seen.

“…here?”

The shore where the sailboat landed was relatively clear, but only a few steps inland the vegetation was already very dense.

There was nothing uncommon about the scenery however. Neither the many paths nor the plants gave an impression fitting the remote island talked about with horror and fear.

Everyone except Rowle found it all too normal and wondered if they were being tricked as they carefully advanced through the forest.

“Please don’t worry…would be weird to say, I suppose. But you will understand, whether you want to or not. Just what kind of place this is. Soon enough…”

—here they are.

It was as if Rowle had predicted the immediate future.

A rumbling sound reverberated in their stomach.

Overwhelming pressure coming from above, a burning feeling on their skin.

“…I see.”

Instinct and brain were both sending a danger warning.

Grerial thought he could even hear the deafening sound of an alarm ringing in his head.

Do not proceed. Turn back now. Something inside him was shouting.

“It’s like—”

Like a place from the myths.

Before Grerial could whisper, however…

It appeared from above.

Cat-like oval eyes, shaped like slits.

A monster commonly referred to as— dragon.

Its whole body was covered by scales, its wings flapped loudly to create rumbling gusts of wind.

Its jaws were opened wide, showing rows of sharp teeth and fangs. A red hot beacon of impending doom was glowing in its throat.

“Feli.”

Grerial called Feli’s name, who was standing next to him.

“O water streams, rage on….!”

Feli quickly understood why Grerial called her and focused.

Followed by bursting sounds, columns of rippling water appeared.

“….ooh.”

Five pillars of water had appeared out of nowhere.

They crashed against each other, fusing and forming a raging water current. The tornado-like water stream acted as a barrier against the blazing stream erupting from the dragon’s mouth.

Rowle had no prior information about Feli von Yugstine’s abilities. The phenomenon he witnessed, the magic power infused within it, and the power it exerted made him open his eyes wider as he expressed his surprise.

The water barrier and the dragon’s burning breath crashed against each other.

“Prince Grerial.”

As white hot steam rose in the surroundings and all present felt the aftereffects of the clash of elements on their skin, it was Feli’s turn to call Grerial’s name.

“Yes, I know.”

Grerial extracted his magic sword from the sheath.

Its platinum-colored blade shone brightly.

There was a certain something in that sword that could charm anyone who laid eyes on it.

“We can’t keep you in the air, can we?”

Grerial held his sword at eye level, pointed towards the dragon.

A few seconds later, the dragon probably realized that the blazing stream – its fire breath wouldn’t cut it. After a thunderous roar, its black claws came flying through the water.

The roar shook both the atmosphere and the eardrums of all present, pushing them back against their will.

“Stay back.”

Grerial was an exception. After uttering those simple words, he firmly clenched his magic sword with both hands and poured magic power into it.

At the same time, a faint light enveloped the blade.

The magic blade’s ability was very simple: it enhanced the wielder’s physical abilities.

After quickly deciding to block the dragon’s hooked claws, Grerial made use of his sword’s abilities and ordered his allies to step back.

Rowle and the others quickly complied and moved away, while Grerial’s sword and the dragon’s black hooked claws clashed.

“Rrraaaaahhhhh!!!”

Grerial shouted to rouse himself. The dragon’s claw attack pushed him back, as sparks flew everywhere and Grerial’s feet carved tracks on the ground, but he held fast, resisted, and— all of a sudden, his legs stopped.

Grerial grinned.

“You *touched* me, haven’t you?”

And the next instant—

“Gwaaagh!?”

Out of the blue, the dragon cried in pain and was slammed against the ground.

Just like two magnets with opposite poles attracting each other, the flying dragon had moved towards the ground at incredible speed. An invisible force was crushing the beast against the terrain, as the dragon continued digging at the soil.

“—Gravity.”

Rowle whispered to himself.

“Stop, please.”

Grerial’s hearing was good enough to catch what Rowle said, so he laughed wryly.

“I don’t like that name very much.”

The reason why Grerial Hanse Diestburg could have become a “Hero”.

It all resided in his ability, “Boundless Pressure – Gravity”.

Grerial’s ability allowed him to freely manipulate the gravity affecting anything that touched him.

If Grerial was wielding a sword, for example, the sword would be considered part of him, so locking blades with an opponent was enough to let him use his ability.

The only limitation was it required contact to be used. Without such a condition, Grerial Hanse Diestburg could have literally transcended humanity. Or at least that’s what the people around him used to say.

“Grrraahh…!”

The dragon had not given up on struggling yet.

However—

“Quiet.”

The pressure crushing the monster increased even more.

The dragon was making a dent deeper and deeper into the ground. Its attempts to blow fire to retaliate were blocked by the ground, causing the insides of its mouth to burst, as evidenced by the muffled explosions that echoed in the surface.

“Prince Grerial.”

Feli called his name again.

Grerial, however, shook his head.

“No problem, I’ll do it.”

Grerial switched his blade to a one-handed grip and dragged it against the crawling dragon. The sword’s tip drew a thin line over the scales. After a few dozen steps, Grerial reached the dragon’s head.

In this world, strength ruled over all. In the battlefield, justice was on the side of the strong. Everything was decided by the ego of the powerful.

“You picked the wrong opponent.”

If the dragon hadn’t rushed in to fight and had spewed flames at the party from above, the results could have been very different. Despite its intellect, the dragon had underestimated Grerial and the others. That was the cause of its defeat.

The magic sword shone with a feral light.

It reached the dragon’s neck and fluttered in the air, as if to sever it. Blood sprayed and danced everywhere, as all life left the monster.

“Much more impressive than the rumors, I must say. We are in good hands.”

The man who could have become a “Hero”.

Greriall Hanse Diestburg was often addressed as such, but judging from this battle, he was definitely on par with the “Heroes”. The weakness of his “Gravity” stood out and made it seem inferior, but that was not true at all. Rowle smiled, pleased to see the situation take such an unexpected positive turn, and honestly praised Grerial’s skill and ability.

“………..”

On the other hand, Grerial’s expression was clouded.

“Is there something wrong?”

He looked deep in thought, slightly frowning.

“…despite its appearance, it was far too weak.”

Those were the words blurted out by the prince.

“…ah, I see.”

Rowle apparently understood what Grerial meant and continued.

“The monsters on this island— even among the vampires’ cohort, the level of strength can vary. I suppose we could say there are lucky or unlucky encounters.”

“Lucky or unlucky…?”

“Yes. I think this was one of the lucky ones.”

Feli and Grerial frowned, unable to follow Rowle’s train of thought. The chemist looked at the surroundings, then continued.

“There aren’t any around here, but as I said on the ship, the vampires here are a clan. The older a vampire, the more power they have. Their monster cohorts are more powerful too.”

“I see.”

200 years before, 10 “Heroes” had managed to flee from the island in one piece. Were they chased away by a dragon like this? ….it couldn’t be. Even in a different era, those called “Heroes” wouldn’t struggle against an opponent of this level. This was Grerial’s belief, so he found Rowle’s words convincing.

“Well, a streak of lucky encounters would be the best thing we could hope for, but…”

The group heard the sound of rustling leaves from a short distance ahead. Something was approaching.

Despite the close proximity, no one had noticed it at all before it came so close.

All the members of the party realized this, as cold sweat formed on their foreheads. Sweat that started unpleasantly streaming down their backs.

“No way it would ever go so easily, right…!”

Rowle clenched his teeth and growled, a hateful tone in his voice.


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