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Chapter 155 – Dragon Heart
[Anyways, I need you to come with me, dear husband.]
[…you people really decide a lot of things without consulting me first, do you…?]
It was a few days after the incident with Sharon and the holy spear. This time, Liliana came to fetch Ares.
[And of course, you also need to come along, Sharon.]
[After the other day, I can’t say no, can I?]
Sharon shrugged and raised her hands signifying that she’s not against it.
[What is it?]
[About Cornelia and George…]
[Of course, I’ve persuaded them.]
[Already? So fast!]
Ares facepalmed in disappointment. Sharon also sighed in defeat.
[Why of course. I’ve already confided with Cornelia-sama before coming here.]
[And George-dono will not get mad since I already told him far in advance…]
[…enough… I think I got it already… Un… I give up…]
After sighing a fair bit, Ares turned to Liliana.
[So, where are we going next? We’re not looking for another weapon, right?]
Liliana already had her partner Alflex. So that shouldn’t be the case.
[Y-yes… dear husband, you really change mood very quickly… Mhm…]
After taking a short breather, Liliana told them where they would go this time.
[This time we’ll be heading to the mining area in the east. The 13th mining area to be exact.]
The mining area was in the east of Grants. It’s the place currently entrusted under Nora’s care. A huge amount of mining engineers from all over the country had gathered there, making the settlement so crowded it can be considered a town now.
Each mining shaft was numbered and all of them were under Nora’s administration. The 13th mining area on the other hand…
[Nora said that it’s located in the unexplored part of the mountain. The spirits couldn’t investigate because the amount of monsters habitating the area is too many…]
The spirits were unable to enter the area due to the strong miasma.
Liliana said that they would be entering this particular mining area.
[Why are we going there though?]
[I heard that a piece of high purity magic stone was found in that area.]
Nowadays, magic stones are no longer a rare commodity in Grants. The discovery of the『Dragon Vein』 was the greatest factor. Any stone can eventually become magic stone if left in close proximity to the dragon vein.
As a result, the frontier territory saw vast amounts of development mostly thanks to the large number of magic stone-powered golems and other magic tools.
However, a high purity magic stone is a different matter altogether.
Originally, a magic stone was produced when a strong magic beast dies and its leftover vitality is crystallized. As for a high purity magic stone, the stronger the magic beast, the purer the magic stone will be.
Magic stones of the highest purity usually only belonged to ancient dragons or phoenixes. Some magic beasts like Kirins or Fenrirs could also produce similar purity.
[I heard that there were many high purity magic stones scattered there… if it’s true, then perhaps some sort of divine beast died there, I think.]
Liliana then winked at Sharon.
[I also want a Valkyrie Armor like Sharon’s.]
In fact, Liliana’s very own Valkyrie Armor had been mostly completed. However, it’s still lacking only 1 last component; a fitting 『magic stone』was not available.
The Valkyrie Armor developed by Ares was mainly crafted from magic metal called mithril, which cost a huge amount to begin with. However, the biggest part of the armor was the 『magic stone』 that acts as the armor’s core. Mithril was used to draw out the magic from this core.
As for the magic stone… it’ll require the best quality magic stone. For reference, Sharon’s Valkyrie Armor uses a super high purity magic stone called the 『Phoenix’s Heart』as its core.
A powerful monster tends to attract other strong monsters. That got to be why there were many high purity magic stones scattered in that area. With some good luck, there might even be a Divine Beast’s magic stone there…
Liliana thought so.
Thus the intrepid trio headed out to Nora’s mining town this time.
[If things get dangerous, just pull back, alright?]
The trio received that advice from Nora.
[There seem to be a hefty amount of monsters there that the spirits were having trouble going there… but I think you’ll be fine since Ares-sama is here with you… but anyways, if it looks impossible, then just retreat!]
Taking those words into hearts, the trio left for the mining shaft. Only the entrance was well maintained. The deeper one went, the more untouched the mineshaft got, and the more monsters one would encounter.
Undead appearing is par for the course. However, not only skeletons and zombies, but also many magic beast-shaped undeads were also appearing here.
Moreover, some of them were actually quite strong, which perplexed Ares.
[This is surprising… Bringing the regular army here might not be enough… I will need to bring the White Legion next time…]
Ares muttered as he kicked away the undead he just killed.
Then when he looked behind, he noticed that both Sharon and Liliana looked fairly exhausted already.
[Perhaps this is another reason why no one else had explored this far. The deeper we go, the thinner the air becomes… Maybe we should consider pulling back now…]
Whilst saying so, Ares started to look around…and realized something. Right…the walls around them were tinted with blue.
[Don’t tell me…this is…]
[What is it?]
Ignoring Sharon’s question, Ares continued to inspect the wall…until he finally muttered.
[Yet another surprise. These are mithril ores. This mine…is actually a mithril mine.]
[Is a mithril mine really that great?]
[…..honestly, I haven’t heard much about it myself. That’s why…this is a very amazing discovery.]
Ares was quite excited by the prospect. Even if mithril is more abundant than adamantite or orichalcon, it’s still a valuable commodity. The fact that they now had a huge deposit only waiting to be mined was a bit…
[We were originally here to get a magic stone for Liliana’s armor, but we ended up finding something ridiculous instead…]
Right after Ares said that,
A ferocious and loud growl echoed from the depth of the tunnel.
Ares and co. immediately went to investigate the source of the growl.
That was a dragon’s voice…and an ancient dragon level at that.
[No way… I didn’t expect that something would actually come out…]
Ares sighed at the circumstances then frowned.
What made him frown…was the state the dragon was in.
Its flesh was peeling off, causing its bones to be visible here and there. Its eyes were empty and unresponsive; moreover it was giving off rotten odor and miasma.
[Wait… this is…]
Sharon and Liliana unconsciously stepped back.
[Yeah… this was definitely an ancient dragon…that has become an undead…!]
That said, Ares ignited his fighting spirit and used magic strengthening at the same time.
Murakumo-style combat technique『Magic Sword Style』…the fact that Ares immediately used it showed that he’s serious.
Even if it had already become an undead, the fact remained that it’s an ancient dragon, one of the Divine Beasts class. It’s easy to see that this would be a gruelling battle.
(If it’s like this, maybe I should’ve brought Sigurd and the others as well? This might be a bit rough for only the three of us…)
Ares turned to Sharon and Liliana, then spoke,
[You two, retreat for the time bei…]
Sharon didn’t even let Ares finish his sentence.
Meanwhile Liliana didn’t even bother to spare a word and instead drew Alflex from its sheath.
Sharon followed suit by brandishing the holy lance Minerva.
[Are you misunderstanding something here? We are not here to be protected one-sidedly.]
[But, even if our opponent this time is an undead, it was still an ancient dragon. That thing might still be too tough for just the three of us.]
[…it’s the opposite. It might be an ancient dragon before, but isn’t it just an undead now?]
Sharon sighed after saying so.
[That is… Ah!]
Ares finally realized what Sharon was trying to imply.
[Dear husband… aren’t our weapons the most effective against undead beings?]
True. Sharon’s spear is the 『Holy Spear』 Minerva while Liliana’s sword is the『Holy Sword』Alflex.
It’s easy to forget since both weapons’ innate abilities are formidable… but their『Holy』attribute makes them extremely powerful against undead. Any run on the mill undead would turn to ash with just a slight touch.
[Here we have three wielders of『Holy』 weapons. I assume there cannot be any more advantageous situation against an undead than this?]
Liliana’s words managed to make Ares reconsider.
His wives spoke the truth. They did have the greatest advantage here.
In addition to that… he thought.
What reliable wives he had!
Ares chuckled then summoned the 『Holy Sword Excalibur』within the Seven Heavenly Swords.
[I was really wrong… You two, please back me up.]
[We intended to do that from the very beginning!!]
[Why of course!]
Following that, Liliana casted Alflex’s magic strengthening on her body while Sharon activated her Valkyrie Armor, which promptly sprouted its golden wings.
[I will strike from the front. Sharon, attack from the right. Liliana, you aim for its legs from the left.]
[ [ Affirmative!! ] ]
Thus the trio went to face the undead ancient dragon.
The battle actually developed into a one-sided situation.
Although it was originally an ancient dragon, it’s also an undead now. The holy weapons proved to be the bane of its existence.
Sharon tore apart the undead ancient dragon’s left forefoot.
Liliana also seriously dealt a serious damage to the undead dragon’s right forefoot.
From the front, Ares’ Excalibur rained down. Thanks to the effect of Excalibur’s 『Body Strengthening』and the 『Magic Sword style』stacking together, Ares’ slash cut through the undead’s body at a blinding speed.
The undead dragon wailed in pain.
At that moment, the trio could hear a voice.
《Please help me!》
That voice stopped the trio on their tracks. It’s as if someone is talking directly into their mind.
《When I died, someone cast a spell on me, turning me into an undead…my pride had been trampled… Please help me…help me break the spell…..》
Listening to that voice, Ares frowned, Sharon stiffened while covering her mouth with her hand, while Liliana instantly looked angry.
[What’s the meaning… of this…]
[Someone turned it into an undead shortly after it died, defiling the end of a proud ancient dragon.]
Liliana roared in response to Ares’ explanation.
[…this is not a laughing matter anymore! Who in their right mind would do such a thing?!]
Liliana then turned her gaze towards the undead ancient dragon. There were tears in her eyes.
She was raised in a royal environment and grew up as a knight. Pride and honor were probably some of the most important things for her.
Therefore, the dragon’s painful feelings of pride being trampled upon resonated deeply with her.
[Liliana is right…. Let’s finish this with our next blow. A dragon should live its life and die in honor.]
Ares recalled Excalibur and replaced it with Murasama instead.
Along with that, Sharon and Liliana headed toward the dragon’s hindleg at the same time.
Due to the power of the holy attribute in both of their weapons, the hindlegs were deleted almost instantly. The undead ancient dragon roared, knowing that its movement had been mostly disabled.
Seeing this, Ares opened his eyes and sharply stared at his target, before leaping at the undead dragon with breakneck speed.
[Murakumo-style Killing Blow『Dragon Annihilating Sword』!]
Ares’ slash came down like lightning from midair.
It was one of the Murakumo-style secret techniques, meant to slay evil dragons: the『Ryumetsuken ~ Dragon Annihilating Sword』
The undead ancient dragon couldn’t hold out against such an attack, it collapsed to the floor. At the same time, its body started decomposing into ashes.
Ares could almost make out a smile on the dragon’s face as it crumbled into ashes. With this knowledge, the trio finally felt a sense of relief.
At the center where the ancient dragon collapsed… Ares found a large glowing mass.
[This is… a magic stone…? Since it came to be from an ancient dragon’s heart, could this be a『Dragon’s Heart』magic stone!?]
The two women quickly went to Ares’ side. There, they saw a large pale blue magic stone.
[Amazing… even I can see the overflowing magic power…]
Liliana nodded to Sharon’s words.
[A magic stone from a Divine Beast…truly beyond expectations.]
[Anyways, with this I can finally complete Liliana’s Valkyrie Armor! Never thought that we’ll really find a proper magic stone in this journey.]
Contrary to Ares’ excited voice, Liliana sounded more anxious instead.
[But… I heard that the magic stone coming from a Divine Beast chooses its wielder. Will it really choose me…?]
[…Liliana, what are you worried for?]
Sharon cut in.
[We released the ancient dragon from its suffering, didn’t we? Everything should be just fine, right?]
Ares nodded to Sharon’s words.
Looking at the magic stone, it let out brilliant light, as if affirming that conjecture.
And like that, Ares and co. were able to obtain the proper magic stone to serve as the core to Liliana’s valkyrie armor.
The trio explored the mine further, and found another ridiculous fact.
Not only was there a huge vein of mithril here, but also the fact that a lot of high-purity magic stones were scattered inside the mine.
In the first place, ancient dragons prefer to live in an area abundant with magic. Perhaps the mithril vein was why the one they encountered chose to stay even after becoming an undead.
Regarding the high purity magic stones, a powerful beast would naturally attract other strong beasts. Thus this place became the gathering spot for strong magic beasts.
[This discovery is too ridiculous… I really don’t know what to do with them before consulting this with everyone…]
[Ahh, this will surely make me busier than before… I wonder when I will get to relax…]
As Ares concluded, these discoveries would bring benefit to the Schwarzer Frontier Territory. However, it also happened to be the sign of the looming war.