I was busy with RL stuff, thought I could finish it all quick, but… life isn’t that simple.
Anyway, here it is.
136-2. Chapter 136 – Bottom of the Labyrinth (Part 2)
Walm closed in the distance. In response, the Undead Dragon mowed down its arm.
Having detected the trajectory, Walm gradually changed his course as if to attract attention. The Undead Dragon’s blow could shatter stone slabs with ease, but its vital mobility relied on a pair of arms. This meant that a fatal blow could be avoided if there was no error in the distance calculation.
Merrill and Yuna, coming around the side and back, respectively, launched a fierce attack while Walm tried to get the dragon’s attention. Merrill lunged in and tore open the wound without stopping, and Yuna shot an arrow into the scar left by the 《Trimagitack》, which was on its throat to the chest.
All this happened while the nostrils tried their best to suppress the pungent smell that leaked, spreading on the floor.
When the Undead Dragon turned its attention to the two, Walm fired a fireball to draw it back in, as if to say that he wouldn’t allow cheating.
“I’m done carrying!”
Marianthe joined the battle line after moving Hari.
Everyone focused on cutting out the exposed flesh and torn parts, but even though it was incomplete, the total length of the Undead Dragon was still over 20 meters. Moreover, the magical barrier was still there. Hitting it was like cutting a huge stone with a small iron file.
“Don’t focus on the front!! Pay attention to the arms and fangs!”
Certainly, the Undead Dragon lacked the original mobility, but even if the movement capabilities were limited to both arms, its attacks weren’t weakened, and instead, it became more precise. In addition, the after-effects of the breath attack and repeated fatigue robbed everyone of strength and power.
Until then, the Undead Dragon had ignored Walm as if he were a small bug. Now it turned and moved its neck to bite him with its open jaw. This sudden change sent a shiver down Walm’s spine, so that he immediately stepped on the ground and slipped on his back on the stone pavement using the halberd as a push.
And, the head of the Undead Dragon passed under his feet.
“Damn it, the halberd…”
Walm narrowly escaped death by a bite, but the halberd was flung away from the dragon’s huge body and disappeared into the darkness.
Then, Walm, thrusting his elbows to the ground and straightening up, pulled the longsword from his hip. What a pity. The halberd was a good choice against a huge opponent, but there was still one weapon left. Fortunately, it wasn’t all that bad. The Undead Dragon that had made a major attack had collapsed in its stance, exposing its weak points defenselessly.
Of course, the other three weren’t so despondent as to let this pass. On the other hand, the Undead Dragon dug its claws into the stone slab and tried to attack until it fully regained its stance.
Walm’s face hadn’t loosened with joy. The Undead Dragon still had some fighting power left after all. Aside from being undead, it was a remnant of a dragon. That alone was enough to judge it as a tough opponent.
While Walm grasped the whole body of the Undead Dragon, he focused mainly on the head and arms, which were the starting point of the attack. And he noticed a difference. Until now, the Undead Dragon had straightened itself by digging its claws into the earth. This time the claws closed as if grasping something, and he noticed pressed pebbles coming out of the gaps.
“Stones incoming!! Moveee!!!”
Shortly after Walm’s warning, the bone arm was mowed down, and the pebbles were thrown. The three dodged to avoid the dragon’s pity trick, but Yuna got caught in the attack.
Countless pebbles rained down from above onto the stone pavement. Yuna slowly slumped as the debris rolled around on the ground and disappeared into the distance.
“Mari, don’t stop!!”
Marianthe, distracted by the collapsed Yuna, reacted too late to the approaching bone arm. She was caught by one of the arms and hurled like a catapult, falling to the ground without being able to recover.
After sinking the two, the Undead Dragon seemed satisfied with the result and so he tried to repeat the attack in the same way.
Neither Walm nor Merrill got their focus shifted on their fallen comrades. As their numbers dwindled, they could only repeat risky attacks, and at a dangerous time, moved to a distance.
Walm didn’t know how much time had passed. His breathing was frantic and his limbs were shaking. His grip strength was also weakening. He had dragged out the fight, using not-so-much mana he had left to fend off the frequent, very dangerous attacks. And now, even the Undead Dragon’s unshakable magical barrier was cracking. But if it continued like this, they would be the first to roll on the ground.
“At this rate, it’s only going to get worse for us. I’ll burn it with my skill.”
“Walm, your eyes, gonna be okay?”
“I don’t have enough mana left to melt my eyes… Can’t even say, if I could burn it, to death.”
Even in the midst of broken conversations, the onslaught didn’t stop. Walm continued the conversation with a harsh breath.
“Huff, haahh, if that’s, the case, close range then.”
“Yeah, I need a way, to jump in and… an opening.”
“I’ll launch you with wind magic. After that, I’ll support you until my mana, runs out.”
“When the skill got activated, get away immediately. Or you’ll get caught up.”
Walm, who managed to ask for opinions, temporarily suspended the attack, moved away from the Undead Dragon, and joined forces with Merrill. When the two of them had gathered themselves together, the Undead Dragon gleefully approached.
“Walm, here I go! <Gust>!”
A gust of wind that appeared at the bottom of the labyrinth, which should have been calm, hit Walm’s body. Fortunately, the target was approaching at full speed. It literally didn’t have enough hands to deal with Walm in the air. In desperation, it tried to bite Walm, but the black fangs only bit into nothing.
Walm chose the wound on its shoulder that had been pierced by 《Trimagitack》. The blades of the longsword he had taken in his other hand penetrated like driving a wedge.
“Walm! BURN IIIIIITTTT!!!”
A blue flame overflowed from Walm’s body, and a storm blew. Within the blink of an eye, the Undead Dragon’s entire body was engulfed in flames. The rotten flesh was scorched, and decaying liquid and fat oozed out with an unpleasant sound. It was as if the entire body had melted. At the same time, the demon eyes made a sound as if they had been pierced by a burnt nail.
Still, Walm clenched his teeth as if to suppress the pain. As in his mind, he understood that as long as this pain lasted, he could be sure that the Undead Dragon would continue to burn.
“Walm, get away now! You will get caught!!!”
Merrill’s desperate cries were in vain, and the Undead Dragon grabbed Walm with its convulsing arms. His armor crumbled and his whole body creaked. His left arm snapped and bent in a direction that shouldn’t be possible.
“Gah… haaah, ugh, guhh, uuggrhhh!!”
As if to say that this was a test of endurance, Walm continued to emit blue flames. Thinking that the 《Demon Fire》 would invite everything it touched into the Netherworld.
The left half of the Undead Dragon’s body was tragically discolored, the hand that had reached for the flame source called Walm began to melt, and the fingertips that had melted had their nails peeled off. It was the Undead Dragon that failed to endure.
A dragon that had lost its intelligence instinctively feared its own loss as well. So after realizing that it was no match for fire, that even crushing a human was dangerous, it sent Walm away with the arm that had only slightly rotted flesh. The dangerous object must be kept as far away as possible.
The stone pavement welcomed Walm with the sound of dry blows. The 《Demon Fire》 was forcibly stopped by the impact and the intense pain, and a roaring noise ran through Walm’s vision. Everything was unclear. He couldn’t know front, back, left, or right, though, he still tried to get up by relying on the ground he came into contact with.
The Undead Dragon’s roar didn’t stop, indicating that the battle wasn’t yet over. And now only Merrill was left.
Walm could feel his faintly remaining mana. He could still, and had to fight, he thought. He scolded his trembling legs and tried to stand up like a newborn fawn, but his legs couldn’t follow his instruction. When he lowered his eyes to his feet, he found that his ankles were bent like soft, long onions. Still, he tried to stand up on his remaining leg, but an excruciating pain ran through his chest and he collapsed. He had difficulties breathing out, no matter how much air he inhaled.
“Aah, ugg, ah…”
Felling like drowning, his heart contracted. Lying helpless on the ground, he tried to look ahead. In his noisy vision was Merrill, swinging her sword. The Undead Dragon was charred and melted, but hadn’t yet given up its life.
“Don’t stand, Walm!! I, will take care of the rest. Please wait there.”
Pitifully, Walm could only entrust the fate of the battle to his only companion that still standing. Dozens, no, hundreds of attacks and defenses were repeated. Merrill continued to be wounded by the Undead Dragon. Although it was a gruesome fight, it was as if she was performing a sword dance. Sure, they belonged to different races, but they were both the same, covered in wounds, and the balance of the fight could easily tip with the slightest misstep.
“Just, a little, more…”
Merrill, who had kept breathing on her shoulder, tangled her legs. This small opening was too fatal.
The Undead Dragon knocked down bones that could no longer be called arms.
Walm begged Merrill with all his might to avoid it, but his crazed auditory canals picked up a familiar wind noise. The arm that was supposed to hit Merrill directly was deflected slightly and ended up just destroying the ground.
“I will, support”
Walm strained his half-consciousness and tilted his head to see the adventurer aiming two arrows at the Undead Dragon.
Yuna, who fell to the ground after being hit in the head by a stone, returned to the battle line. Fresh blood overflowed from her wounded forehead and stained her eyes red. Despite these circumstances, the skilled archer pierced the eye of the Undead Dragon, which magical barrier was cut off, as if she were threading a needle.
Walm smiled as he spat out the blood that had accumulated in his mouth.
Yuna pierced the remaining eye with the arrows. The dragon’s gigantic body shook and its posture collapsed. Merrill ran in and took a characteristic stance. Her mana was clearly lacking. Nevertheless, she chose this stance.
Merrill, who had just jumped up, slashed down her longsword. The slash was aimed at the Undead Dragon’s neck and went down from its eye socket, slashing its shoulder as if tracing the wounds she had inflicted deep with 《Trimagitack》. Her landing wasn’t exactly graceful. But who could despise her clumsiness at that moment?
Merrill had undoubtedly finished the job brilliantly.
While Walm kept watching the result, the Undead Dragon’s body collapsed like a dead tree reaching its limit. The rotting liquid flowed down, spreading a foul odor, and the rotting flesh began to melt all at once. The Undead Dragon, which had become nothing but bones, was completely dead for real.
Walm, who had been nervous all the time, finally could close his eyes in relief.
“Yuna, check on Hari and Marianthe, I’ll check on Walm.”
Even though Merrill was exhausted after so much fighting, she gathered her leftover strength to run to Walm.
“Why were you so reckless!! You idiot, wake up. Don’t let go of your consciousness.”
Don’t be so unreasonable, was what Walm wanted to reply, but no matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t speak. For his lungs, which had abandoned their normal functions, even letting out a single word was an extremely difficult task.
Merrill removed Walm’s clothes to check on his condition.
“Not only his limbs, but also his ribs are broken, and his chest, is swollen. Damn it, is the air trapped in his chest cavity?”
“Merrill, they’re not completely okay, but Hari and Marianthe are alive.”
Yuna reported the current situation without emerging from the darkness. Despite getting knocked out in a flashy way, Walm was relieved with his muddy consciousness that they were a very persistent companion.
“Yuna, is Hari conscious!?”
“Yes. He could speak because he cast healing magic on himself.”
“Bring him here, the air continues to accumulate in Walm’s chest. If left alone, his heart may stop.”
Hari, who was carried on Yuna’s back, lay on the ground with Walm. As if there were a big fish auction in the harbor, Yuna and Merrill, as well as Marianthe, who was dragging her weak leg, surrounded the two and looked at their condition.
“I know that you’re seriously injured, but could you give me instructions, Hari?”
“For the sake of my comrade. That much. No big deal. First, take out the blood-draining needle tube and distilled liquor from my tool bag… That’s it. Wash your hands with it. Huff, huff… between, the second, and the third rib, is the puncture site. Pierce the needle there. Above the nipple. A little more to the right, there. Insert the needle vertically, slowly. As it enters the chest cavity, air will come out with the sound of the injection.”
A new pain spread through Walm’s chest, but once it reached a certain depth, strangely, he found it easier to breathe. In his fading consciousness, Walm heard the sound of air escaping from his chest.
“Nice sounds. The air, is coming, out.”
“Good. It’s a success, Walm.”
Merrill relaxed and smiled with a tired expression on her face. Walm, whose communication capabilities were limited, weakly raised his trembling arms in response.
This was the moment when the Trimagitack conquered the Great Labyrinth of Belgana.
TN: The “Dragon” of the Undead Dragon in here is written with this kanji “龍”. The other Dragon that appeared in the story and was written with this kanji is the Flame Emperor Dragon and the other one just mentioned, the so-called Merciful Sea Dragon.
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