Right outside the town, you couldn't help but notice the dragon.
On the meadows lay corpses, corpses, corpses...
Members of the militia or the firm's combat slaves.
They fought with their lives and met that terrible end.
"Bertrand, fall back. We're somehow going to take care of the rest," Blackie shouted to Bertrand-san who was commanding the combat slaves.
Bertrand-san looked towards us, who had formed an impromptu party.
Only when his eyes fell on Till, they widened for just a moment, but he turned back to Blackie right away as if nothing had happened.
"Solt... Can you defeat it? That thing?"
A winged, four-legged reptile.
Not that I know if it can really be categorized as a reptile.
Anyways, it looks ferocious.
It had one horn and a mouth so wide it seemed it could swallow an elephant whole.
Its muscular body was covered with strong scaled that seemed to let no weapon pass.
The tail growing from its back gave felt like it could smash a house with one swipe.
That huge body was sometimes supported only on two legs and swung claws around that seemed like they could tear through metal.
And to begin with, it was just big.
It wouldn't be an overstatement to say that the difference in mass was also the difference in power.
There was no way it didn't scare you.
That was a dragon.
"If we don't do something, we're all going to die," Blackie replied easily and drew two daggers.
"You can talk... Miss. You're not going to fight, too, are you, Miss?"
"Bertrand-sama, I may not be up to it, but I have things I want to protect, too."
"Hmm. It may be bad style for an adult to fall back, but mistaking my role would be the height of foolishness. I shall take the combat slaves and help the evacuation."
Did he notice when to pull out because he was a merchant?
Both Bertrand-san and I had questions we wanted to ask the other, but now was not the time.
After the combat slaves completely disengaged from the dragon, Bertrand-san jauntily withdrew to the city.
The combat slaves mainly fought with bows, so their withdrawal was swift.
I had no idea how effective they were against the dragon, but they surely must have annoyed it.
And thus, only we were left in front of it.
I looked at us and the dragon.
When it laid its snake-like eyes on me, I got goosebumps.
Level 1 Ice Dragon
The enemy's Status floated in front of my eyes.
"An Ice Dragon... damn Libra, planning for one."
The deep blue scales were exactly right to call it an Ice Dragon.
But that being said...
"More importantly... Level 1?"
Somehow that makes me feel we can defeat it, am I imagining things?
"In the end, levels are nothing but an indicator how trained you are for your age. It's pointless to pay it too much heed."
What's that all about?
"Here it comes!"
Blackie's voice was strained.
After watching the situation for a while, the dragon finally made its move.
First, an attack with its tail.
It roared and swung around that deadly weapon thicker than a tree.
For the dragon, it might just have been testing the waters, but for us, it wasn't funny.
Getting hit by that mass would turn us into minced meat at once.
...not that I want to imagine that.
I jumped backwards right away.
Till escaped into the sky.
"Take that," Blackie ordered Ilya.
Don't be stupid!!
Ilya obediently stepped forward.
"——With this body, I shall become a shield for all. Ancient Field!"
Ilya's body was wrapped in green light.
"Hoh... so the lass was an ancient dragon."
In front of us, Ilya was hit by the tail that alone was more that just a few times her weight.
It was so overwhelming, I couldn't make a sound.
But the surprising thing happened then.
Ilya——stopped the tail.
The shining, green barrier... -like thing stopped the tail in place.
The wind pressure from the inertia born from suddenly stopping that massive attack almost blew me away.
Although the person who stopped that attack in the first place didn't even take one step back.
"But like this, that lass...," murmured Till, who had landed next to me, while staring at Blackie.
That Blackie on the other hand had taken Ilya stopping the attack for granted and already charged at the dragon.
He made use of the opening the dragon showed as its attack was stopped to slash at its abdomen.
Only a metallic sound rang out and there was no indication he had dealt the dragon any damage.
Blackie, who could be squashed under the dragon, promptly retreated behind Ilya.
I was annoyed.
"Split the heavens and become a ray of light, to strike my enemies! Thunder!"
Then how about magic?
My Thunder directly hit the dragon's huge body.
"GAHHH!" it screamed and writhed in agony.
It worked a bit?
"Hmm, Lightning attribute? So thou have a good affinity to it, Alice."
"Hey, don't just look on and do something, Till! You could easily defeat it, couldn't you?"
"Libra is behind this, she will surely have a countermeasure against one——but fine."
Like going up the stairs, Till took to the skies.
At the same time, her body gave off blue light.
"Third winter sending the world to demise, bring demonic ice to end it all———Fimbul!"
Being able to see that mana, it probably scared me the most of all of us.
Another order of magnitude, meant exactly this.
Earlier, Till had rained snow on the entire town. But it probably simply wasn't an option for Till to turn the whole town into ice.
The magic Till had chanted was fundamentally different from the low-class magic I was using.
Anyone can understand that.
But it wasn't just a difference in the magic, her basic mana was terrific, too.
And that's what I sensed.
That magic of Till's froze the air, brought a storm, became a blizzard of ice swords and assaulted the Ice Dragon.
It even froze exhaled air, an absolute zero not even allowing you to breathe.
If you take that attack, you won't get away for nothing.
I understood why she made me leave Shion-san's party and form one with her.
Get dragged into that, and you'll die.
No doubt about it.
I had overestimated that overwhelming firepower.
Had thought the fight was over.
But the Ice Dragon's body was wrapped in blue light which intercepted——no, absorbed Till's magic?
I even thought it grew even bigger, more ferocious after taking Till's magic.
No, it wasn't just my thinking, it really grew bigger!
"Hmm... special-made, is it," Till displeasedly muttered and landed.
The Ice Dragon, now reminiscent of Godzilla and the like, swung its arm as if to swipe us away like insects.
Ilya took it, but——!
Blood was flowing from Ilya's mouth!
"Dodge it, Ilya! Bearing those attacks is ridiculous!"
"I am very sorry, Alice-sama. I cannot move nimbly as everybody else. This is how I fight."
I see, Ilya's Agility... she's so strong, so I forgot, but that's the unchanging truth.
"Split the heavens and become a ray of light, to strike my enemies! Thunder!!"
My magic, unlike Till's, was not absorbed.
But how much damage I was actually dealing...
Blackie saw it as a chance and slashed at the dragon, but regretfully, his blades were warded off.
"Hm? Watch out!"
The Ice Dragon got on all fours and opened his mouth wide.
Only one thing came to mind.
"Its breath is coming! Step back, dragon lass!"
Standing in front of us, Ilya stared right down the dragon's throat.
"... I shall ward it off!"
"Thou one-sided fool!!"
From next to me, Till jumped to the very front——in front of Ilya.
That's not what magi do!
But even if we were to run, the dragon could just turn its head and catch them with the breath. I couldn't move from behind Ilya.
I unintentionally watched the events unfold.
"Line up with the kings of the underworld, become a inviolable gate and ward off assault——Icicle Garden!!"
Along with the end of Till's incantation, we were surrounded by a barrier of ice.
In the next moment, the Ice Dragon breathed out.
The ice barrier took the breath straight on.
It sounded like the ghastly, thunderous roar when the house you're holing up in is directly hit by a large hurricane.
No, maybe it would be better to say it sounded like a house directly hit by a hurricane and creaking like it was about to be torn to shreds any second?
Either way, its power was unmistakably terrible. Watching behind us, ice bullets repelled by the ice barrier rained down on the town.
It sent a shiver down my spine, but now I could only leave it to Bertrand-san.
Inside the uncomfortable barrier, I finally felt the fury outside pass.
The dragon finished breathing and got back up on two legs.
"...phew, so one could defend against it. Had it passed the barrier, we would have all died."
I felt Till had whispered something terrifying, but let's not mind that.
Ilya passed by her and placed herself at the front again.
Till exasperatedly shook her head.
"We have no idea how long the dragon lass will last. One shall enchant thy weapons to strengthen them, black one, so take that down already."
"——could you strengthen mine, too?" someone called from the side.
"Hey, Alice. Sheesh, why did you leave the party so suddenly? I was a little worried!"
"Ehm, as you can see..."
"I know, let me into the party again."
I invited Shion as told.
"How did you get here?"
"Inside the bandit hideout, there was a magic circle. It teleported us to the top of the hill."
So that's how the bandits got to the town without meeting anyone!
So it really was that Libra woman's doing!
"Hmm... one doesn't know who thou are, but we don't need rabble?"
"You sure talk big with that cute face!"
That's right, Till!
My Onee-chan is the strongest human there is!?
"Oy, cut the chatter. Don't we have work to do?"
"One knows and is already casting."
The arrival of an all too reliable ally made me regain my bearings.
With one less worry, my positive thinking came back.
Ehm... come to think of it, aren't I forgetting someone?
Oh, I guess I'm imagining things.