Ria’s form changed before Carla’s eyes.
An existence she’d previously fought by placing her life on the line, a Black Dragon.
But the body before her right now was far more colossal than that time. Its full length was comparable to even that God’s.
“It’s a giant monster battle…”
His soul practically falling out, Serge also muttered. However, not even those stories would encompass a scale as large as what was happening.
Existences whose bodies were similar to the masses of the largest mountains were duking it out, each blow easily holding the destructive force to level a city.
“Woah, you guys, come over here and don’t leave my side yeah? I’ll protect you for right now.”
Following what Ohma told them to do, Carla and Serge went over to her. If a human body got hit by those attacks, it’d definitely pop.
Terrew looked in the direction of the demons. They didn’t seem to feel like moving.
“Really, it turned into such a ridiculous thing.”
Someone appeared next to Ohma.
With jet black hair and Dragon Eyes, she closely resembled Ria.
Dark Dragon Valis had made an appearance.
Ohma didn’t even ask why she was here. Next to Terrew was a light blue-haired Dragon, Lanna.
Not even God Dragons, beings that held an immense strength, could treat this battle as someone else’s affair.
“That girl should be a person of our world by now, so why is she so attached to her original one?”
Unable to understand, Valis shook her head.
In truth, not even a fellow reincarnator like Serge could fully understand it.
There was magic in this world. He’d even managed to work his way into the nobility through his own cheat-like power.
He was an everyday student in his former life, but now he was in a position that allowed him to converse with this world’s leaders. It could even be said that his dreams had come true.
But Ria was different.
From what he’d been told before, she had chosen a somewhat unusual occupation for herself and had lived the life she wanted.
Hesitating in destroying the world that raised her was a reasonable thing.
As an aside, according to what Labyrinth had told him, Labyrinth was a girl that refused to go to school in her previous life. Thanks to that, she even kept herself closed up in a labyrinth now.
When he explained that, Valis sighed gently.
“It might be better to erase her memory…”
That would do something for sure.
Ria’s actions were clearly being influenced by her former life. If not, even with her Gift, she wouldn’t have arrived at the current situation.
Even growing to the point that she’d be able to obtain Valis’ power as her successor was doubtful.
“How about you all have that chat later?”
Ohma returned Valis’ concentration on the spectacle happening before them.
The climax of the battle was about to happen.
A battle between a God and a Dragon was a terrifying sight.
Heaven and Earth shook, lightning rain poured from the skies, and magma rose from down in the former Imperial Capital’s underground. The wind blew, creating a storm that scraped and lashed the ground.
Valis and Lanna had erected a barrier in order to prevent too terrible a disaster, but attacks would occasionally pierce through it and cause an explosion far in the distance.
Most of the God’s magic was repelled by the Dragon’s scales, not even a meteor shower would penetrate them.
It was same for the Dragon’s power, though, as hardly any of it made it all the way to the God. Even its darkness breath, something that could destroy all creation, was obstructed by its light and was unable to reach it.
It had turned into an all-out melee in the end.
The God’s fists, feet, and head assaulted the Dragon’s body.
Meanwhile, the Dragon’s claws, tail, and fangs pierced the God’s body.
Witnessing this mythical battle, Carla felt an impulse surge within her own body.
Bearing both the blood of a God and of a Dragon, Carla felt as though she could see this battle’s outcome.
The Dragons had once destroyed the Gods.
And now, the fight taking place before her was between one of those Dragons and one of those Gods.
Ria… would win.
Inside the battle, Ria’s consciousness had grown faint.
She felt neither pain nor emotion, fighting simply on instinct.
With her claws, with her fangs, and with her tail.
Exposing the God’s flesh by unleashing a breath at close range, she bit into it with her fangs.
It mended itself, but she has certainly given it a wound.
Meanwhile, the God’s power was unable to pierce the Dragon’s scales.
With that sole word, a blade of nothingness sliced into the Dragon’s body.
It severed one of its wings, but even then, the Dragon’s assault didn’t cease.
Even when a spear of nothingness pierced through its body, the Dragon lived.
Even when its heart was penetrated, the Dragon lived.
“How can I win against something like this…”
At the very center of the God’s body, Ars was at wit’s end.
When he fought together with Carla, Guinevere, and the others against that Dragon in Manesh, they overcame the Dragon’s defenses with magic, allowing Carla’s sword to penetrate its heart.
This thing was a Dragon. He had also seen them a millennia beforehand, so there was no mistaking it.
But this presence in front of him held a strength and fleshy body that was incomparably stronger than those Dragons.
Was it… a God Dragon? No, that was impossible. He’d seen Valis’ strength back in that Millennium and it was much, much stronger.
In truth, Ars had one last trump card. However, it wasn’t something that he should use now.
“I give up, I surrender, it’s my loss!”
The God’s arm tapped the Dragon, but the Dragon’s attack didn’t stop.
Its breath broke the God’s magical barriers, its fangs piercing its neck.
No, its fangs almost piercing its neck.
A gigantic dragon easily double the size of this Black Dragon sealed its movements.
It was Dark Dragon Valis.
Its arms pulled back on Ria’s neck and wing, keeping her away from Ars.
Seeing Ria still continue to rage, three more Dragons made a move.
Four God Dragons.
Things which don’t even make a move during Millenniums, and four of them at that.
Gigantic figures that dwarfed even the largest mountains pinned down Ria’s body.
Having turned into a Dragon, Ria still attempted to struggle, but Valis absorbed her mana.
Losing her mana, her Dragon body vanished.
Holding onto Gallach and her armor in tatters, Ria collapsed.
When she opened her eyes, there was an Angel.
“Have you woken up, Ria?”
No, it was a familiar face.
Judging by her posture, she was being given a lap pillow by Carla.
Even while saying that, her memories were returning. Memories dominated by killing intent and the impulse to fight were coming back to her, causing her to feel sick.
When she placed her hand against her forehead, she felt sweat covering it. Carla wiped that sweat off with her handkerchief.
“Did I… lose?”
Her memories from its end were still fuzzy. But it felt like she’d reached a stalemate of some sort.
“No, it was your win.”
When she turned to look at who said that, it was Ars, who was sitting on the ground.
“Yep. I surrendered. But you didn’t stop attacking me, so the God Dragons had to step in and stop you.”
The battle’s conclusion ended with something so sloppy?
“Valis and the others?”
Ria turned to look at the source of the voice and saw the four God Dragons standing.
“So, what will you do with your winner’s privilege? You’ll have to excuse me for running away if you tell me to hand over my life or something though.”
Ars stood up as he said that. For a loser, he still had plenty of composure.
“I was intending to have a fight with my life on the line though…”
Staggering, Ria stood up as well. She placed her hand on her waist out of habit and realized her katana wasn’t there.
“Where is Nagasone Kotetsu?”
She felt Gallach’s existence. It was within Ria.
But not Nagasone Kotetsu. The katana she’d used like an extension of her arm was gone.
“I was able to collect it just in case, but, well…”
Saying that, what Serge presented to her was her beloved katana… split in two.
Seeing Ria look as though she was about to cry, Ars held out his hand.
“Loan it to me for a moment. I’ll mend it.”
“You can mend it?”
Although it was weird to mend the weapon of an unreconciled opponent to begin with, as a weapon, Nagasone Kotetsu wasn’t a threat to Ars.
Nagasone Kotetsu regained its original appearance after being covered with a magic that was meant to be used on living bodies.
“You should be able to use this magic like this as well if you live for a thousand years.”
Seeing Ria look at it as though intrigued, Ars passed Nagasone Kotetsu back to her, handle first.
It was a moment that would have allowed her to cut him easily if she wanted to. Within that short moment of tension, Ria produced a sheath with her sparsely remaining mana and put Nagasone Kotetsu in it.
Ria gazed at Ars, who was sighing exaggeratedly in relief, with half-opened eyes.
“What are your intentions?”
“Nothing really… I just thought it’d be fine if I took the chance to fix it for you.”
Ars shrugged his shoulders. However, he looked at her with an unusually serious expression on his face.
Speaking of which, he’d always given the impression that he held a slight smile.
“So then, what do you want to do?”
“What do I want?”
“The winner’s privilege, yeah? Will you cause another human-demon war? Or perhaps… cause the Great Collapse? Either way, the God Dragons will support neither you nor I. That is for certain.”
In truth, Ria didn’t think that she’d win. She’d fought against the Hero from one thousand years ago and who was the current Demon King. She thought that his power was on an entirely different level.
Even now, her winning didn’t feel real.
No, maybe it didn’t feel real for another reason?
She remembered becoming a Dragon. But was it alright for her to call that her own strength?
It wasn’t her swordsmanship, nor her martial arts. It was the strength of the Gift she’d gotten when she was born into this world. Although it was Ria’s power, it wasn’t a power that was related to her previous life.
“What to do…”
Seeing Ria look troubled with her arms crossed in front of her, Ars once again shook his head in amazement.
“You haven’t even decided…? Why did you even decide to fight?”
“Onee-chan generally doesn’t think about things beforehand…”
Ria didn’t even complain when Serge said something rude about her. Because she really hadn’t thought about what she’d do after the battle.
Ria thought that she would come to a decision if she fought. At least if she died, she wouldn’t have to worry. That’s what she felt, at least.
“Well, there aren’t many choices. Will you cooperate with me and fight against Earth? Or will you oppose me and cause a human-demon war? … There’s also the choice of siding with Earth, but I don’t recommend it.”
Ars pointed out the choices he’d thought over many times. He had eventually chosen to destroy Earth from those three, though.
“If you fight against this world to protect Earth, you will fight us as well.”
Valis said that quietly, but it was a death sentence. Even if she decided to stand with Earth, the result of that would be obvious.
“Besides, the world you call Earth will perish either way.”
Well that was some new information.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard of that…?”
“I didn’t say? From the start, Earth is a world where people with strong souls can’t be reborn into. Nevertheless, the world is teeming with humans. People coming here after being reincarnated or summoned from virtually the same era is the same thing as ripe fruits falling from their tree.”
So even if she did nothing, the result wouldn’t be any different?
Humans only came from the twenty-first century even though the flow of time was different… Ria thought it was strange, but she hadn’t looked into the matter.
“If you told me that first…”
“I thought someone would have told you by now.”
Valis spoke calmly, Ars and the other God Dragons nodding in agreement.
“It’s the first time I’ve heard about it too…”
“Well, it’s not for sure if it’ll be able to just barely make it through the twenty-first century or not.”
As Ars explained, the Earth was a world whose trunk was thick even two thousand years ago and had reached its limits due to the humans living on it.
Their explosive population growth seemed to be the ultimate cause and she certainly did remember educational programs talking about the population soaring up through the previous century.
As a result, it became impossible for the world named Earth to give board to all of humanity.
“There was a phenomenon similar to the Millennium on Earth as well that would decrease their world’s population through war, but not on a scale that would cover the whole world.”
“But there should have been clues to solving the energy and food problems?”
Nuclear and methane hydrate should have been replacing crude oil, while food production should have been increasing through gene manipulation.
“Even so, the Earth will perish. Its branches will extend no further.”
Valis declared indifferently.
Even if she’d asked how she knew something like that, she’d probably answer by saying she knew because she knew.
“And that’s why I think it’d actually be a kindness to accept immigrants from the Earth. Our technical civilization isn’t too developed, but we can make up for a considerable part of it through the application of magic.”
“So there was only one choice from the start, wasn’t there…”
There was no choice but to destroy the Earth.
“Ah, no, if you used your power, there is one other way.”
Ars held up a finger as he spoke.
“You just have become a Dragon, go to Earth, and decrease the population with your power. You could probably prolong its end by a bit if you reduce them to around a billion people.”
Ars continued by saying the best way would be to turn China and India into no man’s land. They certainly were areas with huge populations though…
“You could also go with destroying the United States if we’re going to start talking about resource consumption, but the world’s power balance will collapse if that country gets destroyed, so yeah… ah, you could actually go with that and leave it up to the resulting wars… no, leaving Russia alone might cause something else entirely…”
“If you go to solve Earth’s problems, we will migrate the demons onto the other continents and the balance can be kept. It isn’t impossible for our connected worlds to separate, either.”
Following up on Valis’ statement, Ars held up his finger again.
“That’s great. It’d come with Earth’s population being decreased, but they won’t have to lose their birthplace. This world won’t have to have a human-demon war, either. I might be the one to say it, but isn’t that the best option?”
This man truly was frivolous when it came to lives. He came to a decision through numbers alone.
Was that a Demon King’s fate?
“I’ll fight… against the Earth.”
In a small voice, Ria whispered.
“And we’ll accept immigrants. We’ll allow the Earth to perish.”
Hearing Ria’s words get stronger as she continued to speak, Ars made a deplorable expression.
“Why’d you decide that? I think my plan would be a lot easier.”
“As for us, we believe that destroying the Earth would be the best. That would allow this world’s longevity to extend an overwhelming amount.”
Although Valis said that, that isn’t why Ria made that choice.
“We’ll also have to take care of the people of Earth that come here as immigrants. Just reducing their numbers is irresponsible.”
Ars felt that it would just be an excessive thing, but nodded nevertheless.
“I can’t sympathize, but I can understand. I don’t want to do something that sounds so troubling as someone in charge though. Well, I’ll follow what the winner says.”
Ria’s blood spoke to her.
Saying to protect the world, that this was her destiny.
The blood of a Dragon, of an existence that protected this world, tried to bind Ria.
“Seriously… what a horrible thing…”
A massacre that would even cause Stalin and Mao Zedong’s faces to pale. Perhaps as long as the human race existed, this choice would cause Ria’s name to be forever engraved in history.
Well, it wasn’t as though she chose to kill her own people, so at least she had that still.
At any rate, this story wouldn’t have a happy ending. It would likely be retold eternally as a tragedy.
The one to prop Ria up by her shoulders was no other than Carla.
No matter what she said, Carla would be by her side. No matter what she did, she would protect her back.
“You know that I’ll understand if you ever get fed up with me, right?”
“That is the only thing that will never happen.”
In response to Carla’s smile, Ria smiled wryly.