A Dragon’s Curiosity


Rushing into the room, Nisha decisively engaged one of the spiders skittering around the outermost perimeter first.

Since she arrived through the hallways on the opposite site from the other party and behind the monsters, the spiders did not spot the elven girl at first.

Additionally, her presence still resembled a beast more than a human or elf, so the unfortunate insect in front of her simply thought it was just another of its companions circling their prey.

Entering in close range, the dragon used her [Taurith Short Sword], covered in a infernal combination of dark aura and red mana, to slice apart two of a spider’s legs, sending sticky ichor flying from the severed parts before slashing across the main body, separating it in two halfs.

Ignoring the screeching death throes of the spider, she advanced again, looking for another easy to reach target. While the enemies hardly were worth her notice, their long limbs and the sheer number of these - each spider possessed eight of them - made it hard to approach and a direct hit on her body would certainly hurt, even if it didn’t manage to pierce her skin.

Alarmed by one of their own dying, the [Black Grave Spiders] had to divide their attention, and the ones in the back turned around to engage the new threat.

Fortunately, this relieved the pressure on the students defending their teacher, albeit they couldn’t see who came to their help just yet.

Training together with Corporal Hale and hunting in the dungeon helped Nisha gain some proficiency with a blade, her swings did not just aimlessly hail on the opponent any more, she aimed for the joints to sever any spider legs in front of her. In this way, the elven girl could deal a decisive blow to their main bodies, which were half as tall as herself.

Luckily the dragon’s blows contained much more strength than any comparable human or elf, the ichor spurting out of the wounds being blown away as well, leaving her leather attire unstained of the unpleasant liquid.

If a broodmother were to lead the others, they might have acted towards the weaker prey first or captured them to pressure the new aggressor. Without a leading presence though, Nisha could start cleaning them up one by one while the group of around two dozen spiders were equally split between herself and the students guarding the fallen dwarf.

Bringing the blade up for a formidable overhead slash, a third spider fell in just as many breaths, its death screeches terrifying the remaining insects regarding the strong enemy threatening them.

Surging towards her location, the black monsters gradually converged into a giant mob, hoping to suppress her with sheer numbers.

Flashing the hunter’s feral grin, Nisha raised her sword again, ready to take on the next spider, sending pieces of black carapace everywhere. Truthfully, she’d have prefered an iron pipe or something of the sort to deal with these bugs if they were anything like the kind she encountered in the Wilderness.

Severing a few legs was nothing to their kind, they’d easily regrow such injuries and weren’t bothered much by the pain. With a leader, the insects could put up amazing resistance, to the point where Little Flame usually prefered to let Little Terra deal with them. By crushing their limbs, regeneration took far longer in case they fled and the earth wyrm specialized in charging the enemy and crushing it apart through the use of heavy plates serving as armor. An iron rod would serve a similar purpose.

Contrary, the Dungeon allowed Nisha to wield her sword in this situation. She knew monsters were unable to leave their rooms, every adventurer knew this tidbit of information. In case of encountering an opponent beyond their limit, they were advised to flee the room; while attacks could exit the chambers, monsters could not.

This in turn helped the dragon currently, since she could leisurely slice the spiders apart without having to worry about any escaping.

The human children watched in awe. As part of the end of the year expedition of the royal academy, they had entered the Dungeon together with their teacher to gain some combat experience against real monsters. It wasn’t the first time they entered the first layer either, so they treated it as a good chance, it might just allow them to promote themselves to the second rank in either mana or aura, as training in safety often wasn’t enough. After clearing several rooms under the guidance of their teacher, calamity struck in form of the spiders. Dropping from the ceiling, the dwarf was caught unaware while looking for the monster residing in this chamber. His combat power became non-existent as he got bitten and poisoned. The spiders itself had sharp appendages akin to blades on their strong, shiny legs and none of the students could pierce through their armored limbs. Scared and falling into desperation, almost all of them lost the will to fight and could only defend their teacher in hope that he recovered fast enough to save them.

Now, they found another hope as well, in that another group might have entered the same room and could rescue them and heal their teacher.

Nisha was unaware of their thoughts and simply continued slaughtering the spiders. Striking every time the previous slash finished, it was a repetitive, mindless work where one simply needed to step aside every time one of the monsters tried to retaliate. Breaking apart their defense by severing the legs, each [Black Graves Spider] didn’t take more than three hits to fall before her - the black and red enhancement of her blade upgraded her offensive strength quite immensely, albeit it took not a small amount of aura and mana to maintain it.

Compared to her strength measuring up to the uppermost fighters in the third aura rank, young chicks - or in this case, spiders - of the second rank could only futilely struggle and shriek while a single figure cut through their lines, disposing of them one at a time. Over half of them already had fallen when the group surrounding the dwarf got a chance to see their saviour. Seeing a single young elf come to their rescue, a fire started burning in their spirit. Their rescuer was at least as young as them and still possessed a frightening battle power, how could they allow themselves to be inferior? Instead of simply defending the four young boys and one girl cultivating aura raised their weapons while two girls in the back and one boy started their incantations, readying themselves to fight back as well.

Systematically dismantling the monsters with brute strength on one side and a newly ignited spiritedness on the other caused the spiders to switch from the position of the hunter to the hunted instead. In a single candle, the last of the plated insects fell under Nisha’s blade, dissected into two equal halves.

The entire group of two dozen spiders was eradicated by the dragon, who didn’t even put them in her eyes in the first place, evident by the fact that not even a single drop of sweat appeared on her. Compared to the intense struggles she fought while growing up in the Wilderness, this was nothing but chopping up firewood.

An easy time gathering meat is always nice, but an easy hunt … it’s somewhat unsatisfying. I should probably go down to the second layer or maybe the third in the future.

While a certain elf lost herself in her mind, the human group bursted into activity, the mana users gathering around the dwarf and the warriors nervously looking out for more enemies. The male mage put his hand over the wound of their teacher and chanted a spell, which swiftly covered the injury in a layer of overly blue water. Nonetheless, he still frowned and lightly shook his head, while one of the warriors approached Nisha, unsure how to address her. He knew the condition of his own group and what he needed to do.

His physical proximity pulled Nisha back from her thoughts, she had met other groups in the Dungeon before and not once on these occasions did one of the other groups take the initiative to approach her. In her mind, it was one of the courtesies from one adventurer to the other to not overly bother each other.

“Excuse me, did you perhaps get separated from your group?”

Cautiously testing the waters, the leader had a hopeful look on his face.

“I’m alone. Why? What’s it to you?”

No one needed to teach the dragon a lesson what it meant to be perceived as weak in an encounter and tensed all of the muscles in her body, ready to react if they turned on her.

The boy only suddenly felt an overwhelming amount of dread wash over him and suddenly wished he could just fight against the spiders again.

“Please don’t take offense, miss! I didn’t know you were an powerful expert. It’s like this, we are a first year group from the royal academy and our teacher got injured while protecting us from the monsters. I hoped you were in a group that had a priest or healer with you to treat his injuries. Do you have a healing potion on you per chance? As long as you can preserve his life, the academy will give you twice, no at least three times the value of it.”

While talking, the human male first pointed at the dwarf, then gestured to his group to underline his speech.

Nisha still frowned, she had no idea why he regarded her as an expert all of a sudden and referred to her as miss, surely he had no idea regarding her status as the adopted daughter of a duke house or a noble in general.

Nonetheless, she already extended a hand to aid them and the proud dragon in her would regard it as a personal insult if they still died after she helped them. Disregarding him entirely, she strode to the side of the male mage kneeling beside the dwarf, working his water membrane over the wound which slightly helped keeping the colourless liquid from leaking out.

“Make way. I’ll try something.”

The ice in her voice scared the mage, he hastily retreated towards his group, scrambling as he rose from the ground, throwing anxious glances over his shoulder as he fled. His spell still worked and would continue to do so until it ran out of the mana the mage had provided so far.

Not bothering about trying to understand the principle behind it, Nisha summoned a spell on her own, the darkness that had helped her so far to deal with minor injuries and scratches. She didn’t know if it was enough to save the dwarf’s life, but it was the only spell in her repertoire that might work at all.

Tearing through the water screen if it wasn’t present and hastily devouring it, manifesting as a formless cloud of mana flowing from her hands. So far it had always been completely black, now the devouring energy held a deep purple hue, greedily disintegrating the water mana, the colourless liquid seeping out of the wound, the wound and anything else in its way. On the inside, the elf wondered about this change too, yet she hid her surprise, under no circumstances would  she show this form of weakness in front of an unknown group. She could only wait to see if it still worked the same way.

As soon as the energy hit the unconscious adult on the ground he started to moan in pain, while the group of students under him broke out in hushed whispers, arguing behind the two. Nisha didn’t bother with them, their level far too low to be a threat in normal cases and unless went wrong with healing their teacher, they shouldn’t be forced to act against her.

While the humans thought they were quiet enough with their whispers, the mentions of ‘dark technique’ and ‘demon practitioner’ didn’t escape her slender ears and sharpened senses.

Fortunately her restorative cloud worked fast and scarlet blood seeped out of the wound before scabbing over, the dwarf’s moans subsiding before he fell quiet.

Rising from her kneeling position, Nisha let her glance wander over the group, taking in their shivers as her eyes landed on each individual’s body.

“I don’t need any of your thanks.”

This simple sentiment coloured the leader’s face from his pale state, he knew how rude they acted in front of the one that saved their teacher.

“As long as you never talk about this to anyone, we can be considered even.”

The dragon didn’t move out of a dedication to do good deeds or a passion to help fellow humans living in the same place as her. If they hadn’t been vastly outstripped in power, she’d have watched them die to the spiders, as it was law of the Wilderness that the strong devour the weak. However, she did move and show some of her capabilities and knew that word was bound to spread if she did nothing. By this point, lying and hiding herself wasn’t hard for her, her family always pointed out how important it was that no one learned of her draconic heritage. The fear all of the humans currently exhibited just helped with that and Nisha used it to ensure their silence. Each of the students gulped and nodded, not daring to open their mouths. Eyeing them a last time, she departed from the room and headed for the exit. For now, she wasn’t in the mood to hunt and test her skills anymore.