Lauren stared at the man with dark red hair while slowly reaching for her sword.
“Lauren...I’ll remember that name,” Bramich said.
Unexpectedly, as soon as he finished, the second woman rushed out. It was obviously Ustia and the Dragons Legion went to meet her head on while Bramich made it clear that he wanted to fight Lauren alone.
He raised his sword above him and rushed toward her before slashing downward while she drew the Blood Sword and crossed blades with him. A small shock ran through the tavern and tables were along with patrons.
Ustia dodged an incoming blow before thrusting her sword into the attacker's neck and kicking his dead body toward his comrades.
“You’re holding back?” Bramich inquired.
“Aren’t you?” Lauren answer before she lowered her body and pushed forward. The swords were freed and they began clashing once again. Each strike was met with a block or a parry and it almost looked like the two of them were practicing a rehearsed dance.
Meanwhile, the tavern-goers had already begun to flee along with the owner. Ustia ducked under a wide swing and wrapped her arm around the neck of a legionnaire before tightening her grip and snapping it. Two others rushed toward her and she swung her sword with her free hand, deflecting the two blows. She tossed the dead legionnaire toward them in order to create space and charged at the legionnaire who was the furthest away from his comrades.
The two Valkyries decided to refrain from using most of their bloodline skills at least until they found Ira. There was no shame in admitting it would be safer to stay with him rather than facing all the Valkyries head on.
Lauren moved backward to avoid an incredibly vicious swing from Bramich before unleashing the energy in the Blood Sword. A burst of red colored energy hit Bramich in the chest and sent him flying through the wall.
“Sir Bramich!” A Legionnaire called out but in his lapse of attention, his throat was pierced by Ustia’s sword.
There were only three legionnaires left and they felt that they were in dire straits. Two moved to deal with Ustia while the last went to Lauren.
Lauren brandished her sword and a bright red light flashed before the single legionnaire dropped to the ground while clutching the entrails that were spilling from his armor. Just as Lauren turned to look at Ustia she saw a sword piercing through the skull of a legionnaire while the other was lying in a pool of blood.
“Was that all of them?” Lauren asked.
“No...The one they call Bramich is still alive.” Ustia pointed to the half-dragon who was climbing out of a pile of wooden debris.
“I was wrong to try and test your skill as a warrior, it’s obvious you’re not like the common upstart. I’ll be sure to take you seriously from this point on.” As Bramich finished the inscriptions on his ivory sword lit up and the bloodthirsty roar of a dragon resounded throughout the entire town.
The transparent visage of a three-headed dragon appeared behind him while reddish crystalline scales emerged around his eyes.
Lauren sent a burst of energy out of the Blood Sword but it dissipated after clashing with the dragon heads.
“There was a dragon who fused himself together with his siblings. Both flesh and soul combined to make a powerful yet grotesque abomination that stained the dignity of the Dragon Gods. He was slain and his name was erased from the annals of history. All that remains are the weapons made from his body.” Bramich spoke ceremoniously because he was safely protected by the transparent three-headed dragon. His explanation of the origins of the sword was his way of paying respect to the dragons who had given it to him.
The three dragon heads intertwined and began to twist around each other before remaining motionless.
“...It may be dangerous if we don’t respond properly.” Ustia’s words had a double meaning that Lauren instantly understood.
If they fought with Bramich any longer they would be forced to show their Valkyrie abilities.
Lauren disliked fleeing from a good fight but her current priority was Ira. She sighed to herself and spoke, “Maybe another day.”
“What–” Bramich was met with a large explosion of magic power that sent a wave of dirt toward him.
He waited for it to slowly dissipate and when it did, the two women were gone.
A few hundred armored legionnaires could be seen approaching in the distance to support Bramich, "Sir!?"
“It’s fine,” Bramich said while waving them off, but his eyes had the intense desire to fight the beautiful woman who introduced herself as Lauren.
Ira was resting alone in a room when he heard a knock on the door.
“If you’re coming in it better be with something good.”
Virgil entered with a few papers in his hands before giving them to Ira.
“This…” Ira silently read the paper before continuing, “...is less than I expected.”
“It’s all we could smuggle out at the moment. The name Gicae is scattered between hundreds of records and locating them is quite difficult,” Virgil explained with complete honesty.
“I guess it’ll do for the first exchange...Now, who’s the first target?” Ira stored away the papers which caused Virgil's eyes to widen. Casual use of spatial magic was unordinary even on Yeramesh.
“The last two dragons on the outskirts of the Dragon’s Wing Province.”
“Two? Aren’t they usually alone?” Ira raised an eyebrow.
“They’re twins apparently. It’s said they’ve been together for hundreds of years and rarely get involved in the affairs of the people. Since each dragon has their own legions and armies, they send them out to settle most of their problems.” Virgil explained.
“Got it.” Ira nodded.
Virgil was hesitating on whether or not ask Ira something but he eventually gathered the courage, “In the Dragon’s Wing Capital one of our groups was brutally killed...I was wondering if that had anything to do with you?”
“Yeah. I probably killed them but, hey, they attacked me first.” Ira raised his hands innocently.
“...I see. Since that’s all I’ll be on my way. You’ll receive the relevant information for the dragon shortly so I’d ask you not to go too far from the room.” Virgil didn’t show a change in expression but inwardly he felt uncomfortable with Ira’s disposition.
“Ancestor, I don’t understand what that, Ira, has that’s so important. Even if he’s strong he’d probably be no match for multiple dragons.” Riel frowned.
“No, it’s precisely because you don’t understand. That boy’s a huge danger to the continued survival of every race on this continent just by existing. That’s why we shouldn’t do anything unecessary and try to stay on his good side.” Jydar did away with notions that Vulpes were cunning and sly, opting for practical thought instead.
“Even so…” Riel still maintained her stubbornness.
“Riel, listen. When he showed hostility for the briefest moment, I felt as if I was standing in front of a being that commanded life and death. That means that his bloodline is related to some beast and whatever it is, it’s far stronger than us.” Jydar still felt apprehension when recollecting that skin pricking feeling so he forced it to the back of his thoughts and smiled.
“Besides, marrying into his family shouldn’t be so bad. At the very least, he’ll have some sort of obligation to protect our race.” Jydar recalled the shaky history of the Vulpes.
It was said that out of the race of Spirit Foxes, one was bested by an ordinary human man who requested a boon of power for winning. Being the crafty spiritual entity that it was, it gave some of its spiritual essence to the man and he became the Vulpes.
Of course, the essence seeped into his very being and ensured all of his descendants born from other ordinary humans would produce Vulpes children. After a few years, there were witch hunts for what appeared to be a curse.
The Vulpes suffered quite a lot and eventually, the problem was solved but not without its cost. The Spirit Fox undid the forced bloodline conversion in all of the Vulpes but it took an immense amount of power which ended up killing the fox. At least, that’s how the legends about the origins of the Vulpes went. There were some parts true and some untrue as was the case for all personal recollections of history.
“If that’s your final decision then I will respect it, Ancestor.” Riel bowed politely before excusing herself.
Jydar couldn’t help but to laugh dryly while thinking of his situation, he was centuries old but he would be marrying into a family as if he was a child. Although it was weird for him, he didn’t regret his choice since the greatest trait of the Spirit Fox was self-sacrifice. Though it wasn’t the type of sacrifice he had in mind.