Section 7: Grimoire Master Iris Calvafon
Several people started screaming near the dragon’s fallen body.
Sometimes when you ‘see something unbelievable’, people use the expression that it ‘stole your breath away’. That expression certainly describes me right at this very moment.
“It’s alive! It’s still alive!”
The villagers who had all cautiously watched the dragon until now scattered outwards like a cluster of fledgling spiders.
“No, no way……..”
I muttered to myself in a daze, not able to accept the reality that the dragon had survived, and yet there it was, raising its massive head. The birdlime holding it down was meaningless as *CRACK* *CRACK* a noise similar to a tree being rent asunder resounded outwards. The dragon’s black, scorched head moved this way and that until its hate-filled gaze finally landed on me, and its pupil narrowed.
“Tch, Hiyaaaaa! Just die already you doddering old dragon!”
Toslin immediately brandished her sword once again and aimed for the dragon’s remaining eye while it was still in reach. But the dragon managed to dodge, and the slash ended up connecting with its nose instead.
The steel blade was able to cut in deep through the charred, brittle skin. Black skin and fresh blood fell away, splattering across Toslin’s face…….but it was still coming. It just kept coming.
“Get back Iris!”
Toslin’s sharp voice flew into my ears, but my feet weren’t getting the message. Because, what am I supposed to do? We’ve already run out of mushroom spores, so how do we defeat the dragon? Toslin, everyone, what are you going to do if you stay here?
“It is dangerous here Iris-san!”
But, Rose-san is…….. Goldmund too, what will you do?
“Listen up Iris!”
So once again like this, you’ll fight on our own right? To save the people of this village. Even though Carol’s usually always going money, money, money, if she dies………what’ll happen if she dies………?
“Me too…….I-I’m fighting too!”
I draw my dagger from my waist. Although it’s wounded, a dragon is way too big for a tiny weapon like this to work against it. But I, I still draw it out. To stay together with everyone. Because if I want to stay by their sides, I need to show them that I can fight too!
“Have you lost your mind you idiot! You can’t win against an opponent like this!”
As my trembling hands tighten their grip on my dagger, the dragon abruptly turned its butt to me.
I couldn’t understand why, so I just kept standing there perplexed. Then an instant later, there was the sharp sound of something cutting through the air.
“Get down Iris!”
I didn’t have the leeway to hear why. Looking in the direction that the sound was coming from, I saw a tail as thick as a log hurtling through the air right at me.
Just as the tail was about to mow me down, Rose-san pushed me down.
A violent breeze passed over my head as I landed on my back.
I heard Toslin’s scream. I forget to stand back up, instead following Toslin’s gaze. There, Rose-san was lying on the ground in a heap far away from where she had been. Goldmund was lying there right next to her.
“R…….Rose-san? Goldmund? N-No, No!”
I threw my dagger on the ground and ran over to Rose-san.
I shook Rose-san’s dust smeared body while desperately calling her name.
“Ah, Iris………san. That is, no good…… You have to run from here………plea……..*COUGH* *COUGH*”
Rose-san’s voice was hoarse as she spoke, and her whole body was shaking as she tried to stand up. But blood was trickling down the corners of her mouth, and it was obvious she was in no condition to fight.
“I, I’m sorry……… I’m so sorry Rose-san! I am…….. I am……..”
“Fufu………. Fufufu, what do you have to be sorry for? How ridiculous.”
Rose-san was laughing while I was cursing my own helplessness and incompetence.
“Now then, I…….I have to go. I cannot just leave it to those two………*COUGH* *COUGH*”
“Impossible, it’s impossible Rose-san! If you try to move now………you’ll die, no……….I don’t want that!”
I embraced Rose-san as she tried to get up. Tears started to blur my vision. No……..not like this. Our adventure…….ending like this. Ranroot…….the hero slew the dragon. I know its unreasonable to compare myself to the legendary hero, but……..
Another deafening scream tore my eyes away from Rose-san. Even though she was wearing a set of supposedly heavy plate armor, reflected in my gaze was Toslin’s body soaring through the air.
Carol jumped off the dragon’s foot and rushed up its back, aiming her dagger at the one remaining eye that had yet to bleed. But, the dragon shook its head and threw Carol of its back.
Carol twisted her body as she fell and landed like a cat.
“H-Huh? A, my comb”
Carol moved her hand to her chest and began frantically searching around in the dirt around her. Her important comb must have fallen away from her when she was twisting her body midair.
The comb had fallen right between Carol and the dragon.
The dragon turned its irritated, disoriented gaze towards Carol and charged.
Carol let out a short shout before running forward as well, reaching out for her comb. Just as she was able to wrap her fingers around it, a huge, dark shadow passed over her.
When Carol hastily looked up, the dragon’s blood red open mouth was coming right for her.
“Idiot! You’re not supposed to come out in the open!”
Before the dragon’s teeth could tear through Carol, Toslin once again swung her sword at the dragon’s face.
An anguished cry leaked from the dragon’s lips at it writhed about in agony. Toslin took a step in front of Carol, seemingly intent on taking on the dragon alone while protecting her, but then the dragon turned around, once again attacking with its whip-like tail.
Toslin quickly turned around, hugging Carol close right before they were hit.
Carol’s shriek echoed across the village square as both of them slammed onto the ground.
With nobody left standing, the dragon bellowed. Even with blood still seeping from wounds all over its body, it was still able act composed with a demeanor suitable for a creature usually referred to as a legend.
“Toslin……..Hey, hey are you all right Toslin? Talk to me………Toslin? Toslin!”
Carol crawled over to Toslin who had rolled away after they hit the ground. But no matter how much Carol called her name or shook her body, there was no response.
“N-No……she’s not dead…….. Rose! Help me Rose! Toslin is……….Toslin is………. NOOOOOOO!”
“Ku………Goddess. Please grant us your divine protection…….”
The dragon slowly advanced on Carol as she desperately clung to Toslin and refused to let go. Rose-san tried standing up, but her legs buckled underneath her. In order to protect such a master, Goldmund picked himself up and moved closer while dragging his injured legs behind him.
“Is, is everyone ready!? If things are going to be like this, then the least we can do here is save those girls!”
Quinn-san’s voice was suddenly right next to me. When I glanced over again, the villagers were all moving to surround the dragon while holding hatchets and spades.
“Ryland, I…….I’ll draw the dragon’s attention……… Use that time to gather everyone up and get the girls out of here!”
“No, you can’t, please run away! If you do that………then Quinn-san!”
“It’s okay. It’s okay Iris-san. I wouldn’t have this life to start with if you hadn’t saved me. So if I can use it here to return the favor…….. I’m sure my family will understand. Ryland!”
“I got it. I’ll show them the way out. So you show this dragon what it means to mess with us humans.”
Quinn-san raised his hatchet and slowly closed the distance between himself and the dragon.
Gently laying Rose-san back on the ground, I propped myself back up on top of my trembling legs.
“If you do this……….stop………. You’ll die, no……….. Don’t die………nobody……..nobody should have to die!”
I pulled out a book from my rucksack. An ancient, leather bound book with silver trimming that gave off a dull glow. I shook off my overflowing tears and glared at the dragon.
Once in a lifetime is written here………
“I now release the bonds on this world”
But if we die here, then our lives will have passed by anyway! I turned over the magnificent cover. The neighborhood magician oji-san had told me. Grimoires are not books……. Magic…….they’re tools that allow us to invoke some of the most dangerous and powerful magic that exists.
My name rises to the surface once I open the cover. As the castor, the book is trying to suck me into the abyss to absorb my magic power as fuel.
“The Goddess Illya overwrites reason as commanded by Iris Calvafon!”
I know this grimoire is something completely out of my ability to control. But if everyone gets a chance to pull out a miracle once in their lives, then maybe I can pull one off right here as we’re about to die! A miracle!!
“Absolute law established in the name of the Almighty. Annihilation of the coming holy night. Once more the indomitable bell rings and an anthem of agony roars!”
Everyone was dumbfoundedly staring at me. I purposely ignored them however, raising my voice towards the heavens.
“Primordial sword captured by heavenly chains. Deeply wounded dark violet knight!”
Feeling like I was reciting a prayer, her name was burned into my eyes. As I poured in my life, her name etched itself in my consciousness. And then my throat, tongue, and lips moved as one to bring the name of the ancient knight into reality.
“My life, my name as a step, come forward. Hadion!”
Surprising even myself, my voice cut through the clouds, sucked away into the sky above. But……..
That was it. Nothing happened. The grimoire didn’t emit some intense light like in the stories. It remained just as it had been before with the wind turning over a couple pages as the book stayed useless in my hands.
“R-Run away Iris!”
Carol’s voice brought me back to reality. The dragon had changed his aim and was now walking towards me. *THUD* *THUD* Each step it took was a drumbeat that made my body shake as it carried over its hulking mass to put an end to my life. And not just mine. Rose-san was lying down behind me. After it kills me, what would happen to the immobile Rose-san was clearer than any flame. But there’s nothing that can be done. I, I don’t have the strength to slay a dragon.
“P-Please……..I’m begging you………”
My knees gave out, and I fell to the ground. A dragon covered in wounds looked down on me as my entire body shook.
Holding the grimoire tight, I muttered to myself, so scared I couldn’t even clench my teeth. The dragon’s one remaining eye narrowed. At that moment, I knew this dragon must be a sentient creature. Because…….it was laughing at me right now…….
“N, No…….stop, no…….”
The dragon slowly opened its mouth wide, almost like it wanted to show off its row of fangs and fuel my fears. And then, those sharp teeth lunged forward to take a bite out of me. I shut my eyes and hugged the grimoire close.
“Help me……..Hadion! Hadiooooon!”
My fears overcame me and I cried out, but I kept my eyes shut tight while waiting for my death to come. I bit my lip and tried making my body as small as I could.
But, no matter how long I waited, my body was never penetrated by a row of teeth.
“These ears had forgotten what their purpose was after a thousand years of silence, and now the first sound they are to hear in all that time is the prayer of a young maiden?”
A voice like the sound of a koto. It was a woman’s voice I had never heard before. I was shocked when I saw the grimoire was glowing a dark violet and immediately looked up.
In front of me was the back of a knight who had pierced the back of the dragon’s throat with their sword. Her whole body was covered in black armor with a thick shield in her left hand. Throwing on a dusk-colored mantle that looked as if someone had cut out a piece of the night sky, the knight slowly pulled out her sword.
“Indeed, my name is Hadion. I responded to your call from my dark cell constructed by the Goddess herself. Now, please state your wish. My senses returned to me after being locked away with Osnell, and now that the bonds have been released, I am once again contracted to the Goddess. Here to grant your wish.”
The dragon’s huge body was convulsing from the immense pain of having a hole bored through its head. Nevertheless, the dragon was still alive, and once again turning a hateful glare towards us, flames began bubbling from its throat. I grabbed Hadion’s fluttering mantle and screamed at the top of my lungs.
“H-Help………Help everyone! I’ll do anything! I’ll give you my life! So please help us! Please!”
Hadion held up her shield, guarding against the dragon’s spewing flames. The sweltering inferno that could’ve turned me to ash in an instant dispersed when in contact with the dark violet knight’s bulky shield and disappeared.
“A simple task. This be a lower class fool. Then at the request of a beautiful maiden…….I shall accept your life.”
Her large shield pushed back against the flames and forcefully beat itself against the dragon’s body. Immediately afterwards, a light glistened off of Hadion’s sword as she swung it with all her strength into the dragon’s neck.
It really was over in an instant. The dragon’s head leapt from its neck, spinning in the air before plopping down on the ground a short distance away. A second later, its body fell over, kicking up a cloud of dust as it once again limply collapsed down on its side. I…….no, everyone there stared at Hadion. We had no words, no emotions.
“Maiden, the danger has passed. I swear by my sword it shall never menace you again.”
Hadion turned back towards me, her heavy armor kicking up a noise as she moved.
“Do you recall your oath, o wise maiden?”
Hadion’s face was covered by a thick helmet¹. But her porcelain skin, luscious red lips, and glossy voice revealed Hadion’s appearance and age.
I nodded. Summoning magic requires a price. The more powerful the summon, the greater the cost. And for a legendary figure such as her, I doubt even my life would be enough to pay the tab.
“I, if I am enough…….”
Hadion stood before me. I forced myself to look up to her despite being overwhelmed by her awe-inspiring presence.
“Then to begin, allow me your hand.”
Saying so Hadion knelt before me and gently took my hand in hers. And then on my left ring finger………she kissed me.
“From this day forth, this finger shall be my sanctuary.”
Her lips touching my finger tickled, and I unintentionally let my voice leak. Meanwhile the grimoire that had continued to glow a dark violet until now suddenly started to change its shape. It wrapped around my finger like a snake where Hadion’s lips had just touched……..and then once the glow subsided, I could make out what it had become. A ring, perfectly fitted for my finger.
My quivering lips somehow managed to form what I wanted to ask. Still kneeling before me, Hadion stared at me for a moment before the corners of her mouth pulled back into a grin.
“Grimoire Master, pure maiden Iris Calvafon. You have rescued this decaying soul from the darkness, and so I shall raise this sword and shield in your name. This is my oath. Engraved on this dark violet ring is my vow which shall never vanish.”
After making such a solemn yet resolute declaration, Hadion’s body suddenly vanished. There was no sound as if she had simply melted into the wind.
“A dark violet ring……. An oath……..”
And then I lost consciousness. I remember someone supporting my body, but I don’t know much about the rest.
1. Yes the image doesn’t show Hadion with a helmet. But in the author’s defense, the images were made quite a while after the chapter had originally come out.