Chapter 52 : Equipment Choice of The Dragon Girl
After the battle for the breakfast seat, Aria asked Stella if she wanted to be an adventurer like her. In hearing such a question, Stella immediately agreed to it with her eyes shining with excitement.
They headed for the city and entered Vulcan’s shop. Stella would need equipment for her new profession. With the owner’s help, Stella seemed to find a set that satisfied her. Vulcan, however, had to make sure her client was satisfied.
「Nyaa~… Are you really okay with that, Stella-nya~n? 」
「Yup! This is perfect! 」
Aria couldn’t help but ponder why Stella was so excited since she had no memories.
However, she didn’t know Stella did have some degree of information about the world, information that she acquired as the Earth Dragon.
As the Earth Dragon, she had fought some adventurers while inside the labyrinth. Stella had secretly enjoyed meeting those people… Secretly yearned to become one of them.
To her, Aria’s proposal was a godsend.
「Don’t you think it’s better if you equip at least a gauntlet first, Stella-chan? 」
Aria asked, trying to make Stella wear more equipment. She saw how happy Stella was while wearing an adventurer’s gear, but couldn’t help but be concerned about her safety.
The gear Stella chose was extremely revealing. It barely covered the essentials.
The topmost part of her chest was covered in bandages, sarashi-style*, with her underboobs exposed.
*[A sarashi is a long, thick cotton cloth that is tightly wrapped around the chest and worn under a kimono.]
The lower gear consisted of pants with the maximum level of exposure. The design was extremely risqué.
Looking from the front, one could not see the difference between those pants and female underwear.
Looking from the back, the visual became even more erotic. Those “pants” barely covered her buttocks, leaving the fleshier parts exposed…
The style that was commonly known as 〝Hanketsu〟.
Those hot pants were, originally, an extremely popular design. But when Stella tried it on, she asked Vulcan to modify it. She wanted less fabric clinging to her body, with half her buttocks uncovered, making it easier to move.
「Please give me leg armor, I don’t need any equipment for my arms!」
「…? Why do you want the leggings but not the gauntlets, Stella-chan?」
「Uhm? I guess it’s faster to show it, here we go! 」
Stella could tell Aria was confused by her statement. She then got into a stance, letting out a groan, and her arms and buttocks began to glow with a brilliant light that gradually increased in intensity.
After a few seconds, when the light subsided, Aria and co. couldn’t mask their surprise.
(Wha…?! This form… !)
「Your arms are like a dragon’s, and you even have a tail! 」
「Amazing! Could it be you’re actually a 〝Dragonewt〟, Stella-chan?! 」
Surprisingly, Stella’s arms had grown in size, becoming four times bigger than normal. They were covered with earth-colored reptile scales, no doubt a feature preserved from her Earth Dragon form.
Sharp claws grew from her fingertips and, from her buttocks, a tail had appeared. Just like her arms, it looked like it belonged to a reptile, covered in the same color of scales.
Her new appearance reminded Aria of the Dragonewt race. However… They were supposedly people who had dragon blood in their veins.
Their outer appearance was extremely similar to that of a normal human, but they could change their limbs to a draconic appendage at will.
Dragonewts could draw even more power from their dragon blood. Aria had heard stories about their incredible strength, capable of smashing a rock with only their draconic arms.
To Aria and Vulcan, it made perfect sense. The reason Stella managed to survive in the labyrinth with her memories wiped was that she was a Dragonewt.
The part about losing her memory was a misunderstanding, though.
「Dragonewt? I don’t know what that is, but this is what I look like when I unleash my power!」
Stella’s power of semi-draconification was unrelated to being a Dragonewt, as Aria suggested. Instead, it was inherited from her previous life as a dragon.
Tama, on the other hand, got more curious the more he stared at Stella.
(This appearance… She resembles the Dragonewts I saw in my previous life so perfectly. Could it be that the Dragonewt race was created by a dragon who reincarnated as a human? Or perhaps a descendant of one?)
He had worked with a Dragonewt before, back when he was a human. She had been in the same chivalric order as him.
In the battlefield, she changed her arms to their draconic forms and wielded a gigantic battle-ax, sweeping down her foes with overwhelming power.
She had been Tama’s partner. Her overwhelming power and his myriad sword skills combined established their partnership as the best among their peers.
(She was just like Stella, wearing those skimpy outfits. Well, it was better than ripping her clothes off every time she transformed.)
Tama fondly recalled his previous partner’s preference for revealing outfits. Amongst his most cherished memories were the ones of her running across the battlefield, the armor exposing her arms and buttocks…
「Now I get why Stella chose those clothes!」
「Nyaa, now that we’ve decided on her adventurer set, it’s time for armaments! What kind of weapon do you prefer, Stella-chan?」
「Ooh, a weapon! Do you mean something like a sword or a staff?」
As soon as she heard the word “weapon”, Stella’s eyes shone with excitement. She couldn’t contain her glee anymore.
They didn’t know it, by having a weapon was one of Stella’s deepest desires. Ever since human adventurers used weapons against her when she was a dragon, she had wanted to try one.
「Hm… The first weapon that I can think of is a sword! But before that, I want to try THAT first!」
Stella started rummaging around the store. Vulcan had prepared a lengthy explanation about weapons for her, but seeing Stella moving around like an eager puppy made her reconsider.
Both Vulcan and Aria felt that interrupting her right now would only dampen her excitement, so they merely waited. Stella soon unearthed what she wanted.
「Found it! This one first!」
They followed her voice and headed to a corner of the room. It was stockpiled with shields and Stella stood right in the middle of them.
「Nyaa!? That’s ameowzing, Stella-chan! I can’t believe you’re capable of lifting that black iron shield with just one hand! 」
「EH? Am I seeing this right? Didn’t you already cancel your transformation, Stella-chan?」
(She can lift that huge black shield even without transforming? Just how powerful is she?)
The trio stared at Stella holding up a shield that was almost her height. It was pitch-black and gave a dull luster, proof that it was made from black iron, a metal famous for its excessive weight.
Who would have thought that even without her transformation Stella would be able to lift that shield? At first sight, it seemed heavy, definitely not something a frail girl could lift with one hand.
No wonder Tama, Aria, and Vulcan were shocked by the scene.
「 Incredible… I never expected anyone to be able to handle that shield, aside from Sakura-chan nya~」
「Is this the shield that Sakura-san used?」
「Correct, nya, that shield was sent to my shop after she found out she was pregnant.」
The dark shield made of black iron ingots was called 〝Mega Shield〟. It had been made for Sakura, the former platoon captain of Cedric.
It was gifted to her after she had retired from her post and joined Vulcan in the adventuring business.
「Sakura-chan had the skill 《Iron Wall》. It was a passive skill that ignored armor weight and nullified any damage as long as it wasn’t fatal.」
「I see, that’s how she became the most powerful tanker in the city.」
Aria had an understanding look on her face as she heard Vulcan enthusiastically talk about Sakura, her former comrade.
Tama gave them a sidelong glance as he focused on Stella.
―― I’m surprised you picked a shield. Since you were so aggressive as a dragon, I was sure you’d go for an ax or a sword first…
<―― Oh, Tama! I’m so happy that you started talking to me! You’re right, a shield wouldn’t be my first choice. It’s your fault, though. If I had a defensive skill when I fought you, I wouldn’t have lost.>
―― Oh, so you chose a shield because of my last attack?
<―― It’s strange, isn’t it? The prideful dragon that became a girl is afraid of being attacked. You can laugh if you want.>
―― Actually, it’s normal to be scared of being injured. I just felt it was strange. Learning how to defend oneself is important. Truth is, I’m the one who should be scared of you.
<―― Eh? Were you worried I’d want revenge for killing me? Don’t worry about it. I don’t mind it; I even feel grateful. After all, killing me proved your power was real and I was able to fall in love because of that. On top of that, I was able to meet you again in this human form!>
―― … As long as you’re okay with it.
Tama couldn’t find any more words after hearing a second love confession from Stella. He felt guilty about killing her to the point he couldn’t even outright refuse her affections. Her honesty just made it worse.
With a light heart after confessing to Tama again, Stella went back to her treasure hunting in the weapon corner of the shop, a childlike smile adorning her face.
「That shield is light enough I can move around with ease, so it should be enough for defending. Now it’s weapon time! Ooh! That weapon looks promising!」
Tama smiled wryly as he watched Stella choose her weapon.