The inside of the gate was connected to the bottom of a canyon so high, it obscured the sky. The cavern was as wide as the land of Nochtentoria Castle, surrounded by a steep slope. Nestled in its center was a dragon that was about the size of a small castle. The creature’s breathing alone caused the air to tremble and the oppressiveness of the atmosphere made everyone gasp.
“Holy… That’s what we have to fight…?”
Even the level 60 elite members did not react much differently. The aura of a dragon wasn’t something that could be nullified by the mere difference of 10 levels. Although, of course, that didn’t apply whatsoever to Mayer, who was beyond human levels. As for me… I was rather used to it since I had seen quite a lot of dragons.
While everyone else paused for a moment, Mayer and I took a step forward. The dragon raised its huge body at the appearance of intruders, making the ground rumble violently as if an earthquake was about to happen. Some stones fell from the cliffs. Raising itself upright, the beast scanned the raiding party with the eyes of a hunter looking at prey. Then, its reptilian pupils stopped exactly on Mayer. Had it realized that Mayer was stronger than itself? The relaxed air around the dragon quickly turned intense, and I shouted to Mayer, “Now!”
But he looked back at me, hesitant. His golden eyes, shining like a candle in the dark, still contained lingering anxiety he had failed to erase. It didn’t seem like he was afraid of the dragon but of something going wrong and the true nature of his mana being exposed. I mouthed to him in a way he could clearly read, “Go.”
Go and show how much more amazing Mayer Knox can be. At that moment, all the hesitation remaining in him disappeared. As if bewitched by something, Mayer kicked off the ground. The tip of his sword pointed toward the ground before rising as his footsteps sped toward the dragon. Feeling threatened, the beast opened its mouth and drew a deep breath. It was surely trying to use its dragon breath, the flames that could burn everything.
“Captain!” I shouted.
Running straight into a dragon’s breath was absurd, even for Mayer Knox. He had to avoid it. But Mayer jumped toward the dragon’s open maws without hesitation and evoked the mana he had been keeping dormant until now. Precisely at that moment, I cast a spell without anyone knowing: Element Conversion. A large amount of mana flowed out of my body as it was a significantly big spell. I staggered slightly, feeling symptoms akin to anemia caused by a lack of magical power. Nevertheless, the magic worked perfectly. The demonic power that should have enveloped his body like a miasma turned into a dazzling light that illuminated the expansive cavern. Everyone turned wide-eyed at the holy and majestic aura emitted by what could only be seen as divine power.
While others were frozen in admiring astonishment, Mayer’s sword sliced apart the flames that spewed out of the dragon’s mouth. At that moment, his powerful mana was converted into more holy power, resulting in an explosion of blinding light. It was like the scene of a legendary hero’s epic moment.
Submerged in the rush of light, I smiled brighter than I had ever before in the direction I guessed Mayer to be at. He was the hero I had created. I couldn’t become a hero myself, but I could make one instead, and the pleasure of that fact turned into an overwhelming, thrilling ecstasy.