…I woke up in a daze, it felt like I was dreaming, but when I tried to recall, I couldn’t remember anything.
Instead, I opened my eyes, and there it was an unfamiliar place.
Dark gray stone floors and walls. I rolled over and saw that the ceiling was also made of stone. Then I turned… and saw that the wall in the opposite direction to the one I was facing at first had iron bars. There, Redgarde, lying down on the side of the iron bars.
…I suddenly remember everything that happened before I fell asleep all at once, and I try to move, but I can’t move. I think my teacher told me that when your will is flooded all at once, your mind gets confused, and you can’t move on the spur of the moment.
Finally, two breaths later, I finally start to move my body.
It seems that the reason my arms and legs don’t move well is that they are bound. It seems that my wrists and ankles are bound.
Since it can’t be helped, I had no choice but to turn over and roll over to get to Redgarde’s side.
Every time I rolled on the floor, I got dust on my body. But I couldn’t care less. I couldn’t care less about the coldness of the floor.
I finally reach Redgarde and try to talk to him, but he doesn’t reply.
I try shaking him while calling. I can’t use my hands, so I’m sorry, but I had to kick his leg. Just a little kick.
Redgarde grunted… then started to wriggle and turned toward me.
“…Tougo? Are you safe?” (Fay)
Redgarde seemed to be barely conscious, but he tried to blink several times, then shook his head and finally got up. I saw that and did my best to get up too. It was a little hard to get up without using my hands… it was like doing sit-ups.
“Wait… Damn, where is this place?” (Fay)
“I do not know.” (Tougo)
Redgarde looked around and said, “It’s a dungeon”. Yeah, I can see that, too. It should be expected.
“Damn, those bastards… I will never forgive them.” (Fay)
Grunting and saying this in a voice that sounded like he had crawled from the bottom of the earth, Redgarde stared outside the jail, behind the bars… where no one and nothing was there, and eventually let out a big sigh.
“Oh f*ck, I’m so sorry, Tougo. I got you in this mess because of my blunder.” (Fay)
“Yeah, well, it can’t be helped.” (Tougo)
The first words that followed were an apology to me, so he really is a nice guy, isn’t he?
“It’s okay. I’m sure those people are related to the poachers. Then it’s hard to say I had nothing to do with it.” (Tougo)
“Well, that said, you still shouldn’t have been involved…” (Fay)
Redgarde’s apology seemed to be about to continue, so I interrupted him and asked,
“But I’m involved. So please tell me. How is our situation?” (Tougo)
For now, let’s just check the situation. Lying on the stone floor isn’t going to make things better.
“…about the guys who put you and me in here. They’re connected to the poachers… they are the ones who purchase materials from the Pegasi and unicorns.” (Fay)
Ah, the people who are going to be dragged by the contract.
“When the poachers were caught, the ‘buyers’ shared the crime, but it seems that the people running the black market didn’t like it. They resented me.” (Fay)
It’s a normal result, I think. Well. Poachers and black marketers wouldn’t be happy being caught.
“That’s why they’ve been after me for the past few days.” (Fay)
Oh, that’s right. That’s …… a lot of work.
I looked at Redgarde, expressing “good job” resulting in him giving an awkward smile… and then said boldly.
“About what they said… so, about, me, well. I cannot fight when it’s raining, you know. So, when I saw that it was going to rain, I ran to your place. However, I didn’t think they’d follow me into the forest… That’s how I got you into this. I’m really, really sorry
Then Redgarde told me about his abilities.
“I’m not that good with magic or swordsmanship. They called me an… ‘incompetent’. It’s exactly what they say.” (Fay)
Redgarde said. Even if I don’t think so, maybe he considers himself “incompetent”. He had that kind of tone.
“So, I bought it with money…. I bought my abilities. Remember my earrings, bracelet, and cross tie? Those are my weapons. I have summoned beasts within them.” (Fay)
“Summoned Beasts?” (Tougo)
“Yeah. Four fire spirits. Two with wolf forms and two with bird forms.” (Fay)
Fire spirits…? No, I can’t imagine them at all. I’d like to see them when we get out of here.
But still, a fire spirit in the form of a wolf and a fire spirit in the form of a bird? …Oh.
“…were you riding them when you came into the woods, by any chance?” (Tougo)
“Hahaha. You’re very perceptive. Yes, that’s what I did. In the woods, I’d ride the wolf. Outside, it’s the birds.” (Fay)
I see. So, half a day one way in an hour. …That’s crazy fast, you know? Well, it’s a little scary, but I still want to see it.
“…but they’re made of fire. So, I can’t use them on rainy days.” (Fay)
“So, they disappear, huh?” (Tougo)
I don’t know what fire spirits are, but I guess they are made of fire. If that’s the case, it would be a pity to t bring them out in the rain.
“Yeah. Well, if possible, I wanted to use summoned beasts that aren’t fire-attribute, but… I don’t have any talent other than summoning fire-attribute summoned beasts.” (Fay)
I wonder if Redgarde is mocking himself. That’s what I read from his expression.
“I can’t use any decent magic on my own, so I bought my ability with money, but I can’t even use it properly. I’m quite pathetic, aren’t I?” (Fay)
“That’s not true.” (Tougo)
I don’t think so. From my point of view, the fact that he has a fire spirit inside the jewel and he can control the fire spirits is pretty amazing.
But I guess that’s not how Redgarde feels. So, no matter what I say, it won’t help him.
I know that, at least somehow.
“…something about the Redgarde family. Our family has been producing tamers for generations. It is said that our ancestors command red dragons to fight.” (Fay)
Then Redgarde to change the subject, showed me the crest on his belt buckle and said,
“Look. It’s even in our family crest, you know? The dragon.” (Fay)
The crest was apparently the family crest of Redgarde’s family, and there was a dragon cloaked in flames.
“It looks cool, right?” (Fay)
I grinned at him and nodded in reply. The way the dragon is drawn is good. The design is quite simplified because it’s a crest, but it’s still a dragon, and it’s still a flame. I like it. It’s not a simple sketch, but I’d like to study the design at least once.
“I’d like to command a dragon too, even if it’s just one time.” (Fay)
Redgarde said with a faraway look.
“I heard that red dragons are already extinct. But there are still ordinary dragons out there, so the possibility is not zero. Though, I doubt it will come true.” (Fay)
His eyes darken a little.
“My father and brother can use summoned beasts other than fire-attribute, but dragons impossible. So, if I could just…” (Fay)
His eyes closed tightly.
“…Well, I’m being too ambitious, especially for someone like me, who can only use fire-attribute summons, to even wish for a dragon.” (Fay)
In the end, his eyes were closed for only a few seconds.
“But imagining it is free!” (Fay)
Redgarde laughed as he said this. Keeping the dream in his eyes.
That’s it. That’s right. Imagining is free.
You are free to dream whatever you want. It doesn’t matter if it’s something you can’t make come true, or if it’s something you don’t really want to make come true. Dreaming is free.
Yes. Because dreaming is freedom.
…that’s why I paint.
“Okay. So, now you know what’s going on, right?” (Fay)
“Well, mostly.” (Tougo)
After listening to Redgarde’s story, I understood the situation.
In short, the people of the black market, who were connected to the poachers, resented and tried to harm Redgarde. Okay.
“I’m sorry that I hid a lot of things. I got you involved… But I will definitely let you escape. Please let me at least apologize with that.” (Fay)
I don’t care about apologies or anything like that. The poachers and the black market people are to blame, and Redgarde is not to blame. I’m sure that if they had continued poaching, I would have been involved at some point in time.
…That’s what I thought, but I guess he saw the look on my face and probably thought I was worried. Redgarde then smiled at me.
“Don’t worry! I’ll figure something out! I don’t want to do anything I can’t repay you for.” (Fay)
“I’ll figure something out…?” (Tougo)
Well, I have nothing against Redgarde, and I don’t want his apology, but apart from that, I’m not sure he can “figure something out” in this situation. Because our hands and feet are bound.
…But Redgarde answered as expected.
“…So, first things first, I have to do something about my hands and feet.” (Fay)
When he says that, he starts to move.
“Those guys are looking down on us too much. Haha. Look.” (Fay)
Then, after a moment’s hesitation, he pulls something shiny out of his boot.
“It’s a knife.” (Fay)
…Hiding such a thing in such a place, won’t you cut your leg? Is that really alright?