The proud dragon race has a duty to serve the humans that become heroes, and save the world.
Having that said, it was not like the world was in danger. The war between humans and demons ended decades before.
There was no dark force attempting to take over the world, and the world was at peace.
But there was trouble brewing within dragon people. A lot of them joined the war as mercenaries, and many did not come back. Some died, but most just stayed in the kingdom of man.
The village of dragon people was very rural. It was a very closed off society that led a simple life for hundreds of years.
The ones that served as mercenaries were fascinated by the kingdom of man, and a lot fell in love with humans and raised families with them.
In the midst of this issue with declining population, the village chief had three daughters, one named Karan.
She had a cheerful personality that was loved by everyone, and was as strong as any boy.
She had some flaws, but she was seen as a first-class warrior.
It was only a matter of time before she started showing interest in the human world. As strong as she was, that was only within this small society.
She wanted to travel the world and test her strength. She was drawn to the dragon people’s duty to ‘serve heroes’ and decided to leave her village.
But Karan was lacking something.
Since they were in the middle of a population decline, she could count her friends the same generation as her on one hand, and she had no friends her age. There weren’t a lot of people in prime working age, and there were a lot of elders.
She was spoiled as she was growing up, so she didn’t yet know how cold the world was and how ugly people could be.
Karan swung her big two-handed sword.
“Take this!!! Dragon cut!!!”
Even the hard shell of the ‘silver scissors’ couldn’t protect it from being cut in two by Karan’s downward swing of her super heavy sword.
But it wasn’t just a swing, the part where the monster was cut was scorched.
This was Karan’s special technique, using her ‘dragon bone sword’ with divine protection from the fire dragon to burn her opponent.
“Good job Karan! Awesome!”
“That S rank’s not just for show!”
“That’s our Karan! That’s our Karan!”
“Fufu, don’t compliment me so much.”
Karan smiled proudly even as she said that.
The men complimenting Karan took out knives and started skillfully dismantling the silver scissors to extract materials from it.
That monster looked like a one meter tall silver stag beetle.
Whether it was a direct or a magic attack, must be powerful enough to damage it. Not everyone can accomplish this, and that’s what made the reward so good
Its scissors and exoskeleton were hard as iron and soft as resin, and fetched a good price.
Karan and her party were in a labyrinth known as ‘Jar of the hermit snake’, which had many powerful enemies like the silver scissors, and was known as a very profitable place.
“…Hey George, is it really alright for me to not help get the materials?”
“Let the underlings take care of that. Just sit back, relax, and get ready for the next battle, Miss Karan.”
After Karan left her village, she got a ride to the Labyrinth City in a merchant’s caravan where she served as their guard.
A place like Terrane that had strong people and accepted outsiders was just perfect for her, but Karan didn’t know a lot about the world and wasn’t very smart.
She didn’t know how to make money, and she received help from…
“Thank you Karios!”
“What? It’s all because you’re so strong Karan! I’m counting on you!”
The party was led by the warrior Karios, ‘White Helan’.
Karios was a beautiful, fresh looking blonde man.
He saved Karan, who couldn’t tell left from right, and gave her a place to stay, food, and work.
Her other partners were also important to her. Karan was extremely thankful for finding these people.
She only had one little complaint.
“But can I at least help a little with our chores…”
“You can’t read, write, or make calculations right? You can leave that sort of thing to people that can.”
“Well yes but…”
Karios wouldn’t let Karan do chores.
Karan was a splendid warrior. She was blessed with a good physique and earnestness to keep working hard.
She had no problem going through C-rank labyrinths that caused a lot of trouble for new adventurers, but despite her strength, she wasn’t even fifteen years old, and didn’t feel right putting other people to work like that.
She was happy that people were relying on her, but she still felt hazy inside.
“Nevermind that, there’s a tough opponent on the next floor. I’m counting on you Karan.”
“…Yes. Leave it to me!”
When Karios put his hand on her shoulder and said ‘I’m counting on you’, Karan’s hesitation disappeared.
She wanted to do everything she could to help him.
“Listen, there’s a boss on the next floor, it’s called Pot Snake and it’s really strong. Do you know about it?”
“It’s a snake that hides in a pot bigger than a person. It’s very cautious, so it hides in the pot where no one can touch it.”
“Hides in a pot…? Can’t you use magic?”
“No, magic bounces off the pot.”
“So what should we do?”
“It’s simple, if you hit the pot as hard as you can, the snake will come out and chase the one that hit it. That’s when we strike it down.”
“…So does that mean…”
“Sorry but… Will you put yourself in danger for us? Of course, you have our backup. Right George and Berm?”
“Yes, trust us! I’ll shoot fire with my magic!”
“I’ll heal you.!
George was a short and stout sorcerer that specialized in fire magic.
Berm was a priest, he was a little narcissistic, but did solid work.
To Karan, these two were very important partners, so when she was told to trust them…
“…Alright, I’ll do it!”
Karan decided to stop thinking so hard and just do her best.
The boss of the ‘Jar of the hermit snake’, the pot snake, was waiting on the last floor.
It was a troublesome enemy, and any adventurer that defeated it was seen with respect.
The party ‘White Helan’ usually hunted in D rank labyrinths, so facing the boss of a C rank labyrinth was a little reckless.
Strong attacks that pierce the scales, a priest that can heal powerful poison, agility to keep up with its fast movements, leadership skills to not get careless at the eleventh hour.
You couldn’t defeat it without the necessary individual, and party skills.
“Alright Karan, just like we planned. Save the fire dragon slash until the end.”
But there was a sure fire way to beat it. Not a lot of people knew about it, and even fewer would do it.
“Leave it to me Karios!”
Karan tackled the huge pot where the snake was hiding as hard as she could, and it fell over.
The snake jumped out with an enraged expression.
“Alright. Be careful Karan!”
The pot snake was after the one that knocked over its pot. Basically, it was focused on Karan.
It attacked head-on, as if it was trying to swallow Karan, but she blocked its attack with her huge sword.
Dragon people are much stronger than humans, so a snake like that was nothing to a grown warrior.
Karan was still growing, but she could still repel its attacks.
“Alright, support her!”
Karios shouted and George shot a fireball. The snake was focused on Karan so it was a direct hit.
The snake looked at the adventurers with an even angrier expression and then, something strange happened.
The snake’s body started glowing with a poison-like green color.
“Karios! What is that!?”
“It’s just trying to intimidate you! We’re getting ready to finish it so keep it occupied!”
She felt a strange uneasiness in her chest, but still stood against the snake, even though the scales were preventing her cuts from causing too much damage.
The plan they agreed on was for Karan to serve as bait and stop the snake’s attacks, George to support her with fire magic, and for Berm to cast support magic on Karios to strengthen him so he could take the snake down with one attack.
…Or at least that was supposed to be the plan.
“Karios! Not yet!?”
Karan called out to him but didn’t look back.
She trusted him.
While Karan was busy fighting, the men quietly stepped back.
That was when the snake opened its mouth so wide, it almost broke its jaw, and sprayed a green poisonous mist.
“W-What is this…!? Karios… Help…”
When the pot snake felt the most threatened and angry, it scattered poison around itself.
This was a very powerful poison that the snake created inside the pot by mixing its own poison with poisonous bugs and flowers found in the dungeon.
But this was also its weak point.
Since it’s kept inside the pot, once it’s used, the snake wouldn’t be able to use it again for a while.
This poison also served as energy for the pot snake, so it became weaker after using it.
There were a few ways to deal with it. You could kill it in one hit before it had a chance to use the poison, cast strong anti-poison defensive magic, or…
“…Alright, once the mist clears it won’t be a problem anymore.”
“It went pretty well.”
Sacrificing the vanguard.
“Sorry Karan, but you saw what happened to the pot snake thanks to you. Or I guess I should say, what the pot snake did to you?”
Karan couldn’t even move a finger.
She could barely hear Karios sneer.
“Is she still talking… Is that because that thing didn’t have a lot of poison inside it?”
“Poison works slower on dragon people. Don’t worry, it’s still lethal.”
Karios was surprised to see how Karan was doing, but there was something that needed to be done.
The pot snake laid limp, just like Karan, so Karios delivered the final blow and skillfully cut off anything he could sell.
That was when Karan thought, [that was the plan to defeat it, they just kept it a secret so I wouldn’t be afraid of the poison. Now that it’s over, they will heal me and…].
“I think it’s time to go.”
Karios and the others left without mercy.
“You’re getting pretty good at this, Leo.”
“Stop it, I’m still Karios.”
“Having to remember the right name to call you is a real pain.”
Karan heard a vulgar laugh, and when she stopped hearing that soft voice, she was left completely alone with a dead monster laying beside her. There was nothing else, she could hear nothing.
“Wait… Some… one… Hel… p…”
No one could hear Karan’s grief.