Had the problems in front of me gone away for the time being?
For some reason, I had ended up choosing the whole world. Was that really me?
I had understood it all until just a bit ago, but my memories were rapidly fading.
Was this whole year going to go away in a blur for me…?
I heard an unpleasant sound from above my worrying head. I looked up at the source fearfully.
Wow… There’s a massive crack in the ceiling…!?
There were distorted holes in the starry dome, making noises as the crack started spreading little by little.
I tried not to think about what would happen as I turned to look at both dragons… Was this their doing?
“Precisely. This is the place of choices, so it is no longer needed with the choice having been made.”
“Indeed. That is so. Hence, why it’s collapsing.”
“…Tha… That! That’s a bit of a problem!”
I shouted without even thinking, as loud as I could.
I was hoping one of them would send me away somewhere after making my choice!?
I looked imploringly at the Heavenly Dragon, who looked back at me with a smile.
…I guess not. That’s just how it is.
It’s confirmed then. I’ll need to find my own way out of here.
No, no, no. This is weird. Why was everyone here except me so calm?
Especially the Knight Commander! We’re both humans, weren’t we? Wipe that smile off your face and be worried about me!
As if my wish had come true, the Knight Commander’s face returned to its serious expression as he placed a hand on my shoulder.
“Calm down, Rururia.”
“Is this supposed to make me feel calm? I chose to go home, but now we’re being abandoned to die here…”
The Knight Commander spoke so confidently… What was he thinking?
“If I made it here, then we can make it back. Probably.”
“Probably? Did you say probably? That one word makes me really concerned!?”
He said he could make it here, then he can make it back.
But that’s not right… For him to get here, he needed help from Solan-kun, Irene-sama, the Chief Magician, Sara-chan and many other geniuses, didn’t he?
I’m not at all convinced… The more I think… The more anxious I become!
I was screaming inside, unable to vocalize it. However, the Knight Commander ignored my concerns, he simply looked up at our collapsing surroundings calmly.
“…Is it over there? No… Maybe a bit to the right? No, I think it’s lower than that.”
…I need to pray.
The only way out was to pray.
Oh, merciful goddess Vishnu! I sincerely apologize for not being an avid believer. I will make offerings to you once I get home. What do you want? Some seasonal fruits or something?
…So I’m begging you! Oh goddess! Somehow… Make the Knight Commander’s intuition right!
“You won’t get far praying to a faraway goddess.”
I heard a calm and ruthless voice.
…Faraway? I wouldn’t know, Kongoryu-sama… Just don’t take my hope away like that!
Kongoryu-sama snuggled up close with me.
“Well, don’t worry about it. If it’s physical protection, I can still take care of it. There’s nothing to worry about.”
“Oh thank you! Kongoryu-sama! What can I offer you in return!?”
When I asked him that, he happily replied, “Some jewels would be lovely.” That’s more expensive than I expected.
…Jewels… Maybe if I asked His Majesty…
“So Dragon… Will you do your best, too?”
At some point, my dragon had appeared on the opposite side of Kongoryu-sama.
When we get back, I’ll have Manya prepare lots of honey for him.
If we make it out of this, I’ll use my power to get him as much as he wanted!
“Huh? Do you want the same thing as Kongoryu-sama? No way, since when were you so into expensive things!?”
I felt like a parent betrayed by their child as the Knight Commander approached.
“Let’s go, Rururia. This place won’t last long.”
We both looked up.
The ceiling had already collapsed, leaving a dark blank space above.
Even the edges of the ground were collapsing in. The room trembled at its own end approached.
Even if I cuddled my dragon or had Kongoryu-sama pat me comfortingly, it wouldn’t be enough.
Any time before now, I would have been terrified, closed my eyes in terror, and just ran for it.
…But I wasn’t like that anymore.
Because now I knew what future was waiting for me.
This knowledge closed off specific options forever.
I looked up at the Knight Commander.
He was looking back at me with an enviably calm expression.
I hugged my dragon tighter… Yeah, it’s decided.
I’ll believe in the Knight Commander… That he can take us home.
I reached out my shaky hand, and he held it tightly.
The Knight Commander held me in one arm as he pointed his sword up ahead with the other.
With the dragon on his left shoulder and Kongoryu-sama on his right, he bent his knees and jumped vigorously.
…Woah! I almost bit my tongue!
Looking back, I saw the Heavenly Dragon standing alone in the collapsing space.
His once starry eyes had turned brown, the aura around him fading… He looked just like an ordinary boy.
I wanted to say something to him, but nothing came out when I tried to find the words.
“Oh… Uhm! Uhhh… See you later!”
Huh? ‘See you later?‘ That wasn’t right…
This will probably be the last time I’d see him. Was I that dumb!?
We rose higher and higher through the air from that jump. The gravity started to get distorted.
…As the collapsing space grew further and further down below, I felt the Heavenly Dragon looking at us the whole time.
At the end of the jump, we arrived in a strange, colorless space.
I could tell we were moving forward, but there was also a terribly painful and oppressive feeling like we were going through a dense wall around us.
I felt the Knight Commander’s powerful arm around me.
I looked up to see him clenching his teeth.
His hand trembled as he held his sword to the point where his knuckles turned white.
It seemed like his strength would give out. I had never seen him like this before.
I don’t like it.
I don’t want to be held.
I want to feel like I’m helping at least a little… That we were going home together, so I reached out my hand to him.
Just that movement made my arm hurt like it was being torn.
Despite the pain, I reached out bit by bit to support his arm.
…We’ll definitely make it back, to where everyone was, to our world.
Above my head, I sensed the Knight Commander smile a little.
I felt like that gave me strength, so I tugged at his sleeve.
I saw a small light ahead.
The Knight Commander clutched me as if squeezing out the last of his strength.
We passed through the light to see a blue sky.
We flew up into the sky as if we were thrown by something.
And after a momentary pause, we started falling as if we had just remembered how… We were falling!
“We… We’re falling!”
I could see clouds below, which meant we were high up.
At this rate, we’ll die on impact.
What were we going to do!?
…No, no, no!
Calm down, Rururia.
It’s okay, Rururia…
You’ve got the one and only Knight Commander with you, right?
We won’t keep falling like this, right?
Did I just here him snore? Was he… Was he sleeping? Now? Right here… At a time like this?
“Wake! Wake up! Please, Knight Commander! We’re not home until we’re safe on solid ground!”
I shook him with all my might. However, due to wind resistance, I don’t think it ended up being that hard.
I didn’t know what was wrong with the Knight Commander, but he showed no sign of waking up.
What was all this…
We made it back only to end up dying anyway!?
We passed through a cloud.
This was bad… Really bad. The ground was getting closer.
Although it was still distant, I could make out the familiar sight of the Royal Palace, the Knight’s Tower, and the Castle Town.
I felt no joy at coming back, not in the slightest.
What do we do… What do we do… What am I going to do!?
While I was panicking, we were drawing closer to the ground, where many people had gathered.
Wait… Was this the Palace’s Training Grounds?
As if they had noticed us, someone pointed a finger, making everyone look up collectively.
I tried to wave my hands, but the wind pressure had only just made them stretch out, and despite my desperate attempt to send a signal, there was no discernible response from down below.
No… This wasn’t right!
I’m not waving ‘hi‘ over here!
The Knight Commander had fallen asleep!
I was close enough now to make out the faces of Sara, Solan-kun, and Irene-sama… I just closed my eyes in resignation.
I felt no hard impact. After feeling like my stomach had already floated away, we’d stopped falling.
I opened my eyes to see myself being held by the Knight Commander on the ground.
He had woken up and landed just before we crashed.
That… That’s good… I thought we’d fall to our deaths.
This was a relief, really…
I leaned against the Knight Commander in relief.
Before I even knew it, me, a poor weak maiden, was crushed under the weight of an adult man.
You’re kidding me… He’s asleep again?
No, no, no!
I’m begging you…
Wake up, Knight Commander!
Meanwhile, the people on the ground…
Knight A: Hey, what’s that?
Knight B: Hmmm? Isn’t it a bird?
Mage A: Idiot! Hadn’t the Chief Magician himself set up the emergency barrier? No bird should be able to fly over here!?
Knight A: Well… Uhm, what’s with that black shadow then?
Mage B: …I’ll cast some telephoto magic to look, just a sec… Oh, right there! Isn’t that the Knight Commander and Lady Rururia!?
Mage A: Oh! Oh man! It can’t be, Chief Magician! They’re back…!
Mage B: That’s odd… They’re falling way too fast…
Knight A: You lot were with the Knight Commander, weren’t you? Is he alright?
Knight B: He is! Ah, she’s waving her arms! Hi there, Lady!
Mage B: Hmmm… I see… But I mean… It just seems too fast…
Everyone, in unison: No way! He was asleep!?
The Knight Commander really was incredible! To be able to land while sleeping…!