Chapter 58: Heilige… what the HELL is that thing?!
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LEFT! LEFT! LEFT! DODGE LEFT!

Although none of my skills besides [Parallel Thoughts] could speak with me, the combined ringing from my [Prediction] and [Danger Perception] was so audible it sounded like a voice was telling me to dodge left to protect my life. At this stage of my life, I learned to trust my skills when the warning got this bad.

Without a single other thought, I tensed up my legs and jumped to the side. At the same time, the colossal snake launched its mouth at me, destroying the tree I was just standing on.

[“Heilige Scheiße, where the hell did this thing come from?!”] I shouted out, unable to keep my surprise to myself.

The snake head of that [Vellestra Leviathan], the first A rank monster I’d seen in my life, not only splintered the tree into little pieces like it was nothing but it also gouged out a chunk of the earth, spraying water and mud into the air. However, that wasn’t what sent a chill down my spine, it was actually the fact that I had hesitated for a single millisecond, I would’ve been caught.

That was after I immediately acted on the warning that my skill was telling me. I didhn’t need to appraise this thing to know I was vastly outclassed here. Not even my dragon form could handle an A rank monster, right now. So, should I transform back for my maximum Agility or remain small to dodge?

Regardless of what I chose to do in the next seconds, what was clear was one thing…

— run the hell away.

As I let my parallel minds figure out an answer to this question, my survival instincts activated immediately. Shaking off my fear,  I focused on the battlefield, identifying what I had to do to not only save myself and my party, but also the many lizardmen relying on me right now.

Sacred Field!

Draining my mana like a sink tap, I invested a huge amount of mana into my [Sacred Field] to increase its effective area to the size of a baseball field. Unfortunately, the snake’s assault didn’t just stop while I was doing that, forcing me to [Wind Blast] myself away from its head slam, only to be blasted away by the impact’s shockwave.

“Aaaaah!”

Flying backwards, Rajah’s shadow snakes helped me regain my bearing, preventing me from crashing on the ground. At the same time, my parallel minds finished materializing magic circles around me and in front of the snake.

Cast those spells, [Bedrock Blades] burst from the ground and pounded its sharp edges on the snake’s scales; [Inferno Beam] and [Banishment Beam] pushed the head away with continuous rays of magic; lastly, [Spiral Hellfire], my highest levelled fire spell, sent out a huge spiralling fire drill at the snake, drilling and forcing it to back form the lizardmen.

As a last measure, a thick stone wall as high as the trees grew up from the ground, separating me from that thing.

…My spells did barely any damage.

Due to the wall, I had to stop my beam spell, however, I could still hear my [Spiral Hellfire] and [Bedrock Blades] doing work from over here. Before the wall was erected, I could tell my attacks weren’t doing anything to it, probably not even a scratch. This could only buy time to talk.

Looking around, I let out a silent sigh of relief that every single lizardman was on my side of the wall. I could see their wounds recovered from [Sacred Field]’s continuous effect. They should be healthy enough to run now.

[“Caszcur, I know you’re still hurt, but I have to ask you for a favor!”] I snapped my body towards the leader of this rescue party.

“Spare your breath, little lady. I’ve lost an arm, not my mind. I’ll get these krill eaters away from here, so you just concentrate on your own survival,” Caszcur, ever the quick thinker despite his brutish appearance, quickly understood the situation. “Shouting at others is literally my job, so leave this to me…EVERYONE, FOLLOW ME!”

His loud voice and immediate action showed results as he quickly roused the scared lizardmen and the guards to run deeper into the forest. With Tasianna re-joining me and Rajah, I was about to follow the rest, only for my [Prediction] to warn me of the snake, once again.

If it attacked through the wall, without a doubt large boulders would buffet the lizardman group. I had to protect them.

I cast [Sanctuary] to guard their path out, while Tasianna created a house-sized [Frozen Shield] in front of the barrier. In the middle of its materialization, the white snake effortlessly busted through my [Terra Wall] and shattered my light barrier, even pulverizing Tasianna’s shield.

[“Fuck!!”] Terrified by the sudden attack, my body instinctively stepped to the side to dodge it, cursing out loud with my filter off.

Anticipating the powerful impact this time, the shockwave wasn't enough to blow me away. Now standing beside its head, my tiny eyes met the large beast's, which were huge enough I could see my whole reflection.

<Proficiency requirement fulfilled. [Identity Blocker Lv. 3] evolved into [Identity Blocker Lv. 4]>

Wha-? Did it just use [Identify] on me?! Crap, how much information did it manage to get from my Status Board?! Did my [Identity Blocker] even block his appraisal?!

That was when something stirred inside me, a desire to know if I could at least injure this thing. I ignited my claws in flames, pouring enough mana into it to feed its growth. One it was large enough, without hesitation, I slashed at the beast’s eye.

As if I was trying to punch a wooden door like a normal human being, my claws managed to dent the eye, shooting out a dark red fluid out of it, but the hardiness of the organ was too much for my arm, as I could hear my limb cracking, even breaking before my own eyes. I guess what I did was like punching a titanium wall with full force.

“Aaaaaaaaarck! Shraaaaakt!”

<[Bleeding (Minor)] inflicted on [Young Spark Inferno Dragon, Hestia Atsuko]>

“Ssssssssssssschiellaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!”

Overwhelmed by our respective pain, we flailed around as we tried to separate ourselves from each other. The large snake, being the massive beast that it was, swung its huge body into the air, trying to remove my claws from its eye, while I tried to push myself out of it, helplessly being flung around in the air.

It all ended when the shadow snakes reappeared from Rajah’s legs, attached themselves to another tree and pulled me towards it, freeing me from the rampaging snake. Dazed from all that shaking and swinging around, I clenched my teeth and grabbed my broken arm. With a loud crack, I re-adjusted it back to its correct position before pushing some bones back into my body.

Once everything was back inside me, I grimaced at how wrecked my arm was. I could right into my arm through all the holes from where my broken bones stuck out, not to mention all the blood I was losing right now.

[“Oh, my goodness, Lady Hestia…”] Tasianna said with a gasp.

“Mreow!” Rajah was equally shocked by the state of my arm.

However, I simply ignored them. There was no time to feel sorry for myself when we was still not outside of the danger zone. Using the same method I used to repair Rajah’s leg, I cast [Major Heal] on my arm, making sure it would come out even healthier than before.

Once my arm was back to normal, I readjusted my eyesight to where the leviathan was, only to see it open its mouth. Reflexively constructing another [Terra Wall], I ducked as the air was pierced by a transparent beam, destroying my stone wall and the tree behind me like paper.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!” I shrieked,, venting my stress out from all the catastrophe-sized attacks it has launched at me at this point.

I was able to sense mana from that attack, so it was likely it was either a spell or maybe a racial ability like my [Spark Fire Dragon] skill. Whether it was or not didn’t matter as it only mattered it was a water attack, something my body was incredibly weak to.

Stat difference and elemental difference?! Ok, fuck this, I’m outta here!

I bought enough time for everybody to escape. I had done all I could! All I had to do now was to get out with my party members alive!

[“Run for your lives!”] I called out.

[“Retreat!”] Tasianna shouted.

“Mreow!” and Rajah agreed to both of us.

As we ran for our dear lives, more beams of concentrated water were shot at us as we delved deeper into the rainforest. I had to send out my own spells to block its attacks, otherwise I probably would have lost a limb or two with how the Agility difference meant it was about to catch up with me.

Whether it was only persistent or just plain angry, it really seemed like it wanted to eat me! Its humongous size meant anything in its way was bulldozed. Trees, boulders, water, everything would make way for it!

I honestly had no idea how I was surviving this in my minor form. I had thought of transforming back to my dragon form for the stat boost, but something told me that was the correct idea this time. Weirdly, those water beams — probably a spell as I could see a blue magic circle appearing in its mouth — were extremely inaccurate. It almost looked like a drunk or somebody still half-asleep was shooting a gun, or something. Its eye was healed by one of its spells, so it couldn’t have been blinded by my attack.

Regardless, what was important was that my small frame was helping me slip through this place much easier. Using [Terra Wall]s and [Wind Blast] for movement purposes, I also had Rajah use those shadow snakes to help me manoeuvre around here like a parkour course. Suffice to say, it had been a while since I felt this much terror.

Eventually, we somehow made it away when the snake just stopped moving, and glared at us before we disappeared in the horizon. Maybe it had a maximum length it could travel. The [Identify] description did tell me this snake was just one of many heads of an even larger behemoth.

When I finally found a safe spot, I dropped to the ground and immediately puked, “Ooooooof, urrrrrrrrgh… ha ha, kurgh. Urgh, ha ha ha.”

Tasianna jumped off my shoulder and flew up to my face, clearly worried, [“Lady Hestia! No, your scales have turned slightly purple?! That’s arcane corruption!”]

Hearing the panicked cries of Tasianna, I quickly had my parallel minds check my body, confirming I was at my limit, arcane corruption-wise. The nauseous feeling of going overboard with my magic, spamming countless high-tier spells without controlling the mana consumption due to my own flight or fight instinct.

So I look purple, huh? Seems like you can even see it through the scales…

“Surviving was winning,” was my opinion on the situation. It was better for me to go all out with the escape plan, even risking [Arcane Fever] or [Mana Stress] than to end up as leviathan food. After all, this was like a level 50 player challenging the game’s superboss. Escaping was all I could do, so there was no shame.

Learn from this and get better…

[“Sorry, I’m… not feeling good. Too much mana used,”] I told Tasianna after recovering from puking my breakfast out. [“Headache, tensed body, nausea; symptoms of arcane corruption. Urgh, I need a break…”]

I had to reduce my mana usage right now. I had to speak with Tasianna, but [Telepathy] used mana. It was a problem. Maybe I should also change back into a dragon to further—

[“My Princess, I’m sorry, if only I’ve could’ve been more useful to you…”] Tasianna interrupted my thoughts, dejectedly cleaning my mouth with her water spell.

After she was finished, she told Rajah to help pull my weakened body towards a tree, resting me there. Once again, shadow snakes appeared out of his legs. I knew at this point who was actually behind those things, so asking Rajah about it would be redundant. To be honest, I was surprised she could keep those things active from such a far distance, but I could ask her about it once we got back.

Leaving Rajah as my guard, Tasianna told me, “I saw something that may help” before flying away. I wanted to stand up, but the lethargy in my body wouldn’t go away. Magic wouldn’t help here, in fact, it would make my condition even worse.

So, I just stroked Rajah’s fur while patiently waiting for Tasianna. When she did come back, she was holding onto a bundle of leaves larger than her body, preventing her from flying properly. After she got Rajah to help her, she laid the stack beside me and then pulled one of them out to show me.

["I thought I was imagining it when I flew past them these past days, but after smelling them, I can confirm that these are Fulinoe leaves,"] Tasianna said with an optimistic smile. [“I knew they grew around our village, but it seems we’re lucky they grow even here. Here, allow me to use [Identify] in your stead, Lady Hestia!”]

That skill needed mana to use so it was awfully considerate of her to do appraise for me. Enthusiastic about it, words began streaming into my head.

<Fulinoe Leaf: A leaf from the Fulinoe plant that can only grow around areas with high mana density. These leaves have a soothing smell that can alleviate headaches caused my mana problems>

Smelling it, I did feel a bit better, but it wasn’t effective enough to rid my dizziness. Confused why Tasianna thought this would help me, I nudged her to explain.

[“Hehe, naturally you wouldn’t know this but if you use these leaves to make tea out of them, you can reduce the effects of arcane corruption, speeding up the recovery process,”] Tasianna said while puffing her chest up, looking proud. [“Us fairies hate the taste as it's too bitter, so it has more or less become something only elves indulge in. It is extremely popular amongst novice mages, as the tea allows them to train more effectively. I didn’t know they also grew in this forest. We are truly lucky.”]

Having no reason to deny her help, I helped her create a fire by just sliding my claws against each other. Creating sparks didn’t require any mana — only increasing the volume of the fire needed mana — so I was safe to help her.

Once I carved a crude hole in a rock, Tasianna filled it with water, allowed it to boil over the fire, before adding the leaves. It took a while for the leaves to infuse itself in the water, before she handed me the piping-hot drink.

[“Please forgive me for the lackluster quality, but it should help you nonetheless,”] Tasianna offered me the now finished tea. [“Please, allow me to help you drink. It will be bitter so please don’t be surprised.”]

Opening my mouth, I allowed Tasianna to pour the liquid for me to drink. Allowing the tea to cover my tongue, I was quickly assaulted by that bitter taste Tasianna warned me about, but somehow, I wasn’t revolted by it. It was actually quite nostalgic.

Can this be? Coffee?

Finishing the beverage, I was fully convinced of what it reminded me of.

[“Bleg, bitter,”] I said while sticking my tongue out. [“Still, I think it’s helping. Thank you, Tasianna.”]

[“Of course, it was the least that I could’ve done, my Princess,”] Tasianna expressed enthusiastically with a fulfilling smile.

[“Also, could you please grab some seeds? They might be useful to grow,”] I requested from her, not only describing how similar it was to coffee but also how it could be extremely beneficial if we cultivated them for our personal usage.

At first, she couldn't believe how such a bitter drink could become a stable Earth beverage, until I told her how most people drank it with milk and sugar. She acknowledged sweetening it might help its disgusting taste. She admitted fairies rarely ever drank milk, preferring nectar, as both the elves and fairies didn’t domesticate cows. As such, she never considered adding milk to it.

In any case, Tasianna agreed to my wish and asked Rajah to help her. They wandered off, picking up not only more leaves but also their seeds whenever we could keep a garden. Once they were back, we stayed where we were, waiting for me to recover my strength before we searched for the lizardmen.

Up until the sky turned orange, where my [Detection Sensor] found numerous signals approaching us. Due to the tea, I had recovered quite a bit from my arcane corruption, so I was ready to fight, or at the very least to flee.

However, my worry was unwarranted when a familiar face appeared.

“Little lady! Thank Marsven, you’re still alive,” the one-armed lizardman Caszcur shouted with a relieved laugh.

[“Caszcur… y-you came back for us?”] I was surprised, seeing him willingly lead the lizardman back where they escaped.

“What?! Has that giant thing rocked your head so much it turned it into a slug? How many times have I told you that I’m indebted to you?”] he complained to me, actually angry I would question him for coming to help me.

After I apologized to him, we both shared what happened when we got separated. I told him about my current problem and how I had to rest, while he explained it took a bit of convincing but he managed to persuade everybody to follow him, calling it a "debt worth giving up our life" and how they would dishonour themselves if they didn't come to help.

Seemed like the snake’s rampage made it easy to look for me. You only needed to follow the destruction of the marsh.

[“Uhhh, so is this why they are cleaning me, now?”] I asked Caszcur, confused why the female lizardmen were cleaning my body.

“Haha, yeah, that fight must have really pushed you to your limits. You look nothing like when we first met; all that blood fits your appearance but not your personality, little lady,” Caszcur admitted with a calm nod. “Usually, the females of a chief’s harem extend this treatment to mighty warriors. We have no hierarchy right now, but this is their way to give you post-battle rest. Just accept it. It’s the same thing after you healed everybody in the clinic. We lizardmen don’t forget a debt this big that easily.”

Tasianna, taking her role as my retainer seriously, was handing out orders to those women on how to clean my body. As I had recovered, I also took out some already dismantled meat from my storage, which caused all the lizardmen to celebrate, telling me they would create a feast for me to save them.

I didn’t even get the chance to speak back, as they just took the meat and began collecting herbs and what not from around. Sure, the area should be safe. No animal would come anywhere close after the snake’s appearance, but still… it felt too lax. Then again, I could see the exhaustion in the ones we rescued today, understanding they were pushing through it to show me their appreciation.

I couldn’t really say no.

“So… you mind telling me about your sudden transformation now?” Caszcur sat next to me as I watched the lizardmen prepare the feast, prompting me about what I wanted to tell him before.

Seeing as the cat was out of the bag, it really didn’t matter at this point. As such, I was willing to trust him with the fact I was a dragon. However, I didn’t go any further than that, which meant he didn’t know I was less than a year old and an otherworlder. If I did it now, I was pretty sure it would be too much to digest. If I were to do it, then it probably would be with the other lizardmen leaders around.

After all, he became petrified from surprise when I elucidated him. If I had told him another secret, I was sure he would have gotten a brain meltdown.

A dragonewt was one thing, but a dragon? He assured me Apsala would go crazy if she heard this. After the feast, I decided to transform back to my preferred form, shocking every single lizardman who didn't know about it. They told me, "Your other form was so much more attractive" and "Human skin sure is weak, you should stay in your proper form."

<[Humanized (Moderate)] inflicted on [Young Spark Inferno Dragon, Hestia Atsuko]>

Jeez, come on, guys. Let me be happy with my body…

After that, we rested for the night and began our return on the next day. During this time, I also successfully reattached Caszcur’s arm. I first tried to regrow it with my spells but that was seemingly impossible even with [Major Heal], so I was glad I quickly thought of freezing Caszcur’s stump and arm.

The frozen cells were a problem but that was still easily mended with my healing spells. Caszcur told me he was just continuously accumulating more and more debts and was visibly depressed by that fact.

It took us about two days until we finally returned to the camp. Arriving, a crowd was already assembling at the entrance, probably ‘cause of a certain someone…

The cheers I could hear were incredible, so full of energy to see their friends again. The five siblings even came up to me to thank me personally for doing it. Not only did they thank me for killing those panguanas but also for bringing all their friends back.

It was honestly awesome I was able to see all of this, warming my heart that our party was able to help them.

“Hestia…” a voice appeared behind me, before I felt somebody tightly embracing me. “You do not know how much I wanted to chase after you after I saw that thing… You are too reckless for your own good, but I am glad that you are alright.”

“Hey, Miss Spy. Sorry for showing you that pitiful sight, guess you were right once again, huh?” I said, holding onto her arms as I remembered our fight. “I’m sorry for making you worry like that, despite how much you were against it.”

[“Of course, I was correct! Do you think it was a good….”] Saori interrupted herself, as I felt something wet drop down my head. ["Huuuu, sorry. That was uncalled for. I didn’t want to lose any of you… but, I guess you kept your promise, huh?”]

[“Hiehie, I always keep my promises.”] I smiled.

[“It seems so… Tasianna, I thank you so very much for keeping her safe, if you were not there then I probably would have actually rushed over, after I saw all of that."]

[“Of course, Miss Saori, it was my duty… even if it wasn't enough. I promise to get stronger,”] Tasianna swore, bowing deeply to apologize.

Nodding to Tasianna’s show of humility, Saori then turned towards Rajah. [“You, my little friend, are just the best. You brave little boy, you did exactly what I asked you too. Good work.”]

“Mreow!”

It seemed I was correct to assume those snakes and the black coating around Rajah’s legs were Saori's work. Using [Shadow Armament] to coat his legs and then leaving dormant [Shadow Snake]s inside them. When I turned around, Saori looked pretty purple, to be honest. Almost sickly, really!

She explained it was due to maintaining the [Shadow Snake] from a long distance, which required Mana and Stamina. She had actually gotten [Arcane Fever] during the time I got attacked by the leviathan, and only managed to survive it after learning she could drink fulinoe tea to get rid of it from Tasianna.

[“Urgh, I do not want to do this ever again. I actually feel like I am about to drop dead.”]

[“Don’t!”] I shouted at her, earning me a giggle before Tasianna flew away and began preparing some more tea for her.

What was this [Shadow Snake] spell anyways? Identify!

<Shadow Snake: A dark element spell that conjures a semi-sentient snake made out of shadows. The user may transfer their senses into it to see what they can see. Can be used remotely only if the shadow is still connected with the user. Can be use long-distance, but will continuously drain Mana and Stamina depending on the distance>

As [Shadow Armament] was an extension of Saori’s mana, the snakes were able to stay dormant inside them. She had been able to keep an eye on us by using Rajah. She was honestly super sneaky, but I had to forgive her for that seeing as she did save my life during the leviathan chase.

Nevertheless, I did forbid her to use a long-distance [Shadow Snake] unless we absolutely needed to. Sure, it might be an amazing spying tool, but I didn’t want to risk Saori’s health for it. Shot-ranged scouting was perfectly fine, to be honest.

“So, did I miss anything while I was gone?” I asked Saori who was wiping the tears off her face.

“…Yeah,” Saori averted her eyes, fidgeting with her hands as she kept hugging me. “The mother woke up.”

<Multiple proficiency requirements fulfilled. [Draconic Claws Lv. 5] [Prediction Lv. 9] [Danger Perception Lv. 3] [Detection Sensor Lv. 3] [Physical Super-Resistance Lv. 3] [Fear Resistance Lv. 2] [Enhanced Strength Growth Lv. 6] [Enhanced Stamina Growth Lv. 6] [Poison Creation Lv. 5] gained>

No joky author comments today, I actually have an announcement to make. A happy one!

I recently became an author under Aethon Books, an indie publisher who published books like "He Who Fights With Monsters" and "Mother of Learning." In other words, Dragon Idol will become a proper book in the future. However, as per the contract I signed with them, this also means that Dragon Idol will also join Kindle Unlimited. If you guys don't know what that is, it's Amazon's subscription-based reading program. It's a pretty good deal for authors, but Amazon's policy will force me to remove the chapters for my first book from both RR and SH.

I wanted to give you guys a head's up, since this is pretty important for your reading convenience. The book won't be released for now, and I will warn you guys again before I unpublic the chapters. Still, I hope you guys will continue supporting me despite this, and don't worry! I will continue releasing more chapters for you guys to read on SH!

 

If you guys want to support me, Hestia and "A Dragon Idol's Reincarnation Tale" (or just read up to 20 advance chapters + any Patreon-only chapters) please check out my Patreon: Rawr

For two dollars, for the cost of a coffee, you can read up to four chapters for the whole month! You will have my eternal gratitude for any support you can give me! Please.

Thank you for reading this chapter.

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