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Summoner and Dragon Knight

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In a fantastical realm, a tale unfolds of Summoners and Dragon Knights on an eternal quest for self-discovery, chasing the elusive notions of love and dreams. Amidst the magical landscape, these characters navigate through trials and tribulations, their paths intertwining as they seek deeper meaning in their existence. The Summoners, skilled in calling forth mystical beings, and the Dragon Knights, riders of powerful dragons, embody perseverance in their pursuit of identity and the fulfillment of their aspirations. Their journey transcends boundaries, unveiling the profound essence of courage, camaraderie, and the relentless pursuit of the intangible in a world teeming with enchantment and mystery.

Chapter 1

Locke had never encountered such a string of misfortunes before.

Having been part of the Adventurer's Guild for three years, 27-year-old Locke had achieved the status of a C-ranked mercenary this year—a remarkable feat across the entire continent in reaching C rank within such a short time. Filled with confidence upon finally achieving this rank, Locke eagerly accepted a C-ranked mission, ready to demonstrate his skills.

Forming an impromptu team within the guild, he included himself as an archer, a C-ranked mage, and two D-ranked warriors. With such a lineup, taking on a C-ranked mission should have almost guaranteed success. So why did they find themselves in such dire circumstances?

Firstly, they scoured most of the forest without finding the required Cockatrice grass for the mission. Then, they stumbled upon a pack of intermediate Bone Wolves. The dreadfulness of these pack-based magical creatures wasn't merely due to their sharp fangs and claws but their ability to summon reinforcements with a single howl. After leaving a few painful marks on the two warriors, this visibly famished fierce creature was eventually repelled, leaving behind an echo of haunting wolf howls.

Frustrating the pack of Bone Wolves, the team had no choice but to sprint desperately forward, engaging the occasional glint-eyed beasts that emerged. Just when the pursuers halted their chase, before they could even celebrate escaping the Bone Wolves' territory, they encountered another significant problem—the unbeatable intermediate Gale Howler Tiger, a dominant force in the forest, stood before them, baring its fangs.

"Captain?" The warrior at the forefront, fighting off the tiger's ferocious attacks, was covered in wounds. As the team leader, Locke had to devise a strategy promptly.

"Any potent magic?" Locke, somewhat anxious, scratched his drenched red hair, whispering to the nearby mage.

The mage, her magical reserves depleted, appeared as pale as snow. Her once lustrous golden-brown hair seemed washed out, barely supporting her faltering body with the wand. "I might manage a Thunder Burst," she murmured. However, the Thunder Burst's power was average at best and might not be sufficient to subdue the fully berserk tiger.

“Ah!” Another warrior cried out as blood sprayed into the air. The front line was on the verge of collapsing. Locke furrowed his brow, his fingers on the bowstring opening involuntarily but continuing the motion mechanically. In this scenario, abandoning these two warriors could offer him and the mage a chance to escape. However, forsaking teammates was something Locke always loathed, even if they were temporary allies.

Suddenly, rustling sounded from behind the bushes. Had other monsters caught the scent of blood? Locke swiftly pulled the mage beside him, spinning around and drawing the bowstring taut—

"Whoosh…" The bushes parted, and a blob of translucent purple material plopped onto the ground. Atop it lay a small figure, lifting its head to meet Locke's gaze. The slightly agape mouth hinted at the figure's apparent surprise.

In an instant, Locke made a decision. "Get away!"

This shout was directed at the newcomer. The mage, sheltering behind Locke, sighed upon seeing the new arrival, then turned back to muster the last remnants of her drained magical power. Experienced mercenaries understood; now was not the time to seek assistance but to allow the newcomer to escape. Because the newcomer was a junior summoner who rode a slime. Such novice summoners possessed zero combat abilities.

The figure on the slime blinked its large eyes, glancing at Locke and then at the raging beast. Suddenly, it raised a hand. Locke sighed internally. If the new summoner didn't intervene, they might escape. But now, it seemed someone else was about to become involved. Though foolish, the summoner's decision to assist touched Locke considerably.

“La-li-la-la, la-li-bounce!” The summoner concluded the incantation, raising their hands upward to create a simple magic circle. A green object shot out from the circle with such force that it nearly pushed Locke toward the front line.

"Go!" The summoner pointed their short fingers at the Wind Howler.

Recognizing the green object, Locke's party members almost screamed. A low-level slime facing off against a mid-level Wind Howler? Even if this slime was a bit larger than average. Just as Locke contemplated grabbing the summoner and executing a "knife throw" to remove them from the battlefield and save their life, two more green objects emerged from the still-glowing magic circle. "All together now!" The summoner sidestepped Locke's outstretched hand, dismounting the purple creature and patting its elastic body.

Three green and one purple, all considerably larger than their counterparts, dashed toward the Wind Howler. "Slap—thud—!" A noise, akin to a rallying cry, echoed as the four massive entities simultaneously leaped high in the air—descending upon the momentarily stunned Wind Howler.

"Roar…" Even a mighty beast couldn't escape unscathed from being crushed by four colossal objects. The Wind Howler lay on the ground, roaring angrily, trying to free itself from the weight upon it. Then, the onlookers witnessed another astonishing sight. Among the four slimes, two held down the beast while the other two bounced up just as the former were about to land. This sequence repeated several times, a choreographed dance that inflicted relentless punishment upon the once-mighty beast.

“Stop.” A gentle voice rang out, and the four slimes immediately bounded away from the beast. The Wind Howler, already dazed, didn't spare Locke's group a glance and darted into the thickets.

"…Wow, that was incredible!" The warrior, forgetting their own injuries, gazed in awe at the diminutive summoner. "Are slimes really that powerful?"

"Thank the heavens," Locke sighed, holstering his bow and approaching the summoner, "Thank you so much!"

The summoner lifted their head, casting a peculiar look at Locke.

"Ho...Ah!" Midway to the summoner, Locke was abruptly tackled by the four colossal slimes, sprawling on the ground for a good while.

The slimes surrounded the summoner. "Good, good," the summoner stretched out their hands, gently caressing each translucent creature, which was now behaving affectionately. "Good, go back now." A flash of light, and only the purple slime remained on the ground. "Huh? What did you say?" The summoner tilted their head, inquiring at Locke sprawled on the ground.

"Thank you for your help. I'm Ryan. May I ask for your name?" The relieved magician settled beside the summoner, of the same height.

"Kakaslonielma." The summoner poked the slime, which obediently lowered its body, flattening into a pancake shape. "Just call me Kaka." Maneuvering with both hands and feet, the summoner finally managed to propel themselves onto the slime. "Goodbye." The wriggling slime returned to its original size, appearing to shrink slightly as if preparing to depart.

"Mr. Kaka, are you leaving?" Locke, finally standing up, hurriedly inquired.

"Hmm? No, I'm off to find herbs."

"Ah, we haven't found our Cockatrice Grass yet," another warrior exclaimed, eyeing their wounds. The other warrior hastily bandaged their injuries, saying nothing. Although Locke and Ryan didn't bear visible injuries, they were equally fatigued. Struggling further seemed futile, yet surrendering wasn't an option. Mercenaries faced an experience deduction if they failed a mission, a significant cost for those whose abilities were gauged by levels. A sense of resignation settled upon the four.

"Cockatrice Grass? I have it." The summoner suddenly spoke up.

"Ah, really? How fortunate! Um… would you be willing to give it to us?" They all looked expectantly at the summoner.

"For 5 silver coins." The summoner retrieved a carefully preserved Cockatrice Grass from their spatial storage pouch.

The reward for the task was 25 silver coins. The four exchanged glances, and Locke fetched a pouch of money. "Thank you." Since they weren't at a loss, completing the task was what mattered most.

Note: Exchange rate: 1 gold coin = 100 silver coins = 10,000 copper coins.

Chapter 2

"The trade completed, the team prepared to return, their spirits refreshed. The summoner, however, didn't move, tilting their head to appraise the four disheveled individuals. "You're walking back?"

"Yes," Locke grinned widely.

"Hmm... Are you sure you're not intending to end up inside a monster's belly?" The summoner scanned them up and down with evident skepticism.

The four simultaneously displayed wry smiles. "We didn't bring any teleport scrolls." Teleport scrolls contained a magical circle that usually connected to a specific city's teleportation point, capable of transporting a set number of individuals. The magic circle sealed within the scroll could only teleport around 10 people at most. It was rumored that the Igrenou Academy in the capital had a giant magic circle capable of transporting three hundred people at once, the largest in the country.

These one-time-use scrolls

Heroes

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