Happy Chinese New Year and sorry for the long leave of absence!
Wishing all the best for everyone for the year ahead and stay safe!
Chapter SS2.2: Ugeuge-san and the Golden Dragon Part2
The mountain path had footprints showing that many people have walked that path.
“I believe it was Lord Zutto and his soldiers who left yesterday.”
The young girl said to Ugeuge-san as it seemed curious about the footprints.
“He has a party of 29 men after including the mercenaries he gathered from outside the village. It’s an army that Zutto gathered to get rid of the dragon and obtain its treasures.”
Ugeuge-san nodded. Ugeuge-san saw the lord’s troops leave the village as well.
“There’s a golden dragon living in this mountain. It is said that it sleeps on a mountain of treasures in its lair.”
Ugeuge-san tilted its head.
“Are you wondering why do we know that it has treasures?”
Ugeuge-san bobbed its head up and down.
“Two years ago, the lord back then, Lord Blunt, attacked the golden dragon in the mountain with his troops. We could see the golden dragon circling in the sky from the village. There were no mercenaries at that time and they were only a party of five, including Blunt, so they were all killed. But there was one soldier with grievous injuries that escaped back to the village. That soldier died in the end but he mentioned that there were golden treasures in that dragon’s cave before he passed away.”
The young girl looked down after she paused.
“You heard them call me the dragon’s witch, right? Actually, Blunt brought troops to the mountain because he was searching for my mother. Blunt took my mother as his own and came to our home with soldiers. Back then, it was not that small hut. We lived in a proper home.
Father tried to resist but he was only one person and was murdered by the soldiers. But as father was fighting, mother took me and fled to the mountain … although she knew that it was impossible to escape in the mountain with me as I was still young.
We were slowly cornered and I injured my feet along the way and couldn’t run any longer. Mother told me that they were chasing after her so she asked me to hide in a bush while she ran far away on her own. That was the last time I saw my mother.”
The girl looked at the forest trail with narrowed eyes as she reminisced.
Ugeuge-san tapped on her shoulder to cheer her up.
“Thank you. I ran through this mountain trail that time too. I was extremely afraid that Blunt would kill my mother because she rejected him. But as the sun was setting, the golden dragon appeared and attacked Blunt and his soldiers. The golden dragon killed all of them except for that one soldier.
The villagers called my mother a witch and said she summoned the golden dragon. Nobody saw a dragon on this mountain before then. They would have noticed that a dragon lived nearby as well … so the villagers said my mother was a witch who sold her body to the dragon.”
Ugeuge-san leaped up with a hop. It seemed angry.
“Spider-san is a good spider. I plan to steal the dragon’s treasures while Zutto fights the golden dragon.”
The girl said as she looked at the high cliff visible from the gaps in the trees.
“Just a handful of silver coins will be enough. I can live in a different place on my own with just that much! I will no longer need to live beside the villagers who watched as my mother and father were killed!”
The girl increased her speed slightly.
“Spider-san, watch over me. I will work harder!”
Ugeuge-san jumped on the girl’s head and pat her head with its small arm.
As it was doing that … Ugeuge-san glanced at a certain stone in the forest.
Although it was wrapped in moss, the stone had unnatural scratchings on it … there were letters and drawings carved onto it.
Probably 200 years had passed since it was carved.
Ugeuge-san can’t read but it understood what the little picture drawn meant.
It was a carving of a dragon protecting treasures.
The golden dragon was there since ancient times.
“Let me rest here for a while … ”
After walking for close to an hour, the girl stopped with a bitter expression.
The girl was dexterous but she was a novice in wearing armor. Her repaired leather armor was unbalanced and the weight was gathered on her left shoulder.
Below her clothes, her skin was chafed and bleeding.
The girl thought of taking off the armor but without equipment to protect her body with low divine protection level was suicide when walking in the mountain.
“Although this armor is tattered, wearing it makes me feel like my dad is protecting me.”
The girl shifted her armor and somehow alleviated the weight on her left shoulder.
Seeing that, Ugeuge-san hopped onto her back.
Ugeuge-san quickly ran on top of the girl’s armor.
The girl was surprised as to what was happening but her left shoulder immediately felt better.
When she moved her body slightly, she noticed that the weight gathered on her left shoulder had been redistributed to her torso.
“Did spider-san do this with your thread?”
Ugeuge-san replied with a small hop.
“Amazing! Spider-san is so dexterous!”
The girl started walking once again.
She no longer had to endure the stinging pain in her shoulder.
“Thank you, spider-san.”
Ugeuge-san raised its right arm as a reply.
After it was afternoon.
Ugeuge-san and the girl were off the mountain trail and she was advancing by cutting down the foliage blocking their path with a sword.
“Yup, I can see them from here.”
The girl said as she looked down from the slope.
In front of her eyes were Lord Zutto and his soldiers.
The soldiers were camping in a cleared out portion of the mountain and were preparing to ambush the golden dragon.
However, there were no large weapons such as ballista and their preparations were just improvised fire shields covered with fire-resistant grass.
They might be able to resist fire arrows but that was unreliable preparations against a dragon’s breath.
” … Yup, let’s go further up, it will flee to its cave once the fighting starts.”
Ugeuge-san rode on her shoulder as the girl advanced down the unbeaten path.
Her father’s keepsake sword that she used to mow down the grass was a cheap beginner work made by a young blacksmith but it was able to cut well.
“Father taught me how to maintain a sword.”
The girl muttered.
Ugeuge-san tapped her shoulder to encourage her.
The girl thought that it would be a tough journey but her heart felt warm with Ugeuge-san on the journey with her.
The two of them advanced through the mountain for some time.
After walking for close to 30 minutes, they came upon a steep cliff.
The girl heard that the cave where the golden dragon lived was somewhere above that cliff.
“I have to find a place to climb up … spider-san, where should I try?”
The girl was troubled as she looked right and left in front of the cliff but Ugeuge-san jumped onto the cliff with a hop.
Then, it turned toward the girl and pointed to the top of the cliff with its hind legs.
“Cl-climb here!? I don’t have spider-san’s nimbleness so it’s impossible!”
But after seeing Ugeuge-san appeal a couple of times, the girl approached the cliff and placed her hand on the spot where Ugeuge-san pointed to.
“This … might work!”
It looked like a sheer cliff from below but after touching the cliff directly, it was probably only around 50 degrees.
The girl looked at Ugeuge-san again.
Ugeuge-san raised its left hand and bid her follow as it began climbing.
After seeing how determined Ugeuge-san was, the girl readied herself and sheathed her sword before using both her hands to climb the cliff.
She was about to finish her climb.
The girl entrusted her body weight to Ugeuge-san’s thread and rested her tired arms.
“I could not have reached this far without spider-san, thank you.”
The girl smiled and Ugeuge-san replied by waving its arm.
Ugeuge-san led the way by pacing around the girl to find where was good for her to place her hands and feet.
In addition, Ugeuge-san’s thread acted as a lifeline to connect her to the cliff so she would be fine even if she falls after slipping.
“Just a little more … !”
It was only a meter before she reached the top of the cliff.
The girl lightly shook her tired arms before gripping the cliff once more.
At that moment, Ugeuge-san hurriedly jumped in front of the girl and waved both its front arms before spreading its feet and sticking its body flat against the cliff wall.
The girl was puzzled. But she already trusts Ugeuge-san.
That tiny spider was her only friend from the village.
She decided to follow what Ugeuge-san was doing and stuck her body close to the cliff.
Birds flew off the top of the cliff all at once.
A huge shadow covered her sight as she looked up into the sky in shock.
The dragon billowed fire out from its mouth and spread its wings, more than twice the length of its body, before flying into the sky.
The dragon was small for its race but in comparison to humans, it was still enormous.
The girl and Ugeuge-san were undoubtedly looking at a dragon.
“It’s not a golden dragon … !”
That dragon’s scales were not brilliant gold but glossy jet-black.
After reaching the top of the cliff, the girl and Ugeuge-san looked down.
“The dragon is fighting!”
The black dragon was violently attacking the place where the soldiers were waiting in ambush.
The soldiers were using arrows and magic to fight against the black dragon circling in the sky.
However, both were ineffective and the soldiers were being killed by the black dragon’s flames that suddenly engulfed them.
The small-sized Lord Zutto was hiding from the dragon and giving out orders with a red face.
… However, it seemed that his strategies were only ‘Fight’ and ‘Don’t flee’.
It was only a matter of time before they routed.
Ugeuge-san jumped onto the girl’s head as she was frozen on the spot.
“Th-that’s right, I have to get the treasures now!”
The young girl gathered herself and quickly ran toward the dragon’s cave.
She quickly found the cave.
The enormous dragon did not hide traces of it living in the cave.
There were knocked down trees, traces of food and its large footprints.
All of them were traces clear to the eyes.
The cave the dragon lived in was a large horizontal cave.
Ugeuge-san noticed that the cave wall was artificially hollowed out by humans and strengthened its vigilance.
With its insect’s intuition, Ugeuge-san felt that there was some unnatural power there.
“The treasure is inside …”
The girl’s wish was a handful of silver coins.
A modest amount of money even for a fledgling adventurer.
But it was a treasure that she must bet her life to obtain in order to have a new place to stay.
The girl drew the sword she was carrying and entered the cave.
But the girl stumbled at the entrance of the cave.
Her back was pulled just as she was about to fall.
“Th-thank you spider-san.”
A thread extended from her back to the ceiling of the cave.
When it saw her stumble, Ugeuge-san instantly stretched its thread.
“Mou! Why would there be a depression here!”
The girl said with a red face from embarrassment.
She had tripped on a rock at her feet which had a round depression.
“This … was not made naturally.”
The girl found it curious and crouched to look at it.
There was a perfect circle with uniform depth on a rock that seemed hard.
It was unimaginable for natural phenomena such as weathering or erosion.
At that moment, Ugeuge-san traveled up its thread and climbed to the ceiling.
The girl anxiously followed Ugeuge-san with her eyes.
Ugeuge-san stopped at a point on the ceiling where there was a mirror just above the depression.
Due to shadow cast from the light coming from outside, the mirror could not be seen without looking intently at the ceiling with a light shining on it.
Ugeuge-san coincidentally noticed a different sensation compared to the rock surface when it stuck its thread to the ceiling.
Perhaps it was stuck there with magic but Ugeuge-san, being a spider, didn’t understand that.
Ugeuge-san tilted its head and returned to the girl.
” … I don’t understand but let’s go.”
The girl looked at the depression on the floor and the mirror on the ceiling once again before she proceeded further into the cave.
With a sword in her left hand and raising a handmade torch made by winding a rag cloth on a stick, the girl advanced into the cave.
Ugeuge-san was on the girl’s shoulder eating an insect it caught.
Spitting thread consumes physical strength. It had to resupply when it could.
“There’s a fork.”
The girl said uneasily.
The cave split into two paths in front of her eyes.
“Where should I go?”
At her words, Ugeuge-san stopped eating and thought.
Looking at the ground, it could see that the dragon frequently came in and out from the right but not so much from the left.
Ugeuge-san conveyed that to the girl by tapping its feet.
“Yup, the location with the treasure would be the storage. The place with more footprint would be the living area where it sleeps so the place with fewer footprints will be the storage! Let’s go left!”
The girl nodded at her own words and proceeded left.
After a short walk, the cave came to a dead end.
But in front of her eyes was a manmade artifact that did not match the cave.
There was a stone door on the wall.
It was not an issue for the girl but it was a slightly small door for an adult.
Of course, a dragon could not enter through it.
The girl pushed the door but it did not move.
Ugeuge-san jumped from the girl’s shoulder.
“Spider-san, can you open it?”
Ugeuge-san peeked into the keyhole and took thread into its hand and threw it into the keyhole.
It fidgeted for some time … then there was a click.
The girl innocently exclaimed.
A sensible adult would probably notice Ugeuge-san’s ability beyond that of a regular spider by now and probably wonder if it was perhaps a demon in disguise but the girl only had feelings of respect toward Ugeuge-san who she trusted as a friend.
This spider-san is so amazing!
The girl worked hard to open the stone door.
“Fuu … there’s a small shed inside?”
There was a small 50cm space beyond the door.
Inside, there was a pedestal with an old mirror placed on it. It was made of silver but it was not cloudy despite having been neglected for many years.
It had probably been enchanted with magic. It should be worth quite a sum if taken.
However, the girl had never seen polished silver before and did not know how much that was worth.
Ugeuge-san jumped onto the pedestal and ran round and round the mirror, waving its arm at the girl.
“Eh? You want me to carry this?”
Ugeuge-san hopped on the spot as a reply.
The girl picked the silver mirror up with both hands and was surprised with its weight but obediently kept it in her bag.
“This seems to be the wrong way so … let’s return and take the left path.”
Ugeuge-san returned to the girl’s shoulder and waved its arm onward.