We somehow managed to make it to the surface of the dungeon, where we fought the Guardian, the entire cavern was a mess with fissures and fallen trees everywhere.
"Do you think anyone else survived?" Arthur asked.
"Reginald and Brald were both consumed by the Elderwood Guardian before your fight. I wasn't close enough to save Samantha either, I was able to conjure a metal shelter around her. But she was pretty badly injured so I don't know if she survived." Elijah answered.
He proceeded to kneel down and place both of his hands on the ground, "Earths Pulse!"
A pulse surged around the cavern, and Elijah's face told us he found something, "Samantha is still alive!"
He muttered another spell and a metallic tent rose from the ground, which opened up to show the sorry state of Samantha.
With her legs broken multiple times and cuts and bruises littering her body. Hell some shards of bone were even sticking out of her legs.
She seemed to be clutching something in her arms.
Elijah went to remove the vines still stuck to her leg when Arthur stops him, "Don't, the vines are acting as a makeshift splint for her leg. Removing it now will only make the injury worse."
I could send Arthur and Samantha up with Zeke, and I was about to suggest it when a roar shook the cavern, a roar I had come to recognize.
"What now!?!" Elijah jumps.
"Relax, its a friend." I reassure them.
Soon enough a large black Dragon broke through the ceiling.
"S-Sylvie....you've grown a lot." Arthur stuttered out.
"Told ya," I quip.
She then proceeds to step towards Arthur and lick his face.
"T-That's a Wyvern right? But Wyverns don't have 4 limbs." Elijah had a hard time believing it.
"W-wait! Don't tell me, that's a D-Dragon?!" He stutters out.
"Yeah its a Dragon, stop gaping. Is it really that surprising, after knowing about our...unique abilities.?" I say.
"No, I guess I shouldn't be that surprised," He replies.
"She's my bond, Sylvie." Arthur says as he rubs her snout.
"B-but Dragons were thought to be extinct for centuries!"
"And that is exactly why this needs to stay in between us, understood?" I spat out, a bit too cold but we had to make sure he wouldn't tell anyone.
"I'm not gonna tell anyone," He replies instantly, visibly afraid.
I nod in approval, "Good,"
"We need to hurry, lets move Samantha on Sylvie's back." Arthur went to help out Jasmine who had already started placing Samantha on Sylvie's back.
Only to find my arm blocking him, "You're in pretty bad shape Arthur, you can barely stand. Get on Zeke's back, I'll help the others here."
He sighed, "Fine."
After helping the Jasmine with Samantha I gestured Elijah to get on as well.
He hesitated for a second before climbing up.
I walk to Zeke and sit on his back, with Arthur behind me.
"Lets go" I say as we took off.
Our journey took a couple of hours, we had to stop in between to fend off some mana beasts who decided to attack us, although most of them were too intimidated by Sylvie and Zeke to try anything.
Seeing this Elijah commented, "Why didn't you bring her along from the start?"
Arthur simply chuckled at him and was about to reply when he stopped us, "Stop! She's stirring!"
Instantly Sylvie halted, and so did Zeke. As they Brought Samantha down on the ground, she opened her eyes, "You look better without your mask."
She said before looking at me with confusion evident on her face, which soon turned to realization, "You don't look that bad yourself Mr. Bolt,"
"Don't speak, preserve your energy. You're in a bad state," was my only reply.
She didn't listen and began opening her arms, "Wait...Look what I found..."
She proceeded to reveal Arthur's mask and a dull green orb.
The Elderwood guardian's core!
Arthur looked shocked, before turning grateful, "Thank you. "
Picking up his mask he said, "About the beast core, we'll sell it later and split the profit."
Jasmine shook her head, "I don't want it. You deserve it more."
Arthur proceeded to look at Elijah who crossed his arms saying, "Don't look at me! I don't want it either!"
Turning towards me he started to speak but I interrupted, "Keep it. It dropped from your half of the Elderwood Guardian. Mine didn't drop anything. If it did, it's already consumed."
I sigh, "I'll explain later."
He looked around once again, when he received a nod from all of us, Samantha had already fallen unconscious once again, he breathed out a sigh, "Thank you everyone."
He put his mask back on and speaks, "Jasmine, Elijah. Could you two go to the guild hall and get some help? I'll stay here with her."
They look hesitant so I intervene, "Don't worry, I'll keep him safe. I've mostly recovered anyways."
Well that's a lie.
What they don't know, wont hurt them.
Jasmine sighs and nods in approval. Elijah proceeds to get up with a nod as well.
He stopped midway, as if remembering something, "Oh, before we go,"
He brought his wrist forward as a green light emitted from his ring, which soon spat out a bad.
A dimension ring?
Jeez this kid was rich, those don't come cheap.
As they go, Arthur retrieves a scroll from his bag.
It looked familiar for some reason.
Ah! It was the scroll he was gifted by the twin horns!
The one which lets him communicate with Mom and Dad from anywhere, although only once.
He wrote his part before handing it to me.
Looking at it I raised an eyebrow, he only used half of the space.
The rest could be used to write another letter, this one by me.
Looks like he found a loophole.
I quickly write down a short letter which takes up the rest of the space and the letter dissolves to dust and blows away.
"So," Arthur broke the silence, "You got this big by hunting mana beasts and eating their cores?"
Sylvie answered with a growl, well he probably heard whatever she actually said.
"Are you still able to transform? He asked.
To our surprise she shrunk to the size she was before, when we first began adventuring.
I turn towards Zeke,
Can you do that too?
Yes, but is it necessary? I could always hide in your shadow if you want.
Yeah, I guess that would be less inconspicuous.
He growled in affirmation before melting into my shadow.
I see Arthur absorb some of the mana from the beast core before settling into a meditative stance which I reciprocated.
Who knows how long they would take?