I grab a cactus and return to the beach.
I laid Nina down on the seashore to rest and make the ball rabbit stand guard.
The sand in the desert is hot and not suited for an ill person to lie on.
I have to keep her hydrated for now.
Just standing up takes strength away in the heat of the desert.
Without water, the condition will only deteriorate further.
The ball rabbit receives the cactus from me, squeezes it, skims the contents, and pours the liquid between Nina’s lips skillfully.
The color in Nina’s face seems to have worsened since I got the cactus.
But if that’s the case, it’s progressing too fast, so it may just be in my head.
There isn’t any time to worry, but I’m not sure what to do now.
Would it be better to hope for a miracle and stumble upon a city or to head back to Harenae?
I understand that I need to act quickly, but I can’t bring myself to choose.
Is it better to let her die quietly like she wanted? I shouldn’t even consider this.
I shake my head dismissing the thought from my head.
I glared at the ball rabbit.
If I had gone to Harenae, Nina wouldn’t be dying now.
Even though I knew that the ball rabbit was acting on Nina’s feelings, I still couldn’t stop these feelings.
The ball rabbit notices my look and looks up quietly.
The ball rabbit lets out a sad cry.
[[Telepathy]] doesn’t have to be used.
The ball rabbit probably heard Nina’s story beforehand.
The ball rabbit is a monster, but it is quite wise.
It wouldn’t let Nina die without a reason.
Was Nina’s past so dreadful that she had lost all faith in others?
She must have known a kind person wherever she was before, and surely one exists in Harenae.
Wasn’t it possible to have hoped for that?
Nina’s eyelid opens weakly.
She lifts her neck and moves her eyes a little.
They stop on my form and she moves her stiffened lips to speak.
“Nina’s sorry nya …Mr. Dragon”
She says in a low murmur.
“Nina has never known such kindness till now…. So if possible… if even a little… she would like to stay with Mr.Dragon as long as possible… It is Nina’s own selfishness. It was Nina who wanted to stay… so please, don’t blame ball rabbit.”
Nina closes her lips and coughs again.
After the cough stops she speaks again.
“Nina’s sorry… she’s betrayed the trust of Mr. Dragon… but please don’t think it was a waste.”
I hear you and I understand.
The ball rabbit probably wondered, if I knew Nina was going to die, would I even help her at all.
[[Telepathy]] is a skill that allows one to communicate your thoughts to others and to read strong ones.
Sometimes, thoughts can slip out and be picked up by the ball rabbit unintentionally.
And surely, the ball rabbit had told Nina about this one.
And so they decided to keep it from me.
“Traveling with Mr.Dragon… Nina got to ride on him and see the scenery… she was taught fishing… at first, Nina was a little scared… but Mr.Dragon was always taking care of her even though they had just met… Nina realized he was just a gentle person… Nina wondered why he would do this and wondered why he would teach her these things, then she realized it was for her benefit…. She felt bad for this… but more than that, Nina felt happy”
I found tears rolling down my face.
I was happy she felt this way, even though she was put in this situation.
It was the first time since I had become a dragon that I could think this.
“To separate like this….Nina is sorry nya. She wants to truly thank you, she’s been able to smile since she met you…even now she wants to smile as she says goodbye”
…… What should I do?
When I check Nina’s status again, I confirm that [[Cursed (small)]] has changed into [[Cursed]].
Once it reflects in the status, then the onset will only get worse.
I had tried to put some distance between us when I was searching for a cactus earlier but, it seems it wasn’t enough.
I think soon, it would be better for me to leave.
Isn’t it quite painful to die of a disease?
To be left in the desert to die while being surrounded by monsters.
Rather than suffering, with my claw….
I look at the ball rabbit and growl in a low voice. I want the ball rabbit to ask Nina what I should do.
Nina began to talk simultaneously with the ball rabbit who had turned to face Nina.
[[Telepathy]] wasn’t used, but somehow it understood what I had wanted to say.
“There are many things Nina wanted to say while she was still healthy…but, would Mr.Dragon stay with Nina till the end?”
All I could do was nod slowly.
I gently stroked Nina’s back with my tail.
“Thank you very much, Mr……. Dragon”
Nina says so and laughs weakly.
I, Nina and the ball rabbit.
Alone, with the two, we only gazed at each other.
Although Nina was in pain, her eyes weren’t completely shut.
I don’t know what to talk about, isn’t there anything I could do? Such thoughts raced through my head, but I couldn’t come up with anything.
Suddenly some signs appeared from afar.
[[Presence Sense]] is strongly responding.
Shortly after my sense picks it up, I can hear the sound of a horse’s footsteps.