The cold nightly breeze is felt, when the bright bluish light illuminates the sky along with the countless twinkling stars littered across the abysmally dark night.
Of course, on this auspicious eve when the moon is full and the beasts are silent, a dangerous air was felt.
Ways away from one of the Zershel Kingdom’s frontier cities, Edoria, were the Hidden Grasslands. The prairies and forests that surrounded it were as large as three cities combined altogether. A crude stone path could be seen passing through the short grasses of green which gradually grew taller the more they got nearer to the forests.
Normally, you wouldn’t see hide nor hair of anyone or anything once night fell.
This much was obvious.
There was no merit for monsters to roam around in plain sight, hence it was relatively safe to tread upon normally. On some rare occasions, bandits might lie in wait for unsuspecting travelers, in order to ambush them and take their belongings for themselves. Greed was their forte and those unlucky travelers who had no fighting strength could only comply.
But this was not one of those times.
No, instead of bandits that just wanted material possessions, and used crass words and murderous threats that were most of the time slovenly to induce fear, there was just a lone youth. But this was no ordinary youth, since when he was compared to the likes of bandits, even the latter would faint in fear. The difference was just that big. It was like comparing a cat towards a lion.
In terms of inducing fear, the youth was on a whole other level.
The ominous fog riddled in the colors of darkness would already be evidence enough, that this youth was someone who should not have been provoked. That only danger would come out of facing this level of an opponent.
But in contrast with how fearful his intimidating air was, the youth’s long silver hair was gleaming in the moonlight. It was as if the youth’s beauty was ephemeral in the eyes of a bystander. Intimidating, yet beautiful. A monster’s blood thirst, and a saint’s appearance.
It was truly conundrum no matter how you looked at it.
Although, that was not the scariest part.
The weak little dark-haired human who was skilled at barely dodging my attacks when it almost hit him, but barely had any strength to note of, was right now, supposed to be already dead. No one except for my two brothers or the great king could survive my blows. Much less a human like himself..
Even though I could not believe my own eyes, I swear I saw that this boy’s appearance was different. Almost like a plain human you can find anywhere.
But now, I don’t even know anymore. His earlier hair as black as the night, which was rare for the humans to have, had turned into the present head full of gleaming silver locks and strands of pure beauty. Blood was spurting out of his entire body, including his limbs, neck and head, not to mention the spine. But even those were rapidly closing up and regenerating, almost like they were never there in the first place.
As that may be a mystery to itself, it wasn’t the real problem right now. I am presently in awe of how much his demeanor changed after I was sure of his impending death. His past timid nature was but an enigma for the him right now, who was overflowing with strength. This, was dangerous.
I was shivering unconsciously all the while, when I was thinking of a countermeasure for this situation. I never thought, that I, Zetsuen Vizulain, one of the ‘Beast Knight Triad’, and the direct descendant of the current ‘Dragon King’, would be reduced to cowering before a human being. Such humiliation..
Even so, I cannot allow this unknown entity to live any longer. This dangerous human must be eliminated at any cost, as to prevent harm from coming to our kingdom. It is imperative that I pull out all the stops. I can’t be negligent with this one.
I might even have to use my trump card for this fight. But I doubt I would lose if that were the case. In any case, let’s make the first move while his guard is down.
“Come to me, spirits of past dragon lords, and bestow upon me your blessings of unmatched strength in battle! <<Requiem of Dragon>>”
As I chanted one of my most powerful skills, I feel my strength multiplying by several folds as I heard the rage and anger of the fallen dragon race in my subconscious. Most would give in to the temptation and fall into insanity, but I was not weak.
I kept my sense of self, even though the more spirits entered my soul, the harder it was to control this bursting sense of dangerous strength. With this, its enough. I don’t feel that intimidated anymore. I can win for sure. What was I thinking, me losing? Never.
I stopped the accumulation of strength turning me madder by the second, and prepare to lunge at the relaxed mood of the silver-haired young man. Planting my legs enhanced with my dragonic traits, I kick off the ground, leaving a crater in its wake.
Rushing forward, I brandish my long sword, ‘Raigen Varium’ made out of pure dragon ore. When I reach his range, a confident feeling wafts over me that I unconsciously turned my lips upward, even though he couldn’t see it because of my helm.
I raise my weapon high up in the air, clad in lightning and flames due to my enchantments, and predicted the sorry sight of the youth being cut into two equal pieces.
But as soon as the blade was swung, it halted in place…just as fast.
“………..Is this all you have to show me?”
I was looking at an impossible scene right now.
The strongest sword among the knights of the beast kingdom..
Was being suppressed entirely by one finger.
If someone told me this was a dream turned into a nightmare, I would believe it. The situation was just that absurd to be a part of reality.
Do you mean to say that the strength of the past dragons are nothing before him?
No matter how hard I grip the handle, no matter how much I put strength into the blade to move forward. It didn’t move at all. It was as if I was cutting a metal wall of such thickness with a rusty dagger.
The irony was, that my blade was one of the strongest weapons ever created, or at least, that was what I was told. An unprecedented act of stopping the sword with an outstretched, naked finger that was not even bleeding was happening right before my very eyes. This was humiliating.
When he mocked me just now, I felt my earlier confidence dissipating like it was smoke that was blown away by the night breeze. What took its place was depression, anger, and a sense of loss. Conflicting thoughts and emotions that were new to myself dominated by a single ominous phrase.
The one thing I had never felt before since I had the chance to be blessed by the dragon god himself, was the foreboding sense of fear. Even for us, the dragon race, we have fears.
But I never would’ve thought that this would come from a human.
No, I’m even doubting the fact that he was human.
But even if that was the case, it did not change what I had to do.
I quickly pull out the sword from his range, and jump backwards, to get farther from his unknown range. I still had my pride. I shall concede that round to him, but I will hit him for sure this time.
Even if I was scared to death, even if this was completely unexpected, I will not run away. I had to kill him here now, or who knows what he’ll do once he reaches our kingdom.
I can only dread how much war and strife would take over once he shows this abnormal power to the whole world. Stopping him now when he was still naive is my obligation, no, my duty. To the king and my fellow brothers, if I eliminate this threat, I shall be dubbed a hero. Better yet, the next king.
It is for that reason I shall never surrender. Although I came here to retrieve the artifact the oracles told me to take, this was more important. I can always take it back later.
“Human…..no, Saikyou, I shall come at you at full strength now. Prepare yourself!”
When I exclaimed my intents, he just looked at me instead with cold, silver eyes that looked as if they were looking down on an insect. No matter, his overconfidence shall be his own demise. No one has ever survived, taking me on at full strength.
“I, Zetsuen Vizulain, your contractor, calls upon thee..Grandiore!”
A large magic circle filled with runes written in ‘Ancient Dragon Language’ spread out from where I stood. It grew even larger, and eventually covered half of the distance between me and the human Saikyou.
When I looked to where he was, he was still standing there with a dull look in his eyes.
‘No matter what you do, it’s pointless..’
Is what his eyes were meaning to say. At least, that’s how I interpreted it.
But I won’t be discouraged. My partner is coming, and there is no way he can handle us both when were serious. I survey the size of the magic circle and finish the incantation.
“…….Rise, Dragon of Ice and Water! <<Familiar Summoning>>”
Now, I know that I, no, we, will win this time.
A man wearing metal armor flew through the air and crashed into the stone wall behind us. He looked as if he was as light as a piece of parchment.
“…..Men! Don’t falter! We must slay this beast, for the kingdom!!”
Gerald’s voice echoes throughout the room that had a gigantic hole in the middle, leading to the outside. But in that particular opening, was..
“It’s hopeless. Let’s retreat Gerald!”
A long face covered in scales as hard as steel, or even harder. Nostrils breathing out chilling winds. Big, blue eyes that looked as cold as ice. Large sharp fangs protruding out from its lower mouth. A dangerous air of intimidating strength.
And a size that was nothing to scoff at.
A beast only to have been told in legends, a real dragon.
“We can’t escape, Captain! The doorway is covered in frost!”
Gerald was right. As soon as that dangerous knight got caught up with Kyouya-sama’s spell and disappeared, the dragon suddenly shot a breath of freezing winds towards the exit. Blocking our only escape route.
But it seems the red-haired thief already got away quickly as no one was watching.
As to how, I don’t have the slightest idea.
All I know is, that this was a dangerous situation. Even if we knights had the strength to subjugate a dragon, it would only be when we are strong in numbers.
In my second year as a knight of the royal order, we were tasked to get rid of a wyvern that was disturbing the trade routes. Only then did I participate in killing a strong beast.
But at that time, I just dealt damage while the wyvern was surrounded with magicians and shielded knights, while continuously being bombarded with damaging skills and spells.
At that time, we overwhelmed it with numbers exceeding thirty times the enemy.
Even though we subjugated it in the end, we couldn’t say that there were no casualties. Almost half of the captain’s previous troop died because of it. The previous captain included. The wyvern was just that strong, even for a lesser dragon.
That’s why, the situation now was completely different.
The only knights here were me and Gerald, and three other spearmen. The rest were just guards stationed in this city of Edoria. Adding to the fact, that most of them had fainted in fear of the dragon, and the exit was blocked off.
Most importantly, the enemy this time was a real pure-blooded dragon.
Compared to the past, this was set on a scale tantamount to suicide. I had enough problems right now, with the order to guard the artifact, and Kyouya-sama being a part of the dark god cult. I can’t think of anything to do except run.
But even that was not permitted.
Were we sent to die here? Did the higher-ups even know that a dragon would invade the city along with that dangerous knight? I didn’t even know how important that feather was.
I was a captain, but I had no information that I could use.
Was this fate? Was my fate to die with my vice-captain without even saying goodbye to my parents and siblings? To not even spend my life with an accomplishment?
I was prepared for this ever since I chose to become a knight, but I never dreamed I would die before I even did anything worthwhile.
As I looked around the large room, dead bodies were strewn around. Maybe some were just injured and unconscious, and could still be saved if we gave them medical attention.
But, I doubt were getting out of here alive.
Complete chaos around me, but suddenly nothing entered my ears anymore.
Gerald was hit by the dragon’s head, and made him float in the air for a few seconds before landing onto the stone floor, rendered unconscious by the impact.
As I rushed to him, I noticed that the dragon’s eyes were directly pointed towards me.
Before I could even turn my head fully, the giant beast opened its large mouth, revealing countless sharp fangs, preparing to shoot its frost breath again.
This time, it was directed at me.
Ah, I’m going to die.
I don’t want to accept it, but I could not fight against fate.
I shut my eyes as to not see my own demise.
I guess I was just destined to leave early without even making any friends..
Suddenly, an image of a certain black-haired boy entered my thoughts.
Did he consider me as a friend at least?
As I unconsciously muttered his name in a trance, something happened.
Sensing a burst of magic power from the dragon, I open my eyelids that were shut for as long as a number of seconds. But I was baffled when I did.
Because as soon as light entered my eyes, the dragon was nowhere to be seen. Almost like it was a bad dream, the dragon vanished like smoke. I could feel my eyes growing hotter.
I lost strength in my legs, as I plopped onto the floor. A wafting sense of relief washes over me as I was the only one still conscious among the people left in the room.
I don’t know what happened but I’m sure I didn’t want to find out. At least, for now.
Oh no, this wasn’t the time to sit around. I had to help the others recover. I can’t let people who could be saved, die now. I quickly stood up, regaining my vigor, and moved to help out the others, starting with my vice-captain, Gerald.
But why did I think about Kyouya-sama at that time? Ah, so embarrassing..
A large amount of power would be felt, as if breaking the atmosphere, along with the ringing of the magic tool that tells time, would enter my ears after I had assured our safety. But that would be at a later moment in time on this chaotic evening.