I hear a roar. It’s so loud and intimidating that even though I can’t see who is making the sound, I can tell it is someone very powerful. I try to collect my thoughts over who it could be and then realize.
It’s a really powerful beast? No, actually, I’m thinking its some animal that’s really powerful because of the roar. In reality, it might not be that big of a threat. This effect of causing fear in people is exactly what the ‘roar’ is for. Creatures made of energy can’t roar naturally. They need to understand what this act means. Then, they learn it. Finally, when they become capable of doing so, they use some of their reserved energy to do so. But unknowingly to them, this energy causes effects like fear and such.
Then all that considered, it should be a spirit Sona summoned and it is probably a feline-like creature. Obviously, that’s one of the many guesses I have come up with, but it sounds the most plausible. But on the off-chance that it is some other creature who is roaring like that, then it should be a real big feline. Only that little girl would know if there are any animals like that in this forest.
I turn my head to see if she’s awake.
Kais: “What …”
But she isn’t even here. I look in all directions, but I can’t see her anywhere. Where would she have gone? I know she’s energy and all that so it isn’t like disappearing is a big thing for her, but why would she disappear right now?
Kais: “If she’s not here, then …”
She should be around the tomb. She is, at the end, a mass of energy made by the dragon. If the dragon made her, then he should be able to control her, which means that now everyone except me might be at the tomb. Well, I was going there myself, so it’s not like I have any reason not to now.
Kais: “But, should I …?”
Sona is definitely going to fight the dragon there. If my guess is right, the spirit she has summoned should be in the form of a big feline and would be powerful enough to at least be a challenge to the dragon. Then, a really destructive fight would erupt there. Would going near such a dangerous place really be okay? It is definitely something I should consider. The risk is really high.
But then there’s also the fact that it is the only thing for me to do. At least as far as I know, there’s no progress to be made by not going to the tomb. So the question is – should I wait for the fight to be over or should I go right now?
I could just wait somewhere and keep a check on the fight with clairvoyance. After it’s over, I can take care of my business. Though I can only do that if the dragon wins. I am assuming he will. No matter what spirit Sona bring in the battlefield, the dragon should win. After all, it is not just some dragon, but the one who befriended a god. Obviously, he should win.
But, just speaking hypothetically, Sona and her spirit actually manage to be beat the dragon; the only way for me to get out will be to rely on her. Now, the dragon hates spirits and keeps a barrier around the tomb to stop spirits from entering. If that is true, then the spirit that is able to break through it should be a powerhouse. If I were to fight it, I don’t think I have any chance of winning. If I were to ask her for help, I am not sure she would give any. Plus, she already said there’s a way for her to get out of here that I can’t use. It probably has something to do with the spirits. Considering all that, the chances of success like that is very slim.
And if I just think about what might happen if the dragon dies and Sona leaves, I would be stuck here and there probably won’t be anything I could do.
So yeah, while I am 99% sure the dragon would win, I can’t risk it. I should keep a look at the battle from the distance. And what will that change? Well, if I were to see the dragon losing, I’ll have to take a risk and help the dragon. There’s no avoiding this much risk anymore.
Kais: “Ah, damn it!”
I clench my fists to take out some frustration. I can’t make any mistakes and I definitely would if I lose my cool. So I need to keep my irritation under control. After I revise my course in my mind and feel ready to go, I start walking towards the direction the tomb is in.
After walking a while, I see Sona standing near what looks like a clearing in the forest. There is a shadowy, large tiger-like creature besides her. I suppose that should be her spirit. My guess about it being a big feline was right on the money. But what’s it doing. It doesn’t look like it is going to attack just yet.
Sona: “Your enemy is the dragon. Go and kill him.”
Sona says to the spirit as she keeps her left arm raised. I don’t get why she is doing that, but I guess this is something only Spirits and Spirits-Users would know. As soon as she says those words, I see the spirit straighten up. It doesn’t look natural, but like it is forced to obey her. Don’t tell me even that spirit is afraid of the dragon. It does make sense though. How would a spirit that’s made purely of energy not know how powerful of an opponent the dragon would be?
Death: “GRR … GRRRRR!!!”
The spirit looks somewhat angry. I guess it really doesn’t want to fight the dragon. With the situation as it stands, does Sona even have a chance of winning? The spirit moves forward. It isn’t running and it isn’t standing in place, but simply walking down the path.
I decide to use aura reading to see how powerful that spirit is. The aura around it is simply dangerous. It is the sign of someone really violent and powerful at the same time. I can see red lines on its paws. Those paws are meant to kill. I can also see red lines around its hind legs. So this means even its hind legs are powerful enough to kill a person. There’s no doubt that this spirit exists for missions like these. But even so, the dragon should have an aura even more dangerous than that.
When the spirit reaches the clearing, Sona is some steps behind. But suddenly, a bright light comes from somewhere. I can’t see from here where the origins of that light was, but it definitely is coming from somewhere in the clearing. If that is where the tomb is, then it means the dragon is going to come out now.
Sona: “Be ready!”
The spirit looks unhappy but doesn’t disobey Sona. I got the feeling that this spirit is really prideful when I checked its aura. Now that it has come so far, I doubt it will run away. No, running away now would be pointless. If the dragon has been disturbed enough that he had to come out of the tomb, retreating would be equivalent to saying, “there was no reason to disturb you, but we did it anyway.” I doubt the dragon will take that very kindly. This is why, now that they have fallen in this situation, there’s no way out of here other than fighting the dragon. Now that I think about it, if Sona really does want to fight it, then this wouldn’t be a bad strategy. Bring a really powerful spirit so close to the dragon that it can’t run away, so it will have to fight the dragon no matter what.
Sona: “Why don’t you come out in front of us already?”
Sona shouts as if to provoke the dragon. She is showing a lot of guts right now I must say. To think she would fight a dragon is more than enough to tell she is on the verge of crossing the line of bravery, into foolishness. But then she is also provoking it, does she have some really good plan in place. Actually, a really good plan right now would be to use as much firepower as possible. Coming up with a really brainy strategy is not what’s required here. The silence continues for a moment while my thoughts keep running. Both Sona and her spirit look at each other as if to affirm their resolve to fight. And then a voice comes.
???: “Very well then.”
A figure emerges from the tomb. The golden glow suddenly starts to dampen. It looks like a grand entrance, but to say honestly, I don’t see the dragon to be someone who would want to do things like theatrics. But who knows, maybe he came to like this sort of stuff in the years he has spent in this tomb.
Sona: “Did I … just hear him talk?”
Wait! You didn’t know he could talk? Shouldn’t you have researched about him more? I ask her these questions only in my mind. The dragon gained a lot of things after befriending Ozyllus. One of them was the ability to speak like a human.
Dragon: “Don’t be so worried about it. I can talk because it was one of the things my friend blessed me with.”
By friend, he definitely means Ozyllus.
Sona: “What …”
She is probably thinking the same thing too but is unable to come to terms with it on the spot because she didn’t know about it beforehand.
Dragon: “Oh well, I wonder if you even actually care about that though.”
Sona looks at her spirit and gets a little relieved. From what I can tell, she is glad the spirit is ready to fight. It does make sense. If the spirit was still trying to run away, it would have been a major problem for her. But knowing that’s not the case, she can focus on fighting. Maybe this is the reason she brought such a prideful spirit, it won’t try to run away even if it can sense a really powerful enemy. Even before, it was only standing there unwilling to move rather than running away. I am confident this spirit would now give this fight all it can.
Dragon: “Now, why did you call me here?”
I notice the golden shine has started to dampen a little. I should try to move towards a place that’s not directly behind the place the fighting will start. From the distance between me and them, no place is totally safe. But I knew this much risk was going to be there. I just need to make sure I am ready for any attacks at any time. As I move towards a bush, the golden shine completely disappears. Now I can get a good look at the face of the dragon.
He has a human-like appearance. That’s expected. He did gain the ability to transform into a human on will. He is a slightly muscular, good-looking man with green eyes, slightly dark skin and brown hair length of which almost touched the shoulders. This is the dragon. He has an appearance that can very well be mistaken as a human. But when we know he is a dragon, then that is all that matters. It doesn’t matter what he looks like, we know what he is beneath that appearance.
Dragon: “If you are worried about this form, don’t be. It is just convenient for me to be like this when I have to interact with humans.”
That makes sense. People wouldn’t be that afraid of this form even if they know he is a dragon. But many might lose their mind if they see the terrifyingly huge creature that can eat them in a single gulp. At that moment, I see Sona looking shocked. I don’t understand what’s so shocking about it. Sure, it is surprising to see the dragon take a human form for the first time, but it didn’t affect me all that much even when I heard about it for the first time.
Sona: “What the hell? Why do … why do you … look so much like Ozyllus?”
I almost shouted. I couldn’t help myself. What Sona just said is beyond a doubt terrifying. He looks like Ozyllus. How’s that possible? I never saw a real image of what Ozyllus looks like. How could I when there are no records of his painting anywhere in Barry’s collections? But that’s not the point. He shouldn’t look like Ozyllus. There is no reason for him to look like Ozyllus.
My attention has diverted from the topic after hearing that. I look back. The spirit is looking at Sona. The dragon too is looking at her. All three of us are surprised after hearing that.
If Sona knows what Ozyllus really looks like and this dragon looks like him, then there definitely is a possibility that this woman knows more about this island than she lets on. Only those who know the history of this island are considered capable of entering here. If someone else who has no idea about it tries to enter, they won’t last long enough to reach the shore. The various ‘natural’ disasters will consume them. So this woman knows the history of this island. But not just that, she also knows what Ozyllus looks like. There is a high chance she knows the various stories other than the one about this dragon and Ozyllus. All this combined; I think she would be knowledgeable enough to know how to exit this island through other means than whatever is present in the tomb. That is to say, she can come and go as she pleases. She can use various methods to defeat the dragon. She can take her time making contracts with a large number of spirits and bring them all to fight the dragon. Yet she has come here just with one powerful spirit. Is it hatred for the dragon? Is it rage? Or is it just suicidal tendency? Who in the world is this woman?
Dragon: “Well, I’m surprised you know what he looked like. Could you tell me how you learned that?”
I’m interested in learning about that too. But I highly doubt she would just tell you where she learned that. I think that as I take a glance at the dragon. He has a serious expression. No other words can be used to define this expression. When he first appeared, I couldn’t see his expression clearly but I’m sure it was similar. With this face, he has made it clear that he is sincerely asking the question and wants a sincere answer. However, the look on Sona’s face is that of denial. She does look a little afraid and also still shocked about before, but she doesn’t look like she would do whatever the dragon tells her to.
Sona: “None of your business.”
Like her expression stated, she wouldn’t answer. I doubt she didn’t think of answering the dragon. In fact, if anything, it would have been the first thing on her mind. But she is trying to deny what her mind probably thinks is right to do.
Dragon: “I see. What will I have to do to make you answer me?”
The fact that his expression does not change is ominous, to say the least.
Sona: “Nothing, because you are dying today.”
Sona’s voice does not waver as she says that. The tension in this place in growing intense and the fight will soon begin.
Dragon: “That’s what you would like, wouldn’t you?”
The expression on his face is still seriousness, so intimidation is not the right word to explain his words back there. But the very fact that he says it is intimidating by itself.
All this time I had failed to notice what the spirit was doing. It suddenly growls.
Dragon: “I see you are planning to attack me once you’re ready. Well, feel free to come at any time.”
The dragon’s voice shows confidence and I can clearly see Sona getting irritated by that. But the confidence is justified when the dragon is powerful enough to wipe the floor with both of them here. I haven’t checked the dragon’s aura yet, but I’m sure he can annihilate both of them if he really tries.
Sona calls to the spirit. I guess its name is Death. It might sound edgy, but it kinda suits the vibe the spirit gives off.
The dragon is focused on the two of them. I should use this opportunity to check his aura.
Death grits its teeth and looks intently at the dragon, the intent being murderous. Death is looking at the dragon because of the disrespect the dragon has showed Death by neglecting it and talking to Sona as if it isn’t even a threat.
Dragon: “Are you sure letting your spirit succumb to anger and attack in blind rage is good for you?”
Sona looks at the Dragon. At that moment, I activate aura reading and I become able to see the dragon emanating coldness and hostility. But beneath those expressions, I sense dragon trying to suppress his inner desires. These inner desires reek of madness. From my point of view, it is clear, the dragon is so angry right now he is barely keeping himself sane. The fact that this fight is not already over is a big surprise.
Sona: “Are you sure letting yourself succumb to anger and attack in blind rage is good for you?”
Suddenly, Sona strikes at the bottom of the dragon’s feeling. The anger inside him only increases in response. It sure is gutsy of her to taunt the dragon like this. She looks a little happy that she could say that to the dragon. And just in the next moment, I see her getting nervous and doubting her chances of winning. Until this point, she has at least been able to hide these feelings. Now, at the most crucial moments, she is failing to do the same though.
This irritation is directed at herself. The dragon seems to be unable to grasp that though.
Dragon: “What’s going on in your head? I can never tell with you humans.”
Then the dragon says something that sounded like he would be sighing but his expression has barely changed. On the other hand, I see that Sona does not pay the dragon much attention.
Sona: “Well, it doesn’t matter now, it’s time.”
Sona says those words. I don’t get the meaning at first but as soon as I look at Death, I understand. The ground beneath Sona and Death cracked. Just in time, Sona manages to jump back, but Death stands there. The ground has broken apart like it was made of paper.
Dragon: “So are you …”
Before the dragon could finish his sentence, Death disappears. I haven’t stopped using aura reading, so I could tell what the spirit did. It had attached a string to the dragon’s leg. This happened while I and the dragon both had neglected to pay attention to the spirit. Since the string is made of energy, it was child’s play for the spirit to transfer itself to that point and it didn’t even take a second to do so. It then jumped back up to be behind the dragon and ran its claw across his back. The dragon realizes this and tries to dodge but is too late.
The dragon moves from the impact of having claws run through its back. But just as the dragon is about to balance himself, Death kicks the dragon while still being in air after having jumped off the dragon’s back. The kick lands in the same spot the dragon was cut and it definitely would have hurt a lot. But more force than I expected was put into the kick – enough to send him flying.
His body hits a tree and finally comes to a halt. I couldn’t have guessed the kick was this powerful but apparently it was. If that had happened to a normal person, I’m sure the rib cage would have been broken. That might not be the case here. But this definitely is no laughing matter either. The dragon, in his human form, would probably be stronger than humans but also weaker than the dragons. It doesn’t have the same mass it does as a dragon and his skin isn’t that tough either. Even if the internal strength remains the same, the damage caused outwardly would most definitely affect him.
Sona: “Finally feeling like you underestimated us?”
I don’t know about him but I sure as hell underestimated these two. The dragon tries to stand up. I can’t believe it. The dragon’s feeling pain. I can clearly see from aura reading that he is feeling a lot of pain, almost as much as a human would. He is trying to not let it show on his face though. Within the next second, Death transfers itself back to his leg and stops the dragon from getting up.
Sona: “Get him.”
Sona shouts as if to cheer Death on. I can see some sort of smile on her face. Death’s paws stomp at the dragon’s body. The dragon prioritizes protecting itself and tries to move the paws away from his chest, but Death doesn’t budge. I don’t know if the dragon realizes how Death is doing what it’s doing. Maybe to him it looks like super-speed or something. But it definitely isn’t super-speed. If the dragon realizes the trick and severs the string, he might turn the whole play around, but for some reason, the dragon isn’t even trying to fight back right now.
He is a dragon – one of the most powerful creatures in the world. But if he doesn’t even try to fight back, even he will be nothing more than prey. So why isn’t he trying to fight Death right now?
Dragon: “That hurt … quite a lot.”
Sona: “It’s just the beginning.”
Death moves back so as to tell the dragon to get up. It is clear Death would attack him once he gets up, but using that as an excuse to stay down would be too pathetic and illogical since he’s getting beaten up anyway.
Dragon: “But this spirit is something else I have to say.”
The dragon seems to be acknowledging Death as a worthy adversary. Does that mean he was just playing around till now and will finally start to fight back now? His expressions don’t give me an answer.
Dragon: “I guess it makes sense for you to let the rage fuel inside it if it can control it to this extent.”
If he’s talking about how Death is controlling its anger at having its pride hurt, then I guess that is something praiseworthy about this spirit.
Sona: “Maybe. Or maybe you just can’t see the other possibility.”
That’s … an interesting thing to say. What’s she planning right now?
Dragon: “Other … possibility?”
Dragon looks at Sona. His face is still serious, hostility has now become clear, but there is also an inquisitive emotion coming out on his face. Beneath his facade though, I could sense many more emotions. There is anger, there is pain, there is acknowledgement and … there is also fear.
As I was wondering what she meant when she said ‘other possibility’, Death attacks the dragon, this time biting into his right hand and tearing it off. That is the most brutal attacks yet without a doubt. I couldn’t even process that in time to be surprised by it.
The dragon falls on the ground. Death stands where he was with the arm in its jaws. It then throws the arm away and looks back at the dragon. The dragon says nothing but only looks at the spirit.
Sona: “I’m surprised you are not screaming in pain right now?”
He has been suppressing his pain for a while now but can’t seem to do it any longer.
Looking at this fight from an outsider’s perspective, the dragon looks like a victim in all this. With how he is just trying to defend himself and not fight back, Sona and Death look like bullies at this point.
The second I think that, Death’s next attack comes in the form of a tackle. He forces the dragon’s head to get crushed between its paws and the tree trunk. This is a really painful sight to watch, even if knowing what the real power scaling is, or should be.
Dragon: “AH!!! AAH!!!”
He has finally been unable to suppress it any longer and his face twists in pain. Seeing that, I theory comes to mind, a terrifying theory.
Sona: “Finally feeling pain?”
She is showing happiness at seeing the dragon get pummeled. This sadistic expression is a little hard to believe, if my theory is right, this expression will very soon go away.
Sona: “Death, what are you waiting for?”
She cheers on Death to continue. Death is ready to oblige. It pounces on the dragon again and again. If what I think is true, then Death is just heading towards its own end.
Dragon: “That’s a sadistic smile if I have ever seen one.”
Indeed her face has a sadistic smile. I can’t tell if she has realized it herself or not.
Sona: “I couldn’t care less right now.”
From how things have gone till now, I can’t help but believe those are her honest feelings about this.
Sona: “Kill that bastard, Death.”
Death responds without a delay as it runs its claws on the dragon’s stomach. The blood rushes out of the wound much faster than it did when he got cut in the back.
This could be the trigger. Of course I know I am only worrying about a theory of mine. But I know that I have thought of it, I just can’t think of any other way this could play out. I can’t expect the dragon to actually lose the battle this easily, which means there should be some reason for the dragon to not attack. My theory would explain it and if it true, this dragon would be one of the most powerful creatures in existence.
Dragon: “I did underestimate you.”
Oh? Was I wrong? Is the dragon truly losing? Or does this mean …
Dragon: “Ha! What are you – the incarnation of arrogance or something?”
Death raises its paws to finish the dragon once in for all. With the next strike, it will remove the head and it will all be over.
Sona: “Go on! Behead him!”
Sona cheers the beast on. If my theory is true, then this will be the moment where the game changes.
In the next moment, Death’s upper body blasts off. If it had been a living creature, the whole place could have become covered in blood. It is a sight one wouldn’t have expected to see a second ago, but it is a sight that’s testament to my theory being right.
She looks bewildered at that scene. I don’t blame her. I would have been the same had I not thought of this.
Sona: “What? What’s going on?”
The dragon opens his eyes and sees the sight in front of him.
Dragon: “Well, it doesn’t bother me anymore.”
The dragon looks at Sona who has fallen to her knees in shock. She is devastated by the fact that Death has died and her victory has suddenly turned into defeat.
Dragon: “I truly underestimated you two.”
The dragon says that as he gets away from the corpse of the beast that had attacked him. I understand what he means.
Sona: “Why? What … does … this … mean?”
There’s no point in staying hidden any longer now. The dragon probably already knows I am here.
Kais: “I think I get what it means.”
Both look in my direction but only Sona is surprised.
Sona: “Who’s there?”
As she sees me walking out of the bush I had hidden in, she shows no change in her emotions. Maybe the shock is already so overwhelming for her that she can’t feel any more surprised right now.
Kais: “Yeah, me. I saw the whole thing go down, and I think I know why your spirit lost in the end.”
I don’t go close to either of them but I do come out in the clearing.
Dragon: “I see. I figured a psychic should be able to figure it out.”
As I expected, he knew I was here. He steps away from the place he was attacked in and looks at me. Death, like any other spirit at the time of their demise, is vanishing now.
Sona: “What do you mean you know why it lost? Death was winning just a moment ago.”
Sona’s eyes are filled with shock and despair and elude an aura I would like to stay away from if I can. But now that I have come this far there’s no point in backing out now.
Kais: “Hey, dragon. Your power …”
I had readied myself for teleportation from the beginning. So, I continue,
Kais: “It’s pretty twisted, isn’t it?”
Dragon: “In what context?”
Kais: “In the context that you hate it yourself.”
The dragon nods. This power is truly something that I would never want to have no matter how powerful it made me.
Kais: “Your power is conditional. Only when certain conditions are met, it will perform itself.”
Sona looks at the dragon and then looks back at me. Conditions are just what they sound like. They are set to activate at a particular event or events, they are fulfilled according to what happens from there, and when they are activated, something happens. This ‘something’ is what happened to Death.
Sona: “What’s that condition supposed to be?”
His tries to suppress his emotions a lot so losing to something like anger is probably the condition’s activation. When this condition activates, the trigger for the condition to be fulfilled should be coming close to death. So, in short,
Kais: “The condition is – ‘Whenever anyone comes close to killing him, that individual will die’.”
That is the theory I came up with. I don’t know how much of that is true. But I think it more or less is what his condition is.
She looks shocked. But I doubt she didn’t even think of this theory herself. After all, she has made contracts with several spirits, so theories related to contracts should have come to her mind by now.
Well, in either case, I’ll summarize this for her,
Kais: “If I combine that with a dragon’s regenerative abilities. It might not be that much of a stretch to say – he is immortal.”
Sona: “He is … immortal?”
I turn to look at the dragon to see if my assumptions are right or not. His wounds healing and the smile on his face widening, he says,
Dragon: “Well, congratulations. Now you know you can never kill me.”