—It is a steep trial, one that cannot be avoided.
A brave warrior seeking for a dragon must win.
Show the heat of your blood.
You must speak with the heat that moves your flesh and soul.
“Captain Solje, are you insane?” (Riel)
The elf young lady is as straight and bad mouthed as always. After listening to my explanation, she asked me about my sanity… Does this not enter into the rude territory at her elf village?
“I am sane. I am a cool adult after all.” (Solje)
“…I don’t feel that’s the case at all.” (Riel)
“Yeah, cause it is dangerous, right?” (Riel)
“Well, I might die.” (Solje)
“…Don’t say that as if it is trivial. That’s why Captain is an idiot” (Riel)
Is she worried about me? …Aah, I see. So she is bothered by the fact that it is life threatening.
Looks like I did it again. My Strauss way of thinking has confused her.
“Everything has a price.” (Solje)
“That’s true, but…” (Riel)
“People don’t have wings. Why? Because the world decided it so. People are not existences that should be allowed to fly.” (Solje)
“…That might be the case.” (Riel)
“But dragon knights are different. They are people, but are able to fly freely in the sky.” (Solje)
“And that ‘price’ is…what you mentioned just now?” (Riel)
“Yeah, a one-on-one battle with your life on the line.” (Solje)
“…My head hurts.” (Riel)
“There’s days like that. Might be a cold.” (Solje)
“…You are the reason why. Don’t joke around.” (Riel)
“Sorry. I was trying to smoothen the mood.” (Solje)
“As if I would feel better with such nonsense. In the first place, this is not the time to be softening up, right?” (Riel)
Yeah, that might be the case. But sorry, that’s just how I am.
“It may be hard to understand for an elf, but this kind of trials are moments of irreplaceable honor for dragon knights.” (Solje)
“…Even when dying?” (Riel)
“Yeah. Cause you are getting killed by a dragon, you know? Ain’t that the best kind of death?” (Solje)
“…Hah…You really are an idiot. Humans are all stupid, but you are a special kind of stupid!!” (Riel)
“There’s no medicine to cure the Strauss. We will also have a spectator here with a good eye. This is the best day of my life.” (Solje)
“…Meaning that you are making me the eyewitness of your duel?” (Riel)
“Yeah, I want it to be you. You don’t wanna?” (Solje)
“…Are you telling me that, even if Captain Solje were about to die, don’t shoot the dragon?” (Riel)
“So you do get it. This duel is a sacred one. There’s only two things it is fine for you to do. Watch over the fight between me and that child…and the other is that, if I show an unsightly behavior, shoot me with that arrow of yours.” (Solje)
“…Hey, you are telling me to kill you?!” (Riel)
“Yeah, I don’t mind giving my life to you.” (Solje)
“Those are not words I wanted to hear at this kind of moment…” (Riel)
…When I have the chance to, I should try asking her when it would be.
“Sorry, but that’s just how we are. In this state where I don’t have wings, I have met a dragon. There’s only one thing to do.” (Solje)
“…Meaning that you are not going to listen to what I say?” (Riel)
“No, what I mean is: believe in me.” (Solje)
“If a woman that waits for a Strauss man gets worried every time, they would get a hole open in their stomach from all the stress, you know? The trick is to believe. The stupid man that is reflected in your eyes is stronger than a dragon.” (Solje)
“…Are you treating me like I am your woman? …Just for looking at my skin?” (Riel)
“That depends on you. Whichever the case, I plan on returning to you alongside a dragon. I did say I will let you ride the back of a dragon after all. That’s why, don’t worry anymore.” (Solje)
“…The women who give birth to Solje Strauss’s children will have it rough.” (Riel)
“…I can’t deny my blood. If looking at me is painful and you can’t believe in me, there’s also the choice of waiting for me at the foot of this mountain, you know.” (Solje)
Is Riel troubled? …No, she is conflicted. She already had her answer long ago. It is exactly because she knows that she can’t change her answer that she is knitting her brows.
The elf girl thinks for a while, and then speaks with a slightly angered expression.
“…Understood. I accept.” (Riel)
“Thanks. If I return alive, I will treat you to a meal.” (Solje)
“Hmm, that’s too light. It is a promise with your life on the line, you know?” (Riel)
“Then, what kind of promise would be fitting?” (Solje)
“That’s not something you ask a woman, stupid Captain.” (Riel)
I feel like I am being called stupid more than the usual today.
Well, my blood has been noisy, so I am lacking in composure right now after all.
Fuuh, now then, I am asking a favor from a mercenary, so doing it for free won’t slice it, huh.
Even so, I don’t feel like I can think of a reward that would make a beauty happy. Cause the inside of my head is filled with thoughts about death battles after all.
Right, then, how about this.
“…Got it. I will listen to any one thing you ask for. Is that fine?” (Solje)
“…Yeah. The contract is sealed then. If the dragon eats your legs and you try to creep away pathetically…I will pierce your head.” (Riel)
“Idiot, don’t smile!! …I don’t want to do that if possible, you know?!” (Riel)
“Gotcha. But thanks. Please watch it, the long-time desire of a Strauss.” (Solje)
“It is still too soon to die and become a song.” (Riel)
“Yeah, I plan on winning and returning. —As if I will lose to someone younger than me!!” (Solje)
I continue walking the mountain road. Riel is following me without saying a word.
That’s right. It would help me a lot if you stay silent.
I want to concentrate in the trial. It is a battle that I must challenge with my all. I plan on winning, but a battle with a dragon doesn’t have a 100% chance of victory.
I visualize the swordsmanship of my family that was taught to me by my father, and remember the movements of the dragons I was together with in my childhood. All the legends the dragon knights created, the teachings of my family and Ares; I spread them in my mind and comprehend them.
This is the compilation of my life. I might die in just a few moves, or it might become a long battle of several tens of moves.
An instant or an hour; they are both the same. I will release everything I inherited of the Strauss.
Merging everything into my heart and body, I will change into a true dragon knight…
…The road that felt long but short, eventually ended. We come out from the forest, and arrive at the valley.
I see. A place where the white bedrock reaches all the way to the surface of the mountain, huh. It is decently open. Not bad for the stage of a battle. It is also nice that there’s no escape route. Meaning that we can clash power with power.
My senses that had grown sharper due to my concentration caught the scent of metal. The smell of iron. Yeah, but there’s a slight sweetness to it. I see. This is not from the blood of the deer, but a mixture of flesh and blood of animals.
Looks like it has been hungry. Growth period, maybe?
Yeah, that’s nice. Meaning that it is entering adulthood. Its bones grow, wings extend, and its stomach growls. But at this kind of timing?
…I see. Your blood was boiling after meeting me, right?
Yesterday night, you flew around the area, and when you found prey, you would crunch on their meat, and drink their blood. You sought to fill your hunger.
It must have been in preparation for our fight. This is probably its first ‘conflict’ in the true sense. Your heart is also dancing uncontrollably, right? …You must want to clash your everything too, right?
Looks like our feelings are mutual.
Hey…did the blood of Ares inside of you tell you?
Or was it simply your instincts as a dragon whispering?
You must understand that it is fated for you and I to fight a deadly battle.
Are your wings filled up with plenty enough blood? Have you had enough to eat? …I see. Nice, this is the best.
I stop my feet. I tell Riel without looking back.
“Just stay in your place. That guy has already caught on the fact that you are simply a spectator. It won’t attack you —no matter the result.” (Solje)
“…Make it an ending that I can accept.” (Riel)
“I will do so with all my power. For the pride of the Strauss and for the sake of Ares.” (Solje)
“I believe in you. That’s why, get your wings back.” (Riel)
Saying this much, the bow princess elf jumps with splendid speed as she goes up the rocky mountain. Nice movements. There’s no hesitation in them. There’s no doubt Riel will be able to perform my request without issues. She will watch over our duel, and depending on the result, she will finish me.
What a nice woman. To the point that I would want her to have my children.
But rather than a wife, first comes you…!!
I fill up my lungs; accumulate strength in my toes, grabbing the ground; and then, spreading both arms wide while letting out all the air inside, I roar!!
My roar that melted with the wind ran through the valley, and I write it down in the world!!
That’s right, listen to my name!!
“My name is Solje Strauss!! Dragon knight of Garuna, and blood relative of the Strauss!! I desire you!! You want to drink my blood, right?! Let’s decide it: my wish against yours!! Which one is the stronger desire!!” (Solje)
Reacting to my introduction, the dragon raised a roar!!
The wind was pushed down from above, the mountain trembles, and the earth shakes!!
—My name is Zephyr!!
Hearing its ‘words’, I couldn’t hold in my happiness!!
“Hahahahahaha!! What a nice name. As expected of the wings that succeeded the blood of Ares!! I see!! Come at me!! ZEPHYR!! I AM HERE!!” (Solje)
- Chapter 7
—It is a steep trial, one that cannot be avoided.
A brave warrior seeking for a dragon must win.
Show the heat of your blood.
You must speak with the heat that moves your flesh and soul.
A black shadow showed from the top of the cliff its shape clearing up into that of a black dragon. Utilizing both a jump and flap!! Skill that’s hard to believe comes from a young dragon!! I see, Ares!! Your blood is still alive!!
Nice!! A sudden dragon breath!!
My whole vision is covered in the red flames of the dragon. Even though the light released by the swirling fire was so hot it could burn my retinas, I had to look!! Aah, so nice -this lack of mercy!! That’s a dragon for you!!
I might get killed right off the bat!!
“Hahahahahahahaha!! [Wind of the Demon Lord, drill through the fires]!! [Airfork Speaaaar]!!” (Solje)
I shoot a wind magic spear at the surging fire storm of the dragon. There’s affinities with magic. Thunder gets bewitched by fire, fire is made to dance by the wind, and wind gets cut by thunder. That’s how it works!!
But something like that depends on the technique between the people themselves.
A fire that’s made from a dragon, which is said to even be able to burn gods to death with its monstrous mana, defeating it with wind magic is almost impossible. Even if there’s an advanced level mage, they wouldn’t be able to read the mana of dragons.
However, the dragon knights of the Strauss are different. We have been together with these flames for 500 years!!
If it is me who has succeeded that blood, I can even see through the way of spinning of the dragon’s fire. That’s why, even if it is the magic shot by a mere human, it can defeat the fire of a dragon!!
Having the storm magic spear pierce through it, the dragon’s flame breaks. It pours to both of my sides, burning the rocks around. And then…the storm magic spear transforms into a rain of wind blades, hitting the wings of Zephyr!!
Its attack probably has never been properly broken though before. That’s natural.
Being overwhelmed by the wind magic, Zephyr slips away from the sky. I controlled the magic to create this result after all!! I erased the wind that was below its wings!!
The dragon falls onto the valley’s wall of rocks. It must have dealt quite the damage, but Zephyr made a ‘gururu’ groan as it turned over its body.
That’s how it should be!! I am already dashing your way, you know?
I unsheath my sword and jump at Zephyr!!
Show me you can react, Zephyr!! If I finish you with this one attack, it would be way too anti-climatic!! Don’t disappoint me!!
The slash of the dragon longsword clashed violently with Zephyr’s magic claws!!
It came at me matching my slash! Moreover, he coated its claws with mana!!
Predicting my attack, he controlled mana -even if unskillfully- to enhance his claws!!
“I am happy, Zephyr!! Stopping my attack, you rascal!!” (Solje)
The dragon danced and rammed me into the sky.
Kukuku! Nice body control!! It resembles Ares. There’s only one action dragon’s with fast reaction ability take in this kind of scenarios!!
I feel a sound that cuts the wind and destroys the air.
With a speed that slightly surpassed my expectations, Zephyr hits me with a strike of its tail!!
It was a hit as if I had been run over by a wagon -it resonates in my whole body. I feel like it will bend my body. That’s why I intentionally exhale. Because if I don’t, the air inside my lungs, which have lost their path of escape, would end up crushing me from the inside…!
My body flies like a kicked ball and crashes onto a slope with bare rocks.
I rotate several times in mid-air, and rolled on the ground too. That’s right, deliberately. I succeeded in spreading the damage by spinning, and thanks to that, it wasn’t instant death. But blood comes out from my body and mouth. Hahaha! My ribs are heavily fractured!!
“..Hehehe, nice. Anyone aside from me would have had their lungs explode and die!! …This is the best, you are the best, Zephyr!! Fuhahahahahahaha!!” (Solje)
I burst in laughter. While laughing, I cough out a hella ton of blood, but even with that, I shape up mana.
Zephyr is surprised that I am not dead. However, the next instant, it began to run towards me.
Nice, it plans on killing me with its fangs. Good killing intent you’ve got there!! You are young, yet are as brave as a Strauss!!
There’s no need to falter against an unknown enemy!!
Therefore, I won’t show mercy either!!
“[Thunder God!! Gouge open the earth with your hammer, and show your might]!! [Thor Hammeeeeer]!!” (Solje) ||
A lightning as the onset, and then, an impact and thunderous sound!!
The hammer of the thunder god hits the body of the dragon. Being hit by lightning, Zephyr’s body bends and blood mixed with fire is coughed out from its mouth. Nice. This guy is a genius. It was preparing fire as it was about to clash against me with its fangs!!
If I hadn’t intercepted him with magic, I might have been burnt to death.
“—Nice boy, Zephyr!! Let’s have fun with a physical battle this time!!” (Solje)
Is being able to charge straight towards the strongest monster in the world with a length of over 7 meters thanks to the teachings of my family?
‘Die and become a song!!’
That’s right, mother!! The fourth son you gave birth to is being a nice and healthy Strauss today as well!!
I raise a merry laugh as I release a violent slash towards the muzzle of the dragon. Blood splatters!! I get dyed in it. I laugh!! It is a nice smell, a nostalgic warmth!! A dragon!!
Zephyr groaned like a beast, and tried to crunch me to death with its fangs. I avoid that bite with a backstep. While avoiding, I correct my posture with the dragon longsword. Because I have to prepare myself.
The magic claws of Zephyr split the wind while aiming at me from the side.
Aiming for the moment when I land, huh. Nice decision. You are desperately trying to learn about humans…about this Solje Strauss. Okay, I will teach you. Just what kind of existence is a dragon knight!!
While receiving the claws with the dragon longsword, I ride in its destructive power, and spin. If I had to make a comparison, it would be like a leaf dancing with the wind.
I was taught this by Ares -the physical techniques to become one with the wind. With this, no matter how much of a destructive attack it is, you can repel it.
The claws of Zephyr miss me as if they had slipped through me -by deflecting it with my dragon longsword. My instincts are sharper than that of an animal after all. As if I am the wind!!
And then, the real form of a Strauss is a storm!!
“Here I go, ORAAAAAA!!” (Solje)
I raised a roar filled with fighting spirit, and charge towards Zephyr. I enter the space of Zephyr, and have him play with my dragon longsword. Cutting with its claws, gouging with its fangs, and digging out with its horn; I pour on my longsword towards that rampaging dragon performing what seemed to be like a wild sword dance.
I cut the magic silver scales of Zephyr, and my slashes deal deep wounds onto it. That attack had no mercy, and it was continuous. My sword danced inexhaustibly from every direction, and the storm of violence was overwhelming even a dragon.
Learn this, Zephyr.
This is the weapon of the human that will be fighting together with you till death. Swords hurt, arrows hurt, bows will become your most hated enemy, and people are clever and their crafts cunning.
There’s even things that can destroy your claws which are capable of cutting through rocks.
Avoid them as if you were spinning; this also adds the effect of messing up your opponent’s sense of distance. And then, with your attack missing, the human will suddenly bite back, you know? This is called a counter.
I release a slash! Slash! Slash!!
Their angles precise, closing the possibilities of avoiding, and chipping away on the flesh that it aimed at!!
Have you got it? Skilled swordsmen will aim for your tendons and joints in this kind of way.
That’s because those are places with low concentration of skin. Even a dragon has weaker defenses in those areas. The veins are shallow, and it is easily reached by the blade, and it ends up cutting even the nerves that are parallel to it.
Blood gushes, and the injured nerves will send an unpleasant electric shock that will burn you.
Zephyr, you are still inexperienced, so this is probably the first time you learned about this. These places will hurt you plenty and can reach deep.
These are the few weak spots of you who are supposed to be invincible.
Learn together with the pain -that there’s also attacks that even the strongest lifeform known as dragons have to avoid!!
Not good. That’s a bad voice. Even if confusion is born, you shouldn’t let it out in the middle of battle.
The dragons should only sing words filled with power and wisdom. Humans are sly. An intelligent one can notice your young and honest confusion with just your voice leaking out.
And then they take advantage of it. They will catch the grazes of your breathing, and checking the failure of your movements, they will read the actions of your attacks. An attack that has its rhythm read won’t hit an opponent that has reached a certain level of mastery.
A blow with his wings and a swing of his tail. Those attacks assault me. Because they were effective once? …That’s not good. Attacks that don’t manage to kill your opponent will end up creating holes in them. Trying to hit me twice with the same attacks is just way too crude.
Slipping past the claw at the tip of its wing, I simply have to enter its left side to avoid the large swing of its tail.
How’s that? …If you swing your attacks leaving it all to power and range, things can end up like this. See? I was able to slip through your crude attacks like a shadow, and easily entered attack range.
…And then, with sharp and painful swordsmanship, I deal a powerful blow to your chin!!
Feels like a joke, right?
There’s times when people with lower height and power than yours can overwhelm you.
But remember this.
I won’t let that happen when you are by my side.
Please remember this moment here.
-Isn’t it a whole lot of fun?
I can tell that it makes your blood boil endlessly.
That’s how a battle with your whole strength against a truly strong opponent feels.
Not a deer, not a bear, not a monster; a person. A battle against a person is the best of pleasures, and the only way to fulfill your true nature.
Recognize this. That’s right, laugh, just like just now!!
“HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!! Ain’t that right, Zephyr!!” (Solje)
…Now then, the first phase of the training is over.
Let me show you the special technique of the Strauss.
The swordsmanship of the Strauss, their invincible body, their polished mana, and the dragon longsword; this is a special technique that can be made possible when all these elements are gathered.
“—Remember this, this is the [Dragon Flame].” (Solje)
Wind, thunder, fire; with those elements mixed together with our swordsmanship, it creates the special attack of a dragon knight. Their bodies covered in a veil of wind accelerates, the electricity running through their arms become powerful like a mad god, and the dragon longsword coated in flames increases in sharpness, becoming a fang that can even kill gods.
Speed, power, and weapon sharpness; they increase all of those. That’s right, observe, Zephyr. If you were to be hit by this with a counter, even a dragon would die instantly. There’s no need for a thoughtless attack.
This one is powerful, you know? It can easily cut through the magic silver scales of a dragon while cutting deep into their flesh and burning them. The rampaging dancing fire hides me, and erases my figure from the opponent’s vision. And then, with the speed of both a squall and a thunderclap, 15 slashes of an executioner are continuously dealt. More than 15 is impossible. My body would collapse.
I am showing it off. It is to have him learn about my special attack, and it is also for the sake of polishing his battle knowledge.
No, that’s not all. I was actually hoping for it. But…to think Zephyr would actually do it!!
It is trying to copy my breathing and mana. The mana that was only being given to its claws was now coursing through its whole body. Is it Zephyr’s own version of ‘Dragon Flame’?
It is obviously not that skillfully done, but even with that, he has actually increased his strength and speed by a certain percent! …This is the best. Just how much are you going to entertain me, Zephyr!!
My fighting spirit and strength are being increased. I feel like I might explode from happiness!! That’s why it is enough!!
“Let’s compete, Zephyr!!” (Solje)
The dragon dashes!! And I also accelerate!! Both with speeds covered by the movements of a gale!! At this moment, Zephyr, who learned the joy of battle, didn’t show any hesitation. With everything it learned, without thinking about what could happen next, it is going to use all of its power at this moment!!
That’s right. That’s the best plan. This is the decisive moment of the battle!! The victor will be decided in this instant!! If you pull any punches here, you will simply receive defeat!! That would be way too pathetic for a dragon, don’t you think?!!
“That’s how it should be!! Who is the fiercest, who is the strongest! This moment will decide it!!” (Solje)
The body of the dragon dances. A kick along with its claws were unleashed at me. It is trying to gain the first strike. Its giant claws come flying at me…
It hits. My body along with my armor gets bent.
—But that’s only an illusion. It was only a mirage that was created from the dragon longsword’s flame along with the acceleration.
While I was avoiding it, Zephyr understood —it had been avoided, next will come the pain. He tried to move his centre of gravity in order to prepare himself. But in my current state clad in wind, I am not so slow as to allow you to react!! Entering right by the chest of the dragon, I ran past to his back while cutting his abdomen. 3 strikes connected; 2 on its stomach, and 1 at its right foot.
The blade of the dragon longsword clad in magic fire cut through the black magic silver scales and carves out the dragon. It must be an excruciating pain. But right now we are in the middle of a sacred battle… There’s no need to increase the pain. As long as I don’t destroy you completely, you will still be able to move after all!
“Zephyr!! Make your heart and body work solely for the sake of your attack!!” (Solje)
The dragon chases after the shadow that remained in its vision to trail my position. With its long and beautiful tail that crushes the wind in its way, it mimics the sound of a whip. Zephyr swiped it to the side in order to mow me down.
But my steps clad in wind allow me to dance my way out of its range.
It missed…but the dragon’s intelligence judged that the interval it created was also a chance for victory. With flexible movements, Zephyr flies up, and with its mouth opened wide, it tried to use a bombardment of fire.
But…fire is not exclusive to dragons.
I raise my dragon longsword clad in fire high up!
The fire sword stretches, eats up the air and changes into a pillar of fire!! And then, while burning the sky, it raids the dragon that’s in the air!!
The pillar of fire that gained a direction was now heading to the ground.
In other words, Zephyr, it is raining down on your body!! …If you get hit by this explosive attack from the sky, your wings will snap, your spine will bend, and being in the sky won’t be allowed.
This must be its first time being hit from a higher height. In a battle with a magic sword, you can’t deal with it with just analysis.
Zephyr, who had been hit by the magic sword’s explosive attack and had its posture destroyed, was sent straight down to the ground.
But it regained its footing faster than ever before. It is thanks to the composite enhancement magic!!
Even so, you have lost the initiative. I am already closing in on you, you know.
And I am already finishing my preparations for the ending. I have lightning magic surge in my arms. [Charge]. It increases by several tens of times my already inhuman strength —allowing me to crush even iron, steel, or mythril.
In this distance, there’s already only one thing Zephyr and I can decide.
Which one of us is the faster and the stronger one! Who is the fiercest one!!
It is simple!! Let’s have a battle of attacks!!
In an instant, we both release our songs.
Shout, dance, evade, cut, claws, blade, fangs, thrust, tail, slash; with fighting spirit clad in burning fire, we rampage and craze!!
It is a clash of attacks!!
Which side has the better power —dragon and Strauss!! This kind of simple thing is something that I just love to an unbearable extent!!
The dragon’s attack pursue my movements that are coupled with both the speed of a squall and the sharpness of a thunderclap. There were times when it was fast, sharp, and strong.
My meat had been cut, and my armor gouged out…but if it is not fatal, a Strauss won’t stop until broken!!
The magic sword blessed by fire cuts Zephyr once, twice, thrice, and hits it with its fire. Being pushed by the power, the dragon’s movements dull…and smelling my chance, I once again turned into a Strauss storm.
That’s right, this storm of slashes are the result of our family’s 500 years of slaughter!! Dragon Flame’s perfected form!! Sharp, intense, and merciless!! My sword cuts into the meat of my beloved dragon!!
Learn about it!! This is the dragon knight of Garuna, Solje Strauss!!
…The last few slashes of the Dragon Flame were released.
The young Zephyr was overwhelmed by the bloodstained history of the dragon knights, and the slashes were being edged deeply into its body. Chest, neck, wings, head, legs…the dragon was being broken, and the blood was sprayed high into the air.
I was being showered by a rain of blood. A hot rain. A red similar to my hair. I can feel the life in it. Strong, priceless, and hot. The dragon and I are mixing.
It is over.
By that time, the world had been completely dyed by the red of Zephyr’s fire and our blood.
Hehehe, it is proof that it was a good fight.
A whole part of the valley had been burned by flames. I could smell the scent of burnt blood.
At the center of what seemed to be like a battle straight from hell, there was only Zephyr and I. Zephyr who had its body cut deeply had its body slightly sunk onto the ground. I am also close to my limit, but this is the privilege of the victor, I will be looking at you from above.
That young dragon in front of me that will one day become a great dragon was collapsed. It is injured and burnt, but what beautiful wings. What strong body. Its flexible tail long and skillful.
Aah, this world can give birth to such beauty? …And yet, here I am, looking at it from above. It feels so sinful it is great; too much for a human body. Not even gods would be able to enjoy such a view.
My lips move up at the happiness of victory. I laugh with my teeth showing. I surpassed a dragon…
…Ah, of course, Zephyr won’t die with something of this extent. It is simply injured to the point that it can’t move. Even though it hasn’t died, it isn’t rampaging. This is its way of saying it has acknowledged me.
The only ones who can get together with dragons are equal existences after all. Even creating a connection requires you to put your life on the line…
“Haaah haaah haaah…!” (Solje)
We both were fixing our breath for a while. Our bodies on the verge of death are obviously tired to the extreme, but unbearable happiness welled up from the depths of my soul, to the point that it could even paint away such pain.
“…Hey, Zephyr…” (Solje)
I walk towards Zephyr, not to fight, but as a friend. I get closer, just as my longing heart dictates.
I undo the magic in my dragon longsword and let it go from my hand.
The sword falls onto the ground with a metallic sound.
It is fine. It is a sword that’s far more important than my life, but I won’t be needing it for a while. Because right now, at this moment, these fingers must be used for the sake of the thing that I have been longing for all this time.
Zephyr isn’t afraid of the approaching ‘threat’. There’s no refusal. In order to accept me, it didn’t move its head and simply opened its eyes. Its shiny golden eyeballs moved, and it is watching me with eyes filled with curiosity.
“…That’s right. Good boy. Look at me, Zephyr. I am Solje. From now on, you and I will be tied in an eternal bond. I will become your dragon knight; you will become my dragon!!” (Solje)
The smart Zephyr tries to copy my words. I have taken off my fighting expression, and ended up making a face like that of a father holding his child for the first time.
“Yeah, that’s right. That’s exactly right. I am Solje Strauss, my Zephyr!!” (Solje)
My voice trembles, shaking melodically like a song. With my bloodstained hand, I rub the tip of Zephyr’s nose gently. Ah, right. I take off my eyepatch and show him my shining golden magic eye. I am not the only one who wanted to meet you, you know?
The eyes of Zephyr open wide. Looking at the same golden eyes as that of Ares! Zephyr moves its nose closer in interest at my left eye. Its nose twitches and smells its mana.
“That’s right. You have sniffed the information from the mana. You are skilled. That’s exactly right. This eye was given to me by your old man. Your family. Us Strauss and Ares are family, Zephyr!!” (Solje)
I laugh. My whole body is in shambles, and every part of my body is bleeding, and my bones are cracked so much that I feel like they might break at any moment -it hella hurts. And yet, it is so fun that I can’t help but laugh.
Seeing this, the dragon roars!!
That’s right, sing!!
Celebrate in a song this moment filled with joy!!
Have it resonate in the sky, carve it into the earth; this moment where our bond had been tied!! Show in your song just how fun this moment is!! That is how we dragon knights and flying dragons work!!
—A bloodlink was there.
On top of the ground where iron sleeps, they become the friends of the peerless one.
Now, it is the return of the dragon knight.
Coming down from the sky, killing everything; the scary black wings are now back.
—Grandchild of the illustrious ancient dragon Ares, Zephyr.
The new black wings have acknowledged the last devilish swordsman.
From now on, the two will become eternally one.
Even in death when they become a song, they will melt into one sound.