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Chapter 058 – Dango Killing [A]
There was a hulking shadow of a creature standing on the upper region of the Rising Dragon Mountain in the middle of the night.
The giant figure waiting on the ground reduced to flatland was Raizen, the diamond dragon. Though the sun had gone down, his white body still shimmered and he scratched at it with a claw. 1
As he looked at the path connecting to the lower region, he thought this.
…He sure is late…
He sighed since the majin he was fighting with earlier, Leonhart, had yet to return.
Since the woman earlier was in danger and likely caught as collateral damage, Raizen spared some consideration towards Leonhart who saved said woman and allowed him to bring her away to a safe place.
…I am itching for battle.
Raizen was vaguely aware of the cause.
After all, it was his first battle in the last 400 years. And if he limited it to one on one duels, the last time he fought was about a thousand years ago.
His opponent was a majin holding great power, so there was no way for a dragon – a species which favours combat, to not get excited over it.
But even that drive would fade away the more time passed. And instead, the thing that Raizen remembered was that,
…This era is actually quite peaceful…
He couldn’t help but think so when he compared it to the olden days. Of course, Raizen heard about the humans and Demon Army’s various wars through rumours. So they surely have experienced times which could hardly be considered peaceful.
However, for them — the dragon species, this was a time which hardly involved them.
Dragons are a mighty species feared and avoided by both humans and demons alike.
But the number of dragons have plummeted, and those who still survive have lost most of their motivation and ego.
Although that was their current state, dragons once prospered in bygone times.
…It’s already been over 2,000 years by now, huh.
Raizen was reminded of his past, about what happened a long time ago.
Ever since the dragons settled down on this continent, they’ve had to continuously battle against certain enemies.
—Maou Kkluf Kkluf.
The maou, at a staggering 4.7km in height, and the dragons continued the onslaught against each other for a very long time.
Raizen was born in the midst of that war, and he also contributed majorly to the battle. Even though Raizen was big compared to other dragons, he was still no different to grain when compared to said maou, so he was quite overwhelmed at the time. 2
However, the dragons’ battle against them eventually came to an end, by the hand of a youngster named Avel — who later became the next maou.
As Avel dealt the killing blow to Kkluf Kkluf, he was bathed in the blood of the maou and ended up becoming one.
At that time, nobody noticed that fact. Although Avel’s power rapidly increased, he was still an unknown youngster who was sometimes known as a coward, and most thought that Avel merely experienced growth because of the battle.
With the end of the battle against Kkluf Kkluf, a serious problem that had been plaguing the dragon species since a while back became the new reason for another battle.
It was related to the sole surviving female of their species — the scramble for the Living Crown, Camilla.
For the longest time, there have been no female dragons born. Although the dragon species lived practically forever, and breeding wasn’t something absolutely necessary, the existence of mates was beyond the level of just important. She was truly a Living Crown — the sole remaining existence.
It was decided that the king of the dragons would win the rights over the Living Crown through a duel. And the dragon’s throne switched between hands several times.
And finally, the strongest dragon king ascended to the throne and reigned over them for the longest time. 3
The Dragon King, Magiihoa. Raizen’s old friend ended up monopolising Camilla.
Avel seemed to detect Magiihoa’s strength without even needing a duel. So much so that Avel couldn’t guarantee his victory even after he got strengthened by Maou Kkluff Kkluff’s blood. Although Magiihoa’s strength may not have been exactly as Avel suspected, Avel still resorted to foul methods to kidnap Camilla.
Avel then turned her into majin and put her beside him.
This became the catalyst for another war, later becoming known as the Last War.
Dragon King Magiihoa led the Four Great Saint Dragons — of which included Raizen — the Eight Great Spirit Dragons, and the traditional dragon species with their orthodox dignity.
While Maou Avel led 24 majins and tons of demons. Though seemingly few in numbers, some dragons also sided with the maou.
The war between the two powers was extremely fierce and caused many casualties.
From the beginning to the end, the battle was dominated by the dragon king’s forces and they managed to slay many of the majins, but as expected, Maou Avel who possessed a power of similar magnitude to Magiihoa completely overpowered them and managed to slay many dragons as well.
But even then, Magiihoa came out victorious and ended the war.
The defeated Maou Avel was put onto a stake and imprisoned in a dark prison, while Magiihoa served as the king of the dragon nation he founded; which territory encompassed the whole continent — Tron.
Many of the dragons were convinced back then that that would mark the end of a long cycle of conflict, and that the dragon species would gain permanent prosperity and peace.
However, just a year later.
That fleeting dream was shattered by a certain existence.
Raizen still remembered that day even now, as everyone looked up to the sky and said.
—There are angels.
Angels wore the form of a female body with white feathered wings and haloed rings above their head. These existences told from legends of old suddenly bore their fangs at the dragons.
And so, angels began hunting down every last dragon they could find.
Many dragons resisted with Magiihoa at the forefront. And while they managed to defeat a number of them, many of the dragons were also cut down. By the end of it, their numbers were unable to form another army and they were forced to scatter and escape. They had no other option.
Before they noticed, the world welcomed mankind — a species known as humans, and began an era centred around them.
And as for Raizen, who still survived all of that—
Raizen suddenly heard a noise from the lower region of the mountain and was jerked out of such thoughts.
Judging from the vibration and its degree, Raizen assumed it was a rockfall. It was something that happened occasionally on this mountain, and the dragons who lived here didn’t find that problematic since they could fly. However,
…He wouldn’t get caught in that, right…?
For those small humanoid species, a rockslide could be considered a large-scale phenomenon and they would likely be hurt if they got caught in one. Therefore, Raizen was worried. But,
…Well, even if that majin got caught in it, he should have no problems.
As Raizen already confirmed the might of his opponent, he could affirm that it wouldn’t be a problem for that majin.
Rather, Raizen would be troubled if otherwise. After all, he had expectations for that majin.
Although that majin might be late, it was Raizen who declared he would wait until Leonhart managed to take that woman to a safe place, so Raizen had no complaints. Considering it was already this late at night, perhaps that majin went all the way and sent the woman back to her settlement.
But in that case, it meant their confrontation would be delayed until tomorrow.
With that in mind, Raizen casually gazed up at the night sky.
The sky was still the same as always, with a big moon illuminating the earth in the night sky. As Raizen felt it on his skin, he wondered out loud.
“I wonder if he would mark the end of my life—”
Even as Raizen asked the night sky, no one replied to him.
It was nighttime in the forest at the foot of a subsidiary mountain near Rising Dragon Mountain.
The kalar warriors tracking down, and the human armies searching for the missing warrior chief in the forest have already returned to their respective encampments.
Some nocturnal creatures have already started to become active. But even in the midst of that situation, a certain demon was there.
It was a demon with a face and arms the colour of sand, carrying treasure chests. It was the treasure chest dango.
If either adventurers — or a certain swords-majin who lost his way — were there, they would be eager to defeat it immediately. But for now, said demon was resting in the depths of the forest peacefully.
The treasure chest dango chose a spot where presences around it were few, and stood there without doing anything.
Its senses detected a sound from above.
The sound of something pushing against the air was probably the sound of something falling. And the expected landing spot was the current location of the treasure chest dango.
With such an accurate guess, the treasure chest dango leisurely stepped away from that spot and looked above. A few moments later,
The sound of snapping tree branches echoed along with the crash of the fall.
Right at that moment, an unusual noise was heard and the ground began shaking.
As the trees shivered and shed their leaves, the treasure chest dango finally saw what fell.
There were three people who looked human, but none of them were human.
The two unconscious individuals were denizens of the forest, members of the kalar race.
And the last person carrying the pair was someone, as soaked in blood as he was, the treasure chest dango was familiar with.
“—Ku- kuku- kuhahah…”
—It was Majin Leonhart.
The person who stood swaying with a smile reminiscent of a ghost was the majin who met the treasure chest dango this afternoon, said majin was currently laughing and in a good mood.
Although he was practically dead on his feet, he put down the kalar pair and confirmed that they were fine.
Then as he looked around,
The majin and treasure chest dango met eyes.
It was a chilling pair of eyes.
Leonhart was briefly surprised by the other demon, but he immediately shook out of it and let out a fearless smile, speaking with beaming red eyes.
“Hah, it was noon when I met you last! Oi oi, why are you here now?”
Treasure chest dango aren’t a race that could speak. Although Leonhart should have been aware of that, he lightly spoke to it anyway. And while there was no guarantee if it was even the same treasure chest dango he met during noon, Leonhart seemed to be convinced it was. Even though the treasure chest dango felt creeped out by him, it chose to stay still there.
“By the way, I just managed to learn a lot of things, so… kukuh… I’m in a good mood as you can see. Although you are still annoying, I’ll forgive you for now so get lost. I’m hurt all over and soaked in blood here — no wait.”
Leonhart stopped his words there. It seemed he thought of something.
He scrutinised the treasure chest dango with a hand on his chin before grinning drunkenly, drawing his sword out.
“—Now that you’re here, I guess I’ll try it on you. You’re proud of your evasion, right?”
Leonhart held his stance of Hasso no Kamae. However, the treasure chest dango didn’t show any signs of moving. 4
The majin was definitely aiming at it. One would think it was better to move away as soon as possible, but that wasn’t the case.
Because of the racial characteristic of treasure chest dango, and perhaps of its talent as an individual, it knew well how to evade an attack.
Although its extraordinary quickness was also one of the factors, the more important thing was to read the attacker’s intention and evade at the right moment.
Being conscious of the attacker’s every move can give the treasure chest dango information such as where they would launch their attack. By reading such information and focusing on their attacker’s behaviour, the treasure chest dango could evade the moment its opponent launched their attack. It seemed that this treasure chest dango was confident it could evade everything and it held the record of doing so — except for magic, which has a characteristic that made it unavoidable. It has never received any attacks before; be it from a human, other demons, dragons, or even a majin. And exactly because the treasure chest dango was aware of that, it just stayed on its spot like it was a normal everyday occasion.
In the midst of all that, Leonhart taunted..
“—Try avoiding this.”
In an instant, the smile disappeared from Leonhart’s expression as he unleashed ice cold killing intent. He watched the treasure chest dango like a hawk, his gaze seeming to drill a hole into the demon. Leonhart held his stance tightly as he waited for the moment to attack.
Similarly, the treasure chest dango stood its ground, eyes peeled for the moment Leonhart strikes.
However, unlike earlier during the noon, it seemed that the majin was serious this time. Therefore, the treasure chest dango also prepared itself seriously. It was unperturbed and stood naturally, waiting for the majin’s attack.
A cold wind brushed by them, but neither moved as if time had stopped them.
However, that moment would soon come to an end. The treasure chest dango sensed that–
Leonhart struck. In less than a second from his initial stance, he finally moved.
The moment the treasure chest dango noticed that he was slashing down from above vertically, it evaded to the right.
Between the two of them, there was barely any difference in the time they took to act. He’s fast, thought the treasure chest dango. The speed of the sword was several times that of what it saw during noon. As expected, the majin didn’t go all out just for show.
But it thought it could still evade it. Although it might barely make it even for its speed, it would be its victory if it managed to do so. It would then escape faraway before the majin unleashed his second attack.
Battles for treasure chest dango were all about avoiding attacks and surviving. That was the best result it could wish for.
That was why it moved to seek such a result. It saw how Leonhart’s vertical slash moved slowly towards it.
At the same time, it has already moved away from the attack’s trajectory.
The treasure chest dango was convinced of that and went straight to the right side without hesitation.
Suddenly, the wind is knocked out of it as the attack slashes its body.
As it felt its body slowly split in two, the treasure chest dango questioned that fact.
It certainly avoided the attack at that moment. The movement it observed was vertical and the trajectory of the attack was also vertical.
In that case, how did I — get cut horizontally instead?
In its dying moment, it looked at marks left on the ground, and noticed.
—There are two… slashes…?
In addition to the vertical mark on the ground, there was also a horizontal mark which slashed the leaves and branches.
In that case, did he slash vertically then horizontally in a row?
Nay, he certainly only moved once to perform these attacks.
The treasure chest dango failed to understand how this was possible as its life ended.
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