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Chapter 077 – Legend [A]
A large shadow fell from the sky above.
Bathed in the morning light, the shadow penetrated the clouds and fell toward the ground.
Around the dragon, white debris and red splashes scattered and rained down from the sky.
This was the result of the majin slashing into Raizen’s open mouth.
As for the majin, who had slashed right through Raizen’s breath, he had made use of the momentum and stabbed his sword into Raizen’s open mouth.
The inside of his mouth wasn’t covered in scales like his outer body, and an attack on that spot was very effective.
Therefore, Raizen had always paid close attention to his mouth in combat. The only time he opened it was to unleash his breath. With that precaution, the majin would not have been given any chances to aim at his mouth.
However, the majin managed to get his sword in there anyways. Leonhart’s simultaneous slashes that had managed to cut Raizen’s scale halfway, were used to cut Raizen from the inside out instead. As a result, his scale had shattered and pieces of it scattered around in the air,
…So, I am defeated…
Raizen was fatally wounded. Although it would still take some time for the end to come to him, he could no longer move his body properly. With his excessive conduction expired, he no longer had the strength to continue the fight.
Raizen desperately wished they could continue their heated battle, but this was the result of their final clash. He felt no regret.
If there was one concern, it was the treatment of the victor.
..I can’t just let him crash to his death like this.
Even if his opponent was a majin, he was already so wounded and bloody that Raizen doubted Leonhart could survive the fall. It was the result of taking Raizen’s breath head on when, rather than defending himself, he could only allow the momentum to take him.
…In that case.
Raizen tried to squeeze out the last of his own power.
Raizen’s body was battered and bleeding all over. He couldn’t even fly properly anymore.
Even so, he could still spread his wings and glide. Then, in that case, it was the right thing to do for him, to ensure the survival of the victor.
Raizen twisted his body, catching the majin on his back, and spread his wings to slow their descent so they would glide back in the direction of the upper layer of the Rising Dragon Mountain where they had first started the duel.
The majin’s comrades were there. It was only right to give him a triumphant return.
“What, are you doing…?”
The majin on Raizen’s back squirmed and struggled to get up. His voice was filled with doubt. Perhaps he was asking why the dragon was saving him.
Raizen answered the majin’s question.
“…I can’t let the one who managed to defeat me just fall to his death.”
The majin choked on his words in an awkward manner.
But, before Leonhart could carry on with what he was trying to say, Raizen continued.
“I know you have something to say about this…”
“However,” continued Raizen,
“You need to survive first. If you have any complaints, I will accept them later.”
As Raizen explained his intentions, the majin silently nodded his head.
Taking his silence as affirmation, Raizen ensured that the majin had settled on his back and,
“Well then, don’t fall.”
With that said, Raizen carried the majin on his back and managed to glide back down to the square from earlier.
As the giant dragon descended from the sky, Ssulal approached his location.
She watched as the dragon sprawled down and Leonhart rolled off his back to the ground, as the result of their duel. They both were wounded, bleeding, and out of breath. She couldn’t endure seeing Leonhart in that state and immediately began to cast healing.
However Leonhart called out to Ssulal to prevent her from continuing. He didn’t have very much strength due to his wounds and exhaustion, so it took him some time to stand up. His legs were shaky, but he managed to stop his body from trembling.
And on the other side, Hunty called out to the dragon.
Her rushed voice contained obvious anxiety. However, the dragon spoke to her with his blood-soaked mouth,
“So it’s my compatriot…”
Raizen turned his gaze toward Hunty and the ends of his mouth twisted a little,
“How was it, my compatriot? Did you see how I fought? Did I fight well? Did I manage to catch up… to the greatness of our compatriots that day?”
“…Aah, of course…!”
“Hahah,” laughed the dragon as he heard her response. Then he moved his gaze away from his former compatriot and back toward Ssulal.
To be precise, it was toward Leonhart, who stood beside Ssulal, that he was looking.
“—It is fine then.”
“I have no regrets,” said the dragon.
Then, directly to Leonhart, he said,
“This duel, it is your victory. —Therefore.”
The dragon slowly spoke his words a bit at a time, and squinted his eyes as he continued,
“I can no longer move. I have no power left to continue this fight. As it is, I can do nothing but wait for a long and slow death. That’s why, before that can happen—“
Raizen said it. That was,
“I would like the rights of the victor to be passed on to you.”
Everyone swallowed their breaths at those words. They understood what the dragon meant. In short,
It was the time for his end.
Hunty was at a loss.
She watched with shaky eyes and thought about what Raizen had said after the duel.
…Is this, really okay…?
Her compatriot was asking for death right in front of her.
It wouldn’t be a normal death though. It was death granted at the end of duel, an honorable death.
However, he was indeed about to reach the end of his long lifespan. He was about to be lost.
But he could still survive if he received treatment.
She wished for him to stay alive. She wanted to see him live on. She wanted to let him know that.
She wanted to tell him that, but the dragon in question wouldn’t want to hear it. Raizen only wished to be granted his satisfying end.
Then would it be right for her to speak her wish aloud? Hunty was at a loss.
Hunty was sure she had a terrible expression at the moment, not to mention her eyes were already turning red.
Suddenly, she looked in the direction where the answer would come from. It was in the direction of Leonhart, who exchanged glances with Raizen.
What kind of answer would he give? She could only await his judgement.
Leonhart was also a warrior. Although Hunty only saw him once a month, 120 years had already passed since they first met. Hunty was aware of his personality to some extent.
However, Hunty couldn’t predict the answer Leonhart would give. His face remained neutral. His mouth stayed closed.
But eventually, he made his move. Leonhart approached Raizen. He slowly but surely approached his battered and defeated opponent,
“—Then I will grant your request.”
Hunty felt a cold chill run down her spine at Leonhart’s words. She wanted to stop him, but his sword was already raised.
Hunty couldn’t convince herself to move. It was because her compatriot was satisfied with this result. This was something her compatriot had wished for.
And that was why Hunty was unable to stop her master’s sword,
Hunty could do nothing but watch as his sword swung down to deliver the final blow.
A high-pitched metallic sound echoed around them. Leonhart looked at the result of his attempt and sighed. Then,
“—As expected… I still can’t cut through those scales…”
His voice was filled with regret, but there was a hint of happiness in it as well. His mouth twisted into a wry smile,
“This duel is a draw.”
Leonhart observed the awkward result of his sword swing.
He’d focused his strength into the arm that held his sword and swung down with the intention of finishing the dragon in a single strike, but he was repelled away by Raizen’s impossibly hard outer shell.
…I guess I still have much to learn.
He remembered their last clash and regarded his opponent, the dragon who was now sprawled on the ground in front of him.
He turned to that dragon and explained his thoughts. That was,
“You can’t fight anymore, but I lack the power to kill you. —I’m not speaking about just right now. That was also the case in our battle.”
The dragon looked around. Something came to mind from his opponent’s words. It was natural.
It was about their encounter that took place in the sky earlier. He realized his opponent’s earlier actions were nothing but a lucky gambit.
Leonhart had swung down with all his might and relied on the force of gravity. But even with all that power, all he had managed to do was slightly crack the scale.
Leonhart had continuously aimed and slashed at it. The only reason he managed to defeat the dragon was because his last attack had hit the inside of Raizen’s mouth and the impact came from the weak inner part and forced its way out.
It was a feat that could only be accomplished under the premise his opponent was willing to accompany him in death. Even then, Leonhart had to rely on luck and trickery before he could finally manage to achieve victory.
Leonhart watched as the dragon considered his words. It seem Raizen came to a similar conclusion and with a quiet voice, he said,
“…However, it is you who is still standing and I am the one who has fallen. So, clearly the victor is—”
“Aah. —I know.”
It was both the duel and the final result that mattered, such was what the dragon intended to say.
…But even so, I—
Therefore, Leonhart intended to convince him. Then he recalled the dragon’s one-sided words,
“You said you wanted to die because there’s no one left that you share a connection with, right?”
The dragon quietly responded. Therefore, Leonhart told Raizen his idea,
“Then make a promise with me.”
“What did you say…?”
The dragon questioned him but, since there wasn’t any anger in his voice, Leonhart concluded Raizen wasn’t bothered by his words. But, even if that wasn’t the case, Leonhart had no intention of hesitating,
“One day, I am going to cut you down.”
The dragon was amazed by the words he was hearing.
And Leonhart continue to explain his intentions,
“I will become strong enough to cut you down. It will be upfront, fair, and I will do it by carving a wound into your body.”
To not lose against this great dragon, he would become stronger, until the day his sword was powerful enough to reach him.
That was why,
“Let’s do this again.”
“Until that happens, you have to keep your life. — so live on.”
All while hoping it would become his new reason to live.
Raizen remembered something.
It was something that happened a long time ago. Back then, he had also received words from the opponent he fought against, similar to the ones he heard now.
—Why are you… wanting to die?
Back then, Raizen was grief stricken from the death of his comrades and was losing sight of what he was.
—Then, let’s make a promise together.
Then, as if trying to save Raizen, his opponent spoke those words.
—I will eventually defeat you upfront.
He had forged a connection with Raizen, since he felt it was a waste to lose him.
—Until that happens, be my friend.
It was such a person who had shaped Raizen into the dragon he was.
When he thought about it, that was when he had learned how to live.
Raizen overcame many battles with him, and gained various things while by his side.
And now, Raizen got to hear those words once again.
Unlike the first time, this time it was said in a clumsy and rough way.
However, that was exactly how he knew it was an honest feeling, one free of deceit.
That was why Raizen knew he could trust those words.
Therefore, Raizen responded.
He gave his answer to the promise of a new connection to live for.
“…I see, that’s a good request.”
He got me, thought Raizen.
Even though he was a dragon who had lived for 2000 years, he laughed bitterly as the majin spoke wisdom beyond even Raizen’s years.
That’s why I have to get back at him. Raizen looked at the majin and, with that in mind,
The majin eyebrows shot up as he heard Raizen’s words, and the others around them gasped at his response. The compatriot next to Raizen opened her eyes especially wide.
Once Raizen was convinced he had successfully managed to get back at the majin, he continued with what he intended to say.
And that was,
“I can’t promise that I won’t die. However—”
He made his promise.
“Let’s do this again.”
The majin opened his eyes wide.
However, once the majin understood the meaning behind Raizen’s words, he shrugged his shoulders and let out a bitter smile.
The majin then looked up at Raizen again and replied,
“…Aah, let’s do this again.”
The majin spoke in a raised voice and the expression he made as the edges of his mouth rose up made Raizen think,
…That’s a good smile.
The pure smile of a warrior. Seeing how the majin was looking forward to their rematch, Raizen couldn’t help but allow a bitter smile to leak out.
Since the majin was so happy at the promise of a rematch, there was nothing the dragon could boast about. It felt like he was being robbed of his enjoyment, even though it was supposed to be Raizen’s specialty.
However, it was entirely because his opponent was this kind of person that Raizen chose to do it.
So Raizen gave his praises.
”—And so, the legend has been established here.”
This was the role of the dragon.
To reward the great hero who had managed to defeat the proud warrior.
He overcame a battle with one of the dragon race and established a connection with him on top of that.
Then the majin had exceeded all expectations and saved Raizen.
Therefore, he proceeded to urge the winner with his gaze, as a means of showing his gratitude.
Looming above them was Raizen’s hometown. It was the pathway toward the great summit.
“Didn’t you come to see it?” Raizen hinted to the majin.
The challenger had managed to overcome the former conqueror of the world. He had earned enough qualifications to continue on.
“Go and witness the peak of the world — The place that was the center of the world in which we used to live.”
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