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Chapter 054 – Dragon [A]
“—Heeeh, so you are the chief of the kalar. That’s why you’re so capable.”
“I, I don’t think I’m that special, though? There are others who are stronger than me… and I have a hard time doing my duty everyday…”
Majin Leonhart continued to ascend Rising Dragon Mountain like he planned, but he brought with him an unexpected passenger. Pale Kalar, who had agreed to be his guide to Rising Dragon Mountain, was still being carried in his arms.
But perhaps because climbing wordlessly felt dull, Leonhart actively did his best to have a lively conversation with Pale.
A majin and a kalar. The conversation of the pair who just met not long ago was more mundane than expected.
It started out as casual comments about the surrounding area, and then the topic shifted to about Pale’s work as the chief. Leonhart, who had just learned that Pale was the chief just now, let a sigh and nod as he agreed with Pale,
“Ah, you’re right. It’s hard to manage a lot of people. Not only do we have to deal with a lot of paperwork, we also have to get involved with various types of people.”
“Tha, that’s right! I am bad at talking with strangers so I always fail…!”
Perhaps Pale was happy to find someone whose experiences were so relatable to her own circumstances, because she raised her voice and nodded her head in excitement, which was rare for her.
But as he heard that, Leonhart casually asked the question that came to his mind.
“? But didn’t you talk just fine with me right now?”
I am a majin, of all things. Shouldn’t it be easier to converse with your own kind? Oh, but, speaking with Galtia, or Camilla, is… continued Leonhart in his head, as he wondered how she unexpectedly was able to talk normally with a majin.
However, Pale, who was asked such a question, looked away while mumbling,
“Tha, that’s, u, uhn… Le, Le, Leonhart, -san, is a person that is easy to talk to… at least, I think so…”
As Pale replied while squirming in his arms, Leonhart gave her a short reply.
The idea that came to his mind as he saw Pale’s attitude was,
…She’s strangely responsive…
Such was his thought.
After all, he was still a majin. Moreover, he was a big shot who was one of the Four Elite Majins and the demon army officer. Although he was a bit embarrassed to admit it, it was a fact and he was aware he was seen as such by his demon subordinates, apostles, and fellow majin.
And people around him feared him. According to them, Leonhart was quite intimidating even in his natural state, which made them hesitate to talk casually with him.
…It is a good thing, considering my standing, though.
From Leonhart’s perspective, who was in charge of organizing the Demon Army, it meant nobody looked down on him and he could easily maintain his dignity and sense of authority. If he asked something of someone, they would immediately obey him.
And despite such a reality, Pale’s impression of him was that of a person who was easy to talk to. Leonhart felt something subtle he couldn’t just agree with.
…But her reaction is strangely favorable too…
Since even demons hesitated to talk to him, human and human-like species should be even more pressured.
Or was it related to things that women around her age have?
Leonhart suddenly felt curious and asked.
“Ye, yes? What is it?”
Perhaps she was confused that he suddenly called her name, because she looked up at him and made eye contact.
Then Leonhart spoke his question casually.
“What do you think of me?”
Upon hearing those words, Pale stopped moving entirely. 1
Pale, who had a stiff expression and was unable to speak out, completely blanked out. Her first thought was to repeat Leonhart’s question, over and over, inside her head.
The next thing that came to her mind was the excitement of being noticed.
That question that Leonhart uttered. Pale dug up the underlying meaning of it from her knowledge and screamed inwardly.
…Kya, kyaaaaaaaaa—?! Thi, this! I’m familiar with this turn of events! I knew it!
When a man asked for a woman’s evaluation of them, they mostly meant one thing. And that was,
…Thi, this means he is interested in me, right?!
In other words, it was a sign that Leonhart desired to reveal his feelings towards her, but wanted to gauge her interest first.
After all, among the novels that Pale often read, this kind of development was often used by either the man or woman to approach members of the other gender.
…Wha, whawhawhawhat should I do?! Ho, how should I respond to him…?!
Pale was panicked but excited as she thought about how to respond.
Once she realized the ‘truth’ of the situation, her face was heating up as her heart beat strongly.
That was her answer in a sense, but even though Pale recognized this, she did feel it was wrong to develop such a relationship with a man she met less than a day ago.
However, Pale thought of her race and considered it.
The kalar were a race who rarely had the opportunity to make contact with men.
That was because most kalar looked down on humans, and the reverse was true as well. In fact, the reason this war began was because the humans thought the kalar would be an easy target. Since there were only female kalar, they could only seek out humans for reproduction, and with this sort of bad opinion of each other, it was very difficult to develop a normal couple relationship.
Therefore, even when a kalar intended to haveoffspring, they chose to capture human men from the outside and treat them as sex slaves. They would capture one man for the entire settlement, and release them later once enough kalar were pregnant.
However, there were some kalar who chose to leave the forest for years to find and develop a normal love relationship with human man. These kalar would eventually return with their crystal turned blue.
Such kalar were considered the equivalent of delinquents and they became distant from others in the settlement as they were often being complained about. However,
…I, I know about it…! Those are all but a façade! They’re just trying to hide their envy behind their righteous attitude…!
Pale was convinced those complaints and sarcasm towards those delinquent kalar came from a place of envy among the others. They were envious that those kalar were brave enough to go out and succeed in finding a loving relationship.
After all, Pale was once the same. Therefore, she could understand the condescending view toward those kalar who managed to have a relationship with a man outside the settlement.
Indeed, it was all about jealousy in the end. Regardless how much they looked down on humans, the kalar were still a race consisting only of women, so it couldn’t be helped that they dreamed of romance with a man.
However, there were many kalar who only spent their lifetime only with fellow kalar and ended their life with the crystals on their forehead still a red color. Even as their time of change came to them, they never experienced spending time with a man in any way. Even those who had experience with men did so through forcing themselves onto those men who were caught as sex slaves. There were only a few kalar who got the chance to experience a man in a romantic context, with a rough estimate of less than 10 out of every 100 kalar.
Because of that, they called those kalar who were the exceptions delinquents out of jealousy and envy, and advised others to not do such a thing so they could feel better about themselves.
Basically, it was all about: “Don’t you dare steal a head start, okay?”
In fact, every time Pale saw those kalar who returned with blue crystals, she always noticed that those compatriots all looked somewhat mature, and they carried with them a sense of satisfaction or contentment. Pale, righteously angry at them, would shoot a Light Laser toward them as if saying “Explode, you Riajuus!” and ostracize them using her authority as the chief of the settlement — at least, such was her delusion. The shame of doing something like that, as well as the sadness of never experiencing what those kalar experienced, made her depressed, so she spent her days reading romance novels to console herself, which also made her think — “Perhaps I will be doomed to just read these books for the rest of my life, and never get the chance to experience such a thing…”
However, that wasn’t the case.
…To, to think I got a reverse confession like this…!
And it was to her, a usually dark and withdrawn person. On top of that, the other party was super handsome and fit, which was totally her type. She learned he wasn’t that bad of a person as she talked with him, and he was super strong as well. Although he was a majin instead of a human, he still looked human, so it didn’t really bother her.
Now that it came to this, Pale came to understand the feeling of those kalar who were branded as delinquent. Although it felt really embarrassing, she didn’t hate the idea of it since he seemed serious about his confession.
…It, it can’t be helped, right-? No, no, I’m also troubled by the sudden turn of events, but, since he insists-… ehehe…!
Pale closed her eyes and cupped her blushed cheeks with her hands, feeling happy and embarrassed just like those kalar who returned from the outside. And she made up her mind.
She peeked out between her fingers at Leonhart, who simply tilted his head in confusion at her reaction. Although Leonhart was clearly waiting for a response, Pale could only make screams in a tiny voice as she covered her face in sudden embarrassment. Perhaps it was better to make him slightly worried, rather than give him an impulsive answer.
Alright, thought Pale in determination as she took a deep breath. What she began to think about next was her excuse to give everyone in the settlement once she returned.
…It, it can’t be helped, you know? Af, after all, we have to produce our offspring…! I have to make a great contribution for the prosperity of descendants as a chief! That’s right! I have to lead by example! And if I, the respected chief, have a good relationship with a man, then all those delinquent kalar will definitely be more accepted in the community…
That’s why this can’t be helped, thought Pale. She opened her mouth to reply to Leonhart with acceptance.
It was at that moment that they felt a strange breeze coming down from the sky.
…Did I make a mistake in how I asked her?
Leonhart suspected he had said something wrong as he watched Pale shiver in his arms with a sloppy smile on her face (Pale was still gone on her delusional trip at this time).
Earlier, she had stiffened and stopped moving, and then began to tremble with a flushed face. Just as he started to get really worried, she became like this.
Although he first suspected it was altitude sickness, it seemed that she didn’t feel sick.
…Well, she’ll return eventually.
Leonhart chose to ignore her for now. It was understandable that it was hard to answer when asked what she thought about him as a majin. Perhaps she was currently scrutinizing for an answer — at least that was what Leonhart chose to assume. Although that hardly seemed the case according to her current state, he didn’t care.
Shifting Pale’s weight to hold her closer to his chest in case she was feeling cold, Leonhart took a moment to look around.
…I sure have come a long way…
There were clouds at low altitude surrounding him like a fog, and the road was getting steeper. Although the path was firm and well established, there were many cliffs around, and if Leonhart happened to slip, not even Leonhart could come out unscathed, much less Pale. The demons on the way were getting stronger as well, but fortunately, they were still at a level where even Pale could handle them.
…But the mountain really is tall.
As he looked up, the summit towered far above in the distance, still hidden behind the clouds. It isn’t known as the world’s tallest mountain for nothing, thought Leonhart as he grinned a fearless smile.
I wonder if I’m already halfway there? The moment Leonhart thought that,
Leonhart felt a gust of wind descend from the sky above, and immediately sensed a presence that followed it a little later. He began to scan the sky more carefully.
Leonhart saw a big shadow hovering just behind the clouds.
The big shadow had wings. It was a powerful race that was known to inhabit this Rising Dragon Mountain in large numbers.
As soon as Leonhart confirmed its presence, he threw Pale to the wall behind him without hesitation and assumed a defensive stance.
“…Ah, I’m— eh, kyan?!”
Since Leonhart had thrown her off almost at the same time he shouted, perhaps Pale didn’t have enough time to react. He could hear Pale rolling on the ground and hitting the wall, but not too hard. She should be able to take a defensive stance to minimize the damage, and it was a preferable option compared to being eaten. She had no choice but to put up with it.
Right after Leonhart threw Pale away, the wind in the sky suddenly became stronger, and seemed to swing at Leonhart with deadly intent.
Leonhart immediately drewOrpheil and cut the wind vertically to avoid the impact.
Then the shadow landed on the ground at a high speed. A cloud of dust rose up around it, and a small crater was left in the ground where it landed.
The shadow belonged to no man. It was also not a demi-human species like the kalar, and it wasn’t a demon either.
It was the winged race who once swept freely across the world. It was,
The moment Leonhart spouted that name, the dragon with green scales roared.
It had a huge body with a total length exceeding five meters. That was the common size for the dragon species.
However, Leonhart revealed a fearless smile as the dragon appeared in front of him.
“It finally appeared…!”
From here on was the region where dragons lived. It seemed that this dragon’s appearance was only a sign of what was yet to come.
That green dragon — the GR dragon should be one who lived in an outlying corner of that region. With that idea in mind, Leonhart hefted his sword into an offensive position.
…The real challenge starts now…!
He expected the challenges from here on to only get more difficult as the dragons grew stronger, but could only feel growing levels of excitement. With the intention of declaring war, Leonhart swung his demonic sword towards the dragon.
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