Editor: Evelet(Ft. WeirdWriter)
Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 60: The Dragon God Festival (Part 2)
Guided by Malacia, who held a lantern, Julieta walked the path leading from the basement of the Shrine to the underground lake where the Ancient Dragon Kharis dwelled.
The first time she had walked along the passage, she had held her father Anderheim’s hand the whole way down. The second time she had passed through, she had been carried by the ruffians who were aiming for her life. And today was the third time. Once again, her feet stepped into this passage. This would, without a doubt, be the last time.
As she looked up at Head Priest Malacia, who had accompanied her all three times, he whispered with a relaxed expression, “We have been together every time, right?”
As she chuckled at their parallel thoughts, Malacia returned her smile. She, as well as the Head Priest, felt they had changed a lot in the past six months.
When Julieta told her father that, she was contradicted softly and gently by Anderheim.
“You’re mistaken, Julieta. It is not you who has changed but the people around you.”
…Perhaps that was the case.
At any rate, Julieta had already become lovers with the brother to whom she hadn’t even talked properly in the past.
Malacia, along with Lutora, became a bridge of exchange between the previously hostile Shrine and the Knights.
This alteration was certainly not because they had changed, but because the people around them had.
It was like being played gently by a maestro.
“…That’s why, be at ease and proceed, Julieta. It’s up to no one but you to draw the curtains closed upon the ongoing tragic farce.”
She held the warmth of her father, whom she had hugged for the last time, close to her chest.
Julieta, who had reached the end of the underground passage, stepped past the large gate opened by Malacia.
Inside the gates she had passed through for the third time, the air was cold and brimming with dense mana.
They were surrounded by the sound of the water gushing forth from the underground lake and flowing into the aqueducts, and the twinkling lights of the spirits in the ceiling of the cavern. The presence moving leisurely in the middle of this empty space was the aloof Ancient Dragon with stakes driven through its four limbs, yet it remained unfazed.
Walking on the cobblestone pavement that was set aside for the Sacrificial Priestess to advance, Julieta climbed up to the altar, leaving Malacia alone.
“I have arrived, Your Grace…!”
As if in response to Julieta’s voice, a beautiful silver dragon emerged from the darkness of the underground lake.
The ancient dragon Kharis stretched his long neck up to the top of the altar, narrowed his crimson eyes, and gazed at Julieta who had a silver circlet adorning her forehead.
‘You are here at last, child.’
“Yes, Your Grace Kharis. As promised, I have come to offer to you the Dragon Pearl.”
‘Ahh…how nostalgic. That is, no doubt, the stolen fragment of my soul.’
By the altar, the ancient dragon Kharis laughed with a deep rumble.
‘With this, the [bet] is your…no, that man’s victory. Half a year is but a blink of an eye to me, but I have been watching upheaval shake the country all this while…It was truly foolish, comical, and amusing.’
What the Ancient Dragon Kharis desired was neither the peace of Palcemith nor to exact revenge upon the descendants of those who imprisoned him in this underground lake.
With a near eternal life, what he desired was something that would give him enjoyment.
‘And now you have delivered to me the half of my body that was taken, just as you promised. So I, too, will grant Anderheim his wish. Child, where is that man now?’
“Father is awaiting His Grace Kharis outside the Shrine…My father requested that I convey a few words when I had an audience with Your Grace.”
Bowing her head to the Ancient Dragon, Julieta let out a huge breath.
“The storm is yet to pass.”
“And the rest all depends on Your Grace’s wishes.”
With ancient dragon Kharis’ four limbs still fixed with stakes, the wrigging of his body as he laughed shook the ceiling.
‘How amusing! How amusing, human!! You turned even [me] into a pawn! Truly wonderful!’
With those words…
…with the short words Julieta uttered…
…the Ancient Dragon Kharis understood what Anderheim desired of him.
From here on, he knew what that man would make him do.
‘Wonderful, wonderful…! I will grant his wish. I, too, shall perform again! Enjoying the skit which that man has created to the very end will be fun too…!’
The Ancient Dragon, who housed an enormous amount of mana, showed ecstatic excitement for the first time. While both Julieta and Malacia were stupefied, the dragon who possessed power equal to that of a god continued to laugh. The spirits gathered in the underground lake were stimulated by that impulse and continued to shine as brightly as the stars.
After laughing for a while, the ancient dragon Kharis regained some composure and urged Julieta, who was waiting at the top of the altar, to come closer.
Carefully tilting his long neck, he softly brushed his snout against Julieta, who was looking up with her eyes closed.
The silver circlet that adorned Julieta’s forehead shone brightly, and, as if melting into beads of light, it was absorbed into the ancient dragon Kharis’ enormous body.
At last he had gained back his missing half.
The Ancient Dragon Kharis, who had regained his full strength, let out a roar.
The surface of the underground lake rippled violently, and he pulled out the hateful stakes that ran through his thick limbs easily.
As the ceiling collapsed with a rumble, spirits flew about in a flustered panic.
Ahh, it truly has been a long time since I felt this elated.
My back is tickling with a sense of exultation.
If so, I should pay back the favour.
…to that tiny creature who has made me feel this way.
…to the existence that had made the ancient dragon Kharis forget the [boredom] he hated more than anything.
The ancient dragon Kharis held out his claw, which still had traces of the wounds left by the stakes, and picked up Julieta and Malacia inside it. Looking up at the crumbling ceiling, he unfurled wide wings that had not opened once in these past thousand years.
‘Then, let us go to the stage where a new history will be engraved.’
At that very instant…
…at the other end of the semicircular royal capital, the rocky plateau covered in greenery to the north of Palcemith castle collapsed from a huge earthquake, leaving behind a rumbling cloud of dust.
Amidst the screams of those who had gathered for the Dragon God Festival, strong tremors hit the entire royal capital.
A huge dragon soared straight up into the blue sky from the large, deep hole left open after the plateau collapsed.
“Is that perhaps, His Grace Kharis…!?”
“Ooh, that is our guardian deity…!”
“What a beautiful appearance.”
“But why is he flying in the sky…?”
“Don’t tell me he is leaving the country…!?”
Looking up at the ancient dragon Kharis for the first time, the people shouted in unison.
The ancient dragon Kharis flapped his beautiful and strong wings and flew up to the top of the tallest spire in the castle of Palcemith, attracting the eyes and cheers of the people.
After circling around in the sky above the city, the ancient dragon Kharis landed quietly on top of the hill to the west of the city.
He lowered Julieta and Malacia, whom he had wrapped in his talons, to the ground. The ancient dragon Kharis arched his back towards the skies and let out another loud roar.
The air shook as the ancient dragon’s roar travelled to every corner of the capital.
The people who came rushing to the western hill saw the beginning of a new history.
Although the ancient dragon had back his stolen body and had regained his freedom, he had descended on the land of Palcemith once again for the sake of the Sacrificial Priestess Julieta.
About to begin was the future of the holy maiden who was loved by the ancient dragon Kharis.
It wasn’t a country enriched under the blessings of the sealed ancient dragon.
These were the first cries of a nation permitted to walk alongside the ancient dragon.
…a maiden who had no connection to the descendants of the Hero Palcemith nor the royal family…
…the fact that she had received the firm favour of the ancient dragon Kharis….
…the meaning of that would be something to reflect upon.
Hasr: So many assignments to do…I’m stressed!
Also head on over to discord if you wanna help pick out the next series I’m gonna TL!