Black Dragon Island – Part 02


Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama


“He did,” Zero said, frowning as well. “He also said dragon inbound.”

I had never in my entire life seen a dragon. I had heard rumors of these terrifying creatures, and I thought they existed somewhere.

“Do dragons just come out like that?” I asked.

“No,” Zero replied. “Dragons’ slumbers are long and deep. I have heard that they are extremely tame creatures. They rarely wake up, and even when they do wake up from their hundred-year sleep, they sleep again after a few meals.”

“Yeah, figures.”

“A dragon flying portends calamities” was a well-known superstition, but few people had actually seen a dragon.

However, the sailor’s alarming behavior just now was not so much a fear of myths as a sense of danger of a real problem.

“Unfurl the sails!” The captain’s orders echoed on the deck. “We’re getting the hell out of here!”

The ship tilted heavily again, turning starboard at full speed. It was a terribly urgent situation.

I dropped Zero down and set a foot on the stairs that led to the deck.

“Where are you going?” Zero asked.

“I’ll go help them. I don’t know about this dragon thing, but with a storm coming, they’re going to need as many people as they can get to unfurl the sails.”

“Should I offer my assistance?”

“Can you stop the storm with Magic?” I asked jokingly.

Zero smiled. “If that is what you wish.”

I stopped in my tracks. I turned around to see Zero smiling nonchalantly as usual, despite the urgency of the situation.

“You have decided to stay in that form for a while so you could avenge Theo, yes?”

“Where’d that come from? I don’t see how that has anything to do with the storm.”

My expression turned bitter as soon as she mentioned the name Theo—a kid who called me his friend.

Gramps.

His freckled face as he smiled at me came to mind. The kid who said he wanted to travel with me died in my arms coughing blood, falling victim to the nefarious plans of Cestum, a group of people who misused Magic.

“It means I am free to use Magic since I do not have to keep storing up my magical power to make you human again. There is a spell to manipulate weather, though it requires a bit of effort. I can stop this storm.”

In exchange for me guarding Zero, she would turn me human as soon as she regained her magical powers. That was our agreement.

But if I became human, I would lose my power as a Beastfallen. All this time, I thought I wouldn’t mind that. I’d dreamt of becoming human my entire life.

I gripped the knife on my waist tight—the same knife that Theo had kept as a memento of his father.

Now it had become my memento of Theo, a proof of my vow to tear apart those who killed him. To fulfill my oath, I couldn’t part with my monstrous strength just yet.

I saw my face reflected in the small window. I wore a terrifying look that seemed like I could devour a human at any moment. Heaving a deep sigh, I softened my expression. Not that it changed much. I still looked like a horrifying monster to ordinary people.

“You don’t have to do anything unnecessary,” I said. “Sure, the prejudice against witches has diminished after the Wenias incident, but the world still sees witches as threats. There’s no need to call attention to yourself. Besides, it’s my job to play the part of the villain.” I went up to the deck.


As I stepped out onto the deck, a tremendous gale caused my body to stagger for a moment. High, raging waves swooped in on the deck, threatening to swallow the sailors into the water.

“This is worse than I thought.”

One of the sailors was swept by the waves and thrown overboard. Quickly, I leaned off the deck, grabbed his legs, and pulled him up to the deck. He was about to mouth a thank you, but when he saw my appearance, he froze.

“It’s you!”

“Yes. As you can see, I’m a Beastfallen. Now I know what you’re gonna say, but I also don’t want this ship to sink. I can only do manual labor, though, so just tell me what to do.”

The sailor hesitated for a moment. Then he immediately gave me instructions. Following his orders, I ran around the deck. As a Beastfallen, I boasted the strength of several large men. Carrying cargo or securing ropes, tasks that would normally take a few people to accomplish, I could do all by myself.

The sails caught wind, and the ship started sailing at a high speed away from the island. The mast creaked loudly, as though it was about to break, while the sail itself looked like it would burst to shreds at any moment.

“Setting sail in this wind is just plain crazy!” I yelled over the raging tempest.

“We know that!” the sailor yelled back. “But the dragon of Black Dragon Island attacks and sinks ships! If it sees us, we’re screwed!”

“Why would a dragon attack ships?”

“How should I know?! But it’s a fact that the dragon attacked two ships about a year ago! The first was a merchant ship, and the second one was a rescue ship! They both sank!”

The survivors then testified to the existence of the dragon.

“After the incidents, we always go all the way around the island! Now the storm’s dragging us to it. The Goddess sure is cruel!”

I looked at Black Dragon Island fading away in the distance and the bird circling the mountain.

“What’s wrong with that bird?”

Feeling something off, I strained my eyes.

The island should have been moving away, but the bird appeared to be bigger than before.

“It’s getting closer?”

The closer it got, the more I realized just how gigantic it was.

“No, that’s not a bird.”

Black rocks covered its entire body, not feathers. Its wings, flapping slowly, whipped up winds stronger than a storm, stirring up the raging sea even more violently. It had four limbs with sharp claws and a long tail. A reptilian head rested at the end of the long, slender neck extending from its body. Two huge, twisted horns protruded out of its head.

The sailor grunted in despair. “It’s the dragon!”

Screams filled the deck. The whole place was in an uproar, as if someone had stirred up a hornet’s nest.

“Captain! We can’t outrun it!”

“Get the cannons ready! Shoot it down at all costs!”

No. We’re not gonna make it. The dragon would catch up to the ship before the sailors could even load the cannons.

Overawed by the presence of a dragon, I stood there dumbfounded. Then finally I put my hand to the sword hanging on my waist. If that thing rammed into the ship, it would definitely sink. Then my journey with Zero would end here.

I drew my sword and ran up to the bow.

“Chapter of Hunting, Verse Four: Kudra! Grant me power, for I am Zero!”

A familiar woman’s voice pierced through the sailors’ shouts. At the same time, an explosion erupted around the approaching dragon, causing the dragon’s massive body to recoil wildly in the air. The creature let out a deafening shriek.

Covering my ears, I looked around the deck in search of Zero. Then I saw a woman in a black cloak standing atop the ship’s yard, her long silver hair fluttering in the air.

“Look!” a sailor shouted.

The dragon regained its position in the air and slowly shook its head. Its black outer shell had partially peeled off, revealing glistening silver scales.

The dragon quietly looked at Zero. Its eyes were on her, yet all the hair on my body was standing on end.

It was furious. The dragon realized that it was Zero who attacked it. After a moment of silence, an earth-shaking roar erupted from the dragon’s massive body.

The distance between the dragon and the ship was the length of its body. Its wings produced powerful gusts that rocked the ship. Zero staggered.

“Over here!” I yelled.

Zero looked down at me and leapt off the yard. Immediately after, the dragon’s long tail swooped down, calming the sky and snapping the mast down the middle. The huge wooden pillar fell, crushing part of the deck. Ropes snapped everywhere, and shattered pieces of wood rained down.

I somehow managed to catch Zero amidst all the chaos, then dropped down to protect her from the debris.

“Mercenary, the dragon looked at me with malice! It wants to kill me!”

“I mean, it makes sense. You kinda used Magic on it the moment it showed up.”

“That is not what I meant!”

“Do we really have to discuss this right now?”

“It is aware of Magic.”

What?

Before I could say anything, a nearby explosion and a flash of light stunned me for a split-second. A loaded cannon must have misfired.

“Mercenary!” a voice shouted in the distance. No. All sounds felt distant to my ears. The explosion had wrecked my eardrums. My vision was blurry and white.

“The ship is sinking! All hands, abandon ship! Abandon ship!”

Zero pulled my hand. Then the floor tilted wildly, tossing us into the raging sea. I quickly spotted Zero underwater, pulled her up and held on to a floating plank. I then paddled endlessly towards Black Dragon Island, and somehow made it to shore. That was where my memory ended.

I probably ran out of energy the moment we made it to shore and passed out. Zero was definitely in my arms that time.

But the next time I woke up, I was in a dimly-lit dungeon, chained and alone.



Leave a Reply